Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Historic Year for Climate (?)

Jeffrey Berardelli, the writer below, says he has a degree and career expertise in Atmospheric Sciences.  He heads his post with the graph below, which is correct in saying that CO2 levels have increased greatly in recent years

But that is actually an embarrassment. He knows perfectly well that the effect of that rise is supposed to be a leap in global temperature.  If there is no such accompanying leap, the entire Warming theory is wrong.  But there has been no such leap.  Now that the effect of El Nino has faded, temperatures have dropped back to the plateau that they have been on for the whole of this century.  See my favourite graph below:

He circumvents that awkward truth by saying that the earth probably had its warmest year this year. It probably did. But that is an excellent example of lying with statistics: Using an inappropriate statistic. As my favourite graph shows, all the high temperatures were in the first half of the year. So if you average the temperatures of all the the months of the year, you get an elevated average mainly because of those early high temperatures. But is an average meaningful in those circumstances? Not if it disguises a trend, which it does. An average would be meaningful if there were highs and lows randomly throughout the year -- but that was not the case. The average does not reflect where the temperature was going and where it ended up. In failing to acknowledge that, Berardelli is simply being dishonest.

Furthermore Berardelli is imprecise in what he says about CO2 levels.  They did NOT rise during the Warming event.  I monitored the CO2 figures from both Cape Grim and Mauna Loa right from the onset of the warming -- beginning roughly in August 2015.  And I noted that the 400ppm peak had been reached BEFORE that warming event and then plateaued during the warming event.  There was no rise in CO2 levels accompanying the rise in temperature.  So the temperature rise COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise -- because there was no CO2 rise. And it's now  in the journals that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016.  So El Nino did not merely contribute "part" of the 2015/2016 warming event, it contributed the WHOLE of it.  So if we remove the influence of El Nino, we can see that there has been NO anthropogenic global warming for the whole of this century.  The present high levels of CO2 have done nothing.  Warmist theory is wrong

Why is Carbon Dioxide such an important part of our climate system? First I should mention that C02 makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere. But as you may have read CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas. That means it is very effective at absorbing energy in the infrared spectrum (ie. heat). Basically the sun heats the Earth. The Earth releases that heat and it is then absorbed by greenhouse gases like C02 and methane. So the more greenhouse gases you have, the more heat that is absorbed. It's really quite simple.

So why are we so alarmed? From ice core data we know that C02 has never been over 300 parts per million in the last 800 thousand years. Before the industrial revolution (in the 1800s) C02 concentration was at 270 parts per million. But in the last 150 years, with the increasing population and increased burning of fossil fuels for energy, that number has leaped to an unprecedented 400 parts per million.

To repeat what was just stated: in 800 thousand years of records we have never had C02 concentrations above 300 ppm, but now we have leaped to 400 ppm. Clearly humans have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere. We have changed the balance that has existed for 800,000+ years. That's how an exponentially expanding population of tiny people can overwhelm a relatively large Earth.

Regardless of feelings, this jump in greenhouse gases, most notably CO2, is now driving the Earth's temperatures to record levels year after year. Although not completely done yet, 2016 is on pace to be the warmest ever. Part of that is due to El Nino. But it should be noted that El Nino ended in the Spring of 2016 yet record Global heat was observed well through summer. Since 1880, all of the top 15 warmest years globally, except 1998(an El Nino year), have occurred since the year 2000. We could go on and on about the record setting heat.


Regional voodoo

It was reported recently that Canadian scientists have warned their colleagues in the United States with Trump. It seems science is losing support from governments especially U.S. and Canada. And this issue is closely associated with climate change.
According to New York Times, Donald Trump along with his nominated Cabinet members sided with the idea that climate change is not an urgent threat that should be treated and should be financed with great money and effort. One of these Cabinet members is the future secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson just like other Cabinet members expressed that since climate change is not a settled science then it must not be treated alongside with other much serious problems. The dialogue from Donald Trump which scientists have worry a lot is "climate change is a Chinese hoax and very expensive bullshit".

These caused climate scientists to increasingly try to quantify economic and health impacts for specific regions in shorter time frames. They made attempts to provide these more localized, near-term risk assessments to help inform policy-making for everyone from lawmakers and water managers to firefighters and average residents.

While scientists are pursuing to urge from every individual in the world to large industries and world governments to act with urgency for the solution of climate change, more individual today, as the issue has been franked is urging science in return to give proof that climate change is really that important to settle immediately.

Judith Curry, professor in the School of Earth and Athmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology accepts that Earth is warming but isn't sure of the links between human activity and climate change. "It becomes voodoo once you start trying to attribute regional extreme-weather events to climate change, when it gets down to regional extreme events, like droughts in California or hurricane landfalls in Florida or wildfires in Canada, then it becomes compounded by the fact that you need hundreds of years of data to really make sense of the statistics."

This situation puts science in the risk of losing trust. That's why the urgency to give convincing proof that indeed climate change is attributed to human activity should be presented as soon as possible.


Is global warming going to cancel the ski season? Popular resorts are completely shut down after no snow falls

The beginning and end of the ski season has always varied, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot. It is absurd to attribute snowfall variations to global warming.  If we are going to draw inferences from regional variations, what are we to make of the recent snow in the Sahara? Does that prove global cooling?  Inferring global processes from a local one is voodoo science

Unusually high temperatures and a lack of slow is threatening the ski season as popular resorts in Europe have completely shut down.

Some resorts in France have not seen so much as a snowflake in almost a month leaving pistes completely bare.

An estimated 45,000 workers have been left temporarily unemployed, lifts remain stationary and nobody is skiing on the slopes in the worst-hit areas in Massif Central, The Vosges and The Jura in France as well as Charmey in Switzerland.

Weather expert Sandra Larue said December 2016 could end up being the calmest on record due to a 'blocking anticyclone', which can lead to long periods of stable weather, according to BFMTV.

Resorts in the south-western Pyrenées have barely seen any snow all season and some haven't had a fresh dump since November, according to The Local.

It means anybody wishing to get on the slopes have been forced to climb above 2,500m where the temperature is cold enough to cling onto the limited downfalls.

Even high up the mountain in resorts such as Haute-Maurienne near the Italian border and Haute-Tarentaise in the heart of the Alps, no snow has fallen since November.

A top ski resort in Switzerland has had to close its slopes because there is no snow at all on the pistes.

No snow has fallen in Charmey since December 19, leaving the mountain completely bereft of skiers with 2016 registering in the top 10 warmest since Swiss records began back in 1864.

With no snow forecast for at least a week, and with the temperature pushing a balmy 10C, it appears the lifts will remain shut well into the New Year.

The temperature trend in Switzerland is in line with the rest of the world, with 2016 set to be the hottest year on record across the world, the World Meteorological Organization said in November.

Described by My Swizterland, Charmey is a 'fairtytale winter landscape', the delights of the resort are meant to include deep, fresh powder and days in the snow.

With only the odd speck of white, the pistes have been turned into an uninviting sea of discoloured grass.

In Switzerland, the whole year has been up to 0.7 degrees warmer than normal, according to MeteoSuisse - the country's equivalent to The Met Office.

But it's the winter temperatures that have been of particular concern.

In the three months of last winter - from December 2015 to February 2016 - the thermometers hit 2.5 degrees higher than normal, according to The Local, and the trend looks set to continue this year.

Spring was wet in Switzerland, but the summer in Geneva saw a record high 33.5 degrees registered and the heat persisted through autumn.

The ski season looked good in November when a sudden drop in temperature brought with it a fresh dump of snow, but an anticyclone in December melted it all away.

Very little snow has fallen since, leaving the slopes bare and the resorts like Charmey empty.

Some 45,000 seasonal staff have been left in limbo by the weather, according to The Local, with their employers having no need to call them in to work.


Federal Permits Will Allow Wind Farms to Kill More Bald Eagles

New 30-year permits that will be issued next month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) will quadruple the number of bald eagles that wind farms will collectively be allowed to kill per year and avoid prosecution under the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Under the new $36,000 “incidental take permits” - which are to be reviewed every five years by an independent third party – the number of bald eagles that can be killed by permit holders will increase from 1,100 currently allowed under 2009 regulations to 4,200 when the Final Rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, according to the Associated Press.

 “The Service’s emphasis on eagle incidental take permits for wind facilities reflects [Obama] Administration priorities for expanded wind energy development and a desire to minimize the impacts of that growth on eagles,” FWS noted. “It does not reflect a belief that wind development poses a disproportionate risk compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles.”

The FWS explained that the new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations are intended to “minimize the impacts” of wind farms on the eagle population. “There is nothing in the revised regulations that will increase take, though we hope more ongoing unpermitted take will be captured under permits in the future,” the agency said.

The new regulations will require long-term permit holders to “search for injured and killed eagles” and then “estimate total take using methods approved by the Service,” according to the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on December 16th.

Permit holders will “be required to provide compensatory mitigation to offset predicted take over each 5-year period.”

Potential permittees will also have to “implement all practicable best management practices and other measures that are reasonably likely to reduce eagle take” to less than 5 percent of the LAP [local area population] for a project already in operation.  The “practicable” standard is a modification of the current “unavoidable” standard.

Any permitted facility that exceeds its authorized eagle kill limit would not be fined or criminally prosecuted, although it could still be “subject to an enforcement action at any time for unpermitted prior take of eagles,” according to the Final Rule.

“Only applicants who commit to adaptive management measures to ensure the preservation of eagles will be considered for permits with terms longer than five years,” according to FWS.

But Garry George, Audubon California’s director of renewable energy, pointed out that none of the new technologies used by the wind farm industry to lessen bird deaths “has been proven to work.”

The FWS “may be giving the industry certainty in a permit that allows them to kill eagles for 30 years, but they’re not giving us any certainty that it’s not going to send the population into a spiral,” George said.

Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, also noted that the “lack of an opportunity for public input [during the five-year reviews] makes the rule vulnerable to legal challenges” under NEPA.

After being removed from the Endangered Species Act list of threatened species in 2007, the population of bald eagles is now estimated at 143,000 in the lower 48 states and Alaska. FWS estimates that it “will continue to increase until populations reach an equilibrium at about 228,000.”

But FWS believes the current stable population of 41,000 golden eagles “might be declining toward a lower equilibrium size of about 26,000 individuals.” For that reason, the permitted number of golden eagles killed “would still be set at zero, requiring that all authorized take be offset by compensatory mitigation,” according to the new regulations.

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to kill or injure eagles – even unintentionally – without a permit. The penalties can range up to a $500,000 fine and two years in prison.

FWS says that “no progress has been made” in its efforts to create an “accurate estimate of collision probability” for eagles at wind farms because “to date, so few incidental take permits have been issued at wind facilities.”

In response to comments from the public, FWS noted that “in the last 18 months, the Service has resolved five civil enforcement actions concerning unauthorized incidental take of eagles… at 15 different wind- energy facilities,” resulting in $55,000 in civil penalties and another $1.8 million to develop technologies to reduce the number of bird deaths.

In 2013, North Carolina-based Duke Energy Renewables became the first wind power company to be found criminally liable under MBTA for killing 163 protected birds, including 14 golden eagles, at two of its wind farms in Wyoming. The company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1 million fine and another $900,000 in restitution and compensatory mitigation.

Last year, Oregon-based PacifiCorp became the second wind energy company to be prosecuted. It was fined $2.5 million for killing 38 golden eagles and hundreds of other protected migratory birds at its wind energy projects in Wyoming.

“No animal says America like the bald eagle, and the Service is using the best available science to make eagle management decisions that promote eagle conservation,” FWS Director Dan Ashe said in a statement.

“Our success in recovering this bird when its populations plummeted in the lower 48 nearly a half-century ago stands as one of our greatest national conservation achievements. The final revised regulations build on this success, taking a comprehensive approach to eagle conservation and demonstrating the Service’s longstanding commitment to bald and golden eagles, responsible industry operations, and the interests of the American people.”


Renewable energy push to hit the Australian Labor Party's  heartland

Labor’s traditional working-class supporters will bear the brunt of spiking electricity prices and power failures in the fallout from the South Australian, Victorian and Queensland governments’ push towards ambitious renewable energy targets.

Energy experts have warned the shutting down of more coal-fired power plants and the rise of renewables risks leading to a future where wealthier households can pay for better reliability of supply while others are left in the dark.

Most of the impact of the ­nation’s rapidly changing electricity market would be on vulnerable consumers who do not have the resources to invest in technologies to reduce their demand on the grid or generate their own electricity.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has warned that a class of consumers could be prevented from adopting new technologies — such as rooftop solar PV or battery storage — by a limited ability to pay large up-front costs or to ­obtain finance.

Dr Finkel, who is conducting a review of the electricity market for the federal government following the statewide blackout in South Australia in September, said people who rented properties or lived in apartments were limited in their ability to install new technologies.

Migrants with limited English, people with poor financial literacy and those struggling to make ends meet were at risk of paying ­increased costs to subsidise households or businesses able to invest in new technologies. Passive or loyal consumers who were not ­engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs were vulnerable too, Dr Finkel added.

The danger was that, as more consumers took greater steps with the aid of technological ­advance­ments to rely less on the grid, the cost of building and maintaining the network would be spread over a smaller number of “vulnerable” users.

The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned that electricity prices are set to surge during the next two years, largely driven by the ­close of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and Victoria and ongoing investment in wind generation.

Australian Stock Exchange data showed yesterday that base future contract prices for March were highest in South Australia, which yesterday had its third major blackout in four months. For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity in March, it would cost South ­Australian buyers almost $152.91, compared with $100 in Queensland, $63.75 in NSW and $54.50 in Victoria.

South Australia, under Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, has a renewable energy generation mix of more than 40 per cent, the highest of any state. The state’s last coal-fired power station closed in May.

Several peak industry groups canvassed by The Australian agreed that, without the correct policy settings in place, there was a danger of large numbers of consumers relying less on the grid.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said renewable energy targets hit low-income households harder, while the wealthy were able to ­access solar and other incentive schemes, the cost of which was then loaded on to other users.

“This is a double whammy for the poor,” Mr Pearson said.

Victoria’s Labor government has set a 40 per cent renewables energy target for 2025 and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a 50 per cent target by 2030. The federal Labor opposition has a renewables target of at least 50 per cent by 2030 compared with the Coalition’s target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.

Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said that, while consumers would not realistically be able to pay directly for more ­reliable supply from the grid, those with the means could install some form of back-up behind the meter, most commonly a generator. “Of course, some consumers can pay more to have their own supply via solar PV and batteries or via gas as did the Coopers Brewery that saved them during the (South Australian) blackout,” he said.

“The critical issue is how the grid is priced as consumers change the way they use it. Volume-based charging just isn’t fair and yet moving to demand-based charging is highly controversial.

“The extreme version is that homes and businesses are charged for the grid being there even if they never use it at all. These are questions that governments and regulators are grappling with and the answers are messy.”

Climate Institute head of policy Olivia Kember said there was a real risk of large numbers of households leaving the grid, which likely would be the result of ongoing policy failure by federal and state governments. “It’s not just a problem for lower-income households, but also apartment dwellers and large industry that needs grid-based power,” she said. “Currently we are seeing coal stations close with only six months’ notice, and no signals to tell the market what is needed to replace them.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said all consumers ultimately would want to be connected to the grid, even as a form of back-up, ­although there was a risk more would be less reliant on it. “The ­reality is if we are going to have a decarbonised system that is going to be reliable, it will cost more and we’ve seen that in South Australia — it is living proof,” he said. “There are a lot of inequities in the system and they are difficult to answer. The inequities can get worse.”

Mr Warren agreed there was a risk that those with the means to invest in new technologies would become less reliant on the grid and leave behind other more vulnerable groups.

“There is evidence that the largest household energy consumers are by far the poorest,” he said.

Warnings by Dr Finkel and the Australian Energy Market Commission that power prices are ­expected to begin rising is being blamed for generator closures, gas supply constraints and international parity gas prices.

The AEMC warned that, by 2018, the national electricity market would be divided into two price regions: cheaper in the north, Queensland and NSW; more ­expensive in the south, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said energy security remained “our number one” ­energy policy priority. “Australians expect access to reliable and affordable electricity and that is what the federal government is determined to provide through the COAG Energy Council,” he said.

“Yes, we have to meet our emissions reduction targets, but it can’t be at the expense of the lights going out or Australians not being able to afford their power bill.”

South Australian opposition cost of living spokesman Corey Wingard said: “The surging price of electricity in South Australia is creating two classes of consumers for this essential service: the haves and have-nots. Sadly many will struggle to keep their airconditioners on this summer … The more consumers that withdraw from the grid the greater the cost that will be borne by those still ­reliant upon it and the greater number of households will be cut off.”

Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass, said ­national energy policy must focus on a low-emissions future that ­included clean coal technologies as well as renewable generation to keep energy prices in check and supply stable. “The closure of the Northern Power Station in SA and Hazelwood in Victoria are driving up power prices and destroying regional economies,” Mr Vass said.



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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Arctic heatwave could break records

Warmists love the Arctic because it is the only place where florid heating episodes sometimes occur (mainly due to subsurface vulcanism).  But that is in fact a problem.  What are we to make of a warming Arctic when the overall global temperature has been falling -- as it has for all of this year?

Which tells us of global temperature trends?  The Arctic or the rest of the world?  Can a warming Arctic be a function of global warming when the globe is not warming?

Warmists are incapable of elementary logic.  When I write about Warmist claims I often feel that I am talking to a four-year-old

Temperatures at the North Pole could be up to 20 degrees higher than average this Christmas Eve, in what scientists say is a record-breaking heatwave.

Climate scientists say these unseasonably warm weather patterns in the Arctic region are directly linked to man-made climate change.

Temperatures throughout November and December were 5C higher than average.

It follows a summer during which Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest extent ever recorded by satellites.

Dr Friederike Otto, a senior researcher at Oxford's Environmental Change Institute told BBC News that in pre-industrial times "a heatwave like this would have been extremely rare - we would expect it to occur about every 1,000 years".

Dr Otto added that scientists are "very confident" that the weather patterns were linked to anthropogenic climate change.

"We have used several different climate modelling approaches and observations," she told BBC News.

"And in all our methods, we find the same thing; we cannot model a heatwave like this without the anthropogenic signal."

Temperatures are forecast to peak on Christmas Eve around the North Pole - at near-freezing.

The warm air from the North Atlantic is forecast to flow all the way to the North Pole via Spitsbergen, giving rise to clouds that prevent heat from escaping.

And, as Dr Otto explained to BBC News, the reduction in sea ice is contributing to this "feedback loop".

"If the globe is warming, then the sea ice and ice on land [shrinks] then the darker water and land is exposed," she said.

"Then the sunlight is absorbed rather than reflected as it would be by the ice."

Forecasting models show that there is about a 2% chance of a heatwave event occurring every year.

"But if temperatures continue to increase further as they are now," said Dr Otto, "we would expect a heatwave like this to occur every other year and that will be a huge stress on the ecosystem."

Dr Thorsten Markus, chief of NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, said the heatwave was "very, very unusual".

"The eerie thing is that we saw something quite similar (temperatures at the North Pole of about 0C in December) almost exactly a year ago," he told BBC News.

The freeze and thaw conditions are already making it difficult for reindeer to find food - as the moss they feed on is covered by hard ice, rather than soft, penetrable snow.


EPA Makes an About-Face on Fracking Report: Science or Politics?

Gordon Tomb pays about $40 per month to heat his home in central Pennsylvania. And he wants to keep it that way.

“I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for more than 60 years and have never paid so little for my home heating,” Tomb, a senior fellow with the free market Commonwealth Foundation, said in an interview.

He credits his low heating bills to the boom in natural gas production brought on by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), which enables energy companies to tap into the state’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.

“The natural gas industry has been the brightest spot in the Pennsylvania economy for the past decade and it’s likely to be for a long time,” Tomb said “It’s contributed billions to property owners in royalties and leases alone. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues and in wages by the economic activity of hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

In 2009, a handful of Dimock, Pennsylvania, homeowners sued a Houston-based company, alleging their drinking water was tainted by fracking.

The Pennsylvania complaint and others like it from across the country prompted a five-year, $29 million Environmental Protection Agency study, which, according to a draft report released in June 2015, “did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

This was a relief to the oil and gas industry, given that fracking currently accounts for half of the nation’s crude oil production and two-thirds of the natural gas production, yet has also been controversial.

But something happened between last year and last week to make the EPA change its tune.

In its final report released last week, “Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States,” the EPA said fracking can affect drinking water resources “under some circumstances.”

But it cited no cases in which such contamination was confirmed. Instead, the EPA concluded that there is a paucity of data on which to base a conclusion, and in the instances where data is available, there are too many uncertainties to conclude anything with confidence.

“Because of the significant data gaps and uncertainties in the available data, it was not possible to fully characterize the severity of impacts, nor was it possible to calculate or estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle,” the study says. “We were, however, able to estimate impact frequencies in some, limited cases (i.e., spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids or produced water and mechanical integrity failures).”

On that thin reed, environmentalists are taking a victory lap. But what changed?

It wasn’t the science, according to Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, but politics.

“The EPA already said in its draft report that there was no systemic effect on the water supplies from fracking. Nothing in the underlying science of the report was changed, it’s simply a change in their framing of it,” Stier said. “There’s been a concerted political campaign to apply pressure to the EPA. Certainly the report as it was written in draft form would have taken away any leg that activists had to stand on.”

Specifically, Stier says, certain members of Congress, environmental activists, and the EPA’s independent researchers pushed for the scholarly flip-flop.

The draft report, and its fracking-favorable findings, remained status quo for more than a year.

Then in August of this year, the agency’s Science Advisory Board sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The board complained in the 180-page letter that the statement about “widespread, systemic impacts” was not supported and needed revision. The board also advised the EPA add specific research on places with a track record of reported problems—including Dimock, Pennsylvania.

On Oct. 20, McCarthy got a scathing follow-up letter signed by 51 members of Congress. The note blasted not only the 2015 draft report, but the EPA’s public handling of the report, and urged the EPA to either revise the “widespread, systemic impacts” statement, or delete it.

The EPA opted for the delete button, offering this explanation on its website:

After receiving comments from the [Science Advisory Board], EPA scientists concluded that the sentence could not be quantitatively supported. Contrary to what the sentence implied, uncertainties prevent EPA from estimating the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Additionally, EPA scientists and the [Science Advisory Board], came to the conclusions that the sentence did not clearly communicate the findings of the report.

‘Hanging on by a thread’

U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa., was among those who pressed the EPA to change its conclusion. He said that he has been at the forefront of federal efforts to crack down on fracking to protect communities and environment in which fracking occurs, including his home state.

“I am pleased that the EPA took seriously the issues raised by the Scientific Advisory Board, and revised its report accordingly,” he said. “My priority has always been to see that the fracking industry operates safely and responsibly, and I have repeatedly introduced legislation aimed at encouraging that.”

Tomb, however, is wary of any regulations coming from Washington to a state that’s well-schooled in natural resources and well-equipped with fracking regulations.

“I see nothing good about additional federal regulations in this area,” he said. “The first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s. So this state has been dealing with this industry going on 200 years. And in my lifetime, it’s done very well.”

Stier says the push by the congressmen and the review board is part of a much broader “keep it in the ground” movement.

“The big picture opposition to fracking has nothing to do with drinking water. It’s opposition to humans taking energy out of the earth,” Stier explained. “These opponents realize they would not be able to win a political argument in the court of public opinion considering they don’t want us taking energy out of the ground. So they had to argue that this threatened our drinking water because that’s a way to get everyone to agree because we all want clean drinking water.”

Swapping out the previous conclusion is, according to Stier, a last leg for the anti-frackers on the eve of the Trump administration. “They’re hanging on by a thread to sow doubt about the safety of fracking. But I don’t think it’s a very strong leg to stand on because it’s simply a political document now.”

Indeed, a hostile letter-writing campaign will likely not have the same effect on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt—President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to replace McCarthy at the EPA. Pruitt has been a frequent and effective critic of EPA overreach, and took a leading role in efforts to put the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan on hold.

“From what I’ve seen so far from the Trump administration, they don’t care about idiotic claims by people looking to advance their own skewed view of how the world should be, who want to meddle in everybody’s lives and everybody’s business,” Tomb added. “Most people want to live their lives, raise their families—all that can be done and has been done, while protecting the environment.”


Rick Perry will give back energy to the American people

During the second presidential debate, now President-elect Donald Trump discussed making the nation’s energy sector a priority. Trump laid out a plan to empower energy companies, return energy workers to their job, and explore new, efficient energy sources.

With his latest decision to select former Texas Governor Rick Perry as head of the Department of Energy Trump has taken the crucial step toward increasing production in the American energy sector he has promised the country. Perry will give back energy to the American people.

Trump represents a shift away from the exotic, green energy programs implemented under the Obama administration which prioritize clean energy over efficient and job creating energy options in the petroleum, coal and nuclear industries.

As Jack Gerard, president of the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute representing oil and natural gas companies, explained to Reuters on Dec. 15, “As the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry knows the important impact that energy production has on our nation’s economy. In his new role at the Energy Department, he has the opportunity to encourage increased exports of domestically produced natural gas.”

Rather than seeing the Department of Energy as a tool for regulating energy production, Perry will use the department to fuel energy production in the private sector.

Using his experience and close ties with the Texas oil industry, Perry hopes to recreate the job boom he helped foster through empowering Texas’s oil and gas industries from 2000 to 2015. As energy transition spokesman Sean Spicer reminds us, this is ultimately Trump’s plan, and Perry will be integral in implementing the Trump agenda above all else.

This Trump agenda spans far past oil and gas. The Department of Energy also shares powers including implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the maintenance and production of the American nuclear supply.

This is critical, because Perry will finally be able to carry out his goal of the completion and utilization of Yucca mountain which President Barack Obama defunded in 2011.

Since 2014, Perry has been fighting to re-establish Yucca mountain and thus, re-establish a nuclear energy option in the United States. Despite a congressional act entitled the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 directly outlining that the federal government would take possession and provide a disposable solution for all nuclear waste, in 2009 President Obama abandoned the project at Yucca mountain which would act as an ultimate waste zone. After more than $15 billion was spent developing the site, President Obama had the entire project defunded.

Now, American nuclear energy production is at a standstill. In 2014, Perry supported a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality report on nuclear waste disposal. The report outlined options including reopening Yucca Mountain, building a long-term, commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing capability and having multiple disposal options, so that the nation’s nuclear industry is not dependent upon the politics of Nevada.

The report warned, “Early in 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was developing a new plan to replace Yucca Mountain — estimating that an HLW disposal solution would not be available until 2048. However, in November 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that the federal government has ‘no credible plan’ to dispose of HLW. 2048, or whatever year Washington forecasts that a solution will be provided, is too long to wait.”

In Texas alone, the delay of opening Yucca Mountain had cost taxpayers more than $700 million.

Perry has also made gas and oil production economically efficient in his home state, and has been eager to pursue new frontiers for energy development. The Obama administration prevented state governors like Perry from bringing national solutions to American energy and job growth to the table, but now all that is changing.

As James Taylor, President of the Spark of Freedom Foundation a leader in affordable energy production research, told Forbes on Dec. 14, “Affordable energy is a powerful economic stimulant. Energy costs are a factor in virtually all goods and services bought and sold in our economy. When energy prices are lower, the costs of producing goods and services are lower, which operates like a tax cut…  Benefiting from these pro-energy, pro-growth policies, Texas electricity prices have declined nearly 25 percent since 2008. National electricity prices, by contrast, are higher now than in 2008.”

Trump has made it clear since the beginning that he wanted to revitalize our job market and make America efficient again. And Texas led the nation on energy under Perry’s guidance and saw the economic prosperity it generated, now it is Perry’s turn to show the rest of the country he can do it again.



Excerpts from the opening of a June paper by  PATRICK MOORE (Formerly of Greenpeace) below:


This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy.

All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth. This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation.

It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments.

The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

This extremely positive aspect of human CO2 emissions must be weighed against the unproven hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause a catastrophic warming of the climate in coming years.

The one-sided political treatment of CO2 as a pollutant that should be radically reduced must be corrected in light of the indisputable scientific evidence that it is essential to life on Earth.


There is a widespread belief that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for energy are a threat to the Earth’s climate and that the majority of species, including the human species, will suffer greatly unless these emissions are drastically curtailed or even eliminated. This paper offers a radically different perspective based on the geological history of CO2.

CO2 is one of the most essential nutrients for life on Earth. It has been approaching dangerously low levels during recent periods of major glaciation in the Pleistocene Ice Age, and human emissions of CO2 may stave off the eventual starvation and death of most life on the planet due to a lack of CO2.

This is not primarily a discussion of the possible connection between CO2 and global warming or climate change, although some mention must be made of it. There has been a great deal of discussion on the subject, and it is hotly contested in both scientific and political spheres.

There is no question that the climate has warmed during the past 300 years since the peak of the Little Ice Age. There is also no question that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and all else being equal, the emissions would result in some warming if CO2 rose to higher levels in the atmosphere.

Yet, there is no definitive scientific proof that CO2 is a major factor in influencing climate in the real world. The Earth’s climate is a chaotic, non-linear, multivariant system with many unpredictable feedbacks, both positive and negative.

Primarily, this is a discussion about the role of atmospheric CO2 in the maintenance of life on Earth and the positive role of human civilization in preventing CO2 from trending downward to levels that threaten the very existence of life.

It is an undisputed fact that all life on Earth is carbon based and that the source of this carbon is CO2, which cycles through the global atmosphere. The original source of CO2 in the atmosphere is thought to be massive volcanic eruptions during the Earth’s early history, the extreme heat of which caused the oxidation of carbon in the Earth’s interior to form CO2.

Today, as a minor gas at 0.04 per cent, CO2 permeates the entire atmosphere and has been absorbed by the oceans and other water bodies (the hydrosphere), where it provides the food for photosynthetic species such a phytoplankton and kelp. If there were no CO2 or an insufficient level of CO2 in the atmosphere and hydrosphere, there would be no life as we know it on our planet.

On a relatively short-term basis (years to hundreds of years), the carbon cycle is a complex series of exchanges among the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, living species and decomposing organic matter in soils and sediments. Over the long term (millions to billions of years), the majority of the carbon that has been absorbed from the atmosphere by plants has been lost to the cycle into deep deposits of fossil fuels and carbonaceous rock (minerals) such as chalk, limestone, marble and dolomite.

By far the majority of the carbon sequestered over the long term is in the form of carbonaceous rock. We do not have a good estimate of the total amount of CO2 that has been emitted from volcanic activity into the global atmosphere. We do not know the total amount of carbon that has been lost to long-term sequestration in fossil fuels and carbonaceous rock, but we do have order-of-magnitude estimates.

We do have quantitative estimates of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere going back more than 600 million years, i.e., the net result of additions from volcanic events, losses to deep deposition in carbonaceous rocks and fossil fuels, the biomass of living species and decomposing organic matter. These estimates become more accurate the closer they are to the present. This paper will focus on the past 540 million years and in particular the past 140 million years.

The best estimate of CO2 concentration in the global atmosphere 540 million years ago is 7,000 ppm, with a wide margin of error.  For the sake of discussion, we will accept that number, which indicates a mass of more than 13,000 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon in the atmosphere, 17 times the present level, during the Cambrian Explosion, when multicellular life evolved. This is considered the advent of modern life, when both plant and animal species diversified rapidly in warm seas and later colonized the land during a warm terrestrial climate.

Prior to this, for more than three billion years, life was largely unicellular, microscopic and confined to the sea.

Note both temperature and CO2 are lower today than they have been during most of the era of modern life on Earth since the Cambrian Period. Also, note that this does not indicate a lock-step cause-effect relationship between the two parameters.


Unsustainable solar scheme being wound down in NSW, Australia

Less than a week before the lucrative NSW solar bonus scheme ends, there is still "mass confusion" among the 146,000 affected households, industry figures say.

The scheme, which was launched in 2011 to encourage the uptake of renewable energy, handed homeowners 60¢ or 20¢ "feed-in" tariffs per kilowatt hour, for the solar energy they put back into the grid.

But from December 31 those homeowners are set to face "bill shock", when their tariff rates drop to around 6¢, which is less than the amount they will be charged for accessing electricity from the grid.

The biggest change for all affected consumers has been the need to switch from a gross meter to a net meter, a process that has been beset by lengthy delays.

Michael Furey, the NSW chairman of the non-profit Australian Solar Council, said: "From the customer side there is mass confusion, and also a huge amount of frustration, because customers have been told to get information from their energy retailers and that has been either difficult to access or confusing."

From January 1, households that already have a net meter can use the electricity they generate to power appliances in the home at the time, while any excess energy is exported to the grid, earning the homeowner an unsubsidised feed-in tariff of around 6¢.

According to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, changing from a gross to a net meter could leave NSW customers between $234 and $461 better off each year.

Mr Furey estimates that an average-sized two-kilowatt system that has not been switched to net metering will cost a homeowner around $1.20 a day, from January 1.

An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said that it understood customers were confused about delays, but it expected to have all net meters installed by the middle of 2017.

"We do not think our performance to date has been good enough ... To make sure not a single EnergyAustralia customer is disadvantaged, we're crediting $40 each month to our NSW solar customers who ... haven't yet had their meter installed."

The feed-in tariffs offered by the major providers from January 1 are 10¢ from Origin, 6.1¢ from AGL and EnergyAustralia and up to 12¢ from smaller market players such as Enova Energy.



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


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Macassar tyranny

Macassar is a small seaport in Indonesia.  So what has that got to do with Warmism?  Nothing at all.  But its namesake does.

I refer to Rowland's Macassar Oil, a product first marketed by a London barber in 1783.  It was marketed as a way for men to keep their hair in order and in good health.  It soon had imitators and it became a fashion for men to put oil or grease in their hair.  And that fashion lasted into recent times.  I remember going into Woolworths in the 1950s and buying "Californian Poppy" grease for my hair.

Greasing your hair had become virtually universal.  A man who did not grease his hair was regarded as untidy.

The fashion died fairly decisively in Australia in 1972, when a new Leftist Prime Minister gained power -- the haughty Gough Whitlam.  Shortly after his accession, he went on TV to announce that he was abandoning hair grease. Up until that time, he had always greased his hair -- like most of his unionist supporters. The internet has a short memory so does not record the occasion but what Whitlam said ran roughly as follows:

"I have always used a pomade to dress my hair.  But fashionable people tell me I am behind the times in doing so.  A modern man does not put anything in his hair. I have therefore decided that it is time to cease being a gluggy and become a fluffy".

There was at the time some debate over whether rice should be served gluggy or fluffy.

Even unionists ceased greasing their hair after that.  If they were lucky, their wives now blow-dried their hair -- perhaps with a little help from the lady's hair spray.

So what is the lesson from all that?  It shows that a totally useless belief and custom persisted among us for nearly 200 years until it was laughed to death.  Will the equally foolish doctrine of Warmism stay among us for 200 years?  It could.

Ya gotta laugh:  Antarctica very sensitive to global warming

So what does it tell you when Antarctica is not only not melting but even gaining ice? We also read:  "Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels".  So again, what does its present state tell us?  It tells us that warming is not happening and that present CO2 levels are not dangerous

Antarctica found amplifying effects of climate change during last global warming

A a new study indicates that the Antarctic warmed about 11 degrees Celsius between about 20,000 and 10,000 years ago while the average temperature worldwide rose about 4 degrees Celsius following Earth's last ice age.

The disparity, that the Antarctic warmed nearly three times the average temperature increase worldwide after the peak of last ice age 20,000 years ago, highlights the fact that the poles, both the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south, amplify the effects of a changing climate, whether it gets warmer or cooler.

During the last period of global warming, the ice deep inside the Antarctic glaciers warmed more slowly than Earth's surface. By measuring the remaining difference, that the 20,000-year old ice deep in the West Antarctic ice sheet is about 1 degree Celsius cooler than the surface, the researchers were able to estimate the original temperature based on how fast pure ice warms up.

Gary Clow of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lakewood, Colorado, measured in 2011 and again in 2014 the temperature in a 3.4-kilometer-deep borehole from which the West Antarctic Sheet Divide ice core had been drilled during an eight-year project that ended in 2011. Ice at the bottom of the borehole was deposited about 70,000 years ago; ice about one-sixth of the way up about 50,000 years ago; and ice about one-third of the way to the surface 20,000 years ago.

Cuffey, first author of the study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed a technique to combine these temperature measurements with isotopic measurements of old ice to come up with an estimated temperature of 11.3 degrees, plus or minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, warming since the depths of the ice age.

Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels, Cuffey was quoted as saying in a news release from UC Berkeley, adding that the situation today, with global warming driven primarily by human emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, is different from natural cycles. The ability of the oceans to take up carbon dioxide cannot keep up with the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, meaning carbon dioxide and global temperatures will continue to increase unless humans cut their emissions


Portuguese Greenies are unrealistic too

They think it proves something that they were able to power their electicity grid with renewables for a total of 4 and a half days.  Pity about the other 360 days of the year!

Renewables kept the lights on in Lisbon for four and a half days in May. If you can keep your gaze off the hilltops, imagine away the pylons and forget the occasional tractor of an uncertain vintage coughing along the narrow roads, little appears to have changed in the valleys of north-eastern Portugal for decades, perhaps even centuries.

The gnarled alvarinho vines have been relieved of their fruit to make vinho verde, an old woman in black herds her sheep through a hamlet and hungry eagles hover over the fields, scanning the land for lunch.

But look up, past the villages, the clumps of stout ponies and the wolf-haunted forests of pine, oak and eucalyptus, and the harbingers of an environmental revolution are silhouetted against the December sky.

The 130 giant wind turbines that sprout from the peaks, slicing the air with a rhythmic sigh, have helped Portugal to a remarkable achievement. For four and a half days in May the country ran entirely on electricity from renewable sources: wind, hydro and solar power.

Despite fears of a blackout, the lights stayed on for a record 107 hours between 6.45am on Saturday 7 May and 5.45pm the following Wednesday.

Francisco Ferreira, president of the Portuguese environmental NGO Zero, got wind of what was going on when a friend called that weekend. “He said: ‘I’ve been looking at the graphs and for the past two days we’ve been 100% renewable on electricity production.’ After that, we looked at the data and arrived at 107 hours. We confirmed it with the national energy network, who said we’d had 4.5 days.

“It was great to see that the system was working; to see that we could manage all these renewables even though the circumstances were quite challenging.”

Ferreira and his fellow clean energy advocates hold up those few days as further proof that renewables can reliably replace fossil fuels.

Things may have been helped along by the fact that a good chunk of the 107 hours fell over the weekend – when demand is lower – and by an unusually co-operative Mother Nature, who saw to it that the sun shone and the wind blew favourably.

But supporters of renewable power insist it was down to much more than luck. António Sá da Costa, managing director of the Portuguese renewable energy association Apren, argues it was the result of years of investment and cooperation.

“It was the coming together of three factors, without which none if it would have been possible,” he says. “The first was that we had the power plants in place to take advantage of the natural conditions during that period; second, it was only possible because of the wind, water and sun. The third was that we had the operational grid capability – in terms of both distribution and transportation – to manage this type of situation.”

Yes, the timing was lucky, he adds. But that does not lessen the achievement of linking up hundreds of dispersed renewable power plants instead of taking the easier option of relying on production from one large thermal one.


This is the beachfront home of scaremonger Leonardo DiCaprio

Not much worry about rising sea levels there!

On energy policy, politicians are leading Britain into darkness

As the costliest project any British government has ever proposed, the HS2 rail scheme has rightly drawn heavy criticism from those asking why we are to spend £56 billion on a venture which promises such puny benefits. But most people remain strangely oblivious to a far greater cost to which the Government has committed us, for a purpose even more demonstrably futile.

What should be making front page news is the story revealed by the latest figures from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), predicting the soaring cost over the next six years of all the “environmental levies” imposed on us under the Climate Change Act. Between now and 2022, according to the OBR, these will amount to £65 billion, of which £36 billion will be subsidies we shall all be paying through the “renewables obligation”, mainly to the owners of our ever-growing number of windfarms.

These subsidies alone will represent a near-trebling of what we are already paying through our electricity bills, which by 2022 the OBR predicts will have risen to nearly £7 billion a year.

But on top of this, under yet another “green levy”, many of us will also be contributing over the same period a further £21 billion in Air Passenger Duty, which already adds up to £150 to the cost of any airline ticket bought in the UK.  Still further, we are all to be made, at an estimated cost of £15 billion, to install “smart meters”, which experts claim are so badly designed that they will give us no benefit whatever.

So all this will fleece us of around £100 billion, nearly twice the cost of HS2. But the other, even more terrifying part of the story is what we are to get for all this mind-boggling expenditure, as the only country in the world committed by law to cut 80 percent of our CO2 emissions by 2050.

Even today, few have yet grasped the Government’s intention that, within 12 years, we shall be taking a further giant step towards eliminating much of our use of fossil fuels. We shall be forced to replace almost all our use of gas for cooking and heating with electricity, and most of our cars and other transport will also have to be powered by electricity too.

So where is all this power to come from, if not from the fossil fuels, coal, gas and oil, which still currently supply more than half our electricity and more than 80 percent of all our energy?  The Government’s answer is that most of it will be provided either by “renewables”, such as the wind and the sun, so intermittent that they can on occasion supply barely one percent of the electricity we need, or by new nuclear power stations, such as that proposed at Hinkley Point, which on current showing may never even be built.

Even during our recent freeze, with electricity demand rising to peak levels and half the power we can import from France disabled by storm damage, we were only keeping our lights on and our computer-dependent economy running with the aid of the few coal-fired power stations we still have left. We were told we were already in the “danger zone” of running out of power.  How timely that I was last week sent a leaflet from my own power distribution company asking: “Are you prepared for power cuts?”

We are sleep-walking towards what threatens to be the greatest self-inflicted disaster this country has ever faced. And the astonishing thing is that the last people to be aware of what is going on are those politicians who have brought this about. Their brains are so addled by groupthink about climate change that, even when the lights do go out, they will still have no idea that it was entirely their own blind stupidity, which made such a catastrophe inevitable.



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

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


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Warmists have a lot to answer for: It's not just a harmless cult

Baby survives parents' global warming suicide pact.  This does sound like fake news but it comes from a reputable conservative newspaper

A seven-month-old girl survived for three days alone with a bullet in her chest after being shot by her parents as part of a suicide pact over their fears about global warming.

Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their daughter and her toddler brother before killing themselves.
Their son Francisco, two, died instantly after being hit in the back.

However, their unnamed daughter cheated death after the bullet from her father's handgun missed her vital organs.

Police were alerted by worried neighbours who discovered the massacre three days after the shooting and the girl was taken to hospital.

The youngster is recovering in hospital in the town of Goya in the northern Argentine province of Corrientes, where doctors say she is out of danger.

Her parents said they feared the effects of global warming in a suicide note discovered by police.


Trump Versus The Green Blob: The Biggest Science Scam In History

by James Delingpole

“I’ve waited 40 years for this moment.”

In a congressional meeting room, somewhere on Capitol Hill, one of the world’s leading sceptical climate scientists, Dr. Tim Ball, is toasting the advent of the Trump administration.

“I don’t want to use the phrase tipping point because that’s a phrase that has been abused in the scientific area. But I think we’re on the verge of a dramatic shift,” Ball tells the small invited audience of journalists, scientists, think-tankers, lawyers and DC politicos. He’s talking about the war on the Green Blob.

Most of them are scarred veterans of the decades-long battle to expose the man-made global warming scare as what another speaker, Tony Heller, describes as “the biggest scientific deception in history.” Many have suffered personally and professionally for speaking out against the so-called “consensus.” Ball, for example, a distinguished Canadian professor of climatology, has exhausted all his retirement money defending a legal action brought against him by the notorious climate alarmist Michael Mann, creator of the discredited “Hockey Stick”. (You can hear more about Ball’s struggle for truth on my latest Delingpole podcast—he’s a fascinating, articulate man and he has an inspiring story to tell).

But with Trump’s inauguration it will be the beginning of the end for the Green Blob—that sinister cabal of corrupt politicians, UN- and EU-technocrats, bent scientists, shrill activists, rent-seeking corporatists, blood-sucking lawyers and gullible journalists which has held the world to ransom these last four decades by promoting the man-made climate change scare story and other, related environmental scams.

The protests will be fierce: the global decarbonisation industry alone is worth at least $1.5 trillion a year. So many snouts in such a vast trough—they’re not going to give up easily.

One man present, a member of one of Trump’s transition teams, describes it as the climate realists’ “Anzio Moment.” That is, the teams fighting the Green Blob now have their beach head with the arrival of Donald Trump. The only question now is not “if” they’re going to be able to break out; only “when”—and also “how long.”

If you’re a regular Breitbart reader, you’ll probably be under no illusion about just how loathsome the people in the Green Blob are. But just in case you’re not, in case you’re wondering: “Well, hang on. What if the ‘consensus’ scientists are right? What if man-made global warming is a serious problem? What if Donald Trump is about to ruin everything with his sinister right-wing anti-science agenda?” let me tell you just one story which shows why the forthcoming cleaning of the Augean stables (at institutions like NASA, NOAA and most especially the Environmental Protection Agency) is so very, very right and necessary.

The story begins in 2012 in sunny La Jolla, California. A group of key figures from the Green Blob—academics, professional activists, lawyers, scientists, PR agency heads—have gathered to discuss the heist of the century. Their plan is to terrorise big business with a form of environmentalist blackmail, which they will use, in the manner of a Mafia-style protection racket to bully their target companies (with the help of tame lawyers and complicitous government officials) into handing over millions, if not billions, of dollars. This Danegeld will end up being paid to environmental campaign groups of the kind they work for themselves, thus funding yet more vexatious, money-grubbing actions against still more blameless companies.

And the cleverest thing of all is, this heist isn’t even illegal. Environmentalists have been getting away with this sort of thing for years.

You actually know what happens next because you’ll have read it, splashed all over the mainstream media in what became a campaign called “Exxon Knew.” Hillary Clinton (who was then Secretary of State) demanded an investigation into it; a group of alarmist scientists wrote to President Obama demanding he launch a RICO prosecution of Exxon; two supposedly major journalistic exposes were published at Inside Climate News and the LA Times, then eagerly endorsed in such publications as Scientific American and the Guardian.

Sundry environmentalist politicians and activists weighed in with further demands for action, as I reported here.

    These activists include Sharon Eubanks, a former US Department of Justice attorney who once helped bring a similar case against Big Tobacco; House Democrats Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier; Canadian eco-loon Bill McKibben (who talks, with characteristic wry understatement, of Exxon’s “sheer, profound, and – I think – unparalleled evil”); and, of course, Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse, another attorney determined to use lawfare to shut down the debate on climate change once and for all.

But what had Exxon had actually done to attract all this opprobrium? Short answer: nothing. But that was never the point. The entire scam—essentially blaming Exxon for knowing something about “global warming” it couldn’t possibly have known because, hey, nobody did at the time; they don’t even know now—was purely designed as a shakedown.

Next stage of the plan was for the politicized U.S. legal system to get involved. This it did earlier this year when the grimly inevitable Al Gore turned up in New York to grandstand at a meeting with a bunch of tame Attorneys General from Democrat states to discuss ‘the potential of commencing new investigations or joining ongoing investigations,’ on climate change.

    New York AG Eric Schneiderman will appear with Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and United States Virgin Island Attorney General Claude Walker at 11:30 a.m. at his Manhattan office, 120 Broadway, 25th Floor.

Again this was all just for show. The main purpose, as one well familiar with the case explained to me in DC, was merely to put the frighteners on the chosen target of this campaign, ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil had been carefully selected as the Green Blob’s shakedown victim because it seemed to fulfil all the necessary criteria. It was a huge oil company with masses of money to squander (its annual revenue is around $270 billion) on environmental pay outs; and, under its CEO Rex Tillerson, it had a track record of corporate cowardice (withdrawing funding from right-wing think tanks; failing to speak up for fossil fuels; kow-towing to greens) which meant that it was considered highly likely not to contest any court action but instead to settle.

The legal case against ExxonMobil would be based on the one used so successfully against Big Tobacco. (One of the key figures in the campaign against Big Tobacco, Stanton Glantz, was present to advise at the La Jolla meeting). Never mind that there were actually no serious similarities: the Big Tobacco companies clearly knew that cigarettes caused cancer; there was no similar knowledge that ExxonMobil possessed about “global warming” that it culpably withheld from its customers. The case, had it gone to court, would have been a nonsense. But that wasn’t the point. The point was, it was never meant to go to court, because ExxonMobil—it had been predicted by the Green Blob—would settle.

Once ExxonMobil had settled, the Green Blob schemed, all the other companies would settle too.

Except it didn’t turn out that way. ExxonMobil—quite remarkably, given Tillerson’s pusillanimity and cautiousness—refused to settle.

The La Jolla plan—which might still yet have stood a chance had Hillary been elected—is now certainly doomed to failure in the Trump era.

But by describing it I hope what I’ve succeeded in doing is giving you an indication of the extraordinary tentacular reach of the Green Blob. For years, the US – and the rest of the Western world—has afforded a climate in which Attorneys General and Senators and Secretaries of State and even Presidents can conspire with university professors and heads of government science institutions and environmental PR companies and green NGOs can exploit green issues in which to wage continual war on both the economy and the consumer, often enriching themselves in the process while the rest of us get poorer and more constrained by needless taxes and regulations.

“Oh come on!” these people have always said when you try to call them on it. “What kind of deranged conspiracy theorist would you have to be to suggest that all these different groups with different interests would be working together to lie about global warming?”

You really don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe this stuff, though. All you need is to be cognisant of the facts. These people are crooks. A lot of them should be in prison. In fact, funnily enough, that was the joke that got Tim Ball in trouble with Michael Mann. “He shouldn’t be in Penn State. He should be in the state pen,” Ball quipped.

Not just Michael Mann. They all should.

This scam is a disgrace and has gone on far too long. Trump’s destruction of the Green Blob will come not a moment too soon.


Time to Rename the EPA the Conservation Agency

Roger L. Simon

From the ever-valuable WattsUpWithThat:

"If you think it is colder than you remember last year, you're right. Winter hasn’t officially started yet, it begins on Wednesday, December 21st. But the numbers tell a cold hard fact: as of 7 a.m. EST this morning, Sunday, Dec. 18, the average temperature across the Lower 48 states of the U.S. is colder than any time all last winter.

As this plot of hourly temperatures shows, the average temperature is 16 degrees. F, which is 4 degrees colder than any time last winter. What’s worse, the coldest part of winter is still six weeks away."

Not to worry. As we all know -- or so the "warmists" tell us -- climate is not weather. (What is it, exactly, other than weather over time?  Oh well...)  Furthermore, they insist anthropogenic global warming or -- in its most recent self-protective, factually meaningless euphemism -- "climate change" is "settled science."

Never mind that something as basic to the laws of physics as Einstein's theory of gravity is currently under attack, the over-weening, disastrous effect of human activity on the Earth's temperature is "settled." Those who are even mildly skeptical of this alleged fact are branded as anti-science, even tarnished with the Holocaust-redolent epithet "denier." Is just a bit of projection possibly going on?

I'm agnostic on the issue (not on the projection). But for now, at least, I accept the view of MIT's Richard Lindzen who at a recent conference stated “the only meaningful question would be whether we are seeing anything sufficiently unusual to warrant concern and the answer to this is unambiguously no.”

According to The Hill, Lindzen concluded his address with a quote from  Eric Hoffer: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. And those who benefit in the racket will defend it with passion.”

It's not just Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio who obviously benefit from this racket, er, "great cause." Much of the public at large has been brainwashed.  We see this at almost every cocktail party from New York to Los Angeles where the most passionate arguments in support of global warming usually come from people who abandoned science study with their freshman year college requirement, most often having taken, like Al Gore,  the famous "gut" geology (aka rocks).

As many have noted, global warming and, more generally, environmentalism have become the religion of the liberal. Gaia has replaced God. Whatever your opinion of the theological implications, scientific blindness and bias have been the results.  The economy has also suffered, especially for the working class.

What do we do about it?

Donald Trump has nominated someone more realistic -- Scott Pruitt -- for head of the Environmental Protection Agency currently dominated by climate totalitarians.

Libs in Meltdown Mode over Trump's Pick to Head the EPA
But why not change the name of the agency itself to give it a fresh start? Why not call the the EPA the Conservation Agency?  Yes, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet -- or not -- but bear with me.

Years ago -- before "environmentalism," before Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring"and the banning  of DDT that initiated that movement and may or may not have been a good thing -- there was a national consensus around "conservation."  Almost all Americans wanted clean air and water and, for the most part, we now have it (with exceptions like Flint, Michigan, that should be dealt with immediately).

Conservation was not God. It was simply the right thing to do, preserve places like the Grand Canyon and our other magnificent parks for future generations, enjoy and maintain "our purple mountains majesties" and "shining seas," make sure cities like Flint have what they need and maybe even give a small preference to the farmers of the San Joaquin Valley in their efforts to feed humanity over the survival (0r not) of the Delta smelt.

A Conservation Agency might regulate all that with the proper balanced spirit, not the religious fervor cum bureaucratic insanity of those climate totalitarians.  Words do count.  (Hey, I'm a writer.)

Meanwhile, there are reasons to enjoy the cold weather, though even that American classic is under attack by the (fascistically) well-intentioned.


Congress Should Target Unaccountable EPA Programs

The newly elected congressional majority should be ready and willing to help implement President-elect Donald Trump's promise to tackle onerous regulations. But what about so called "non-regulatory programs" that have significant public policy and marketplace impacts?

Congress can address problems associated with such programs by defunding them or by bringing them under the authority of existing environmental laws.

Top on the list should be the Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System, also known as IRIS. IRIS gains its authority simply as a line item inside EPA's Office of Research and Development. As a research program, IRIS operates outside the regulatory process and its accountability systems.

According to EPA's website, IRIS issues "assessments" of chemicals that focus on "identifying and characterizing the health hazards of chemicals found in the environment." Numerous regulatory programs inside EPA, from drinking water to hazardous waste clean-up programs, use IRIS assessments as a basis for regulation. Yet IRIS assessments are regularly criticized as unscientific and poorly designed.

For nearly a decade, congressional oversight committees, the Government Accountability Office, and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have all urged EPA to reform the IRIS process to address scientific and procedural problems. In paricular, a 2011 NAS review of the IRIS assessment for Formaldehyde detailed many problems associated with IRIS assessments and needed reform. The NAS report explained:

Overall, the committee noted some recurring methodologic problems in the draft IRIS assessment of formaldehyde. Many of the problems are similar to those which have been reported over the last decade by other NRC committees tasked with reviewing EPA's IRIS assessments for other chemicals. Problems with clarity and transparency of the methods appear to be a repeating theme over the years, even though the documents appear to have grown considerably in length. In the roughly 1,000-page draft reviewed by the present committee, little beyond a brief introductory chapter could be found on the methods for conducting the assessment. Numerous EPA guidelines are cited, but their role in the preparation of the assessment is not clear. In general, the committee found that the draft was not prepared in a consistent fashion; it lacks clear links to an underlying conceptual framework; and it does not contain sufficient documentation on methods and criteria for identifying evidence from epidemiologic and experimental studies, for critically evaluating individual studies, for assessing the weight of evidence, and for selecting studies for derivation of the RfCs and unit risk estimates.

Congress could address problems with IRIS by moving its functions and funding into the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program at EPA. This action should garner broad support given that the recent TSCA reform law gained overwhelming bipartisan approval in Congress and was signed by President Obama last spring.

TSCA's requirements for reliance on "best available, peer reviewed science" as well as weight of the evidence consideration could make IRIS evaluations more meaningful.  In addition, as part of a formal regulatory program, chemical assessments would hopefully be more transparent.

Like IRIS, EPA's Safer Choice program (formerly called "Design for the Environment") is a non-regulatory program that has public policy and marketplace impacts. The program calls on companies to eliminate certain chemicals from their products voluntarily, largely based on hazard rather than actual risk. Yet "hazard" simply represents the potential for danger given specific circumstances and/or exposures. For example, water is hazardous because excessive consumption can produce fatal "water intoxification" or hyponatraemia.  But we don't need to ban or "voluntarily" phase out water.

Accordingly, Safer Choice is forcing product reformulations without justification, and many useful products may be eliminated from the market.  For example, EPA has used this program to force certain flame retardant chemicals from the marketplace, without much regard for the fact that replacements may not work as well.  The end result may well be increased fire risks and needless loss of life and property.

Safer Choice is not only and duplicative of other programs, it has adverse and potentially dangerous market impacts.  Congress can, and should, defund the program with an appropriations line item that prohibits EPA spending on the Safer Choice program.


Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panels

In recent years, thousands of solar panels have been placed on Australian roofs, and millions installed around the world. But how safe are they?

According to Safework Australia, each year about 30 Australians die in falls from a height, although the number of people involved in installing or maintaining solar panels is not broken down.

Some falls involving people installing or maintaining solar panels are not reported as part of work-related statistics, and then there are people electrocuted when they come into contact with power lines.

In California, where solar panels have been embraced enthusiastically, there has been a rash of deaths like this one, this one, and another three in quick succession. However, it is a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that statistics show roofing is more dangerous than coal mining.

Because of our propensity to put panels on roofs, solar is in fact, far more dangerous than many forms of power generation,  three times more dangerous than wind power and more than 10 times more dangerous than nuclear power, by comparison to the amount of power produced.

This study puts it in perspective, using figures from the United States:

The fifty actual deaths from roof installation accidents for 1.5 million roof installations is equal to the actual deaths experienced so far from Chernobyl. If all 80 million residential roofs in the USA had solar power installed then one would expect 9 times the annual roofing deaths of 300 people or 2700 people (roofers to die). This would generate about 240 TWh of power each year. (30% of the power generated from nuclear power in the USA). 90 people per year over an optimistic life of 30 years for the panels not including maintenance or any electrical shock incidents.

There is an argument, however, that solar power may ultimately be safer than coal-fired generation because of the reduction in pollution. Ironically enough, however, solar power is far more dangerous than nuclear, even in a year when an accident like the disaster at Fukushima occurs.



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


Monday, December 26, 2016

Coral adaptability again

Easily able to cope with a bit of warming

Gene expression plasticity as a mechanism of coral adaptation to a variable environment

Carly D. Kenkel & Mikhail V. Matz


Local adaptation is ubiquitous, but the molecular mechanisms that give rise to this ecological phenomenon remain largely unknown. A year-long reciprocal transplant of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) between a highly environmentally variable inshore habitat and a more stable offshore habitat demonstrated that populations exhibit phenotypic signatures that are consistent with local adaptation. We characterized the genomic basis of this adaptation in both coral hosts and their intracellular symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) using genome-wide gene expression profiling. Populations differed primarily in their capacity for plasticity: following transplantation to a novel environment, inshore-origin coral expression profiles became significantly more similar to the local population's profiles than those in offshore-origin corals. Furthermore, elevated plasticity of the environmental stress response expression was correlated with lower susceptibility to a natural summer bleaching event, suggesting that plasticity is adaptive in the inshore environment. Our results reveal a novel genomic mechanism of resilience to a variable environment, demonstrating that corals are capable of a more diverse molecular response to stress than previously thought.

Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0014 (2016). 

The coming battle between the Trump team and economists over the true cost of climate change

The "social cost of carbon"  is entirely imaginary:  Assumption piled upon assumption

As we learn more and more about the tenor of the Trump transition, a key part of its regulatory rollback strategy on climate change is coming into focus.

It seems increasingly likely that the Trump administration would either alter, or attempt to stop using entirely, an Obama-era metric known as the "social cost of carbon" in its federal rule-making processes. And that could have have major effects on the way environmental policies are written (or unwritten) in the coming years.

A recent, highly controversial questionnaire the transition team sent to the Department of Energy requested a list of all "employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings," as well as emails and other materials associated with those meetings. It also asked a variety of questions about the assumptions that went into calculating the social cost of carbon.

Meanwhile, a document written last month by Department of Energy transition leader Thomas Pyle and recently obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, suggested that "during the Trump Administration the [social cost of carbon] will likely be reviewed and the latest science brought to bear. If the [social cost of carbon] were subjected to the latest science, it would certainly be much lower than what the Obama administration has been using."

But experts have countered that attacking the social cost of carbon may not hold up under scientific, or even legal, standards. If anything, many scientists believe that its monetary value should be set even higher.

The cost of climate change

Scientists agree that climate change could cause a wide variety of damages to human communities, including natural disasters, harm to human health, reduced agricultural output and lower economic productivity, all of which result in monetary costs to society. The social cost of carbon, then, refers to the cost of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

A U.S. government working group first convened in 2009 to develop a method for quantifying the social cost of carbon, and the value has since been used to help create a variety of federal environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan. The cost is currently set at about $36 per ton of carbon dioxide.

For an administration that has promised to reduce regulations on oil and gas operations and revive the coal industry, doing away with - or at least reducing - the social cost of carbon is an obvious priority. The higher the cost is set, the more harm the government assumes will be caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which would generally justify more, rather than less, stringent regulation of the fossil fuel industry.

Yet many climate experts now believe the social cost of carbon should actually be even higher than the current estimate. The old models used to calculate the value rely on dated research, they've argued, and there are certain climate-related damages that may not be adequately factored in.


Another good target for EPA reform

Europe gives Trump Administration excellent tutorials on how not to regulate pesticides

Paul Driessen

With reform-minded folks in charge of the Executive and Legislative Branches, unelected, unaccountable, un-removable bureaucrats may soon be exerting far less power over our policies, regulations, lives and livelihoods. Energy and climate are high on the fix-it list. Another important topic is insecticides.

The European Union and Canada have provided object lessons in how not to regulate these important chemicals. Scott Pruitt and his new team over at EPA will certainly want to avoid their malpractice.

For nearly a decade, manufactured controversies have raged around a relatively new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. These advanced systemic crop protectors are absorbed into the plant itself and thus target only pests that suck or chew on crops, particularly during the plants' early growth phases.

That minimizes impacts on beneficial insects - like crop-pollinating bees. domesticated and wild bees are barely exposed and thus unlikely to be harmed when neonic seed or soil treatments are used, in contrast to what can happen when manmade or "organic" chemicals are sprayed on crops. But despite this minimal risk, anti-pesticide activists have tried for years to blame neonics for recent honeybee health problems.

In 2013, their well-funded advocacy campaigns played a major role in causing the EU's decision-making European Commission to impose a "two-year" ban on using neonicotinoids with bee-attractive crops.

Not surprisingly, almost four years later, there is no sign that the Commission will reconsider its position, despite accumulating evidence that managed bee populations are not now and never were in any danger of collapse or extinction. As my longer article on explains, that evidence includes the EU's own 2014 and 2015/16 studies, and nearly a dozen large-scale field studies around the world.

Going even further, the European Food Safety Authority now says bees are at grave risk from neonics used on European crops that do not attract bees, such as winter cereals, beets, potatoes, leafy vegetables, maize (corn) and sorghum - whether the neonics are seed treatments, foliar sprays or soil applications. There may be no actual evidence of harm, the EFSA says, but a risk to bees "cannot be excluded."

Just as crazy, the agency's 2013 Bee Guidance Reference Document lets bureaucrats decide which studies and data can be accepted and deemed relevant - and which can be ignored. It also means chemicals that can control crop pests may never be approved; and only ineffective chemicals will be approved (along with chemicals that are or could be dangerous for bees, but are deemed to be "natural" or "organic").

That explains why EU member nation governments for three years have refused to approve the BGRD. However, in the wacky world of EU regulations, the mere fact that member governments have refused to approve a guidance document doesn't prevent unelected Eurocrats from using it to advance their agendas.

The BGRD specifies a three-tier scheme for evaluating potential impacts on bees. At Tier 1, extremely low laboratory test thresholds pretty much automatically force evaluations under more complex, costly and time-consuming second and third tiers. At the highest tier - full field testing - the guidance specifies wide spatial separation requirements between test fields and control fields, where beehives are located.

To ensure experimental integrity, the BGRD requires that neonic test areas must be free of other pesticide-treated, bee-attractive crops, and far enough away from such areas that tests are not affected. But that means scientists need areas four times larger than Paris, France. That's virtually impossible in densely populated Europe. Catch 22!

To pass the "no risk" test, evaluators must then prove the pesticide being tested doesn't produce more than a 7% fluctuation in a beehive's populations. But natural fluctuations can easily reach 15% from frigid cold snaps, infestations by Varroa destructor mites, or even beekeepers applying chemicals to hives to control mites or other pests and diseases. So it's impossible to show that population changes greater than 7% were not due to neonic use on crops. Catch-22 again! But it gets even worse.

Euro regulators even ignored some of the best available data: large-scale field studies done under Good Laboratory Practices. Nearly a dozen such studies consistently demonstrate that no observable adverse effects on honeybees result from field-realistic exposures to properly applied neonic pesticides.

But instead of accepting these studies, EU bureaucrats rely on laboratory studies that other researchers have shown consistently overdose bees with pesticides. That lets regulators focus on adverse neonic impacts that can justify bans, but under conditions that bees would never encounter in the real world.

In another case, five carefully conducted, inter-related studies published in the journal Ecotoxicology covered a large-scale 2013-14 northern Germany field study of honey bees, bumble bees and solitary red mason bees that forage in oilseed rape (akin to canola) fields treated with the neonic Clothianidin.

The elaborate, sophisticated studies assessed neonic residues from bees and hives under actual field conditions. They found that the residues were well below levels that can adversely affect bees - and that neonics "did not cause any detrimental effects on the development or reproduction" any of the three species. Enter Joseph Heller, yet again.

The studies were paid for by Bayer CropLife, because EU agencies generally don't fund such studies (though they do give millions a year to environmentalist groups). Voila! Anti-pesticide activists can challenge and dismiss the well-documented experimental results - and the EFSA can ignore the results in reaching its latest conclusions on risks to bees that are not attracted to neonic-protected crops. All because of a guidance document that EU member states never approved!

Unfortunately, bad science and regulatory policy are not confined only to the other side of the Atlantic.  HealthCanada recently imposed a phased-in ban on another relatively new neonic pesticide. It did so using an EU-like Catch-22 approach, despite any actual evidence of real-world harm - and without considering insect infestations, crop losses, the absence of safe alternative pesticides, or the fact that other insecticides actually are harmful to bees and/or aquatic life.

All this suggests there is ample reason to worry about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own inbred inclinations. A late 2014 EPA study/memorandum contends that neonic pesticides were ineffective in controlling soy crop pests. It was refuted by scientists who had better data and repudiated by the US Department of Agriculture. But EPA did not withdraw or cancel the 2014 soy efficacy memo.

A 2015 preliminary EPA assessment essentially exonerated neonic seed treatments, as posing virtually no risk to bees. But another one said neonics on citrus trees are potentially dangerous, even though neonics as the only solution for "citrus greening" disease that is decimating lemon, orange and grapefruit trees.

These EU, Canadian and EPA actions offer important lessons for Trump-Pruitt pesticide regulators.

* Stick to risk-based standards embedded in U.S. legislation, and avoid any drift toward the "precautionary principle," which looks only at alleged or inflated risks from using chemicals - never at the risks of not using them, and never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using the chemicals.

* Focus on replicable, evidence-based, field-tested science. Don't let agenda-driven activists pressure EPA (or the Agriculture Department) into excluding the best and most relevant available data.

* Revise or eliminate standards, policies and regulations that were based on less than defensible, real-world data and analyses; that do not fully consider the costs and benefits of using (or not using) available chemicals; or that fail to balance demonstrated agricultural, consumer and environmental considerations.

EPA policies on neonics and other issues would be a perfect place to begin changing the way Washington works.

Via email

Kill wind and solar tax credits as part of tax reform

By Natalia Castro

President elect Donald Trump wants Americans to have a tax code they can understand and that benefits them, unlike the current code. Trump won the election as a business man for the common man, and the first thing he can do to retain that image is to begin to put an end corporate cronyism that runs rampant through the political system.

A perfect target are corporate tax credits, including those enjoyed by green energy industries wind and solar, subsidies the Obama administration has put in place for these industries while the EPA's regulatory war on coal has helped cripple our economy.

Currently, the American Wind Energy Association touts their two luxurious tax credits.  The group explains, "The Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) are meant to keep wind energy attractive for the investors who finance new wind farms as demand for low-carbon fuel sources continues to increase. The PTC is currently worth 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated for the power grid."

Despite wind energy consistently not reaping economic returns and proving an inefficient means to energy sustainability, in 2015 Congress agreed to continue these subsidies through 2020.

But wind energy is not the only ineffective government tax credit which is draining our economy and complicating our tax code, solar energy is receiving the same subsidies.

In fact, the federal government allows for tax credits of up to 30 percent for solar electric property, solar water-heating property, fuel cell property, small wind-energy property, and geothermal heat pumps. In 2015, these credits were extended through 2021.

In order for Trump to follow through on his promise to eliminate this corporate power over federal money, he must work on removing these credits for the tax code; and with Republicans dominating the House and Senate, now is the time to begin.

As William Gale, a co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and a former economic adviser to President George H.W. Bush told the New York Times in Nov. 2016, "Tax reform is the thing that always unites Republicans. I would guess that that's Item 1 on the congressional agenda."

As House Republicans push legislation into Trump's first 100 days, including tax reform, all legislation that allows for corporations to institute ineffective and inefficient policy must be removed. Trump has held strong on his aim to bring competition back to the energy sector, which he cannot do with these policies in place. When tax reform comes up to the table, Trump can kill two birds with one stone.

Remove wind and solar tax credits to force the market to stand on its own and allow room for effective energy production that Americans need. It is time for these corporations to stop feeling the benefits, and time for the American people to receive some for a change.


Horror:  Government websites may soon tell the truth about climate

Google "climate change" and the top two hits are websites that are part of NASA's online climate portal, followed by a Wikipedia entry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's climate website.

Websites maintained by the federal government are among the first online stops for the general public - from students, local policymakers and everyone else - to learn about climate change. There is rising concern among scientists and climate communications experts that those websites may be among the first to be deleted, politicized or degraded with inaccurate climate information after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, all of which would impact the public's understanding of the science and urgency of climate change.

Trump is populating his cabinet with appointees who reject established climate science and have pledged to overturn nearly all of the government's climate regulations and pull the United States out of the Paris climate pact.

EPA administrator nominee Scott Pruitt has falsely said that scientists disagree about the human connection to global warming, and debate about it should be encouraged. Pruitt, currently Oklahoma's attorney general, says on his official website that he is "a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda."

Trump's NASA transition team leader, Chris Shank, has said he wonders if scientists' "rhetoric" about carbon dioxide emissions - the chief driver of climate change - is "really about some neo-Malthusian discussion on population control."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Trump has tapped to run the U.S. Department of Energy, which conducts extensive climate research, said in 2014 that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is a "disservice to the country."

Scientists worry that the Trump administration will neglect or delete critical climate data on government websites, and researchers are scrambling to download the data to ensure it is preserved. But there is fear that Trump's cabinet officials will also remove or distort basic climate information that the general public often relies on for its understanding of global warming.

"The first indications we've seen are you're putting a transition team in place that have spent their career attacking the science, dismissing this information and spreading misinformation," said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "There's a real risk they'll push aside and hide that information."

The climate change doubters and denialists in Trump's transition team and cabinet have significant authority within the agencies they lead, strongly suggesting that the climate information the public sees on federal websites is at risk, said Susan Hassol, one of the co-writers of the three U.S. national climate assessments and now the director of Climate Communication, a nonprofit climate science outreach organization.

"If we are to take their public statements and writings at their word, the threat is acute," she said.

In addition to maintaining critical - and continuous - datasets on weather and climate, federal agencies provide a trove of basic information designed to educate the general public about climate change.

Websites such as and NASA's "Vital Signs for the Planet" offer basic facts and data on global warming for a mass audience. The EPA's website is full of basic information about U.S. and global greenhouse gas emissions. The National Park Service has a website that can answer questions about why climate change is melting Glacier National Park's namesake glaciers and the role of global warming in threatening the Everglades.

"Many of these sites have been developed to provide clear and concise expressions of the evidence and their uncertainties," said Rachael Shwom, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies how people make sense of and respond to climate change. "These sites are used in classrooms and by citizens searching to answer their questions and talk to others in an informed way."

Americans could be misled about the world's scientific consensus on climate change if the information on government websites is removed, watered down or distorted, she said. People looking for basic information could seek it from sources that may not be as vigilant about the accuracy of the information they present.

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said federal government websites providing basic information on climate change serve as primary sources of information for the general public. They are also used by journalists to find climate facts when federal agencies such as NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration make major announcements about alarming climate trends.

Policymakers also rely on federal government websites focusing on climate change, she said.

"When a topic comes into news or policy debates, policymakers know there's a trusted source," Jamieson said. "Take those down, and you lose the ability to inform policymakers about those issues. You diminish the issue of its importance."

There is precedent for government officials who disagree with the importance or accuracy of established climate science removing politically inconvenient information from government websites, Hassol said.

"In the past, some of this government information has been altered by partisan actors to serve their agenda," Hassol said. "An example is oil industry lobbyist Philip Cooney who was hired by the George W. Bush administration. Cooney changed the language in government science reports, altering them to exaggerate the uncertainties and downplay the risks and the scientific consensus."



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