Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change

I like the word "non-partisan" below.  Academe is notoriously Left-leaning so the claim is nonsense even on that ground.  Where scientists are undoubtedly and fiercely partisan, however, is about research grants.  No scientist ever says: "I don't deserve a research grant this year.  They are absolutely partisan about the importance of research grants and the need to keep them flowing.  So all that the article below shows is that learned societies believe passionately in keeping up the flow of research grants to their members.  The global warming scare has unleashed a golden shower of research grants onto anybody who can drag global warming into their research.  And we all now know not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Global warming is a scam dreamed up by a small number of unscrupulous scientists for the benefit of scientists -- and most other scientists just say "Thank you very much".  Anybody who challenged the myth would be seen as letting the side down -- thus endangering his position

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”

The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations: AAAS; American Chemical Society; American Geophysical Union; American Institute of Biological Sciences; American Meteorological Society; American Public Health Association; American Society of Agronomy; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; American Society of Naturalists; American Society of Plant Biologists; American Statistical Association; Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography; Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; Association of Ecosystem Research Centers; BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium; Botanical Society of America; Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Crop Science Society of America; Ecological Society of America; Entomological Society of America; Geological Society of America; National Association of Marine Laboratories; Natural Science Collections Alliance; Organization of Biological Field Stations; Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; Society for Mathematical Biology; Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles; Society of Nematologists; Society of Systematic Biologists; Soil Science Society of America; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.


New paleoclimatology paper shows that CO2 is only a bit-player in the drama of world climate, while the main characters are ice, dust and albedo

Modulation of ice ages via precession and dust-albedo feedbacks

Ralph Ellis & Michael Palmer


We present here a simple and novel proposal for the modulation and rhythm of ice-ages and interglacials during the late Pleistocene. While the standard Milankovitch-precession theory fails to explain the long intervals between interglacials, these can be accounted for by a novel forcing and feedback system involving CO2, dust and albedo. During the glacial period, the high albedo of the northern ice sheets drives down global temperatures and CO2 concentrations, despite subsequent precessional forcing maxima. Over the following millennia more CO2 is sequestered in the oceans and atmospheric concentrations eventually reach a critical minima of about 200 ppm, which combined with arid conditions, causes a die-back of temperate and boreal forests and grasslands, especially at high altitude. The ensuing soil erosion generates dust storms, resulting in increased dust deposition and lower albedo on the northern ice sheets. As northern hemisphere insolation increases during the next Milankovitch cycle, the dust-laden ice-sheets absorb considerably more insolation and undergo rapid melting, which forces the climate into an interglacial period. The proposed mechanism is simple, robust, and comprehensive in its scope, and its key elements are well supported by empirical evidence.


The sun has 'gone blank' and there could be another ice age on the way

The sun has gone "completely blank" for the second time this month suggesting that Earth could be heading for a mini ICE AGE.

Earlier this month, there were no sunspots on the massive star's surface for four days - something which hadn't happened since 2011. This has since happened again.

A lack of sun spots is totally normal, but it does hint that the sun is heading for its next "solar minimum phase".

The next solar minimum phase is expected to take place in 2019 or 2020, says meteorologist Paul Dorian of Vencore Weather , who expects to see an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.

The last time the sun saw a such a long phase with no sunspots, it ushered in what scientists refer to as a the 'Maunder Minimum' back in 1645.

This caused temperatures to plunge dramatically, and even resulted in the Thames freezing over.

Some experts think that a similar mini ice age could be coming again soon.

The solar phenomenon could even prove dangerous for astronauts, says Paul Dorian.

During these spotless phases of the sun, extreme ultraviolet radiation drops, resulting in lower aerodynamic drag as the Earth's atmosphere cools and contracts.

The lower drag can cause space junk to accumulate in orbit, which could result in a collision with the International Space Station or other spacecraft.


97% global warming consensus paper surpasses half a million downloads

I think this proves that Warmists can't read.  Right there in the Abstract of the paper it says that two thirds of climate scientists take no position on global warming

Cook et al. (2013) has remained the most-read paper in Environmental Research Letters for most of the past 3 years

In 2013, a team of citizen science volunteers who collaborate on the climate myth debunking website published a paper finding a 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming in peer-reviewed research. Over the past 3 years, that paper has been downloaded more than 500,000 times. For perspective, that’s 4 times more than the second-most downloaded paper in the Institute of Physics journals (which includes Environmental Research Letters, where the 97% consensus paper was published).

The statistic reveals a remarkable level of interest for a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Over a three-year period, the study has been downloaded an average of 440 times per day, and the pace has hardly slowed. Over the past year, the download rate has remained high, at 415 per day.

SOURCE. See also here

Trader Joe’s Is Being Fined for Contributing to Global Warming

Do you buy organic sweet potato chips and reasonably priced imported cheeses at Trader Joe’s, the alt grocery chain that radiates good vibes with frozen mini wontons, Hawaiian shirt uniforms, and two-dollar wine? That’s awesome, and here’s good news to keep the chill times rolling: Today, Trader Joe’s has agreed to spend $2 million to fix up its refrigerators to settle a federal suit that claimed TJ’s refrigerator leaks have been contributing to the depletion of the ozone.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department claimed that Trader Joe’s refrigerators leaked R-22, a refrigerator coolant that burns through the ozone and contributes to global warming at a rate 1,800 times that of carbon dioxide. According to Reuters, the feds said that Trader Joe’s didn’t fix leaks quickly enough and didn’t keep adequate service records—a big-time freezer foul. Trader Joe’s will have to pay a $500,000 fine on top of the $2 million in repairs as part of a settlement, which did not require Trader Joe’s to admit liability.

But when everything’s said and done, Trader Joe’s will have some shiny, efficient refrigerators. The company has committed to cutting its “average leak rate” to less than half the industry standard at its 461 stores in the next three years, and eventually the cuts would be the equivalent of taking more than 6,500 cars off the road every year.

Though Costco and Safeway have both settled cases related to the efficiency of their refrigerators before, Trader Joe’s case is the first time the EPA has required a company to repair its leaks for reasons relating to global warming.

The new limits “set a high bar for the grocery industry for detecting and fixing coolant leaks,” an EPA official, Cynthia Giles, said.

One thing not refrigerated at TJ’s is two-buck Chuck, but maybe when you get your $24 case of wine home you should change that by dumping it in a slushie machine. Just make sure your machine isn’t leaking any weird coolants—that stuff is probably poison.



Three current articles below

Greens self-serving Trots: ex-PM Keating

Keating is right about that. The Greens are full of ex-Trotskyites

Former prime minister Paul Keating has used a Labor rally to turn his caustic wit on the Greens Party, labelling it "a bunch of opportunists and Trots" splitting the progressive vote.

In his first public address of the 2016 election campaign, Mr Keating told the Sydney crowd the Greens were reducing Labor's ability to form government.

"They're a protest party, not a party of government, but their game is to nobble the party of government that can actually make changes," Mr Keating said.

"You can't be a government when you've got a bunch tearing away at you, trying to pinch a seat here and there, all to make themselves look important."

Mr Keating addressed the rally in aid of fellow Labor stalwart Anthony Albanese, who is under pressure in his inner-western Sydney seat of Grayndler.

The seat has come under sustained Greens attack after AEC redistributions cut the traditional working-class stronghold of Marrickville, as well as Mr Albanese's home and office, from the electorate.

He is facing Greens candidate Jim Casey, a former firefighter and Fire Brigade Employees' Union secretary.

Mr Albanese, who labelled Mr Keating "Australia's greatest treasurer", said the Greens were taking the public funding from every NSW seat solely to attack him.

"They're outspending us two to one in this seat. There's billboards everywhere," Mr Albanese said.

Mr Keating castigated the Greens for positioning themselves as the true Australian progressive party, saying it was Labor who introduced legislation to protect the Daintree, Jervis Bay and Antarctica.

The Greens had also failed the environment by blocking Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2009.

"They purloined the name Greens. We're more green than they are," he said. "Ratting on Rudd with the ETS scheme and walking away from the Malaysia Solution, things that required a bit of courage ... they could've been the Yellows."

Turning to the economy, Mr Keating said leaving the economic lifting to central banks through monetary policy had become increasingly ineffective.

He said the onus now fell on governments to intervene with infrastructure spending and public service provision.

"Governments have tucked themselves away and let central banks lower interest rates in the hope, like lighting a match, if you strike it enough there might be a flame," Mr Keating said.

"The market system which I participated in as treasurer, where we opened the economy up, we basically reduced the size of government to let all these forces go.

"We're now at a point in economic history in Australia and around the world where that system is going nowhere."

Mr Keating's appearance comes just a day after criticising the government's proposed company tax cuts in a letter to the Australian Financial Review.


Greenies determined to hamstring Northern development

The opportunities for viable development in Australia's "empty North" are few but Greenies still want to block them all.  They will find some frog or insect that would be inconvenienced by development projects and thus stop everything

Ahead of the election, the major parties have released different visions for developing northern Australia. The Coalition has committed to dam projects across Queensland; Labor has pledged to support the tourism industry.

These pledges build on the Coalition’s A$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a fund to support large projects, starting on July 1.

The Coalition has pledged A$20 million to support 14 new or existing dams across Queensland should the government be returned to power, as part of a A$2.5 billion plan for dams across northern Australia.

Labor, meanwhile, will redirect A$1 billion from the fund towards tourism, including eco-tourism, indigenous tourism ventures and transport infrastructure (airports, trains, and ports).

It is well recognised that the development of northern Australia will depend on harnessing the north’s abundant water resources. However, it’s also well recognised that the ongoing use of water resources to support industry and agriculture hinges on the health and sustainability of those water resources.

Northern Australia is home to diverse ecosystems, which support a range of ecosystem services and cultural values, and these must be adequately considered in the planning stages.
Sustainability comes second

The white paper for northern Australia focuses almost solely on driving growth and development. Current water resource management policy in Australia, however, emphasises integrated water resource planning and sustainable water use that protects key ecosystem functions.

Our concern is that the commitment to sustainability embedded in the National Water Initiative (NWI), as well as Queensland’s water policies, may become secondary in the rush to "fast track" these water infrastructure projects.

Lessons from the past show that the long-term success of large water infrastructure projects requires due process, including time for consultation, environmental assessments and investigation of alternative solutions.
What is on the table?

The Coalition proposes providing funds to investigate the feasibility of a range of projects, including upgrading existing dams and investigating new dams. The majority of these appear to be focused on increasing the reliability of water supplies in regional urban centres. Few target improved agricultural productivity.

These commitments add to the already proposed feasibility study (A$10 million) of the Ord irrigation scheme in the Northern Territory and the construction of the Nullinga Dam in Queensland. And the A$15 million northern Australia water resources assessment being undertaken by CSIRO, which is focused on the Fitzroy river basin in Western Australia, the Darwin river basins in Northern Territory and the Mitchell river basin in Queensland.

Rethinking dams

New water infrastructure in the north should be part of an integrated investment program to limit overall environmental impacts. Focusing on new dams applies 19th-century thinking to a 21st-century problem, and we have three major concerns about the rush to build dams in northern Australia.

First, the process to establish infrastructure priorities for federal investment is unclear. For instance, it’s uncertain how the projects are connected to Queensland’s State Infrastructure Plan.

Investment in new water infrastructure across northern Australia needs to be part of a long-term water resource plan. This requires clearly articulated objectives for the development of northern Australia, along with assessment criteria that relate to economic, social and environmental outcomes, such as those used in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Second, the federal government emphasises on-stream dams. Dams built across the main river in this way have many well-recognised problems, including:

*    lack of environmental flows (insufficient water at the appropriate frequency and duration to support ecosystems)

*    flow inversion (higher flows may occur in the dry season than in the wet, when the bulk of rainfall occurs)

*    barriers to fish movement and loss of connectivity to wetlands

*    water quality and temperature impacts (unless there is a multi-level off-take).

As a minimum, new dams should be built away from major waterways (such as on small, tributary streams) and designed to minimise environmental impacts. This requires planning in the early stages, as such alternatives are extremely difficult to retrofit to an existing system.

Finally, the federal government proposals make no mention of climate change impacts. Irrigation and intensive manufacturing industries demand highly reliable water supplies.

While high-value use of water should be encouraged, new industries need to be able to adapt for the increased frequency of low flows; as well as increased intensity of flood events. Government investment needs to build resilience as well as high-value use.

Detailed planning, not press releases

In place of the rather ad hoc approach to improvements in water infrastructure, such as the projects announced by the federal government in advance of the election, we need a more holistic and considered approach.

The A$20 million investment for 14 feasibility studies and business cases in Queensland represents a relatively small amount of money for each project, and runs the risk of having them undertaken in isolation. The feasibility studies should be part of the entirety of the government’s plan for A$2.5 billion in new dams for northern Australia.

Water resource planning is too important and too expensive to cut corners on planning. Investment proposals for Queensland need to be integrated with water resource planning across the state, and across northern Australia, and with appropriate consideration of climate change impacts.

Fast tracking dams without considering ecosystem impacts, future variability in water supplies, and resilience in local communities merely sets the scene for future problems that will likely demand another round of intervention and reform.


Global cooling hits Sydney

Sydneysiders felt the chill on Monday as temperatures plummeted to their coolest in two decades as New South Wales experiences the most powerful cold front in three years.

The maximum temperature reached was just 11.7 degrees but remained mostly in the single digit range all day.

The cold temperatures make it the coolest day for any month in 20 years, said Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald that temperatures have averaged just 10.4 degrees over the past three days, the coldest June period in six years.

An overnight low of eight degrees was met with rain in Sydney on Monday morning with a top of just 13 degrees expected throughout the day.

Peter Zmijewski, a senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology said: 'The temperature is a bit colder than it normally is at this time of year.'

'There's a lot of cloud moving through the east coast. We do expect rainfall to continue throughout Monday,' he told Daily mail Australia.

After experiencing the coldest morning of the year on Sunday there will be no let up for Sydneysiders during the week, with damp and chilly weather forecast for the early part of the seven day period.

Over the weekend, temperatures dropped to just above five degrees in the CBD on Sunday and although Monday will not be as chilly, rain is forecast to set in.



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, June 29, 2016

An interesting note from a correspondent

It is interesting to note that CO2 levels drop at the rate of about 1 1/2 ppm per month over a Spring/Summer cycle when plant growth is maximum. This seems to indicate that forest and food crops can actually out run the emissions.  I once calculated how much corn production it would take to off set the total CO2 emissions from  one 500 megawatt coal powered plant ............ 900 sq miles, an area of a mere 30 miles x 30 miles. It is likely that there are several good food crops that would sequester CO2 at very efficient rates. So the easy way to sequester CO2 is grow food but store it until a famine makes it necessary to consume it.

Would this not be a more noble cause and more acceptable than killing our overall energy system.  There was a time not so long ago that the USA did operate a food bank in an area near the North Pole.  There still is a seed bank operated by another country.

Researchers Team Up for Cheaper Solar Energy Battery Storage

This is all very well but pure sodium is a hugely reactive element, meaning that it can lead to explosions.  If sodium batteries become a reality, I predict a lot of "accidents".  A competent regulatory authority would ban them as intrinsically  unsafe in the hands of the general public

The storage of solar energy is one of the weak spots in systems that harvest this alternative type of electricity. Now three UK research organizations -- the companies Faradion and Moixa Technology, and WMG, part of the University of Warwick -- have teamed up in a partnership to develop sodium-ion cells as a low-cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries for solar-energy storage.

Each of the entities in the partnership brings different engineering strengths to the table. Faradion is a startup eyeing innovation in the sodium-ion battery space, while Moixa specializes in smart energy storage. Researchers led by Rohit Bhagat, an associate professor of electrochemical engineering at WMG, will bring expertise in large-scale prototyping and electrode coating to the partnership.

Currently, lithium-ion batteries are used primarily for storage as part of solar energy systems, but this type of battery also represents significant costs, researchers said. Sodium-ion cells, however, can be as much as 30% less expensive to produce. Using Faradion’s technology, solar storage could be less expensive and therefore more accessible, particularly for domestic use, to help promote environmental interests, according to the company.

“This partnership with Moixa Technology and WMG offers a great opportunity, not just for Faradion, but for global CO2 reduction,” said Francis Massin, Faradion’s CEO. “Solar energy storage is an important growth market of the next five years and this partnership means that the UK has the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology development.”

Sodium is more abundant than lithium and therefore less expensive in terms of battery production, according to researchers. The new effort also will focus on providing that sodium-ion technology can meet the lifecycle requirements of solar energy storage. In contrast, a lead-acid battery -- another type of battery for solar storage -- would need to be replaced up to five times through the typical lifetime of a photovoltaic system.

“We see sodium-ion batteries offering strategic and technological advantages for solar and grid energy storage applications,” Bagat said.

The new partnership’s effort is just one of a number tackling solar energy storage, which continues to be a hotbed of research not only to make solar storage cheaper, but also a more viable option for the power grid.

While the new partnership’s work focuses on more accessible and smaller-scale solar energy storage, other efforts from companies like Ambri, as well as researchers at Harvard and other institutions, focus on the development of flow and other types of batteries for large-scale storage.

Indeed, all of this focus means there is a significant business opportunity in this market, with Lux Research predicting the market for energy storage for solar energy systems to grow to $8 billion by 2026.


Woodrow Wilson Center: ‘Giant Number of Refugees’ Are Result of Climate Change

Wars in the Middle East nothing to do with it?

During an event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Thursday to discuss how women are disproportionately affected by climate change in developing countries, Jane Harman, president and CEO of the center, said that many of the refugees around the globe today are being displaced by climate change.

Harman said it is in the interest of the United States to “build resilience” in these countries to prevent migration and even terrorism.

“It seems to me that the U.S. has a direct interest in building government capacity, which will build resilience in the countries you’re talking about,” Harman said.

“Because if we don’t do it, guess what happens?” she said. “What we’re seeing right now is – it’s not just refugee flows, which is also horrible and heartbreaking – oh by the way, climate refugees are a giant number of refugees.”

We’re also seeing the export of terrorism caused by instability in those countries, Harman said.

“So it seems to me if we want to reduce – we’ll never totally prevent it – but want to reduce the terror threat to the United States, we have to help build resilient capacity in countries abroad,” she said.

The framework for the conference,  “At the Eye of the Storm: Women and Climate Change,” was described as follows:

“Struggling to save their failing crops. Walking farther to fetch clean water. Protecting their families from devastating storms and violent conflicts. Experts warn that women in developing countries will be disproportionately affected by climate changes. But women could also hold the keys to solving the climate challenge.

“Empowering women through education, economic opportunities, and reproductive health care can make surprising contributions to the climate fight. To make this happen, we need to bridge sectoral barriers and work together to ensure that women are climate victors, and not climate victims.”

One panelist, Public Policy Fellow Maxine Burkett, shared the story of an Indonesian woman who wants to save the forests in her country.

“My people regard the Earth as the human body,” “Mama” Aleta Baun said. “Stone is our bone. Water is our blood. Land is our flesh. Forest is our hair.”  “If one of them is taken away, we are paralyzed,” Baun said.


This Could Be The Biggest Threat To Our Climate If We Don't Act Fast

Pure comedy: We read below that the "threat" is "equivalent to the annual emissions of 200 cars".  How frightening!  We seem to survive with many millions of cars on the road so 200 more or less will mean nothing

When you think “peatland”, you probably picture water, or mosquitoes, or creepily preserved human artefacts. What most of us don’t consider are catastrophic wildfires — but that’s precisely what scientists are now worried about when it comes to one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth.

Mike Waddington is a forest ecologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He’s been studying the peatlands that pepper the Canadian boreal forest for going on 30 years, and he’s begun to notice an alarming trend. When peatlands that have been drained by humans for forestry or mining catch on fire, they burn like crazy, eating through metres of carbon-rich soil over the course of months.

“I always tell people to think about the fire swamp from Princess Bride,” Waddington told Gizmodo. “Peat fires are very difficult to put out because they just keep smouldering down into the soil.”

Sphagnum moss acts as a natural fire suppressor in peatlands, but it’s often lost when these ecosystems are drained.

Over the last few years, Waddington and his colleagues have been piecing together the ecological and hydrological changes that are causing managed peatlands across north America, Scandinavia and Russia to become some of the best natural fire starters on Earth. When peatlands are drained, centuries of years of accumulated organic matter (basically, coal that isn’t coal yet) become exposed to the surface. Couple this new fuel source with ecological changes — the disappearance of sphagnum moss that acts as a natural flame retardant, and the invasion of large spruce trees that can shoot fiery embers hundreds of metres skyward — and you’ve got the perfect storm of conditions for a very large, very dangerous fire.

Waddington’s latest study, which appears today in Nature Scientific Reports, takes these observations to their sobering conclusion: Peatlands, especially those that humans have messed with, are ticking carbon time bombs. Combining measurements on drained and mined peatlands in Canada and northern Europe, the study finds that under modern weather conditions, catastrophic “deep burns” can lead to over 200 tonnes of carbon released per hectare.

That’s roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 200 cars. And given that catastrophic wildfires have developed a nasty habit of burning across hundreds of thousands to millions of hectares, this could become a major new source of climate-warming greenhouse gases.

“These ecosystems have been storing and removing carbon for millennia, but they have the potential to become an enormous carbon source in the future,” Waddington said, adding that according to his models, the warming and drying brought on by climate change is causing the fire risk to become even greater for many peatlands. We need only look at the peat fires in Indonesia last spring, which were at one point emitting more carbon than entire the US economy, for a glimpse of what the future could hold.

The good news is, there’s still time to prevent peat fires from singlehandedly undoing everything we’ve done to cut back on fossil fuels. We can restore peatlands to their natural state. “By just rewetting peatlands, the fire risk is reduced greatly,” Waddington said. “Reducing fuel loads — removing black spruce trees to get the mosses to come back — is also critical.”

Waddington and his colleagues are sharing their findings with land managers throughout Canada, who are starting to take the issue of peat fires very seriously, particularly in light of the megafire that ripped through Fort McMurray and surrounding wildlands earlier this autumn. Let’s just hope that awareness of this problem translates into swift action. There are roughly 21 million hectares of managed peatlands across the world’s northern forests, and we need them on our side in the fight against climate change.


Oakland Officials Vote to Ban Coal Handling and Storage at New Shipping Terminal

The Oakland City Council voted to ban the handling and storage of coal and coke at the city’s terminals and bulk material facilities. The unanimous vote came after a long, packed city council meeting; advocates and opponents of the ban demonstrated outside. A second, largely procedural, vote is expected in July.

The ban aims to derail a proposed deal that would have granted four coal-producing counties in Utah rail access to a major commodities shipping terminal under development on city land, adjacent to the Port of Oakland.

The new terminal is part of a major redevelopment of an old Army Base the city hopes will bring thousands of jobs to a city that still has pockets of poverty and violence, even as the region’s tech sector booms and housing costs rise. Utah had agreed to invest $53 million in the project for the right to export its goods.

California ports in Stockton, Richmond and Long Beach export coal, but because of climate change and pollution concerns, such terminals have become highly contested on the West Coast. Environmentalists have defeated similar proposals in Oregon and Washington.

The battle ignited in Oakland after the plan to allow coal to be shipped through the terminal was made public, roiling local politics in the city of about 414,000. Among those opposed to the plan was Mayor Libby Schaaf, a former aide to Mr. Brown when he was mayor of the city from 1999 to 2007.

Environmentalists and some community groups opposed allowing coal to be shipped through the city. The Sierra Club, which led opposition to the plan, argued coal dust has been linked to decreased lung capacity, childhood bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, emphysema and heart disease.

Brittany King, conservation coordinator for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, said Monday that the ban would “protect Oakland from dirty, dangerous coal exports,” and respected “the will of the people.”

Mark McClure, vice president of the California Capital and Investment Group, which is financing the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, said late Monday the company “will continue to honor all of our commitments to the City of Oakland and our partners to deliver on the promise of the Oakland Global development.”

But the company’s chief executive, Phil Tagami, said last year that restricting commodities at the terminal could harm the project’s success.  Mr. Tagami is a local businessman with close ties to Mr. Brown, who has been outspoken on combating climate change.  Mr. Brown is an investor with Mr. Tagami in an Oakland office building, according to an economic disclosure form filed by the governor.

During Mr. Brown’s gubernatorial administration, Mr. Tagami served as chairman of the state’s Lottery Commission and as a member of its Medical Board; he left the administration in 2013.

A spokesman for Mr. Brown said Monday before the vote that the governor declined to comment on the Oakland terminal, or the proposed ban.

The terminal, which would sit at the end of an existing track network, would be managed by Terminal Logistics Solutions, a company that is looking to partner with the Utah counties to export commodities including coal.

The project, dubbed Oakland Global, is expected to bring inasmuch as $2.9 million in annual property taxes for the city, schools and other local governments, and has already created more than 2,300 jobs, Mr. Tagami has said.

Utah has sought new markets for its coal as energy companies and utilities in the U.S. have moved toward natural-gas plants and renewable forms of energy due to stricter federal pollution rules. While coal mining represents a fraction of Utah’s economy, it has long been a source of jobs for counties in the central and southeastern part of the state.


Where has that rain gone?

As I have pointed out many times, one implication of AGW theory is that global warming will cause an increase in rain and snow.  So the galoots below are puzzled that there has been no recent such increases.  So they have modelled up a solution that blames aerosols.  They have apparently overlooked that any global warming is so minuscule that any effect of it would be undetectable

Global warming without global mean precipitation increase?

Marc Salzmann


Global climate models simulate a robust increase of global mean precipitation of about 1.5 to 2% per kelvin surface warming in response to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. Here, it is shown that the sensitivity to aerosol cooling is robust as well, albeit roughly twice as large. This larger sensitivity is consistent with energy budget arguments. At the same time, it is still considerably lower than the 6.5 to 7% K−1 decrease of the water vapor concentration with cooling from anthropogenic aerosol because the water vapor radiative feedback lowers the hydrological sensitivity to anthropogenic forcings. When GHG and aerosol forcings are combined, the climate models with a realistic 20th century warming indicate that the global mean precipitation increase due to GHG warming has, until recently, been completely masked by aerosol drying. This explains the apparent lack of sensitivity of the global mean precipitation to the net global warming recently found in observations. As the importance of GHG warming increases in the future, a clear signal will emerge.

Science Advances  24 Jun 2016: Vol. 2, no. 6, e1501572. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501572


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, June 28, 2016

New paper on solar activity suggests imminent cooling

Judith Curry notes that this paper has attracted extensive interest and sets out some of the reasons why.  2050 is set as the time for the new era of reduced solar activity to cut in.  This finding comports well with the evidence from geology that we are at the end of a warm interglacial

Evidence of cosmic recurrent and lagged millennia-scale patterns and consequent forecasts: multi-scale responses of solar activity to planetary gravitational forcing [link]

Jorge Sánchez-Sesma


Solar activity (SA) oscillations over the past millennia are analyzed and extrapolated based on reconstructed solar-related records. Here, simple recurrent models of SA signal are applied and tested. The consequent results strongly suggest the following: (a) the existence of multi-millennial (9500-year) scale solar patterns linked with planetary gravitational forcing (PGF), and (b) their persistence, over at least the last glacial– interglacial cycle, but possibly since the Miocene (10.5 Ma). This empirical modeling of solar recurrent patterns has also provided a consequent multi-millennial-scale experimental forecast, suggesting a solar decreasing trend toward Grand (Super) Minimum conditions for the upcoming period, AD2050–2250 (AD 3750–4450). Taking into account the importance of these estimated SA scenarios, a comparison is made with other SA forecasts. In Appendixes A and B, we provide further verification, testing and analysis of solar recurrent patterns since geological eras, and their potential gravitational forcing.


Democrats abandon hope of getting new Greenie laws through Congress -- want to use the DoJ instead

Running around after Exxon is like a dog chasing its tail -- futile.  Exxon was perfectly entitled to keep its internal  documents internal

The committee drafting a platform for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party unanimously called on Friday for the Justice Department to investigate fossil fuel companies, such as ExxonMobil Corp., accused of misleading shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change.

At the same time, in a session Friday night, the group brushed off calls by environmental activists for the platform to support several stronger actions to move away from fossil fuels. The policies, favored by Bernie Sanders, include a carbon tax and a ban on fracking.

The effect of the session, one of several forums around the country, was to intensify the partisan heat around criticism of Exxon's climate record, while allowing the Clinton camp to stake out political territory that is not quite so harsh on oil, coal and natural gas companies.

Exxon is already under scrutiny by several state attorneys general. President Obama's attorney general has referred the question to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for consideration.

Republicans, for their part, have come to Exxon's defense and denounced the probes as a politically inspired witch hunt that infringes on the company's constitutional rights.

Early in the campaign, after Sanders demanded a federal investigation, Clinton said that she, too, thought a Justice Department probe was warranted under RICO, a federal racketeering statute. But during the debates, as Sanders staked out forceful positions against fracking and for a carbon tax, Clinton refused to go that far.

And in the face of petitions by green activists trying to pull the platform more in the Sanders direction, Clinton's representatives on the platform panel backed her up. Clearly, they wanted to keep their fingers off such hot buttons, such as a promise to leave most fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

They also refused to embrace a "climate test" for approving future energy projects, similar to the one President Obama imposed in turning down TransCanada's application for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Asked about the loss on so many points, the campaigner Bill McKibben said in an email, "Since I argued for them, I guess their failure is on me. Disappointing."

But the platform panel, according to RL Miller, founder of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote, did accept a goal of obtaining all U.S. energy from renewable fuels by 2050.

That ambition would support the new Paris climate agreement's goals and is hardly compatible with a business-as-usual or "all-of-the-above" energy policy. And it is a far cry from the pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-fossil fuels stance of the Republican Party and its candidate, Donald Trump.

"We're thrilled that the Democratic Party will formally recognize the need to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their deceit," Miller said. "And we're happy that the committee is calling for the United States to be 100% powered by clean energy by 2050. However, we don't see how we'll make that bold leap with baby steps."

She added that her group is "appalled by the incrementalist approach adopted by the majority of the committee in voting down amendments to ban fracking, price carbon, and keep fossil fuels in the ground. Incrementalism won't solve the climate crisis."

The platform's authors did not name Exxon, but the debate made clear that the company was the subject of their call for a federal investigation.


Warmists all in a panic over Brexit

Did climate change cause Brexit?

Ha ha.  Well, the politics of climate change policies seems to have influenced the voters.  there seems to be a substantial confluence of British climate change skeptics and people that voted ‘yes’ for Brexit.   Climate policies are one of the topics of concern regarding EU overreach.  It turns out that a large percentage of the British population are skeptical of human caused climate change.

* From Brexit Is Also A Repudiation Of EU Global Warming Mandates:

Conservative pollster Lord Michael Ashcroft surveyed 12,369 Brits voting in Thursday’s referendum and found 69 percent of those who voted to leave the EU saw the “green movement” as a “force for ill.”

Funny that AGW skepticism was sold as an American aberration. It seems to be alive and well in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

Will Brexit influence the Paris Climate Change Agreement?

There are numerous dimensions to the potential impacts of Brexit on the Paris Agreement:

*  Guardian: Leave victory risks delaying EU ratification of the Paris deal, leaving the door open for Obama’s successor to unpick the pact

More importantly, for the rest of the world, the Leave campaign’s victory provides a fillip globally for groups opposed to climate action, and if it causes delays to the Paris accord coming into effect, it could provide an opening for aspiring right-wing leaders – including Donald Trump – to try to unpick the pact.

The Brexit vote will be used as a rallying cry for an agenda that frequently includes climate scepticism among its tenets, alongside curbs to immigration and to government regulation.

Many climate sceptics around the world will have been encouraged by the Brexit vote, as there is so much overlap between the two camps, and environmental and carbon goals under the EU were a key target of the Leave campaigners.

* Politico: 5 ways Brexit will transform energy and climate

One oft-voiced concern is that the departure of Britain — which has been a climate leader within the bloc — could weaken the E.U.’s climate ambitions, on top of the general chaos expected to ensue as Brexit now unfolds (which will surely distract all parties from climate policy).

“The UK has generally argued for stronger action on emissions within the EU, so its absence will make it more difficult to counter the arguments of those Member States, such as Poland, which want slower and weaker cuts in emissions,” said Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

*  WaPo: Why an E.U. without Britain is bad news for the fight against climate change

“We don’t know how long the exit process is going to take, and secondly, whether that would end up with the UK still in the single market, like Norway, and therefore still within the burden sharing agreement, or completely outside the EU as a separate state, and therefore, would submit its own [climate pledge],” Jordan said. “And in fact, it could take years until that’s clear.”

“UK will not now take part in the sharing out of the EU 2030 target contained in the EU [pledge], and Brexit will likely make it more difficult for the EU to achieve that target as UK has been cutting its emissions by more than the EU average,” Ward said by email.

*  Climate Change News: Six questions for UK and EU low carbon ambitions as British voters reject continued membership of world’s largest single market

In the short term, it could benefit global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions growth, former UK climate chief Chris Huhne told Climate Home. That’s because the market volatility set loose by Brexit is likely to lead to a UK recession, and potentially a global slowdown. In the 2008-09 economic crisis emissions fell 1.4%.

Longer term the EU will lose its second-largest economy and a key driver of the region’s low carbon policymaking, the founding member of the 13-strong Green Growth Group of EU nations. Despite a vocal quorum of climate sceptics the UK has consistently argued for Europe to target 50% greenhouse gas emission cuts by 2030, as opposed to the current 40%.

Historically, the UK has adopted a European leadership role with France and Germany on arguing for tougher emission cuts, rolling out a regional carbon market and formulating energy policy.

London is a centre for global green finance and services, UK hi-tech companies are pioneering smart, energy efficient devices, electric vehicles are a major part of the car industry’s long-term strategy.

For one, don’t expect the EU to ratchet up its 40% cuts target with the UK no longer a player.

Secondly, expect eastern states like Poland to play merry hell over the effort sharing deal with a Brussels leadership they are already in conflict with.


Scientists Discover That Their Imaginary Greenland Meltdown Is Not Having Any Effect

Crack government funded scientists are baffled why their imaginary Greenland meltdown is not affecting the Gulf Stream.

It never occurred to them to look at the data and understand that Greenland isn’t actually melting. Greenland’s surface has gained 530 billion tons of ice since last summer, and is tracking well above normal.

It is mid-summer in Greenland, and temperatures in the center of the ice sheet are -15C

Anyone with an IQ over 30 understands that ice doesn’t melt at -15C. This group however does not include climate scientists, or progressives.

One week ago our brilliant secretary of state determined that glaciers calving off Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier indicated a looming catastrophe.

"Standing near Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier, the reputed source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic over a century ago, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saw evidence of another looming catastrophe.  Giant icebergs broken off from the glacier seemed to groan as they drifted behind him, signaling eventual rising oceans that scientists warn will submerge islands and populated coastal region"

Glaciers are rivers of ice. Excess snow falls in the interior, and glaciers carry the ice to the sea where it calves. Glaciers calving is an essential process required to return the 500 billion tons of annual snowfall to the sea, and has nothing to do with global warming. Kerry was seemingly aware that this was occurring in 1912, but perhaps no one told him that the Jakobshavn glacier has been retreating for hundreds of years.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Pink snow excitement

It's nothing new but Warmists have just noticed it.  It makes no difference at all

WHAT’s turning Arctic snow pink? Chemical spills? Baby seal clubbing? It’s actually just algae — and it has scientists in a spin.

A study published in the science journal Nature Communications reports the tiny algae which calls snow home has the potential to seriously accelerate melting of the ice cap.

The fields of reddish-pink algae are darker than the surrounding bright, white snow. This means it absorbs more sunlight. This sunlight warms the algae — and the snow around it.

The algae is nothing new. It’s been found on glaciers and pack-ice the world over.  It’s only now that its affect on snow when it blooms in the warmer summer months has been measured.

Under its soft-hued blanket, the snow and ice melts some 13 per cent faster.  This causes the shiny glaciers and snowfields — which cool the earth through reflecting sunlight — to retreat.

This means more, darker, rock and soil is left exposed — which in turn absorbs more of the sun’s energy. The study argues the acceleration produced by the algae needs to be included in climate modelling. [So the existing models are wrong??  What fun!]


Warning from the past:  Future global warming could be even warmer

Just more modelling

CLIMATE: Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from man-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute among others have used computer modelling to calculate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought. The results are published in the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

Global warming from greenhouse gas emissions depends not only on the size of the emissions, but also on the warming effect that the extra amount of gas has on the atmosphere. This effect, called climate sensitivity, is usually defined as the warming caused by the doubling of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity depends on a number of properties of the earth’s climate system, such as the composition of clouds and cloud cover.

“The research shows that climate sensitivity was higher during the past global, warm climate than in the current climate. This is bad news for humanity as greater climate sensitivity from warming will further amplify the warming,” says Professor Gary Shaffer, University of Magallanes, Chile, and the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The past tells about the future

The study was based on reconstructions and climate modelling of a period of global warming 56 million years ago. The period known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was triggered by massive releases of carbon into the atmosphere and climate researchers have long identified it as a time that could in some ways be analogous to today’s global warming.

Reconstructions of past temperatures show that even before the PETM the Earth was about 10 degrees warmer than today and then warmed an additional 5 degrees during the PETM. In addition, they combined data about minerals, isotopes and the carbon cycle with climate models to estimate the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – both before and during the period. From this, they could calculate the climate sensitivity and the result was that where it was about 4.5 degrees C before the PETM, the sensitivity rose to about 5.1 degrees during the PETM. Climate sensitivity is currently around 3 degrees.

“Our results show that the amount of carbon that drove the PETM warming was about the same amount as the current ‘easily accessible’ fossil fuel reserves of about 4,000 billion tons. But the warming that would result from adding such large amounts of carbon to the climate system would be much greater today than during the PETM and could reach up to 10 degrees. This is partly due to the current atmosphere containing much less CO2 – approximately 400 ppm (parts per million) – compared to before the PETM, where the concentration was about 1,000 ppm and partly because we emit carbon into the atmosphere at a much faster rate than during the PETM. If we then also take into account the fact that climate sensitivity increases with the temperature, it means that it is all the more urgent to limit global warming as soon as possible by reducing the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases,” explains Professor Gary Shaffer, who conducted the study in collaboration with researchers from Purdue University, USA, the University of Chile and the Technical University of Denmark.



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, June 27, 2016

"Scientist" Michael Mann says there is no need for statistics: You can just SEE global warming

Unsurprising.  The statistics are pretty doleful for Warmism

The Democratic Platform Drafting Committee held a series of hearings to solicit input on what issues should be front-and-center during the general election.  Michael Mann spoke as follows:

“What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle. Regardless of how you measure the impacts of climate change — be it food, water, health, national security, our economy — climate change is already taking a great toll… The stakes could not be greater in this next election — the future of our children and grandchildren literally hangs in the balance — nor could the contrast be any more stark. We have on the one hand a Republican Party whose standard bearer, Donald Trump, and a great majority of its congressional representatives deny that climate change even exists. We have on the other hand a Democratic Party that understands full well that while we can debate the policy specifics for dealing with this crisis, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and avoid dealing with the growing threat.”


Grant-hungry scientists stage a tantrum about the Barrier Reef while on their holiday in Hawaii

Many causes of bleaching alleged but not a word about El Nino, the most probable cause.  These guys are just con-men.  Document probably written by a small but powerful clique only

As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists have sent a letter to Australian officials calling for action to save the world's reefs, which are being rapidly damaged.

The letter was sent on Saturday to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imploring the government to do more to conserve the nation's reefs and curb fossil fuel consumption.

The letter, signed by past and present presidents of the International Society for Reef Studies on behalf of the 2000 attendees of the International Coral Reef Symposium that was held in Honolulu this week, urged the Australian government to prioritise its Great Barrier Reef.

"This year has seen the worst mass bleaching in history, threatening many coral reefs around the world including the whole of the northern Great Barrier Reef, the biggest and best-known of all reefs," the letter said.

"The damage to this Australian icon has already been devastating. In addition to damage from greenhouse gases, port dredging and shipping of fossil fuels across the Great Barrier Reef contravene Australia's responsibilities for stewardship of the Reef under the World Heritage Convention."

Scientists are not known for their political activism, said James Cook University professor Terry Hughes, but they felt this crisis warranted such action.

A call to action from three Pacific island nations whose reefs are in the crosshairs of the largest and longest-lasting coral bleaching event in recorded history was presented on Friday at the conclusion of the symposium in Honolulu.

The heads of state from Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands attended the conference and will provide a plan to help save their ailing coral reefs.

The call to action, signed by the three presidents, asked for better collaboration between the scientific community and local governments, saying there needs to be more funding and a strengthened commitment to protecting the reefs.

In response to the letter, the scientific community at the conference said they would work with national leaders of Micronesia, the Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the world "to curb the continued loss of coral reefs."

Bleaching is a process where corals, stressed by hot ocean waters and other environmental changes, lose their colour as the symbiotic algae that lives within them is released. Severe or concurrent years of bleaching can kill coral reefs, as has been documented over the past two years in oceans around the world. Scientists expect a third year of bleaching to last through the end of 2016.

In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, close to half of the corals have died in the past three months, said Hughes, who focuses his research there.

But the panel of scientists emphasised the progress they have made over the past 30 years and stressed that good research and management programs for coral reefs are available. The scientists said they just need the proper funding and political will to enact them.


“Unprecedented” Arctic-warming claims are false

The Arctic was warmer in the late 1930s

The media keeps shouting that the “global warming” that took place during the late 1990s was unprecedented, and therefore definitely man-made.But that is simply not true.

Take a took at this graph based on Hadcrut data. The graph is relative to all areas between 70 and 90° Latitude North. Temperatures are taken from the CRU (Climate Research Unit).

After a period of cold culminating around 1916, you can see that the Arctic underwent a period of heating leading to the historic peak in the late 1930s. The high in Arctic temperatures reached in 2010 was actually lower – lower! – than that of 1938.

This means that the warming between 1979 and today is not unprecedented. Indeed, the most rapid heating period seems to have occurred between 1916 and 1920, when Arctic temperatures went up as much as 4° C in just four years.


Germans Rejecting Wind Power …Public Health Issues, Industrial Blight, Damage To Ecosystems

Once welcome as a clean alternative for producing energy, wind turbines in Germany are today faced with ever more hostile political and social environments.

As the turbines increase in size, so do their impacts on people and ecosystems that are near them. In the southern German town of Winterlingen hundreds of people recently packed into a sports facility to listen to a talk by sound expert, Dr. Johannes Mayer on the effects of low frequency sound, so-called infrasound, on humans. Ten years ago not even a handful would have shown up. But today as interest in the adverse effects of infrasound from wind turbines are surfacing and becoming a major public issue, citizens who face the possible invasion by a wind park are taking a keen interest in the topic.

According to the online here, Mayer issued strong warnings on the adverse health-effects wind turbines can have on people.

Using the available research results, he emphasizes that people do not hear the infrasound emitted by wind turbines, but that they can feel them. “For 20 to 30% of the exposed persons there are massive consequences: The body comes under a state of constant, uninterrupted stress ,” said the speaker. Difficulty sleeping, disturbed concentration and irritability and depressive mood are the consequences says Johannes Mayer.”


Coming out

By former Canadian MLA, Ken Allred

“It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in the scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty.” – Patrick Draper, PhD (Ecology)

I’m going to come out of the closet – no I’m not gay but even more controversial – I’m a climate change skeptic! Worse yet, I guess I’m almost a climate change denier even though I try my best to keep an open mind on the subject.

Admittedly, I’ve never been totally comfortable with the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, especially with all the controversy around the statistical methods used by Michael Mann to come to the conclusions that he did. In particular was the influential ‘hockey stick’ graph which was characteristically skewed to support his conclusions.

The original mandate of the IPCC from the United Nations spelled out that they were to focus on “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability.”

Given such criteria it was obvious what their conclusions had to be or there would be no reason for them to exist. The United Nations obviously had an agenda and told the IPCC what they were to find – full stop!

Deniers have been ostracized from day one based on the endorsement of the IPCC report by 90 per cent (or some such number) of the scientific community. But let us bear in mind that even IPCC states that it is ‘extremely likely’ that human emissions have been the cause of global warming. Their claim is that it is 95 per cent certain.

Furthermore, the phrases, it is ‘likely’ and ’95 per cent certain’ don’t make it any more than a hypothesis. There is still room for question and it is the responsibility of the scientific community to debate the issue.

For the climate alarmists to condemn the deniers is as wrong as to condemn believers in an absolute being. And now, the lack of a rise in temperature since the turn of the century places their research in some doubt.

Unfortunately as Bob Dylan says “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Money is another source of my concern. As Vivian Crouse has determined through her research most of the money which funds Canadian anti-oil organizations comes from U.S. sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Tides U.S.A. and others.

CO2 is as essential to life on Earth as the oxygen we breathe. For without an ample supply of CO2 in the atmosphere plants could not exist. Over the millennia the proportion of CO2 has actually decreased as has the average global temperature. This entire climate change debate needs to be broadened to examine the issue in more detail rather than continually denying the deniers.

The carbon cycle and its central role in the creation of life should be promulgated rather than the demonization of CO2, that ‘carbon’ is a ‘pollutant’ that threatens the continuation of life.

In fact we need to change our focus and apply our resources to determine how we can comfortably survive as a species under warmer climatic conditions rather than how we can reduce greenhouse gases since the rise in CO2 is an inevitable swing in the millennia old climate change pendulum.


Corruption In The Green Energy Sector Costs Ontarians

This autumn has not been kind to NextEra's Ontario operation.

Some of the turbines they own in Ontario were found to be throwing objects into farmers fields during harvest season, for reasons the Ministry of Environment apparently refuses to investigate. Their "success" in collecting feed-in tariff contracts from the Ontario Liberals is now subject to litigation filed by oil baron T. Boone Pickens. If he is successful in proving allegations of "abuse of power" and "undue political interference," the Liberals mismanagement of the energy file could cost Ontarians an extra $700 million dollars.

The New York Times sums the complaint by saying:

"A review of documents and emails between NextEra executives, lobbyists and government officials show that NextEra met and held calls with high-level officials at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the premier's office and the power authority, even as Mesa Power executives were told they could not speak to officials until contracts were awarded. When NextEra lobbyists requested more information, officials sometimes responded within hours."

It is important to recall that this was in the era of gas plants being moved to protect under-performing Liberal MPPs from electoral defeat, but that said, NextEra's questionable behaviour isn't limited to Ontario.

As fate would have it, a NextEra lobbyist in the United States developed a romantic relationship with a U.S. government official overseeing a series of NextEra applications to construct renewable energy projects on public lands in the same month that her employment began at NextEra.

Emails detail NextEra leveraging their lobbyist's relationship with a key Department of Interior official that may have prevented a scientific review of derailing a project that began killing golden eagles within a month of operating.

The Department of Justice investigation into the relationship between NextEra and the U.S. Department of Interior highlights a number of examples of professional contact between the lobbyist and key official that was initiated by NextEra. The report is a fascinating read.

Considering what is known about the Ontario Liberal's gas plant scandal and all of the political interference that went on there, not to mention a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into NextEra's lobbying tactics in the United States, it will be fascinating to see what happens with T. Boone Pickens' claim.

Elsewhere in Ontario, NextEra has been negotiating "community vibrancy funds" with municipalities that are contingent on municipal councils passing favourable resolutions that will support NextEra in winning new business. They claim the whole thing is legal, but when is dangling benefits in front of decision-makers' faces while instructing them exactly how to use their official powers in a manner that benefits you legal or ethical?

Ben Greenhouse, NextEra's senior Canadian executive, has explicitly stated funds are conditional on municipal support in aiding new business developments, a message further reinforced by their Canadian staff in emails to municipal officials.

The only piece of good news for Ontarians related to the push for more wind turbines into our province is that the IESO has slowed down their approval process, delaying contract awards by another three months. Let's hope they take this time to clean up any "undo political interference" or "abuse of power" issues that may or may not exist within Ontario's green energy procurement process.

That said, with NextEra as a major player in Ontario's wind energy business along with Siemens (who has the distinction of paying the largest fine ever under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over extensive bribery of foreign officials in 10 different countries) and Samsung (with it's own bribery scandals being well-known), one has to wonder whether the government knew who they were inviting into the province when they opened the flood gates under the Green Energy Act in 2009.

Whether Dalton McGuinty truly favoured NextEra will be decided in court, but Kathleen Wynne has the opportunity to turn the page and end any corruption within Ontario's green energy procurement process, and would be wise to do so.



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

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


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Global warming really COULD leave you hot-headed: Scientists say scorching year long temperatures make people violent

This is an old, old theory founded on the fact that there IS more interpersonal violence in the tropics.  But the people who live in the tropics are not the same people as those who live in temperate climes, so there could be other factors at work.  IQs, for instance are notably lower in the warm climate areas of the globe and low IQ is reliably associated with crime and violence.  The average IQ of almost any prison population is well below average.  So the case is moot.  I once thought I had some evidence in support of the theory in my own research but the difference turned out to be  unreliable

Near the equator, sweltering temperatures persevere day after day, with little chance that the upcoming season will break the routine. And according to a new theory, it just might make you snap.

Researchers say the combination of high temperatures and lack of seasonal variation causes people to lead 'faster' lifestyles, contributing to more aggression and violence, and say it could get worse as global warming causes temperature to rocket.

In the 'CLASH' model – CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans – researchers say hot temperatures and little seasonal variation contribute to more aggression and violence.

This is because people in these regions lead a 'faster' lifestyle, and spend less time planning for the future.

They also say people in these climate areas are likely to behave with less self-control.

This may be because they don't plan ahead for drastic seasonal changes, they say, and are faced with more immediate risks.

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam developed the 'CLASH' model – CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans – to understand why violent crime is so high in hot climates.

'Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don't think about in our daily lives,' said Paul Van Lange, lead author of the article and professor of psychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

'We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world.'

Previous studies have linked violence and aggression simply to hot climates, but the two leading explanations of why that is so aren't satisfactory said Brad Bushman, a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University and VU Amsterdam.

The General Aggression Model, which Bushman helped to develop, attributes the aggression in hot climates to discomfort and irritation.  'But that doesn't explain more extreme acts, such as murder,' he said.

A second theory, the Routine Activity Theory, says that warm weather leads people to be outdoors more often, thus creating more opportunities for conflict.

But, this doesn't explain why violence increases as the temperatures grow hotter, with 95 degrees seeing more violence than 75.

In the new model, the researchers consider lack of seasonal variation a factor as well. 'Less variation in temperature, combined with heat, brings some measure of consistency to daily life,' said Maria I. Rinderu of VU.

As a result of this, the researchers say people have less of a need to plan ahead for weather differences, causing them to be less concerned about the future, and have less need for self-control.

'Strong seasonal variation in temperature affects culture in powerful ways,' said Van Lange.

'If there is less variation you're freer to do what you want now, because you're not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. You also may be more concerned with the immediate stress that comes along with parasites and other risks of hot climates, such as venomous animals.'

Instead, the researchers say people who live in hot, consistent regions are more likely to act according to the present.

'We see evidence of a faster life strategy in hotter climates with less temperature variation – they are less strict about time, they have less use of birth control, they have children earlier and more often,' Bushman said.

While a person's behaviours may not entirely be the result of the climate they live in, this does help to shape the culture, the researchers explain.

'How people approach life is a part of culture and culture is strongly affected by climate,' Van Lange said.

'Climate doesn't make a person, but it is one part of what influences each of us. We believe it shapes the culture in important ways.'


Brexiteers are also climate skeptics

The article below is from a few months back but current observations say the same thing

Here are a number of parallels between the climate wars and the current Brexit skirmishes that I have noticed and found interesting. Make of these what you will:

1. There’s the stereotyping. Those in the “Out” camp are often viewed in the media as right-wing Little Englanders – except they’re not. George Galloway, anyone? Likewise, those in the climate sceptic camp here in the UK are often viewed in the media as right-wing Little Englanders – except they’re not. Piers Corbyn, right wing?

2.  Somewhat illogically, there’s also a perception in the media that the Brexit gang are a diverse and divisive rag-tag alliance (Nigel Farage and George Galloway on the same platform). The same could also generally be said about climate sceptics. I think this is actually not far from the truth, and it might indeed be a strength rather than a weakness, as not everyone can then be tarred with the same stereotypical brush.

3. There’s a bit of overlap between EU and CAGW scepticism – if these were circles in a Venn diagram, we would find UK politicians Owen Paterson and Graham Stringer (Conservative and Labour, respectively) in the area where they intersected (and they would probably be joined by lots of non-politicians, too).

4. There are also the big battalions lined up against both the Brexiteers and the climate sceptics. Against the “Out” camp are ranged a giant army of big business concerns, environment agencies, world leaders, the EU itself, Emma Thompson and President Obama. Against the CAGW sceptics are ranged a giant army of big business concerns, environment agencies, world leaders, the EU itself, Emma Thompson and President Obama. And the Pope. The power of authority! (Or the power of deeply vested interests, looked at in another way.)

5. And, of course, there’s Project Fear. Both Britain leaving the EU and “inaction on climate” will lead to Bad Things happening. Very Bad Things. I don’t need to spell these out, really. On climate change, Project Fear has actually been going for decades, although when they periodically realise people aren’t all that scared, something akin to Cameron’s “Project Fact” then gets proposed (just as long as the purported facts are frightening facts, mind). That doesn’t work, either, and so they go back to the Fear.

Anyway, why are there apparent close similarities between these two conflicts? I don’t have the definitive answer to this but suspect that something they have in common, very broadly speaking, is the age-old antagonism between Freedom and Authority.


Obama-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Fracking Regulation

Well, this is embarrassing for Barack Obama. Judge Scott Skavdahl — a judge Obama appointed to the Federal District Court in Wyoming — ruled that the Interior Department’s regulations on fracking were unlawful because Congress didn’t give it the power to hand down such rules. While the vast majority of fracking occurs on state and private land, the rules would have required oil companies operating on federal land to follow stricter safety guidelines.

“Hydraulic fracturing is one of the keys that has unlocked our nation’s energy resurgence in oil and natural gas, making the United States the largest energy producer in the world, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering energy prices for consumers,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement. “Yet the Obama administration has sought to regulate it out of existence. This is not only harmful for the economy and consumers, it’s unlawful — as the court has just ruled.”

Congress, in a 2005 law, explicitly stated that the executive branch did not have the power to regulate fracking, the Wall Street Journal points out. That leaves room for states to decide the level of red tape they want to impose on the industry. But Obama, the erstwhile lecturer of constitutional law, didn’t need a 2005 law to tell him that; the spirit of that same statute is found in the Tenth Amendment. The courts have been striking down executive action after executive action of Obama’s because he doesn’t follow the Constitution. It’s especially significant that a judge Obama nominated has called a halt to this instance of unlawful executive overreach.


Bostonians are enjoying being scared by global warming

It relieves the boredom.  The sentence I like best below:  “We have a lot to fear from Antarctica.”  Since Antactica is actually GAINING mass, that reveals that the whole report is entertainment

The consequences of climate change on Boston are expected to be far more calamitous than previous studies have suggested, a new report commissioned by the city says.

In the worst-case scenario, sea levels could rise more than 10 feet by the end of the century — nearly twice what was previously predicted — plunging about 30 percent of Boston under water. Temperatures in 2070 could exceed 90 degrees for 90 days a year, compared with an average of 11 days now.

And changes in precipitation could mean a 50 percent decline in annual snowfall, punctuated by more frequent heavy storms such as nor’easters.

The report, by scientists from the University of Massachusetts and other local universities, has raised concerns in City Hall just two weeks after Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended a climate summit in Beijing.

“The updated climate projections confirm that we must work together to take bold approaches to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change,” Walsh said in a statement.

The report, he said, is part of the city’s effort to assess its vulnerability and to seek solutions. Next year, Boston will host the same climate conference that Walsh attended, with leaders from some 60 US and Chinese cities.

“We take climate change seriously, because we take the health and resilience of our city seriously,” Walsh said. “We will continue to focus on using the best data to inform decisions and understand future investments.”

The updated projections for Boston take into account new research that suggests the accelerating melt of the ice sheets covering Antarctica will have a disproportionate impact on cities along the East Coast.

As ice melts on the South Pole, the resulting gravitational pull on the ocean, as well as the gradual sinking of land in the Northeast, means that Boston and other nearby communities are likely to experience about 25 percent higher increase of sea levels than other parts of the planet, according to the new research.

“Boston is a bull’s-eye for more sea level damage,” said Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at UMass Amherst who helped develop the new Antarctica research and who co-wrote the new Boston report. “We have a lot to fear from Antarctica.”

If high levels of greenhouse gases continue to be released into the atmosphere, the seas around Boston could rise as much as 10.5 feet by 2100 and 37 feet by 2200, according to the report.

Even under optimistic forecasts that factor in significant cuts to carbon emissions, sea levels are projected to rise as much as 6 feet by 2100 and nearly 12 feet by 2200.

Such a dramatic rise would be devastating to Boston. Faneuil Hall, for example, now floods at 5 feet and Copley Square at 7.5 feet above today’s high tides, city officials say.

“If seas rise that much, the New England coastline would look very different from space,” said DeConto, referring to the worst-case scenarios. “There would be huge impacts on our ecosystems, and we would be talking about a managed retreat from the coastline rather than engineering a way to harden our coastline.”

The most comprehensive previous projection of the impact of climate change on Boston was released two years ago in a report by the federal government called the National Climate Assessment.

That report found that the Northeast was already bearing the brunt of climate change, with prolonged heat waves, torrential rains, and increased flooding, which it attributed to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity.

It noted that over the past century average temperatures in Northeastern states have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit. It also found that the region’s precipitation has risen by more than 10 percent, while the worst storms have brought significantly more precipitation.

But the federal report forecast that seas would rise, under the worst case, between 3 and 6 feet by 2100 and projected that the southern states in the Northeast, by midcentury, would experience about 60 additional days per year of temperatures above 90 degrees.

The new report, submitted to city officials this month, raises the stakes for policymakers to curb emissions, said Julie Wormser, vice president for policy and planning at Boston Harbor Now, a local advocacy group.

“In a word, this is awful,” she said of the new projections. “It’s so stark it’s hard to wrap one’s head around.”

She noted that the increased storm surge and high tides could bring significant damage and flooding to the city far sooner than the end of the century, just as Tropical Storm Sandy devastated parts of coastal New Jersey and New York in 2012.

“We will need to come together to prevent Boston’s people and places from flooding where we can, and learn to live with more water where we can’t,” she said.

On the bright side, Carl Spector, commissioner of the city’s Environment Department, said the worst scenarios remain unlikely and a historic agreement reached last year in Paris offered hope that nations around the world could work together to reduce emissions.

But he said the new data about Boston underscore why the city has to consider taking action in the coming years to build barriers and other defenses against the rising seas, revise its building codes, and find other ways to adapt to the changing climate.

“We know even relatively small amounts of sea level rise affect us,” he said. “All the models we’re seeing are concerning.”


Who wants wind turbines?

Last month’s wind-turbine fire near Palm Springs, CA, that dropped burning debris on the barren ground below, serves as a reminder of just one of the many reasons why people don’t want to live near the towering steel structures. In this case, no one was hurt as the motor fire was in a remote, unincorporated area of Palm Springs. But imagine if it was located just hundreds of feet from your back door—as they are in many locations—and the burning debris was raining down into your yard where your children were playing or onto your roof while you are sleeping.

Other reasons no one wants them nearby include the health impacts. Last month, Dave Langrud, of Alden, MN, sent a six-page, detailed complaint to the Minnesota Public Regulatory Commission. In it, he states: “Wisconsin Power and Light constructed the Bent Tree Wind Farm surrounding my home. There are 19 turbines within one mile and 5 within ½ mile. Both my wife and I have had difficulty sleeping in our home since the turbines started operating. If we leave the area, we don’t have this problem. The turbines have also caused severe headaches for my wife. She didn’t have this problem before the turbines, and this isn’t a problem for her when we spend time away from our home and away from the turbines. When we are home, the problems return.”

In response to another recent ongoing complaints at multiple Minnesota wind projects about the proximity of the turbines to residences, commissioners from the Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Commerce, and Pollution Control Agency acknowledged that regarding permitting and setbacks, “the noise standard was not promulgated with wind turbine-like noise in mind. It addresses audible noise, not infrasound. As such, it is not a perfect measure to use in determining noise-related set-backs between wind turbines and residences.” Yet, it is the “measure” that is used. The Commissioners also acknowledged: “At present there is no available funding to conduct such studies.”

Langrud’s letter addresses property values. He asks: “How do we get a fair price if we sell in order to save our health?” But recent studies prove that it isn’t just those forced to live in the shadows of the turbines whose property values are diminished. Waterfront properties that have offshore wind turbines in their viewshed would have a “big impact on coastal tourism,” according to a study from North Carolina State University. The April 2016 report in Science Daily states: “if turbines are built close to shore, most people said they would choose a different vacation location where they wouldn’t have to see turbines.” The economic impact to the coastal communities is estimated to be “$31 million dollars over 20 years.”

A similar study done in Henderson, NY, found a proposed wind project could have “a total loss in property value of up to about $40 million because of the view of turbines.” An interesting feature of the NY study, not addressed in the NC one is how the loss in property taxes, due to reduced values, will be made up. The Watertown Daily Times points out that most of the homes whose values “would fall sharply due to the view of turbines” are “assessed above $1 million.” It states: “homes in the $200,000 range without a view of turbines would probably see an increase in property taxes to make up for the overall drop in property values.” Robert E. Ashodian, a local resident is quoted as saying: “If property values go down and the town isn’t going to spend less money, the tax rate is going to go significantly up for all of the homeowners who aren’t impacted.” Henderson Supervisor John J. Calkin expressed concern over the “devastating impact” the wind project would have on the town and school district.

Offshore wind turbines were supposed to offer a visual benefit, but they, obviously, bring their own set of problems.

The Financial Times reports: “Building wind farms out at sea, rather than on land where critics say they are an eyesore, has made these power stations a less contentious form of clean energy … But it also makes them dearer than most other power stations and many EU governments face pressure to cut green subsidies that opponents say raise electricity prices and make some industries uncompetitive.” The higher cost argument is what has caused Denmark—known as the international poster child for green energy and the first to venture into offshore wind power—to abandon the policies that subsidized the turbines. Cancelling the coastal wind turbines is said to “save the country around 7 billion Krones ($1 billion).” According to Bloomberg: “The center-right government of [Prime Minister] Lars Loekke Rasmussen wants to scrap an electricity tax that has helped subsidize wind turbines since 1998.”

The Danish People’s Party, the largest group in the ruling bloc, is part of the “policy about-face.” Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl says: “You have to remember this is a billion-figure cost that we’re passing on to the Danes.” She added: “We also have a responsibility to discuss the costs we impose on Danes over the next 10 years.”

Germany is facing similar problems with its green energy policies. Energy Digital magazine points out that Germany’s rapid expansion of green energy has “driven up electricity costs and placed a strain on the grid.” As a result, Germany has capped wind power expansion. In fact, subsidies—which drove the growth in renewable energy—are being cut throughout Europe. Bloomberg states: “Europe is falling out of love with renewables.”

Then, there are the U.S. utility companies who are forced to buy the more expensive wind-generated electricity due to an abused—but little known in the public—1978 law that was intended to help the U.S. renewable energy industry get on its feet. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) was designed to give smaller power players an entry into the market. If wind-turbine projects meet the guidelines, utilities must buy the electricity generated at “often above-market” costs. Instead, in many cases, big projects, owned by one company, get divided up into different parcels with unique project names, but are still owned by the major developer.

Energy Biz magazine reports: “PacifiCorp, for one, estimates that such abuses will cost its customers up to $1.1 billion in the coming decade by locking the company into unneeded electricity contracts at rates up to 43-percent higher than market price.” It quotes John Rainbolt, federal affairs chief for Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy: “Our customers essentially pay for PURPA power at 20-percent higher-than-market-based wind prices.” Led by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) a move is underway in Congress to review the nearly 40-year old legislation.

So, residents who live near wind turbines don’t want wind turbines. Nor do residents and renters who have them in the viewshed, governments looking to cut costs, utility companies, or ratepayers. And we haven’t even mentioned those who want to protect birds and bats. Scientific American just addressed the concern that “Bat killings by wind energy turbines continue.” It claims: “wind turbines are, by far, the largest cause of bat mortality around the world” and this includes three species of bats listed—or being considered for listing—under the Endangered Species Act. Bats are important because they eat insects and, therefore, save farmers billions of dollars in pest control each year. Scientific American reports that in addition to dead hawks and eagles found under the wind turbines are thousands of bats.

Who does want wind turbines?

Wind turbine manufacturers, the American Wind Energy Association, and the crony capitalists who benefit from the tax breaks and subsidies—which Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry and Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper, reports total more than $176 billion “given to the biggest players in U.S. wind industry.” He states that the growth in wind energy capacity has “not been fueled by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money.”

To address those who defend rent-seeking wind turbines and squawk about the favorable tax treatment the oil and gas sector gets, Bryce points out: “on an energy equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market prices of natural gas.” Even billionaire Warren Buffett acknowledged that the only reason his companies are in the wind business is: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms.”

(Note: Each of these stories is from just the past several weeks. There are far more concerns that could be addressed, but that would require a length beyond the attention span of everyone but policy wonks.)

If no one but the rent-seeking crony capitalists want wind turbines, why must people like Minnesota’s Langrud have to endure them? Because the wind energy lobby is powerful and “green energy” sounded good decades ago when the pro green-energy policies like PURPA were enacted.

However, as the Bloomberg story on Demark points out: wind power is “a mature industry that no longer needs state aid.” Unfortunately, in December 2015, Congress extended the wind energy tax credits through 2021. But tweaks, such as reforming PURPA, can take place and a new president could totally change the energy emphasis—which would be good, because, it seems, no one really wants wind turbines.


Fukushima -- fact and fiction

Damaging myths about radiation

On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami, which triggered a nuclear accident. Four years later and 9,000 kilometers away, it was February 2015, I was a master's student at the University of Edinburgh, and a guest lecture was about to begin by Japanese researchers on their work in Fukushima.

I knew there had been a nuclear accident in Fukushima. I assumed this had led to dangerous radiation levels and increases in cancers. I had never entertained the thought of visiting.

What happens next could be described as a clash between what I thought I knew and reality.

The researchers gave a series of presentations. They showed us what they had found in Fukushima; there were overwhelmingly low levels of internal and external radiation in residents,1,2 and a mass screening of babies and children revealed that none had detectable levels of internal radiation contamination.3 Yet, other health problems were emerging; in contrast to low levels of radiation, an increased burden of diseases unrelated to radiation, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and more, was being found.4,5 Particular health risks associated with evacuation were highlighted,5 including evidence that immediate evacuation of the elderly from nursing homes was associated with three times higher mortality risk that non-evacuation.6 It was presented to us that radiation may not be the biggest problem for Fukushima.

I was surprised. This appeared to be, in fact, the exact opposite of what one may think about Fukushima. This surely was not the Fukushima I had heard of or visualized, and my curiosity was piqued. I talked to the researchers and proposed an idea for further research. They, in turn, invited me to come to Fukushima to write my Master's dissertation. I agreed.

In May 2015, I first arrived in Fukushima, and began research at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital. I wrote my master's dissertation, graduated, and then was offered a full-time job at the hospital, which is where I am today.

There are a lot of things I could write about, that I have learned from Fukushima. Yet one of the most unexpected parts of this experience has been the confrontation between what I thought I knew, and the reality which I found. There were few things in front of me in Fukushima that matched my original expectations, and I was struck by the feeling that I had been unaware of so much. Yet I also realized that the inaccurate ideas I previously held were surprisingly common. This has led me to think more than ever about what it means to 'know' something, in terms of both myself and others.

Because really, how do we know things? There's not one answer.

Talking about knowledge is difficult. Our own feelings and opinions can become what we know. Observations become what we know. The media can be said to be a source for knowledge. Science is a method of knowing.

But what happens when our knowledge does not reflect the reality of a situation? This brings me to the second biggest thing I have learned since coming to Fukushima: the damage of misinformation. Or in other words, how the ideas that I previously held and continue to see in others can be dangerous.

I never saw the actual results of misinformation until I moved to Fukushima. Now, I see them everywhere.

There is not one all-encompassing example, but we can start by talking about rumors and stigma. A particular problem here has been misinformation about radiation levels and the health implications of such levels; I have heard from many residents about the ways their lives have been affected because of the incorrect information held by others. When trying to evacuate, some were turned away from the homes of their families because radiation was misunderstood as contagious. I am told about the parents of young men, opposing their choice to marry a woman from Fukushima because it is assumed that she will not be able to bear healthy children. Some children themselves believe they will never be able to have healthy offspring in the future, because of what they have heard. There are unending examples.

This is not a beautiful subject to talk about, in fact, this is a terrible subject to talk about. And it is made worse when considering that these beliefs directly contradict what is being found scientifically. Recently, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) formally predicted that there will be no effects of radiation exposure on the health of the general public in Fukushima.7 It was additionally highlighted that there are no expected hereditary or genetic effects that will be seen in new generations.7 The misinformation that has led to stigma and subsequent disruption of lives here therefore appears to be at conflict with the reality of the situation; an example of the tragic impacts mistaken knowledge can have on the lives of disaster-affected populations.

Lots of people say they want to help those in Fukushima. Many specifically mention the children of Fukushima. For this purpose, one of the most common programs I have seen are summer camps specifically for children from Fukushima. Yet, a trend is that these camps often take place outside of Fukushima prefecture. Some programs do not explicitly explain the reason for this, while others market it as an opportunity for respite from the radiation, a chance to run around and play outdoors in nature. And I wonder, are these organizers, these people who say they want to help the children in Fukushima, are they aware of the actual radiation levels here? Are they aware of the beautiful nature in this prefecture, and that it is safe for children to play outside in most places? Of course summer programs for children are great, and I would want any child to have the experience of a fun summer.

But I wonder, do these programs come with the cost of marking these children as victims of their prefecture? I wonder, are the foundations of these camps based on scientific information, or opinion? I wonder, would these camps be more beneficial and allow for more participants if they were held inside Fukushima prefecture? If we really want to make a difference and help people, we should base our actions on reality to be most effective, shouldn't we? But the camps are just the tip of the iceberg. Some people suggest that all the children should be taken out of Fukushima.

Has anyone thought of the negative effects this may have on the lives and livelihoods of these individuals?

I actually had not, until I came here.

A nuclear disaster is a terrible event. It's understandable that people may react emotionally to an unexpected situation that carries risks. Perhaps it's easy to assume the worst, and to spread rumors. Yet, it is of paramount importance to be aware that misinformation carries consequences. Unfounded ideas have led to suffering, and misinformation is one of the biggest things to overcome for the future of Fukushima. I urge everyone to look deeper at the foundations of their knowledge, and to be aware of the reasons something may be viewed in a particular way. Ask yourself what you think about Fukushima, for example, and then why. The second step is to be grounded in information. Read things you agree with, and just as importantly, read things you disagree with. Read and consider everything; I have come to think that this is the only way to get as close to reality as possible without being present at the scene of an event.

Simultaneous realization of the limits of my own knowledge and the impacts that misinformation can have on the lives of people has been one of the most striking aspects of encountering Fukushima. I write this article in hopes that it may prompt others to assess the way they "know," Fukushima and beyond. If we want to pragmatically help people or improve a situation, we must understand the reality of that situation first.

I moved to Fukushima because I realize that I didn't know enough, and I wanted to know more. I still want to know more, and I hope that others will want to know more too.



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