Friday, July 08, 2016

Global temperature back into the normal range

GISS have not yet updated for June but Roy Spencer has -- using the satellite data:

Second largest 2-month drop in global average satellite temperatures.

Largest 2-month drop in tropical average satellite temperatures.

NOTE: This is the fifteenth monthly update with our new Version 6.0 dataset. Differences versus the old Version 5.6 dataset are discussed here. Note we are now at “beta5” for Version 6, and the paper describing the methodology is still in peer review.

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2016 is +0.34 deg. C, down 0.21 deg. C from the May value of +0.55 deg. C

This gives a 2-month temperature fall of -0.37 deg. C, which is the second largest in the 37+ year satellite record…the largest was -0.43 deg. C in Feb. 1988.

In the tropics, there was a record fast 2-month cooling of -0.56 deg. C, just edging out -0.55 deg. C in June 1998 (also an El Nino weakening year).


Cosmo Blames Shark Attacks On Global Warming, Doesn’t Read Own Sources

The women’s magazine Cosmopolitan claimed Friday that global warming will cause a surge in shark attacks this year — but the article’s own sources contradict the claim.

Cosmo’s assertion is based on a National Geographic article from February that states more shark attacks occurred last year than in any other, as well as a study that says sharks are migrating farther north than before.

National Geographic’s explanation for the unusually high number of attacks is that warm El Nino weather encouraged people to go swimming more often. The magazine even quoted shark biologist Frank Schwartz of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who “says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming.”

Shark experts support this position, saying “the number of shark-human interactions occurring in a given year is directly correlated with the amount of time humans spend in the sea,” according to the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

 Cosmo’s claim that sharks will soon start migrating into the waters of New York and New Jersey is countered by the fact that of the 98 total shark attacks worldwide last year, precisely 30 of them occurred in the state of Florida, while the biggest surge of attacks occurred in North Carolina.

Cosmo’s article also says that humans shouldn’t be afraid of sharks because scientists have captured “the first ever sonogram of a pregnant tiger shark, which is pretty cute.”

Other media outlets such as The Daily Mail, Investors Business Daily and CBS News also claimed that global warming should be blamed for any shark attacks this summer. They cited a single expert who told Reuters that rising temperatures might make swimming more popular, which could lead to more attacks.

Environmentalist media, such as EcoWatch, has a long history of linking shark attacks to global warming, but the existence of such a link is doubted by scientists.

There is less than one shark-attack death every two years in America, according to a 2005 study by National Geographic. Statistically speaking, cows are much more dangerous than sharks as they cause 20 deaths annually in the U.S.


Study: US Has More Oil Reserves Than Saudis And Russians

America has more oil reserves than both Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a study published Monday by the Norwegian oil and gas consulting firm Rystad Energy.

The study estimates that America has 264 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil in existing fields, proven reserves and even in fields that haven’t been discovered yet. America’s reserves are larger than Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion and Russia’s 256 billion in oil reserves. The state of Texas alone has roughly 60 billion barrels of shale oil according to the study.

Rystad Energy estimates that there are 2,092 billion barrels in total global oil reserves, or 70 times the current production rate. For comparison, all the oil ever produced up until 2015 only amounts to 1,300 billion barrels.

“There is little potential for future surprises in many other countries, but in the US there is,” Per Magnus Nysveen, an analyst at Rystad Energy, told The Financial Times Monday. “Three years ago the US was behind Russia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.”

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972. American reserves of crude oil and natural gas have risen for six consecutive years despite the U.S. producing more oil and natural gas than any other country. Oil production last year was 80 percent higher than it was in 2008.

The massive expansion of America’s oil reserves is due to new drilling techniques like hydraulic fracturing, fracking, and horizontal drilling. The American frakcing boom was the driving factor behind the recent oil price collapse from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.

These innovations have allowed America to increase its oil production faster than at any time in history. The process helped America surpass Russia as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil last year. American oil production in 2015 was 80 percent higher than it was in 2008. The U.S. produced an average of about 9.3 million barrels of crude oil per day in June.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in 2000 America got roughly 2 percent of its oil, about 102,000 barrels per day, from fracking. America got 51 percent of its oil, about 4.3 million barrels per day, from fracking in 2015.

The study does not include oil shale, which excludes the fact that America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.


Eco-Terrorists May Have Spiked Logs To Cripple Lumber Mills

A lumber mill in Oregon is on the look out after learning environmentalists and conservationists may have jammed metal spikes in its logs in an effort to slow down or stop logging in the state.

A green group calling itself SAP claimed on environmental website “Earth First! Newswire” that it used the eco-terrorist tactic — which was popular in the 1990s as a way to seriously injure loggers — at the Swanson Brothers mill June 11 near Eugene, Ore.

Larry Konnie, the president of the mill, said his crew was operating as usual for two days prior to learning about SAP’s claim. “It makes me think they wanted to hurt somebody,” Konnie added.

No spikes have been found yet, according to Konnie.


African farming sacrificed to European green politics, blocking GMO innovation

The call, in a report made by the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, not to support genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa is unfortunate and an attempt to institutionalize poverty on the continent.

The G7 group of nations’ joint initiative with the New Alliance—aimed at lifting 500 million people out of poverty by 2022 using 10 African countries as pilot studies—to start using genetically modified tools in agricultural production is being thrown out of the window.

The report recommended that intensive agriculture that made Europe, the Americas, and many parts of Asia food secure should not be applied in Africa, but that the continent remain with small-scale farming practices that have not been able to meet our food and nutrition needs. Despite the huge tonnage of GM cereals and legumes imported into Europe used as feedstuff, their cultivation is prohibited—to ‘protect’ the environment, to maintain the organic market and, more importantly, for ideological reasons.

This was nicely described as ‘cultivation forbidden, importation indispensable‘ by Giovanni Tagliabue in a 2016 paper (The EU Legislation on “GMOs”: Between Nonsense and Protectionism, a paper for the 20th ICABR Conference) in which the author gave the example of the genetically modified Amflora potato which, due to long delays, was not commercialized only to be produced through mutagenesis and commercialized with no fuss as it was politically a “non-GMO”.

This saga between Europe and America makes Africa suffer. It has been established that agricultural biotechnology is needs-based in Africa. Reports from other developing countries that adopted the technology speaks volume on benefits; the risk aspects being properly managed by their regulators. The African end users, farmers and consumers need to be given the opportunity to access and assess the technology themselves.

The African political leadership is aware of the responsibilities of adopting the technologies properly. This is the reason most African countries and the EU Member States are parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which states in Article 16 that the transfer of technology, including biotechnologies, is essential to the attainment of the goals of the Convention. The CBD further urges Parties in Article 19 to promote priority access to the benefits arising from biotechnologies, especially for developing countries. Furthermore, 44 out of the 54 African Union Member States have signed and ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

This call for Africa not to grow GMOs will be in contravention of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In addition to this, the African Union Commission together with its technical arm, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency, developed a Biotechnology Strategy for Africa in 2007 and in 2008 established a unit to see to the safe and responsible application of the technologies called the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE). The mandate is to build functional regulatory systems in Member States that would like to adopt the technologies. It is also to build capacity for African regulators in all aspects of agricultural biotechnology regulatory work and thereby build confidence in decision making.

Moreover, other biosafety service providers in Africa include the USAID Program for Biosafety System, the Biosafety Unit of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and a number of biosafety civil society groups. This is intended to point out that regulatory systems are optimal especially in those Member States that have adopted or are in the process of adopting GM technologies in Africa. What we are striving to achieve in Africa is to embrace a science-based approach in the GMO policy decisions, with European Food Safety Authority as our excellent reference point although the MEPs have difficulties with some of its findings.

On trade, once Africa Member States are able to harmonize the regulatory frameworks properly within the regional economic communities (REC), intra-Africa trade is big enough to mop up GM products. Aside from this, the application of GM technologies focuses on African commodities that are of little or no significance in Europe except for Africans in diaspora and Europeans who have developed a taste for such commodities—as such, the level of trade for these purposes is minimal.

It is on these aforementioned opinions that the European Parliament should uphold its tenets of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights by not opposing African Union’s efforts to make use of all available beneficial technologies.

It is surprising to note that this call is only for Africa but not to other developing countries in Latin America and Asia. The African farmer must have the right to decide whether to plant improved seeds and must have access to safe new products that will benefit the family farm, local communities and also contribute to improved livelihoods and socio-economic development.


Report: New Documents Confirm: ‘Climate RICO’ AGs Attempting to Write Themselves Out of Transparency Laws to Hide Abusive Campaign

New responses from state Attorneys General offices (OAGs) obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) confirm that the coalition of Democratic Attorneys General using racketeering laws to investigate universities, climate scientists, free market think tanks and energy companies are hiding behind a contract with each other — also apparently with outside activists helping the campaign — to avoid releasing public records relating to their pursuit of political opponents.

This confirms suggestions in prior emails, obtained under state open records laws, that the AGs had entered what they are calling a Common Interest Agreement (CIA), with green activists and other AGs, and are using this contract of nondisclosure among themselves to keep public records regarding their RICO push from the public.

CIAs are common instruments, but what the AGs and green groups have attempted is not; nor is keeping the pact itself from the public normal.  To be legitimate, parties to a common interest agreement must have imminent litigation, a clear scope and clearly shared interests.  Instead, documents obtained to date show that these AGs and their green-group colleagues with inherently disparate interests have entered not a legitimate CIA, but a pact of secrecy, covering broad topics, not specific matters, simply to avoid scrutiny of otherwise public records relating to their extraordinarily controversial abuse of political opponents’ First Amendment rights.

“We have confirmed that the Democratic AGs are citing a Common Interest Agreement to avoid releasing crucial information to the public, as they continue their abuse of power”, said David W. Schnare, E&E Legal General Counsel. “The earlier draft we obtained showed the desire to exempt AGs’ correspondence, which are deemed public records by their legislatures, from open records laws if they related not just to defense of the Obama administration’s EPA rules, but to investigations and nearly anything else they might not want released involving “fossil fuels”, “renewable energy”, or “climate”.”  It appears these terms survived in a new agreement.

This pact of secrecy, written by New York’s Eric Schneiderman, promises to alert each party about, and force requesting parties to sue for satisfaction of, public (or media) records requests seeking information about this abuse of office in going after opponents of the “climate” agenda.

This revelation, and that these AGs think they can hide from the public even the names of outside activists with whom they have contracted a promise to stonewall FOIA requests, as well as the vow of secrecy itself, raises more questions about the scope and intentions behind the investigations.

“In short, these activist AGs are trying to write themselves out from freedom of information laws their legislatures have written them into,” said E&E Legal senior fellow Chris Horner.  Horner continued, “they are hiding behavior that seems to be precisely the sort of abuse lawmakers sought to expose to sunlight when deciding to cover their states’ chief law enforcement officers under FOIA laws, particularly their use of nearly limitless powers to chill opposition and damage political opponents.”

In March, E&E Legal obtained documents showing that NY Attorney General Schneiderman’s office circulated a CIA to a coalition of AGs participating in a press conference with Al Gore to announce their cooperation on a wide array of possible steps to protect the Obama administration’s “climate” agenda, from defending EPA rules to investigating “fossil fuel” companies. Staff from Vermont’s OAG raised concerns in an email, specifically their discomfort about contracting a default promise to make requesters of public records sue to obtain the information.

Vermont OAG clearly became more comfortable with this position after revelations of the first open records act release blew up in all their faces, now forcing E&E Legal to sue in an ongoing case to obtain further public records.

That first release also revealed a March 30, 2016 email from NY OAG indicating it would circulate a new agreement prior to their April 12 organizing call. Clearly it did so, and activist AGs signed on, possibly also with activist groups but regardless promising to keep their work with these “outside consultants” from the public and the media.

Late last week, in response to an E&E Legal appeal of withholding records relating to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office involvement in the RICO push,that office told E&E Legal that it was withholding the disclosure of certain records because “a common interest agreement (Agreement) was entered into by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the other affected stakeholders related to a number of the withheld records. Under the terms of that Agreement, particular categories of documents are to remain confidential.”

In an earlier email, Rhode Island OAG Special Assistant Attorney General Gregory Schultz emailed his agreement to sign an April 12, 2016 CIA, though by that time no office had yet acknowledged the existence of such a pact.  Indeed, the New York, Vermont and California OAGs denied public records requests by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) for any such contracts to secrecy.

Thus, the states have decided that they can not only write a contract making public records invisible to the citizenry, but prevent citizens from even taking a look at the contract itself.

Yesterday, Rhode Island offered further, facially absurd reasons for not providing the agreement itself, a wholly separate issue and even more facially abusive than claiming records are exempt from FOIA laws because one OAG promised another, and some green-group activists, that it wouldn’t release them.

What are these crusading AGs afraid of the public learning about their investigations?  Why are they invoking absurd claims to try and withhold documents — and writing themselves a blank check to self-exempt from the FOIA laws their legislators apparently thought those with the authority to exercise police powers had better be subject to?  Why are they making parties sue to obtain these public records, which even Vermont’s OAG acknowledged was improper?

The obvious answer to all of this is that they are afraid of the embarrassment they will suffer once people see what they hastily agreed to, which also subjects these offices to potential civil rights lawsuits and other countersuits by those they’ve targeted.

“E&E Legal expects to do whatever is necessary to get these public records before the public, to educate on this unprecedented abuse of power”, said E&E Legal’s Executive Director Craig Richardson. “All that we have found indicates that these AGs and their outside activist partners will make litigation necessary at every turn.”



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