The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century. The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick. The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees -- thus showing ZERO warming

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

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19 December, 2014

More unsettled science:  It's squirrels and beavers who are causing  global warming

Strange that there hasn't been any for a long time, though

Rodents such as squirrels and beavers are contributing far more to global warming than previously thought, forcing climate scientists to alter the models they use to chart how the world is warming up.

Arctic ground squirrels churn up and warm soil in the Tundra, releasing carbon dioxide, while methane released by beavers contributes 200 times more methane than they did 100 years ago, according to scientists from the American Geophysical Union.

Faeces and urine produced by rodents are speeding up the release of carbon from the permafrost, the vast store of greenhouses spanning the Arctic Circle, researchers found.

Dr Sue Natali, from the AGU, said "We know wildlife impacts vegetation, and we know vegetation impacts thaw and soil carbon.

"It certainly has a bigger impact than we've considered and it's something we will be considering more and more going into the future."

Dr Natali added: "Carbon has been accumulating in permafrost for tens of thousands of years. The temperature is very cold, the soils are saturated, so that when plants and animals die, rather than decompose, the carbon has been slowly, slowly building up.

"Right now the carbon storage is about 1,500 billion tonnes. To put that in perspective, that's about twice as much as is contained in the atmosphere."

As part of the Polaris Project, Dr Natali, from Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, and Nigel Golden, from the University of Wisconsin travelled to Siberia to study the underground burrows of arctic squirrels.

The team found that this activity meant that the burrows were warmer than the surrounding ground, while nitrogen that the squirrels were adding to the ground through their waste was also having an impact.

Beavers, meanwhile, have dammed up more than 16,200 square miles of ponds. A separate paper, published in the journal AMBIO, found that beavers are responsible for releasing around 881,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere each year, much more than cud-chewing animals such as deer or antelope.

It means scientists will in the future have to alter their theories around anthropogenic, or man-made, climate change to take account of 'rodentopogenic' influences, scientists told Mail Online.


Leftist hack Dana Milbank finally deigns to listen to some skeptics

He wrote the following in the Washington Post:

For years, the fossil-fuel industries have been telling us that global warming is a hoax based on junk science.

But now these industries are floating an intriguing new argument: They’re admitting that human use of coal, oil and gas is causing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise — but they’re saying this is a good thing. We need more CO2 in our lives, not less.

“CO2 is basically plant food, and the more CO2 in the environment the better plants do,” proclaimed Roger Bezdek, a consultant to energy companies, at an event hosted Monday by the United States Energy Association, an industry trade group.

The session, at the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, was devoted to demonstrating that “CO2 benefits clearly outweigh any hypothesized costs.” And though Bezdek is an economist, not a scientist, he played one on Monday — showing a PowerPoint presentation that documented a tree growing faster when exposed to more carbon dioxide.

“CO2 increases over the past several decades have increased global greening by about 11 percent,” the consultant said. Higher carbon levels in the atmosphere will boost worldwide agricultural productivity by $10 trillion over the next 35 years, he added.

And this doesn’t include the indirect benefits of good-ol’ CO2. “Over the past two centuries, global life expectancy has more than doubled, population has increased eightfold, incomes have increased 11-fold. At the same time, CO2 concentrations increased from 320 ppm to about 400 ppm,” Bezdek said, using the abbreviation for parts per million. The benefits of CO2, he said, exceed its costs by ratios of between 100-1 and 900-1. A chart helpfully illustrated this “Close Link Between CO2 & GDP.”

I’m neither a scientist nor an economist, but I’ve heard that correlation is not the same as causation. I pointed out to Bezdek that increasing energy use fueled the economic growth, and CO2 was just a byproduct. So wouldn’t it make more sense to use cleaner energy?

“Fossil fuels will continue to provide 75, 80, 85 percent of the world’s energy for at least the next four or five decades,” he asserted. And even if we could reduce CO2, we shouldn’t. “If these benefits are real — and there have been five decades and thousands of studies and major conferences that pretty much have proven they are — then maybe we shouldn’t be too eager to get rid of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

This was some creative thinking, and it took a page from the gun lobby, which argues that the way to curb firearm violence is for more people to be armed.

Another questioner at the event asked Bezdek if he had considered ocean acidification, the release of methane gases, pollution and other side effects of rising CO2. This did not trouble him. “As you develop and you become wealthier,” he explained, “you have the wealth to clean up the mess.” He went on to point out that “35,000 people every year in the United States die in automobile accidents, but the solution is not to ban automobiles. You try to make them safer.”

And the solution to climate change is not to ban energy but to make it cleaner.

The U.S. Energy Association membership comes from various sectors but includes big petroleum companies and utilities. Bezdek seemed to have a special place in his heart for coal, “the major world energy source of the past, present and future .?.?. lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

The presentation began as a standard recitation of the climate-change denial position, that “there’s been no global warming for almost two decades” and that forecasts are “based on flawed science.”

But then Bezdek pivoted into a robust defense of carbon dioxide’s benefits. “These days, CO2 seems to be blamed for everything,” he lamented, but the much-maligned gas is what’s keeping the world from an economic collapse so deep “you’d look upon North Korea as an economic consumer’s paradise, literally.” He mocked European efforts to use renewable fuels (“You can’t check your e-mail today because the wind isn’t blowing”) and he said that in the United States, “inability to pay utility bills is the second-leading cause of homelessness.”

Clearly, more CO2 would make us all breathe easier. “Controlled studies indicated that twice today’s levels would be very good for agriculture,” he said, “and below certain levels .?.?. plants wouldn’t grow and we wouldn’t live.”

Luckily, we need not worry about that, because Bezdek is confident fossil fuels will continue to prevail. In “2070 will we have a new and different energy source?” he asked. “Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

Definitely don’t hold your breath, sir. We need all the CO2 we can get.


Craig Idso comments:

"It is a shame how these people operate.  We all know they are the real deniers, denying observations, the scientific method and truth as they cling to their apocalyptic dogma.  We need more stories and visuals of the benefits of CO2 so the world can see for themselves in simple terms the stupidity of people like Dana Milbank who suggest fossil fuels/rising CO2 concentrations do not provide biospheric and human benefits.  Let's all promote the positives of CO2 and fossil fuels more, especially since it riles them so much!"

Will Happer sent the following note to Roger Bezdek

"Dear Roger,

I am delighted that the Washington Post has finally run a story on the benefits of CO2. Congratulations.  For years Craig Idso and his father Sherwood, and others have been pointing out that the benefits of CO2 far outweigh any harm, but they have been unable to get coverage in the Washington  Post, the New York Times, etc.  You have.  And by the standards of the global warming cult, you were treated very sympathetically.

Remember comment by Shopenhauer:  "All truth passes through three states, first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed,  and thirdly it is accepted as self-evident." The Washington Post article is part of stage one.  You should get ready for stage two, which will include death threats.  We are facing a really vicious and powerful cult that will stop at nothing to protect its influence.  Sooner or later we will reach stage three."

Even Before Long Winter Begins, Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England

Courtesy of the Greenies

SALEM, N.H. — John York, who owns a small printing business here, nearly fell out of his chair the other day when he opened his electric bill.

For October, he had paid $376. For November, with virtually no change in his volume of work and without having turned up the thermostat in his two-room shop, his bill came to $788, a staggering increase of 110 percent. “This is insane,” he said, shaking his head. “We can’t go on like this.”

For months, utility companies across New England have been warning customers to expect sharp price increases, for which the companies blame the continuing shortage of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to the region.

Now that the higher bills are starting to arrive, many stunned customers are finding the sticker shock much worse than they imagined. Mr. York said he would have to reduce his hours, avoid hiring any new employees, cut other expenses and ultimately pass the cost on to his customers.

Like turning back the clocks and putting on snow tires, bracing for high energy bills has become an annual rite of the season in New England. Because the region’s six states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — have an integrated electrical grid, they all share the misery.

These latest increases are salt in the wound. New England already pays the highest electricity rates of any region in the 48 contiguous states because it has no fossil fuels of its own and has to import all of its oil, gas and coal. In September, residential customers in New England paid an average retail price of 17.67 cents per kilowatt-hour; the national average was 12.94 cents.

Beyond that, the increases confound common sense, given that global oil prices have dropped to their lowest levels in years, and natural gas is cheap and plentiful from the vast underground shale reserves in nearby Pennsylvania.

But the benefits are not being felt here. Connecticut’s rate of 19.74 cents per kilowatt-hour for September was the highest in the continental United States and twice that of energy-rich states like West Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rate, 8.95 cents, was in Washington State, where the Columbia River is the nation’s largest producer of hydropower.

For the coming winter, National Grid, the largest utility in Massachusetts, expects prices to rise to 24.24 cents, a record high. The average customer will pay $121.20 a month, a 37 percent increase from $88.25 last winter.

The utilities argue that they are hamstrung unless they can increase the pipeline capacity for natural gas, which powers more than half of New England. That would not only lower costs for consumers, they say, but also create thousands of construction jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The region has five pipeline systems now. Seven new projects have been proposed. But several of them — including a major gas pipeline through western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and a transmission line in New Hampshire carrying hydropower from Quebec — have stalled because of ferocious opposition.

The concerns go beyond fears about blighting the countryside and losing property to eminent domain. Environmentalists say it makes no sense to perpetuate the region’s dependence on fossil fuels while it is trying to mitigate the effects of climate change, and many do not want to support the gas-extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has made the cheap gas from Pennsylvania available.

Consumers have been left in the middle, as baffled as they are angry. Utilities across the region are holding workshops and town meetings to try to address their concerns and offer tips on energy conservation. About 100 people showed up this month for a meeting at Salem High School here that included a presentation by Liberty Utilities, the largest natural gas distributor in New Hampshire.

John Shore, a company spokesman, told the audience that in times of peak demand, the available natural gas went first to residential and business customers. Some power plants that normally rely on gas then turn to more expensive fuels like oil, although not all plants have the ability to switch fuels. In some cases, electric generating plants go offline, and more expensive generators are used to make up the capacity.

A year ago, the governors of the six New England states agreed to pursue a coordinated regional strategy, including more pipelines and at least one major transmission line for hydropower. The plan called for electricity customers in all six states to subsidize the projects, on the theory that they would make up that money in lower utility bills.

But in August, the Massachusetts Legislature rejected the plan, saying in part that cheap energy would flood the market and thwart attempts to advance wind and solar projects. That halted the whole effort.


Dangerously rising sea levels in Florida?

Florida’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change doesn’t seem at first blush to be a Canadian issue.

But every year, some 3.5 million Canadians travel to the sunshine state. What’s more, about half a million Canadians own property in Florida, much of it at risk from rising sea levels.

A lot of that property, particularly if it’s situated along one of the coveted stretches of Miami’s fabled beaches, could well be worthless and literally underwater in a few decades, says Harold Wanless, the chair of the department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami.

His word for the future of Miami and much south Florida? Doomed.

The “monster” in climate change, as Wanless sees it, is a warming ocean. Sea levels will rise because water expands as it gets warmer, and oceans are taking up vast amounts of heat produced by global warming.

Warmer water is also driving the accelerated melting of the vast ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

Wanless says a two-metre rise in sea level by 2100 is likely, but says it’s also plausible it could be as much as five metres by the end of the century, and it will continue rising for centuries after that.

And the facts?

Sea levels around Florida have been rising at a rate of 2.01mm/year since 1897, but this rate has been slowing down in recent years, rising by just 1.3mm/year in the last 30 years.

Meanwhile, 50-year trends show that the fastest rate of rise occurred between 1910 and 1960.

Finally, it should be pointed out that, according to Church & White, the Florida coast is sinking at the rate of 0.27mm/year, thus accounting for a fifth of the recent rate of rise.

Two metres by the end of the century? And he is supposed to be a scientist?

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

New York state to ban fracking over health fears

New York state is looking to ban fracking, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said he is recommending a ban. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is deferring to Mr Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in making the decision.

"I cannot support high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York," Mr Zucker said, adding that the "cumulative concerns" about fracking "give me reason to pause".

Mr Zucker and Mr Martens summarised the findings of their environmental and health reviews. They concluded that shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing carried unacceptable risks that haven't been sufficiently studied.

Mr Martens says the Department of Environmental Conservation will put out a final environmental impact statement early next year, and after that he'll issue an order prohibiting fracking.

Fracking, which involves injecting water into rock to release gas, has sparked controversy in the UK and US, and New York has had a ban on shale gas development since the environmental review began in 2008.

"Mounting scientific evidence points to serious health risks from fracking operations," said Kate Sinding, deputy director of the New York programme at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"With this announcement, the governor has listened, ... demonstrating both courage and national leadership on this critical issue."


McConnell: 'First Item' in Next Senate Will Be Keystone XL Pipeline

"We'll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support," Sen. Mitch McConnell, the next majority leader, told reporters on Tuesday, the last day of the current Congress.

"The first item up in the new Senate will be the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Hoeven bill. It will be open for amendment. We'll hope that senators on both sides will offer energy-related amendments, but there'll be no effort to try to micromanage the amendment process. And we'll move forward and hopefully be able to pass a very important, job-creating bill early in the session."

McConnell noted that permission to bring a new segment of the Keystone Pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border has been delayed for six years.

"The notion that building another pipeline is somehow threatening to the environment is belied by the fact that we already have 19 pipelines, I'm told, by (Sen.) Lisa Murkowski, that cross either the Mexican border or the Canadian border. Multiple studies, over and over again, showing no measurable harm to the environment. People want jobs. And this project will create well-paying, high wage jobs for our people.

"It certainly does enjoy a lot of bipartisan support. You saw that on the vote that was held a couple of weeks ago. And we're optimistic we can pass it and put it on the president's desk."

McConnell said the Senate will take up a bill introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

The Hoeven legislation authorizes TransCanada to construct and operate the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, transporting an additional 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries.

The State Department's final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), released in January, concluded that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would have no significant impact on the environment. Hoeven said if Congress passes legislation authorizing construction of the project, a presidential permit would no longer be needed.

Last month, a Senate attempt to advance Keystone legislation fell one vote short of the 60 votes needed. Shortly before that mid-November vote, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked if President Obama would veto the bill.

Earnest said the president considers the State Department, not Congress, to be "the proper venue for reaching this determination."

"So I think we'll probably wait and see what happens in the Senate, and see whether or not the president -- this comes to the president's desk before we sort of make decisions about the next steps."

With a new Republican majority in both the Senate and the House, the Keystone bill is likely to pass in 2015. But it would need 67 votes in the Senate to override a veto.

With that in mind, Hoeven has said he may roll the pipeline bill into a "broader energy package or appropriations bill that the president will not want to veto."



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18 December, 2014

Some woolly Green/Left thinking in CA

What would it affect if Californian entities "divested" from coal shares?  Very little.  Not a kilo less of coal would be produced and used.  All that would happened is a slight depression of the value of shares in coal companies -- making them cheaper for investors and particularly attractive to investors looking for dividends.

And after California aiming to subject gasoline sellers to the extra cost burden of cap & trade laws, Steyer blames oil companies for putting up gas prices!  Does he seriously not see the connection between increasing  taxes on something and prices of that something going up?

With Republicans threatening to shove climate change to the back seat as they take control of the U.S. Senate, state officials including Gov. Jerry Brown huddled with one of the nation’s leading Democratic donors Monday to talk up ways to keep it on California’s agenda — including legislation that could send a shiver through the coal industry.

The state Senate’s top leader said at an Oakland forum organized by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer that he’s planning to introduce a measure next year to require the state’s public-employee pension funds to sell their coal-related investments.

“Climate change is the top priority of the California state Senate,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. He said his legislation would require that the California Public Employees Retirement System, which manages public employees’ pensions and health benefits, and the California State Teachers Retirement System divest millions of dollars in coal-related investments.

“Coal is a dirty fossil fuel, and we generate very little electricity in California from coal,” de León said. “And I think our values should shift in California.”

But not oil and gas

De León, who just returned from an international climate-change summit in Peru, said he hadn’t worked out the specifics of his bill but that it would be limited to coal investments. He said it would not extend to all fossil-fuel holdings such as those in oil and gas production.

“We’re working out all the (divestment) details,” he said. “We’re talking about a way that’s smart and intelligent, not a way that hurts investment strategies.”

Climate-change activists have been pushing large investors to shed their holdings in coal, a major contributor to greenhouse gases. CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund with $300 billion in investments, would be the environmental movement’s biggest prize should de León be able to push his legislation into law.

The biggest name at the California Climate Leadership forum was Brown, who said the state would face strong opposition from “very powerful people” as it continues its aggressive approach to climate change.

Those efforts include bringing gasoline sellers and distributors under the state’s landmark cap-and-trade climate law as of Jan. 1, requiring them to purchase credits to emit greenhouse gas pollutants. It’s been targeted as a “hidden gas tax” by the Western States Petroleum Association, which is lobbying to delay its implementation.

On the national front, Republicans who take control of the Senate next month have targeted several Obama administration initiatives aimed at reducing global warming. In particular, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has vowed to strip funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

“We can do things in California,” Brown said, “but if others don’t follow, it will be futile.”

Fighting Darth Vaders

For his part, the 57-year-old Steyer depicted environmentalists as the good guys in a “Star Wars”-like battle for the planet’s health — with oil companies cast as a collection of Darth Vaders who are fully capable of raising gas prices “in order to punish us.”


Green on the Outside, Red in the Middle

Bolivian President Evo Morales is a socialist, and, unlike American Democrats, doesn’t need to hide his true colors. Speaking at the United Nations' Lima Climate Change Conference – the one with the biggest carbon footprint yet – Morales said, “The deep causes of global warming are not being dealt with here. The origin of global warming lies in capitalism. If we could end capitalism then we would have a solution.”

We’ll admit his honesty is somewhat refreshing, if disconcerting all the same. Morales continued, “After 30 years of negotiations, global warming is still going on. So many people and countries do not act responsibly. They are only thinking about profits, luxuries and markets. They are not thinking about life, but only of money and how to accumulate more capital.”

That capital has lifted millions out of poverty, lengthened life spans and provided technology and comforts. But socialists like him would rather spread the poverty and explain it away as saving the planet.


More unsettled science

Your all-electric car may not be so green: Researchers say electricity generated by coal plants can cause MORE pollution than simply using gasoline

People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.

The controversial study raises major questions over the future of 'green' cars.

The authors looked at liquid biofuels, diesel, compressed natural gas, and electricity from a range of conventional and renewable sources.

Their analysis included not only the pollution from vehicles, but also emissions generated during production of the fuels or electricity that power them.

With ethanol, for example, air pollution is released from tractors on farms, from soils after fertilizers are applied, and to supply the energy for fermenting and distilling corn into ethanol.

'Unfortunately, when a wire is connected to an electric vehicle at one end and a coal-fired power plant at the other end, the environmental consequences are worse than driving a normal gasoline-powered car,' said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who wasn't part of the study but praised it.

Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent, it concluded.

Ethanol isn't so green, either, the researchers claimed.

'It's kind of hard to beat gasoline' for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota.

'A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean ... are not better than gasoline.'

The key is where the source of the electricity all-electric cars.

If it comes from coal, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity, according to the study that is published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They also are significantly worse at heat-trapping carbon dioxide that worsens global warming, it found.

The study examines environmental costs for cars' entire life cycle, including where power comes from and the environmental effects of building batteries.

The states with the highest percentage of electricity coming from coal, according to the Department of Energy, are West Virginia, Wyoming, Ohio, North Dakota, and Illinois.

Still, there's something to be said for the idea of helping foster a cleaner technology that will be better once it is connected to a cleaner grid, said study co-author Jason Hill, another University of Minnesota engineering professor.

The study finds all-electric vehicles cause 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than do cars powered by regular gasoline.

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas.

But ethanol isn't, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.

'If we're using ethanol for environmental benefits, for air quality and climate change, we're going down the wrong path,' Hill said.


Peru Plans to Charge Greenpeace Activists for Damage to Nazca Lines

President Ollanta Humala of Peru criticized the environmental group Greenpeace on Saturday for not respecting his country’s archaeological heritage as authorities said they intended to seek criminal charges against several activists who damaged the fragile desert around the Nazca Lines.

Greenpeace stirred up a storm of controversy in Peru last week after a group of about 12 activists on Monday entered a protected area around the famous lines to place a sign promoting renewable energy on the ground. The sign was meant to attract the attention of world leaders who were in Lima for a United Nations summit meeting on climate change.

Officials said that the activists walking over the fragile desert ground left marks that cannot be removed. The Nazca Lines were created over 1,000 years ago, and include enormous figures of birds, mammals and geometric shapes etched into the earth.

Mr. Humala said Greenpeace had “simply come to trample on” the country’s heritage. “We must simply spread the word, alert the world,” Mr. Humala said. “Watch out at the Taj Mahal, watch out at the pyramids in Egypt, because we all face the threat that Greenpeace could attack any of humanity’s historical heritage.”

He said that he hoped that prosecutors and the courts would take action against the activists.

In a strange twist, a judge on Saturday rejected a request by prosecutors to detain the activists or keep them from leaving the country, saying that prosecutors had failed to provide their addresses. But the request by prosecutors appeared to be too late anyway, since Greenpeace had said a day earlier that the activists had already left Peru. Luis Jaime Castillo, the vice minister for cultural heritage, said in a telephone interview that the authorities still intended to pursue criminal charges against the activists.

He said that he had met with several Greenpeace members in Lima on Thursday. The group included one of the activists who took part in the incident at the Nazca Lines. He identified the activist as Mauro Fernández, who appeared in a video taken during the stunt and posted later online.

Mr. Castillo said that he asked for the names of the other activists who participated in the stunt, and that Mr. Fernández told him that he could not remember their names.

That appeared to fly in the face of pledges by Greenpeace to cooperate with the authorities. Mr. Castillo said officials suspected that some members of the group had visited the site on a previous occasion to prepare for the stunt.

Greenpeace has issued a statement apologizing for the incident. A Greenpeace spokesman could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The ground around the lines consists of white sand topped by a layer of darker rocks. When the activists entered the area they disturbed the top layer, exposing the sand below.


No fast track authority, roll back EPA regs instead

“[R]ecent trade deals, like the World Trade Organization trade deal, had no labor or environmental standards.”

That was the AFL-CIO, objecting to fast track trade authority for the Obama administration to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements expected to come up in Congress next year.

Labor groups object to free trade agreements because other nations refuse to adopt the same high regulatory standards on the environment and labor costs that the U.S. has — leaving American workers at a disadvantage.

AFL-CIO actually has an interesting point — but for the opposite reason.

Nobody expects any foreign country to sign a trade agreement requiring it to adopt the same onerous environmental and labor restrictions we have. Why would they? It willfully puts themselves at a competitive disadvantage globally, tantamount to an economic suicide pact.

In a similar vein, nobody should expect the U.S. to agree to new trade deals while burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations remain in place.

Because of these regulatory imbalances, the U.S. economy has an artificially higher cost of doing business compared to countries like Vietnam or Malaysia.

If President Barack Obama wants these trade agreements, Republican majorities in the House and Senate next year should not give him carte blanche via fast track.

Instead, there needs to be a consensus about how to make U.S. competitive globally again. Necessarily, that must include a look at the EPA’s 2009 carbon endangerment finding, which ruled that carbon dioxide, a biological gas necessary for the very existence of life, is a “harmful pollutant” under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

This has opened up the door for additional regulations, including the regional haze rule, carbon restrictions on new and existing coal power plants, the new ozone rule,  and the “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants” that restricts mercury emissions from plants.

Sue-and-settle arrangements the agency enters with organizations are a problem, too. This is where a group sues demanding that the EPA enforce the law in a new, expanded way and the agency enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge — leaving the agency with new powers under the Clean Air and Water Acts.

These rules all make it more expensive to do business here, hurting our position globally.

What, those items aren’t on the table? Then, why is there a push for new trade deals that will favor foreign, lower cost producers over American workers? The AFL-CIO is right. Under the existing regulatory framework, this will not be a good deal for the U.S. economy.

Without significant efforts to roll back the regulatory, administrative state in the U.S., these trade deals should not even be in the conversation. Let alone fast track authority, which establishes a process that allows no amendments and limits debate in the Senate.

Why would Republicans in Congress agree to a process that surrenders their constitutional prerogative to use trade agreements as leverage to achieve other changes to U.S. regulatory policy that might get our economy moving again? It makes no sense. What’s in it for the American people?


Australia Federal government still trying to cut back on "renewable" energy target

ENVIRONMENT Minister Greg Hunt will meet rogue senator Jacqui Lambie in Hobart today as he begins courting the crossbench over the renewable energy target.

Mr Hunt is ramping up talks with the crossbench senators while Labor refuses to re-engage in negotiations. The opposition acknowledges the scheme needs bipartisan support, but has said it will not negotiate unless the government shifts on its “cut of 40 per cent to the RET”.

Senator Lambie, who will drive from Burnie to Hobart to meet Mr Hunt, said she was “encouraged” by a letter from the minister yesterday.

In the letter, obtained by The Australian, Mr Hunt says he appreciates “the pressures faced by businesses around the country, including in Tasmania” and looks “forward to constructive discussions with the opposition”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Hunt said he was travelling to Tasmania “for a range of meetings relating to his portfolio”. The government was “hopeful” Labor would return to the table and was “willing to hear the suggestions and proposals from the crossbench and will negotiate with the crossbench should Labor refuse to re-engage”.

Senator Lambie urged the government and opposition to restart RET talks, saying renewable energy providers “deserve some certainty”.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, meanwhile, said he was “confident” at least six of the crossbench senators supported his controversial plan to bring existing hydro into the target. Senator Leyonhjelm, who met with Mr Hunt last week, said the minister was also “interested”. The Australian could only confirm Family First senator Bob Day and independent senator John Madigan as supportive.



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

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17 December, 2014

Weather Records Keep Falling: Cold, Snow and Ice

Record setting cold and snow, not global warming, became the norm in November 2014. According to Ice Age Now: Four Thousand eight hundred fifty six locations in the U.S. set daily record low-high temperatures in November and another 4,121 saw record lows at least one day in November. For the month as a whole, 94 locations set a new monthly record low and 1435 locations set an average record low-high temperature for the month as a whole. Indeed, for the year-to-date, nearly 28,000 locations saw record lows during 2014, and another 19,500, locations set record low-daily-highs.

The Weather Channel reported cities across the U.S. experiencing record daily low temperatures for November, including: Casper, Wyoming: -27 (Nov. 12) and -26 (Nov. 13); Redmond, Oregon: 17 (Nov. 15) and -19 (Nov. 16) each was colder than previous record of -14 (Nov. 15, 1955); Joplin, Missouri: 6 (Nov. 18) bested

previous record of 7 (Nov. 29, 1976) Chicago great lakes frozen

And some cities had record low November streaks: Dallas/Ft. Worth: Six straight days of highs of 45 degrees or colder (Nov. 12-17); and Chicago: 180 straight hours below freezing (late on Nov. 11 until late morning Nov. 19)

The record cold brought with it record breaking ice and snow for many locations in the U.S. For instance, ice brought the earliest end to navigation on the Upper Mississippi River near the Twin Cities according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Blairsville, Georgia received its earliest snow on record on Nov. 1; 0.5 to 2 inches. The previous earliest snow was Nov. 10, 1968 and St. Cloud, Minnesota, received its record heaviest November calendar day snow (13.2 inches on Nov. 10). Gile, Wisconsin got hit with 50.1 inches of snow over a four-day period from Nov. 10-14. This awaits certification as a Wisconsin state snowstorm record.

Areas along the great lakes were especially hard hit by snow with Buffalo Niagara International Airport reporting 88 inches of snow (over 7 feet) from Nov. 17-21. Cities chalking up their snowiest Novembers on record in 2014 include: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan: 65.4 inches (old record was 46.8 inches in 1989); Rhinelander, Wisconsin: 32.4 inches (old record was 21.5 inches in 1957) and Bangor, Maine: 25.9 inches (old record was 24.6 inches in 1962)

For the U.S. as a whole, Rutgers University Global Snow Lab reports, North America snow cover reached a record extent for mid-November (15.35 million square kilometers), crushing the old record from 1985 by over 2 million square kilometers.


How Obama and his environmental base are planning to eradicate the oil and gas industry

By Ron Arnold

Why does the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war against hydraulic fracturing look like the Natural Resources Defense Council’s 2007 agenda for eliminating domestic oil and natural gas development?

Because it is.

The NRDC’s unjustifiable access to such anti-fracking regulatory power—and the diversion of $8.4 million in taxpayer dollars to its coffers—is highlighted in an October report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee minority staff titled, “Setting the Record Straight: Hydraulic Fracturing and America’s Energy Revolution.”

The 111-page committee report opens by citing the enormously positive impacts of America’s oil and natural gas renaissance, which has:

Created and sustained millions of jobs and revitalized our manufacturing sector;

Provided greater energy security and geopolitical strength while reducing our trade deficit;

Lowered domestic energy prices both in our homes and at the gasoline pump.

But the emphasis is on those who would obliterate that renaissance. The message to the public is a warning: President Obama is coordinating with far-left environmental activists such as the aggressive NRDC and the Sierra Club, along with their millionaire board members, their Hollywood celebrity boosters and their “philanthropic” funders, such as the rabidly anti-fracking Park Foundation, to wage an all-out assault to shut down domestic production of American oil and natural gas.

The report notes that “the price of energy is no object to them; they can afford to pay their energy bills at virtually any price.” They can dump hundreds of millions of dollars into a coordinated campaign against affordable energy, decrease the standard of living for middle-class America and devastate the poor without a qualm.

Specifically, NRDC and other groups are “initiating legal challenges to force regulatory action with sue-and-settle arrangements”—the Sierra Club has received more than $19 million and the NRDC $252,004 in EPA-friendly settlements.

An anti-fracking agenda

The most insidious attack is “blurring the scientific literature with spurious studies.”

The foremost example is a 2011 Cornell University report by two biologists and an engineer who “falsely concluded that the life-cycle emissions from natural gas development emit more greenhouse gases than coal,” which was touted by The New York Times as “settled science” useful to silence defenders of fracking. But it was, in fact, science made for hire.

Lead author Robert W. Howarth “was approached by the Park Foundation in 2010 and asked to write an academic article that would make a case that shale gas was a dangerous, polluting fuel. That same year, the Park Foundation gave Cornell University $135,000 for Howarth’s study,” the report said.

Howarth’s “outdated and manipulated data” were so wrong that his study was refuted by his own Cornell colleagues, state regulators, some environmental groups, and even Obama’s White House.

The Park Foundation’s IRS Form 990PF reports from recent years reveal anti-fracking grants totaling more than $3 million to media outlets, including the American Prospect, Earth Talk, Grist, Mother Jones, The Nation, and Yes! Magazine, along with activist groups including Earthworks, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Media Matters for America, and a network of about 50 others.

“This strategically organized alliance,” says the report, “has gone to great lengths to misconstrue facts, falsify science, and manufacture risks in order to vilify hydraulic fracturing” while ignoring the numerous failed “green” stimulus projects, including Solyndra.

Government regulation

The committee report was particularly concerned about Obama’s rhetoric that masks his intent, citing remarks that he gave to Northwestern University in October. According to the report, Obama bragged that “our 100-year supply of natural gas is a big factor in drawing jobs back to our shores. Many are in manufacturing, which produce the quintessential middle-class job.”

But at the same time, the report said, “over one dozen federal agencies [are] attempting to justify the federal usurpation of states’ rights to regulate hydraulic fracturing.”

Since 1997, EPA regulation of oil and natural gas extraction grew by more than 145%, and 13 federal agencies are trying to regulate fracking out of existence.

The overall picture of the President’s allies is one of heirs, investorsm, and entrepreneurs who became vastly rich in the capitalist system and thus envision themselves as the best directors of everybody else’s life. They became a new ruling class, crony capitalists out to mold the public destiny by destroying all competing visions, using power purchased from politicians, activists, and media shills.

The committee report connects some crony capitalist dots: John Bryson was a co-founder of NRDC in 1970 and later became the chairman and CEO of Edison International, “which obtained exclusive power purchase agreements for four solar projects that received [Department of Energy loans].”

In May 2011, Bryson was appointed to be Obama’s Secretary of Commerce and resigned in 2012 for health reasons. NRDC has numerous doorways to the corridors of power.

Conservatives puzzle over the socialist direction of Big Green’s crony capitalists. Anti-fracking activist Bill McKibben’s bluntly positioned itself as socialist when director Naomi Klein published her 2014 book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, which sets the anti-fracking, anti-fossil fuel task as, “shredding free market capitalism.” Does her gang mean to shred America’s private enterprise by nationalization?

Crony capitalism

Why bother? If your crony capitalist money can buy the government regulations you want and reroute the federal treasury into your anti-fossil fuel agenda, you get to keep your taxpayer-fed crony capitalism and anybody who survives gets the socialist shreds.

We all owe a debt of thanks to Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, for having the courage and diligence to spearhead such investigations as this fracking report documents.

Looking beyond the waning days of the lame-duck session, he told The Daily Signal, “With a Republican majority in the Senate, committee reports—which are based on honest research—will have a more significant presence in terms of creating awareness and setting policy.

“These reports are crucial to understanding how aggressive the EPA and the Obama Administration are in broadening the scope of their authority to issue regulations that affect small businesses and individual families across the country. Plus, they could lead to oversight hearings and perhaps legislative reforms.”


Harmful Consequences of EU Climate Policy

The European Union’s (EU) unilateral efforts to tackle climate change have been a disaster for the economy and the region’s people.

In 2002, the EU approved the Kyoto Protocol and committed to cutting its collective greenhouse gas emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2008–12. As a result of the restrictive and prescriptive energy policies imposed to meet the target, today the economies of most EU member states are stagnating or in decline. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in late November the crisis-ridden EU poses a major threat to the world’s economy.

Europe’s climate strategy was based on two key assumptions: first, global warming was an urgent threat needing to be addressed immediately regardless of the costs; second, the world was running out of fossil fuels, so as oil and gas became ever more expensive, renewable energy would become competitive. Neither assumption proved correct.

Europe’s assumption about the urgency of the global warming problem has run up against the now-18-year-long pause in global temperature rises. That pause was not predicted by climate models and at the very least indicates either a misunderstanding of the factors affecting temperature or a consistent overestimation of climate sensitivity.

In addition, while Europe adopted legally binding emission reductions and domestic policies to meet them, the world did not follow suit.

EU countries have substantially reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions domestically, but only at the expense of the region’s economic viability. Europe’s energy-intensive and heavy industries moved abroad to locations with no CO2 emission limits and less expensive energy and labor costs. Those countries are now growing much faster than the EU.

EU member states spent about $882 billion on renewable energy projects between 2005 and 2013. In Germany alone, the green energy transition could cost more than $1 trillion by 2030 if the country’s climate targets and renewable energy goals are not modified.

Energy prices have risen sharply in Europe, where electricity price are now more than double those of the United States. In 2012 alone, lower gas and electricity prices in the United States relative to Europe meant estimated savings of close to $130 billion for U.S. manufacturing.

Last year, Antonio Tajani, the EU’s outgoing industry commissioner, warned Europe’s unilateral climate policies were pushing electricity costs to uncompetitive levels: “We face a systemic industrial massacre. We need a new energy policy. We have to stop pretending, because we can’t sacrifice Europe’s industry for climate goals that are not realistic, and are not being enforced worldwide.”

The costs of Europe’s climate policies have sparked the editors of The Washington Post to acknowledge Europe “has become a green-energy basket case. Instead of a model for the world to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do.”

Recognizing the seriousness of this problem, the EU has responded in its latest climate policy agreement by making its terms conditional on a binding international climate treaty. On October 23, EU leaders agreed to a conditional CO2 reduction target of 40 percent by 2030 ? provided there is a legally binding UN climate treaty. A special “flexibility clause” was added to the final text, allowing the council to reassess its conditional target after the UN summit.

There is no more “go-at-it-alone” or “Europe-leads” European plan. If the U.S., China, and others don’t adopt binding limits, Europe, learning from its previous climate policies, is prepared to look towards its best industrial interest first for a change.


Still more politicized pseudo-science?

The neonics and honeybees saga takes interesting, potentially fraudulent turn

Paul Driessen

Widening efforts to blame neonicotinoid pesticides for honeybee “colony collapse disorder” and other “beepocalypse” problems have taken a fascinating turn.

Insisting that scientific evidence shows a clear link between neonics and honeybee population declines, EU anti-insecticide campaigners persuaded the European Union to impose a two-year ban on using the chemicals. Farm organizations and the Union’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department unsuccessfully opposed the ban, arguing that evidence for a link is not persuasive, and actual field studies in Canada and elsewhere have found little risk to bees from the pesticides.

Then this year’s canola (rapeseed) crop suffered serious losses of 30-50 percent, due to rampaging flea beetles. Over 44,000 acres (18,000 hectares) were declared a total loss. Euro farmers blamed the ban.

Now it appears that the campaign against these newer, safer pesticides – and the scientific papers that supposedly justify the ban – were all part of a rigged, carefully orchestrated environmentalist strategy.

A recently leaked memorandum, dated June 14, 2010, summarizes a discussion earlier that month among four European scientists who wanted to block neonic use. The memo says the four agreed to find prominent authors who could write scientific papers and coordinate their publication in respected journals, so as to “obtain the necessary policy change to have these pesticides banned.”

“If we are successful in getting these two papers published,” the memo continues, “there will be enormous impact, and a campaign led by WWF etc could be launched right away. It will be much harder for politicians to ignore a research paper and a policy forum paper” in a major scientific journal. Initial papers would demonstrate that neonics adversely affect bees, other insects, birds and other species; they would be written by a carefully selected primary author and a team of scientists from around the world. Additional papers would be posted online to support these documents – and a separate paper would simultaneously call for a ban on the sale and use of neonicotinoids.

(The WWF is the activist group World Wildlife Fund or World Wide Fund for Nature.)

One meeting attendee was Piet Wit, chairman of the ecosystems management commission of the environmentalist organization International Union for Conservation of Nature. Another was Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, who became chairman of the IUCN’s Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which was inaugurated in March 2011, just after the European Union agreed to finance the Task Force to the tune of €431,337 ($540,000). Vouching for the Task Force as an “independent and unbiased” scientific “advisory” group was the same Dr. Maarten Bijleveld, who is also a founding member of the WWF’s Netherlands branch and an executive officer of the IUCN’s environmental committee.

Further underscoring the “independent” nature of these organizations, the EU awarded the IUCN €24,014,125 ($30,000,000) between 2007 and 2013. Moreover, IUCN task force membership is by invitation only – making it easier to implement the Systemic Pesticides Task Force’s stated purpose: to “bring together the scientific evidence needed to underpin action on neonicotinoid pesticides.”

The entire operation is odorously reminiscent of ClimateGate orchestration of alarmist research and banning of studies questioning “dangerous manmade climate change” assertions, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1972 DDT ban, regarding which then-EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus later admitted that he had not attended a single minute of his own task force’s lengthy hearings or read a single page of its findings, which concluded that the insecticide was not dangerous to humans or most wildlife.

The IUCN/WWF campaign also recalls the equally well coordinated effort by Fenton Communications, CBS “60 Minutes” and the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban Alar (a chemical used to keep apples ripening longer on trees), in a way that would channel millions of dollars to the NRDC. It reminds me of former Environmental Defense Fund senior scientist Charles Wurster’s assertion that, “If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they never had before.”

Never mind that the Alar scam sent many family apple orchards into bankruptcy – or that millions of African and Asian parents and children have died from malaria because radical greens have made DDT largely unavailable even for disease control. For them, humanitarian concerns rarely enter the discussion.

As science writer Hank Campbell observes, all these campaigns reflect proven strategies “to manipulate science to achieve a political goal.” They follow the Saul Alinsky/Big Green script summarized by Madeleine Cosman: Select and vilify a target. Devise a “scientific study” that predicts a public health disaster. Release it to the media, before legitimate scientists can analyze and criticize it. Generate emotional headlines and public reactions. Develop a government “solution,” and intimidate legislatures or government regulators to impose it. Coerce manufacturers to stop making and selling the product.

Environmental pressure groups have repeatedly and successfully employed these steps.

In a recent speech, Harvard School of Public Health Professor Chensheng Lu claimed that his “Harvard Study” clearly demonstrated that neonics “are highly likely to be responsible for triggering Colony Collapse Disorder.” However, pesticide expert and professional pest exterminator Rich Kozlovich says the vast majority of scientists who study bees for a living vigorously disagree. They cite multiple problems, including the fact that small bee populations were fed “astronomical” levels of insecticide-laced corn syrup, and the colonies examined for Lu’s paper did not even exhibit CCD symptoms.

President Obama has nevertheless relied heavily on all this pseudo-science, to support his June 2014 memorandum instructing relevant U.S. agencies “to develop a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees …in response to mounting concerns about [their] dwindling populations on American crops.” The “serious” problem, Mr. Obama insists, “requires immediate attention.”

He is playing his role in the Big Green script but, as my previous articles have noted (here, here and here), nothing in honest, actual science supports his call for yet another Executive Branch end-run around the Legislative Branch and a proper vetting of what we do know about neonics and honeybee problems.

Neonics are vital for numerous crops: canola, soybeans, wheat, winter squash, citrus groves and others.

Derived from a synthetic form of nicotine and often applied to seeds, “neonicotinoids” are incorporated into plants to defend them against pests. This allows growers to be much more targeted in killing crop-threatening insects: only those that actually feed on the plants are affected. This approach (or spraying) also means growers can successfully grow crops with far fewer large-scale insecticide applications, and dramatically reduce reliance on more toxic pesticides that do harm wildlife, including bees. Real-world field studies have shown that bees collecting pollen from plants treated with neonics are not harmed.

Other research has identified serious problems that truly are afflicting bees in Canada, the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Varroa mites carry at least 19 bee viruses and diseases – and parasitic phorid flies, Nosema intestinal fungi and the tobacco ringspot virus also cause significant colony losses. Beekeepers have accidentally killed entire hives, while trying to address such problems.

Colony Collapse Disorder has shown up from time to time for centuries. A hundred years ago it was called the “disappearing disease.” It now seems to be ebbing, and bee and beehive numbers are climbing.

We need to let real science do its job, and stop jumping to conclusions or short-circuiting the process with politicized papers, anti-neonic campaigns and presidential memorandums. We need answers, not scapegoats. Otherwise, bee mortality problems are likely to spread, go untreated and get even worse, while neonic bans cause widespread crop failures and huge financial losses for farmers.

Via email

Australia: Greenies harassing banks over carbon

ANZ Bank's lending to big carbon emitters is set to come into focus at this week's annual meeting of shareholders, after other banks have boosted their disclosure of climate-change risks.

Investors will on Thursday vote on a proposal to change the constitution to force ANZ to publish the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the company is financing via loans and investments.

It comes as banks globally face growing pressure to consider the financial risks they may face from lending to companies with large carbon footprints.

Proxy advisers are recommending shareholders vote against the resolution, which was also put to CBA investors and rejected by a large margin.

Nonetheless, ANZ's rivals have also taken steps to disclose more information about their carbon exposure.

NAB, which also has its annual general meeting on Thursday, was facing the same resolution, from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, but it was withdrawn after the bank agreed to publish more detail on its exposure to climate-change risks in 2015.

CBA also agreed to provide more detail on how much of its loan book is exposed to fossil fuels. At its annual general meeting last month, 3.2 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the resolution.

In a note to investors, CGI Glass Lewis says ANZ could face some risk through its financed emissions but it may not be practical or even possible to collect all the information required by the resolution. It is advising shareholders to vote against the proposal.

"Given the trend in increased regulation and a heightened sense of awareness among some regulators concerning ensuring the mitigation of the effects of climate change, it is likely that part of the company's loan book could be affected," the note said.

"However, we are not convinced that adoption of this proposal is in the company or its shareholders' best interests at this time."

The lobby group behind the proposal argues that of the big four banks, ANZ is the most exposed to climate-change risks  because of its role as a big lender to the resources sector.

The debate is occurring amid a growing focus on banks' exposure to borrowers who would be affected by climate change policies.

The Bank of England this month reportedly commenced an inquiry into the risk of a "carbon bubble" – a financial shock caused by efforts to mitigate climate change.

Westpac did not face the resolution because ACCR research has found it was the least carbon-exposed to climate risks of the big four. All the same, a significant share of the questions put to chairman Lindsay Maxsted at the bank's AGM on Friday focused on how the bank was responding to climate change in its lending decisions.

Aside from carbon, ANZ investors will also have a non-binding vote on chief executive Mike Smith's remuneration, which rose 3.7 per cent to $10.7 million.

NAB cut the pay of its its former boss Cameron Clyne by more than $1 million to $6 million after disappointing financial results for the bank.


100 reasons why climate change is natural

HERE are the 100 reasons, released in a dossier issued by the European Foundation, why climate change is natural and not man-made:

1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.

2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.

6) Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time.

7) The 0.7C increase in the average global temperature over the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate trends.

8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers not the 4,000 usually cited.

9) Leaked e-mails from British climate scientists – in a scandal known as “Climate-gate” - suggest that that has been manipulated to exaggerate global warming

10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.

11) Politicians and activiists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago

12) Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says climate change is too complicated to be caused by just one factor, whether CO2 or clouds

13) Peter Lilley MP said last month that “fewer people in Britain than in any other country believe in the importance of global warming. That is despite the fact that our Government and our political class—predominantly—are more committed to it than their counterparts in any other country in the world”.

14) In pursuit of the global warming rhetoric, wind farms will do very little to nothing to reduce CO2 emissions

15) Professor Plimer, Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, stated that the idea of taking a single trace gas in the atmosphere, accusing it and finding it guilty of total responsibility for climate change, is an “absurdity”

16) A Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist, Willie Soon, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers that support the proposition that the earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.

17) The science of what determines the earth’s temperature is in fact far from settled or understood.

18) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, unlike water vapour which is tied to climate concerns, and which we can’t even pretend to control

19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.

20) It is claimed the average global temperature increased at a dangerously fast rate in the 20th century but the recent rate of average global temperature rise has been between 1 and 2 degrees C per century - within natural rates

21) Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, Poland says the earth’s temperature has more to do with cloud cover and water vapor than CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

22) There is strong evidence from solar studies which suggests that the Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades

23) It is myth that receding glaciers are proof of global warming as glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for many centuries

24) It is a falsehood that the earth’s poles are warming because that is natural variation and while the western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer we also see that the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder

25) The IPCC claims climate driven “impacts on biodiversity are significant and of key relevance” but those claims are simply not supported by scientific research

26) The IPCC threat of climate change to the world’s species does not make sense as wild species are at least one million years old, which means they have all been through hundreds of climate cycles

27) Research goes strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.

28) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels are our best hope of raising crop yields to feed an ever-growing population

29) The biggest climate change ever experienced on earth took place around 700 million years ago

30) The slight increase in temperature which has been observed since 1900 is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles

31) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels of some so-called “greenhouse gases” may be contributing to higher oxygen levels and global cooling, not warming

32) Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures

33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere

34) It is a myth that CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas because greenhouse gases form about 3% of the atmosphere by volume, and CO2 constitutes about 0.037% of the atmosphere

35) It is a myth that computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming because computer models can be made to “verify” anything

36) There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes

37) One statement deleted from a UN report in 1996 stated that “none of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases”

38) The world “warmed” by 0.07 +/- 0.07 degrees C from 1999 to 2008, not the 0.20 degrees C expected by the IPCC

39) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says “it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense” but there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally

40) Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be shown not only to have a negligible effect on the Earth’s many ecosystems, but in some cases to be a positive help to many organisms

41) Researchers who compare and contrast climate change impact on civilizations found warm periods are beneficial to mankind and cold periods harmful

42) The Met Office asserts we are in the hottest decade since records began but this is precisely what the world should expect if the climate is cyclical

43) Rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests

44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years

45) The increase of the air’s CO2 content has probably helped lengthen human lifespans since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution

46) The IPCC alleges that “climate change currently contributes to the global burden of disease and premature deaths” but the evidence shows that higher temperatures and rising CO2 levels has helped global populations

47) In May of 2004, the Russian Academy of Sciences published a report concluding that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific grounding at all.

48) The “Climate-gate” scandal pointed to a expensive public campaign of disinformation and the denigration of scientists who opposed the belief that CO2 emissions were causing climate change

49) The head of Britain’s climate change watchdog has predicted households will need to spend up to £15,000 on a full energy efficiency makeover if the Government is to meet its ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions.

50) Wind power is unlikely to be the answer to our energy needs. The wind power industry argues that there are “no direct subsidies” but it involves a total subsidy of as much as £60 per MWh which falls directly on electricity consumers. This burden will grow in line with attempts to achieve Wind power targets, according to a recent OFGEM report.

51) Wind farms are not an efficient way to produce energy. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) accepts a figure of 75 per cent back-up power is required.

52) Global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions not at “at the top end of IPCC estimates”

53) Climate alarmists have raised the concern over acidification of the oceans but Tom Segalstad from Oslo University in Norway , and others, have noted that the composition of ocean water – including CO2, calcium, and water – can act as a buffering agent in the acidification of the oceans.

54) The UN’s IPCC computer models of human-caused global warming predict the emergence of a “hotspot” in the upper troposphere over the tropics.  Former researcher in the Australian Department of Climate Change, David Evans, said there is no evidence of such a hotspot

55) The argument that climate change is a of result of global warming caused by human activity is the argument of flat Earthers. 

56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.

57) William Kininmonth, a former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation, wrote “the likely extent of global temperature rise from a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. Such warming is well within the envelope of variation experienced during the past 10,000 years and insignificant in the context of glacial cycles during the past million years, when Earth has been predominantly very cold and covered by extensive ice sheets.”

58) Canada has shown the world targets derived from the existing Kyoto commitments were always unrealistic and did not work for the country.

59) In the lead up to the Copenhagen summit, David Davis MP said of previous climate summits, at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997 that many had promised greater cuts, but “neither happened”, but we are continuing along the same lines

60) The UK ’s environmental policy has a long-term price tag of about £55 billion, before taking into account the impact on its economic growth.

61) The UN’s panel on climate change warned that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035. J. Graham Cogley a professor at Ontario Trent University, claims this inaccurate stating the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.

62) Under existing Kyoto obligations the EU has attempted to claim success, while actually increasing emissions by 13 per cent, according to Lord Lawson. In addition the EU has pursued this scheme by purchasing “offsets” from countries such as China paying them billions of dollars to destroy atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which were manufactured purely in order to be destroyed.

63) It is claimed that the average global temperature was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times but sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years according to Penn State University researcher Michael Mann. There is no convincing empirical evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in average global temperature were unusual or unnatural.

64) Michael Mann of Penn State University has actually shown that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age did in fact exist, which contrasts with his earlier work which produced the “hockey stick graph” which showed a constant temperature over the past thousand years or so followed by a recent dramatic upturn.

65) The globe’s current approach to climate change in which major industrialised countries agree to nonsensical targets for their CO2 emissions by a given date, as it has been under the Kyoto system, is very expensive.

66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.

67) Global temperatures have not risen in any statistically-significant sense for 15 years and have actually been falling for nine years. The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed a scientific team had expressed dismay at the fact global warming was contrary to their predictions and admitted their inability to explain it was “a travesty”.

68) The IPCC predicts that a warmer planet will lead to more extreme weather, including drought, flooding, storms, snow, and wildfires. But over the last century, during which the IPCC claims the world experienced more rapid warming than any time in the past two millennia, the world did not experience significantly greater trends in any of these extreme weather events.

69) In explaining the average temperature standstill we are currently experiencing, the Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of computer climate predictions and found in many of the computer runs there were decade-long standstills but none for 15 years – so it expects global warming to resume swiftly.

70) Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the Earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope.  Such hysteria (over global warming) simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth.”

71) Despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s status as the flagship of the fight against climate change it has been a failure.

72) The first phase of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which ran from 2005 to 2007 was a failure. Huge over-allocation of permits to pollute led to a collapse in the price of carbon from €33 to just €0.20 per tonne meaning the system did not reduce emissions at all.

73) The EU trading scheme, to manage carbon emissions has completely failed and actually allows European businesses to duck out of making their emissions reductions at home by offsetting, which means paying for cuts to be made overseas instead.

74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.

75) In the United States , the cap-and-trade is an approach designed to control carbon emissions and will impose huge costs upon American citizens via a carbon tax on all goods and services produced in the United States. The average family of four can expect to pay an additional $1700, or £1,043, more each year. It is predicted that the United States will lose more than 2 million jobs as the result of cap-and-trade schemes.

76) Dr Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has indicated that out of the 21 climate models tracked by the IPCC the differences in warming exhibited by those models is mostly the result of different strengths of positive cloud feedback – and that increasing CO2 is insufficient to explain global-average warming in the last 50 to 100 years.

77) Why should politicians devote our scarce resources in a globally competitive world to a false and ill-defined problem, while ignoring the real problems the entire planet faces, such as: poverty, hunger, disease or terrorism.

78) A proper analysis of ice core records from the past 650,000 years demonstrates that temperature increases have come before, and not resulted from, increases in CO2 by hundreds of years.

79) Since the cause of global warming is mostly natural, then there is in actual fact very little we can do about it. (We are still not able to control the sun).

80) A substantial number of the panel of 2,500 climate scientists on the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change, which created a statement on scientific unanimity on climate change and man-made global warming, were found to have serious concerns.

81) The UK’s Met Office has been forced this year to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by revelations about the data.

82)  Politicians and activists push for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines under the rhetoric of climate change, but it is essentially about money – under the system of Renewable Obligations. Much of the money is paid for by consumers in electricity bills. It amounts to £1 billion a year.

83) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had tampered with their own data so as to conceal inconsistencies and errors. 

84) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had campaigned for the removal of a learned journal’s editor, solely because he did not share their willingness to debase science for political purposes.

85) Ice-core data clearly show that temperatures change centuries before concentrations of atmospheric CO2 change. Thus, there appears to be little evidence for insisting that changes in concentrations of CO2 are the cause of past temperature and climate change.

86) There are no experimentally verified processes explaining how CO2 concentrations can fall in a few centuries without falling temperatures – in fact it is changing temperatures which cause changes in CO2 concentrations, which is consistent with experiments that show CO2 is the atmospheric gas most readily absorbed by water.

87) The Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy contains a massive increase in electricity generation by wind power costing around £4 billion a year over the next twenty years. The benefits will be only £4 to £5 billion overall (not per annum). So costs will outnumber benefits by a range of between eleven and seventeen times.

88) Whilst CO2 levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout history, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the growth rate has now been constant for the past 25 years.

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

90) Politicians and climate activists make claims to rising sea levels but certain members in the IPCC chose an area to measure in Hong Kong that is subsiding. They used the record reading of 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level.

91) The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998.

92) If one factors in non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements show little, if any, global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

93) US President Barack Obama pledged to cut emissions by 2050 to equal those of 1910 when there were 92 million Americans. In 2050, there will be 420 million Americans, so Obama’s promise means that emissions per head will be approximately what they were in 1875. It simply will not happen.

94) The European Union has already agreed to cut emissions by 20 percent to 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and is willing to increase the target to 30 percent. However, these are unachievable and the EU has already massively failed with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as EU emissions actually rose by 0.8 percent from 2005 to 2006 and are known to be well above the Kyoto goal.

95) Australia has stated it wants to slash greenhouse emissions by up to 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, but the pledges were so unpopular that the country’s Senate has voted against the carbon trading Bill, and the Opposition’s Party leader has now been ousted by a climate change sceptic.

96) Canada plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent compared with 2006 levels by 2020, representing approximately a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels but it simultaneously defends its Alberta tar sands emissions and its record as one of the world’s highest per-capita emissions setters.

97) India plans to reduce the ratio of emissions to production by 20-25 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2020, but all Government officials insist that since India has to grow for its development and poverty alleviation, it has to emit, because the economy is driven by carbon.

98) The Leipzig Declaration in 1996, was signed by 110 scientists who said: “We – along with many of our fellow citizens – are apprehensive about the climate treaty conference scheduled for Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997” and “based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions.”

99) A US Oregon Petition Project stated “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”



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


16 December, 2014

The Lima junket: Do as I say, not as I do

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State delivered an impassioned plea to the summit on Thursday. “It was in Rio, as far back as 1992, when I heard the secretary-general declare, 'Every bit of evidence I’ve seen persuades me that we are on a course leading to tragedy,’ he said. 'This is 2014, 22 years later, and we’re still on a course leading to tragedy’.”

Ironically, the conference has remained overtly reliant on fossil fuels, in the form of diesel generators. The talks are taking place in a vast temporary village constructed on the site of the Peruvian military headquarters.

Organisers rejected powering the village with solar panels on the grounds they were too unreliable, while efforts to hook the site up to the national grid – which is half-fed by renewable energy – failed due to technical problems.

Experts say the Lima talks will have the biggest carbon footprint of any UN conference to date at more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

As well as the diesel generators, the footprint has been enlarged by the jet fuel burned by the estimated 11,000 people who flew in from abroad to attend – including roughly 4,000 from non-governmental organisations – as well as the emissions from the fleet of coaches that crawl through Lima’s gridlocked streets to shuttle delegates to and from the venue.


Lima: 'weak' UN deal reached that could let countries dodge green pledges   

UN climate change talks have been saved from the brink of collapse by a “weak” agreement that could let countries dodge setting clear targets to cut their emissions.

Negotiations in the Peruvian capital Lima dragged on to the early hours of Sunday morning – a day and a half after their scheduled close - amid deep disagreements between rich and poor nations over the steps they should take to tackle global warming.

The divisions had threatened to derail the talks altogether but eventually resulted in a “bare minimum” deal, thrashed out by delegates who had barely slept in three days, that left many key disputes unresolved.

The Lima deal is intended to make countries issue national pledges next year outlining the action they will take to cut their carbon emissions. The pledges are then supposed to form the basis of a binding deal at talks in Paris next year to avert dangerous levels of global warming.

Rich nations including the USA and EU members had pushed for all countries to be bound by strict rules to ensure that their pledges gave clear and measurable data – akin to the UK’s Climate Change Act.

But after objections from developing nations the eventual text was watered down so the rules are voluntary. “It’s totally up to you now whether you provide that information or not,” Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said. “It’s the bare minimum we needed to come out of here with; it’s not what we hoped for.”

Samantha Smith, of environmental group WWF, said the rules had gone from "weak to weaker to weakest".

Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, insisted he was “completely relaxed” about the watered down rules, claiming that countries would have to provide the information anyway due to “political pressure”. He denied that the UK would be left going green further and faster than its neighbours, arguing some other European nations had already gone further.

But even if detailed pledges are forthcoming Mr Davey acknowledged they would fall well short of the level necessary to avert dangerous levels of global warming, of 2C above pre-industrial levels.

There would be “a gap between what the world is offering and what the science says we need to do,” he said.

Experts warned that the scale of divisions laid bare at Lima did not bode well for the chances of securing a strong and binding global deal in Paris.

Jonathan Grant, sustainability and climate change director at PwC, said the “trench warfare” mentality between different factions seen in Lima could result in the talks “falling off the cliff in Paris”.

A long list of fundamental issues remain to be resolved over the next year, including the legal status of any Paris deal and demands from poor countries for more cash from rich nations to help them to help poorer nations cut emissions and cope with the effects of global warming.

Rich countries have previously promised a vague goal of “mobilising” $100bn of “climate finance” a year for poor nations by 2020 but the concepts are ill-defined, leading to wrangling as poor countries say their wealthier neighbours have not done enough.

“The biggest thing that is really, really unresolved is the money,” said Michael Jacobs, visiting professor at the LSE’s Grantham climate research institute.

“The developed countries have got to find some way of showing they can provide the $100bn they promised, and at least some financial contribution post-2020. This is hard: this is a core demand of the developing countries but the hardest things for the developed countries, both because they don’t feel they have got so much money but also because it’s hard to budget ahead.”

Mr Davey admitted that the talks in Paris were likely to be "even more difficult than Lima" but said he remained confident of a deal. “I’m very excited by the prospects for a deal next year. It will be tough but for the first time, I think ever, the world can contemplate a global deal applicable to all.”


Greenpeace again offends indigenous people

Radical global warming campaigners trespass on treasured Inca cultural sites

By Craig Rucker

Greenpeace likes to pretend it’s on the side of local people, especially indigenous peoples. But time and again they demonstrate a shocking degree of cultural boorishness.

Now Greenpeace activists have Peruvians up in arms, after trespassing all over treasured Incan cultural sites at Machu Picchu and Nazca, while doing ridiculous publicity stunts to highlight their claim that tiny amounts of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide are causing “dangerous” planet-wide climate change.

The Times of London’s Ben Webster says a Peruvian prosecutor investigating the incident was angry that the activists had caused “irreparable damage” to a large area of the “Nazca lines,” an ancient monument that UNESCO lists as a World Heritage Site. The “lines” are a series of ancient glyphs in the country’s southern desert region. Hundreds of figures include stylized fish, hummingbirds, lizards, monkeys and spiders. Archeologists believe they were created by the Nacza culture 1360-1615 years ago.

The damage affects some 1,600 square meters (0.4 acres) next to a hummingbird etched into the desert soil. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor said that, under Peruvian law, damaging the historic site could be punishable by a prison sentence of three to six years. The Peruvian cultural ministry is also considering suing Greenpeace for damages, Webster said.

I challenged the inconsiderate Rainbow Warriors inside the UN climate confab, during their press conference. You can watch the exchange here. A year ago, Russia jailed another band of Greenpeaceniks for trespassing on one of its oil rigs. It will be interesting to see how Peruvian authorities punish these thoughtless desecrators of Incan cultural sites. Stay tuned to our website.

Big Green and other Leftist ideologues are blind to the harm their actions cause.  As blind as so many people in Southeast Asia will be if Greenpeace propaganda succeeds in denying them access to the GMO “Golden Rice” that their diets need to ensure good visual health.

Eco activists cry a river for plants or bugs, but think nothing about parents and children dying from malaria, because of their opposition to insecticides and the powerful spatial repellant DDT; going blind from Vitamin A deficiency, because of Golden Rice boycotts; or getting sick and dying from lung and intestinal diseases, because these radical greens also oppose large-scale electrical generating plants.

The huge letters the Greenpeace gang used to desecrate this sensitive cultural site are plastic! Which is made from petroleum! Which Greenpeace denounces as evil and planet-destroying! The “go solar” slogan on the mountains above Machu Picchu was projected using equipment that was powered by hydrocarbons. What hypocrites these campaigners be!

CFACT representatives had an opportunity to speak with some Inca people at their sacred places, and with local Peruvian leaders in Lima. We visited with respect and forged friendships. That's what happens when you care about people.

Many politicians and business people are afraid to stand up to Big Green bully groups. CFACT is unafraid. We have challenged Greenpeace and Big Green at every opportunity, such as here, here, here and here. We are committed to working for people, as well as nature.

Greenpeace has hundreds of millions of dollars a year at its disposal for its fight against human freedom, health and prosperity. We have a tiny fraction of that. But we make it count – not just on educational efforts, but for programs that directly support and assist poor indigenous villages and people.

Via email

UK: Green policies to add up to 40pc to cost of household electricity

Official figures — initially withheld by ministers — show an alarming increase in the price of electricity caused by generous subsidies to wind farms as well as other policies.

An average household is expected to pay as much as £250 more for electricity – mainly through consumer subsidies – to pay for the Government’s green energy schemes, while an electrically heated house could be as much as £440 a year worse off.

And by 2030, when thousands of planned offshore wind turbines are finally operating, the burden will be even greater, the numbers show. The average household could be paying an extra 60 per cent for electricity – equivalent to £350 more a year.

Medium-sized businesses will be hit very hard, according to the new data. On average such companies will see electricity bills rise by more than £500,000 a year – a cost likely to be passed on to consumers.

The figures were made public last week by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) following a Freedom of Information request by campaigners. The information was initially prepared for an official DECC report – released at the beginning of November – which claimed that the average household fuel bill had fallen by £90 thanks to the “impact of DECC policies”.

But the tables showing the actual cost of green policies on future electricity prices for households and businesses in 2020 and 2030 were kept secret because they were “thought to be confusing”.

Their release now will embarrass ministers, who are accused of presiding over an expensive consumer subsidy system.

The Government’s climate change policies include complex consumer subsidies for wind and solar farms, as well as grants for energy efficiency measures such as loft and wall insulation, available to certain households.

The introduction of smart meters, which it is hoped will encourage lower consumption, also helped contribute to rising electricity prices.

Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, the think tank whose Freedom of Information request was responsible for forcing DECC to release the price impact tables, said: “The striking scale and increasing trend of the climate policy energy price impacts are bad enough in themselves, but DECC’s attempt to conceal these vitally important figures is breathtaking.”

Dr Constable said he had been told by informed sources that pressure had been put on DECC to withhold the tables.

“This is a very unsatisfactory situation," he said, "Energy price impact data is so intrinsically important, and policy transparency so crucial to public trust in government, that very firm intervention is needed to clear the air and ensure that it will not happen again. This sounds like a job for the Prime Minister.”

DECC’s initial 88-page report was published on Nov 6, but the raw data on which the findings were based were omitted.

The Renewable Energy Foundation requested the figures and this week they were finally made available.

The supplementary tables show the “average impact of energy and climate change policies on households’ energy prices” will see the cost of electricity rise by as much as 42 per cent by 2020 from £131 per megawatt hour (MWh) to £186.

An average household uses about 4.5 MWh, meaning a rise of as much as £250 in the cost of electricity. By 2030, the price of a megwatt hour will increase by 60 per cent to £206.

Medium-sized businesses, according to DECC’s own figures, will pay as much as 77 per cent more for electricity in 2020 and 114 per cent more in 2030.

Such business on average consume 11,000 MWh – adding as much as £560,000 a year to the electricity bill. A typical bill could rise from £760,000 a year to £1.3?million.

DECC has claimed overall bills will fall because its green policies will lead to a reduction in household energy consumption with measures such as improved insulation and increased efficiency of electrical appliances leading to an overall drop in bills, it says.

A DECC spokesman said a decision had been taken to withhold the tables because it was “thought to be confusing”.

She said: “We always said we would publish the data anyway. It is not written anywhere but that is what we were quite clear about.”

She added: “Without the Government’s policies bills would still be higher.”


Ohio Joins Global Effort to Slam the Door on Big Wind

Wherever wind farms have appeared – or have been threatened – big numbers of locals take a set against the monsters being speared into their previously peaceful – and often idyllic – rural communities. Their anger extends to the goons that lied their way to development approval – and the bent officials that rubber-stamped their applications and who, thereafter, help the operators ride roughshod over locals’ rights to live in and enjoy the peace and comfort of their own homes and properties.

Australians are in there fighting hard – with the numbers solidly against wind power outfits that cause nothing more than community division and open hostility where ever they go

The Irish have already hit the streets to bring an end to the fraud: some 10,000 stormed Dublin back in April. The sense of anger in Ireland – as elsewhere – is palpable (see our post here).

Rural Ontario is seething, with locals taking the law into their own hands – sabotaging turbines and construction equipment in order to defend their (once) peaceful and prosperous communities

And the Scots have joined in – tearing down MET masts in order to prevent wind power outfits from gaining a foothold and, thereafter, violating their right to live free from turbine terror

The back-lash against wind power outfits has been mirrored in the US – with communities rallying to shut down projects before they begin; and a raft of litigation launched by neighbours

In the US, even turbine hosts – who we’re repeatedly told by the wind industry’s pseudo-scientist advocates NEVER complain about turbine noise impacts on their homes and health – have issued civil actions against the companies that pay them handsomely to let them plant their giant fans in the top paddock.

In Texas, 23 of them are suing 2 wind power outfits for damages caused by excessive noise – which has led to health problems and homes being abandoned – true to form, the companies involved had lied to the farmers concerned about the noise their turbines would generate from the very beginning (see our post here).
Now, farmers in Ohio have taken up the battle to defend their homes, properties and families from turbine tyranny.


Australia: Just another morning of the ABC’s pet warming activists

The ABC is Australia's  main public broadcaster

Of course the ABC is not biased.

True, ABC Melbourne 774 got its update on the Lima global warming talks this morning from Erwin Jackson of the alarmist Climate Institute, sponsored by green carpetbaggers, and treated him like a dispassionate authority.

Sure ABC Radio National today interviewed Tim Flannery, head of the alarmist Climate Council, as if he, too, were a dispassionate expert, not even asking that he declare his own vested interests or explain any of his countless dud predictions. Heck, the interviewer didn’t even laugh at the irony of Flannery denouncing “scaremongers”, and ended by noting what a “privilege” it was to talk to the old scaremonger himself.

No, the ABC isn’t biased at all. I mean, isn’t everyone a Greens voting, Abbott-hating, Billy Bragg-playing global warming alarmist?

When will the ABC be forced to live up to its statutory duty to offer balance and a range of voices?



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


15 December, 2014

Obama’s Possible Paris Climate Agreement End Run Around the Senate

Foreign negotiators, activists, and journalists are very worried about Senate Republicans

Lima, Peru – The United States Senate approved the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by a rare division vote with two-thirds concurring on October 7, 1993 and President Bill Clinton ratified the treaty by signing it on October 13, 1993. By agreeing to that treaty the United States committed to the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

In 1997, on behalf of the United States, Vice-President Al Gore signed the Kyoto Protocol which was the follow-on treaty to the UNFCCC. That treaty would have obligated the United States reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012. However, in July, 1997 the Byrd-Hagel sense of the Senate resolution had passed 95 to 0 specifically stating that the U.S. should not be a signatory to any agreement pursuant to the UNFCCC that the exempted developing countries from taking on obligations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

In addition, the resolution declared that any such agreement would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification. Consequently, President Clinton never submitted the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for a vote. In March, 2001, President George W. Bush sent a letter to members of the Senate explaining why he opposed the Kyoto Protocol and he, too, never submitted it to the Senate for a vote.

Among the tents at the Lima venue for the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP-20) of the UNFCCC, it is clear that negotiators from other countries, activists and journalists are very worried about how any new U.N. climate agreement reached next year in Paris would fare if it had to be submitted for consideration by a Senate soon to be dominated by Republicans. But there are hints that members of the Obama administration believe that that unpleasantness perhaps can be avoided. How?

Next year's Paris agreement could be interpreted by the Obama administration as not being an actual treaty requiring the Senate's advice and consent before ratification. It may instead simply be construed as an elaboration of our already existing obligations to stabilize greenhouse gases under the UNFCCC. If the Paris agreement were more procedural in form, perhaps it could be taken as being merely an extension of the UNFCCC, speculated former Clinton White House environmental aide Elliot Diringer in response to a question during a session at the U.S. Center at the Lima COP-20. In such a case, President Obama might argue that he could implement such a Paris climate agreement as an executive agreement.

In response to an anxious question at a press conference on Monday, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern explained that whether or not the Paris agreement would need to be submitted to the Senate for consideration "will depend entirely on how the agreement is written." In a somewhat circular manner, Stern noted, "We will submit any kind of agreement that requires that kind of submission." Stern did observe that neither the Copenhagen Accord under which the Obama administration set the goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020 nor the Cancun Agreements that set out procedures for making emissions reduction pledges have been submitted to Congress for consideration. Why not? Because adherence to both is entirely voluntary.

A 2010 Congressional Research Service (CRS) legal analysis of climate agreements put it bluntly, "The United States is not legally bound by the Copenhagen Accord." The CRS analysis added, "The Copenhagen Accord cannot be used as an independent basis for agency regulations imposing emissions restrictions on industry." The CRS analysis also observes that nothing prevents the president from attempting to fulfill the voluntary Copenhagen Accord pledges by seeking domestic climate change legislation or promulgating regulations pursuant to existing statutes such as the Clean Air Act and the Energy Independence and Security Act. In fact, this is what President Obama has done by increasing corporate average fuel economy standards and seeking to reduce electric power plant emissions of carbon dioxide by 30 percent.

Another journalist asked Stern if a Paris agreement with some kind of legally binding greenhouse gas reduction targets would have to be submitted to Congress. Stern diplomatically replied, "We are very mindful that agreements could be structured in such a way that some would need to go to the Congress and some would not." So what kind of climate agreement reached in Paris next year might need Congressional approval?

The 2010 CRS legal memorandum speaks to that question directly. It notes that a 1992 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report dealing with the ratification of the UNFCCC flatly stated that a "decision by the Conference of the Parties to adopt targets and timetables would have to be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent before the United States could deposit its instruments of ratification for such an agreement." The 1992 Senate report also explicitly added that any presidential attempt "to reinterpret the Convention to apply legally binding targets and timetables for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to the United States" would also require the Senate's prior advice and consent.

The State Department's own Foreign Affairs Manual notes that presidents may conclude executive agreements in three cases, e.g., pursuant to a treaty already authorized by the Senate; on the basis of existing legislation; and pursuant to his authority as Chief Executive when such an agreement is not inconsistent with legislation enacted by the Congress. Consequently, President Obama might assert that he has the authority to bind the U.S. to take on international obligations under the Paris climate agreement because it is pursuant to the already authorized UNFCCC and is consistent with existing federal environmental legislation.

On the other, the Manual offers guidance for deciding when a treaty or when an executive agreement is appropriate. Relevant considerations include (1) the extent to which the agreement involves commitments or risks affecting the nation as a whole, (2) whether the agreement is intended to affect State laws, and (3) the preference of the Congress as to a particular type of agreement. Clearly any international agreement that purports to impose legal limits on the emissions of greenhouse gases would involve risks to the nation as a whole and affect state laws. And, as noted earlier, the Senate has plainly stated that setting any greenhouse gas reduction targets and timetables under the UNFCCC would require its advice and consent.

So if the Paris agreement contains, as the European Union apparently wants, some kind of legally binding greenhouse gas reduction targets or timetables, President Obama could have a tough time asserting that he can obligate the U.S. to it by means of an executive agreement. Of course, that doesn't mean that the president won't try to do it.


Debunking John Kerry's Claim That Climate Change Is a Great Investment Opportunity

If renewable, new nuclear, or even fusion energy is actually becoming cheaper than conventional fossil fuels, why would the world need an international treaty at all?

Lima, Peru – Secretary of State John Kerry jetted down today for the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP-20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). His entourage invaded the press conference room and spent an inordinate amount of time adjusting the lectern, fiddling with the microphones, and minutely tweaking and cleaning the teleprompters not once, not twice, but three times before Kerry showed up. Does our diplomatic service demand obsequiousness?

At the beginning of his climate change pep talk, Kerry singled out his "special guest" Al Gore who was installed in the front row. Kerry noted that Gore was "the leader with all of us on this issue, but the first among equals, believe me, in his passion and commitment to this." I suspect that the Nobel Peace prize winner might think himself a bit more than merely a first among equals in the ranks of climate change combatants.

Kerry recalled that he was at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro at which the UNFCCC was negotiated and had participated in numerous subsequent COPs. (I, too, was there, John.) After 22 years of negotiations, Kerry asserted, "The science of climate change is science, and it is screaming at us, warning us, compelling us—hopefully—to act." Because the international community has failed adequately to heed the science, "We are still on a course leading to tragedy."

The blame for two decades of failed international climate policy rests with both rich and poor nations. "If you are a big developed nation and you are not helping to lead, then you are part of the problem," Kerry declared. But he added that since "more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are now from developing countries. It is imperative that they act, too."

Kerry noted that the U.S. is on track to meet President Obama's commitment that the country would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020. He hailed the joint announcement on climate change with China last month as an example of progress toward reining in climate change. But is it really? In the announcement the U.S. intends by 2025 to cut its emissions by as much as 28 percent below their 2005 levels and China intends to peak its emissions by 2030. The announcement creates no obligations of any sort on either nation.

Kerry concluded by arguing that solving climate change is a vast investment opportunity. "The solution to climate change is energy policy," he asserted. Kerry claimed that the trillion dollar infotech boom of 1990s will pale in comparison with the six trillion dollar cleantech boom that an ambitious climate agreement In Paris would spark. In his talk, the Secretary of State somehow overlooked the fact that no vast international treaty specifying quotas, mandates, and taxes was needed to force the creation of infotech markets, innovation and prosperity. If renewable, new nuclear, or even fusion energy is actually becoming cheaper than conventional fossil fuels, why would the world need an international climate change treaty at all?

In any case, will the negotiations here at COP-20 in Lima really set the stage of an ambitious climate agreement in Paris next year? Interestingly, the optimistic atmosphere among the conference tents has dissipated. The old familiar divide between the rich and poor countries has cracked opened again.

On one side, the rich countries, including the U.S., want an agreement in which all countries put forth intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs in diplo-speak) during the first three months of next year. The developed countries largely want to limit INDCs to quantifiable pledges to cut or manage the future emissions of greenhouse gases, e.g. so many millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year. They also want to adopt a set of transparent reporting standards so that it will be easy to compare and evaluate each country's INDC pledges. Additionally, the European Union wants to incorporate a formal process in the Paris agreement for evaluating the adequacy of INDCs, while the U.S. doesn't think that it's absolutely necessary for the new treaty. The EU is also arguing that INDCs should be legally binding for all countries. The U.S. opposes this because that means that Paris agreement would have to gain the assent of the Senate, which is unlikely.

For their part, most poor countries don't want to limit INDCs in the Paris agreement to just efforts aimed at cutting and controlling greenhouse gas emissions. They want to include provisions dealing with climate finance, efforts at adaptation, and so forth. Such INDCs would specifically obligate rich countries to provide funds to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions.

The U.S. and the E.U. respond that the atmosphere is warming because of the accumulation of greenhouse gases and that that should be the chief way to measure success in the effort to reduce future warming. Including finance and adaptation would make it harder to compare INDCs to see how much they are furthering the goal of slowing global warming. Some poor countries are still insisting on the UNFCCC principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" which they interpret as imposing legally binding targets on developed countries while exempting poor countries from such a requirement. Both China and India argue that a formal process for evaluating INDCs would violate their national sovereignties.

The conference is supposed to wrap up by this evening. The current negotiating text is a Chinese menu list of options indicating that no hard decisions have been agreed to at this point. In a press statement, the charity Oxfam warned, "Unless the text improves, whatever options negotiators choose over the next day will leave many very difficult issues unresolved and keep the world headed down a treacherous road towards extreme warming." Evidently, the climate negotiators here in Lima are treating Kerry's hectoring as so much hot air.


While Kerry Backs Global Green Fund in Peru, House GOP Says No to $3B US Pledge

Secretary of State John Kerry lent his weight to U.N. climate talks in Peru Thursday and lauded the achievement of an initial $10 billion target in pledges for a global fund designed to help poorer countries cope with climate change.

Back in Washington, however, congressional Republicans are taking aim at the U.S. contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which accounts for almost one third of the total amount pledged to date.

A provision in the omnibus spending bill currently before the House of Representatives states that “no funds may be made available for the Green Climate Fund, for which no funds were requested in fiscal year 2015.”

President Obama last month pledged $3 billion for the GCF, by far the largest contribution promised from the more than 20 governments that have done so. Total pledges passed the $10 billion mark this week.

“I understand we now have enough pledges from the international community to meet and exceed the initial Climate Green Fund target of 10 billion,” Kerry told the climate conference in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Thursday. “And the United States is very proud to be contributing three billion.”

He reiterated his well-known positions on climate change:

--that “97 percent” of peer-reviewed climate studies have confirmed that climate change is happening and humans are responsible.

--that the science “is screaming at us, warning us, compelling us – hopefully – to act.”

--that climate change is at least as serious as other major global threats, including “terrorism, extremism, epidemics, poverty, nuclear proliferation.”

Kerry also targeted those who challenge global warming dogma.

“What happens if the climate skeptics are wrong? Catastrophe. And we have a responsibility to put in place the precautionary principle when you’re given certain evidence and you’re a public official.”

He urged those listening in Lima and around the world “to demand resolve from your leaders. Speak out. Make climate change an issue that no public official can ignore for even one more day, let alone for one more election.”

With Kerry at the forefront, Obama’s second-term administration is seeking to exert world leadership on climate change ahead of the next U.N. climate megaconference, in Paris in a year’s time, when negotiators hope to produce a new global agreement on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change.

In Copenhagen five years ago, President Obama joined other leaders in agreeing to set up the GCF. The ambitious aim: to raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020, to help developing countries’ efforts to combat climate change by providing grants and concessional funding. Now fully up and running, the fund sought initial pledges of $10 billion this year.

After Obama last month offered $3 billion, Republicans heading for leadership positions in the new Senate quickly signaled he could run into trouble.

“President Obama’s pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a climate change skeptic who from January will return to the helm of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“The president’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” he said. “In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will chair the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on State and foreign operations next year, was quoted by Politico as predicting the authorization for the GCF would be difficult “given what’s going on in the world right now.”

A Congressional Research Service report published shortly after Obama made the pledge summarized some of the challenges ahead for the administration.

“Members of Congress hold mixed views about the value of international financial assistance to  address climate change,” it said. “While some Members are convinced that human-induced climate change is a high-priority risk that must be addressed through federal actions and international cooperation, others are not as convinced.”

“Some are wary, as well, of international processes that could impose costs on the United States, redirect funds from domestic budget priorities, undermine national sovereignty, or lead to competitive advantages for other countries,” the CRS report said.

Although – as the omnibus spending bill states – the administration has not requested funding for the GCF in the current fiscal year, it has requested funds elsewhere to help poorer countries deal with climate change.

The State Department’s FY2015 request includes $401 million for international organizations working on climate change and renewable energy programs in developing nations, a six percent increase from FY2014 levels.

The department further asks for $316.9 million in bilateral assistance in the climate change field.

“Global climate change threatens the livelihoods of millions in developing countries, and, if not addressed, will stall or even reverse the gains of many development efforts,” the administration said in its budget justification.


To 'Beat' Climate Change, the U.S. Will Pick Up the World's Tab

U.S. Pushes Voluntary Climate Standards Abroad, Strict Mandates at Home

Representatives from the U.S. and 195 other countries are meeting in Lima, Peru for the 20th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, hoping to lay the foundation for a major treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But evidence shows this is the wrong approach to address climate change and negotiators would be better off focusing on market competition and innovation, which have proven able to reduce emissions intensity and promote economic growth.

The U.S. is seeking an agreement based on voluntary reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by each nation. In an attempt to kick start that process, it recently announced a bilateral agreement with China in which the U.S pledged to slash its own greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25 percent by 2025 (compared with 2005 levels). China is under no obligation to cut emissions until 2030.

While the U.S. is promoting voluntarism internationally, at home it is foisting new, heavy-handed regulations on business sectors to meet its stated commitments. But these regulations are probably not necessary and they are almost certain to drive up costs.

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined in five of the past eight years, led by emissions reductions in the electric power sector. In 2013, carbon dioxide emissions in that sector were 15 percent below the 2005 level, despite increased electricity consumption. The reduction is mainly the result of greater efficiency and increasing use of natural gas-changes which have been driven by competition. That trend will likely continue, absent new regulations, because of market driven innovations like hydraulic fracturing for natural gas development and efficiency improvements. Market success and innovation coincide. Efficiency improvements improve companies' bottom lines while reducing emissions. At the same time, energy efficiency tools like light emitting diodes (LED) lamps are reducing consumer energy use. Smart motors reduce the amount of consumption in industry and homes, further reducing emissions. Voluntary programs like "green pricing" allow consumers to pay a premium for renewable generation.

According to the Energy Information Administration, while U.S. total carbon dioxide emissions are the second highest in the world behind China, U.S. emissions intensity (emissions per unit of production) ranks better than most other countries, especially some of the large industrializing countries, including India and China. The Energy Information Administration estimates U.S businesses use a fraction of the energy that companies in other countries use when producing a dollar's worth of goods. For example, American companies use just 40 percent of the energy used by Indian businesses and less than 30 percent of the energy used by Chinese businesses to produce a dollar of goods.

If the U.S. proceeds with its planned domestic emissions restrictions-which include regulation of emissions at power plants-it will drive up the costs of production in the U.S. by driving up energy costs. Since most countries, with the exception of some in the European Union, are unlikely to impose similar restrictions in the short-term, more energy-intensive U.S. businesses may relocate to countries where energy costs are lower but emission intensities higher. Thus, despite emissions reductions in the U.S., the net result could be an increase in global emissions as domestic reductions are offset by increases elsewhere. Similarly troubling, reduced U.S. economic growth would have globally negative effects, reducing the ability of people and societies to adapt to whatever climate they face.

A far better approach would be for negotiators in Lima, and ultimately next year in Paris, to embrace voluntarism more fully-all the way to the individual level. That means opening markets such as natural resource development and electricity generation and introducing competition in global markets. These are the forces that have been demonstrated to increase efficiency, enhance growth and reduce emissions intensity in electric power generation, agriculture and transportation in the United States. It makes more sense to pursue such a tried and tested win-win approach than it does to attempt to impose a centrally-planned energy diet on American businesses that could produce adverse consequences for nearly everyone.


Cheap gas is akin to a $60 billion tax cut

Mainly due to fracking

Americans are getting quite the gift this year: Cheap gas. A gallon of regular now costs $2.64 on average, according to AAA. In some places, it's fallen below $2 a gallon.

The dramatic drop in the price at the pump is giving a big boost to the U.S. economy. It's akin to a tax cut or stimulus program, economists say.

Every penny that gas prices decline puts about a billion dollars into Americans' pockets, according to Stephen Stanley, Chief Economist of Amherst Pierpont.

Gas prices were 62 cents higher this time last year, so the U.S. is basically getting a $62 billion stimulus injection. To put it another way, each household is saving roughly $500. That's money people can use to buy other things or to save.

Retailers are rejoicing. In recent earnings reports, Walmart (WMT) and other stores specifically singled out low gas prices as a likely driver of sales this year.  "This is obviously a critical time for them, and any extra money households have to spend is in their mind money that will flow to their register," said Stanley.

Overall, he estimates that depressed gas prices will add about half a percent to annual GDP.

The American shale energy boom, which has been a huge driver of the economy since the recession, is expected to take a breather as a result.

On Monday, ConocoPhillips (COP) revealed that it is slashing spending for 2015. BP (BP) made a similar announcement Wednesday. Thousands of employees are expected to lose their jobs. The pain will be especially harsh for smaller energy firms that have taken on heavy debt to finance their operations.

Steven Wieting, Global Chief Investment Strategist at Citi Private Bank, thinks the impact of oil's slump on the economy is being underestimated, since people who work to service the oil sector in such areas as marketing, sales, and finance will also be affected, even though they're not always counted as part of the energy field.

"There is a big growing energy industry that's going to see investment and employment slow sharply," he said.

Still, Wieting believes the benefits of low gas prices for the consumer outweigh the costs of a shale deceleration.  "This is a double edged sword," he noted. "You'll see stress in the energy industry, but you'll also get a consumer windfall."

How low is too low? There's some fear out there among investors that should oil fall too far, it could signal that the global economy is in dire shape.

If oil tanks to $40 per barrel, "something is very wrong with the world," claimed DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach in a webcast Tuesday (It's currently trading around $61).

But Wieting disputes the notion that overly weak demand is sending oil tumbling.  Rather, he points to the dramatic increase in supply in recent years, mainly coming from the U.S.

And if history is any guide, plummeting oil prices won't lead to a recession, he said. He mentioned that oil fell 60% over the course of a year in 1986, and the economy still chugged along just fine.

Ultimately, the benefit to consumers wins out.  "Even people who work in the energy industry don't get free gasoline," he quipped.



Five current articles below

Greens hunt academic ‘witches’

A dragon: South Australian Greens senator Penny Wright.  She wants to know:  "Are you now or have you ever been a member of a free-market organization?"

THE notorious US anti-communism campaigner Joe McCarthy would be proud — the Australian Senate has adopted his tactics in pursuit of independent think tanks.  [NOTE:  The "Are you now ..." question was actually asked in the HUAC hearings, not by Joe McCarthy.  McCarthy was a Senator so had nothing to do with HUAC.  HUAC was a Democrat outfit]

Instead of “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?”, a Senate estimates committee is asking whether particular academics and specialists are “connected” with the Institute of Public ­Affairs or the Centre for Independent Studies.

The federal Education Department has emailed a dozen or more subject specialists who contributed to the national curriculum review.

The correspondence begins: “The department has received a number of questions from Senate estimates. The specific question is: ‘If any of the reviewers who were appointed are connected with the Institute of Public ­Affairs or the Centre for Independent Studies?’ ”

It says it “would be appreciated if you could respond to this question” by Monday. Some of the recipients and both organisations have lashed out at what they see as an insulting intrusion.

“This is outright McCarthyism,” IPA deputy director James Paterson said. “It is pretty much ‘Are you now or have you even been a member of the IPA?’ ”

University of Wollongong historian Greg Melleuish said he was happy to answer the question because he had “nothing to hide”.

The issue was the “motives of the people asking the questions” rather than the department following up. The person who asked the question was South Australian Greens senator Penny Wright, who raised it at an October hearing.

“I am interested to know if any of the reviewers who were appointed are connected with the Institute of Public Affairs or the Centre for Independent Studies?” she asked.

The Weekend Australian contacted the senator’s office yesterday seeking comment on why the organisations were singled out and whether she was investigating connections to any other organisations.

Senator Wright’s adviser said the senator was too busy to respond, having “back-to-back meetings” and “two human rights events” to attend.

Associate Professor Melleuish said he was selected for the review because of his extensive curriculum work for Liberal and Labor governments.

“It is an attempt to taint people by association,” he said. “There is a strange idea around, especially online, that the IPA somehow has a pernicious effect on the government.”

Other academics confirmed they had received the request and decided not to respond.

They found the questions insulting, seemingly suggesting that publishing with these highly regarded organisations devalued their expertise.

CIS executive director Greg Lindsay said: “We are an organisation of the highest standards that publishes Nobel laureates, leading academics from Australia and around the world, as well as high-level politicians from all major parties. I’ve never heard of Senator Wright — who is she?”

Both the IPA and CIS support free markets, individual liberty and limited government.

Mr Paterson said Senator Wright’s question was a “classic example” of playing the man rather than the ball. “It is deeply revealing about the Greens’ attitude to political disagreement,” he said. “Are the Greens senators hunting down the political affiliation of all those who contributed towards developing the national curriculum, or just those they disagree with?”

The lead author of the original history curriculum was Melbourne University historian Stuart Macintyre. His connections were not pursued by the Greens. Professor Macintyre was once a member of the Communist Party.


Wind Power Really Is Setting the World on FIRE:

As the Australian countryside turns to the golden hues of summer, the attentions of its farming and rural communities also turn: hundreds of eager eyes become fixed on the horizon for tell-tale signs of the smoke that heralds the bushfires that cast fear amongst those that live and work in the bush.

Rules are set to avoid bushfires on high fire danger days – when a Total Fire Ban is called:

You cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or to carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire. No general purpose hot works such as using tractors, slashers and/or welding, grinding or gas cutting can be done in the open either, and this includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel, eg. wood or charcoal.

Farmers engaged in crop harvesting operations think twice about operating harvesters when the northerly winds pick up and send temperatures into the 40s – the safety conscious leave their headers parked in the shed or the corner of the paddock and spend the day in front of the A/C enjoying the cricket on TV – ready to respond in a heartbeat to the call if a fire does break out. Better to miss a day’s reaping than set the country ablaze.

But such is the seriousness with which country people take the ever-present threat of a bushfire, that can turn a swathe of country black; destroy homes, sheds, equipment, livestock, fences, generations of hard work; and, most savage of all – lives.

The approach taken to the threat of the savagery of an Australian bushfire is about the common sense management of RISK – and, wherever possible, taking steps to minimise or prevent that risk altogether.

But one massive – and utterly unjustified – RISK is the one created by the roll-out of hundreds of giant fans across WA, SA, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria – all in areas highly prone to bushfires.

Turbines represent the perfect bushfire incendiary: around the world, hundreds have blown up in balls of flame – in the process – each one raining molten metal and hundreds of litres of flaming hydraulic oil and burning plastic earthwards.

Wind turbine fires are ten times more common than the wind industry and its parasites claim (see our post here and check out this website:


The Australian Labor Party’s energy policy nothing but wind

GEORGE Orwell once said that political language was designed to “give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”.

Step forward exhibit A and the Labor Party’s explanation for refusing to fix the mess that is Australian renewable energy policy. Mark Butler says that Labor will not “stand by and watch” billions of dollars in investment in renewables head overseas.

Back on planet reality there is no investment in renewable energy now because we already have too much of it.

This year the legislated Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target required Australia to produce 16,100 gigawatt hours of renewable energy.

What this effectively means is that businesses have to surrender an equivalent amount of renewable energy certificates or pay a penalty. But Australia has an enormous oversupply of renewable energy certificates. This has nothing to do with the change of government a year ago and everything to do with the overly generous solar subsidies provided by various state and federal governments until recently. These subsidies have correctly been removed but the overhang remains.

Where there is a surplus of a product its price falls and this is what has happened to the price of renewable energy. Renewable energy certificates have been stuck at about $30 a megawatt hour, too low to bridge the gap between cheap fossil fuels and renewables.

Labor’s refusal to even consider reform is condemning the renewable energy industry to greater uncertainty and simply defers a reckoning. The reckoning will come when it becomes apparent that we cannot, by 2020, increase our renewable energy production to 41,000GWh as set by law. To meet that target we need an additional 26,000GWh of renewables.

The most efficient renewable energy wind turbines are capable of producing about 3MW while running. Because there are 8670 hours in a year, each wind turbine has the potential to produce about 26GWh a year.

But turbines don’t run at full capacity because the wind doesn’t always blow. Across Australia the average real output of wind turbines is about one-third of their rated capacity.

That means each wind turbine could produce about 8GW of energy every year. To produce another 26,000GWh we would need an extra 3000-plus wind turbines — more than doubling the population of wind turbines in Australia today. Each of these wind turbines would take up about 1sq km of land — considering the space needed between turbines. That means we would need an area larger than the size of the ACT to produce all this additional wind energy.

Now we technically could blanket the ACT with wind turbines — and some may suggest that would be a more productive use of that land — but that is not going to happen in five years. There is too short a time to build so many wind turbines so fast.

What will actually happen is that we won’t reach the target, but the dirty secret is that those that have already invested in renewables don’t really mind.

In about three years the target will grow to be above the renewable energy we are producing. Under the law that will mean the price of renewable energy certificates will increase to a shortfall charge of about $93 a megawatt hour in post-tax dollars increasing the burden of the RET threefold.

The producers of renewable energy will once again have their pockets lined thanks to the largesse of the families and businesses that consume energy. Irrigators will pay more to water their crops and we will become even less competitive in steel production. Jobs will be lost.

The RET costs the average family about $50 a year now; in a few years that will probably rise to $150 a year, or half a carbon tax but without the compensation. Every time you open the fridge, the little white light will come on to remind that you are paying for rich investors to make money in renewable energy stocks.

Australia’s renewable energy policies could simply be titled “Robin Hood visits Bizarro World” — they steal from the poor and give to the rich.

For all the Labor Party’s fine words in the cause of social justice and redistribution, when the lights go on those words are shown to be about as robust as a bunch of dead leaves blown along by the wind.


Less talk, more action on reef: Greens
The federal government has been accused of bullying other countries instead of taking action to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will use climate change talks in Peru to argue the reef is not under threat.  She also plans to lobby members of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee not to list the reef as a site in danger and will argue the organisation is at risk of being duped by activists.

Greens senator Larissa Waters says the government is failing to take action and choosing instead to "lobby and bully" other countries.

"Even though the World Heritage Committee recommended a moratorium on damaging developments, the pace of approvals has continued unabated," she said, adding that a long-term plan for the reef failed to address the impacts of climate change.

Senator Waters highlighted approvals given to build mines in the Galilee Basin and the expansion of the controversial Abbot Point coal port near Bowen.

WWF-Australia chief executive Dermot O'Gorman says the reef should not be used as a political football.  "The government's own experts have clearly stated that current management arrangements are not enough to even halt the decline of the reef, let alone reverse the reef's decline," he said.

Queensland opposition environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad says Ms Bishop should put her energy into pressuring Premier Campbell Newman to do more to protect the reef.

Ms Bishop is expected to tell UNESCO an in-danger listing could set a dangerous precedent that could result in World Heritage assets being blacklisted in the countries of committee members.

She will argue Australia has addressed environmental threats to the reef, including those raised by UNESCO such as the dumping of dredge spoil and cutting agricultural runoff.

The World Heritage Committee will meet in June to decide whether to formally declare the reef as an asset in danger.


Greenie academic soft on sharks

Greenies and sharks have a similar regard for morality.  And Greenies hate people anyway

A paper published in the Australian Journal of Political Science has described the West Australian government's response to shark attacks as relying on "movie myths" and having "striking similarities" to the 1975 movie Jaws.

The research describes what the author calls the "Jaws Effect", which he describes as "a political device based on three themes from the film: the intentionality of sharks, the perception that all human-shark interactions are fatal and the idea that killing a shark is the only solution".

The author of the research, Dr Christopher Neff is a lecturer in public policy at the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations and has previously been critical of the WA government's approach to sharks.

The paper went on to say "This fiction serves an important political purpose because films allow politicians to rely on familiar narratives following shark bites to blame individual sharks in order to make the events governable and to trump evidence-based science".

When discussing the situation in WA, where eight fatal attacks have occurred since 2000, Dr Neff wrote: "I suggest that politicians used movie myths to support their policies in order to use intent-based narratives that are well known and blame sharks in order to lower thresholds for policy action and favour quick policy solutions."

He said this happened in WA following four shark bite incidents in 2000, 2003, 2011 and 2014, when action was taken in an attempt to kill sharks following encounters with humans.

In regard to his findings Dr Neff said "politicians do not have a right to their own set of scientific facts about sharks, no matter how popular the movie".

In the past Premier Colin Barnett has repeatedly cited "public safety" as the reason for killing sharks.



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14 December, 2014

'Climate Change’ Ranks Dead Last in United Nations' Own Survey

 Delegates from 190 nations attending the United Nations’ summit
in Lima, Peru this week are pushing for “net zero emissions” and “full decarbonization by 2050” to battle climate change.

But more than seven million people who responded to a recent U.N. global survey ranked climate concerns at the very bottom of their priorities.

“A good education” topped the 16-item priority list in all demographic and geographic categories, followed by “better healthcare,” “better job opportunities,” and “an honest and responsive government.”

Most survey respondents put “action taken on climate change” in last place, indicating widespread skepticism of the U.N.’s claims that the Earth faces irreversible and catastrophic damage from rising temperatures if carbon dioxide emissions are not completely eliminated over the next three and a half decades.

That skepticism can be traced in part to satellite and weather balloon data showing no global warming for the past 18 years, as well as the obvious disconnect between global warming alarmists’ rhetoric and their actions.

For example, U.N. delegates who flew to Lima in jet-fueled airliners are calling for the total elimination of fossil fuels, but the vast majority of them would not ride a bicycle less than six miles to the conference venue to reduce their own carbon footprints.

“Peruvian Environment Minister [Manuel] Pulgar-Vidal asked for a bicycle parking lot. He got it, but only about 40 people use it daily,” according to the Associated Press. Instead, most of the 11,000 delegates rely on cars and buses to get to sessions of the 20th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

And despite its stated goal to eliminate all carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 by ending the use of fossil fuels, the Lima conference is “expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date,” adding more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere, the AP reports.

But that won’t stop U.N. delegates from trying to impose expensive and draconian carbon reductions on everybody else, warned Chris Dawson, CEO of the Lord Monckton Foundation.

“The UN bureaucrats and fellow travelers are afraid that the actual lack of global warming for 18 years and the ‘hottest year ever’ contradiction can’t hold out until Paris” next year, he said. That's when the UN is expected to replace the expired 1997 Kyoto Protocol with a binding treaty on climate change that incorporates any draft agreements made in Lima.

Dawson predicts that the Lima conference will come up with some sort of hybrid agreement that will enable President Obama, who has already made a $3 billion pledge to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund, to “side-step [the] U.S. Congress.” Under the Constitution, Congress must ratify any treaties signed by the president.

“This Agreement will reflect the terms of his US China Climate Agreement and all countries, including Australia, will be under huge pressure to sign, perhaps even as early as now, in Lima,” Dawson warns.

In July, Australia became “the world’s first developed nation to repeal carbon tax laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a landslide victory after giving Australian voters his “pledge in blood” to repeal the carbon tax, which he called “a $9 billion handbrake” on the world’s 12th largest economy.

Although Abbott originally said his government would not contribute to the Green Energy Fund, he reversed his stance. On Monday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Australia would kick in $200 million to the fund over the next four years.

At the U.N.’s 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, industrialized countries like the U.S., which are already spending $25 billion a year on climate change, committed to spending another $100 billion per year by 2020 to help poorer, undeveloped nations adapt to climate change. Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq characterized the fund as “reparations from polluters”.

However, only about a tenth of the $100 billion, which U.N. chief spokeswoman Christiana Figueres called “a very, very small sum,” has been actually pledged so far.

And that $100 billion figure, which was developed by the World Bank, is “a significant underestimate,” said Achim Steiner, director of the U.N.’s Environment Programme (UNEP). The revised figure is now $250 billion to $500 billion per year by 2050.


Climate Catastrophe

By John Stossel
People argue about whether the “consensus” of scientists is that we face disaster because of global warming. Instead of debating whether man’s greenhouse gasses will raise temperatures, we should argue about how we gauge disasters.

If you take most environmentalists and climate scientists at their word, the Earth heated up about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, not much more than it heated up the century before that. Warming may increase, but no one can be certain of that.

Let’s agree for the sake of argument that this recent warming was partly caused by humanity. Let’s also agree that there are some negative effects, including more frequent coastal flooding or longer droughts.

If we agree that those are costs, shouldn’t we also look at the benefits? Much of modern civilization owes its existence to our use of the fossil fuels that produce the greenhouse gasses.

I don’t see that civilization as misfortune. I wish climate alarmists would weigh its accomplishments against the relatively small downsides of climate change. One of industry’s biggest accomplishments is creating a world where far fewer of us are likely to die because of weather.

Alex Epstein’s book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” documents the rapidly shrinking number of human beings killed by storms, floods and other climate events thanks largely to ever-growing industry, fueled mainly by oil, natural gas and coal.

On my show this week, he argues that if we compare conditions a century ago to conditions last year, we shouldn’t obsess about how much carbon dioxide is in the air – or whether earth is warming – we should look at how much safer life became.

In 2013, “Climate-related deaths were at a record low – in supposedly the worst climate in history – under 30,000,” says Epstein. In 1931, bad weather killed 3 million people.

You can argue that we get some things wrong as a civilization, but thanks to our use of fossil fuels, we get something very right.

Epstein points out that humanity owes its current ability to survive harsh winters, arid deserts and other naturally dangerous environments to the same fuels that activists now condemn: “We have the luxury of being able to absorb a certain amount of climate-related damage so we can live in all of these cool places.”

His argument is unusual because environmentalists spread the idea that, without human interference, the planet is perfect.

But by what standard?

“If you went to someone 300 years ago and asked them, do you have a perfect climate?” they would think you were crazy, says Epstein. “They were terrified of climate, because climate doesn’t give you the resources that you need. It doesn’t give you water when you need it. It doesn’t give you the temperature when you need it.”

It was once common to say that humans change their environment. That shouldn’t offend people today, says Epstein. We should be thrilled that humans “create technology to master climate. … That’s why so few people today die from climate.”

Epstein correctly says that instead of talking about “climate change” – of which there will always be some, with or without human influence – we should focus on “climate catastrophe,” weather that actually kills people. Those catastrophes, measured in lost lives, are getting rarer.

Most of the changes humans make to our environment are desirable changes that help us live longer and more comfortably. “The dogma that man is ruining the planet rather than improving it is a religion, a source of prestige and a career for too many people.”

If we regard nature as pristine and think it must never be altered, we will have big problems. We will die young and lead miserable, difficult lives.

I think of industry as something that is mostly very good for us, with a few minor side effects that aren’t. Fossil fuels are a little like antibiotics, says Epstein. It’s good to draw attention to minor side effects, but it would be crazy to abandon all treatment because of them.

Fossil fuels are no catastrophe. They contribute to health and a better life.



Welcome to the O-zone, where economic development is a zero-sum game

Late in the day on Thanksgiving eve, when no one was paying attention, the Obama administration released its Unified Agenda — a regulatory roadmap of thousands of regulations being finalized in 2015. Within the bundle of more than 3000 regulations is a rule on ozone that President Obama himself, in 2011, “put on ice” in an effort to reduce “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.” Regarding the 2011 decision that shocked environmental groups, the New York Times (NYT) recently stated: “At the time, Mr. Obama said the regulation would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments at a time of economic distress.”

So, why has the rule that the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) calls: “the most expensive ever imposed on industry in America,” come back? First, Obama isn’t facing an election — which, while the White House denied it, most believe to be the reason for the 2011 about-face. More importantly, however, is the fact that following the 2011 decision that struck down the proposed ozone rule, environmental groups sued the Obama administration. The resulting court order required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release the proposed rule by December 1, with finalization by October 2015.

Once again, environmental groups — who, on September 21, came out of the closet and revealed that their true intention is system change (“capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure”) — are in charge of America’s energy, and, therefore, economic policy. They have systematically chipped away America’s sources of economic strength: cost-effective energy. And we’ve let them.

What they are doing is reminiscent of the classic poem, attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller, which is quoted at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

First, they came after coal. It was at a time when natural gas was cheap and touted as the “bridge fuel” to the future. No one much spoke out. Some in the natural gas business even encouraged the war on coal, as it benefitted them. When I first heard that then-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McLendon gave the Sierra Club $25 million to fight coal (it is reported that the Sierra Club turned down an additional $30 million), I remember yelling at the TV. “You fool!” I shouted. “You will be next!”

Within months, the Sierra Club launched its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign that claims: “Increasing reliance on natural gas displaces the market for clean energy and harms human health and the environment in places where production occurs.” A headline on the Beyond Natural Gas webpage states that natural gas is: “Dirty, dangerous, and run amok.” Shortly thereafter, McLendon “agreed to retire.”

The oil industry didn’t make much noise about the Sierra Club campaign — after all natural gas prices were low and oil, high. While environmental groups generally oppose all fossil fuels, the oil industry has been hurt the least. Jobs in the oil sector of the energy industry have continued as the lone bright spot in the economy and increased U.S. production has cut our reliance on Middle Eastern crude to the lowest levels in three decades. Even as recently as November 5, President Obama bragged about decreased dependence on imported oil.

While the Obama administration hasn’t been vocally anti-oil, it has not made development easy. The permitting process for a new well on federal lands takes twice as long as it did previously. Environmental groups, with whom Obama is philosophically aligned, have continued to push for tighter regulations on hydraulic fracturing — even an outright ban (which would virtually shut down America’s new energy abundance). The Democrat-controlled New York state has already acquiesced to environmentalists’ demands.

Now, they are coming for oil-and-gas development and manufacturing through the just-announced 626-page ozone regulation, which will require states to dramatically reduce ozone emissions from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 65 to 70ppb—though environmental groups want a 60ppb standard which may be the final rule. While a 5-15ppb reduction doesn’t sound like much, it is important to realize that many areas of the U.S. are already out of compliance — including most of California — with the 75ppb level. The new regulations will mean that, depending on the final rule, 76-96 percent of the country — including some national parks where the natural background levels are 65-67ppb — will be out of compliance.

According to Howard Feldman, the American Petroleum Institute’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, “earlier EPA analyses acknowledge the technology needed to achieve more stringent standards doesn’t exist.” Likewise, a NAM report, titled “Potential Economic Impacts of a Stricter Ozone Standard,” states that a majority of new reductions would have to come from “unknown controls.”

Ozone is an odorless gas that is not directly emitted into the air but is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) — which occur naturally but are also produced from the burning of fossil fuels and are released in the process of drilling for oil and natural gas. For example, even before the new proposed levels were announced, Colorado’s Front Range region is out of compliance with the current rules, “driven largely by emissions from fossil fuel processing.” A report in the Colorado Independent states: “The increase in ozone violations is primarily due to emissions from oil and gas drilling.” Electric utilities and chemical solvents are also sources of NOx and VOC.

“To meet the new standards,” the National Journal says: “states will have to form plans that will limit emissions of ozone-forming pollutants from two major sources: stationary sources such as power plants and factories, and transportation” — which will reduce energy intensive economic activity. The NYT reports: “The ozone rules are expected to force the owners of power plants and factories to install expensive technology to clean pollutants from their smoke stacks” — which will raise costs to families and business. Under the current rule, ozone levels, according to the EPA, have fallen in the U.S. 33 percent since 1980 and 18 percent since 2000.

The American Legislative Exchange Council explains the impact of the new ozone proposal this way: “Virtually every state’s ability to develop industry would be seriously jeopardized because emissions from each new stationary source would have to be ‘offset’ with emissions reductions elsewhere in the nonattainment area. In practice, this means that industrial development becomes a zero-sum game, whereby every new business requires the closure of existing business.”

No wonder NAM’s response is antagonistic: “Manufacturing in the United States is making a comeback,” Jay Timmons, CEO and President, said in a press release. “We’re reducing emissions at the same time, but tightening the current ozone standard to near unachievable levels would serve as a self-inflicted wound to the U.S. economy at the worst possible time. This rule would undermine our work to expand manufacturing in the United States, making it almost impossible to increase operations, create new jobs or keep pace internationally.”

Despite the negative economic impact of the expensive rule — with figures ranging from $19 billion to $270 billion — environmental groups believe Obama will follow through this time because, as National Journal states: “the rule fits with the rest of Obama’s climate change agenda and they’d expect it to move forward even on the tighter end.” The Sierra Club’s Washington representative on smog pollution, Terry McGuire, believes: “The administration is emboldened to do that.”

While environmental groups and the Obama administration maybe feel “emboldened,” more regulation — especially that which “would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments” — is not what the American people want or need.

“The president said his policies were on the ballot, and the American people spoke up against them,” said incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “It’s time for more listening, and less job-destroying red tape. Easing the burden already created by EPA regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress.”

“Republicans,” according to National Journal, “have vowed to target the ozone standard as a part of their early energy agenda.”

Current Minority Leader of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Vitter (R-LA) and incoming Chairman, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) called the rule: “one of the most devastating regulations in a series of over-reaching regulatory actions.” In response to the November 26 announcement, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised: “The House will conduct aggressive oversight and use the proper legislative approach to continue to promote cleaning the air we breathe while ensuring our communities are not burdened with unrealistic regulations.”

With the Obama administration willing to sacrifice jobs and economic development for some perceived environmental legacy, it is time for unions to abandon the historic allegiance to the Democrat Party and realize that it is the Republicans who advocate for policies that protect the jobs in construction, manufacturing, mining, and energy — all well-paying positions that are often filled by union members.

It is time for capitalist, free-marketers to speak out.

It is time for trade unionists to speak out.

It is time for families, workers, and businesses to speak out.

It is time for the all of the energy producers — coal, natural gas, and oil — to speak out with one voice.

Because, if we don’t, there will be no one left to speak for us.


Superbug threat to human race ‘more certain’ than climate change – inquiry chief

Economist investigating threat of return to medical ‘dark ages’ predicts 10 million a year could die within a generation           

The threat to the human race from deadly new disease strains resistant to drugs is “more certain” than that from climate change, the head of a new review set up by David Cameron into the crisis has insisted.

Up to 10 million people a year could die as a result of superbugs and drug resistant strains of diseases such as malaria within a generation unless urgent action is taken, according to projections calculated by a team led by Jim O’Neill, the City economist.

Yet despite widespread agreement among scientists about the scale of the threat the public is largely unaware, he warned.

The inquiry was set up earlier this year to search urgently for solutions to a problem Mr Cameron said threatened to cast the world "back into the dark ages of medicine".

In an initial assessment Mr O’Neill set out a Doomsday scenario, warning that without concerted global action to find new treatments and dramatically reduce overprescribing 300 million people could die in the next 35 years from currently treatable conditions.

According to projections, using modelling designed by economists at KPMG and RAND, by 2050 so-called Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) could claim a similar number of lives every year as cancer, cholera, diabetes, measles, tetanus, diarrheal conditions and all the road traffic accidents in the world combined.

The massive loss of life could wipe out around £64 trillion of global productivity in the next 35 years – the equivalent of the entire GDP of the UK every year for a generation, it found.

But Mr O’Neill insisted that the estimates are likely to be conservative and the financial impact could be twice as much when the cost of new, more complicated procedures for routine operations such as hip replacements and caesarean sections are taken into account

Mr O’Neill said he had consulted closely with Lord Stern, the President of the Royal Academy who carried out a landmark investigation into the threat from climate change for Tony Blair, about parallels between the two threats and possible responses.

But he added that, despite the vastly higher public profile of climate change in comparison with drug resistance, there is greater consensus about the danger to humanity from the latter.

“It feels to me, from the scientific knowledge, that there is more certainty about this being a problem,” he said.

“Now I’m somebody that is very sympathetic to the climate change case … but, with the kind of debate that goes on and data, it feels to me that there is more certainty about this becoming a problem over a reasonably short time period.

He added: “In some ways to try and solve is a little bit like climate change, because we are talking about the problem getting a lot bigger in the future than it is today and what we are presuming … that the cost of stopping the problem is significantly lower than the cost of not stopping it.

Over the next year and a half the inquiry will assess possible solutions to the situation as the basis for a future international agreement.

Lord Stern said: “Wise policy looks ahead and tries to manage risks, particularly the big ones.

“There can be no doubt now that Antimicrobial Resistance is one of the biggest we – all of us – face.”

The inquiry’s initial estimates suggest that while the crisis will affect rich and poor countries alike the developing world will bear the brunt.

It estimates that in India alone two million people a year could die as a result of drug resistance by 2050 and another million in China. That in turn would have a dramatic impact on the world economy.

In Nigeria, one in four of all deaths by 2050 could be a result of AMR, according to the projections while in Indonesia 300,000 could die, primarily from new resistant strains of malaria.


UK: Ministers accused of trying to ‘buy off’ local discontent on wind farms

Landscape campaigners have described the latest Government moves to help communities obtain financial benefits from wind farms as a guide to bribery.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has set out new standards for wind energy schemes to work with local communities.

The guidance, written by the industry body Regen South West, focuses on how communities can best obtain and use cash funds of up to £5,000 per megawatt (MW).

Opponents of turbines say windfalls under the new rules – worth £1.1 million over the life cycle of a large project up for decision in Cornwall later this month – are simply designed to “buy off” local discontent.

Campaign group Cornwall Protect said the only way the Government can achieve its renewable energy targets is to “extend the gravy train beyond developers and landowners to communities”.

Spokesman Danny Mageean said there was a danger that so-called community leaders may be keen to win “brownie points” even if they live “at the other end of the village”.

“I live five hundred metres from a 77-metre turbine so I know the problems, and I don’t think giving our parish council a few thousand would compensate for the devaluing of our property and the noise,” he added.

Ministers unveiled a raft of measures last year in response to growing anger in the rural Conservative heartlands at turbines and solar farms.

The new guidance was billed as giving more protection to the landscape and a stronger voice to locals who opposed unpopular renewable energy schemes.

In addition, the recommended community benefit package in England was increased fivefold from £1,000 per MW of installed capacity to £5,000 per MW.

DECC has published the guidance on how wind schemes should work with communities, calling for partnerships between the two.

It gives examples of different ways in which funds and other investments by developers have been used by local groups, from the provision of care services to mountain bike trails.

The guidance is expected to be followed shortly be a community “right to invest” in new renewable energy projects that will also apply to solar schemes.

Jodie Giles, communities project manager at Regen South West, authors of the document, said “We are delighted that more communities are getting involved with sustainable energy, and in particular onshore wind projects – one of the most efficient and cost effective renewables technologies available.”

Examples of how benefits have been used will soon be recorded on DECC’s new community benefits register for England.

This month, a decision will be made on plans for one of the biggest wind farms in the region – 11 turbines producing 25MW at Week St Mary in Cornwall.

Developers Good Energy are proposing a fund of £2,000 per MW, totalling more than £44,000 a year for the life of the project, available to people living within three miles of the plant.

A local electricity tariff scheme is also proposed, offering discount for locals living within the three-mile radius who sign up to receive electricity from the scheme.

The firm is also exploring the possibility of the community owning one of the turbines.

Bob Barfoot, a member of the CPRE in Devon and a planning expert who has helped prepare a report from the group Communities Against Rural Exploitation (CARE) for the planning meeting on October 23, said community benefits cannot be taken into account by councillors.

He says this point has been made by a number of planning inspectors in recent appeals, including a decision this June to uphold the refusal of a 77-metre turbine at Ladock.

In dismissing the appeal, planning inspector Paul Jackson said plans to generate about a third of the parish’s annual electricity demand were “a laudable aim”

“However, as planning permission for the scheme was refused on landscape and visual amenity grounds, which remain the main concerns, it is unclear how the intended community benefits could make it acceptable,” he added.

Environment campaigner Jeremy Varcoe, of North Cornwall, said it was wrong to lavish cash on the girl guides rather than affected locals.

“What’s so unfair is the money goes to people not affected – rather than those whose lives are blighted by the turbines – it is little more than a bribe to the local parish or town council,” he added.

“It is a dishonest device to buy off the increasing resentment among people who are against these developments. Strictly speaking community benefits are not a material planning consideration but there is no doubt that the promise of large amounts of money has affected the decision of committees and council case officers.”


Tide turns on sea-level alarmists in Australia

AUSTRALIA is lucky to possess the high-quality, 128-year-long tide gauge record from Fort Denison (Sydney Harbour), which since 1886 indicates a long-term rate of sea-level rise of 0.65mm a year, or 6.5cm [2.5 inches] a century.

Lucky, because 60-year-long oceanographic atmospheric oscillations mean a true long-term measurement of sea-level rise can be made only when such a record is available.

Similarly low rates of local sea-level rise have been measured at other tide gauges along the east coast. National Tidal Centre records reveal variations between about 5cm and 16cm/century in rates of relative rise. The differ­ences between individual tide gauges mostly represent slightly differing rates of subsidence of the land at each site, and differing time periods.

For example, measurements at Sydney between 2005 and 2014 show the tide gauge site is sinking at a rate of 0.49mm/yr, leaving just 0.16mm/yr of the overall relative rise as representing global sea-level change. Indeed, the rate of rise at Fort Denison, and globally, has been decreasing for the past 50 years.

Despite this high-quality and unalarming data, it is surprising that some east coast councils have implemented coastal planning regulations based on the computer projections of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For instance, a recent consultancy report for the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla shire councils, informed by IPCC computer model projections, advised those councils to plan using a rate of rise of 3.3mm/yr, four times the rate at Fort Denison.

The numbers were in part based on experimental estimates of sea-level change provided by satellite altimetry measurements. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which launches the satellite platforms, says these estimates contain errors larger than the sea-level signal claimed and proposes spending more than $US100 million on launching a new GRASP satellite to rectify the matter.

Mindful of these facts, on October 28, Shoalhaven Shire Council rejected advice to use the IPCC’s most extreme emissions Scenario 8.5, applying the still highly precautionary Scenario 6.0, and using their nearest long tide gauge record (Fort Denison) to set future planning policy. The council specifically ruled out the future use of satellite or model-generated sea-level estimates until their accuracy is guaranteed.

In mid-2010, the Eurobodalla council, south of Shoalhaven, introduced a unique interim sea level rise policy that shackled more than a quarter of all properties in the shire to restrictive development controls. Predictably, there was an immediate shire-wide decline in property values.

Figures from RP Data property information specialists show that between 2011 and 2014, Eurobodalla property values suffered a 5.3 per cent loss in value compared with increases of 4.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent for neighbouring coastal shires that didn’t have equivalent restrictive sea-level policies. In the worst cases, individual properties have lost up to 52 per cent of their market value.

In three years, individual Eurobodalla properties lost about $40,000 in value. With 22,000 properties in the shire, this represents a capital loss of $880m at a rate of $293m a year. This steady loss of rateable value means householders will face higher rate increases.

If similar policies were implemented along the entire east coast there would be annual property capital losses of billions of dollars.

So it is not surprising that NSW and Queensland governments are reconsidering their coastal management policies.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney recently notified Moreton Bay Regional Council of his intention to direct it to amend its draft planning scheme “to remove any assumption about a theoretical projected sea level rise due to climate change from all and any provisions of the scheme”. Seeney said his intention was to use a statewide coastal mapping scheme “that will remove the ‘one size fits all’ approach that incorporates a mandatory 0.8m addition to historical data”.

At last, a responsible government has recognised that global average sea-level change is no more relevant to coastal management than average global temperatures are to the design of residential heating and cooling systems — local weather and local sea-level change is what matters.

Satellite measurements and computer model projections are not accurate enough for shire planning. As the NSW Chief Scientist has said, coastal policy needs to be informed by the best available factual measurements.

And as Seeney said: “All mandatory elements of the (planning) scheme must reflect only proven historical data when dealing with coastal hazards such as storm tide inundation and erosion control areas.” Similar policies need to be espoused by all state governments and councils.

Sea-level alarmism has passed high tide and is at last declining. With luck, empirical sanity will soon prevail over modelling.



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


12 December, 2014

Reindeer Populations On The Decline Due To Climate Change, Study Says

An old trick:  Choosing start and end points without looking at the in-between. Chinese reindeer populations may indeed have dropped over 25 percent since "the 1970s".  But if, as alleged, that was due to global warming, the population drop must now have ceased and the population must now be stable.  Why?  Because the warming stopped rising 18 years ago.  The temperature is stable to within hundredths of a degree.

We also read that the reindeer population in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, "has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013".   Sad, no doubt, but warming was not the culprit -- because there wasn't any warming over that period

Reindeer populations across the world are plummeting, thanks to a combination of factors including climate change and human interference, a new study has found. This decrease could actually have lasting effects on climate change, even outside of the Arctic.

The study, which focused on reindeer native to China, found that the populations have seen large declines. In China, reindeer populations have dropped over 25 percent since the 1970s. Mount Daxinganling is the main habitat for reindeer in China. It has been negatively impacted by climate change, causing to soil degradation and higher temperatures, which have hurt reindeer. Human interference, such as poaching for antlers which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, the selling of reindeer to tourists, and reindeer being killed by cars, also have hurt the populations in China.

While the study focuses solely on reindeer populations in China, the trend is not limited to that country. A 2013 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that major reindeer herds in Alaska, Canada, and Russia have all seen declines in population. The largest herd, located in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013. The report also found that many reindeer herd’s ranges are smaller than they have been in the past. In 2012, the International Fund of Wildlife’s Jeff Flocken said there has been roughly a 60 percent decline from historical high levels, and that the decline was caused by climate change.

Loss of reindeer populations could actually exacerbate climate change. Researchers in Finland have found that grazing by reindeer can help prevent solar heat absorption which can lead to climate change. In their study, they found that areas where reindeer did not graze had higher levels of heat radiation, thanks to higher levels of shrubs and trees that absorbed heat. A Swedish study has found that reindeer can also prevent the climate-change-caused spread of invasive species in the Arctic tundra.


Warmist scientists go too far with their lies

They can fiddle their temperature record all they like but they can't make the polar ice go away.  An allegedly "hot" area is in fact completely covered by ice!

I’ve been suspicious about sea surface temperatures since the bizarro Unisys incident a few weeks ago, when they suddenly replaced cold North Atlantic temperatures with warm ones, based on a completely incoherent explanation.

The claims of record 2014 heat are based on sea surface temperatures, which don’t make any sense. Look at the strip between Greenland and Iceland – they show sea surface temperatures about 6C above normal

Now look at the sea ice map. Ice extends all the way from Greenland to Iceland – far above normal.

It is simply not credible that the seas between Greenland and Iceland are 6C above normal, and have excess ice. The excess ice indicates that sea surface temperatures there are below normal. Something is seriously amiss



Lima update:

Comment from Australia

As Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb prepare to arrive in Lima to represent Australia at the annual United Nations climate negotiations, deep divisions are emerging over whether a deal to be reached in Paris next year will include legally binding targets.

The US says national targets should be voluntary – a position that has won the support of leading Australian economist Ross Garnaut.

But the European Union has claimed that voluntary targets will not provide the necessary long-term certainty to make the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions needed to prevent dangerous climate change. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has now made a similar argument, saying a deal without legally binding commitments would be nothing more than aspirations.

The debate came amid a new stoush over climate finance to be provided by wealthy countries to those still developing. The Abbott government has made it clear that it believes the bulk of money should be paid by industry. That contrasts with its position at home, where it has set up a $2.5 billion fund of taxpayers' money to pay industry to cut emissions.

The two-week Lima conference started positively last week, but began to get bogged down by week's end. The US wants a Paris deal to focus on emissions reduction pledges, but developing countries want to see a greater focus on measures to help the most vulnerable adapt and a stronger link between climate finance paid by the wealthy and the target of limiting the temperature rise by 2 degrees.

Australia has faced criticism from China over its refusal to give any money to the Green Climate Fund. The fund has received $9.7 billion, including pledges from the US, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

In an interview with Associated Press,  Ms Bishop said Australia would continue to directly pay for climate-change adaptation in vulnerable South Pacific island nations through its aid budget rather than donate to a UN fund designed for the same purpose.

"The Green Climate Fund is about supporting developing countries build resilience to climate change. Australia is already doing that through our aid program," she said.

Ms Bishop said her message to the conference would be "that the new agreement should establish a common playing field for all countries to take climate action from 2020" and to call for commitments from all major economies to cut emissions.

She said any deal in Paris needed to be legally binding, and that Australia wanted to see the detail of a US-China emissions deal struck ahead of the Peru conference.

"China has already said that it will continue business as usual until 2030. We want to know whether there's some sort of binding commitment," she said.

A report by US and Chinese academics last year found that for China's emissions to peak and start reducing by 2030, as it plans, it would require significantly more action than business as usual practice.

The legal status of national targets that countries will offer up as part of a new comprehensive agreement in Paris was left deliberately vague in the so-called Durban Platform agreed to in 2011. It said the talks would lead to a "protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force".

But EU lead negotiator Elina Bardram said in Lima last week that legally binding targets were needed to provide confidence for investors.

"The EU is of the mind that legally binding mitigation targets are the only way to provide the necessary long term signal," The Guardian quoted Ms Bardram as saying.

"We're not convinced that an alternative approach could provide the same signals that would be sufficient to deliver the global momentum."

US lead climate negotiator Todd Stern said previous approaches that involved legally binding commitments did not work.

"You could assign every country a particular reduction that on paper looks like a perfect result and then you can't get an agreement on it. This [a deal with voluntary commitments] is a way to get everyone in. It's not going to be perfect, but it's a strong start that would get better and better," he said.

Professor Garnaut told Fairfax Media that while countries can make "serious domestic political commitments", it would be counter-productive to demand they enter into a binding legal commitment. Countries would be more likely to be more ambitious if the targets they set were voluntary, as occurred at a 2010 UN meeting in Cancun.

"We shouldn't be aiming for a legally binding agreement," Professor Garnaut said. "We now know that even if we couldn't recognise it at the time, that at this stage of history that is neither feasible not desirable.

"The ambition of the concerted unilateral commitments at Cancun were much greater than the notionally legally binding commitments at Kyoto [in 1997]. There is good reason for that; when negotiators think they are binding their countries, they are more cautious than when countries are honestly thinking they can do, but there is less sense of the catastrophic consequences if they don't."

Climate finance has so far dominated conference talks. The US pushed to delete words in a negotiating paper stating that financial commitments should be "new and additional", predictable and adequate. The US was supported by Switzerland,which said that unless a call for new commitments of finance post-2020 was left out of the final text, there would be no agreement in Lima.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme has found that even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to the level required to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees this century, the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries is likely to reach two to three times the previous estimates of $70-100 billion per year by 2050. Adaptation costs for Africa alone could reach approximately $350 billion annually by 2070.


Record Global Temperature —Conflicting Reports, Contrasting Implications

Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger write  very carefully and informatively below.  I am however a little bemused that that they  think temperature variations as tiny as hundredths of a degree are worth discussing

Despite what you may think if you reside in the eastern United States, the world as a whole in 2014 has been fairly warm. For the past few months, several temperature-tracking agencies have been hinting that this year may turn out to be the “warmest ever recorded”—for whatever that is worth (keep reading for our evaluation). The hints have been turned up a notch with the latest United Nations climate confab taking place in Lima, Peru through December 12.  The mainstream media is happy to popularize these claims (as are government-money-seeking science lobbying groups).

But a closer look shows two things: first, whether or not 2014 will prove to be the record warmest year depends on whom you ask; and second, no matter where the final number for the year ranks in the observations, it will rank among the greatest “busts” of climate model predictions (which collectively expected it to be a lot warmer). The implication of the first is just nothing more than a jostling for press coverage. The implication of the latter is that future climate change appears to be less of a menace than assumed by the president and his pen and phone.

Let’s examine at the various temperature records.

First, a little background. Several different groups compile the global average temperature in near-real time. Each uses slightly different data-handling techniques (such as how to account for missing data) and so each gets a slightly different (but nevertheless very similar) values. Several groups compute the surface temperature, while others calculate the global average temperature in the lower atmosphere (a bit freer from confounding factors like urbanization). All, thus far, only have data for 2014 compiled through October, so the final ranking for 2014, at this point in time, is only a speculation (although a pretty well-founded one).

The three major groups calculating the average surface temperature of the earth (land and ocean combined) all are currently indicating that 2014 will likely nudge out 2010 (by a couple hundredths of a degree Celsius) to become the warmest year in each dataset (which begin in mid-to-late 1800s). This is almost certainly true in the datasets maintained by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. In the record compiled by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the 2014 year-to-date value is in a virtual dead heat with the annual value for 2010, so the final ranking will depend heavily on the how the data come in for November and December. (The other major data compilation, the one developed by the Berkeley Earth group is not updated in real time).

There is one other compilation of the earth’s surface temperature history that has recently been developed by researchers Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way of the University of York. This dataset rose to prominence a year ago, when it showed that if improved (?) methods were used to fill in data-sparse regions of the earth (primarily in the Arctic), the global warming “hiatus” was more of a global warming “slowdown.” In other words, a more informed guess indicated that the Arctic had been warming at a greater rate than was being expressed by the other datasets. This instantly made the Cowtan and Way dataset the darling of folks who wanted to show that global warming was alive and well and not, in fact, in a coma (a careful analysis of the implications of Cowtan and Way’s findings however proved the data not up to that task). So what are the prospects of 2014 being a record warm year in the Cowtan and Way dataset? Slim. 2014 currently trails 2010 by a couple hundredths of a degree Celsius—an amount that will be difficult to make up without an exceptionally warm November and December. Consquently, the briefly favored dataset is now being largely ignored.

It is worth pointing out, that as a result of data and computational uncertainty,  none of the surface compilations will 2014 be statistically different from 2010—in other words, it is impossible to say with statistical certainty, that 2014 was (or was not) the all-time warmest year ever recorded.

It is a different story in the lower atmosphere.

There, the two groups compiling the average temperature show that 2014 is nowhere near the warmest (in data which starts in 1979), trailing 1998 by several tenths of a degree Celsius. This difference is so great that it statistically clear that 2014 will not be a record year (it’ll probably fall in the lower half of the top five warmest years in both the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) datasets). The variability of temperatures in the lower atmosphere is more sensitive to the occurrence of El Niño conditions and thus the super El Niño of 1998 set a high temperature mark that will likely stand for many years to come, or at least until another huge El Niño occurs.

Basically, what all this means, is that if you want 2014 to be the “warmest year ever recorded” you can find data to back you up, and if you prefer it not be, well, you can find data to back up that position as well.

In all cases, the former will make headlines.

But these headlines will be misplaced. The real news is that climate models continue to perform incredibly poorly by grossly overestimating the degree to which the earth is warming.

Let’s examine climate model projections for 2014 against the observations from the dataset which has the greatest chance of 2014 as the warmest year—the NOAA dataset.

Figure 1 shows the average of 108 different climate model projections of the annual surface temperature of the earth from 1980 through 2014 along with the annual temperature as compiled by NOAA.

Figure 1. Global annual surface temperature anomalies from 1980 to 2014. The average of 108 climate models (red) and observations from NOAA (blue) are anomalies from the 20th century average. In the case of the NOAA observations, the 2014 value is the average of January-October.

For the past 16 straight years, climate models have collectively projected more warming than has been observed.

Over the period 1980-2014, climate models projected the global temperature to rise at a rate of 0.24°C/decade while NOAA observations pegged the rise at 0.14°C/decade, about 40 percent less. Over the last 16 years, the observed rise is nearly 66 percent less than climate model projections. The situation is getting worse, not better. This is the real news, because it means that prospects for overly disruptive climate change are growing slimmer, as are justifications for drastic intervention.

We don’t expect many stories to look any further than their “2014 is the warmest year ever” headlines.

As to the rest of the picture, and the part which holds the deeper and more important implications, well, you’ll have to keep checking back with us here—we’re happy to fill you in!


The New Congress Must Save the USA from the EPA

By Alan Caruba

When the Republican Party takes over majority control of Congress in January, it will face a number of battles that must be fought with the Obama administration ranging from its amnesty intentions to the repeal of ObamaCare, but high among the battles is the need to rein in the metastasizing power of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In many ways, it is the most essential battle because it involves the provision of sufficient electrical energy to the nation to keep its lights on. EPA “interpretations” of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have become an outrageous usurpation of power that the Constitution says belongs exclusively to the Congress.

As a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, I recall how in 2012 its president, Joe Bast, submitted 16,000 signed petitions to Congress calling on it to “rein in the EPA.” At the time he noted that “Today’s EPA spends billions of dollars (approximately $9 billion in 2012) imposing senseless regulations. Compliance with its unnecessary rules costs hundreds of billions of dollars more.”

Heartland’s Science Director, Dr. Jay Lehr, said “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health. Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies, many of which didn’t exist or had much less expertise back in 1970 when EPA was created.”

The EPA has declared virtually everything a pollutant including the carbon dioxide (CO2) that 320 million Americans exhale with every breath. It has pursued President Obama’s “war on coal” for six years with a disastrous effect on coal miners, those who work for coal-fired plants that produce electricity, and on consumers who are seeing their energy bills soar.

As Edwin D. Hill, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, noted in August, “The EPA’s plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity” and its plan would “result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail, and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.”

“The United States cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid,” warned Hill.

In October the Institute for Energy Research criticized the EPA’s war on coal based on its Mercury and Air Toxics Rule and its Cross State Air Pollution Rule, noting that 72.7 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity have already, or are scheduled to retire. “That’s enough to reliably power 44.7 million homes, or every home in every state west of the Mississippi river, excluding Texas.” How widespread are the closures? There are now 37 states with projected power plant closures, up from 30 in 2011. The five hardest hit states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia.

If a foreign nation had attacked the U.S. in this fashion, we would be at war with it.

The EPA is engaged in a full-scale war on the U.S. economy as it ruthlessly forces coal-fired plants out of operation. This form of electricity production has been around since the industry began to serve the public in 1882 when Edison installed the world’s first generating plants on Pearl Street in New York City’s financial district. Moreover, the U.S. has huge reserves of coal making it an extremely affordable source of energy, available for centuries to come.

The EPA’s actions have been criticized by one of the nation’s leading liberal attorneys, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who has joined with Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, to criticize the “executive overreach” of the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. He accused the agency of abusing statutory law, violating the Constitution’s Article I, Article II, the separations of powers, the Tenth and Fifth Amendments, and the agency’s general contempt for the law.

It is this contempt that can be found in virtually all of its efforts to exert power over every aspect of life in America from the air we breathe, the water we use, property rights, all forms of manufacturing, and, in general, everything that contributes to the economic security and strength of the nation.

That contempt is also revealed in the way the EPA spends its taxpayer funding. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) released a report, “The Science of Splurging”, on December 2 in which he pointed to the $1,100,000 spent to pay the salaries of eight employees who were not working due to being placed on administrative leave, the $3,500,000 spent to fund “Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health” workshops around the nation, $1,500,000 annually to store out-of-date and unwanted publicans at an Ohio warehouse, and $700,000 to attempt to reduce methane emitted from pig flatulence in Thailand!  “After years of handing out blank checks in the form of omnibus appropriations bills and continuing resolutions,” said Sen. Flake, “it’s time for Congress to return to regular order and restore accountability at the EPA.”

Whether it is its alleged protection of the air or water, the only limits that have been placed on the EPA have been by the courts. Time and again the EPA has been admonished for over-stating or deliberately falsifying its justification to control every aspect of life in the nation, often in league with the Army Corps of Engineers.

If the Republican controlled Congress does not launch legislative action to control the EPA the consequences for Americans will continue to mount, putting them at risk of losing electricity, being deprived of implicit property rights, and driving up the cost of transportation by demanding auto manufacturers increase miles-per-gallon requirements at a time when there is now a worldwide glut of oil and the price of gasoline is dropping.

The United States has plenty of enemies in the world that want it to fail. It is insane that we harbor one as a federal agency.


Peru to press charges over Greenpeace Nazca lines stunt

Activists allegedly damaged the millenia-old Nazca lines during a protest to draw attention to climate talks

Peru has vowed to prosecute Greenpeace activists after they allegedly damaged the world-famous Nazca lines during an environmental publicity stunt.

Activists from the group unfurled cloth letters spelling out a green energy slogan at the millennia-old site on Monday, adjacent to where the figure of a hummingbird is etched into the ground.

Peru has said the activists damaged the ground by leaving footprints, which could last for thousands of years.

“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred,” Luis Jaime Castillo, the deputy culture minister, said.

In a statement, the Peruvian culture ministry said: "After the illegal, premeditated action by environmental defense group Greenpeace, the zone has been seriously affected.”

It described the stunt as an “attack on the cultural heritage of all Peruvians and all humanity".

Best seen from the sky, the ancient lines are enormous drawings etched in the earth by pre-Inca Nazca civilizations sometime between 500BC and AD 500.

They span some 200 square miles of the desert and have long intrigued archaeologists with the mystery of their size, their meticulously drawn figures and their abundance.

Some of the drawings depict living creatures, others stylised plants or fantastical beings, others geometric figures that stretch for miles.

Visitors to the Unesco World Heritage Site in southern Peru are normally banned from entering the area where the activists staged their stunt.

Even ministers and presidents have to seek special permission and wear special footwear to access the grounds.

Mr Castillo said: “[The lines] are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years. And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognised of all.”

Mr Castillo said the Peruvian government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country and was asking prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

The activists laid big yellow cloth letters reading: “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable. Greenpeace.”

The message was timed to coincide with climate change talks taking place in the Peruvian capital Lima.

Mr Castillo said: “Peru has nothing against the message of Greenpeace. We are all concerned about climate change. But the means doesn’t justify the ends.”

Greenpeace said it was "deeply concerned about any offense" it may have caused and said its activism was always waged with respect for "the peoples of the world and their cultural heritage”.

Tina Loeffelbein, spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the activists were “absolutely careful to protect the Nazca lines” and that the group was taking the case seriously and investigating. It said on its Facebook page the letters it used were simply cloth spread across the ground, and that its activists had taken care to cause "absolutely no damage" to the site.

But the Peruvian government "did not accept the apology" because Greenpeace "has not accepted the damage caused”.



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11 December, 2014

A physicist who ignores  physics

A very complacent-looking Isaac Tamblyn

The amusing article below is written by Isaac Tamblyn, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.  So what is his argument for doing something about alleged global warming?  Is it anything from physics?  No.  The authorities he quotes are public opinion polls.  Public opinion poll physics must be a new low in physics

I do not believe that climate change deniers exist. I have heard the statistics and have seen the graphs, but I am not convinced. So I do what the supposed deniers do – I ignore them and move on.

A couple of weeks ago we saw the release of an annual poll on Canadian opinions about climate change and the science around it. Again this year, the numbers reveal that more than half of Canadians think climate change is happening, and is primarily caused by human activity. This has been the majority opinion since tracking began seven years ago.

If the idea of human-driven climate change were running for office, it would win by a landslide. The last time a federal party won more than 50 per cent of the popular vote in this country was 1984. The time before that was 1958. At 63 per cent, the science of climate change has been given a strong mandate by the Canadian public.

Despite this, too many discussions about climate change policy in this country still focus on the existence of the denier camp. There is a misconception that in order to fix climate change, we must first convince everyone that it is happening, and was caused by humans.

Canada is a democracy. In a democracy, decisions are not always made by achieving consensus. Everyone need not agree on an issue in order to take action.


New paper finds strong evidence the Sun has controlled climate over the past 11,000 years, not CO2

A paper published today in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds a "strong and stable correlation" between the millennial variations in sunspots and the temperature in Antarctica over the past 11,000 years. In stark contrast, the authors find no strong or stable correlation between temperature and CO2 over that same period.

The authors correlated reconstructed CO2 levels, sunspots, and temperatures from ice-core data from Vostok Antarctica and find:

"We find that the variations of SSN [sunspot number] and T  [temperature] have some common periodicities, such as the 208 year (yr), 521 yr, and ~1000 yr cycles. The correlations between SSN and T are strong for some intermittent periodicities.

However, the wavelet analysis demonstrates that the relative phase relations between them usually do not hold stable except for the millennium-cycle component. The millennial variation of SSN leads that of T by 30–40 years, and the anti-phase relation between them keeps stable nearly over the whole 11,000 years of the past. As a contrast, the correlations between CO2 and T are neither strong nor stable."

Thus, the well known ~1000 year climate cycle responsible for the Holocene Climate Optimum 6000 to 4000 years ago, the Egyptian warm period ~4000 years ago, the Minoan warm period ~3000 years ago, the Roman warm period ~2000 years ago, the Medieval warm period ~1000 years ago, and the current warm period at present all roughly fall in this same 1000 year sequence of increased solar activity associated with warm periods.

The authors find temperature changes lag solar activity changes by ~40 years, which is likely due to the huge heat capacity and inertia of the oceans. Warming proponents attempt to dismiss the Sun's role in climate change by claiming 20th century solar activity peaked at around 1960 and somewhat declined from 1960 levels to the end of the 20th century (and have continued to decline in the 21st century right along with the 18+ year "pause" of global warming).

Correlation between solar activity and the local temperature of Antarctica during the past 11,000 years


By X.H. Zhao & X.S. Feng

"The solar impact on the Earth's climate change is a long topic with intense debates. Based on the reconstructed data of solar sunspot number (SSN), the local temperature in Vostok (T), and the atmospheric CO2 concentration data of Dome Concordia, we investigate the periodicities of solar activity, the atmospheric CO2 and local temperature in the inland Antarctica as well as their correlations during the past 11,000 years before AD 1895. We find that the variations of SSN and T have some common periodicities, such as the 208 year (yr), 521 yr, and ~1000 yr cycles. The correlations between SSN and T are strong for some intermittent periodicities. However, the wavelet analysis demonstrates that the relative phase relations between them usually do not hold stable except for the millennium-cycle component. The millennial variation of SSN leads that of T by 30–40 years, and the anti-phase relation between them keeps stable nearly over the whole 11,000 years of the past. As a contrast, the correlations between CO2 and T are neither strong nor stable. These results indicate that solar activity might have potential influences on the long-term change of Vostok's local climate during the past 11,000 years before modern industry."

Firstly, the assumption that solar activity peaked in 1960 and declined since is false, since it is necessary to determine the accumulated solar energy over multiple solar cycles, which is the accumulated departure from the average number of sunspots over the entire period, which I call the "sunspot integral." The sunspot integral is plotted in blue and shows remarkable correction with global temperatures plotted in red below.

Correlating sunspot and temperature data with and without CO2, we find the sunspot integral explains 95% of temperature change over the past 400 years, and that CO2 had no significant influence

Secondly, this paper finds strong evidence of a 30-40 year lag between solar activity and temperature response. So what happened ~40 years after the 1960 peak in sunspot activity? Why that just so happens to be when satellite measurements of global temperature peaked with the 1998 El Nino [which is also driven by solar activity], followed by the "pause" and cooling since.

We have thus shown:

    Strong correlation between solar activity and climate over the past 11,000 years of the Holocene

    Strong lack of correlation between CO2 and climate over the past 11,000 years of the Holocene

    Solar activity explains all 6 well-known warming periods that have occurred during the Holocene, including the current warm period

    The 20th century peak in sunspot activity is associated with a 40 year lag in the peak global temperature

What more proof do you need that it's the Sun!


Latest IPCC Findings Undermine Climate Change Claims

Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released the final version of its contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The WG2 report contains 1,731 pages of text, figures, boxes, footnotes and references, the first 832 of which list every negative impact climate change is having or could conceivably have on the Earth, its physical state, its ecosystems and the people who populate it. I doubt that anyone has ever read it from beginning to end. I certainly haven’t.

But the report’s mind-numbing length hasn’t stopped people from interpreting it the way they think it should be interpreted. And because no one bothered to read the fine print everyone thinks the IPCC is saying that the adverse impacts of human-caused climate change are already being felt

But that isn’t what the IPCC is saying. A single sentence on page 4 of the Summary for Policymakers puts the IPCC’s conclusions in a different perspective:

"Attribution of observed impacts in the WGII AR5 generally links responses of natural and human systems to observed climate change, regardless of its cause."

That’s right. Regardless of its cause. Working Group 2 isn’t claiming that these observed impacts are necessarily a result of human activities. They could equally well be the result of natural climate change – the IPCC makes no distinction. And if they are, then President Obama, the New York Times, the Guardian and all the others who believe that the adverse impacts of human-caused climate change are already being felt have got it wrong.

The key question here is clearly what fraction of the observed impacts of climate change that the IPCC identifies is human-caused and how much natural. Let’s see if we can put some probabilities on this.

The Working Group 2 report highlights nine specific claims regarding the physical impacts of climate change in Section A-1 of the Summary for Policymakers (I increased the number to ten by dividing one claim into two.) Three are non-specific, irrelevant or unintelligible and are not discussed:

Claim 1: Glaciers continue to shrink almost worldwide due to climate change.

Evaluation: The world’s glaciers are unquestionably shrinking overall because of climate change. But is the climate change anthropogenic? One way of checking is to compare glacier behavior with an anthropogenic climate change metric to see whether the two coincide, which they should if one caused the other. Such a comparison is shown on the graphic below, which plots the Oerlemans estimates of global glacier length change since 1700 with the GISS estimates of net anthropogenic radiative forcings since 1880 (earlier values can be assumed to be close to zero if not exactly zero):

Oerlemans glacier shrinkage vs. GISS anthropogenic forcings

And the timing doesn’t match. According to Oerlemans the world’s glaciers began to shrink in the early 1800s but according to GISS anthropogenic forcings didn’t become significant until after 1950 (the ~0.2 watts/sq m of forcing in 1950 would have generated only about 0.1C of warming). Oerlemans’ results also show no sign of acceleration in the shrinkage rate after 1960.

These results imply that something other than human interference initiated the glacier shrinkage and that human interference didn’t make any detectable difference when it finally did become significant. (Glaciologists acknowledge that human activities are not the only contributor to glacier shrinkage, as the following quote from Nature attests: “The widespread idea that glacier retreat is the sole consequence of increased air temperature is overly simplistic. Glaciologists have known for more than 50 years that glaciers are sensitive to a variety of climate variables, not all of which can be attributed to global warming.”)

Conclusion: There is good evidence to suggest that much if not substantially all of the glacier shrinkage over the last 200 years was a result of natural climate change.

Much more HERE

Why climate change is good for the world

Matt Ridley

Don't panic! The scientific consensus is that warmer temperatures do more good than harm

Climate change has done more good than harm so far and is likely to continue doing so for most of this century. This is not some barmy, right-wing fantasy; it is the consensus of expert opinion. Yet almost nobody seems to know this. Whenever I make the point in public, I am told by those who are paid to insult anybody who departs from climate alarm that I have got it embarrassingly wrong, don’t know what I am talking about, must be referring to Britain only, rather than the world as a whole, and so forth.

At first, I thought this was just their usual bluster. But then I realised that they are genuinely unaware. Good news is no news, which is why the mainstream media largely ignores all studies showing net benefits of climate change. And academics have not exactly been keen to push such analysis forward. So here follows, for possibly the first time in history, an entire article in the national press on the net benefits of climate change.

There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080. That was the conclusion of Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University after he reviewed 14 different studies of the effects of future climate trends.

To be precise, Prof Tol calculated that climate change would be beneficial up to 2.2?C of warming from 2009 (when he wrote his paper). This means approximately 3?C from pre-industrial levels, since about 0.8?C of warming has happened in the last 150 years. The latest estimates of climate sensitivity suggest that such temperatures may not be reached till the end of the century — if at all. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose reports define the consensis, is sticking to older assumptions, however, which would mean net benefits till about 2080. Either way, it’s a long way off.

Now Prof Tol has a new paper, published as a chapter in a new book, called How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?, which is edited by Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, and was reviewed by a group of leading economists. In this paper he casts his gaze backwards to the last century. He concludes that climate change did indeed raise human and planetary welfare during the 20th century.

You can choose not to believe the studies Prof Tol has collated. Or you can say the net benefit is small (which it is), you can argue that the benefits have accrued more to rich countries than poor countries (which is true) or you can emphasise that after 2080 climate change would probably do net harm to the world (which may also be true). You can even say you do not trust the models involved (though they have proved more reliable than the temperature models). But what you cannot do is deny that this is the current consensus. If you wish to accept the consensus on temperature models, then you should accept the consensus on economic benefit.

Overall, Prof Tol finds that climate change in the past century improved human welfare. By how much? He calculates by 1.4 per cent of global economic output, rising to 1.5 per cent by 2025. For some people, this means the difference between survival and starvation.

It will still be 1.2 per cent around 2050 and will not turn negative until around 2080. In short, my children will be very old before global warming stops benefiting the world. Note that if the world continues to grow at 3 per cent a year, then the average person will be about nine times as rich in 2080 as she is today. So low-lying Bangladesh will be able to afford the same kind of flood defences that the Dutch have today.

The chief benefits of global warming include: fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; better agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; maybe richer biodiversity. It is a little-known fact that winter deaths exceed summer deaths — not just in countries like Britain but also those with very warm summers, including Greece. Both Britain and Greece see mortality rates rise by 18 per cent each winter. Especially cold winters cause a rise in heart failures far greater than the rise in deaths during heatwaves.

Cold, not the heat, is the biggest killer. For the last decade, Brits have been dying from the cold at the average rate of 29,000 excess deaths each winter. Compare this to the heatwave ten years ago, which claimed 15,000 lives in France and just 2,000 in Britain. In the ten years since, there has been no summer death spike at all. Excess winter deaths hit the poor harder than the rich for the obvious reason: they cannot afford heating. And it is not just those at risk who benefit from moderate warming. Global warming has so far cut heating bills more than it has raised cooling bills. If it resumes after its current 17-year hiatus, and if the energy efficiency of our homes improves, then at some point the cost of cooling probably will exceed the cost of heating — probably from about 2035, Prof Tol estimates.

The greatest benefit from climate change comes not from temperature change but from carbon dioxide itself. It is not pollution, but the raw material from which plants make carbohydrates and thence proteins and fats. As it is an extremely rare trace gas in the air — less than 0.04 per cent of the air on average — plants struggle to absorb enough of it. On a windless, sunny day, a field of corn can suck half the carbon dioxide out of the air. Commercial greenhouse operators therefore pump carbon dioxide into their greenhouses to raise plant growth rates.

The increase in average carbon dioxide levels over the past century, from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent of the air, has had a measurable impact on plant growth rates. It is responsible for a startling change in the amount of greenery on the planet. As Dr Ranga Myneni of Boston University has documented, using three decades of satellite data, 31 per cent of the global vegetated area of the planet has become greener and just 3 per cent has become less green. This translates into a 14 per cent increase in productivity of ecosystems and has been observed in all vegetation types.

Dr Randall Donohue and colleagues of the CSIRO Land and Water department in Australia also analysed satellite data and found greening to be clearly attributable in part to the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect. Greening is especially pronounced in dry areas like the Sahel region of Africa, where satellites show a big increase in green vegetation since the 1970s.

It is often argued that global warming will hurt the world’s poorest hardest. What is seldom heard is that the decline of famines in the Sahel in recent years is partly due to more rainfall caused by moderate warming and partly due to more carbon dioxide itself: more greenery for goats to eat means more greenery left over for gazelles, so entire ecosystems have benefited.

Even polar bears are thriving so far, though this is mainly because of the cessation of hunting. None the less, it’s worth noting that the three years with the lowest polar bear cub survival in the western Hudson Bay (1974, 1984 and 1992) were the years when the sea ice was too thick for ringed seals to appear in good numbers in spring. Bears need broken ice.

Well yes, you may argue, but what about all the weather disasters caused by climate change? Entirely mythical — so far. The latest IPCC report is admirably frank about this, reporting ‘no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency offloads on a global scale … low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms’.

In fact, the death rate from droughts, floods and storms has dropped by 98 per cent since the 1920s, according to a careful study by the independent scholar Indur Goklany. Not because weather has become less dangerous but because people have gained better protection as they got richer: witness the remarkable success of cyclone warnings in India last week. That’s the thing about climate change — we will probably pocket the benefits and mitigate at least some of the harm by adapting. For example, experts now agree that malaria will continue its rapid worldwide decline whatever the climate does.

Yet cherry-picking the bad news remains rife. A remarkable example of this was the IPCC’s last report in 2007, which said that global warming would cause ‘hundreds of millions of people [to be] exposed to increased water stress’ under four different scenarios of future warming. It cited a study, which had also counted numbers of people at reduced risk of water stress — and in each case that number was higher. The IPCC simply omitted the positive numbers.

Why does this matter? Even if climate change does produce slightly more welfare for the next 70 years, why take the risk that it will do great harm thereafter? There is one obvious reason: climate policy is already doing harm. Building wind turbines, growing biofuels and substituting wood for coal in power stations — all policies designed explicitly to fight climate change — have had negligible effects on carbon dioxide emissions. But they have driven people into fuel poverty, made industries uncompetitive, driven up food prices, accelerated the destruction of forests, killed rare birds of prey, and divided communities. To name just some of the effects. Mr Goklany estimates that globally nearly 200,000 people are dying every year, because we are turning 5 per cent of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel instead of food: that pushes people into malnutrition and death. In this country, 65 people a day are dying because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly, according to Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster, yet the government is planning to double the cost of electricity to consumers by 2030.

As Bjorn Lomborg has pointed out, the European Union will pay £165 billion for its current climate policies each and every year for the next 87 years. Britain’s climate policies — subsidising windmills, wood-burners, anaerobic digesters, electric vehicles and all the rest — is due to cost us £1.8 trillion over the course of this century. In exchange for that Brobdingnagian sum, we hope to lower the air temperature by about 0.005?C — which will be undetectable by normal thermometers. The accepted consensus among economists is that every £100 spent fighting climate change brings £3 of benefit.

So we are doing real harm now to impede a change that will produce net benefits for 70 years. That’s like having radiotherapy because you are feeling too well. I just don’t share the certainty of so many in the green establishment that it’s worth it. It may be, but it may not.


Cost of Adapting to Climate Change May Climb to $500B, Says U.N. Environmental Agency

 As Secretary of State John Kerry and other ministers prepare to join global climate talks in Peru, the U.N.’s environmental agency is claiming that the cost for the planet to “adapt” to global warming could be up to five times higher than previously estimated – a whopping $500 billion a year by mid-century.

A new report by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) states that the cost of helping developing nations adapt to rising temperatures “could climb as high as $150 billion by 2025/2030 and $250-500 billion per year by 2050.”

It says those figures could be needed even if greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cuts succeed in restricting temperature rise to two degrees Celsius (3.6°F) above the pre-industrial period average – the goal which world leaders several years ago agreed was necessary to avoid potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.

And if that two degrees Celsius target isn’t achieved, UNEP says, a business-as-usual scenario could see adaptation costs “hit double the worst-case figures.”

Five years ago in Copenhagen, the U.S. and other developed nations agreed on setting up a global fund to help developing countries curb GHG emissions and cope with occurrences attributed to climate change, from drought and floods to rising sea levels.

The subsequently-established Green Climate Fund (GCF) aims to raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020, an annual commitment already viewed as unrealistic by some critics.

Now UNEP says the actual amount needed could be much higher than that, and that earlier figures – based on 2010 World Bank data – were significantly underestimated.

“The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag,” UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said on Friday. “Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest. We owe it to ourselves but also to the next generation, as it is they who will have to foot the bill.”

Steiner called on governments and the international community to “take the necessary steps to ensure the funding, technology and knowledge gaps are addressed in future planning and budgeting.”

To date, industrialized countries that are expected to take the lead in providing the money have pledged a total of $9.9 billion for the GCF, less than ten percent of the amount the U.N. says will be needed every year from 2020 onwards. U.S. taxpayers will account for $3 billion of that $9.9 billion total so far.

China’s delegate at the talks in the Peruvian capital Lima complained last week that the amount pledged for the fund to date was “far from adequate.”

China, the world’s biggest GHG emitter and now the world’s largest economy, has pledged nothing.

At the U.N. climate talks in Lima – the 20th round since the first conference in Berlin in 1995 – ministers from almost 200 countries are due to hold a high-level meeting on climate finance on Tuesday afternoon.

Kerry, who is due to join the proceedings, said last week that President Obama’s pledge of $3 billion for the GCF made it clear “that the Obama administration and the United States are all-in on this issue and committed to try to take steps that are long overdue.”

“We intend to continue to try to build momentum moving into next year,” he told reporters in Brussels.

“We believe that not only is there obviously the practical advantage of responding to the events – to the transformation taking place in the climate that is contributing to very severe weather events, to major flooding, major fires, major drought, to shifts in agriculture and other impacts that have huge cost – but we believe it is becoming more and more evident that it is cheaper to invest in the new technologies and move to the clean energy economy,” Kerry said. “And we are going to continue to work for that.”


Australia: Green and Defenceless

As Australia’s industrial capacity declines, Australia is becoming green and defenceless. Australia should give support to industrial diversity, not windmills etc.

History holds lessons.  Back in Dec 1941, Japan suddenly attacked the huge US Naval base at Pearl Harbour. Three days later, two “invincible” British warships, “Repulse” and “Prince of Wales” were sunk by Japanese planes off Malaya. Soon Japanese armies were rampaging through Asia towards Australia. By Feb 1942, the British fortress of Singapore surrendered and Japanese bombs were falling on Darwin. By Sept 1942 the Japanese army had slashed their way down the Kokoda Track and could see the lights of Port Moresby. They were looking across Torres Strait to Australia. At that time, most of our trained soldiers were fighting Rommel in North Africa or in Japanese prison camps.

Suddenly Australia was on its own and needed to defend itself with what we had here.

Armies need soldiers, weapons, bullets, vehicles, fuel, food, alcohol (and cigarettes).

Soldiers volunteered and were conscripted. Australian conscripts formed part of the force that met the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.

Enfield Rifles, Bren Guns and Vickers Machine Guns were produced in large numbers at the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow supported by feeder factories in the area. Britain lost so many weapons at Dunkirk that Australian factories were sending guns to them. We could not do that now.

Motor oil was produced in limited quantities from oil shale at Glen Davis, but petrol was in serious short supply, and had been rationed since 1940. With the fall of Singapore, this shortage became severe, and charcoal burners suddenly appeared to keep cars and trucks moving. Kerosene was scarce so carbide lights were widely used. The demand for charcoal was so great that firewood became scarce so it was also rationed.

To conserve supplies for soldiers, rationing was introduced for tea, clothing, butter, sugar, meat and cigarettes. Hotels were only allowed to serve alcohol twice a day for one hour at a time of their choosing.

An immediate critical shortage was copper for cartridge cases and communications – Australia had mines producing lead, zinc, silver, gold and iron, but there was a critical shortage of copper.

Fortuitously, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, an exploration drill hole at Mount Isa had struck rich copper ore.

Mount Isa was called on to avert a calamitous shortage of copper in Australia. With government encouragement, Mount Isa Mines made the brave decision to suspend the profitable silver/lead/zinc operations and convert all mining and treatment facilities to extracting copper.

The lead concentrator could be converted to treat copper ore, but the biggest problem was how to smelt the copper concentrates. Luckily the company had skilled engineers and metallurgists in the lead smelter. In a miracle of improvisation, scrap steel and spare parts were purchased and scavenged from old mines and smelters from Cloncurry, Mt Elliott, Mt Cuthbert and Kuridala and cobbled into a workable copper smelter.

In 1943 the first Mount Isa blister copper was produced. Production continued after the war when Mount Isa returned to extracting the then more profitable silver/lead/zinc. Later new plant was built enabling both lead and copper metal to be produced from this fabulous mine.

This story of the importance of self-reliance has lessons for today.

The war on carbon energy, the carbon tax, the renewable energy targets, escalating electricity costs and the voices in Parliament calling for Emissions Trading Schemes have all unnerved our big users of carbon fuels and electricity. Smelting and refining have become threatened industries in Australia, and closure of the Mount Isa copper smelter and the Townsville copper refinery has been foreshadowed.

Already six major metal smelting/refining operations have closed in Australia this century and more are likely. The closures have affected copper, lead, zinc, steel and aluminium – the sinews of modern industry. And the car industry, with all its skills and tools, is closing.

More and more land and offshore waters are totally closed to exploration and mining. Offshore exploration for oil is very limited, except in the north-west. On land, there is no exploration in green no-go areas and the “lock-the-gate” rent-a-crowd are trying to prevent gas explorers from drilling even on their own exploration tenements.

Local production and refining of oil is also declining, and it was estimated recently that by next year, half of Australia’s oil refining capacity will have closed. In the event of a disruption to tanker routes, Australia has just 12 days of diesel supplies before city fuel and food supplies start to dry up. Will we see charcoal burners on cars and trucks once again?

Heavy industry is scorned, and is migrating to Asia. We are losing the resources, skills and machinery needed for our own security, while we fritter away precious resources on green energy, direct action, carbon capture and storage and other pointless anti-carbon chimeras.

Our foolish green energy policies and the suicidal war on carbon fuels are killing real industry leaving us unskilled and defenceless – like a fat toothless walrus basking on a sunny beach.

Wake up Australia.



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

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10 December, 2014

Message from Lima


The China Climate Accord: A Bad Deal for the US

By S. Fred Singer 

The world is fascinated by the November 12 climate agreement between President Obama and Chinese President Xi. Has China finally decided to "fight climate change"? My personal opinion is that China is taking advantage of White House science ignorance and anxiety about future climate change, hoping thereby to gain commercial and strategic advantages against the United States.

The bilateral US-China Climate Agreement, inked in Beijing on Nov 12, makes virtually no demands on the Chinese. It simply states that at or about the year 2030, they will start to reduce their emissions of CO2; in the meantime, they can emit as much as they want. So they have 15 more years to add more coal-fired power plants to any extent they wish. It is very likely that by 2030, China's population will have stopped growing and a large part will be living in urban apartment blocks, having bought all of the gadgets they need: TVs, refrigerators, computers, etc.-and that their demand for electric power will have saturated.

On the other hand, the US commitment is rather severe: an actual reduction of 26-28% in CO2 emissions by 2025, just 10 years away. This goal can only be achieved by the substitution of natural gas for coal-fired power plants, and the eventual replacement of much of natural gas with unreliable and uneconomic "renewables," such as wind and solar. As Obama promised in 2008, electricity costs will "sky-rocket."

Indeed, this seems to be the US plan-as spelled out by the EPA, under the direction of the White House. All the China agreement really does is to make Obama look good to his Green constituency, besides providing a convenient "club" to use for his "war on coal." The expected effect on the global climate is zero, zilch, nada.

From the Chinese point of view, this is an ideal arrangement, and has both commercial and strategic benefits. It makes energy more expensive in the United States and Europe; it cripples the industrial base of the Western World. And hand-in-hand with economic strength goes military strength.

Climate Science is Still Unsettled

In 1988, the United Nations set up the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) to supply the scientific rationale for a global climate treaty, agreed-to at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The IPCC is supposed to survey published scientific results impartially, but instead it has ignored research papers that contradict the conclusions of its five Assessment Reports-of 1990, 1996, 2001, 2007, and 2013-14.

For evidence of human influence on climate, the IPCC relies on a supposed agreement between climate models and observations. In fact, the models cannot reproduce the observations and therefore fail to support the IPCC conclusion. This disagreement has now become apparent to many scientists around the world, who have set up a competing, largely self-supported study group called NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change), independent of the UN and of any government.

Contrary to the IPCC, NIPCC finds that natural influences rule the climate and human influences are relatively insignificant. One can give many examples where models and observations disagree. For instance, IPCC admits that there has been no warming observed in the last 15-18 years, but fails to point out that this result disagrees with the results of every climate model.

IPCC is also dismissive of scientific research that cosmic rays from outer space can and do change the climate. The full story is that the cosmic-ray intensity is modulated by solar activity. Ultimately therefore, solar activity affects cosmic rays, which in turn change the earth's cloud cover and thereby affect climate.

One could cite many other examples of credible scientific work ignored by the IPCC. It has been the aim of the NIPCC to restore the balance of evidence necessary to permit informed decisions on policy. Every IPCC report's Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) is approved line-by-line by the nearly 200 participating national delegations. But these delegates are not scientists; they are working with a draft SPM carefully compiled by a handful of politically oriented scientists who "cherry-pick" factoids from the IPCC Report itself and ignore contrary evidence. Unlike the full Report, this draft SPM does not acknowledge the existence of scientific uncertainties. It is on the basis of such an SPM that politicians agreed to adopt the costly, ineffective 1997 Kyoto Protocol (which expired in 2012) and other policies that affect energy use-and therefore have tremendous economic consequences.

Right now, China is beginning to experiment with "cap-and-trade" schemes within three urban areas. The US Congress in 2009 refused to approve such a C&T policy; yet President Obama will attempt to achieve a similar result through regulation-without the Congress. Europeans have tried it, but it has been an economic disaster. Australia had instituted a carbon tax as an alternative, but has now abandoned it. Only the State of California is proceeding with such a scheme, but is using it primarily to raise revenues, like a tax; it will have no detectible effect on global climate.

A cap and trade scheme in China may have some value in improving energy efficiency-in reducing the amount of energy required to produce electricity. That could be a useful objective. But it should not be considered as climate policy.

The Inscrutable Chinese

I can't quite figure out whether or not the Chinese government really believes in anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW); it may all be pretense-just a cynical charade, hoping to mislead the West into adopting drastic reductions of CO2 emissions. There seems to be internal debate among scientists within the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Going along with IPCC climate fears can be quite beneficial for individual scientists: International conferences in Bali, Cancun, Lima, and next year in Paris just sound very intriguing; plus more money and perks at home. Further, some may actually become convinced that their work is "saving the planet" from the imagined ravages of a slightly warmer climate.

On the other hand, the Chinese Academy has translated some of the volumes of the NIPCC, and organized a workshop in Beijing in June 2013 to discuss the NIPCC conclusions, which are very critical of the UN-IPCC claims of AGW.

The latest NIPCC effort is a two-volume publication, called Climate Change Reconsidered-II, Physical Science (2013) and Biological Impacts (2014)-which disagrees strongly with the corresponding IPCC Assessment Reports (2013 and 2014). There is no doubt that there is a constituency within the China science establishment (and perhaps also within their government) that supports NIPCC. An indication is a (hard-bound) volume (in Chinese), co-authored by two Chinese members of the Academy, a member of the French Academy, and myself. Its title is: "Nature-not human activity-rules the climate."

Will We Get Another Kyoto Protocol?

Many in the White House think the agreement with China is an important step in reaching a global treaty at the forthcoming (Dec 2015) Paris meeting. I wouldn't be so sure. A treaty would have to be confirmed by two-thirds of the US Senate, and there is little chance of that. Even back in July 1997, during the Clinton-Gore White House, the Senate voted unanimously for the bi-partisan Byrd-Hagel Resolution against a global protocol to control CO2 emissions. Indeed, Clinton-Gore never submitted Kyoto to the Senate for ratification.

Obama will likely try to achieve his CO2 goal by executive orders and administrative measures. He will find a way, as he has put it, to "skin the cat." Whether his war on coal will succeed in circumventing a hostile Congress is another question. The courts will also have a lot to say on this, including the Supreme Court. When it comes to a global agreement, many nations may vote against any Kyoto-like protocol, including India, Australia, and likely also Canada and Japan.

The next few months are going to be very interesting.

A Quick Word about Carbon Dioxide

CO2 is an odorless, non-toxic, natural constituent of the Earth's atmosphere. As the basic food for all plants, it is absolutely essential for maintaining life on our planet. CO2 should not be called a "pollutant." In the geological past, its level has been ten times higher or more than its present value; in fact, our major food crops developed when CO2 levels were about five times higher. China is now the world's largest emitter of CO2 and thereby making an important contribution to increasing agricultural yields-at a time when much of the global population is still hungry. The world should be grateful to China.


Conservative Coalition Urges State Officials to `Fiercely Resist' EPA Rule

A coalition of 35 conservative and free market groups is urging state officials to "fiercely resist" the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attempt to force them to implement "ruinous" new greenhouse gas emission rules that could double the current price of electricity or face harsh regulatory repercussions if they refuse.

"You should send a clear message to the federal government that if it insists on pursuing the regulatory equivalent of punitive energy taxes, it must promulgate and implement that policy itself -- and be held solely accountable for the disastrous consequences that will follow," the coalition said a letter sent to governors, state attorneys general and state legislators earlier this week.

The coalition warned state officials that EPA's Clean Power Plan will "destroy thousands of jobs and break the household budgets of millions of American families struggling to make ends meet -- even if states undertake their best efforts to blunt their impacts."

"This is the so-called carbon pollution plan offered under the existing source performance standards for greenhouse gases under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

"And what the administration did with these rules is essentially, they're trying to coerce and draft the states into implementing policies that the EPA does not have the authority to implement themselves," Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, which spearheaded the anti-EPA effort, explained to, which asked him what states can do to resist.

"Well, there are a number of things of active things that states can do to resist. But the most important thing is simply say `No. We will not do this. If you intend to destroy the electric power sector of our state, you'll need to do it yourselves. We're not going to do it for you.'

"I think that act of defiance is the most important thing, because EPA really has neither the policy tools nor the logistical capabilities to actually implement their desired policy, which is why they are trying to coerce states into doing it for them in the first place," he said.

"It's clear that the sorts of big-government, anti-energy policies are extremely unpopular with the public, and for that reason there's no reason any state-level elected official should want to associate with them by complying with what EPA is asking for. I think the political environment and the [midterm] election confirmed what a bad idea it is to do this."

"In general, we want states to make it very clear that they're going to fight these rules every step of the way," Kerpen added. "The whole EPA strategy is premised on their threat being credible, and that legislators will be scared that something worse will happen if they don't go along.

"We're trying to show them you don't have to play that game, and there are a lot of conservatives out there who will have your back."

The EPA's Clean Power Plan is based on decades-old studies that have never been publicly released or subjected to independent verification and the work of a former EPA official who is now in federal prison, Kerpen pointed out.

"One interesting feature of this so-called Clean Power Plan is they claim $90 billion of benefits from this rule. Only about $30 billion of that comes from global warming. Of course, the real global warming benefit is zero because even if they reach their emissions targets, the rest of the world would make up for it in no time, so you're not going to actually reduce global warming through any U.S. unilateral action. So those claims are specious.

"But the other $60 billion they claim is even more specious. They claim health benefits for reductions in small particulate matter. And it's all based on two studies from the 1970s that they've cited over and over and over again, and the monetized value of the benefits from these two studies keeps going up and up in every single rule.

"And they've never disclosed any of the data underlying those studies. It's total secret science, and in fact the first time they used this strategy of PM 2.5 benefits was on an ozone standard back in 1997.

"And the guy who came up with that strategy, a fellow named John Beale, who you might be aware is now in jail for fraud at Cumberland Correctional Facility because he decided a few years ago that he was going to start flying around the world pretending to be a CIA spy while he stole [close to] a million dollars."

Kerpen compared the current battle to the previous fight over the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

"One of the examples we give in the letter is the similar dynamics of the health care fight from a couple of years ago. A lot of advocates of state health insurance exchanges kept telling state legislators: `Go ahead and pass a state exchange law because you can do it better than the feds.'

"And I don't think there's a single state that decided not to pass a health insurance exchange that regretted that decision. But a lot of the ones that did ended up putting their own fingerprints all over the Obamacare disaster, and a lot of people ruined their political careers doing that."

The new EPA rule amounts to a "backdoor cap-and-trade" program, because any "inclusion in the state plans render those measures federally enforceable," according to language EPA published in the Federal Register.

"The president himself, of course, famously described this cap-and- trade policy as a way to make electricity prices `necessarily skyrocket,' so that's the ultimate objective here. It's not just 10, or 15, or 20 percent price increases but 50, or 100, or 200 percent. And it would really force people to use much less energy," Kerpen told

"That's part of what makes this so objectionable," Kerpen added. "One of the president's signature pieces of legislation barely got through the House back when Nancy Pelosi had a huge majority. And the Senate never even took it up because they were scared of the politics of spiking everyone's electric bill.

"Now we've got a situation where the same Obama administration that couldn't even get a 60 member Democratic Senate majority led by Harry Reid to take up this bill wants to coerce states into adopting cap-and-trade legislation. But no good comes from doing the EPA's dirty work for them on the state level," he added.

Kerpen pointed out that state resistance was not futile when the Obama administration was trying to get the states to set up their own health care exchanges.

"When the sort of parallel fight occurred over health care, nobody expected 35 states would end up saying `No thank you' to implementing Obamacare and force the feds to do it. And that had a very powerful impact on the whole health care debate because the federal government was totally ill-equipped to do it, as we saw in that disastrous rollout.

"EPA can't do cap-and-trade themselves," he told "The actual policy tools at their disposal are considerably more limited than what they're trying to tell the states to do."

Kerpen added that it's "stunning" that "this whole regulatory push runs counter to the biggest positive story in the U.S. economy for the last several years, which is the boom in fossil fuel production. The whole regulatory program of the EPA is designed to shut down energy production and use in this country at the same time we have Saudi Arabia trying to do exactly the same thing" because they fear the U.S. will become a major exporter of oil and gas.

"So the biggest enemies of fossil fuel energy right now are Saudi Arabia and the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency."


India says won't sacrifice growth at climate talks

India will not sign any deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at UN climate talks in Lima that threatens its growth or undermines its fight against poverty, the environment minister said Friday.

Speaking ahead of his departure to a key round of talks in the Peruvian capital, Prakash Javadekar said he was heading into the negotiations with "an open mind" but warned the Indian delegation would not "shy away" from tough debate.

"Any agreement... will be by consensus," Javadekar told reporters in New Delhi. "Our growth cannot be compromised."

The minister branded poverty as the worst kind of environmental disaster which "needs to be eradicated immediately", adding that no one should dispute the right of the poorest members of society to have access to energy.

"Poor people have aspirations we must fulfill them, we must give them energy access," he said.

Negotiators from 195 countries are gathering in Lima for talks which end on Dec 12, hoping to agree on a draft agreement to address climate change that will be adopted in Paris next December.

Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have already set an outside target of limiting global warming to 2 deg C over pre-industrial levels.

China, the United States and Europe have also unveiled emissions pledges.

Energy-starved India is seen as one of the major obstacles to a deal as it is heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants and millions suffer regular power cuts.

Alarming levels of pollution in the Indian capital over the last few weeks have raised fresh questions about the new right-wing government's commitment to battle climate change.

But Javadekar said "climate change is a subject that concerns all of us" and that India had already set itself targets to increase its use of solar power.

"We will tell the world in Lima with confidence about the steps we have already taken" to combat global warming, the minister added.


Warmist deceit in Scotland

Reading the words of Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables (Friends of The Scotsman, 20 November), reminded us all that Christmas was surely not too far off. There were the usual fairy stories, requests for further financial support for its members and pledges of the impossible. We have already had to stomach the fanfare and trumpeting of the wind lobby telling us wind contributed to 25 per cent of our energy needs on one particular date this year.

On closer inspection it appears there was a moment on 19 October when wind supplied 25 per cent of our electricity.

However, demand was not particularly high when it happened at around 5:30am. What an outcry there would be if conventional power stations reported that, as an unusual occurrence, coal, gas or nuclear managed to scrape together a quarter of our energy needs for the briefest moment of time when most of us were asleep.

The wind supporters never hold their hands up when wind is performing at way below the expected and the promised levels - which is more often than not. The begging bowl is out and without the merest mention of fuel poverty and how the renewables subsidies are funded by the poorest in our society, an already highly subsidised sector is saying: "Please sir, can I have some more."


Warmist elitism decried

There is cloud hanging over climate science, but one Cornell University expert on communication and environmental issues says he knows how to help clear the air.               
In the December issue of Nature Climate Change, Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication, argues that only by creating a "science of diversity" can climate science and the larger movement overcome a crippling lack of ethnic and racial diversity.

"There is an invisible, but very real barrier to climate engagement," Schuldt said. "We need to engage with all kinds of diverse folks if we're going to face this challenge. It will be a problem if the perception, and the reality, is that it's a bunch of white male scientists at the table."

The commentary, "Facing the diversity crisis on climate science," was born when Schuldt and co-author Adam Pearson, an assistant professor of psychology at Pomona College, began talking about University of Michigan Professor Dorceta Taylor report, "The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations." In the report, Taylor examined non-profits, government agencies and grant-making foundations and found that non-white minorities comprised no more than 16 percent of staff in these institutions, in spite of constituting 29 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce and 38 percent of the American population. The report found that this "white Green Insiders club" narrows research and limits public engagement.

Schuldt agrees, but thinks more than just institutional changes are needed.  "What is missing is science-based solutions that focus on the fundamentally social nature of this problem," the authors state. "Research from social psychology offers insight into factors that can powerfully influence participation."

Schuldt and Pearson argue that early successes in diversifying other STEM research fields, and expanding the role women play in the environmental movement, point to three immediate and essential steps for climate research and outreach organizations.

First, boosting racial and in and outreach leadership can have an instant impact - provided this leadership is represented in how institutions present themselves. Put simply, Schuldt said, climate science "needs to present a more diverse face."

        Next, the authors urge all those who communicate around climate science to confront lingering stereotypes about environmentalism and minority engagement. Schuldt said one of the most pernicious fallacies needs to quickly be dismantled: that concern for is lacking in America's non-white population. He notes recent work by social science researchers has shown this "underrepresentation by choice" idea to be false, and said climate leaders need to highlight the reality of deep minority community concern.

Lastly, the authors insist organizational messages can help bridge this gap. Among the most destructive ideas that needs to be abandoned, Schuldt said, is that communication around climate science should be "color blind."

"Color-blind communications are, paradoxically, ineffective," Schuldt said. "What it implies to minority individuals is that their unique perspectives and experiences don't matter."

Instead, Schuldt suggested, messages that highlight diversity while pointing toward a common goal are key: "We are all different, but we're all in this together."

The long-range goal, Schuldt and Pearson state, needs to be the creation of a new science of climate diversity. Climate scientists must collaborate with psychology and the social sciences, and these research partnerships need to be supported by academic, public and private institutions alike.

Once that is done and a "new nexus of research" begins to form around how and the climate change movement can increase racial and ethnic diversity, those fact-based findings can be used to guide public climate advocacy and policy reform efforts. That, Schuldt said, is the only way a problem as complex and far-reaching as climate change can effectively, and equitably, be addressed.

"Diverse teams are better at solving complex problems, and there's every reason to believe this is the same, if not more important, when facing climate change," Schuldt said.


Yippee! Australia ranked worst-performing developed nation on climate policy

And Canada is not far behind

Australia is the worst-performing developed nation when it comes to climate-change action, with the Abbott government's scrapping of the carbon price cementing its lowly ranking, a survey by European non-government organisations shows.

Australia ranked 57 out of 58 nations reviewed by the survey, which has been done each year since 2005 by Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch. Only Saudi Arabia fared worse.

The ranking is based on indicators ranging from carbon dioxide emissions per capita to share of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Australians emitted about 16.7 tonnes of CO2 per person in 2012.

"While the developed world is going in one direction, Australia is going in the opposite," said Guy Ragen, a climate change campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, which helped compile the findings.

Mr Ragen, who was formally an adviser to Labor's Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, said Australia's relatively modest emissions reduction goals and high per capita pollution made the country a poor performer even before the carbon price was scrapped in July.

That move caused Australia's policy rating to slump 21 places in the latest survey.

The government has also been attempting to win Senate support to cut the Renewable Energy Target, set at 41 tarawhata-hours a year by 2020.

"You'll have to assume [the policy rating] will get worse," Mr Ragen said.

The introduction of the carbon price had led to a reduction of emissions from the power sector, a process being reversed now. Pitt & Sherry, an energy consultancy, estimated last week the rise in emissions from the electricity industry since the end of the carbon prices would lift the nation's CO2 pollution level by 1.4 per cent if the increase was to continue for a year.

The report's release comes as key talks take place in Lima, Peru, on getting a climate treaty finalised by late next year.  Australia will be represented during this week's high-level section of the talks by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who was not sent to the Lima talks.

Because emission indicators account for about 80 per cent of the evaluation, Australia has tended to be among the laggards on the survey. The introduction of the carbon tax in 2012 only resulted in Australia's ranking improve to 50th among the nations.

 Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom are the top-ranked nations in the survey. Australia and Saudi Arabia share the bottom four slots with Canada and Kazakhstan.



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


9 December, 2014

Billions won’t satisfy Warmists

By Christopher Booker in Britain

Led by the BBC, the usual media suspects were quick to trumpet last week’s claims by the Met Office and the World Meteorological Organisation that 2014 is set to be “the hottest year ever”. It’s funny that the rest of us hadn’t noticed; least of all those citizens of North America and Russia whose lives were lately disrupted by record snowfalls.

It is true that the temperature records compiled by the avid warmists of the Met Office and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (the one formerly run by climate activist James Hansen) have managed to show this year squeaking just ahead of 2010 as “the hottest year since records began”. But the much more comprehensive and reliable satellite records agree that 2014 is way down the list, with six of the past 16 years ahead of it.

The reason for this excitement just now, even before the final 2014 data are in, is that it is timed to coincide with yet another two-week UN climate conference in Lima, where thousands of officials and activists are gathered to whip up support for next year’s planned “universal climate treaty” in Paris.

What worries them more than anything is the unavoidable evidence that global temperatures have shown no significant rise for 18 years, making ever more nonsense of all those scary computer model predictions relied on by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But so carried away are they by their quasi-religious belief system that, when it was again proposed in Lima that richer nations should pay poor countries $100 billion a year to protect them from runaway global warming, the UN’s chief spokesman, Christiana Figueres, dismissed this as “a very, very small sum”. What is needed to decarbonise the global economy, she said, is “$90 trillion over the next 15 years”. It makes the £1.3 trillion we Brits are committed by the Climate Change Act to pay to halt global warming within 36 years look like chicken feed.


American Energy to the Rescue

Americans want a robust economy with upper mobility. Increasingly, they realize the policies and the arrogance of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have severely retarded our economic growth.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid used their enormous power to build their legacies – ObamaCare, redistribution of wealth, pristine environmental practices and the war on carbon. All would be achieved by a bigger and coercive federal government. Initially, they tried a Keynesian stimulus, which was sold as shovel ready and failed. Then, there was the “Cash for Clunkers,” which was another redistribution failure.

And now, it's full steam ahead for historic, legacy building. ObamaCare was intended to cover every American and reduce the cost of health care. Instead, health care prices are rising and employers are not hiring. As a result, millions of Americans are unemployed and many other Americans are working part-time in an effort to avoid the rules and regulations of ObamaCare.

Next, there was the clean energy plan where Obama, Pelosi, Reid and environmental czars spent billions of dollars on windmills, solar panels and anything else that was deemed clean and renewable. Solyndra went bankrupt, and so did Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s environmental legacy. Still seeking a legacy, they waged war on coal and stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as thwarted fracking and drilling for oil on federal lands.

Fortunately for Americans, Obama, Pelosi and Reid do not have total czarist’s powers, and private, entrepreneurs made America into an energy giant. Larry Kudlow exalts the technology revolution,which helped reduce the cost of energy. The drop in the price of oil, gas and natural gas is the equivalent to a tax cut – giving all Americans more money to spend on other goods and services making the economy robust, increasing the standard of living, and employing more Americans. Kudlow:

And here in the U.S., the oil-price drop is a huge tax cut that will primarily help the middle class. … We just had a free-market tax cut that will boost middle-class incomes and just about everything else.

The American energy revolution, combined with the market forces of supply and demand, is delivering something on the order of a $125 billion tax cut. Not only have wholesale oil prices dropped from about $100 a barrel to $66, but gasoline prices have fallen from nearly $4 a gallon to $2.78 at the week’s close.

Now...that’s a tax cut; with no big-government spending hikes.

America’s technology revolution has transferred spending on energy to consumer goods and services. Everyone wins! Well, not the legacy-seeking elites – Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Beware, Obama is still seeking his environmental legacy by contorting the clean air act of the 1970s. The EPA has proposed rules that will further restrict coal, drilling and fracking. Again, Kudlow:

Of course, the far-left Democratic enviros aren’t sitting still. The EPA is now taking aim at the entire U.S. energy industry with its newly proposed smog rules -- probably the most expensive regulations in U.S. history -- even though the fracking revolution is producing much cleaner energy than ever before.

So, what we have is a clean-energy revolution, and it’s lighting a much-needed fire under our economy. Fortunately, our recent, election results indicate that Americans are seeking a vibrant economy and do not care about the legacies of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.


If Erica Grow Didn’t Rip Up our Global Warming Flier, Maybe She’d Understand the Science Better

Television weather presenter Erica Grow deserves a hearty Thank You for advertising The Heartland Institute’s new pamphlet, “Global Warming: Crisis or Delusion.” Grow also perfectly illustrated how global warming alarmists can expand their knowledge with assistance from the new pamphlet.

Two weeks ago, Grow on her Twitter account posted a photo on her ripping the pamphlet in half and calling the pamphlet “propaganda” and “BS.” Grow’s followers apparently flooded her inbox with dissatisfaction about her Tweet, prompting her to write a column on the WUSA website explaining her actions.

“As you can imagine, a bunch of people got pretty ticked off,” Grow acknowledged.

Grow explained that she called the pamphlet propaganda because the pamphlet concluded by stating, “Public policies should aim at fostering economic growth to adapt to natural climate change.” According to Grow, “The final bullet point is especially egregious because it contains the word ‘should’.” Grow added, “A fact statement cannot contain a persuasive word.”

Curiously, Grow did not call out the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  for similarly advocating for a particular course of action. Just two weeks before Grow’s Twitter tantrum, BBC News published an article titled, “Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC.” As BBC News pointed out, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world’s electricity can – and must – be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.”

So when Grow’s alarmist friends at a United Nations bureaucracy employ stark, strong language in an attempt to dictate energy policy to the United States, Grow considers that science rather than propaganda. By contrast, when climate realists propose policies favoring climate adaptation instead, Grow considers that propaganda rather than science. Hmmm…..

Later in her column, Grow revealed her fundamental lack of understanding about the global warming debate. Grow argued the pamphlet is misleading because “it’s well-documented that the majority of the scientific community agrees with the hypothesis that climate change is at least partially caused by human activity.” However, few skeptics claim global warming is not “at least partially caused by human activity.”

The key issues dividing alarmists and skeptics are the degree of human causation, the pace of recent warming, the proper context of recent warming, the current and likely impacts of global warming, and the desirability of alarmists’ prescribed solutions. By closing her mind to all of these issues merely because she erroneously believes most skeptics dispute any human role in recent warming, Grow has allowed her preexisting lack of knowledge to preclude any future gains in knowledge.

Simply put, objective scientific evidence and an open mind are the best means of discovering scientific truths and implementing beneficial public policy. Grow’s theatrical destruction of a climate science pamphlet that contradicts her own limited knowledge of the topic is a disservice to open and honest scientific discourse. The ironic silver lining, however, is Grow’s actions merely directed more people to the scientific summary.


Presidential Pollinator Protection: Myths, Facts and Hyperbole

Rich Kozlovich says the bees are doing OK -- without Presidental protection.  Excerpts from a very comprehensive article below

In June of 2014 President Obama sent out an executive order to all Cabinet secretaries and agency heads requiring;  “the federal government to develop a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, birds and bats in response to mounting concerns about the impact of dwindling populations on American crops.”….. “the problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment".

The President’s order requires the government to establish a new task force to develop a “coordinated research action plan” in order to understand the pollinator problem and prevent their loss by “developing plans to enhance habitats for pollinating species on federal lands. And agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species.” 

 President Obama further states; "given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator losses, it is critical to expand federal efforts and take new steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels”.

 Now here’s the part that should be of even more concern.   The President says; "these steps should include the development of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen engagement."

This issue of pollinator protection concerns started with a demise of many honey bees in 2006 with something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) involving European honey bees.  So let’s start our inquiry there.

There is a wide view that all this started in Fortune: "As bees go missing, a $9.3B crisis lurks", By David Stipp, August 28 2007. [i]

Although this became a public issue in 2007, it’s now 2014 and this current CCD issue was already going on for some time before 2007.   At least seven years have passed since CCD appeared on the public’s radar and yet the planet’s seven billion people are still alive.  It would appear these claims of agriculture disasters called “beepocalypse” [ii] [iii]is clearly premature.  NPR proclaimed we were at “a crisis point for crops.” [iv] But is this reality or is this being promoted by scaremongers and scientific fraudsters?

At the beginning there was a great deal of speculation, but no consistent or verifiable scientific explanation for this.    What was causing honey bees to simply start dying or disappearing from their colonies?  First of all we have to understand that CCD isn’t anything new or unusual.  We have had regular occurrences of this forever, with major occurrence seeming to occur about every ten years, and bee keepers have always recovered from this in the past.  Similar die-offs were described as far back as 1898.  More recently, in 1995-96, Pennsylvania beekeepers lost 53 percent of their colonies without a specific identifiable cause.  Over the years it’s interesting to see the reasons given to explain these collapses.  Let’s review

In 1903, in the Cache Valley in Utah, 2000 colonies were lost to an unknown "disappearing disease" after a "hard winter and a cold spring." No specific cause was found.   Synthetic organic insecticides were blamed in the 1960’s, Africanized honey bee genes were blamed in the 1970’s and in the late 1970s we had another scare similar to this they also called the “disappearing disease”.

Pesticides are always the favorite target of activists, and while I don’t think it reasonable to say they have no impact since they do kill insects, we do need to ask; are we doing anything differently that we have done for those decades when there wasn’t any CCD?  Of course there are claims that modern pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, weren’t used in decades past are these are responsible for this crisis.  The questions we need to explore is whether this is a cause of this inordinate collapse, and is there really a crisis at all?

This whole issue of neonicotinoids being the cause of CCD is fraught with misinformation, misrepresentation of the facts, manipulation of the facts and hyperbole my the media that is only interested in promoting a false anti-pesticide narrative, when in fact it turns out neonics may actually improve the health of honey bees.

The fact is honey bee colonies worldwide are increasing, not decreasing.  Countries such as Canada and Australia use neonics extensively but aren’t having problems with reduced honey bee colonies.   (See Jon Entine's two part series on this for charts and an extended and well researched commentary.  Part I and Part II)

This bring us to pathogens and parasites. The wild bee population was suffering as badly as the domestic populations from Varroa mites and tracheal mites. As for pathogens; it was reported “that analysis of honeybee samples collected between 2002 to 2007 showed that the virus, Israeli acute paralysis virus, had been circulating in the US for at least five years.” And in fact one researcher found two kinds of viruses that transformed the shape of wings or caused a disease only affecting queen bee larvae.

“First, it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 per cent over the last five years. Lawrence D. Harder from the department of biology at the University of Calgary and Marcelo Aizen from Buenos Aires set about pinning down a couple of myths…….The bee disaster scenario is dependent upon data which is far too regional to take seriously and ‘not representative of global trends’. The truth is that there are more bees in the world than ever. They go on to say; ‘It is a myth that humanity would starve without bees.’ While some 70 per cent of our most productive crops are animal-pollinated (by bees, hoverflies and the like), very few indeed rely on animal pollination completely. Furthermore, most staple foods — wheat, rice and corn — do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating. If all the bees in the world dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, it would reduce our food production by only between 4 and 6 per cent..... ‘Overall we must conclude that claims of a global crisis in agricultural production are untrue.’

It appears that in spite of the fact that bees have probably been to most intensely studied insect in the history of mankind someone just happened to notice that a phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, was parasitizing bees, causing them to become disoriented and abandon the hives, a primary symptom of CCD.   There is an extensive discussion here, “A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis”. [xiii]

It turns out John Hafernik, a biology professor at San Francisco State University, had collected some belly-up bees from the ground underneath lights around the University’s biology building. He was looking around for something to feed a praying mantis.  He noted in a prepared statement, “I left them in a vial on my desk and forgot about them.” He soon got a shock. “The next time I looked at the vial, there were all these fly pupae surrounding the bees,” he said. A fly (Apocephalus borealis) had inserted its eggs into the bees, using their bodies as a home for its developing larvae. And the invaders had somehow led the bees from their hives to their deaths.” 

Remember once again - this was all in spite of the fact that bees have probably been the most intensely studied insect in the history of mankind without someone noticing for all these decades and possibly centuries.  Apocephalus borealis, was parasitizing bees causing them to become disoriented and abandon the hives - a primary symptom of CCD.  Another fact we need to understand.  Pesticide poisonings and CCD are two different things and it's important that we don't conflate one with the other.  These are two distinctly different issues with two different causes requiring two distinctly separate approaches in dealing with them.      

This fly places its eggs into the bee’s abdomen. Later as the larvae grow inside the bees and they begin to lose control of their ability to “think and walk….. exhibiting zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. Bees will leave “the hive at night flying blindly toward light…..It eventually dies and the fly larvae emerge.”

One research team [xiv] "found evidence of the fly in 77 percent of the hives they sampled in the Bay Area of California, as well as in some hives in the state’s agricultural Central Valley and in South Dakota”.

It's clear that CCD has been going of forever. It is clear that pesticides can kill some bees, but that number is insignificant and cannot possibly explain the symptoms displayed by honey bee colonies suffering from this disorder. It is clear that fungi and disease are playing a major role. It is now clear that parasites are the number one major component in their demise, and they exacerbate the disease problem.

In conclusion it is clear that most of the scare tactics used are meaningless; we won’t starve; pesticides are our friend; the bees will return; the cause is most assuredly ‘all natural’ and the scaremongers will look for another reason to condemn humanity. I just hope we will have the good sense to ignore them.

Under the order to protect pollinators the President requires the formation of a “new task force” with the goal of developing a coordinated research action plan in order to better understand and prevent the loss of pollinators.   IN order to do this government agencies will work to develop “plans to enhance habitats for pollinating species on federal lands. And agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species.

This will be just another excuse for huge land grabs by the federal government, as if under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) the use of “suitable habitat” rulings aren’t bad enough already.  Given the federal government’s penchant for abusing the ESA, the Clear Water Act, the Clean Air Act to overturn Constitutional safeguards and gain control over private property and the economy, this sentence; agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species”, should be cause for concern for everyone.

In Conclusion - There is no pollinator crisis with birds, bees, bats or butterflies that have anything to do with pesticides, genetically modified organisms or any of the other things activists attack industry.  However, this pollinator protection initiative by the President and government agencies could clearly be used as another excuse for huge land grabs by the federal government, as if under the Endangered Species Act “suitable habitat” rulings aren’t bad enough already.  The fact is the claims and scare tactics being used are meaningless; we won’t starve; pesticides are our friend; the bees have returned and will continue to thrive, and the cause of CCD is most assuredly ‘all natural’; there is no bird, bat or butterfly crisis and the scaremongers will look for another reason to condemn humanity.  I just hope we will have the good sense to ignore them.

Much more HERE

Australia: Alan Jones interviews David Leyonhjelm on the Senate’s Inquiry Into the Great Wind Power Fraud & Cross-Bench renewable energy  Plan

The wind industry in Australia is in full-scale panic because the Senate’s cross-benchers (who hold the balance of power in the Upper House) have won Coalition support for their Inquiry into the great wind power fraud: which will turn a (long-overdue) blowtorch on the biggest rort in Australian history.

Adding to the wind industry’s mounting woes is the fact that the cross-benchers have also put together a plan that will put the wind industry out of its misery, by elevating the place of “old” hydro power and small-scale solar – especially “stand alone solar” in remote locations – under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET): both “old” hydro and small-scale solar are perversely excluded from the LRET.

The vast bulk of hydro capacity was built pre-1998 and is, therefore, ineligible to participate – a matter that has Tasmanian Senator, Jacqui Lambie seeing red.

STT hears that the cross-bench plan is with Tony Abbott’s office and has already won the PM’s tick of approval.

The Inquiry and the plan has been pushed along by cross-bench Senator, David Leyonhelm, who appears in this recent interview with Alan Jones on 2GB.

Alan has a little radio show that more than just a few Australians tune into each morning. Syndicated through over 77 Stations and with close to 2 million listeners Countrywide – AJ as he’s known – is one of those people that leads the political charge on many issues that really affect ordinary Australians and which the rest of the press ignore.


A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Dr Jay Tibbetts – you might recall is an American. A medicical adviser to the Brown County Health Department in Wisconsin. He attacked the Australian Medical Association, who quite disgracefully, but not surprisingly given that the leadership of that mob now is hopelessly of the left. And the AMA virtually arguing that there was no problem with this sub-audible infra-sound emitted by wind turbines. And Doctor Tibbetts cited endless international evidence in relation to the health risks posed by the low-frequency noise that wind turbines generate.

Well that interview lead to an email that I received this week from eastern Europe.  Amazingly they had heard my interview, on the Internet with Doctor Tibbetts in relation to what I call the lunacy of wind farms and the sleep deprivation that they cause and my email correspondent said “I just wanted to tell you how much we appreciated your excellent interview and your courage to do it. I know how risky this is.  My emailer said he posted the interview on his website and it went ballistic. And I’m told, he says it’s spreading from Austria to Germany, and Finland and Ireland and Poland and many other countries. My emailer said ‘I can guarantee you that all people in Europe, especially in Germany were like crazy and spread your interview like crazy when they got it on my Facebook page.

Well people are waking up to the lies and deceit peddled by governments and renewable energy companies all over the world. There is a report this week by AGL energy of all outfits who found that non-solar households are paying hidden subsidies and more than $200 million a year, here in Australia to households who have solar roofing panels.  Now we know that this wind power-solar power are driving up the cost of what you pay for electricity and what business pays. And the AGL Chief economist Paul Simshauser, said the problem of wealth transfers to renewable energy sources was increasing. In other words to prop up renewable energy, you the taxpayer have money taken out of your pocket and that, in billions of dollars, goes to renewable energy companies. Most of them foreign companies.

Now people increasingly can’t hack this. We’re told 650 electricity customers are complaining to their retailer every day about electricity prices. The Australian Energy Regulator’s annual report found disconnections have surged and more than 237,000 New South Wales households, one in seven customers, has complained to their provider about pricing in the financial year ended 30 June this year.

Now we are spending billions of dollars on wind energy. It accounts for less than 2% of power generation in China, 3% in America. And this whole renewable energy thing is completely out of control. Wind power costs up to $214 per megawatt hour, coal $78 to $91. If the renewable energy mob want a set of rules that would be simple – then go ahead with your wind farm but don’t ask for taxpayers’ money. How can wind turbine companies buy off a farmer for $10,000 a turbine and then that same company be subsidised by the taxpayers? Who are you.

I have spoken to so many people, but one of them is Andrew Gardiner in Napthine’s electorate. He’s running for election this Saturday, the Premier of Victoria. Next to 140 turbines, 150 metres high, 56m blades – the biggest monsters in the southern hemisphere, some are 90 m from his property. Eight of them, 1.7 km from his home. And he’s been bullied and intimidated by AGL. I repeat – coal-fired power $78-91 a megawatt hour wind power, up to $214 per megawatt hour and solar power, over $400 a megawatt hour.

And here you’ve got this Gullen Range wind farm near Goulburn, which breaks nearly every rule that governed its application to operate. But don’t worry, it’s foreign owned. Would you believe Canberra, were meant to be spending 17,000 million dollars (17 billion), erecting between 7000 and 10,000 of these wind turbines.

Yet Germany are pushing ahead with new coal-fired electricity plants because political and public concern there is increasing over the cost of energy. China is building a new coal fired power station every 10 days every year. And remember when I spoke to Angus Taylor, the new member for Hume, turbines in his electorate enjoys subsidies to $500,000,000 to a $billion a year.

Well David Leyonhjelm is a New South Wales Senator, representing the Liberal Democrats and along with Senators Madigan, Day, Xenophon and Back, David Leyonhjelm succeeded in establishing, has succeeded in establishing – and this will put a few noses out of joint – a Senate inquiry into wind turbines. This will blow the whole show open.

It was a narrow vote. Because you see people like Mcfarlane, the Energy Minister, they’re in bed with wind companies. 33 to 32. The inquiry will be known as The Select Committee on Wind Turbines. It will investigate regulatory governance, or lack of it, over wind turbines, their economic impact, which can only be negative. It will examine on household power prices of wind power, we know that. The implementation of planning processes which as you can see with Gullen Range, are ignored. The integrity of national wind farm guidelines – they have none. The impact of wind turbines on firefighting – that’s another story altogether – and crop management.

And the committee will have the power to send for and examine people and documents. And it will report its proceedings from time to time and make interim recommendations and it will report by June 24 next year. This is a very pioneering and important initiative and not before time.


Australia: Greenie land-grab contested

THE long-running Federal Court case of southern NSW farmer Peter Spencer strikes at the heart of land ownership in Australia, Queensland federal MP Bob Katter says.

MR Katter has flown to Sydney to support Mr Spencer's legal case against the Commonwealth and the NSW government over land-clearing laws.
He argues restrictions imposed on the clearing of vegetation on his farm constitutes an acquisition of his property.

Speaking outside the court on Thursday, Mr Katter told reporters that the case, which was launched in 2007, was one of the most important in Australia's history.

"Today the question is: who owns the land, the crown or the people?  "If we don't own our own land and a bunch of half-witted politicians own our land, than God help us all.  "This is why I have tracked across Australia to support Peter."

It comes more than four years after Mr Spencer staged a 52-day hunger strike in 2009 and 2010 on a suspended platform on his former property at Shannons Flat, near Cooma.

The leader of Katter's Australian Party said "millions of dollars worth of timber and timber rights" had been taken off Mr Spencer without compensation.



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


8 December, 2014

Fall snow cover in Northern Hemisphere was most extensive on record, all due to warming, of course

You can explain anything if you want to.  In science it is called an "ad hoc" explanation -- known to the layman as being wise after the event.  And the Warmist writer below does that.  He offers various explanations for why the observed cold is actually due to warming somewhere.

But he actually has nothing to explain.  He has drunk the NOAA Kool-Aid about current record high temperatures.  He hasn't noticed the carefully unpublicized fact that temperatures in the 21st century are higher than one-another only by a few hundredths of one degree.  So all we are seeing are natural fluctuations within a generally stable temperature environment.

Cold weather embarrasses him only because Warmists routinely chortle whenever we have an unusually hot spell.  He can see that, by the same token, cold spells ought to have us chortling about cooling.  That the Warmist chortling about occasional hot weather is desperate, disreputable and unscientific has escaped him

In 49 years of records, more snow covered the Northern Hemisphere this fall than any other time. It is a very surprising result, especially when you consider temperatures have tracked warmest on record over the same period.

Data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show the fall Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent exceeded 22 million square kilometers, exceeding the previous greatest fall extent recorded in 1976.

New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson, who runs the snow lab, shared these additional snow cover statistics:

North America had its most extensive snow cover on record

The Lower 48 had its most extensive snow cover on record (which is not surprising given the Arctic blast and snow events in the final two weeks)

The sprawling snows may seem counter-intuitive considering recent reports that September and October were the warmest months on record for the globe according to NOAA (and November the second warmest on record, according to satellite analysis from the University of Alabama-Huntsville).

Global temperature departure from normal for the period of January through October 2014. This year is on track to be the warmest on record, according to NOAA.

However, the amount of snow does not necessarily correlate with temperature.  It simply needs to be near or below freezing for snow to fall.  Temperatures that average 1-2 degrees F above normal over the globe can still support snow in many places. 

Furthermore, slightly warmer than normal temperatures increase atmospheric moisture content, elevating potential snow amounts where they occur.

A recent modeling study showed high latitude extreme snows could increase 10 percent by the end of the century under global warming scenarios.


A British Lawyer and a Conservative Party "wet" (cf. RINO) sets us straight

Barrister Rupert Myers writes under the heading:  "The Right needs to wake up - climate change is real, and we're causing it". 

So what evidence does he muster to support his view that "climate change is real, and we're causing it"?  None.  He mentions not a single climate statistic: Just the current Warmist prophecy that 2014 will be the warmest year ever.  Other than that, it's all just assertion and a warm feeling that all good chaps agree on this. I hope he argues his cases in court more convincingly

His talk about a "significant loss of landmass" is amusing.  Where?  Even Bangladesh is GAINING landmass.  Is he aware that the latest modelling shows that sea level rise will take thousands of years to happen?  See here and  here

He also acknowledges the problem that China is still building coal-fired generators but gives no answer to it. 

He also says that we should stick to the "core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence" -- without giving any evidence.  He may think that his handwaving allusions to things like strawberry crops in November count as evidence but, if so, he has no idea of what constitutes  evidence in science.

I could go on but I think there is no cure for credulity.  See it in full flight below

Whenever I head to the north Norfolk coast and see the wind farm offshore, visible from the Cromer pier, my heart sinks. The blinking red lights at night and the white spinning blades during the day spoil the historic view of the channel from the Victorian seafront. It was a view witnessed by a holidaying Winston Churchill at a place recommended by Austen; the clunking towers have written it off. I have not learned to love or to even silently accept the wind farms, and I cannot understand those claim that they are beautiful or elegant.

But I am persuaded that we need them. On the day that the Met Office has recognised that 2014, the warmest year on record, is attributable to man-made climate change, it’s time to put these eyesores into perspective. The results are in, and everyone from NASA to the UN agrees that there is an urgent need to change the way we behave, to prevent widespread destruction of our environment. From melting ice to strawberry crops in november, we are starting to see the early stages of a chain of events which - if not addressed adequately - will drastically alter the planet and the lives of generations to come.

There are enclaves of scientific denial on the Right, like tiny pacific islands on which old Japanese men still believe they are engaged in World War Two. The odd bloody scalp, the odd skirmish does not prove that the war is ongoing. Nick Griffin, who called man made global warming ‘a hoax’ has expressed his support for UKIP, a party which has vowed to bin the Climate Change Act, and which clearly wants to attract those who think that the war is still to be fought.

Yet you don’t have to be a pro-EU fixie-cycling ethical barista of no fixed gender identity with a piercing through your nose to wake up and smell the coffee. Indeed, you should enjoy the smell of coffee whilst you can, since climate change is having a dramatic impact on the bean crop yields. Bemoaning the ban on filament lightbulbs needs to be seen in the context of widespread food shortages and significant loss of landmass. The cost of renewables to the UK needs to be set against the likely cost of famine, drought, and the expense of keeping an overpopulating planet even remotely peaceful as its food and its land diminish. It will not improve the views from the East Anglian coastline if the coastline itself is eroded.

The deniers argue that any globally coordinated response to this problem will involve ‘socialism’ and EU control, calling many exponents of green policies ‘watermelons’ for being green on the outside and red on the inside. Yet the same people will often argue that unilateral action on climate change would be an expensive waste of time whilst China is still building coal power plants. We can’t work together because it will interfere with freedom – but we can’t act alone because it’s pointless. Even more confusingly, there are too many on the Right who then have a go at private companies for getting into renewable energy. When the socialist-finder generals aren’t calling people watermelons, they are calling out the corporate greed of making a profit from involvement in green energy solutions. Governments are bashed for taking a statist approach to climate change, and corporations for a capitalist one.

There are many dreadful side effects to man-made climate change, though most of them will only be apparent – experts warn – once it is too late to counter them. In trying to act to prevent the worst of it, we are having to tear up parts of our countryside and even get our heads around splitting our rubbish into different forms of recycling. But one of the most irritating and immediate consequences has been from the deniers, particularly on the Right, who, while understandably mistrustful of ideology and consensus, have abandoned the core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence. The same populist movements which would abolish the ‘elites’ in politics have decided that an international scientific consensus about complex, long-term changes is no match for their lived experience of yesterday's weather. Despite the best efforts of our Prime Minister in opposition, many on the right are abandoning a commitment to environmentalism as a costly and unproven expenditure.

It’s time for the doubters to surrender, and accept that there is nothing Right-wing about denying the global consensus of a scientific community. At this point too many of us on the Right echo the farcical warning of Stephen Colbert that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” After all, it isn’t Blofeld’s SPECTRE warning us about climate change - it’s the British boffins in our own Met Office.


No Record Temperatures According To Satellites

Unsurprisingly, the BBC put up a deliberately apocalyptic picture while telling us the world is on course for the warmest year on record.

What they failed to tell us was that the more accurate satellites, which monitor atmospheric temperatures over nearly all of the globe, say no such thing.

Figures from UAH are out for November, and these show a drop from the  October anomaly of 0.37C to 0.33C. This means that at the end of November, this year is only in a tie for 3rd with 2005, and well below the record year of 1998, and 2010.

Moreover, despite El Nino conditions for most of this year, this year is only running a modest 0.03C [three hundredths of one degree] warmer than last year.

RSS data for November is still awaited, but is unlikely to alter the October YTD position, which ranked 2014 as only 7th warmest.

What the BBC also failed to tell us was that there are large uncertainties in the surface datasets, which they are reporting on. Colin Morice of the Met Office warns:

"Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade."


Bulletin from Lima

They are, according to energy secretary Ed Davey, “the most complex negotiations the world has ever undertaken”: representatives from 190 countries attempting to draft an unprecedented worldwide deal to tackle global warming.

But the near-9,000 delegates attending the UN’s climate change summit in Peru have found they also have a more local warming problem to contend with: the venue is too hot.

Sweltering temperatures inside the meeting halls have prompted many delegates to complain that the temporary buildings are generating their own “greenhouse effect” – with one Zimbabwean representative at Monday’s opening plenary reportedly even suggesting it was “too hot to work”.

With temperatures in the mid-seventies outside, the mercury has hit more than 86F in some of the halls, which have been specially-constructed on the site of the Peruvian military headquarters in Lima.

“3 days in & it’s still crazy hot. How can they expect any smart decisions to be made in these conditions?,” Yong Ly, a delegate observing the talks for the P3 Foundation anti-poverty group, wrote on Twitter.

“Plenary hall at #COP 20 hot like [politician and former Miss World] Lisa Hanna in the Sahara,” Gerald Lindo, a Jamaican government official, tweeted. “They must be trying to remind us of global warming.”

The complaints appeared to be given short shrift by the Peruvian hosts, who responded by posting a picture of a hand-held fan on their official Twitter account. “Using air conditioning affects the planet,” they wrote. “And the heat? As simple as using a fan. Share the idea.”

However a spokesman for UN organisers the UNFCCC insisted there was no environmental restriction on the use of the venue’s air conditioning and said it was simply that “the conditions here are a little challenging for the air con system”.

While most delegates appeared in good spirits despite the heat, there remain numerous areas of disagreement over the shape of a global climate deal – which is being drafted in Lima and due to be officially agreed at next year’s summit in Paris. The aim is to come up with an agreement that will cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists say the effects will be far more dangerous.

How much rich countries should pay to help poorer countries tackle and adapt to climate change is among the most contentious issues. Developed nations have so far pledged almost $10bn (£6.4bn) of public funds – including £720m from the UK – to a new UN “Green Climate Fund” (GCF) to help developing nations.

China, which aligns itself with many of the poorest countries, has complained the total so far falls far short of a 2009 pledge by developed nations to mobilise $100bn-a-year of “climate finance” by 2020. “$10 billion is just one 10th of that objective,” Su Wei, China’s lead negotiator said, Bloomberg reported.

But Elina Bardram, head of the EU’s delegation dismissed the claim, insisting the $100bn was always intended to be mixture of public and private finance. The GCF was “by no means the only vehicle for delivering the $100bn,” she told reporters on Friday.

Countries also disagree about whether their individual pledges to tackle climate change should solely cover cutting emissions or should also bind rich nations to give cash to poorer countries to help them adapt.

Pledges are due in the first quarter of next year. Mr Davey, who will attend the second week of the talks, told the Telegraph he hoped Lima at least would result in agreement on what information countries must give about their planned emissions reductions so the world could “compare apples with apples”. But he said: “No one is under any illusions that by the time most countries have put forward their initial pledges ... we will be well short of where we need to be.”

The UK hopes initial pledges will then be scrutinised and bettered, enabling “a deal in Paris that keeps the 2C limit within reach”, he said.

More than 40 UK Government officials are believed to be flying to attend the Lima conference, with an estimated footprint of more than 1,600kg of carbon dioxide each.

Flights and hotels for the entire 9,000 delegates will generate almost 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to an estimate by The Project Developer Forum, a group campaigning on behalf of green energy developers. That is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by the entire Pacific island state of Kiribati in six months.

Benny Peiser, of the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation described the summit as the “green blob's annual ritual” and “an expensive form of mass tourism, never mind the carbon footprint”.

“More importantly, the ritual gathering isn't going to overcome the underlying deadlock,” he said.

“The developing world will ask for a high price which will sink the deal in the US.” He said he believed any deal would not be legally-binding and that this would lead the EU to renege on its own carbon-cutting pledges. “In short, the deal that is now in the making won't slow CO2 emissions and won't bind any nation. But it will be sold as a breakthrough – as all agreements have been sold in the past,” he said.


Hot air from the wind power lobby in Canada

On Oct. 30 we published a Fraser Institute study entitled “What Goes Up… Ontario’s Soaring Electricity Prices and How to Get Them Down.” We analyzed the factors driving the rise in Ontario’s electricity prices, focusing on the so-called Global Adjustment (GA), which is a non-market surcharge set by the province to fund payments to electricity producers for above-market revenue guarantees.

Our econometric analysis allowed us to track not only the impact of direct payments to power generating firms but also indirect effects arising when one distorted production decision subsequently distorts the incentives of others, boosting overall provincial liabilities. Among other things we found that adding wind power to the grid increases costs by about three times the amount of the direct payments to wind turbine operators, with the interaction effects making up the difference.

On November 3, The Canadian Wind Energy Association issued a response to our study prepared by the consulting firm Power Advisory LLC.

CanWEA’s press release acknowledges that electricity prices are increasing but claims that these changes benefit Ontarians.

While it is certainly true that rising prices — up 52% since 2004 in inflation-adjusted terms — have been enormously beneficial to CanWEA and its members, they are harmful to Ontario consumers and firms. It is important to understand the real factors behind price trends, and not simply to take at face value the claims of an industry group with an obvious conflict of interest in the matter.

CanWEA claims that our “study fails to acknowledge several key drivers of electricity price increases, including the costs of upgrading and renewing aging electricity infrastructure (such as transmission lines and smart meters), and charges such as the Debt Retirement Charge associated with Ontario’s past investments in nuclear power.”

This is untrue. Our study examined the impacts of all the power bill components including transmission and distribution costs, which includes smart meters. Our analysis of power bill components relies exclusively on official Ontario government sources. As shown in our Appendix A, particularly Table A1, it is clear that the Debt Reduction Charge has applied no upward pressure on rates since 2004, and transmission and distribution costs have increased 14%, while overall commodity costs increased by 68%. We focused on the rising commodity cost because it is by far the largest driver for rising rates.

The Power Advisory group complains that our study focuses only on the GA, rather than the complete wholesale cost of power (namely the GA plus the hourly market price). This is also untrue. We showed in our Figure 1 that the hourly market price has not been increasing; in fact it has fallen by more than 50% over the period of analysis. We focused on the GA because that is the component that has been driving the commodity cost increases.

Another of Power Advisory’s complaints is that our regression analysis failed to include a time trend. A time trend would be spurious in this case.

We provided a detailed explanation of the formula that determines the GA (pp. 7—10) and there is nothing in it that says it has to go up each year. In other words, it is not a trending variable. Power Advisory presents a chart showing the GA with a linear trend to support its assertion that the mere passage of time is the cause of the increase in the GA. But there is no necessary relationship between time and rising electricity costs, as evidenced by the fact that power prices outside Ontario have been falling over time. The reality is that their time trend variable is merely a proxy for the real cost drivers, particularly the policy-driven increases in wind, solar, and incremental hydro-electric generation capacity.

Power Advisory’s commentary claims (without supporting evidence) that “there is no secondary impact” of wind and solar.

This is simply not credible, given the fickle nature of renewables and Ontario’s storage-constrained grid. Many common operating conditions for wind power drive costs to consumers beyond those directly caused by payments to wind generators. For example, high wind output during low demand periods is clearly associated with Bruce nuclear generation curtailments and spilling of hydro-electric generation by Ontario Power Generation. The Power Advisory analysis assumes away these types of interactions, whereas our analysis captures them.

Finally, Power Advisory relies on the trite observation that “correlation is not causation.” Our statistical analysis provides clear supporting evidence for conclusions that also emerge from our analysis of the institutional structure of the Ontario power system, and it allows us to quantify the relative impacts of different components. It also allows us to test, and reject, the claim that increased renewables capacity are unrelated to rising Ontario electricity prices.

We stand by the findings of our study, and we reaffirm the conclusion that renewable power generation, particularly wind and solar power, are key drivers behind Ontario’s surging electricity prices.


European scientists ‘fixed evidence’ to ban pesticides, note reveals

RESEARCH blaming pesticides for the decline in honey­bees has been called into question by a leaked note suggesting scientists had decided in advance to seek evidence supporting a ban on the chemicals.

The private note records a discussion in 2010 between four scientists about how to persuade regulators to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.

The EU imposed a temporary ban last year after the European Food Safety Authority identified risks to bees.

Many farmers have blamed the ban for high levels of damage to this winter’s oilseed rape crop from flea beetle.

The leaked note says the scientists agreed to select authors to produce four papers and co-ordinate their publication to “obtain the necessary policy change, to have these pesticides banned”.

A paper by a “carefully selected first author” would set out the impact of the pesticides on insects and birds “as convincingly as possible”. A second “policy forum” paper would draw on the first to call for a ban.

The note, which records that the meeting took place in Switzerland on June 14, 2010, says: “If we are successful in getting these two papers published, there will be enormous impact, and a campaign led by WWF etc. It will be much harder for politicians to ­ignore a research paper and a policy forum paper in (a major scientific journal).”

The scientists at the meeting included Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, chairman of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, and Piet Wit, chairman of the ecosystems management commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an influential network of scientists and environmental groups.

The task force, a group of scientists who advise the IUCN, published a report in June stating that neonicotinoids were “causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees”.

The task force used the report to call on regulators to “start planning for a global phase-out” of neonicotinoids. The present two-year EU ban, which began last December, is due to be reviewed next year using evidence from field trials.

Nick von Westenholz, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, which represents Bayer and Syngenta, manufacturers of neonicotinoids, said: “From reading this document it looks to me that this group decided on its conclusions first and then embarked on the research to back them up.

“That clearly flies in the face of claims that the IUCN study represents independent and rigorous science.”

Mr Wit said the leaked note was accurate but he denied the scientists had decided the conclusions of the research in advance. Dr Bijleveld van Lexmond, a founding member of WWF in the Netherlands, said the task force was independent and unbiased.



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

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7 December, 2014

Warmist Rahmstorf is now rubbishing statistical significance -- and he thinks a few THOUSANDTHS of one degree Celsius are important

Stefan Rahmstorf is a  German oceanographer and big-time Warmist who got his doctorate in New Zealand! He writes very well and often in English and has been richly rewarded for it.  He is definitely a man who knows on which side his bread is buttered.

His oceanographic background does however make him skeptical of the usual but absurd Warmist claim that the deep oceans suddenly started storing "missing" heat 18 years ago.   So he has to deny that the heat is missing.  Hence his latest article: Recent global warming trends: significant or paused or what?". In other words, he  challenges the now generally accepted warming "pause". Consensus can be wrong, apparently.

I am not going to reproduce any of it as it is graphics intensive but, if you look, you can see that at the top of his figure 1 he gives the trend as 0.175 degrees Celsius per decade. The "5" in that figure is five thousandths of one degree.  I have long ridiculed Warmist use of hundredths of a degree and think that I asked rhetorically once whether they would get around to using thousandths eventually.  That day has come.  As Oscar Wilde often said, nature imitates art.

But his main point is that although there has been no significant warming in the 21st century, there HAS been warming.  It's just that the warming is not significant statistically.  That is a defensible statement.  There's a limit to what statistical significance tells us.  But he skates around WHY the warming is not statistically significant.  It is because the warming is TRIVIAL.  When you can show years differing only by hundredths and thousandths of one degree in temperature, you are showing warming that is for all practical purposes non-existent.  The statistical significance is, in other words, telling us something important.  We do well to heed it.

Nice try, though.  Warmism is one unending attempt to deceive -- JR.

More lying with statistics

I taught statistics for a number of years  at a major Australian university and one of the major reasons for studying statistics is to help you to detect improper use of them.  And one of the classic deceptive techniques which enables you to prove almost anything with statistics can be seen in full bloom below:  Careful choice of your beginning and endpoints. 

A dead giveaway is that for anything they describe they choose different beginning and endpoints.  And the timespans examined are quite short. Why not just start with the begining of the 20th century for all the phenomena they describe?  The available statistics do go back that far.

I can think of one reason.  As Steve Goddard has repeatedly documented, there were some huge adverse weather events around the beginning of the 20th century  -- events that put anything recent into the shade.

And why is their commentary on temperature so short?   One would have thought that that was the BIG issue. Answer:  They are embarrassed by the fact that global temperature has plateaued for 18 years now. There was some slight warming in the late 20th century but that has long ceased.  It is probably true that this year will be warmer than 1992 but so are all the years of the 21st century.  And the different years of the 21st century differ from one-another only in hundredths of one degree Celsius, which is vanishingly trivial.

And once you know that, all the other recent changes they claim become irrelevant.  The recent changes concerned may be due to many things but they CANNOT be due to global warming  -- because there hasn't been any

Twenty years ago world leaders met for the first ever climate change summit but new figures show that since then the globe has become hotter and weather has become more weird.

Numbers show that carbon dioxide emissions are up, the global temperature has increased, sea levels are rising along with the earth's population.

The statistics come as more than 190 nations opened talks on Monday at a United Nations global warming conference in Lima, Peru.

It is hoped the summit will pave the way for an international treaty on climate change, which would follow on from the first ever Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where leaders pledged to try and tackle climate change.

Now data since 1983 has been analysed to show how the global climate is changing.

And Professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University Michael Oppenheimer said: 'Simply put, we are rapidly remaking the planet and beginning to suffer the consequences.'


The first figures show that since 1992, there have been more than 6,600 major climate, weather and water disasters worldwide, causing more than $1.6 trillion in damage and killing more than 600,000 people, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Belgium, which tracks the world's catastrophes.

While climate-related, not all can be blamed on man-made warming or climate change.

But, extreme weather has noticeably increased over the years, says Debby Sapir, who runs the centre and its database.

From 1983 to 1992 the world averaged 147 climate, water and weather disasters each year. Over the past 10 years, that number has jumped to an average 306 a year.

In the United States, an index of climate extremes — hot and cold, wet and dry — kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has jumped 30 percent from 1992 to 2013, not counting hurricanes, based on 10-year averages.

Worldwide, the 10-year average for weather-related losses adjusted for inflation was $30 billion a year from 1983-92, according to insurance giant Swiss Re.

From 2004 to 2013, the cost was more than three times that on average, or $131 billion a year.

Ms Sapir and others say it would be wrong to pin all, or even most, of these increases on climate change alone.

But they note a trend of growing extremes and more disasters, and that fits with what scientists have long said about global warming.


In terms of temperature, 2014 is set to be the warmest in record, with the globe breaking six monthly heat records in 2014 and 47 since 1992. The last monthly cold record set was in 1916.

The average annual temperature for 2014 is on track to be 14.6 degrees Celsius, compared with 14.1 degrees Celsius in 1992.

More guff HERE

Obama To Subsidize ‘Green’ Trains In Mexico

Not content with subsidizing green technology domestically, the Obama administration is now spending U.S. tax dollars to upgrade Mexican freight trains.

In September, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) approved a grant worth nearly $600,000 for the Asociación Mexicana de Ferrocarriles (AMF), a trade association for the Mexican rail industry, “to speed the adoption of green power technologies throughout Mexico’s freight rail locomotive fleet,” according to a press release.

“USTDA is pleased to partner again with Mexico’s national railroad association to support freight rail modernization efforts, this time focusing on cleaner and more efficient locomotives,” USTDA Regional Director Nathan Younge said at the time.

AMF officially opened the bidding process this month, asking “interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to develop a Technical Assistance for the Green Locomotive Technologies Project in Mexico.” (RELATED: Up to 50 Obama-Backed Green Energy Companies Bankrupt or Troubled)

Mexico’s freight railway system is owned by the national government, but operated by private companies under government charters who coordinate their activities through the auspices of the AMF.

The technical assistance will focus on applying new technologies to diesel locomotives that will reduce emissions while improving fuel efficiency, such as “advanced auxiliary power units to retrofit older freight locomotives, emissions control systems, [and] idle reduction technologies.”

According to the solicitation, “only U.S. firms and individuals may bid on this USTDA-financed activity,” and “all goods and services to be provided by the selected firm shall have their nationality, source, and origin in the U.S. or host country.”

The program will also “examine the potential development of federal- and state-level government incentive programs in Mexico,” indicating that additional subsidies could be awarded in the future.

Even without direct government grants, planning documents leave open the possibility that Mexico could seek additional financing through entities such as the Export-Import Bank. Both Ex-Im and the USTDA have been accused in the past of engaging in crony capitalism, with opponents claiming they use government money to pick winners and losers.

“At a time when this Administration plans regulations on railcars that will create crippling cost increases for U.S. railroads, it is absurd that they are spending taxpayer dollars to retrofit and upgrade Mexican rail capacity,” Rick Manning, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications at Americans for Limited Government, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Once again, Obama’s policies harm U.S. productivity and jobs, while benefiting industry in other countries,” Manning added.

The project is included in the Major Infrastructure Projects in Mexico resource guide, which was developed “in order to support the country’s ambitious reform efforts and position U.S. firms for success implementing critical infrastructure projects,” which are expected to exceed $600 billion over the next four years.

“We believe this guide will serve as a key resource for U.S. firms interested in supporting priority projects associated with Mexico’s new National Infrastructure Program,” said USTDA Director Leocadia Zak.

The USTDA did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.


Obama Wants Kids to Learn About Global Warming

Perhaps unable to convince older Americans of the severity of global warming, President Barack Obama is hoping to have better luck with the next generation by turning to the classroom.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday announced it will launch a new initiative aimed at climate education and literacy that will distribute science-based information – in line with the administration's position on the issue – to students, teachers and the broader public.

Educators, government officials, philanthropic leaders and those from the private sector will participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House Wednesday. The participants will focus on how to spread more resources to teachers and increase professional development and training related to climate change for educators, federal employees and informal educators, such as those working in national parks, museums, aquariums or botanic gardens.

"If you believe, like I do, that something has to be done on this, then you're going to have to speak out," Obama said in June at the University of California–Irvine commencement ceremony. "You've got to educate your classmates, and colleagues, and family members and fellow citizens, and tell them what's at stake."

With many states transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards, opposition to issues such as climate change and evolution has resurfaced with a new intensity. At least 12 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, which place an increased emphasis on the controversial topics and were developed by a group of national science and education organizations – including one also involved in developing the Common Core State Standards.

A Gallup analysis in April showed that 1 in 4 Americans are global warming skeptics and are not worried much or at all about it. All of those deemed skeptics said the rise in the Earth's temperature is due to natural changes in the environment, rather than pollution, and that global warming will not pose a serious threat in the future.

Meanwhile, a separate survey from Yale and George Mason universities found just more than half of Americans – 55 percent – said they were at least somewhat worried about global warming, while only 11 percent said they were very worried about it. The same poll found 66 percent of Americans think global warming is happening, and that half of Americans think global warming – if it is occurring – is largely human-caused.

The White House initiative pulls together more than two dozen advocacy and education groups from more than 30 states that responded to a call for increased leadership in climate education made by the administration in October. Some of the groups include the Chicago Botanic Garden, the American Meteorological Society, the Alliance for Climate Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Philadelphia School and the Green Schools Alliance.

The groups will provide fellowship programs, teacher training opportunities and increased attention to public education on climate change through museums, aquariums, botanic gardens and zoos. The combined efforts are expected to reach millions of students, teachers, federal employees and visitors to national parks and public nature facilities.

The National Park Service, for example, will develop a plan by the end of 2015 that will help employees create and deliver "effective climate change messages in the programs and exhibits" in national parks, according to a fact sheet from the White House. Each year, more than 270 million people visit the 401 national parks.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with other science agencies, will create digital game prototypes that teachers and students can use to learn more about climate change. And the Alliance for Climate Education plans to bring more than 150,000 high school students to a program on climate science education, and will train 80 students as "climate leaders" through its Action Fellowship.

"Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, important steps have already been taken to cut carbon pollution, prepare for the impacts of climate change and lead international efforts to fight this global challenge," the White House fact sheet says. "Continued progress into the future will depend on ensuring a climate-smart citizenry and a next-generation American workforce of city planners, community leaders, engineers and entrepreneurs who understand the urgent climate change challenge and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and training to seek and implement solutions."


Ecopop lost, but its miserabilism lives on

Switzerland rejected green immigration proposals - now it needs to reject green principles

By Andrea Seaman, a school student in Switzerland

In a national referendum last weekend, the Swiss decisively rejected Ecopop, a proposal to cut net annual immigration to a maximum of 0.2 per cent of Switzerland’s population. If it had been successful, it would have limited the number of permitted immigrants to about 16,000 per year. To put this into perspective, 144,000 migrants entered Switzerland in 2012.

Advocates of Ecopop – a 40-year-old movement that links ecological betterment to population control – claimed that Switzerland’s ‘natural basis for living’ was being destroyed by too many humans. Hence they wanted to limit the number of people living in Switzerland, as well as providing free family planning, particularly in Africa, at the Swiss taxpayers’ behest.

In a video on the Ecopop website, poverty is blamed on there being too many people. So, according to the Ecopop logic, poverty can only be tackled by reducing the number of people living in it. Especially in Africa.

It was unsurprising, then, that throughout the campaign, Ecopop was accused of being racist. But its supporters vehemently rejected the charge, stating that, if the Earth is to be protected, its population needs reducing. Racism, they said, has nothing to do with it. And up to a point, I believe them. They find the whole of humanity appalling, not just Africans.

On Ecopop’s website, the politician Thomas Minder urged readers to ‘Say yes to nature’, and asked rhetorically: ‘40,000 new apartments, 50,000 additional cars and 410 square metres for every new immigrant, every year?’ Rather than seeing such things as causes for celebration, he laments them. Minder claims he is motivated by worries over our children’s futures. He argued that we have to stop what he calls the concreting over of nature in the present. And he talked about the ‘egotistical unfairness of taking away the chance of our descendants to grow by growing all we can grow now’.

But Minder does not really care about posterity. What he really wants to do is to avoid being part of the generation that uses up the last available resources. That dubious honour can then fall to a generation yet to be born. That’s generational fairness for you.

Another advocate of the Ecopop initiative, the ex-director of both the Swiss federal office of the environment and WWF Switzerland, Philippe Roch, accused the Swiss government of ‘clinging blindly to limitless growth in economics, population and housebuilding’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our government has accepted the green dogma of limits. It is using Roch-type assumptions to limit economic growth; it has closed borders; and it cleaves to tough planning laws that inhibit mass housebuilding.

That 74 per cent voted against Ecopop was not a surprise, however. Its opponents span the political spectrum. Even the Green Party distanced itself from the Ecopop initiative. It was simply too radical a proposal to be accepted by our existing parties. The main establishment parties warned Swiss voters about the dangers of saying yes to Ecopop. They rightly said that our bilateral agreements with Europe on trade, immigration, education and culture would be impossible to maintain. They correctly noted that our economy would be weakened by a reduction in immigration because we depend on foreigners to do most of the work Swiss people deem too menial to do themselves.

Yet, Ecopop’s opponents frequently used ecological arguments against it. They said it makes no difference in the fight against climate change whether a person emits CO2 in France or in Switzerland. Urs Leugger-Eggiman of Pro Natura, yet another organisation committed to saving nature from humanity, argued that Ecopop is picking up on an important problem in society called ‘growth compulsion’, before adding that reducing immigration is the wrong answer. The real solution, says Leugger-Eggiman, must involve tackling humanity itself. No amount of immigration-cutting is going to change man’s addiction to growth.

This is why Ecopop’s defeat is only half worth cheering. It seems that even Ecopop’s critics share its basic premise: that man is a problem and that economic growth and development need constraining. Ecopop’s advocates and its critics differ only on the best way to deal with the problem of humanity and its addiction to growth. Many renounced Ecopop while embracing its principles.

The referendum was a fight to replace one radical eco-policy with another more moderate one. As Tom Paine might say: A casual discontinuance of the practice of misanthropy is not a discontinuation of its principles.


China Pledges $0 to U.N. Climate Fund, Then Complains About Amount Allotted to Fund

The Chinese representative at the U.N. climate conference in Peru scolded developed countries Thursday for not pouring enough money into a global climate fund intended to help poorer countries cope with climate change – but China has pledged nothing.

China today boasts the world’s biggest economy, having overtaken the United States according to new International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures. China is also the world’s biggest emitter of “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change.

At the talks in Lima, China’s negotiator Su Wei singled out Australia, whose conservative government – labeled a “pariah” by climate activists – said last month that instead of contributing to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), it will prioritize climate-related assistance to developing countries through its own development programs.

Despite its fast-growing and now world-leading economy, China is classified a developing country, and as a result has dodged “greenhouse gas” (GHG) emission-reduction targets set for developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol and other international climate agreements. It was just last month that China agreed, for the first time, to work on reducing emissions.

Launched in 2011, the GCF is designed to help developing countries curb GHH emissions and cope with occurrences blamed on climate change, such as rising sea levels. The aim is to raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources, by 2020.

At a pledging conference in Berlin last month, more than 20 governments committed a total of $9.3 billion for the fund. Far in the lead was the United States, with a $3 billion pledge, followed by Japan with $1.5 billion.

Su told reporters in Lima Thursday that the total pledge of $9.3 billion was “far from adequate,” noting the large gap between that amount and the 2020 goal of $100 billion a year. “We don’t have any clear roadmap or clear picture of meeting that target.”

He said the Australian decision not to give to the fund was “not good news.”

Su also complained that GHG emission cuts planned by developed countries before 2020 were not big enough, pointing to Australia, Japan and Canada in particular. China’s own recent announcement sets a 2030 goal for emissions to peak, but does not specify reduction percentage targets for the years leading up to that date. Su said Thursday China was still researching the issue of an absolute cap on emissions.

(By contrast President Obama on the same day as the Chinese announcement said the new U.S. goal was to reduce emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels.)

Despite Su’s criticism of wealthy countries’ commitments to the GCF, China has not itself pledged any money to the fund. (At a U.N. climate meeting in New York last September China did offer to support “south-south” cooperation on climate change.)

Among countries that did make pledges to the GCF in Berlin last month were some whose economies are dwarfed by China’s. Luxembourg, for instance, pledged $6 million, Panama $1 million and Mongolia $50,000.

According to new IMF data which for the first time saw China’s economy overtake that of the United States, China’s 2014 national economic output (GDP in purchasing-power parity terms) is $17.6 trillion.

By comparison, Luxembourg’s is $50.6 billion, Panama’s is $64.5 billion and Mongolia’s is $29.7 billion.

Even developed countries that made significantly larger GCF pledges have modest economies compared to China’s:  Finland, with a GDP of $221 billion, pledged $100 million to the fund, and Denmark, with a GDP of $248.6 billion, pledged $70 million.

Apart from China, other countries with large economies that have made no pledge to the GCF include Russia, with a GDP of $3.5 trillion, and Brazil, with a GDP of $3.07 trillion.

The GCF announced this week it will be ready to start accepting proposals for financing projects by 2015.

The talks underway in the Peruvian capital from December 1-12 aim to pave the way for a global pact on climate change, meant to be adopted at a major U.N. gathering in Paris late next year.
Secretary of State John Kerry, an enthusiastic proponent of international action on climate change, plans to join the more than 12,000 negotiators from almost 200 countries in Lima next week.

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, Kerry described the Peru conference as “the lead-in to a year of important focus on climate change and high hopes for success in Paris next December.”

“With the ongoing meetings in Peru and what will follow over the course of the next year and the U.S. president, President Obama’s, pledge of a contribution of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund and the E.U.’s early commitments, we believe that we are making clear that the Obama administration and the United States are all-in on this issue and committed to try to take steps that are long overdue,” he said.

The total amount pledged to the GCF so far is $9.3 billion. The contributors are: the United States $3 billion, Japan $1.5 billion, Britain $1.1 billion, Germany $1 billion, France $1 billion, Sweden $500 million, Italy $300 million, Canada $264 million, Spain $150 million, the Netherlands $100 million, Finland $100 million, Switzerland $100 million, South Korea $100 million, Denmark $70 million, Mexico $10 million, Czech Republic $6 million, Luxembourg $6 million, New Zealand $3 million, Norway $1.3 million, Panama $1 million, Monaco $300,000, Indonesia $250,000 and Mongolia $50,000.



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5 December, 2014

Google’s Top Engineers say: “Renewable Energy Simply Won’t Work”

Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren’t guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or “technology” of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company. The duo were employed at Google on the RE~C project, which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal.

RE~C was a failure, and Google closed it down after four years. Now, Koningstein and Fork have explained the conclusions they came to after a lengthy period of applying their considerable technological expertise to renewables, in an article posted at IEEE Spectrum.

The two men write:

    "At the start of RE~C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …  Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach."

One should note that RE~C didn’t restrict itself to conventional renewable ideas like solar PV, windfarms, tidal, hydro etc. It also looked extensively into more radical notions such as solar-thermal, geothermal, “self-assembling” wind towers and so on and so forth. There’s no get-out clause for renewables believers here.

Koningstein and Fork aren’t alone. Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible. Merely generating the relatively small proportion of our energy that we consume today in the form of electricity is already an insuperably difficult task for renewables: generating huge amounts more on top to carry out the tasks we do today using fossil-fuelled heat isn’t even vaguely plausible.

Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

In reality, well before any such stage was reached, energy would become horrifyingly expensive – which means that everything would become horrifyingly expensive (even the present well-under-one-per-cent renewables level in the UK has pushed up utility bills very considerably). This in turn means that everyone would become miserably poor and economic growth would cease (the more honest hardline greens admit this openly). That, however, means that such expensive luxuries as welfare states and pensioners, proper healthcare (watch out for that pandemic), reasonable public services, affordable manufactured goods and transport, decent personal hygiene, space programmes (watch out for the meteor!) etc etc would all have to go – none of those things are sustainable without economic growth.

So nobody’s up for that. And yet, stalwart environmentalists like Koningstein and Fork – and many others – remain convinced that the dangers of carbon-driven warming are real and massive. Indeed the pair reference the famous NASA boffin Dr James Hansen, who is more or less the daddy of modern global warming fears, and say like him that we must move rapidly not just to lessened but to zero carbon emissions (and on top of that, suck a whole lot of CO2 out of the air by such means as planting forests).

So, how is this to be done?

Koningstein and Fork say that humanity’s only hope is a new method of energy generation which can provide power – ideally “dispatchable” (can be turned on and off) and/or “distributed” (produced near where it’s wanted) – at costs well below those of coal or gas. They write:

    "What’s needed are zero-carbon energy sources so cheap that the operators of power plants and industrial facilities alike have an economic rationale for switching over within the next 40 years...      Incremental improvements to existing technologies aren’t enough; we need something truly disruptive."

Unfortunately the two men don’t know what that is, or if they do they aren’t saying. James Hansen does, though: it’s nuclear power.

As applied at the moment, of course, nuclear power isn’t cheap enough to provide a strong economic rationale. That’s because its costs have been forced enormously higher than they would otherwise be by the imposition of cripplingly high health and safety standards (in its three “disasters” so far – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima – the scientifically verified death tolls from all causes have been and will be zero, 56 and zero: a record which other power industries including renewables can only envy*).

Nuclear costs have also been artificially driven up by the non-issue of “waste”. In the UK for instance, all “higher activity nuclear waste” must be kept expensively stored in a secure specialist facility and can only ever – perhaps – be finally disposed of in a wildly expensive geological vault. No less than 99.7 per cent of this “waste” is actually intermediate-level, meaning that it basically isn’t radioactive at all: you could theoretically make half a tonne of ordinary dirt into such “intermediate level nuclear waste” by burying a completely legal luminous wristwatch in it. (If you did that inside the boundaries of a licensed nuclear facility, the dirt really would then become ridiculously costly “waste”.)

The remaining 0.003 of “nuclear waste” actually is dangerous, but it can almost all be reprocessed into fuel and used again. So waste really doesn’t need to be an issue at all.

There can’t be any doubt that if nuclear power had been allowed to be as dangerous per unit of energy generated as, say, the gas industry* – let alone the terribly dangerous coal business – it truly would be too cheap to meter and Messrs Koningstein and Fork’s problem would have been solved for them decades ago: by now, nobody with access to uranium would be bothering with fossil fuels except for specialist purposes – and there’s no reason why nations “of concern” couldn’t be kept safely supplied. Would we run out of uranium? Not until the year 5000AD.

Cheap power solves a lot more problems than just carbon emissions, too. If power is cheap, so is fresh water (the fact is we’re really at that point already, though a lot of people refuse to admit it and prefer to treat fresh water as some sort of scarce and finite resource). If fresh water is cheap, an awful lot more of the planet is habitable and/or arable than is the case if it’s expensive: and that is truly game-changing stuff for the human race.

And as a side benefit we’d by now have actual useful spacecraft which could actually go to places in reasonable amounts of time carrying reasonable amounts of stuff at reasonable costs. We’d be able to establish viable bases on other planets – for instance to mine uranium there, should we ever find ourselves running low.

Even if you aren’t terribly convinced about the looming menace of carbon-driven warming, the fact that we have decided of our own free will not to have cheap, abundant energy and all the miracles it would bring with it … that’s a terrible human tragedy. Nobody knows how much misery might result from climate change in the future, but one can say with certainty that a lot of misery has been caused by the absence of cheap energy, water, food and decent places to live over the last sixty-plus years.

Anyway the truth is that the disruptive new technology which Koningstein and Fork are dreaming of already exists: but it’s been stolen from us by our foolish fears, inflated in many cases by dishonest activists. Even if someone could come up with some other way of making terrifically cheap energy, there’s no guarantee that the ignorant fearmongers of the world wouldn’t manage to suppress that too. There would almost certainly be a powerful application in weapons, just as there is in nuclear; this is, after all, energy we’re talking about.

Koningstein and Fork believe that the answer to the carbon menace is a reallocation of R&D spending, to seek out high-risk disruptive technologies. But the fact is it would probably make more sense to spend money on making sure that people don’t reach voting age without understanding basic mathematics and facts about risk and energy.

You wouldn’t need to take that money from R&D. You could instead repurpose some of the huge and growing amounts of money that are currently being diverted into the purchase of tiny amounts of ridiculously expensive renewable energy.

After all, no matter the wider issues, we now have it on the best and unimpeachably environmentalist of authorities that renewable energy can’t achieve its stated purpose. So – no matter what – there can’t be any point in continuing with it.

None of this is new, of course. These realities have been wilfully ignored by the British governing class and others for many years. But the British/American governing classes, so fatally committed to renewables, often seem willing to listen to Google even if they won’t listen to anyone else.  So, just maybe, this time the message will have some impact.


*The Piper Alpha gas rig explosion of 1988 on its own caused three times as many deaths as the nuclear power industry has in its entire history. Bizarrely though, no nations ceased using gas.


European Government Support for Wind Power Collapses

Lured by subsidies, the power companies went green. But to keep the lights on they have to burn coal

Sixty miles northeast of Düsseldorf, outside the town of Hamm in northwest Germany, workers are giving a final tune-up to a glittering new power station.

Germany is the biggest proponent of the green electricity revolution, but this plant won’t be powered by the sun, wind or woodchips — it will burn dirty old coal.

Built by German energy giant RWE at a cost of €2bn (£1.6bn), the plant is no aberration. This year the company, which owns Npower in Britain, and its rivals have poured billions of euros into a fleet of new coal-fired plants, the most polluting form of power generation. When finished they will be capable of supplying more than 8m households.

The boom runs entirely counter to the European Union’s mission, led by Germany and Britain, to replace the old fossil fuel-based energy system with a cleaner alternative. Indeed, the Germans source a quarter of their power from solar, wind and other renewables. Yet last year, carbon dioxide emissions actually rose 1.2%, partly due to the resurgence of coal.

This is just one of the surprising and unintended consequences of Europe’s troubled effort to lead the world into the low-carbon era. And the fallout is set to become even more extreme.

Governments from Berlin to Madrid — and London — are dramatically scaling back the huge subsidy programmes introduced over the past decade to underwrite the revolution.

All are struggling to come to grips with an industry transformed by America’s shale gas boom.

In July, Germany — Europe’s biggest power market — passed a new renewable energy act that slashed taxpayer support by a quarter for solar and wind energy.

The reduction is partly a reaction to plummeting costs. Ben Warren, head of environmental finance at the consultants EY, said: “Policymakers underestimated how quickly costs would fall. Five years ago it cost €6m to install a megawatt of solar. That same megawatt today could cost as little as €700,000.”

That drop is what led the Department of Energy and Climate Change to slash subsidies for solar generators in Britain two years ago. A less dramatic drop in costs has meant cuts to aid for wind farms, both onshore and at sea.

In Germany, however, the trend has been much more dramatic. Since 2004 the share of energy generated from renewable sources has jumped sixfold to 27% — nearly double the ratio in Britain.

The boom was much bigger than Berlin bargained for, which means the country is now saddled with a huge supply surplus.

One might reasonably expect a big drop in household bills to follow. That hasn’t happened. Over the decade when renewables exploded onto the scene, Germany’s annual household bills increased by nearly two-thirds to €1,020 (£815).

Indeed, even though the wholesale power price has fallen by nearly 40% in the past five years, German consumer rates have risen steadily. Why? Because more than half the bill is now made up of taxes and ever-rising green charges.

Peter Crampton of the investment bank Macquarie said: “As renewables in Germany are remunerated under regulated tariffs, with the requirement for network operators to preferentially feed-in this power over other generation sources under the Renewable Energy Act, other more expensive power plants are crowded out, thereby depressing power prices.”

Paradoxically, the plunging coal price has made matters worse for some utilities — and not just in Germany. In 2012, RWE commissioned a new gas-fired plant in Maastricht, Holland. This summer it mothballed the €1.1bn facility.

The explanation can be traced back to the desiccated plains of Texas. Since 2011, the coal price has almost halved to $70 (£45) a ton. The fall is a direct consequence of the “fracking” revolution in America’s south and east, which has unleashed the wave of cheap gas now being fed into US power stations — leaving plenty of coal left over for export.

Angela Merkel’s snap decision in 2011 to ban new nuclear power stations shifted even more of the burden for Germany’s round-the-clock “baseload” power to its coal fleet. Yet the drop in the commodity’s price and the pressure of the renewables oversupply have led to a huge dip in the wholesale electricity price. Even new plants, such as at Hamm, struggle to make money.

So they export their power to their neighbours’ grids in the Netherlands and Czech Republic. The influx has wreaked havoc, rendering the Maastricht plant and others like it uneconomic.

Germany isn’t the only country on the Continent grappling with the legacy of policies that were conceived before the recession and, with the benefit of hindsight, were clearly poorly understood.

Spain’s energy industry is on the cusp of a shake-up akin to the one its banking industry went through after the financial crisis.

According to Warren of EY, banks injected more than €50bn over the past decade into project financing for Spain’s burgeoning renewables industry. As in Britain and Germany, the surge was a response to the promise of decades of subsidies.

This summer, just as Germany was haggling over its new renewable energy scheme, Madrid went one better. It slashed support not only for future projects, but pledged to claw back returns retroactively through new taxes.

The move turned many of the associated bonds from sure-fire bets to giant liabilities. Already under pressure to clean up their balance sheets, the banks are now looking for ways out.

This summer the Wall Street giant Blackstone hired a restructuring team from rival Rothschild and opened a Madrid office. So-called vulture investment funds have begun running the rule over deals where banks are desperate to move the problem loans off their books.

Many of the most prominent renewable energy developers have already written down their equity investments in these projects to zero. Warren said: “Now it is the banks’ turn to take some of the medicine.”

Tony Ward, head of power and utilities at EY, said: “This just highlights that the policies under which many of these long-term investment decisions are made often end up getting changed much quicker than promised, and it is very destructive. Governments need to be mindful.”

Britain’s energy policy is not that different. The government has enticed developers to build a new generation of clean energy sources underwritten by decades of inflated rates. It is working: the share of renewables is on the rise and coal plants are shutting down.

But it is far from perfect. Next month the energy department will hold an auction at which it will offer a guaranteed annual income for gas-fired power stations it needs to back up the growing army of wind farms. Even if one of these plants doesn’t fire up all year, its owner will get paid a handsome fee.

The German parliament is looking at implementing a similar system.


It’s time for tough love on tax credits for the mature wind industry

Is the lame duck Congress oblivious to the message voters sent to Washington last month? Or, are they intentionally ignoring it in favor of special interests? A pending vote on a tax-extenders package — that would have a slim chance of passage in the new Congress — will reveal whether or not they learned anything from the 2014 midterms.

Throughout 2014, since the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the wind energy industry expired on December 31, 2013, lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) have pushed Congress to vote to retroactively revive the PTC. So far, sound fiscal thinking has prevailed. The lame duck session provides their last opportunity to hand over hard-earned American tax dollars to big business, and pile national debt on future generations.

The PTC provides one of the best examples of the worst kind of taxpayer waste being considered in a tax-extenders deal. The largest benefactors of the credit (underwritten by U.S. taxpayers) are wind energy turbine manufacturers like General Electric (which purchased Enron’s wind turbine business in 2002), and investors like Warren Buffet, who, without apology, recently admitted: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The U.S. wind energy business started as a gleam in Enron’s eye, enjoyed an entitled childhood at taxpayer expense, and, by now, should have blossomed into an adult. Instead, now, at the tail end of this Congressional session, the industry — by way of AWEA lobbyists — has its hand out for a ninth round of “free” taxpayer money. These dollars, which get transferred from hard-working taxpayers to big corporations and billionaires, are borrowed from our children, with the paper being sold overseas in what is known as “national debt.”

For this lame duck Congress, AWEA’s panhandling should be as welcome as grown children returning home for financial support — “just one more time.”  Like parents, possessing the kind of wisdom that often only crystalizes in our fifties, Congress must now realize the inevitable:  sometimes seeing our dependents grow up to be independent requires tough love and a line in the sand. Though it is hard, most parents know saying “no” is part of the process of having children that grow into mature, responsible adults.

When the PTC was conceived in 1992, America’s energy paradigm differed totally from today. At that time Americans had a constant concern: growing imports of foreign oil from the Middle East left us vulnerable to global market forces that were driving prices higher at work, at the pump, and at home. We inherently knew then, as now, low-cost abundant energy is essential to America’s leadership on the global stage. Wind was touted as one of the answers. Despite the fact that wind produces electricity (albeit inefficiently, ineffectively, uneconomically), and electricity has nothing to do with foreign oil, Washington, throwing caution to the wind, embraced it.

The Energy Policy Act (H.R.775.ENR, or “EPACT92”) was signed into law and quickly set the wind industry up across countless countrysides, with offensive turbines towering above tens of thousands of homes.

Washington declared victory and left it at that, hoping our money, given to the wind industry, had been well spent, would lead to a mature wind industry that found its footing, and that it would pay handsome dividends to taxpayers down the road. Unfortunately, EPACT92 was long on hope, but short on encouraging the habits necessary for self-sufficiency. No one should be surprised that the industry’s immaturity has persisted for more than twenty years.

The wind PTC has been the industry’s biggest single source — though unearned — of support. Each new wind energy complex earns the tax credits for a full ten years. The machines only last an estimated twenty years — though the White House has authorized thirty-year bird-kill permits that allow, without punishment, protected bald and golden eagles to be chopped up mid-flight. The two-point-three-cent-per kWh bonus has a pre-tax value as high as three-and-a-half cents — which creates a big benefit to billionaires like Buffett.

The largest U.S. grid market’s wholesale energy clearing price averaged just $0.038 last year, according to industry sources. As a result, wind projects can bid their energy into electricity auctions far below its costs — and beneath the bids of conventional sources. We, taxpayers, make up the loss for them each April 15. In exchange, the grid receives the fickle wind-fueled electricity only when the weather cooperates. Indispensible and dependable coal- and gas-fueled power plants pay the price — as do consumers through higher electricity rates. Traditional power sources produce less electricity but have to work harder and for less pay. (Sounds like our conventional power plants need to form a labor union.)

Wholesale market revenues and the wind PTC make up only about 2/3 of total proceeds flowing to wind development owners. The other third comes from the value of additional federal subsidies combined with the financial incentives inherent in state-level tax breaks and mandates. In the end, wind investor proceeds depend on roughly 1/3 sales revenue and 2/3 handouts.

No wonder they take another round of free money for granted. We’ve taught them well: “Ask and you shall receive.”

While the wind industry has been promising to grow up for years, many elected officials, intent on protecting the taxpayers’ dime, have felt voter pushback. Some legislators have openly questioned wind energy’s value. Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett wrote a scathing review in a 2011 newsletter, recognizing that big business was benefitting at tax and ratepayer expense, while claiming the support was needed for an “infant wind industry.” A year earlier, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) penned an astute paper comparing grid-scale wind energy to the notion that “sailboats” should power our military naval fleet.

AWEA continues to carefully navigate its message, always claiming its costs are falling and “almost competitive,” but fails to answer the most important question: competitive with what? Last week a New York Times (NYT) headline proclaimed: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels,” yet, within the text, the article states: “Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire.” Just days before the NYT piece was published, two of America’s brightest minds admitted, that after four years of trying to prove that it was possible “to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant,” renewable energy simply “won’t work.”

The wind PR machine never brings up dependability and responsiveness to demand — attributes its fuel cannot, by definition, ever deliver. Without the ability to convert wind currents into electricity at all the right times, wind energy facilities cannot replace the existing dependable power plants that keep our lights on. Wind’s fuel may be free, but having to build and maintain two sets of power plants instead of one costs far more than wind’s fuel-cost advantage can save.

In its own way, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also helping fill the sails of the wind industry. It has proposed “renewable sources” as one of four “building blocks” available to states for complying with its proposed carbon dioxide emissions rules. Like the National Academies of Science, the EPA knows that even if atmospheric CO2 imposed a proven danger, using wind energy to reduce it, at over $200 per ton avoided, is roughly four times as expensive as other practical methods. EPA doesn’t even consider the lowest-cost long-term zero-CO2-emitting option: new emissions-free and dependable nuclear power stations.

A month ago voters sent a message to Washington. Were they listening? While negotiations are underway in Washington on the last minute tax-break “deal,” it isn’t clear which is more important to our elected representatives: voters or corporate cronies and lobbyists. A tax-extenders bill that incorporates pork for special interests would be the equivalent of Congress thumbing its nose at voters, while coddling industries that refuse to become self-sufficient — all the while piling more national debt service and repayment obligations on our children and grandchildren.

Hopefully, with twenty-plus years of history, our leaders recognize their poor parenting practices that best prepared their “offspring” to persuasively argue for perpetual access to money they didn’t earn. Voters should ask: can this lame duck Congress find the courage to finally stop enabling the wind industry and force it to grow up? Congress must say to them: “We’ve been supporting you for 22 years. Enough is enough!”

In the face of intense, last-ditch lobbying by AWEA, Congress needs help breaking its bad habits. But tough love is hard. To do the right thing, Congress needs support in the form of encouragement from voters. Pick up the phone today and tell your representatives: “Our nation’s affordable electricity should not be used by Congress as a bargaining chip in a tax-extenders package for special interests. After 22 years of government support, it is time for the wind industry to grow up. The now-expired wind PTC needs to be buried once and for all.”


Oil Price Plunge Benefits U.S. at Home and Abroad

The UK Telegraph describes the result of America’s increased oil production as “one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in modern economic history.” The Washington Post declares its effect on the world to be the “most important economic story of 2014.” And you can see this story played out at the gas pump in your hometown.

Gone are the days when gas was four or five dollars per gallon. According to the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of regular gas on Dec. 2 is $2.76. Here in East Tennessee, the price of gas is expected to drop below $2 a gallon, just like in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.

Thanks to fracking and a boom in the oil production from shale deposits, the price of a barrel of crude oil is $66.88. Increased oil production in the United States hobbles hostile countries abroad while giving the wallets of the middle and lower class a boost. Did we also mention it’s good for education? Educating liberals in the effects of free markets, that is.

For years, America was tied to foreign oil, OPEC controlled the lion’s share of oil, and no matter what the feds tried, none of their schemes could break the dependence of foreign fuels. In 2005, a record 60.3% of the petroleum products consumed in America came from outside the states. The demand for oil – felt by price spikes at the pump – led to new technology for harvesting oil and that led to a boom in American oil extraction.

Today, if Texas were counted as a separate country, it would be the seventh largest oil producer in the world. According to Mark Perry, an economic scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Texas produced 3.17 million barrels of oil per day in July. During the same time, Iran produced 3.23 million barrels – the sixth largest oil producer. But let’s not forget the American contributions of offshore drilling, the Alaskan oil fields and North Dakota.

This was a result of pure American entrepreneurship, the free markets acting on their own. Obama never created an energy policy guiding the energy now pouring out of the shale deposits around the nation. The EPA? It was too busy chasing coal companies and rubbing shoulders with environmentalists that break out in hives when they catch a whiff of industry.

As Perry writes:

“It happened not as a result of government mandates, regulatory pressure or taxpayer subsidies. Rather, it came about primarily due to innovation, entrepreneurial problem-solving and the marketplace, with some early government assistance in developing the technology for fracking and horizontal drilling.

"Lo and behold, the shale revolution is not only driving economic growth and putting millions of Americans to work but also providing elegant and efficient solutions to problems like foreign-oil dependence that policymakers couldn’t solve.”

The result is a price cut that can be felt by anyone with an automobile. Americans can spend more money on clothes and food instead of sinking green into the gas tank. As The Washington Post reports, “Every day, American motorists are saving $630 million on gasoline compared with what they paid at June prices, and they would get a $230 billion windfall if prices were to stay this low for a year.” Obama probably read about this one in the paper. How much did he say ObamaCare was projected to save taxpayers again?

On the world stage, America’s oil production pulls this nation’s economy ahead while stalling countries hostile to America. Last week, OPEC decided it was not going to cut oil production in response to the plummeting cost of a barrel of oil.

That was a mistake, writes the Telegraph: “Opec has misjudged the threat. As late as last year, it was dismissing US shale as a flash in the pan. Abdalla El-Badri, the group’s secretary-general, still insists that half of all US shale output is vulnerable below $85.”

Currently, the world’s oil producers are in a game of chicken with their economies. If the price of oil drops too low, the competing countries will have to stop production because the cost would not be worth it. At the moment, their cost of producing oil is much higher than that of the United States.

The Telegraph again: “The fiscal break-even cost is $161 for Venezuela, $160 for Yemen, $132 for Algeria, $131 for Iran, $126 for Nigeria, and $125 for Bahrain, $111 for Iraq, and $105 for Russia, and even $98 for Saudi Arabia itself, according to Citigroup.”

And how far does the price of oil have to drop before it starts to hurt the U.S. shale fields? $50, according to CNBC.

This sets the U.S. in the strategic position to win in the economic struggle for oil domination against hostile nations. For example, Russia is now facing serious economic challenges, and as a result will possibly slow exploration for oil and gas in its Arctic seas. According to the Brookings Institute, the Great Bear estimated the global price of oil would be at $97 dollars as it set its 2014 budget. Once the price of oil slid below $80, however, it headed for economic trouble because oil accounts for 14.5% of Russia’s GDP. If oil prices remain low, how will Vladimir Putin fund his shadow war in Ukraine?

It’s a story the late economist Milton Freidman would love: A whole industry rises up under a regulation-happy government and sets the stage for economic security here and abroad. Our analysis? Drill, baby, drill.


The World's Climate Change Mafia Meet in Peru

By Alan Caruba

To understand all the talk of “climate change” you must understand that everything and everyone involved—except for those of us who debunk the lies—are engaged in a criminal enterprise to transfer billions from industrialized nations to those who have failed to provide a thriving economy, often because they are run by dictators or corrupt governments who skim the money for themselves.

The lies being inflicted on Americans include Obama’s “war on coal” that is shutting down coal-fired plants that affordably and efficiently produce the electricity the nation needs, along with the six-year delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. Add in the thousands of Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting our manufacturing, business and agricultural sectors and the price we are paying is huge.

At its heart, environmentalism hates capitalism.

One of the worst parts of this scam to take from the rich and give to the poor—otherwise known as “redistribution”—is the way the world’s media have played along since 1992 when the first Earth Summit was held in Rio. The perpetrators are headquartered in the United Nations, home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sets the agenda.

While the 20th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of Parties meets in Lima, Peru this week, perhaps the most egregious and outrageous example of journalism was the December 2nd Associated Press article, “Hotter, Weirder: How Climate Change and Changed the Earth.” It is not attributed to a specific reporter; perhaps because it is filled with lies from start to finish.

It starts with the biggest lie of all:  “WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the more than two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, life on Earth has changed, not just the climate. It's gotten hotter, more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.”

The Earth is in the 19th year of a natural cooling cycle, the result of a comparable cycle on the Sun which is producing less radiation to warm the planet. What astounds anyone who knows this is the article’s assertion that “It's almost a sure thing that 2014 will go down as the hottest year in 135 years of record keeping, meteorologists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center say. If so, this will be the sixth time since 1992 that the world set or tied a new annual record for the warmest year.”

Would government agencies that are beholden to the existing administration for their budgets lie to the public? Yes, they would. While all fifty states experienced freezing weather within the past month, we are still being told that 2014 set new records for warmth. To borrow a phrase from Jonathan Gruber, the architect of ObamaCare, the government can tell “stupid” voters and others anything it wants in order to achieve its goals.

For the record, in 2013 and much of 2014, there have been record low numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes. There was a record gain in Arctic and Antarctic ice. There was no change in the rate of sea level rise; something measured in millimeters.  The weather is the weather and that includes dramatic events such as blizzards or droughts, but it is hardly uniform. Depending on where you live on planet Earth, you will experience it differently on any given day.

As representatives of 190 climate mafia meet in Peru, you will be given data about carbon dioxide (CO2). The AP article cites increases of  “60 percent.” If that were true, it would be good news. All vegetation on Earth depends on CO2, just as humans and other living creatures depend on oxygen. More CO2 means healthier forests and greater crop yields, an agricultural bonus in a world that needs to feed seven billion people. But it’s not true. Nor is the claim that the mere 0.04% of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere traps so much heat we’re all going to die. It doesn’t and most of us will die of old age.

As Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research reported in June, “The U.S. already leads the world in CO2 reductions and is a great role model. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell 12.6 percent between 2005 and 2012, thanks to technology and conservation. Worldwide, CO2 emissions increased by 17.7 percent during the same period.”  That’s a far cry from the AP claim of 60 percent.

The Peru conference is another effort to impose a global tax on “carbon” and to increase the UN’s “Climate Fund” to which some nations have pledged $9.3 billion. To put this in perspective, the United States just set a new record of $18 TRILLION in debt and cannot afford to be pledging money to that fund or any other fund.

Most of that debt has been incurred during the one and a half terms of Barack Obama who just happens to be telling everyone that “climate change” is the greatest threat to all life on Earth.

“Climate change” is what the 4.5 billion-year-old Earth has been doing during all that time and will continue to do. Humans experience it as the “weather” which is measured in days and weeks while climate is measured in units not less than thirty years and more often in centuries. Today’s weather prediction is good for, at best, five days and is subject to change at any time.

As for all those claims about “global warming” it’s worth keeping in mind that not one of the computer models cited to prove it has been accurate. There isn’t a model or a computer big enough to take in all the many elements that compose the weather anywhere and everywhere on Earth. The weather is always in a state of flux and change, just as the temperatures during any hour of the day are in a stage of change.

Here’s a bit of advice. Do not believe anything that comes out of the UN conference because, scientifically speaking, it will be a lie. And don’t believe anything the Associated Press reports on “climate change” because that too must automatically be regarded as a lie as well.

Whatever Barack Obama has to say about “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) is a lie. It would be nice to have a President and a government we could trust.


Australia to Slash Funding for U.N. Environment Program

Already reviled by green groups for repealing its predecessor’s carbon tax, Australia’s center-right government is stoking fresh controversy with plans to slash funding to the U.N.’s top environmental body.

Coming at a time when a U.N. climate conference in Peru is firing up activists, the decision by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government to cut funding to the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) by more than 80 percent has drawn sharp condemnation.

Critics already view Australia as a “global pariah,” going against the tide of progress in the drive to tackle climate change.

Cutting funding to UNEP also comes amid a growing international campaign to upgrade UNEP from its current status as a U.N. “program” to a more powerful and better-funded “specialized agency.” Some activists even want it empowered to impose sanctions on countries that don’t implement environmental agreements.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday that the government will cut A$4 million ($3.4 million) in funding for UNEP over the next four years, reducing this year’s contribution from A$1.2 ($1.01 million) to just A$200,000 ($169,000).

It quoted Environment Minister Greg Hunt as saying UNEP was not a budget priority for the government, and defending the decision by pointing to greater funding being directed at environmental challenges in the region.

“I would imagine that most Australians would think that putting [A]$12 million into coral reef protection within our region, and combating illegal logging of the rainforests of the Asia Pacific would be a pretty good investment, rather than [A]$4 million for bureaucratic support within the U.N. system,” he said.

Set up in 1972, the Nairobi, Kenya-based UNEP describes itself as “the voice for the environment within the United Nations system.”

Since it is a U.N. program and not a specialized agency, UNEP has relied on voluntary donations from member-states rather than “assessed contributions” (the formula that sees the U.S. liable for 22 percent of the budget of agencies like the Worod Health Organization.)

UNEP executive director Achim Steiner told ABC he was disappointed at the decision, as member-states contributions enable the organization “to fulfil its mandate and be of service to the global community.”

Big contributors to UNEP include European countries and the United States. The State Department’s fiscal year 2015 request for UNEP is $7.55 million, although the actual amount U.S. taxpayers will likely account for is higher, as the State Department is only one of several agencies through which funding is channeled.

Abbott’s decision to reduce funding to this body drew sharp condemnation from political opponents.

“This is a program that helps developing countries develop in a way that is environmentally sustainable,” Tanya Plibersek, the Labor Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, told reporters, calling the cuts “petty” and accusing the prime minister of “taking Australia backwards on climate change.”

“Tony Abbott has made Australia an international laughing stock with his backward policies on climate change and the environment,” said Labor’s environment spokesman, Mark Butler.



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

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4 December, 2014

More unsettled science

A rather amusing bit of research below.  It contradicts previous Warmist claims that the effect of CO2 buildup will take decades -- saying that the effects (unquantified) will instead take only 10 years to emerge.  The fact that they haven't emerrged in the last 18 years seems to be rather overlooked.  But they have good news for us plebs too:  Sea level rise will take thousands of years to happen!  Where are you Al Gore?  But it's all just computer modelling so needs no serious consideration other than to note that you can get all sorts of funny stuff out of models

Many scientists believe it takes several decades for the effects of global warming to be felt on Earth.

But in fact, it takes just 10 years for a single emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) to have its maximum warming effects on the planet.

This is according to Washington-based researchers who claim to have dispelled a common misconception that the damaging effects from a CO2 emission will only be felt by future generations.

The results suggest that warming can persist for more than a century and that the benefits from emission reductions will be felt by those who have worked to curb the emissions.

Some of these benefits would be the avoidance of extreme weather events, such as droughts, heatwaves and flooding, according to scientists at the Carnegie Institute for Science.

However, some of the bigger climate impacts from warming, such as sea-level rise, melting ice sheets and long-lasting damage to ecosystems, may not occur for hundreds or thousands of years later, they claim.

'Amazingly, despite many decades of climate science, there has never been a study focused on how long it takes to feel the warming from a particular emission of carbon dioxide, taking carbon-climate uncertainties into consideration,' said lead author of the study Dr Katharine Ricke.

'A lot of climate scientists may have an intuition about how long it takes to feel the warming from a particular emission of CO2, but that intuition might be a little bit out of sync with our best estimates from today's climate and carbon cycle models.'

To calculate this timeframe, researchers combined information about the Earth's carbon cycle with information about the Earth's climate system taken from a group of climate models used in the latest IPCC report.

The results showed that the average time between a single CO2 emission and maximum warming was 10.1 years, and reaffirmed that most of the warming persists for more than a century.

The reason for this time lag is because the upper layers of the oceans take longer to heat up than the atmosphere, the scientists say.

As the oceans take up more and more heat which causes the overall climate to warm up, the warming effects of CO2 emissions actually begin to diminish as CO2 is eventually removed from the atmosphere.

It takes around 10 years for these two competing factors to cancel each other out and for warming to be at a maximum.

'Our results show that people alive today are very likely to benefit from emissions avoided today and that these will not accrue solely to impact future generations,' Dr Ricke said.

'Our findings should dislodge previous misconceptions about this timeframe that have played a key part in the failure to reach policy consensus.'

In the two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, the world has become more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.


NYT: Unidentified “Scientists” Predict “Human Extinction” Absent Climate Treaty

Yesterday, the top right fold of the Grey Lady was given to ongoing efforts by jet-setting (and, therefore, carbon spewing) diplomats to craft a global climate change mitigation treaty. According to the Times, “scientists” agree that the doomsday clock is ticking, as is imparted in the article excerpts below:

“Without a deal, they [“scientists”] say, the world could eventually become uninhabitable for humans.”

“While a breach of the 3.6 degree threshold appears inevitable, scientists say that United Nations negotiators should not give up on their efforts to cut emissions. At stake now, they say, is the difference between a newly unpleasant world and an uninhabitable one.”

Remarkably, the Times failed to identify the “scientists” who’ve warned of global warming- induced “human extinction,” absent a legally binding treaty to control global greenhouse gas emissions. The only scientist interviewed in the article was Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton professor of geosciences and international affairs, and who previously spent two decades working for the green advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund. Below, I’ve reposted his full reported comments.

“I was encouraged by the U.S.-China agreement. [However] What’s already baked in are substantial changes to ecosystems, large scale transformations. [Still, absent a deal] Things could get a lot worse. [Beyond the 3.6 degree threshold, the aggregate cost] to the global economy—rich countries as well as poor countries—rises rapidly.”

Professor Oppenheimer’s reported comments make no mention of human extinction. Moreover, he’s the sole scientist identified in the piece, which would seem to contradict the plural use of “scientists” who supposedly agree that human extinction is likely absent a climate change mitigation treaty.

So who are these “scientists”? Undoubtedly, alarmism is the “newsiest” element of the story; that’s why its title reads: “Optimism Faces Grim Realities as Climate Talks.” As such, one would think that identifying the “scientists” warning of climate-caused “human extinction” would qualify as being among “all the news that’s fit to print.” In any case, if these unidentified pessimists are indeed correct, then buckle your seat belts for the apocalypse, because the anarchic nature of the international system precludes the possibility of a climate treaty, as I explain here.


French backflip on diesel

They may like a little va va voom but French cars will no longer be powered by diesel if the country's prime minister gets his way.

As part of a wider environmental effort to be launched next year, Manuel Valls said France was overly reliant on the fuel and pledged to wean the country off it.   

'In France, we have long favored the diesel engine,' he said. 'This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.'

More than 30 million cars currently run on diesel in France today, according to the latest figures from the World Bank - approximately 80 percent of the total on the road.

While French car ownership fell by almost 25 percent between 2007 and 2013, 86 percent of all French households still own a car.

Unlike Britain where diesel prices are higher, the fuel is less expensive than petrol in France where the current tax system makes the fuel about 15 percent cheaper.

Most European countries have similar policies because diesel cars are typically more efficient than their petrol counterparts.

With the focus shifting from economy to air pollution, as of next year all French cars will be subject to a pollution rating which will facilitate the banning of the dirtiest cars from towns and cities.

At present diesel costs around 1.25 euro, or 99p a liter, but as of next year the tax on diesel will also rise by around a penny, generating around £1.2 billion in revenue for the government.

This will add around 50p to the price of a full tank for medium car owners and 70p for large car owners.  

However, drivers who trade their gas guzzlers for electric cars could get up to £8,600 in incentives for making the switch.


EPA Announces Holiday Sale on Expensive Regulations

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Obama administration announced it will seek tighter restrictions to curb industrial emissions to lower ozone pollution. It’s the first of many new rules the EPA will be rolling out in the next few months – all sure to do more harm to the economy than good for the environment.

Rules to reduce methane emissions are expected soon. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas said to trap heat 25 times more than carbon dioxide, is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking – the technique often used to extract oil or natural gas from the earth. Environmentalists claim methane leaks have the potential to cancel out the benefits of natural gas production. Of course, years before the natural gas boom, these same environmentalists heralded natural gas as the solution to America’s energy problems. It’s cleaner than oil, it’s plentiful and it’s easy to reach. Now that we are actually harvesting more energy, however, the environmental lobby wants to shut it down. It’s a common pattern – constantly moving the goal post to make anything good for the economy seem bad for the environment.

Coal ash is another target for the EPA. The agency may not label this byproduct of burned coal in electricity generation a hazardous waste, but the new rules for how it is stored and handled will hit the embattled coal industry with significant new costs. It’s yet another salvo in Obama’s ongoing war to shut down coal production in America.

The EPA temporarily tabled its new fuel-blending requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard. But the welcome news of this delay is more than offset by coming government restrictions on fracking on federal lands and offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Industry and private citizens are paying a hefty price for these regulations. The agency maintains we’ll save $67 billion on energy. But they arrive at this phony conclusion by using a complex model illustrating the supposed damage done to the environment by unchecked carbon emissions and tallying the costs to be incurred by cleaning it up. Yet if rabid environmentalists have taught us anything over the last several years, it’s not to trust their predictions. Whether they’re wrong because of faulty analysis or outright lying, the end result is the same.

Energy Ventures Analysis, a private industry consultancy, estimates the EPA carbon rules will add $284 billion in energy costs over the next five years. Between 2012 and 2020, the average annual household gas bill will increase by $680, while electricity bills could increase by $340. The industrial sector could see a 92% hike in electricity and natural gas bills by 2020, costs that will assuredly be passed on to consumers in higher prices for goods and services.

The Supreme Court recently agreed to take on the question of whether the EPA should have considered costs in determining the regulation of hazardous air pollutants. The question is central to three separate suits against the EPA that the Court consolidated into one. There’s no reason to believe, however, that this case will curb the EPA’s overreach into the economic sector. The Supreme Court has a sad history of validating the agency’s broad use of power. In 2007, the Court ruled that the EPA had the power to regulate gases it associates with “climate change.” This year, it affirmed the EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases at large industrial plants.

There really is only one way to check the imperial overstretch of the so-called Environmental Protection Agency: Elect a president in 2016 who knows the real difference between creating environmental regulations that make sense and issuing edicts for the sake of attaining power.


Bank of England investigating risk of carbon bubble

As climate talks begin in Peru, danger that companies have fossil fuel assets they cannot use

The Bank of England is conducting an investigation into the risk of an economic crash if fossil fuel companies were prevented from using their coal, oil and gas assets because of climate change considerations.

On the same day that a new round of global climate change negotiations begins in Lima, Peru, the U.K. Central bank told its Parliament of its plan to investigate the “carbon bubble.”

What would burst the carbon bubble in Alberta's oil patch?
UN climate change report offers stark warnings, hope
Last year, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

If the world comes to a binding agreement a year from now in Paris to limit global warming to 2C by cutting carbon emissions, many fossil fuel companies will be left with assets they cannot use, so-called “stranded assets.”

Concern over economic collapse

The Bank of England has been concerned about the economic impact of this scenario, and will be working with Britain’s financial policy committee to study whether a carbon bubble will lead to economic collapse.

“In light of these discussions, we will be deepening and widening our enquiry into the topic,” Carney said in a letter to the U.K. Environmental Audit Committee.

Among the concerns raised by the central bank is the impact of proven oil, gas and coal reserves considered unburnable because they would push the world past the 2C goal for carbon emissions.  It also will study the insurance risk and costs of global warming.

Major financial firms such as Citibank, HSBC and Moody’s have also begun to study the impact of a carbon bubble and stranded assets. Thinktank Carbon Tracker helps financial companies and fossil fuel companies get the risk in hand.

“Fossil fuel companies should be disclosing how many carbon emissions are locked up in their reserves,” Carbon Tracker CEO Anthoy Hobley said. “At the moment there is no consistency in reporting so it’s difficult for investors to make informed decisions.”

Exxon, Shell say assets not stranded

ExxonMobil agreed earlier this year to publish a “Carbon Asset Risk” report describing how it assesses its financial risks from climate change, but its report downplayed the risk of a carbon bubble saying it doesn’t believe its assets will be stranded. Shell also has denied it is a carbon risk.

In today’s environment of falling oil prices, many companies are already hesitating to invest in new oil and gas projects, especially if they are unconventional developments which can be more expensive.

And any progress toward a climate change agreement in 2015 could also discourage investment.

Pledges from the world’s top carbon polluters — China, the U.S. and the European Union — to limit their emissions in the next 10-15 years promise some progress ahead of the Paris talks in 2015.

“This sends an important signal for the rest of the world to come forward as early as possible with their own contributions,” EU negotiator Elina Bardram said Sunday in Lima. “We have 12 months and the clock is ticking.”

The previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, covered only industrialized countries, but emissions today are rising mainly in the developing world and there is  pressure on countries to strike agreements ahead of time so the pact is truly global.



Three current articles below

Australian Green car funding was just lemon aid

IN so far as the $500 million Green Car Innovation Fund was supposed to prevent carbon dioxide leaching from Australian-made cars, it looks like being an outstanding success.

Vehicles manufactured in Australia after 2018 will produce zero emissions, not least because Australia will be producing zero cars.

We did get the green cars, however. Well, greenish ones anyway, produced by Ford, Holden and Toyota with taxpayer subsidies.

About $14m was given to Ford to produce the Falcon Ecoboost, which retails for about $35,000, thanks to an $8000 contribution from the taxpayer.

According to motoring writers it’s a pretty good Falcon, almost as powerful as a real one.

“Brilliant!” Bill McKinnon wrote on the Top Gear website. “But also irrational and, in the end, ­irrelevant.

“The four-cylinder Falcon. Why is this car here? Now? Has anyone been screaming for it?”

The Ecoboost Falcon may produce enough torque to tow a semi-trailer of live pigs across the Nullarbor, but it is not what the market wants. A Falcon for tree-huggers is a contradiction in terms.

Joshua Dowling broke the bad news in News Corp Australia’s CarsGuide last week: “Confidential figures reveal just 1800 Ecoboost four-cylinder Falcons have been sold since it went on sale in April 2012 — less than half as many as Ford originally planned.”

Dowling uses the word “sold” loosely, since about 600 Ecoboosts were bought by Ford itself. So if you spot an Ecoboost on the road, there’s a one-in-three chance the driver is a Ford ­employee.

Will it help us reach our Kyoto target? Let us run through the maths.

Carbon emissions from full-strength Falcon: 226g/km. Carbon emissions from a Falcon Lite: 192g/km. Carbon saved: 34g/km. Carbon saved over 100,000km: 3.4 tonnes. Cost saving per tonne: $2300. Cost of a tonne of carbon abatement on the European market: $12.

It would be wrong to say there have been no winners. Holden Cruze purchasers, for example, scored a $1500 subsidy. Buyers of the Camry Hybrid have benefited to the tune of $1100.

The question, however, is why? When Kevin Rudd announced the green cars scheme in 2008 he claimed that “R&D, particularly those related to clean, green technologies, constitute a public good”. Yet the Ecoboost engine was already in existence. Ford’s Australian engineers merely turned it 90 degrees to run a rear-wheel drivetrain. Paradigm changing it was not.

When government takes a risk the private sector is unwilling to shoulder, the justification boils down to this: that society will better off for having a good thing.

Yet the private sector is cautious for good reason. Rushed technology driven by government funding comes at a high cost and is innately inefficient. The postwar aircraft industry is a shining example. If congress had been willing to pay half the cost of developing the jet airliner in the US, as the Labour government did in Britain, the US could have been the first to introduce jet travel.

As it was, Britain nobly led the way in 1952 with de Havilland Comet. Three of them broke up in mid-air within a year of entering service. As Richard R. Nelson pondered dryly in The Moon and the Ghetto, “How much would it have aided the reputation of the American commercial aircraft industry had it, and not the British, been the one to discover the catastrophic effects on pressurised aircraft of metal fatigue?”

Private risk is an effective regulator against ineffective and inefficient investment. Once R&D becomes an autonomous activity, separated from the pressures of the market, it runs rampant. It creates its own class of rent-seeker, driven by a thirst for subsidies rather than honest profit.

This, scarily, may be the condition of the windmill industry, a power source of questionable reliability and enormous cost that no private investor would look twice at were it not for boondoggles like the renewable energy target. Perhaps the technocrats are right; perhaps in time the industry will make technological leaps that will wean it off subsidies.

History suggests otherwise. The notion that government ­investment in technology will turn Australia into a clever country and generate the jobs of the future has been proven wrong repeatedly.

Now that all three remaining car manufacturers have announced plans to pull out of Australia, the green car fiasco looks like an expensive mistake.

Yet at the time plenty of people were prepared to egg Rudd on. Labor’s John Brumby, then Victorian premier, declared: “This is a green-letter day. It is a fantastic day for the auto industry.”

Kim Carr, the innovation, industry, science and research minister, boasted “the primary objective here is to ensure we have high skilled, high-wage jobs for Australian workers”.

The ABC’s Rachel Carbonell editorialised: “The hybrid car deal is a starting point for a greater range of local green transport in Australia.”

The Productivity Commission begged to disagree, warning: “It is unlikely that overall sales of green vehicles would increase markedly … policies that target use of particular abatement technologies become redundant, and will only impose additional, unnecessary costs.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Ian Jones responded: “We have grown to expect this sort of rubbish from them, they have historically been anti-manufacturing industry.”

Six years later, with the folly of auto welfare laid bare and the budget deficit mounting, the Green Car Innovation Fund’s critics have been vindicated, and the naked self-interest of the unions, car manufacturers and Labor governments in Victoria and South Australia are plain for all to see.

It may not have been Labor’s most expensive folly but it is money that Joe Hockey would dearly love to get back. He could do so by re-indexing excise on petrol, making it a little more expensive at the pump, but Labor and the Greens — the green motoring champions — are determined to block that.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott says has no objection to nuclear energy and would be 'fine' with a proposal for it

Interesting that subsidies are fine for windmills and solar farms but not for nuclear

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he would be "fine" with someone putting forward a nuclear energy proposal and described the Fukushima meltdown as a "problem".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier told Fairfax Media nuclear energy was an "obvious" way to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Abbott agreed that nuclear technology was worth considering.  "I don't have any theological objection to nuclear energy," Mr Abbott said.

"Nuclear energy is a very important part of the energy mix of many countries - Japan, and it's coming back in Japan after the Fukushima problem."

Mr Abbott has said there is no need for Australia to pursue nuclear energy due to the nation's large coal and gas reserves.

But he said nuclear energy would help cut carbon pollution.

"If we are to dramatically reduce emissions we have to remember that the one absolutely proven way of generating emissions-free baseload power is through nuclear," he said.

Mr Abbott warned the Government was not interested in providing financial incentives to private operators to build nuclear-power facilities in Australia.

"If someone wants to put a proposal for nuclear energy generation here in Australia - fine," Mr Abbott said.

"But don't expect a Government subsidy.  "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen because it's economically feasible, not because the Government runs around offering a subsidy."

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek dismissed nuclear power as an alternative.

There is no nuclear power generated in Australia.


Far North Queensland Council Puts People & Environment Before Proposed Wind Farm Disaster

THE Tablelands Regional Council has been accused of being “openly hostile” towards a controversial wind farm project and trying everything to impede its progress.

It comes as the Senate launches an inquiry into the effectiveness of wind turbines, scrutinising their regulatory governance and economic impact.

The $380 million project to be built near Walkamin is to include up to 75 turbines.  It is a joint venture by property developers Port Bajool and power producers Ratch Australia.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney called in the development application in June, taking responsibility to assess it away from the Mareeba Shire Council, which de-amalgamated from the Tablelands Regional Council.

Mr Seeney has promised not to make a decision over the Mt Emerald Wind Farm until he meets with residents at this weekend’s Community Cabinet in Mareeba.

In an email obtained by The Cairns Post, Cook MP David Kempton responded to claims his government had ignored residents’ concerns about the wind farm, assuring there had been a full and proper investigation of the project.

“The Tablelands Regional Council has been openly hostile to this project from the outset,’’ he said.  “I have given full personal support to this project as I believe the regional benefits will far out-weight the perceived and in many cases, misguided information.

“I can also assure you I have received many delegations from the opponents over the time since this project was mooted.”

When questioned about the email by The Cairns Post, Mr Kempton only offered the following statement:  “The (wind farm) is being determined by the Deputy Premier and I have confidence there will be proper and rigorous process around the determination,” he said.

Tableland Division 6 Councillor Marjorie Pagani said the council had legitimately raised a number of concerns about the development when the application first came to the council, and there had been no vote taken on it.

“What he is interpreting as open hostility was in fact a series of requisition questions sent by our planning department to the developer, which were never answered,’’ he said.

“There were pages and pages of very significant and important questions relating to planning, roads, noise, environmental/ecological issues, and even size of turbines, for example.

“They hadn’t even put the size of their proposed development, or the size of each turbine.”

Tableland Mayor Rosa Lee Long, in a statement, said since the Mareeba Shire Council had taken over the application after de-amalgamation, TRC continued to have concerns, including the potential impact of heavy vehicles on local roads during the construction process.

Meanwhile, the Senate has launched an inquiry into the regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines.  The inquiry, a first in Australia, will examine issues such as impact on household electricity prices, the role of the Clean Energy Regulator, effect on fauna, planning processes, and whole-of-life CO2 inputs and outputs.



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


3 December, 2014

NOAA is trying to tell Americans that 2014 is shaping up as hottest year on record

Steve Goddard comments:  "It was obvious to me since about April that NOAA had decided that 2014 was going to be the hottest year ever. The White House needed this for their political objectives"

It's going to be a tough sell considering the unusual cold weather Americans have been experiencing -- but the main point never mentioned is that this year is projected to be  hotter than other 21st century years only by hundredths of a degree Celsius. It will indeed be hotter by some tenths of a degree than the 20th century average because the 20th century did have some periods cooler than the present.  But that tells us nothing about the present century.  NOAA is judging a portion of this year against the 20th century average without mentioning that ALL the years of the 21st century average higher than the 20th century  -- meaning that nothing different is happening this year.

Since the crucial statistics are in hundredths of a degree and errors of measurement are in tenths of a degree NOAA's claims are in fact meaningless.  The 21st century temperature variations they parade are so small that they exist only as statistical artifacts.  They cannot be shown to be real.  So NOAA's own figures show that there is nothing significant about temperatures this year.  The global temperature is still on a plateau -- where it has been for all of this century, and then some

The claims below are just an exercise in lying with statistics -- a Warmist specialty.  They have to lie.  If Warmists stuck to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth they would have nothing of interest to say.  The whole truth is that we live in a time of exceptional temperature stability

The first ten months of 2014 have been the hottest since record keeping began more than 130 years ago, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That may be hard to believe for people in places like Buffalo, New York, which saw a record early snowfall this year.

But NOAA says, despite the early bitter cold across parts of the United States in recent weeks, it’s been a hot year so far for the Earth.

With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record.  The average global temperature between January and October has been 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century’s average global temperature of 14.1 C (57.4 F).

NOAA’s analysis is an important “health gauge” indicating an ominous trend for the planet, says CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.  “It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be a skeptic of the causes of our warming planet,” he says.

Hottest October

This October was the hottest October on record globally, NOAA data showed. The mercury climbed more than one degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 57.1 F.  It was the fourth warmest October on record for the United States, NOAA said. [Not the warmest?]

“The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” the agency said.

That’s significant, says Van Dam.  “Most notably, this record warmth is not contained to any specific part of the world. Meaning, we are all in this together,” he says. “So far this year, record-breaking warmth has been observed in at least every continent and major ocean basin of our planet. This is something we cannot ignore.”

Important benchmark

NOAA’s analysis breaks down global temperatures into two categories — land and ocean — then an average that includes both. The record high temperatures in October were recorded across both land and sea.

The surface temperature on land approached an important scientific benchmark. It was almost 2 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average for October of 9.3 C (48.7 F).  [Cherry-picking one month is useless.  I could pick another month to show something entirely different]

Scientists have long predicted that a change in global average temperature of just 2 to 3 degrees higher could spell disaster for the planet, contributing to catastrophic storms, sea level rise, dangerous storm surges and melting polar ice.

According to the non-binding international agreement on climate change — the Copenhagen Accord, reached in 2009 — any temperature increase above the 2 degree Celsius mark is “dangerous.”

NOAA said the ocean temperatures were also the warmest on record in October with an increase of 1.12 F over the 20th century average of 60.6 degrees.

Hot spots

“Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean, ” NOAA said. “It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world,” the agency added.

Of particular note, several countries have already seen an average temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius in October 2014 compared to 20th century averages, including Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Sweden.  [Cherry-picking one month in a few places tells us nothing.  What about all the other places?]

There was also one notable cold spot on the map.  The average temperature this year in the midsection of the United States, which saw a severe winter, has been below the 20th century average.  [So the place for which we have the best records was cooler!]


Enjoy Seafood While You Can: Commercial Fisheries Likely to Collapse by 2048 (?)

There is no doubt that overfishing can reduce wild fish stocks to the point where fishing becomes generally unproductive -- but where is that happening?  Mostly in Asia, as far as I know.  The EU has rigid quotas on fish catch in European waters and most of the vast Australian continental shelf is closed off from fishing.  So what we have below are vast, sweeping and brainless generalizations that take no account of the different situations in different parts of the world.  Also overlooked is that fact that somewhere near 50% of the developed world's fish consumption is supplied by fish farms, not wild fisheries -- and there is no reason why fish farming cannot continue indefinitely. It is in fact on an expanding trajectory.  Boris really is a worm

Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada warns that the oceans are quickly losing biodiversity and that nearly 30 percent of seafood species that humans consume are already too small to harvest. If the long-term trend continues, there will be little or no seafood available for a sustainable harvest by 2048.

Dr. Worm’s study was recently published in the journal Science and is an update of a study that was published in 2006. Importantly, the study is of the collapse of commercial catches, not species extinction. Catch collapse means that fish are caught at 10 percent or less of the rate they had been caught historically. Several media outlets have incorrectly stated that the study warns that all seafood will be gone from the ocean. CBS News, for example, reported that “the apocalypse has a new date: 2048? and that the oceans would be empty of fish at that time. To our knowledge, the television network has not issued a retraction.

“We never said that,” says Dr. Worm. “We never talked about extinction. We talked about the collapse of the commercial catches.”

Still, Worm and his international team of scientists and economists say that catch collapses still paint a grim picture for the ocean and for human health. The accelerated loss of biodiversity, they say, is imperiled by overfishing, pollution, habitat loss and climate change. Saltwater ecosystems, including human populations that depend on them for survival, can be adversely affected by dwindling populations. Harmful algae blooms, coastal flooding and poor water quality can be the results of reduced fish populations.

“Biodiversity is a finite resource, and we are going to end up with nothing left … if nothing changes,” says Worm.

The updated study points out that it’s not too late to change, however. Areas can be managed for improved biodiversity and recovery is possible, says the study. In areas of the world where action has been taken to protect marine species, there have been notably positive results.

The problem is already affecting the U.S. seafood industry. Scientists are urging a moratorium on cold water shrimp harvesting in the Gulf of Maine as rising ocean temperatures are threatening populations of the tiny crustacean. This is the second straight season that researchers have urged that the netting of northern shrimp be halted.

The northern shrimp catch in Maine has been falling in recent years, as it has in neighboring New Hampshire and Massachusetts. However, it is estimated that some 85-90 percent of the northern shrimp caught in the Gulf of Maine are brought in by Maine boats. In 2010, more than 12 million pounds were caught by them, but it has declined by a factor of 14; less than 600,000 pounds were caught last year, according to the state of Maine.

The shrimp harvest averaged some 25 million pounds a year from 1969 to 1972 before falling below one million pounds in 1977. Those involved in the regional fishing industry are noticing a sharp decline in the population and are worried. Glen Libby, a shrimp processor and former fisherman, told the Portland Press Herald that the 2013 season was a bust and fishermen are finding few shrimp in their nets over the summer. He said it “probably is a good idea to give the fishery time to recover.”


Only 50% Of Scientists Blame Mankind for Climate Change In New Study

Rather than claiming 97 percent of scientists believe in man-made global warming, hopefully now some media outlets will revise that number closer to 50 percent.

Contrary to the repeated insistence of both climate alarmists and the media, scientists do not all agree on the standard climate alarmism talking points.  A Purdue University scholar, surveying scientists in the agricultural sector including climatologists, found surprising disagreement on humanity’s role in climate change. These findings, though contrary to popular narrative on climate change, are unsurprising to anyone familiar with the prevalence of dissent in the scientific community.

Linda Prokopy, a Professor of Natural Resource Social Science at Purdue University, surveyed more than six thousand farmers and scientists and found widespread disagreement on human contributions to climate change. While 90 percent of scientists and climatologists surveyed thought the climate was changing, only about 50.4 percent contended that humans were the primary cause of these changes.

More shocking was that just 53 percent of climatologists surveyed thought “Climate change is occurring, and it is caused mostly by human activities.” While that number of climatologists was small, the result is still significant.

This evidence is inconvenient to the many media outlets that have endlessly repeated that 97 percent of scientists endorse the global warming hypothesis. Prominent outlets like NBC and The New York Times, as well as countless others, have effectively shut down debate by asserting there is no scientific debate.

Of course, many skeptics will not find this newsworthy, because they have known for a long time that there is dissent amongst the scientific community.

In fact, many studies cast doubt on climate alarmism and many scientists have differing views from the so-called "consensus." In 2010, Marc Morano released a collection of more than 1000 scientists who “challenged man-made global warming claims.” Similarly the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change aggregated “thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support” man-made climate change.

Interestingly, a third of farmers surveyed claimed they had not noticed any significant effects of global warming. This is an inconvenient realization for the many alarmists that believe climate change is already disrupting weather. In fact, many alarmists, including those in the media, have argued that wildfires and droughts are increasing with climate change, but certainly many of these farmers disagree from their personal experience. 


California Punishes the Working Poor with new carbon tax on gasoline

Gasoline prices are running at their lowest level in years, a great boost for embattled consumers with the holiday season approaching. Unfortunately, the ruling class isn’t about to let that continue. The ruling class operates on the superstition that the world is getting hotter, that this is entirely due to human activity, and that regulatory zealotry in a single state is capable of stopping it. That comes through measures such as “cap and trade,” which supposedly burden only the captains of industry, but which as Dale Kasler shows in the Sacramento Bee, really means a punishing new tax on everybody who drives.

California’s two-year-old regulatory mechanism “puts a price on carbon spewed into the atmosphere,” and “the result will be higher gasoline and diesel prices.” California Air Resources Board (CARB) boss Mary Nichols explains that “the increase is likely to be less than 10 cents a gallon,” and consumers will probably barely notice the difference.” She says “the amount is small,” and “It does get hidden in the noise, in the other changes that are constantly taking place in the pricing of gasoline.” Nichols said “gasoline is cheap relative to other things you can buy and relative to overall inflation in the economy.” This bureaucratic boilerplate deserves a translation.

The increase is going to be not small, but significant, and everybody will notice, particularly those Californians who drive to work, such as the working poor. The increase does not “get hidden.” Rather, an axis of legislators and unelected regulatory zealots chose to delay the imposition on drivers, hoping to blunt the punishment, in the style of Obamacare, also sold with lies.

Jon Costantino, a former CARB climate-change planner, told the Bee that “the cost of the carbon allowance has to get passed through. That’s the whole point. The consumer feels the impact.” So listen up all drivers, especially those making a 60-plus-mile round trip to earn minimum wage. Politicians and unelected, highly paid regulatory zealots like Mary Nichols want you to feel the pain. But the problems do not stop there.

Mary Nichols also kept on CARB staff Hien Tran, who bought his statistics PhD in a New York City diploma mill and fudged air pollution figures. Trofim Lysenko truly lives on in the Golden State.


EPA in the crosshairs of new Republican majority

Over the first five years of the Obama Administration, the federal government has issued 157 major regulations, costing the American people and businesses around $73 billion per year, a recent estimate by the Heritage Foundation found.

In response, the American people spoke with an unwavering, unified voice on November 4 and the message to Congressional Republicans was clear: stop Barack Obama’s radical executive overreach and the Democrat Party that has enabled it.

And that’s exactly what they intend to do.

The front lines of the Administration’s alarmist war on coal literally hits home for the new incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who during this year’s campaign identified the his top priority in January’s new Congress to “do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”

Anti-coal regulations from the EPA has virtually eliminated the financial feasibility of establishing new coal-fired power plants in the United States and new regulations threaten the industry altogether, all the while the livelihoods of thousands of energy workers hang in the balance, hundreds of years of inexpensive, efficient potential energy won’t be used to power the next century of American development, and needy American families, whom are already suffering from rising energy costs directly caused by sweeping overregulation, will bear the brunt of the cost.

There are, however, several means for the McConnell-led Senate to accomplish rolling back Obama’s radical EPA.

All regulations from federal agencies such as the EPA are under the direct funding and oversight of Congress. With that power, Congress can utilize the appropriations process and Congressional oversight to confine the EPA with funding restraints, for example, against the carbon endangerment finding or new rules for coal power plants set to take effect in June.

Congressional members and staffers from both the House and Senate have stated openly that no EPA regulation is off the negotiating table on budget talks with the White House.

The wind production tax credit faces renewal in January and, as a tool of Obama’s anti-coal agenda, it is an obvious target for a crony capitalist-averse Congress to eliminate.

And perhaps most importantly, different legislative options make the EPA’s job-killing regulations — especially the most onerous and unpopular power plant rules — vulnerable targets for the Republican majority. Barack Obama enters his lame duck session already facing close to the lowest approval numbers his Administration has seen and Republicans are showing zero willingness to spare the President difficult decisions between passing popular, common sense bills while not vetoing the same bill due to equally popular portions that would rein in the EPA.

Of course, it won’t be a fast or an easy undertaking by any means. Most likely, it won’t be until a Republican occupies the Oval Office before true reform to collapse Obama’s radical regulatory environment can take full shape. But understanding this, there is no time to waste.

There are over 120 remaining major regulations (or regulations that will cost the private sector at least $100 million annually) that Obama’s radical regulatory state is working on as this is written, leaving an unknown amount of jobs and future productivity in peril.

The final levee between the full damaging power of the final wave of regulations from a lame duck (free bird?) Obama Administration no longer facing electoral consequences is the people’s newly elected Republican majority with a clear mandate to hold back the flood as much as possible.

Given Senator McConnell’s profound commitment to stopping the EPA’s overreach, this should be a battle worth watching during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.


Green rules slap £50 on a family ferry fare from Britain to France: EU fuel diktat will force prices up in weeks

Families taking a ferry across the Channel in the New Year face a 30 per cent hike in ticket prices as the EU brings in tough new green rules.

Britain’s biggest ferry operator, P&O Cruises, said a return ticket for a family of four from Dover to Calais will jump from £160 to £210.

The UK Chamber of Shipping says the move could be the death knell for the ferry industry, adding: ‘Routes teetering on the edge of economic viability will be pushed off the edge.’

Experts say it will cost the industry £300million a year – much of which will be absorbed into ticket prices. File picture

The new EU rules – which force shipping firms to buy expensive low- emission fuel – will push traffic on to the roads, drive up the cost of diesel for cars and result in the loss of 2,000 jobs, it was predicted last night.

And a European committee has warned that the fuel switch could lead to engine breakdowns and fires, leaving boats floating dangerously without power in busy shipping lanes.

Brussels has ordered that all ships in the English Channel, North Sea and Baltic Sea act to reduce sulphur emissions from January 1.

Firms will have to switch to expensive low-sulphur fuel or install filtering equipment at the cost of millions of pounds. Experts say it will cost the industry £300million a year – much of which will be absorbed into ticket prices.

Independent consultants Amec say ferry companies will have to cut routes and slash jobs. Freight traffic to Europe will be forced on to the roads and through the Channel Tunnel – resulting in more pollution.

And increased demand for low-sulphur shipping fuel could lead to higher prices on forecourts. The price at the diesel pump could rise by 2.8p a litre, Amec said, because there is not enough capacity in refineries to cope with the demand for both vehicle and shipping fuel.

A route from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark was scrapped in September because of the expected rise in fuel costs.

Most operators are expected to switch from heavy fuel to lighter marine gas-oil – which is 60 per cent more expensive.

A spokesman for P&O Ferries, which runs 15 ships in the Channel and North Sea, told the Daily Mail: ‘Consumers will be picking up the bill for this because shipping companies cannot bear this cost alone.

'Marine gas-oil is considerably more expensive than the fuel we use today, so we can predict price increases for both freight and tourist customers.

‘All shipping companies will be affected – but our biggest rival, the Channel Tunnel, will not be affected. Peak-time sailings might cost 30 per cent more than people paid last year.’

Jonathan Roberts, of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: ‘There is no doubt that the additional cost has to go somewhere – it will have to put up ticket prices. This will be the final straw for some routes.’

The decision to reduce sulphur emissions was agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2008. But Mr Roberts said the EU has insisted on a ‘gold-plated’ version of the agreement.

He said: ‘The IMO said implementation of the regulations could be done by 2020 – but the EU has insisted on 2015.

‘The IMO said there should have a degree of flexibility, to allow companies to transition into the new era without damaging their business. The European Commission removed this flexibility and pragmatism – and jobs will be lost as a result.’

The EU Sulphur Directive requires all commercial ships to use 0.1 per cent sulphur fuel by midnight on January 1, or install sulphur filters known as ‘scrubbers’ – which usually will cost more than the ship itself.

The policy could also have grave safety consequences.

A report to be presented to the European Commission on Thursday warns that smaller shipping firms are not ready for the switch. When a similar policy was implemented off the Californian coast in 2012, the US Coastguard said the number of power failures doubled.

The European Sustainable Shipping Forum says breakdowns – including engine fires – in the much-busier English Channel could have dangerous consequences.

A European Commission spokesman said: ‘Sulphur dioxide emissions result in acid rain and fine dust that causes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

'They are a direct health hazard in particular near major ports – like Dover.

‘The savings on healthcare and the environmental benefits will far exceed the costs of implementing the agreed International Maritime Organisation measures.



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


2 December, 2014

More on the Ivanpah boondoggle

Overlooked:  Deserts have lots of sand

Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

In California’s sunny south is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (ISPF). It’s a massive structure in the Mojave Desert that was supposed to deliver an energy output of approximately 1.7 million MWh (megawatt-hours) of electric energy annually. ivanpah The ISPF uses 173,500 heliostats (adjustable mirrors to follow the sun) that reflect the sunshine onto boilers located on centralized power towers.

The facility covers 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of public land and received $1,600 million in government-backed loan guarantees. Another $600 million came from private investors with nearly one third of that from Google.

This super-duper solar power plant was to be THE solar power plant, not just in the USA but in the entire world. (Source of photo) As it turns out though, the grand hopes for “alternative energy” were premature. There ought to be at least one lesson from this project: the desert environment is simply not quite as benign and suitable to solar power generation systems as many people hope.

Undesirable Effects

To begin with, ten square kilometers of room-size individual mirrors do not all reflect the sunshine to one point, even with the best intentions and computer control of the mirrors’ angles. There are always some parts of the associated machinery that do not function due to grit in the gears and on the mirrors. As a result, sunlight is reflected into many directions causing birds flying across the field to become disoriented. Others that get into the main path of light have their feathers singed or they get fried. Even airline pilots high above the ground have complained about glare from the mirrors.

Low Power Output

However, the power facility has another even bigger problem: its power output is nowhere near the design value and that’s not because of a lack of sunshine since the facility began operating in December 2013.

Obviously, the power output of the plant varies with the seasons and number of daylight hours at the site. In the eight-month period of January-August, 2014, it produced only 250,000 MWh of energy, roughly one quarter of the expected output. Even in the high irradiance and long-day four-month period of May-August, 2014, it delivered less than 200,000 MWh of electric energy – less than one half of the design value. As there was no particular lack of sunshine that underperformance could not possibly be blamed on unusual natural conditions.

One can only speculate as to the reason for the lower than expected power output at this time but there is at least one obvious cause—namely sand and dust. A decade or so ago the Siemens company installed solar (photovoltaic) power panels in the Mexican sierra that got sand-blasted into oblivion in short order. In any event, in order to salvage the plant the ISPF owners decided on a two-pronged approach: borrow more money and use more natural gas.

Borrow More

The first approach of borrowing more funds is still under consideration. It’s commonly known as the rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul principle and is frequently to be found in government circles.

Pete Danko of Breaking Energy reports that the Platts trade newsletter Megawatt Dailydiscussed Ivanpah’s status. It noted that the trio of Ivanpah owners had sought extensions on repaying their current loans as they waited to receive a hoped-for cash grant from the U.S. Treasury worth 30 percent of the Ivanpah plant’s total cost of $2.2 billion to repay the current part of the (California) loan guarantee.

Use More Natural Gas

The second approach to ISPF’s problems is even more insidious in terms of the underlying idea of “green” power generation.

In March of this year the ISPF’s owners decided to apply to the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission for permission to “upgrade” the system by doubling the amount of natural gas usage permitted for “preheating” of the solar towers. This request was approved in August 2014 and the ISPF can now use up to 525 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per year for that purpose. It is important to put that amount of natural gas into perspective vis-à-vis the overall energy generation by the facility.

Fudging the Numbers

To investigate the real contribution of natural gas to the plant’s output, one has to ask how much electric energy a regular power plant delivers with the consumption of 525 MCFT of NG. Using a heat-energy to electric-energy conversion rate of 60%, or 0.2 kWh/cft of NG, that amount of NG alone produces roughly 100 million MWh of electricity.

In terms of ISPF’s design output, these 100 million MWh of NG-sourced energy appear small; however, it really ought to be compared the amount of true “solar” energy produced.

To do that one also has to deduct the energy amount of the already used NG of roughly 30 million KWh (up to end of August 2014). That would leave then only in the order of 250 million MWh for the entire January to September period or somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of the entire ISPF output. Therefore, doubling the amount of natural gas use will make the total “solar” energy output appear to be yet larger than it really is. It will be easy to fall for such claims – unless you know how numbers can be fudged.

Look for the Spin

Undoubtedly the solar power industry, many politicians and, I guess, most certainly all anti-carbon activists will try to spin this anticipated increase of the ISPF power output as a great success story of solar power generation in general and the Ivanpah plant in particular. In the end though, I surmise it will all be in vain and Ivanpah will eventually become another giant “green energy” boondoggle.


UK: The real culprits behind the fly-tip one mile long... it's the green fanatics and meddling EU who have made going to the dump an expensive nightmare

The scene is like the aftermath of a tsunami: splintered timber, shattered glass, broken sofas, scattered clothes, plastic bags, smashed furniture, fridges and TV sets, all piled up as though tossed ashore by some mighty wave and strewn for over a mile along the water’s edge.

But this ugly photograph doesn’t show any far-flung tropical disaster zone and the cause of the mayhem certainly isn’t natural.

It was taken this week at Cory’s Wharf in Purfleet, Essex, on a stretch of council-owned land by the Thames and now ruined by the modern curse of fly-tipping.

Once, this would have been a pleasant enough spot to walk your dog, with views across the river and scrubland, dotted with bushes and ponds, to explore. Not any more.

Today, it looks as if a bomb has hit the area, and walkers have been warned to stay away in case the waste is toxic or contains used syringes, or — as happened recently — a dog’s foot is cut by broken glass.

Some say the rubbish appeared ‘overnight’, others that it was dumped over a period of months, mostly by an encampment of travellers who have had to be evicted from the area on three occasions since July.

Two things are certain: the clean-up operation will be expensive (as much as £1 million, according to some reports), and the problem is by no means confined to Essex.

A report commissioned by the Countryside Alliance found that every day across Britain there were an average 75 incidents of illegal rubbish-dumping, known as fly-tipping, which cost the hapless landowners obliged by law to clear up the mess about £66,000 a day.

And that was three years ago. Since then, as the mile-long waste dump at Purfleet would seem to confirm, the problem has got a lot worse.

According to a more recent report, from the Local Government Association, there are now as many as 711,000 fly-tipping incidents each year, which cost a whopping £36 million to clean up.

You’d think that with a problem so widespread, so expensive and so upsetting to so many of us, more would be done to stop it. But that would be to reckon without the bureaucracy and institutionalised chaos that have done so much to make it possible.

Yes, of course some travellers are partly to blame. So, too, are the organised criminal gangs that now find fly-tipping almost as profitable as drug dealing. But the real problem is the system itself. On closer scrutiny, this epidemic of illegal waste-disposal is not happening despite our stringent environmental laws. It’s happening because of them.

The main culprit, you could argue — at least as bad as any crime lord — was Labour’s former Environment Secretary David Miliband. It was he who negotiated and implemented in Britain the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive, with its stringent rules demanding more recycling, more incineration and a dramatic reduction in the use of landfill.

Community disposal sites where small businesses could conveniently and cheaply dump their rubbish were closed. A plethora of new bin collection days and recycling bags of different colours were introduced, too. This was when fly-tipping really took off in Britain.

But the Conservatives must bear their share of blame, too, notably Tory peer and green activist Lord Deben. Eighteen years ago, Secretary of State for the Environment John Gummer (as he then was) set the ball rolling by introducing Britain’s first eco tax: the 1996 Landfill Tax, which brought us into line with an earlier, less rigorous EU directive on waste.

Like so many disastrous green policies, the tax was devised with the noblest of intentions. Its purpose was to make Britain dispose of its rubbish in a more eco-friendly way. Traditionally, we had been able to get rid of it cheaply by burying it in old quarries or gravel pits.

The tax was designed to discourage this practice by making it progressively more expensive. In this way, we would be persuaded to recycle more of our rubbish (as many of our greener Continental neighbours already did) and put less waste in the ground, where it might rot and produce methane, possibly contributing to ‘global warming’.

That, at any rate, was the official purpose of the EU directive behind the tax. The unofficial one was to satisfy the grumbles of EU states such as Denmark and the Netherlands, which for geographical reasons had less landfill space than Britain, and which successfully lobbied Brussels to level the playing field so we no longer enjoyed the competitive advantage of cheaper rubbish disposal.

It all sounds very involved and dull. It was involved and dull. But the impact these waste disposal laws had on our lives was enormous.

Think how much time you now have to spend each week painstakingly separating your rubbish into as many as half a dozen coloured bags, boxes and bins. Think how complicated it has become to take household waste to the local dump.

In the old days, you’ll remember, it was easy. Now it’s like trying to get into Fort Knox. My municipal dump in Northamptonshire, for example, reminds me of a reverse version of The Great Escape. First, you have to join the queue — often a long one at weekends — to get inside the wire.

Then you are interrogated by the council operative whose job is to ascertain a) whether you are local (some councils require ID); b) you are not a professional builder (in which case entrance is verboten: it’s for domestic users only); and c) the precise nature of the materials you wish to chuck away.

Friendly enough though these council workers are, you have to suck up to them mightily because they know, and you know, that they have the power to turn you away at the drop of a hat. It takes you back to the dark days of the Seventies when, if you weren’t nice to the unionised installation engineer, you wouldn’t get your telephone for another three months.

This, unfortunately and inevitably, is what happens when a fairly simple free-market system is replaced by a state bureaucracy: everything becomes harder, more complicated, less efficient. And much more expensive.

Even to dispose of simple builder’s rubble now usually costs £15 to £20 a ton — plus a journey of perhaps 30 miles, often through heavy traffic to the outskirts of town, to the nearest commercial waste dump, which you can’t enter without a permit.

This can rise to as much as £600 a ton if the waste is deemed hazardous. So we should hardly be surprised that some people are tempted to bend the rules, save money and dispose of their rubbish illegally instead.

For some groups, fly-tipping is a matter of convenience. Some travellers do it because of the transient nature of their lifestyle (which means they don’t use residential waste disposal services) and because their traditional trades (tarmac, building, scrap) involve large amounts of waste.

For others, it’s about saving money: why pay a legitimate company £200 for a skip when you can pay a dodgy operator half that price, cash in hand, for an illegal one?

For others still, it’s a question of outrageous profit.

Even ten years ago, according to an Environment Department report, organised gangs were making as much as £1 million a year from illegal waste disposal. As one local authority officer told the London Assembly Environment Committee at the time: ‘Drug barons are moving out of drugs and into fly-tipping. There’s more money in it and less risk.’

Certainly, the penalties if you’re caught are much smaller. Deal cocaine and you risk a life sentence and the confiscation of all your assets. The very worst you’ll face for fly-tipping — and only then if you’re convicted in a Crown Court — is an unlimited fine and five years’ imprisonment. But even that is highly unlikely because councils so rarely prosecute.

Sometimes this is the result of inefficiency, shortage of money or understaffing. But even those councils eager to act — such as Stoke-on-Trent, which fields 400 fly-tipping complaints a month, or Derby City Council, which has set up a special night ‘enforcement team’ — find themselves hamstrung by the legal system.

Fly-tipping is notoriously hard to prove, with only one case in 50 leading to a successful prosecution. And even when a council wins, it can prove a Pyrrhic victory. As the Local Government Authority noted this year, too often the courts award only partial costs, which leaves the council out of pocket.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has its own £17 million task force, which has brought several hundred prosecutions against illegal waste operators. But the penalties are so puny, it’s no wonder so many criminals are moving into the business.

One Lancashire gang operating six illegal waste sites — which, according to one report, involved ‘chemical drums filled with acids, pharmaceutical vials, oil sludge, waste inks and crushed tablets, as well as 1,000-litre containers marked ‘carcinogenic contents’, plus another marked ‘explosive on contact with water’ and stored under a leaking roof — ended up with jail terms of just 18 months.

At this point, you may be wondering what spectacular benefits to the environment we will gain as compensation for all the criminality, damage, expense, inconvenience and wasted man-hours that have resulted from the Landfill Tax and the EU’s waste directives.

Will the planet be significantly less likely to fry as a result of global warming? Will countless acres of green and pleasant land be spared the ruination caused by landfill? Will recycling save the world?

If only. The facts, unfortunately, suggest otherwise. Take all that sorting and recycling we have to do, on pain of a fine from our local council.

It turns out this is just an exercise in EU-compliant box-ticking. Often, once our carefully sifted rubbish has been collected — and duly noted as ‘recycled’ under the EU’s definitions — it ends up either being buried like ordinary landfill or shipped to places like China.

As for the green argument that landfill leads to methane and methane is a greenhouse gas that increases global warming, well, perhaps this made sense at the height of the scare in the Nineties, but it seems less convincing now there has been no recorded global warming since 1998.

In any case, the technology is now available for methane from landfill to be harvested and used as renewable energy, so you would have thought the greenies ought to be in favour, not agin.

Finally, we come to the most threadbare case against landfill: that there simply isn’t enough space to accommodate all the waste we produce. This isn’t true, as Richard North of the Eureferendum blog notes.

Every year Britain produces about 70 million cubic metres of municipal waste, while it has more than 819 million cubic metres available for landfill — a figure that increases by 114 million cubic metres a year as more quarries and gravel pits are dug.

By far the most attractive and safe option would be to have these gaping holes filled with rubbish and covered over or reclaimed, so the landscape looks almost as it did before.

This would have knock-on benefits for the aggregates industry, which could offset its costs — as it did in the old days — with waste disposal.

It would release local councils from layer upon layer of regulatory bureaucracy. No longer would we have to waste time pointlessly sifting our rubbish. And it would, of course, bring an almost immediate end to fly-tipping.

This, after all, was the system that worked perfectly well for us before our politicians and the EU stuck their oars in. If only we had the will and the courage of our convictions, it could work just as well for us now.


Wind Industry 101: #1 ALWAYS Lie About “Unhelpful” FACTS: #2 (if #1 Fails) SUPPRESS the FACTS

Wind Industry 101: Rule #1 – ALWAYS Lie about the “unhelpful” stuff.

Lies, treachery and deceit are all in a day’s work for wind power outfits, their parasites and spruikers (see posts here and here and here).

But lies about “unhelpful” facts tend to lose their shine as the facts in question keep bobbing up from credible observers – in much the same way piles of dead birds and bats keep accumulating at the bases of giant fans all over the world – and in their millions.

A few “unhelpful” facts on the ground.

The tactic – straight from “Wind Industry 101” – is simply to lie about any “unhelpful” facts and – when that fails – go all out to cover up those facts by either launching a vitriolic personal attack on those presenting the facts – or trundling off to court to prevent the facts from ever seeing the light of day

And, so it is, with the known and obvious adverse health impacts from incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound that have led many families to simply walk away from perfectly good (but now uninhabitable) homes

Wherever wind power outfits have had to concede such impacts to their victims they quietly buy out their properties, bulldoze them  and make damn sure they stitch up the unfortunate (homeless) family with bullet proof gag clauses  – that their lawyers enforce with the zeal and vigour of the Old GDR’s Stasi

But the “game” gets harder by the day.


Health Canada and Wind Turbines: Too little too late?

Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) are being erected at rapid pace around the world. Coinciding with the introduction of IWTs, some individuals living in proximity to IWTs report adverse health effects including annoyance, sleep disturbance, stress-related health impacts and reduced quality of life. [i],[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii],[viii],[ix],[x],[xi],[xii] In some cases Canadian families reporting adverse health effects have abandoned their homes, been billeted away from their homes or hired legal counsel to successfully reach a financial agreement with the wind energy developer.[xiii]

To help address public concern over these health effects Health Canada (HC) announced the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study (HC Study) 2 years ago and brought forth preliminary results November 6, 2014.

Here we briefly comment on the HC Study results and provide some historical context.

Acknowledgement of IWT adverse health effects is not new. The term “annoyance” frequently appears when discussing IWT health effects.

In a 2009 letter the Honourable Rona Ambrose, disclosed:

“Health Canada provides advice on the health effect of noise and low-frequency electric and magnetic fields from proposed wind turbine projects…To date, their examination of the scientific literature on wind turbine noise is that the only health effect conclusively demonstrated from exposure to wind turbine noise is an increase of self-reported general annoyance and complaints (i.e., headaches, nausea, tinnitus, vertigo).” [xiv]

In 2009, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) sponsored a literature review which acknowledges the reported symptoms such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, vertigo and state they “… are not new and have been published previously in the context of “annoyance”…” and are the “… well-known stress effects of exposure to noise …”[xv]

In 2011, a health survey of people exposed to IWTs in Ontario reported altered quality of life, sleep disturbance, excessive tiredness, headaches, stress and distress. [xvi]

In the same year, CanWEA posted a media release which advised those impacted by wind turbine annoyance stating “The association has always acknowledged that a small percentage of people can be annoyed by wind turbines in their vicinity. … When annoyance has a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, it is important that they consult their doctor.”[xvii]

It turns out it’s not a small percentage of people annoyed by wind turbines. An Ontario Government report concluded a non-trivial percentage of persons are expected to be highly annoyed.

The December 2011 report prepared by a member of CanWEA for the Ontario Ministry of Environment states in the conclusions:

“The audible sound from wind turbines, at the levels experienced at typical receptor distances in Ontario, is nonetheless expected to result in a non-trivial percentage of persons being highly annoyed. As with sounds from many sources, research has shown that annoyance associated with sound from wind turbines can be expected to contribute to stress related health impacts in some persons.”[xviii]

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges noise induced annoyance to be a health effect [xix] and the results of WHO research “…confirmed, on an epidemiological level, an increased health risk from chronic noise annoyance…”[xx]

HC also acknowledges noise induced annoyance to be an adverse health effect. [xxi],[xxii] The Principal Investigator of the recent HC Study also states “noise-induced annoyance is an adverse health effect”. [xxiii]

Canadian Government sponsored research has found statistically significant relationships from IWT noise exposure.

A 2014 review article in the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine reports:

“In 2013, research funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment indicated a statistically significant relation between residents’ distance from the turbine and the symptoms of disturbed sleep, vertigo and tinnitus, and recommended that future research focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.” [xxiv]

Recently on November 6, 2014, HC posted on its website preliminary results of its HC Study[xxv]. Wind turbine noise “…. annoyance was found to be statistically related to several self-reporting health effects including, but not limited to, blood pressure, migraines, tinnitus, dizziness, scores on the PSQI, and perceived stress” as well as related to “measured hair cortisol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”

These troubling results come as no surprise. Since at least 2007 HC employees including the Principal Investigator of the HC Study recommended wind turbine noise criteria which they predict will result in adverse health effects. (i.e. result in an increase percentage highly annoyed).[xxvi],[xxvii],[xxviii]

Then turbines were built and HC spent 2.1 million dollars to find out it appears to have under predicted the impact of IWT noise. HC’s IWT noise criteria does not use a dose response based on IWT noise but rather road noise. But of course IWTs are not cars and peer-reviewed studies consistently document that IWTs produce sound that is perceived to be more annoying than transportation or industrial noise at comparable sound pressure levels. [xxix],[xxx]

IWT noise annoyance starts at dBA sound pressure levels in the low 30s and rises sharply at 35 dBA as compared to road noise which starts at 55 dBA. These findings are further supported by the HC Study’s preliminary results. [xxxi]

IWT noise characteristics that are identified as plausible causes for reported health effects include amplitude modulation, audible low- frequency noise (LFN), infrasound, tonal noise, impulse noise and night-time noise. [xxxii]


Take Your Pick of Lies About Ozone, Methane or Mercury

By Alan Caruba

Is it surprising that the Environmental Protection Agency continues to tell big fat lies about anything it wants to ban, but is reluctant to show the “science” on which the bans are based?

There is currently a piece of legislation under consideration by Congress, the Secret Science Reform Act, to force the EPA to disclose its scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

This is what Nicolas Loris of The Heritage Foundation had to say regarding the mercury air and toxics rule that the EPA claims would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. “The two studies that represent the scientific foundation for 1997 ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards are highly questionable and the data concealed, even though the studies were paid for by federal taxpayers and thus should be public property.”

In addition to claims about carbon dioxide as a dreaded “greenhouse” gas, methane is also getting the attention of those opposed to “fracking”, a technique that has provided access to both natural gas and oil. James M. Taylor, a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, noted in January that “Natural gas has high methane content, but the methane is converted to energy when natural gas is burnt.” Citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Taylor noted “The ongoing decline in methane emissions supplements ongoing declines in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.” Since 2000 both are down between 6% AND 9%.

The EPA is forever claiming billions in "health benefits" that result from their regulations. The public never gets to see the data on which such claims are based. The regulations, however, cost billions.

The day before Thanksgiving, the EPA announced that it intends to propose an updated national standard for ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog, based in part on the enforcement of rules concerning mercury. The previous day, the Supreme Court said it would review the agency’s standards requiring reductions of mercury emissions and other elements the EPA regards as toxic air pollution.

To put all this in perspective, in August CNS News’ Penny Starr reported on a study by the National Association of Manufacturers regarding the EPA’s proposed regulation of ozone. It found that “it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, and adds $3.3 trillion in compliance costs for the same period.”  NAM president, Jay Timmons, said “The regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks.”

Concurrently with NAM, the American Petroleum Institute released an analysis of the NAM study that said “The nation’s air quality has improved over the past several years, and ozone emissions will continue to decline without new regulations.” NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy, Ross Eisenberg, said, “We are rapidly approaching a point where we are requiring manufacturers to do the impossible.”

That, however, is exactly what the ozone regulation is intended to do. This has nothing to do with health and everything to do with destroying the nation’s power producers and manufacturers, reducing vital electrical energy, and forcing factories of every description to close.

At the upper levels of the atmosphere, the stratosphere, ozone is essential to the survival of life on Earth because ozone filters harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Otherwise the radiation would damage both plant and animal life. The reason you get sunburned is that too much UV radiation has caused it. Like everything else in nature, too much or too little determines the harm or benefit it provides, but that too is largely determined by nature.

Ozone is a form of elemental oxygen, but it’s not something you want to breathe. As Wikipedia notes, “It is not emitted directly by car engines or by industrial operations, but formed by the reaction of sunlight on air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides that react to form ozone directly at the source of the pollution or many kilometers down wind.” The initial mandate of the EPA to clean the air and water has been achieved. That is why smog is relatively rare nationwide. Further regulation is regressive.

As for mercury, in 2011 the EPA issued 946 pages of new rules requiring U.S. power plants to sharply reduce their emissions of mercury even though they were already quite low. As with the proposed ozone rules, the EPA claimed that they would cost $10.9 billion annually to implement, but would save 17,000 lives while generating $140 billion in health benefits. This is all just hogwash. Such figures are just plucked out of the air or, worse, based on “science” the public paid for but is not allowed to see!

Does anybody find it bizarre that, while the EPA is trying to remove the tiniest amounts of mercury in the environment, in 2011 Congress passed a law eliminate the incandescent light bulb and required their replacement by fluorescent lights that contain mercury?

As Willie Soon and Paul Driessen wrote in a 2011 Wall Street Journal commentary, “Mercury has always existed naturally in Earth’s environment. Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment.” They noted that “Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.”

The fundamental EPA lies about ozone and mercury involve the issue of toxicity. Since both are a natural part of the Earth, and since the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and since life expectancy has been increasing dramatically in recent decades, the likelihood that either represents a threat requiring the expenditure of billions to reduce tiny amounts of their emissions is based on environmental ideology, not on science.

Even if it was based on alleged science we would, as noted, not be allowed to see the data. If this reminds you of the way ObamaCare was foisted on “the stupid voters”, you’re right. The EPA hopes you are stupid enough not to realize that it is engaged in the destruction of the economy.


Australia: Radioactive meltdown over gas recovery is a total beat-up

More Greenie crookedness

THE anti-coal seam gas lobby has jumped the shark with its phoney scare campaign against drilling in NSW and Queensland. While there are legitimate arguments about access to good farming land and discussions about artesian water to be had, the Lock the Gate Alliance and its media promoters at the ABC and in the Fairfax press are promoting utterly nonsensical claims to feed the inherent biases of their green-left anti-development followers.

Last Monday, in its rapidly shrinking editions, The Sydney Morning Herald warned that “radioactive material is being used at some coal seam gas drilling sites in NSW, raising concerns about potential health and environmental impacts”.

Here’s some news for The Herald’s small band of readers — radioactive material is also being used at most leading hospitals in Australia, and it’s being used in almost exactly the same manner for the same reasons that it’s being used by those hoping to unlock domestic reliable clean energy sources.

In hospitals, the isotopes (some produced at Lucas Heights — which the deep greens want to shut down, denying patients their lifesaving medications) are introduced into our bodies in therapies such as brachytherapy. The radioactive isotope is commonly contained in a liquid which patients drink, or in a pill which they swallow, and is used in the treatment of breast, prostate, cervical and skin cancers.

The caesium-137 (CS137) used by gas drillers is also about the size of a pill. Unlike the doses used in medicine it never comes into contact with any person. It is used for measuring rock and fluid densities in a gas deposit.

The isotope is sealed inside a container and never comes into contact with earth, gas or fracking fluid.

It is not used for drilling or for fracking, but for making scientific measurements in a situation where no other measuring device will do the job effectively.

Publicly available information, on the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website, states the radioisotopes used in medicine (ingested therapies) are more dangerous than in densitometers.

Caesium 137 used in the treatment of tumours is up to 1500 times more intense than that used in well-logging (oil/gas). The CS137 used in brachytherapy emits energy in the range 3-12 curies. It is deemed category 2 — “very dangerous” — by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The CS137 used in well-logging is in the range 1-2 curies. It is deemed “dangerous” by the IAEA, which says exposure to this level of radiation is “extremely unlikely” to permanently injure or be life-threatening. There would be “little or no risk of immediate health risks for any person beyond a few metres”.

Why this would raise concern with anyone is a mystery but, hey, the SMH and ABC have a distinguished record of presenting humbug to prop up the prejudices of their inner urban audiences.

The SMH used all the scare tactics at its command to induce panic among the basket-weaving luvvies, noting that the CS137 is “produced in nuclear reactors, the material is potentially deadly and among the main radiation concerns at failed power stations at Chernobyl and Fukushima”.

Know what? The forecourt of the federal parliament building is radioactive. Lock the Gate Alliance protesters shouldn’t linger there too long or they may set their Geiger counters clicking.

For that matter, bananas are also radioactive.

Watch out for those spooky figures in pyjamas — and eating 20 million bananas would give you a fatal dose of radioactivity.

That’s as likely to occur as anyone being affected by the CS137 being used to measure liquid density in the Pilliga — but the SMH won’t tell you that because it would destroy its dishonest campaign.

The SMH scarily says CS137 is “used for drilling”, which implies a digging purpose. A more accurate description is that the enclosed isotope is used in tandem with a detection device — after the well has been drilled — as a tool for confirming underground rock and fluid densities.

This enclosed isotope and detection apparatus is called a densitometer.

And, as per usual, the SMH uses unsubstantiated claims by activists to support the thrust of its story.

“Environmental groups say the use of radioactive material is not disclosed in the CSG projects’ review of environmental factors ...” the Herald’s article says.

If the SMH had bothered checking properly, it would have found the inclusion of the CS137 at Appendix A of the REF.

An anti-gas campaigner is quoted saying the use of CS137 is “downplayed” (implying that it actually is mentioned) and that the inclusion of household ingredients is “played up”.

Hmmm, perhaps the reason CS137 is not “played up” is because it is NOT included in the fracking fluids, to which the household products reference is directed — and it is a fact that most of the chemicals used in fracking can be found in the average house — kitchen or laundry.

All of these chemicals are disclosed by the gas companies (including the CS137, although this has nothing to do with the fracking fluid, which the activists continually and inaccurately claim contains toxic chemicals).

The SMH reports Lock The Gate spokeswoman Vicki Perrin saying she is disturbed “there are exposure standards for workers but no exposure standards for the community”.

Of greater concern is the SMH’s embrace of her false claim as the regulations are explicitly drafted to protect the community and the environment, including the workers. So let’s review the facts that the SMH wilfully ignored in its report.

The use of the isotope is commonplace in many industries, including medicine.

Its use in gas drilling is approved under licence, including explicit handling regulations.

The encased isotopes so terrifyingly represented by the SMH pose no threat to people or environment.

Its use is disclosed in the environmental factors report approved by the government regulatory authorities and is publicised by the gas companies mentioned in the article.

It’s to be presumed that members of the SMH staff and Lock the Gate and other protest groups will henceforth refuse any treatment involving nuclear medicines.  It would be supreme hypocrisy not to.



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

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1 December, 2014

Energy Market Impacts of Recent Federal Regulations on the Electric Power Sector

Executive Summary

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued several new regulations on the electric power sector in recent years, the vast majority of which target power plant emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

These regulations include, but are not limited to: new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter; the CrossState Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to address interstate transport of air pollution; Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) under CAA Section 112; and regional haze regulations intended to improve visibility in public parks.

Most recently, in June 2014, under the authority of CAA section 111(d), the EPA proposed guidelines to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil-fueled power generating units in the electric power sector. The proposed rule is referred to as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the EPA believes it would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30% by 2030 versus 2005 levels.

Each of these regulations has imposed new costs on the electric power sector, and, by extension, consumers.

A great deal of research has been put forward to assess the impact of the CPP on the U.S. economy. Most has focused on the incremental costs of the CPP relative to a particular baseline.

The purpose of this study by Energy Ventures Analysis (EVA) is to better understand the cumulative impact the proposed CPP, recent air regulations and other market forces will have on both the U.S. economy as a whole and on average U.S. households. The study analyzes the increases in electricity and gas costs from 2012 (the base year of EPA’s CPP proposal) to 2020, the first year of EPA’s interim CO2 targets.

The cost comparisons are presented in both nominal and real dollars. However, because income growth is being outpaced by inflation for many Americans (the lower earning half of U.S. households experienced a 25% decline in real income from 2001-2014), the authors of this report believe that it is more appropriate to focus on the results in nominal terms.

Cost Impacts

EVA’s evaluation identified potential oversights in the EPA’s assumptions and analyses across multiple regulations, the combination of which has resulted in the EPA underestimating the actual cost of compliance with these regulations and their impact on energy markets. Additionally, baseline electricity and natural gas prices are expected to rise over the next 10 years. EVA’s study estimated the combined impact of these market factors, recent final regulations, and the proposed CPP and found:

 *  Annual power and gas costs for residential, commercial and industrial customers in America would be $284 billion higher ($173 billion in real terms4) in 2020 compared to 2012—a 60% (37%) increase. ± Electricity cost increases represent $177 billion ($98 billion) and natural gas increases represent $107 billion ($75 billion) of the $284 billion ($173 billion) cost increase from 2012 to 2020.

 *  In 2020, annual residential power and gas costs would be $102 billion ($87 billion) higher and would continue to escalate in subsequent years. 

Average annual household gas and power bills would increase by $680 ($293) or 35% (15%) from 2012 to 2020. ± Annual average electricity bills would increase approximately $340 ($102) or 27% (8%) from 2012 to 2020. ± Annual average home gas heating bills would increase approximately $340 ($190) or 50% (28%) from 2012 to 2020. 

*  The cost of electricity and natural gas will be impacted in large part due to an almost 135% increase in the wholesale price of natural gas (100% in real dollars), from $2.82/mmbtu in 2012 to approximately $6.60/mmbtu ($5.63) in 2020. These increases are due to baseline market and policy impacts between 2012 and 2020 as well as significantly increased pressure on gas prices resulting from recent EPA regulations on the power sector and the proposed CPP.5 

*  On a percentage basis, the U.S. industrial sector would be affected most severely, as its total cost of electricity and natural gas would approach $200 billion ($170 billion) in 2020, a 92% (64%) increase from 2012. ± Increased operational costs in the industrial sector are of particular concern for energy intensive industries in the U.S. such as aluminum, steel and chemicals manufacturing, which require low energy prices to compete. ± Industrial power consumers would be expected to pass energy cost increases on to their customers, affecting the costs of goods purchased by American consumers over and above increased monthly utility bills. 

*  The five states that would bear the greatest increases in annual residential power bills are Texas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Rhode Island. Families in these states would experience average electricity increases of more than $660 ($566) annually beginning in 2020 compared with 2012. ± In order to comply with the combined impact of recent power sector regulations and the proposed CPP, these states would face the choice of significantly increasing gas generation and/or significantly increasing wind and solar generation. The reduced operation of coal-fueled generation would render the surviving coal-fired power plants less efficient, producing more CO2 per megawatt hour (MWh) than if they operated at full output. 

*  With regard to gas bills, colder weather states in the Northeast and Upper Midwest that use the most natural gas per household would bear the greatest impacts. 

*  The states that would incur the largest total cost increases on a percentage basis are Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Dakota, averaging more than 115% increase in annual electricity and natural gas bills from 2012 to 2020

Much more HERE


In my view, industrialisation has added to the greenhouse gases of the world and thus to global warming (1). Moreover, CO2 is the most significant manmade greenhouse gas. So we should move to a low-carbon or zero-carbon world, right?

Not so fast. This simplistic, black-and-white view of carbon is far too prevalent. About 18 per cent of the human body is carbon. Trees and plants, which form a sink for CO2 and turn it, through photosynthesis, into oxygen, are made of carbon. Coal- and gas-fired power stations that emit CO2 are not ‘dirty’, and nor is it right, when referring to CO2 emissions, to contrast ‘dirty’ coal with ‘cleaner’ gas. It’s time to rescue carbon from its pariah status.

There is widespread hatred for the stuff. In America, the National Resources Defense Council wants to ‘stamp out’ humanity’s carbon footprint, even though no two calculators of one’s personal footprint have been known to agree. Not content with inveighing against ‘dirty’ energy, Canadian radical Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything, uses the phrase ‘carbon-spewing’ five times – about roads, container ships, jumbo jets, holidays and China’s Pearl River Delta. Away from the vomit, environmentalists want zero-carbon homes, cities and resorts. And there are the websites: here, for example, or here.

It’s all very one-sided. As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms. Not for nothing was the EU’s recent Rosetta space mission to one of our solar system’s comets dedicated to – and successful at – finding carbon, the source of life on Earth.

Carbon apps in materials, electronics, solar power – and materials again

The applications of carbon in the world of materials alone show how wonderful it is. As it happens, Rosetta’s lander module, Philae, had a frame, antenna and landing legs made of carbon fibre. Back on Earth, America’s Food and Drug Administration last year approved our old carbon-based friend, plastics, for cranial implants. Connecticut’s Oxford Performance Materials uses polyetherketoneketone, which is a high-performance thermoplastic, for the job.

In electronics, one kind of carbon – carbon nanotubes, or CNTs – is now working with another, one-carbon-molecule-thick graphene. The result is applications that promise to be impressive once they move out of the lab. Carefully aligned single-walled CNTs, when mixed with nitrogen-doped sheets of reduced graphene oxide, can make fibres that can be woven into clothing to act as long-life micro-supercapacitors, so powering wearable medical devices with as much clout as conventional lithium-ion batteries. Again in flexible electronics, strong, fast-working CNT circuits can now be doped by another carbon-based material, DMBI, so they can handle fluctuations in power just as well as rigid silicon chips, and can beat bendy but specially formulated plastic electronics on strength and performance.

CNTs show the myriad roles that carbon can perform. When bonded to graphene, they could make powerful solar cells. There is also the extraordinary news that, at modest temperatures and pressures and with no hairy chemicals, pushing controlled, alternating voltage pulses across single-walled networks of CNTs can enlarge their diameter, give them multiple walls, or turn them into multi-layered nanoribbons of graphene: good for high-conductivity electronics, as well as for reinforcing composites in transport and sports equipment.

Apart from its physics and chemistry, the biology bound up with carbon confirms its technological prowess. From wood and fibre crops, the EU’s Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) aims to develop pulped cellulose – (C6H10O5)n – into textiles, films and thermoplastics. It wants to improve the fermentation of crops to make biosurfactants for cleaning, and specialty carbohydrates with applications cheaper than those that already exist in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Other BIC projects may create, from new techniques of processing forest products, materials for packaging, papers, fibres and glues, as well as components in construction and cars. Through similar strategies with beet pulp, potato pulp and brewers’ spent grain, the BIC also hopes for new paints and coatings, too (3).

Making use of CO2

The miracles of carbon, whether in nanotubes, layers of graphene, or long-chain molecules, give the lie to environmentalism’s absolutist disgust for it. But what verdict should be made about CO2, the gas? Once again, it isn’t an unalloyed evil.

In the US, three companies – Skyonic, Joule and Novomer – are worth tracking over the next few years. Skyonic combines salt, water and electricity with the emissions from power plants to produce baking soda, hydrochloric acid and bleach.

Joule? Deploying genetically engineered bacterial catalysts, it uses modular, scalable converter ponds to turn concentrated industrial waste CO2, non-potable water and sunlight directly into different fuels, including a species of diesel which it claims is free of sulphur and aromatic chemicals. Joule believes this process is superior to that which generates fuels from algae.

Last, Novomer has developed metallic catalysts, such as beta-diiminate zinc acetate, that can quickly polymerise CO2 by bonding it, in pressurised reactors that operate with low temperatures and energy inputs, to small organic molecules called epoxides. The outcome: relatively inexpensive and biodegradable plastics (polycarbonates, polyurethanes) that are up to 50 per cent composed of CO2.

Much more tricky than these kinds of processes is the retrieval of CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than from industry. Such a process has both advocates and detractors. But we shouldn’t yet rush to dismiss ‘air capture’ as eternally difficult and uneconomical or, to paraphrase Klein, as a falsely comforting distraction from the need to change our lifestyles. Global warming has still left us plenty of years in which to make the technology a viable proposition (4).

Toward a new carbon infrastructure

Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge is a competition for air capturers of CO2 that offers just $25million in prize money. Yet as Klein notes, Branson is on record as saying: ‘Carbon is the enemy. Let’s attack it in any possible way we can, or many people will die just like in any war.’ Clearly, hyperbole and alarmism characterise even the can-do camp among those who make global warming their Alpha and their Omega.

The industrial-scale recycling of CO2, and the harnessing of carbon in all branches of industry, exposes how a messianic – indeed, Manichean – hostility to carbon is a one-sided fraud. In the third paragraph of Capital, Karl Marx observed that to discover the various uses of things ‘is the work of history’. On the whole, then, the world is still in a prehistoric period in relation to carbon. It has yet fully to realise the potential of this most remarkable of atoms.

We will never enter a New Carbon Economy – that phrase, too, would be hyperbolic, just like the Internet Economy, the Biotech Century and all the rest. But the world could really do with a new carbon infrastructure (5), in which the properties of the element are used on a truly ambitious scale.

Some greens like ‘organic’ farming; yet that irrational cause does not prevent even them from castigating carbon in all its other forms. It’s time to get things straight. Even CO2 need not always be a problem. So let’s hear it for carbon!


How the Government’s Decision to Declare This Species Threatened May Hurt Its Survival

No good deed goes unpunished. Or at least, such was the case earlier this month when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Gunnison sage grouse as a “threatened” species.

Threats to the bird resulting from drought, disease, and habitat moved the states and particularly Gunnison County, Colo., to find creative solutions to protect and re-establish the bird.

Over the past 20 years, Utah’s and Colorado’s ranchers, conservationists and state and local leaders have worked to protect the Gunnison sage grouse. Utah, Colorado and the citizens of Gunnison County have spent more than $50 million during the past 20 years to conserve the Gunnison sage grouse.

Their mistake? They thought that a stable population in the Gunnison Valley would prevent the bird from being federally listed.

Yet the Fish and Wildlife Service did exactly that.

Despite Coloradans’ efforts, the Wild Earth Guardians—an environmental extremist lobbying organization—pressured the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the bird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act by Nov. 12 in an out-of-court settlement. The Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision to list the bird as “threatened” and to designate more than 1.4 million acres of potential habitat.

The decision has been met with bipartisan displeasure.

House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said it was “further evidence that the administration is more interested in meeting arbitrary settlement deadlines than basing decisions on actual science and data.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, responded that “this sends a discouraging message to communities willing to take significant actions to protect species and complicates our good-faith efforts to work with local stakeholders on locally driven approaches.”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, called the decision a step backward for conservation and the economy.

Obama repeatedly has said we don’t need to choose between the environment and stewarding our natural resources, but the administration’s decision dangerously assumes the exact opposite.

The Endangered Species Act, under which the Fish and Wildlife Service acted, perversely incentivizes the endangerment of vulnerable species by pitting landowners—the bird’s most immediate and natural caretakers—against vulnerable species by inviting heavy-handed federal intervention that often completely devalues property.

Property owners wanting to take action to protect a threatened species on their property invite federal intervention.

Given the way the Endangered Species Act works now, federal bureaucrats too often attempt to solve the problem by simply stopping development. For many, that risk is too costly and, as a result, these species suffer. For example, in the 1980s, one North Carolina landowner was arrested for cutting down pine trees on his property because the trees were a potential habitat for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Or consider this example from 2012. The Friends of Animals and WildEarth Guardians filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service to require Texas game ranchers to get a “take permit” from the federal government before hunting animals raised on their own private property. The addax, Dama gazelle and scimitar-horned oryx (affectionately known as the “three amigos”) are endangered in their native Africa, but Texas game ranches had begun raising and building up herds. They funded their efforts by offering select hunts.

Before the “environmentalists” won their lawsuit, ranchers pre-emptively offered inexpensive hunts to capitalize on their investment before regulations were finalized and devalued the hunts. As a result, the Exotic Wildlife Association estimated that the “three amigos” numbers in Texas are now at one-half to one-third of their 2010 levels.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gunnison sage grouse decision also may have a similar chilling effect on existing efforts to conserve the species. Of course this doesn’t matter to some extremists groups already promising to sue Fish and Wildlife Service for anything short of an “endangered” listing for the grouse.

Listing the Gunnison sage grouse disempowers and alienates rural landowners and ignores the concerted efforts of states and communities to protect the grouse. Species conservation efforts should be conducted on a situation-specific basis where the respect of private property and personal liberty are recognized as some of the most important tools to protecting America’s threatened species.


EPA Proposes Extreme Air Quality Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency just released its proposed new standard on ground-level ozone, which is a component of smog.

Every five years, the EPA is required by law to review and, if appropriate, revise these standards.

In 2008, the EPA issued an ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb). The new standard proposed by the EPA would decrease that level to 65–70 ppb, though the EPA is still openly considering an even lower standard of 60 ppb.

The EPA will use every reason under the sun to explain why this new standard is necessary for public health and safety. But here are a few things to keep in mind as the nation begins to discuss what such a standard could mean:

    EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expects you to take her word for it. Announcing the proposal, McCarthy wrote: “Critics play a dangerous game when they denounce the science and law EPA has used to defend clean air for more than 40 years. The American people should know better.” This kind of bullying sets up a false choice for the American people where any disagreement with the EPA’s conclusions is equivalent to being anti-science and pro-filthy air. It shows that the EPA is not interested in open debate or disagreement with the proposed rule. In essence, she is asking Americans to suspend their reason and accept the rule “because she said so.

    The quality of our air has vastly improved. We’re not living in the days of the Industrial Revolution or even the days of rivers catching fire. Concentration levels of every major pollutant regulated under the Clean Air Act have decreased since the EPA started measuring in 1980 (and were decreasing before then, too). Ozone levels have decreased by 33 percent, nitrogen dioxide levels by 60 percent, sulfur dioxide by 81 percent, carbon monoxide by 84 percent and lead by a whopping 92 percent. High ozone days in one of the nation’s worst counties, Los Angeles, have decreased 83 percent and average high ozone days around the nation have decreased 75 percent. (Figures are from the EPA’s database.)

    The rule is premature. States are still implementing the current standard of 75 ppb. We don’t even know what kind of impact, positive or negative, this last standard will have, and yet the EPA has proposed that states should already get moving on a new standard.

    The standards proposed would throw most counties out of compliance. There are 698 counties in the U.S. monitored for ozone (using 2010–2012 EPA data). Thirty-one percent of the 698 counties with ozone monitors would fail to meet the current 75 ppb ozone standard. If the EPA went forward with a 70 ppb standard, more than half of those counties would be in violation. If the EPA went forward with a 60 ppb standard, 647 of those counties, or 93 percent, would be in violation of the standard. Furthermore, a 60 ppb standard may be impossible to meet because background levels in some areas of the country have been found to regularly exceed 60 ppb.

    McCarthy and others continue to trivialize the costs of the proposed ozone rule. McCarthy writes that America does not have “to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.” The truth is, we still don’t have a healthy economy and this rule, if Congress sits by and allows it to go through, is certainly going to hurt.

The National Association of Manufacturers has said a 60 ppb standard would be the costliest regulation in U.S. history. According to a NERA Economic Consulting study conducted for NAM, a 60 ppb standard would:

    Reduce gross domestic product by $270 billion per year on average over the period from 2017 through 2040;

    Result in an average annual loss of 2.9 million job-equivalents (a measurement of lost jobs, fewer hours, and lower wages) through 2040;

    Impose $2.2 trillion in compliance costs from 2017 through 2040; and

    Decrease average household income by $1,570 per year.

Congress should not fund the implementation of any new ozone standard and should review the air quality process to protect the health and well-being of Americans.

Congress, not this unelected and unaccountable agency, needs to make the decision regarding standards that could have such a devastating impact on the economy.


Big Wind is pressing Congress for yet another bailout

Mary Kay Barton

Taxpayers beware! While you were sleeping, enjoying your family and eating turkey, Congress has been busy.

Congressional Republicans are negotiating with Senate Democrats to extend the infamous wind energy Production Tax Credit through to 2017, after which it will supposedly be phased out, just as was supposed to happen in the past. This sneaky, dark-of-night “lame duck” session tactic should be flatly rejected.

While you’ve been busy just trying to make ends meet, wondering why the cost of everything is going up, and agonizing over how your children and grandchildren will ever pay the mounting $18 TRILLION dollar national debt – the wind industry lobbyists’ group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), just sent Congress a letter seeking to extend the federal, taxpayer-funded wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The list of signers to AWEA’s letter include rent-seeking industries and “green” groups who’ve all benefitted by tapping into taxpayers’ wallets via the Big Wind PTC (aka: Pork-To-Cronies). It certainly isn’t hard to figure out why these corporations pay many millions of dollars to hire lobbyists and run national TV advertising campaigns geared at convincing crony-politicians to vote to continue these TAXES and higher energy prices on American citizens.

 AWEA’a letter is typical of wind industry propaganda. It makes specious claims about creating jobs and reducing pollution, without providing a shred of evidence to PROVE any of their claims. AWEA apparently hopes Congressional officials are “too stupid” to understand what energy-literate citizens nationwide know:  Industrial wind can NEVER provide reliable power. It raises electricity costs, even after subsidies are factored in. It kills more jobs than it creates. It defiles wildlife habitats and kills eagles, hawks, other birds and bats – with no penalties to Big Wind operators.

Here’s the reality: After 22+ years of picking U.S. taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ pockets, industrial wind has NOT significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions. It has not replaced any conventional power plants, anywhere. However, the $Trillions spent on these “green” boondoggles to date have significantly added to the $18+ TRILLION dollar debt that our children and grandchildren will have to bear.

 AWEA’s own statements from years and decades past can be used against them. To cite just one example, 31 years ago, a study coauthored by the AWEA stated:

The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D.

[American Wind Energy Association, et al. Quoted in Renewable Energy Industry, Joint Hearing before the Subcommittees of the Committee on Energy and Commerce et al., House of Representatives, 98th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1983, p. 52.]

In other words, the PTC should have ended 20 years ago, because wind energy would be self-sustaining by then. It wasn’t. It still isn’t. It never will be. We need to pull the PTC plug now!

Here are some details about the bill that is currently being negotiated during the lame duck session –before the newly elected, Republican majority Senate takes office and can do much about it.

In 2016, wind developers would be eligible for 80% percent of the PTC's value. They could also claim 60% of its value through the first nine months of 2017, after which it would supposedly expire.

The proposed congressional deal also seems to continue basing PTC eligibility on when project construction project begins. That opens huge doors for abuse.

The last time Congress extended the PTC, as part of its “fiscal cliff” deal in 2013, it said “eligibility” for taxpayer largesse covered projects “under construction,” rather than requiring that they be “placed in service” by a certain date. In practice, this means just a shovelful of dirt has to be moved by that date.

Remember too that the Production Tax Credit supposedly expired last year. But this clever language has allowed construction and expansion in the meantime. Meanwhile, Lois Lerner’s Internal Revenue Service has helpfully said projects that were started or “safe-harbored” prior to the PTC’s most recent pseudo-expiration can claim tax credits if they are in service by 2015. And then they can claim the $23-per-MWh credit for ten more years!

What a wonderful holiday gift for Big Wind and its political sponsors – at your expense.

Our government should NOT be in the business of picking and choosing the winners and losers in the energy marketplace – while assaulting and harming the very citizens they are forcing to pay for this “green” energy scam. It’s time for government to get out of the way and let the markets work!

The best solutions will rise to the top of their own accord because they will provide modern power at the best prices – thereby maintaining the reliable, affordable power that has made America great.

Citizens nation-wide have awakened to this massive “green” energy scam. Many have sent letters to Congress like the one below. You can join the fight by contacting your representatives and urging them to do the right thing: Protect American consumers, taxpayers and ratepayers. END Wind Welfare (#EndWindWelfare)!

Via email

Shale and cheap oil make America the new lucky country

We normally think of Australia as the “lucky country” but that label is surely better applied to the US today.

You could hardly envisage a more benign backdrop for its economy and stock market than the current environment of tumbling energy prices, low inflation, narrowing deficits, competitive industry, a popular currency and consequently lower-for-longer interest rates.

The frantic shuttle diplomacy in the run up to last week’s Opec summit in Vienna illustrated the pain being felt by the world’s less favoured nations – those like Venezuela and Russia which simply can’t balance the books at a $75 oil price. The meeting showed how difficult it can be to persuade individual countries, even members of a supposedly co-operative cartel like Opec, to work together if doing so runs counter to their own self-interest.

It may be beneficial to Opec as a whole to curb production in the face of surging US shale oil output and flagging global energy demand, but individual countries may quite rationally decide it is better to keep the oil flowing to protect their market share.

If you have built up enough foreign currency reserves in the good years (as Saudi Arabia has) and you want to make life tough for your new rivals in the marginal oilfields of North Dakota, you might feel a couple of years of cheap crude is a price worth paying.

The excess supply created by America’s shale revolution has been disguised in recent years by capacity reductions in war-torn countries such as Libya. But the producers’ luck has run out this year as supply has picked up around the world even as China’s slowdown and stagnation in Europe and Japan has reduced demand.

The jockeying for position by Saudi Arabia and others might sound like a game, but it really matters. With world oil exports amounting to around 40m barrels a day, the $40 drop in the oil price since June represents a transfer from oil exporters to oil consumers of more than $400bn a year.

US consumers have an extra $70bn in their pockets, money they used to spend on fuel and can direct towards eating out, buying electronic gizmos or going on holiday.

Even with the usual lag before consumers see the benefit of falling petrol prices, we are starting to feel the impact. Last week’s revision to third quarter US GDP, from 3.5pc to 3.9pc, was in part a reflection of more confident consumers with higher disposable incomes.

Americans’ increased purchasing power could hardly have come at a better time, as the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday consumption splurge gets under way.

With consumption accounting for two thirds of the US economy, this is one key benefit of the oil price slide. But it is not the only one. Cheap energy is rapidly replacing cheap labour as the key differentiator between countries competing for investment in a global marketplace. As emerging markets’ wage bills rise, America’s energy advantage becomes ever more significant.

Europe, which missed out on the first big shift, looks like being squeezed as badly by the second. No wonder companies like BASF are choosing to build any new chemical capacity on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and not the banks of the Rhine.

The third key benefit of cheap oil for the developed world, and America in particular, is the downward pressure it applies to an inflation rate that might otherwise have started to pick up on the back of a recovering housing market and falling unemployment.

Low inflation is providing the cover needed by central banks such as the Fed to keep monetary policy much looser for longer. Even when rates do start to rise, probably in the middle of next year in America and later still in the UK, the trajectory will be shallower and the end point lower in a world of cheap energy.

The falling oil price is not unqualified good news. For every consumer business looking at a Thanksgiving bonanza this weekend there is an over-borrowed oil drilling company that took advantage of super-cheap debt in the junk bond market and is now wondering how it will pay the coupon.

Energy companies represent 16pc of the US high-yield bond market, compared with 4pc a decade ago. Junk bonds can be the canary in the mineshaft for the stock market.

But that is a problem for another day. In the short-term, the US market’s string of new highs is a logical response to the emergence of the new lucky country.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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