Archives - April 2009

April
30, 2009

Gasbags America with their regularly scheduled absurdity: 186 mln in U.S. live with dangerous air pollution - WASHINGTON - Six in 10 U.S. residents -- more than 186 million people -- live in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution, the American Lung Association reported on Wednesday.

The air in many U.S. cities became dirtier last year, the association said in its annual "State of the Air" report.

"Despite almost 40 years since the Clean Air Act passed in 1970, six in 10 Americans still live in dirty air areas, areas where the air is unhealthful to breathe," the group's Paul Billings said in a telephone interview. (Reuters)

It seems ALA couldn't recognize a dangerous pollution level if it wore a name tag and hit them over the head with a protest placard.

Bottom line is that since the 1950s (long in advance of "clean air acts" and sundry "me too" grandstanding legislation) technological development and increasing wealth have meant incredible improvements in air, water and soil quality. Industrial development, profit-driven efficiency and increases in productivity has seen increases in forest area, more wild space and wildlife habitat and yes, cleaner air and water than had been seen around human settlements in millennia.

What would these guys rather have, the city air of developed industrial Western nations or the lethal indoor air heavy with wood and dung smoke from the open ovens of poor Africa and Asia?

"Killer smog" was history long before Earth days and flower power and it was made so by cheap, reliable baseload electricity (mainly coal-fired) and the introduction of gas and oil heating displacing inefficient coal and wood fires. Development and wealth generation cleans up our planet, the air we breath and the water we use while the anti-development, anti-capitalist dipsticks who falsely claim the mantle of environmental champions actually endlessly hinder the process.

Hilarious: Climate countdown: Half a trillion tonnes of carbon left to burn - To avoid dangerous climate change of 2C, the world can only burn another half a trillion tonnes of carbon, climate change experts warn

The world has already burned half the fossil fuels necessary to bring about a catastrophic 2C rise in average global temperature, scientists revealed today.

The experts say about half a trillion tonnes of carbon have been consumed since the industrial revolution. To prevent a 2C rise, they say, the total burnt must be kept to below a trillion tonnes. On current rates, that figure will be reached in 40 years. (The Guardian)

Boy they make up some goodies. It's not too hard to see how they came up with this particular magic number:

  • Using 5.137 x 1018 kg as the mass of the atmosphere (Trenberth, 1981 JGR 86:5238-46), 1 ppmv of CO2 = 2.13 Gt of carbon.
  • Approximately half annual anthropogenic emissions have been accumulating in the atmosphere (we think, while people have been paying close attention) so 500 Gt * 0.5 / 2.13 = ~117 ppmv CO2.
  • Current level ~385 + hypothetical accumulation of ~115 = magic number 600 ppmv (commonly used in calculations of 2xCO2).

Ta da! Nice round figure -- humans can only "afford" to oxidize another 500 Gt of carbon to escape another dreaded (and equally meaningless) number.

I wonder how much time, effort and funding was thrown into developing this nonsense figure? One which we managed with one reference look up and a few keystrokes in an already open spreadsheet, by the way.

This farce just gets worse by the day.

Time for a Realistic Approach to Climate Change - This morning, Professor Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia gave a most significant interview on BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme, ‘Today’. I should like to suggest that you take a moment to listen to this in full [it is only 4.41 minutes long]. The interview is available here: ‘Finding global warming solutions’.

I must then ask ‘global warming’ sceptics and realists to be patient, and not to prejudge what Mike is arguing from his opening sentences. I believe that what he is saying is of enormous importance, and that it deserves to be considered extremely seriously. Mike, as many of you will know, was the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and, as such, his opinion carries weight. Moreover, while Mike and I would most certainly disagree over certain aspects of climate-change science, I have always held him in the highest regard as one of the most careful and straight of the commentators on the subject. (Clamour Of The Times)

We can't solve global warming says climate change professor - Can we solve climate change? No we can't, according to a leading climate change professor.

Mike Hulme professor of Climate Change at East Anglia University reckons we are heading up a "dead end" by putting climate change science at the top of the political agenda.

In fact he thinks we are pretty arrogant to think we can control the climate.

Mike, who has spent the last 25 years researching climate change, has just written a book Why we disagree about climate change where he questions why climate change has become "the mother of all issues."

"Why is it that climate change has taken this premier position as the issue that humanity's future is at stake if we don't attend to climate change?"

Mike reckons "climate change" is unsolvable. People round the world are too different, with different needs, to come together. Since the "landmark" Kyoto agreement ten years ago emissions have accelerated.

Instead we should treat climate change as an idea like democracy or justice motivating us to live better so that we can act locally and regionally to get cleaner air, or power or eradicate poverty.

"We shouldn't be framing climate change as the problem that we have to solve above all others. If we do that we have constructed an unsolvable dilemma because of the multiple reasons why we disagree about climate change. We will never converge on a set of solutions. (Mike Swain, Daily Mirror)

Barking moonbat: The media laps up fake controversy over climate change - Proof of paid-for climate denial at the Global Climate Coalition comes as no surprise, but it is no less depressing for that

There are three kinds of climate change denier. There are those who simply don't want to accept the evidence, because it is too much to bear, or because it threatens aspects of their lives that they don't want to change. These are by far the most numerous, and account for most of those whose comments will follow this post. (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

You can play the barking moonbat game here -- unlike George we are offering a prize of some value (oddly enough, since George actually gets paid to do this while we have to raise our own funds).

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Deliberate Misrepresentation Letter of formal complaint to Clark Hoyt, Esq. Public Editor of NYTimes

Clark Hoyt, Esq., Public Editor and Readers’ Representative, The New York Times.

Dear Mr. Hoyt,

Deliberate misrepresentation in a front-page article by Andrew Revkin on Friday, 24 April, 2009

The New York Times guidelines for staff writers on “Journalistic Ethics” begin by stating the principles that all journalists should respect: impartiality and neutrality; integrity; and avoidance of conflicts of interest. Andrew Revkin’s front-page article on Friday, 24 April, 2009, falsely alleging that a coalition of energy corporations had for many years acted like tobacco corporations, misrepresenting advice from its own scientists about the supposed threat of “global warming,” offends grievously against all of these principles. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Greenpeace Protest Ties Up Traffic; Not So Green - By climbing a 140-foot crane and unfurling a large banner around sunrise yesterday, seven Greenpeace protesters made their "Stop Global Warming" message heard loud and clear to 17 environmental leaders from around the world -- and in the process ruined the Monday morning commute for thousands of Washingtonians and (oops!) actually contributed to global warming. (Capitol Weather Gang)

Draft climate proposals reveal split on new pact - LONDON, April 28 - A gulf needs to be bridged if the world is to sign a new climate treaty by a December deadline, according to proposals from more than 30 countries posted on a U.N. website on Tuesday.

The first suggested texts for a new pact underlined a rich-poor split on sharing the cost of fighting climate change, which has hampered ongoing U.N.-led climate talks meant to agree a deal in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Rich countries agree they have to lead a climate fight after enjoying two centuries of industrialisation, spewing billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air.

They differ with developing nations on how much of the burden they should carry. (Reuters)

Arctic Nations Say Will Cut Soot That Helps Thaw Ice - TROMSOE - Arctic nations agreed on Wednesday to crack down on soot that is darkening ice around the North Pole and hastening a thaw that they also blamed on global warming.

The eight-member Arctic Council, ending a two-day meeting in Norway, also snubbed requests by China, Italy, South Korea and the European Commission for wider involvement in the eight-member club that is becoming more important as ice retreats.

Council foreign ministers agreed to set up a "task force" to examine ways to cut down on soot -- caused by sources such as diesel fumes, forest fires or by grass burnt by farmers -- along with two other short-lived greenhouse gases. (Reuters)

Ooooh! Global warming causing massive ice chunks to break off from Antarctic shelf - Massive ice chunks are crumbling away from a shelf in the western Antarctic peninsula, researchers said on Wednesday, warning that 1,300 square miles of ice - an area larger than Luxembourg - was in danger of breaking off in coming weeks. (Daily Telegraph)

A tiny fragment of the massive Antarctic ice sheets have broken up (happens a lot, always has) but the net result is that there's more Antarctic ice now than there was 50 years ago. Are you panicked yet?

Hmm... 'Climate change' forces Eskimos to abandon village -- The indigenous people of Alaska have stood firm against some of the most extreme weather conditions on Earth for thousands of years. But now, flooding blamed on climate change is forcing at least one Eskimo village to move to safer ground.

The community of the tiny coastal village of Newtok voted to relocate its 340 residents to new homes 9 miles away, up the Ninglick River. The village, home to indigenous Yup'ik Eskimos, is the first of possibly scores of threatened Alaskan communities that could be abandoned.

Warming temperatures are melting coastal ice shelves and frozen sub-soils, which act as natural barriers to protect the village against summer deluges from ocean storm surges.

"We are seeing the erosion, flooding and sinking of our village right now," said Stanley Tom, a Yup'ik Eskimo and tribal administrator for the Newtok Traditional Council. (CNN)

So, uh... how long have the Inuit lived in permanent villages?

INTERVIEW-Bangladesh Fears Rising Seas "Devastating" - TROMSOE - Low-lying Bangladesh risks devastating impacts from rising world sea levels caused by climate change with risks that millions will be forced from their homes this century, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said.

She told Reuters that rich nations would have to help the densely populated country of 150 million people, possibly by opening their borders to environmental refugees.

Bangladesh faces threats from cyclones from the Bay of Bengal and floods inland along the vast mouth of the Ganges River.

"Bangladesh is going to be one of the worst affected countries as it is a low-lying delta," she said on the sidelines of a two-day conference on melting ice and the Arctic Council in Tromsoe, north Norway. (Reuters)

If the world warms and if there's an increase in the hydrological cycle then Bangladesh is likely to grow as a country -- it's basically a river delta built of Himalayan silt and has been growing over the years -- there's nothing to suggest it will be inundated by the sea.

Lies, Damned Lies and Al Gore on Climate (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Glikson flicked - Dr Andrew Glikson, the Australian National University warming alarmist who likens sceptics to ”parasites”, went through my 10 Global Myths to prove I was wrong, wrong wrong.

It was such a bizarrely weak effort that:

A. I relaxed, thinking that if this was the worst that could be said about my piece, I had nothing to fear.

B. I laughed, thinking that if this was the best that could be said about global warming theory by one of our leading alarmists, the whole house of cards was just one more puff from collapse.

I couldn’t be bothered replying to Glikson myself, thinking his failure to disprove me simply spoke for itself. But former MP Dr Jon Jenkins has not been so merciful. Read on for his forensic destruction of Glikson’s responses to the myths I’d identified, point by point. And ask at the end what it says about global warming and our universities that Glikson holds the position he does: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth: A Guest Weblog by David Douglass and John Christy

Our paper Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth has just been published in Energy and Environment. (Vol 20, Jan 2009). [Copies may be downloaded from http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/atmos/christy_pubs.html . preprint with figures in color at  http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/]  

We show in Figure 1 the well established observation that the global atmospheric temperature anomalies of Earth reached a maximum in 1998.

This plot shows oscillations that are highly correlated with El Nino/La Nina and volcanic eruptions. There also appears to be a positive temperature trend that could be due to CO2 climate forcing.

We examined this data for evidence of CO2 climate forcing.  We start by assumed that CO2 forcing has the following signature.

1. The climate forcing of CO2 according to the IPCC varies as ln(CO2) which is nearly linear over the range of this data. One would expect that the temperature response to follow this function.

2. The atmospheric CO2 is well mixed and shows a variation with latitude which is less than 4% from pole to pole. Thus one would expect that the latitude variation of the temperature anomalies from CO2 forcing to be also small.

Thus, changes in the temperature anomaly T that are oscillatory, negative or that vary strongly with latitude are inconsistent with CO2 forcing.

The latitude dependence of the UAH data is shown in Figure 2.

 

The anomalies are for NoExtropics, Tropics, SoExtropics and Global. The average trends are 0.28, 0.08, 0.06, and 0.14 K/decade respectively. If  the climate forcing were only from CO2 one would expect from property #2 a small variation with latitude.  However, NoExtropics is 2 times that of the global and 4 times that of the Tropics.  Thus one concludes that the climate forcing in the NoExtropics includes more than CO2 forcing. These non-CO2 effects include: land use [Pielke et al. 2007]; industrialization [McKitrick and Michaels 2007, Kalnay and Cai 2003, DeLaat and Maurellis 2006]; high natural variability, and daily nocturnal effects [Walters et al. 2007].

Thus we look to the tropical anomalies. If one is able to determine an underlying trend in the tropics, then assuming that the latitude variation of the intrinsic CO2 effect is small (CO2 property #2), then the global trend should be close to this value.

Figure 3 shows the tropical UAH data and the nino3.4 time-series. (Results consistent with these were found using RSS microwave temperatures, but evidence also presented here and elsewhere indicates RSS is less robust for trend calculations.)

One sees that the value at the end of the data series is less than at the beginning. However, one should not conclude from this observation that the trend is negative because of the obvious strong correlation between UAH and nino3.4.

The desired underlying trend, the ENSO effect, the volcano effect can all be determined by a multiple regression analysis. The regression analysis yields the underlying trend

            trend = 0.062±0.010 K/decade; R2 = 0.886.                 (1)

 Warming from CO2 forcing
           
How big is the effect from CO2 climate forcing?  From IPCC [2001]

             ΔT (CO2 ) ≈λ* ΔF (CO2 )                                             (2)

             ΔF (CO2 )  ≈ 5.33 ln (C/C0)*

where l is the climate sensitivity parameter whose value is 0.30 ºK/(W m-2) for no-feedback; C is the concentration of CO2, and C0 is a reference value. From the data the mean value of the slope of ln(C(t)/C(t0)) vs. time from 1979 to 2004 is 0.044/decade.

Thus,

                          ΔT (CO2 ) ≈ 0.070  K/decade                     (3)

This estimate is for no-feedback. If there is feedback leading to a gain g, then multiply Eq. 3 by g. The underlying trend  is consistent with CO2 forcing with no-feedback. It is frequently argued that the gain g is larger than 1, perhaps as large as 3 or 4. This possibility requires there to be some other climate forcing of negative sign to cancel the excess. From the results of Chylek [2007], this cancellation cannot come from aerosols. One candidate is the apparent negative feedback associated with changes in cirrus clouds when warmed [Spencer et al. 2007]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

ARIMA representation for daily solar irradiance and surface air temperature time series - Abstract: Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models are used to compare long-range temporal variability of the total solar irradiance (TSI) at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and surface air temperature series. The comparison shows that one and the same type of the model is applicable to represent the TSI and air temperature series. In terms of the model type surface air temperature imitates closely that for the TSI. This may mean that currently no other forcing to the climate system is capable to change the random walk type variability established by the varying activity of the rotating Sun. The result should inspire more detailed examination of the dependence of various climate series on short-range fluctuations of TSI. (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics)

Uh, no: Green energy a better bet - THE financial crisis has given many Australians reason to question the merits and timing of launching an emissions trading scheme to control carbon emissions. The debate is healthy, and hopefully will lead to a broader discussion about smarter ways to respond to this threat.

The Australian Government is to be commended for recognising the threat of climate change. Natural science has undeniably shown us that global warming is man-made and real. But just as undeniable is the economic science, which makes it clear that a narrow focus on reducing carbon emissions could leave future generations lumbered with major costs, without major cuts in temperatures.

At first glance, an ETS seems like a neat market solution to global warming. In fact, it is worse than a straightforward carbon tax, where the costs are obvious.

With an ETS, the costs - to jobs, household consumption and economic growth - are hidden, and easily lead to lobbying, special favours and heavy rent-seeking.

But there is a bigger problem with both a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system: they are ineffective, expensive ways to cut temperatures. (Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian)

In fact we have zero evidence that we can knowingly and predictably adjust the global temperature (in either direction) by tweaking emissions of peripheral variables. There is no known net advantage to humanity or the planet from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by any means.

Cap-And-Trade: Al Gore's Cash Cow - At the cap-and-trade hearings, it was revealed that not everyone will suffer from this growth-killing energy tax. A congresswoman wanted to know why sea levels aren't rising but Gore's bank account is.

When Gore left office in January 2001, he was said to have a net worth in the neighborhood of $2 million. A mere eight years later, estimates are that he is now worth about $100 million. It seems it's easy being green, at least for some.

Gore has his lectures and speeches, his books, a hit movie and Oscar, and a Nobel Prize. But Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., was curious about how a man dedicated to saving the planet could get so wealthy so quickly. She sought out investment advice we all could use in a shaky economy.

Last May, we noted that Big Al had joined the venture capital group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers the previous September. On May 1, 2008, the firm announced a $500 million investment in maturing green technology firms called the Green Growth Fund.

Last Friday, Gore was the star witness at the hearings on cap-and- trade legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Blackburn asked Gore about Kleiner-Perkins, noting that at last count they "have invested about a billion dollars invested in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and-trade legislation that we are discussing here today."

Blackburn then asked the $100 million question: "Is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?" Gore gave the stock answer that "the transition to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it but every penny that I have made I have put right into a nonprofit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge." (IBD)

Action Alert: Defeat Cap and Tax! - With the economy on shaky ground, you would think your elected officials in Washington, D.C. would try and find ways to ease the tax burden on hardworking Americans. Unfortunately, the powers that be on the far Left have other ideas. (FreedomWorks)

China Low-Carbon Path Hard But Doable: Study - BEIJING - China must swiftly decouple its rapid economic growth from rising carbon dioxide emissions for global greenhouse gas levels to stay manageable, the authors of a new study said, urging sweeping support to help that transition.

The study from Britain's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research by Tao Wang and Jim Watson finds China can transform into a "low-carbon economy" with the right mix of clean energy, carbon storage technology and development policies.

But at the release of the report to officials and experts in Beijing on Wednesday, Wang said the task of turning the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter into a green economy will be difficult, even in the easier scenarios.

And it would require big commitments of technology and funding from wealthy countries. (Reuters)

But is it worth doing? Somehow that's always the question they forget to ask.

Why? Canada Aims To End Traditional Coal Power: Report - OTTAWA - The Canadian government plans new regulations that will effectively phase out traditional coal-fired power stations, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said in an interview published on Wednesday.

He told the Globe and Mail newspaper that new coal plants would have to include technology to capture greenhouse gas emissions and inject them underground for permanent storage.

Ottawa also plans to impose absolute emission caps on utilities' existing coal-fired power plants and establish a market-based system to allow them to buy credits to meet those targets, he said.

"The approach that we've been working toward involves a cap-and-trade system relating to thermal coal, and the requirement of phasing out those facilities as they reach the end of their useful, fully amortized life," Prentice said. (Reuters)

Green jobless: Wind turbine maker to axe 600 jobs - One of the biggest renewable energy manufacturers in Britain announced on Tuesday it is to cut more than half its UK jobs – blaming the government for failing to support the sector.

In a grave blow to the government’s ambitions to create a “green” export industry, Vestas, the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines, will axe about 600 of its 1,100 UK employees, probably closing its factory in the Isle of Wight and cutting jobs elsewhere in the UK. (Financial Times)

Vestas blames UK planning bottlenecks for loss of 600 wind industry jobs - Wind turbine maker announces that local opposition to onshore wind and weakening pound mean Isle of Wight factory will close (Tom Young and James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Big Utilities Buy Into Britain's Nuclear Future - LONDON - Three of Europe's biggest utilities bought land to build nuclear power plants in England and Wales Wednesday, in a sale that generated 387 million pounds to retire old reactors the government wants replaced.

France's EDF bought a plot next to an old reactor at Bradwell near London, which it might sell on, and a joint venture between Germany's E.ON and RWE bought land at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in south-west England, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said Wednesday.

"The sale of these three sites is worth up to 387 million pounds ($571.4 million) which the NDA will use to help fund the cost of decommissioning," Richard Waite, acting chief executive of the government body responsible for managing Britain's old nuclear installations, said.

The government wants private companies to build enough new plants to replace the country's old state-built reactors, most of which will be shut over the next 10 years, to help limit carbon emissions and cut reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Europe's biggest utilities are lining up to do it, paying hundreds of millions for some well-placed farmland. (Reuters)

The Water Behind Ethanol - US ethanol producers didn't need more bad news. Despite federal and state blending subsidies and a steadily increasing federal mandate for the use of their product, the US ethanol industry has been suffering badly from low margins in the wake of last year's oil-price collapse. A number of companies, large and small, have been forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The bankrupt VeraSun, a former industry leader, recently sold seven of its plants to independent oil refiner Valero, and several others to its creditors. But while last year's "food vs. fuel" controversy has largely died down, thanks to lower corn prices, a new study from the University of Minnesota suggests that some ethanol production uses even more water than previously estimated--as much as 2,000 gallons of it for every gallon of ethanol produced in states where crops must be irrigated. This finding further undermines the environmental benefits of a fuel that saves significant amounts of oil but requires large inputs of natural gas and other fossil fuels, and thus offers only modest greenhouse gas improvements over gasoline. (Energy Outlook via ET)

Is hydrogen being left out in the cold? - Engineers fear incentives for electric cars could undermine hydrogen and biofuel research

The government's recent pledge to offer motorists incentives of up to £5,000 to buy electric vehicles is stoking fears that other forms of low-carbon vehicle technology, such as biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells, could be sidelined over the coming years. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Genes 'have key role in autism' - Scientists have produced the most compelling evidence to date that genetics play a key role in autism.

They highlighted tiny genetic changes that appear to have a strong impact on the likelihood of developing autism and related conditions.

The changes influence genes which help form and maintain connections between brain cells. (BBC)

Gene-altering compounds released from forest fires - Scientists in Washington State are reporting the first discovery of potent mutagenic substances in smoke from forest fires that often sweep through huge stands of Ponderosa pine in the western United States and Canada.

Their discovery of these mutagens — substances that can damage the genetic material DNA — is scheduled for the June 1 edition of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology. (ACS)

Maybe This Flu Isn't for the Birds, But the Last One Was - It seems like the end of the world. A deadly virus is sweeping across the globe killing off young and old alike. Media coverage goes round the clock dwelling on the danger. Sounds like the plot for a movie – Stephen King’s “The Stand” or maybe Will Smith’s “I Am Legend.” It’s also the media plot for the avian flu scare of 2006 that went nowhere.

Like most people, you have probably already forgotten. The media gave the danger tons of news coverage and ABC even delivered a cheesy made-for-TV apocalypse movie. Then … not much happened. The World Health Organization reports there have been 257 deaths from avian flu – worldwide. Less than 100 of those have come in the last two-plus years (2007-2009). But the media never looked at the symptoms of their own coverage to find out what was wrong.

This time, the threat might be real. U.S. officials have declared a public health emergency over the swine flu and international officials are warning this could become a pandemic. The virus has already spread to Europe and there are more than 100 dead just in Mexico.

But maybe the easiest way to tell that we should take this incident seriously is that the media never had a chance to pre-hype what might happen. So now, their round-the-clock response is, at least, driven by some actual events. (Dan Gainor, Townhall)

Perhaps, although there is considerable discrepancy in mortality reports (Yesterday in Aus there was a WHO announcement of just 7 deaths, not 100+ in Mexico).

News coverage temporarily reduces trans-fat buying - NEW YORK - News stories on the heart risks of trans fats seem to sway the public's shopping habits, but only for a short time, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that Los Angeles shoppers tended to buy fewer products containing trans fats in the week following media coverage of the artery-clogging fats. But the effects waned soon thereafter.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, point to a need for sustained public health campaigns to remind consumers why they should limit foods high in trans fat. (Reuters Health)

Revenge of the Aristocrats - Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne who is most famous for talking to plants, has signed a deal to make a movie and write a book about climate change. The project will be called “Harmony,” because, in Charles’s words, humankind must “rediscover that sense of harmony, that sense of being a part of, rather apart from, nature.” His film will educate the unruly masses — with their fast cars, fridges, and other planet-destroying luxuries — that human beings “have a sacred duty of stewardship of the natural order of things.”

The thought of being lectured about living more meekly by a taxpayer-subsidized prince who has never done a proper day’s work in his life — and who is currently flying around Europe on a private jet with a master suite and plush bathroom that will spew a whopping 53 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over the course of his five-day, $116,000 charter — is of course eye-swivellingly irritating. But this is something we’re getting used to in Britain — because here, environmentalism looks very much like the Revenge of the Aristocrats. The British green lobby is stuffed with the sons and daughters of privilege, for whom environmentalism provides a perfect, scientifically tinged gloss for expressing in a new way their old foul prejudices against mass, modern society. (Brendan O’Neill, Planet Gore)

Yet another way greenies harm the impoverished: Food Scare Sparks Developing World Land Rush: Think Tank - WASHINGTON - High food prices fueled a land-buying spree in developing nations, particularly in Africa, by countries and private investors wanting to assure food supplies for themselves, a think tank said on Wednesday.

The International Food Policy Research Institute said 15 million to 20 million hectares of farmland in poor nations were sold since 2006, or were under negotiation for sale to foreign entities.

Global recession may slow, but not end, the drive for farmland as a safeguard, said IFPRI Director General Joachim von Braun.

"Food prices will rise again and investment opportunities from a commercial perspective will increase again," he said during a telephone news conference.

The spate of land purchases "is truly a consequence" of the abrupt increase in food prices in 2007 and 2008, and by fears that stockpiles would run short, von Braun said.

The purchases increased local land prices, he said, because comparatively small amounts of land go on sale each year. (Reuters)

Isn't it great? Greenies come up with an imaginary problem, drive politicians to 'solve it' with absurd mandates -- in this case ethanol and biofuels -- and the poor in developing regions get clobbered again, this time because burning food pushed prices higher and shortages meant wealthy speculators outcompeted poor farmers for available land. Incidentally, this was not just a poor region effect as Arabs and Europeans bought up Australian cattle stations in prime regions at ridiculously high prices.

Making life inconvenient: Without Cafeteria Trays, Colleges Find Savings - SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — John Belushi memorialized them in “Animal House” as he stockpiled edible projectiles for an epic food fight. Generations of college students in the Northeast have deployed them as makeshift sleds. But the once-ubiquitous cafeteria tray, with so many glasses of soda, juice and milk lined up across the top, could soon join the typewriter as a campus relic.

Scores of colleges and universities across the country are shelving the trays in hopes of conserving water, cutting food waste, softening the ambience and saving money. Some even believe trayless cafeterias could help avoid the dreaded “freshman 15” — the number of pounds supposedly gained in the first year on campus (and on all-you-can-eat meal plans). “I like not having to carry a tray around,” said Peter McInerney, a freshman here at Skidmore College, as he grabbed a midafternoon snack of an egg sandwich, pancakes and apple juice. “It makes it feel like this is less of a machine just spitting food out. It’s still not home, but it feels more homey without the tray.”

The Sustainable Endowments Institute, a research organization that tracks environmental practices at the 300 colleges and universities with the largest endowments, said that 126 of them had curtailed use of trays, some of them banishing trays only from certain dining halls, and some introducing, for example, “trayless Tuesdays.” Such moves are often part of a larger push to embrace environmentalism that includes hiring sustainability coordinators, introducing solar panels, composting dining-hall waste and encouraging students to turn off lights with catchy sayings like “Do It in the Dark.” (New York Times)

April 29, 2009

Gore’s Inconvenient Enron - This is a worthy topic for continued congressional exploration. In short, the video and accompanying narrative dissect how, at his Friday Capitol Hill appearance touting a scheme to ration energy while in the process rewarding business who helped write the scheme: (Chris Horner, Cooler Heads)

Maybe Next Year? - The Hill reports that some Congressional Democrats are thinking that cap and trade legislation might be best considered in 2010: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Global warming alarmists out in cold - IT'S snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.

And that's just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours - and all over our global warming alarmists.

Time's up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.

Doubt it? Then here's a test. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Too much hot air in climate change row - The evidence for man-made climate change is equivocal

FOR several years, The Australian has argued that the potential dangers of climate change are such that the planet deserves the benefit of the doubt. The issue warrants wide and reasoned debate, which is why this newspaper covers all sides, lending much-needed balance. On Saturday, LaTrobe University's Robert Manne insisted it is "now beyond doubt that, through the release into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, human beings have been responsible for post-industrial global warming." Professor Manne admonished our coverage of leading academic geologist Ian Plimer's new book Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science.

Surely a measure of scepticism is healthy for a scientist. Professor Manne's dogmatic approach is questionable in light of the complexities surrounding climate change. Much of Antarctica is cooling, for instance, and ice is expanding in much of the region. Contrary to popular belief, extensive Antarctic melting would be required to raise sea levels substantially. Not that the trend is new. As long ago as 1995, this newspaper reported that the sheet of snow and ice covering Antarctica was growing. Scientists speculated it was an early indicator of global warming, and that the extra ice would increase sea levels when it eventually melted over 10,000 years.

Such a scenario does not support Professor Manne's belief that "humanity is at present marching, with eyes wide open, towards disaster". It lends greater credence to Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg's view that the immense cost of cutting greenhouse emissions in nations such as Australia would be better spent redressing malnutrition and preventable disease. Many fear an upsurge in malaria and other tropical diseases from global warming, but the billions of dollars that would be lost in cutting Australia's minuscule contribution to emissions - 1 per cent by 2030 - could go a long way towards eliminating malaria, which kills more than a million people a year - including one child every 30 seconds. (The Australian)

Sigh... Forecast for 2050: Catastrophic floods, crippling droughts and intense heatwaves - Torrential rains and heatwaves are predicted to increase in Ireland as climate change tightens its grip.

That’s the warning in a new research report published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Republic, which forecasts that many of the coming changes will be clearly visible within 40 years.

Intense one-in-10-year flooding events are likely to appear every three years in most river catchments by 2050, the report said. (Belfast Telegraph)

Climate Change Spin Doctors - Increased scrutiny of climate catastrophists' claims is leading to panic among the promoters of global warming hype. Rather than attempting to counter mounting evidence that global warming—at least as defined by the IPCC and its supporters—is not a valid scientific theory, a number of leading catastrophists have issued a public call to climate scientists. Their plea? Further dumbing down climate science by using a simplified “common climate language” to “advance the public's decision-making capacity.” (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

Further from reality: Huge ice sheets melting faster, expert warns - Antarctica, Greenland called 'awakening giants' in terms of sea level rise

OSLO - The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have awakened and are melting faster than expected, a leading expert told peers ahead of a conference of ministers from nations with Arctic territory.

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, an expert with the Center for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, told the conference in the Arctic town of Tromsoe that the need for a wake-up call was genuine for the polar and glacial regions.

"Antarctica and Greenland have been sleeping until now," she said. "Now they are awakening giants." (msnbc.com)

And here's his source: Gore pleads for rapid action to halt ice melt - Nobel prize-winning climate champion and former US vice president Al Gore called Tuesday for rapid action to prevent the potentially irreversible melting of the planet's ice.

Gore told the first conference devoted to melting ice, held in the Norwegian town of Tromsoe ahead of the UN meeting in Copenhagen in December, that melting was worse than the worst-case scenarios presented by experts a few years ago. (AFP)

North Pole: ice 100% thicker than expected - Surprising results

In Canada, "Polar 5", a research aircraft, has ended its recent Arctic expedition today. During the flight, scientists were measuring the ice thickness in regions that have never been overflown before. The result: the sea ice is apparently thicker than scientists suspected.

Under normal conditions, the ice is formed within two years and ends up being slightly above 2 meters of thickness. "Here, the thickness was as high as four meters," said the spokesperson for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. According to the scientists, this conclusion seems to contradict the warming of the ocean water.

Besides the thickness of ice, the expedition has also investigated the composition of the air. Lasers were used to study the air pollution by emissions from various countries. Within weeks, the results will be evaluated. About 20 scientists from the U.S., Canada, Italy, and Germany participated in the project.

[Well, I guess that you won't hear about this experiment from the journalistic suidae. Luboš Motl] Translation from German: Luboš Motl (The Reference Frame)

Unsustain-Nobility - According to CNN, Prince Charles, who at some point in the future can look forward to inheriting the United Kingdom, has just signed a book and film deal. Yes, the Prince of Wales is Britain’s answer to Al Gore. (Climate Resistance)

Countries Meet to Negotiate Global Climate Pact - Representatives from the world's major emitters of greenhouse gases wrapped up two days of talks in Washington today, saying they had made modest progress toward their goal of reaching a global climate pact in December.

The meeting of 17 nations -- one of three preliminary meetings before world leaders meet in Italy in July -- represented the relaunch of a process that former President George W. Bush initiated to address global warming outside of the formal United Nations climate negotiations. The Obama administration decided to continue the sessions, now called the Major Economies Forum, as a way of building what Obama deputy national security adviser Michael Froman called "political momentum for the development and deployment" of new, low-carbon technologies, as well as for the U.N talks.

Delegates from an array of nations described the two-day session as a trust-building exercise in which representatives could share blunt perspectives about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

A bit better than yesterday's howler: Is Hillary Clinton really backing her climate change rhetoric? - Hillary Clinton says the US is "no longer absent without leave" on climate change, but is she really backing up her rhetoric with sufficient resources?

Hillary Clinton told officials from the 17 biggest polluters today just how big a problem she believes climate change to be.

...the crisis of climate change exists at the nexus of diplomacy, national security and development. It is an environmental issue, a health issue, an economic issue, an energy issue, and a security issue. It is a threat that is global in scope, but also local and national in impact.

But is that really what she thinks?

Clinton, as secretary of state, has parcelled out some of the world's knottiest diplomatic problems - from Pakistan to the Middle East to climate change - to a series of high level envoys. But the Washington Post reports that while Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, has an $8.5m budget to take on 50 new staff - that's in addition to regular diplomats on the beat.

Todd Stern, her special envoy for Climate Change, is getting only half a dozen aides. That's just two more than the special envoy for Guantanamo.

The US is "no longer absent without leave" on the climate change issue, as Clinton put it, but is she really backing up her rhetoric with sufficient resources? (The Guardian Environment Blog)

UK's Guardian Fabricates America's Climate Change Apology - In an atmosphere of seemingly endless America-blaming apologies spewing from the Obama administration, a British newspaper apparently figured no one would question the one they invented yesterday. They were wrong – Hey, US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg, where exactly did Hillary issue an apology for “America's role in causing climate change?”

Oh sure, the Guardian’s headline was quite declarative -- US admits responsibility for emissions to bring big polluters together. And its lead was no less misleading, stating that “The Obama administration issued a mea culpa today on America's role in causing climate change.” But if any such apology took place at yesterday’s Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, it certainly didn’t appear in the words the British newspaper so ascribed. Nor, for that matter, anywhere in the speech itself. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

Sins Of Emission - Democrats may ram universal, taxpayer-provided health care through this year, but they might not be able to do the same with a climate change bill. Is this another sign the issue is fading?

The public has grown skeptical of the global warming threat. Polls show a growing number of Americans think the risks are inflated and consider many other issues to be in greater need of attention. Pew Research found that the public ranks global warming dead last out of 20 concerns facing the country.

Congressional Democrats, who want to pass a climate change bill this year that will limit carbon dioxide emissions, are running into resistance in the Senate — where they'll soon have a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority with the defection of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party to the Democrats. (IBD)

GOP on offense in fight against Democrats' climate bill - When it comes to climate change, Republicans are all over the map. Some are skeptics about the science and causes of global warming, while others worry about the potential economic costs of a cap-and-trade program.

What brings them together? Democrats.

From demanding more hearings on the House Democrats' climate change and energy bill to asking Al Gore about potential financial gains from renewable energy investments, the GOP is on the offensive and dialing up the rhetoric. (ClimateWire)

“Coalition of Nearly 200 Associations Releases Study Exposing Economic Consequences of Cap & Trade“ - A PSA for the cause, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

Ahead of Congressional action on proposed cap and trade legislation, Charles River Associates today released a study, commissioned by the Coalition for Affordable American Energy (CAAE), exposing the economic consequences of the bill. The data projects broad increases in energy costs that will result in more than 3 million jobs lost by 2030 and a cost of more than $2,100 per household. (Chilling Effect)

Journalists Show Bias on Global Warming Issues - Read these quotes:

“As scientific evidence has accumulated that the planet is warming and that humans are behind it, many previous skeptics have been won over. There remains a vocal cadre of critics, however, at least some of whose arguments have shifted over the last several years from outright denial that the earth is warming to insisting it's unrelated to human activity — and even if it is, likely nothing much to worry about."

"Some of the most vocal skeptics have done relatively little recent peer-reviewed scientific research on the topic, and some have had their voices amplified via financial support from industries opposed to any government regulation or taxation of greenhouse gas emissions."

"Others do have training and experience, at least in some aspects of the wide-ranging issue, and are not bankrolled by industry. But overall, their number represents a distinctly minority position in the ongoing and normal colloquy among scientists about the evidence of climate change and its likely impacts."


The paragraphs above are taken from the website of the Society of Environmental Journalists section on “Skeptics and Contrarians."

Their choice of words and the structure of these comments disclose their preference and prejudices of the global warming issues. They also show a remarkable lack of what science is and how it proceeds. These are the self-appointed journalists who view themselves as final arbiters and reporters of what science is. They haven’t a clue.

What is remarkable is that a society of Journalists, allegedly intending to honestly discuss complex issues, has forfeited their professed dispassionate indifference to the global warming issues in exchange for naked advocacy. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

Why not just leave them there? Climate change activists in custody after Westminster protest - Protesters belonging to Climate Rush group arrested after gluing themselves to a statue in the central lobby of the Houses of Parliament (Press Association)

Dr. Leonard Weinstin (former NASA Senior Research Scientist) Shows How AGW Is Not A Problem - Dr. Leonard Weinstein worked 45 years at the NASA Langley Research Center, finishing his career there as a Senior Research Scientist. Dr. Weinstein is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace. He is now a critic of the anthropogenic theory of global warming. His analysis shows that man has contributed less than 0.30C of warming and by the year 2100 may contribute less than 0.40C additional warming. This is much less than what the United Nations IPCC has predicted and of course a small fraction of what alarmists such as Al Gore and James Hansen have predicted.

Below is a summary of Dr. Weinstein's work, we highly recommend you follow the links to read the complete papers. His work is compelling and is yet one more example of a prominent scientist that disagrees with the anthropogenic theory of global warming. (Global Warming Hoax)

New Paper “Climate Response To Regional Radiative Forcing During The Twentieth Century” By Shindell And Faluvegi 2009

Climate Science has reported on the role of aerosols in the Arctic as a radiative warming effect; e.g. see

New Study On The Role Of Soot Within the Climate In The Higher Latitudes And On “Global Warming”

New Paper Elevates The Role Of Black Carbon In Global Warming

Arctic Tundra Shrub Invasion And Soot Deposition: Consequences For Spring Snowmelt And Near-surface Air Temperatures.

This includes the study we published

Strack, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Liston, 2007: Arctic tundra shrub invasion and soot deposition: Consequences for spring snowmelt and near-surface air temperatures. J. Geophys. Res., 112, G04S44, doi:10.1029/2006JG000297

There is a very important new paper that adds significantly to this subject. it is

Drew Shindell & Greg Faluvegi, 2009: Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century. Nature Geoscience 2, 294 - 300 (2009) Published online: 22 March 2009 | doi:10.1038/ngeo473.

The abstract reads

“Regional climate change can arise from three different effects: regional changes to the amount of radiative heating that reaches the Earth’s surface, an inhomogeneous response to globally uniform changes in radiative heating and variability without a specific forcing. The relative importance of these effects is not clear, particularly because neither the response to regional forcings nor the regional forcings themselves are well known for the twentieth century. Here we investigate the sensitivity of regional climate to changes in carbon dioxide, black carbon aerosols, sulphate aerosols and ozone in the tropics, mid-latitudes and polar regions, using a coupled ocean–atmosphere model. We find that mid- and high-latitude climate is quite sensitive to the location of the forcing. Using these relationships between forcing and response along with observations of twentieth century climate change, we reconstruct radiative forcing from aerosols in space and time. Our reconstructions broadly agree with historical emissions estimates, and can explain the differences between observed changes in Arctic temperatures and expectations from non-aerosol forcings plus unforced variability. We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades.”

The conclusion of the paper includes the text

“Our results suggest that aerosols have had a large role in both global and regional climate change during the twentieth century. Both these results and forward modelling indicate that Arctic climate is especially sensitive to Northern Hemisphere short- lived pollutants. Arctic trends may also be related to internal atmosphere-ocean dynamics. Our analysis is consistent with a large role for internal variability, but suggests an even greater impact from aerosol forcing on trends since 1930. A large aerosol contribution to mid-twentieth century Arctic cooling perhaps accounts for the lack of polar amplification in some studies. During 1976-2007, we estimate that aerosols contributed 1.09 +/- 0.81 C to the observed Arctic surface temperature increase of 1.48 +/- 0.28 C. Hence, much of this warming may stem from the unintended consequences of clean-air policies that have greatly decreased sulphate precursor emissions from North America and Europe (reducing the sulphate masking of greenhouse warming) and from large increases in Asian black carbon emissions.”

“Our calculations suggest that black carbon and tropospheric ozone have contributed ~0.5-1.4 C and ~0.2-0.4 C, respectively, to Arctic warming since 1890, making them attractive targets for Arctic warming mitigation. In addition, they respond quickly to emissions controls, and reductions have ancillary benefits including improved human and ecosystem health”.

This new paper further bolsters the conclusion that, as reported on Climate Science (see), that

“Research has shown that the focus on just carbon dioxide as the dominate human climate forcing is too narrow. We have found that natural variations are still quite important, and moreover, the human influence is significant, but it involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to the human input of CO2 (e.g. see NRC, 2005 and Kabat et al, 2004). These other forcings, such as land use change and from atmospheric pollution aerosols, may have a greater effect on our climate than the effects that have been claimed for CO2.”

My perspective on the diversity of human climate forcings beyond the radiative effect of added CO2 is sumarized in

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. [View PDF of Oral Summary]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

CO2: The Utterly Amazing Air and Water Pollutant: In honor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant, we direct you to our editorial of 1 November 1998. As a famous ball player once said: It's déjà vu all over again!

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 697 individual scientists from 406 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lake Stora Viðarvatn, Northeast Iceland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Arctic Temperatures (Variability - Late Holocene): How do prior temperatures experienced in earth's high northern latitudes during the latter portion of the current interglacial compare with those of the late 20th century?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: a perennial herb (Song et al. 2009), Barley (Manderscheid et al. 2009), Beach Morning Glory (Song et al. 2009), and Chinese Fever Vine (Song et al. 2009).

Journal Reviews:
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Is It About to Self-Destruct?: A new study of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet's behavior during the early Pliocene of five to three million years ago sheds new light on its future stability.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: How Fast Could It Collapse?: A new model of West Antarctic Ice Sheet behavior, created in conjunction with newly acquired empirical evidence, suggests it will not be disappearing any time soon.

Eleven Years of CO2 Enrichment of a Scrub Oak Ecosystem: What were the results? ... and how did they evolve over time?

Surface Greenhouse Gas Balance: Woodlands vs. Pastures: Which type of land surface helps most to slow global warming? ... and why?

Forest Litter Production and Soil Carbon Sequestration: How does the former promote the latter? ... and how is the process affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

Incredible Sea Level Rise Is -- Not Credible - CHURCHVILLE, VA—A recent scientific paper quoted in the N.Y. Times claimed Mexican corals that died 120,000 years ago showed sea levels might have surged 10 feet in just 50 years! If so, such a sea-level rise must have involved a big ice-melt in Antarctica.

Beware, however. Global warming alarmists are particularly desperate to claim that the Antarctic is “warming first” —as the computerized climate models predicted the Polar Regions would. That’s a problem. Satellite readings show the Antarctic ice is increasing by 45 billion tons per year and the Antarctic sea ice is at record-large extent. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Australian Firms Win Green Energy Exemptions: Report - CANBERRA - Energy-intensive industries could be offered exemptions by Australia's government on its 20 percent renewable energy target as financial tumult saps support for its climate change policies, a report said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would ask state leaders to sign off on further concessions for big electricity users including pulp and paper, steel, cement and silicon industries at a meeting on Thursday in Hobart, the Australian newspaper said in an unsourced report.

The centre-left government has already foreshadowed an exemption for aluminium, which consumes about 15 percent of electricity nationally.

Major industries had complained about the "double whammy" from a planned carbon emissions trading system, set to begin next year, and the new renewable energy target, which requires electricity retailers and large users to source 20 percent of their energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Broader renewable exemptions could soften industry resistance to the emissions trading law when it faces an obstructive upper house senate dominated by government opponents and swing-vote independents next month, the paper said. (Reuters)

China’s Petro-Shopping Spree - Armed with loads of ready cash, China has been on a shopping spree for oil resources. Over the past few months, Chinese companies have committed tens of billions of dollars as part of a government-sponsored oil and petrochemical stimulus plan to secure energy supplies.

Kazakhstan was the latest to sign onto a multi-billion cash-for-oil agreement with China. But there is a long list of countries that have sought Chinese cash to finance rapid development of their crude and gas reserves or to pay for their public deficits. It includes Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Russia, Angola and several other Africa countries for nearly $50 billion this year alone, on top of other deals last year.

Most of the money is going to Russia and Kazakhstan, but almost half is going to Latin America. Even Colombia, the US top regional ally, recently called on Beijing to boost investment in the country’s oil sector. Cuba and Mexico are also on the radar screen, albeit on a longer term.

The relationships with oil-producing countries, which is only expected to burgeon into the future, makes sense. This week, Beijing is expected to spell out just how much money will be allocated to Chinese companies to help them finance foreign oil acquisitions as part of its stimulus package.

China anticipates a four-fold increase in domestic oil demand by 2030. And it is sitting atop nearly $2 trillion in foreign currency reserves. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

Author David A. Kirsch On The Past – And Future – Of Electric Cars - David Kirsch knows the history of electric cars as well as anyone in America. His book, The Electric Vehicle and the Burden of History, published in 2000, has become one of the key reference sources on the subject. His work in academia has focused on industry emergence, technological choice, technological failure and the role of entrepreneurship in the emergence of new industries. In The Electric Vehicle, he wrote that the automobile is not just a piece of machinery, it is “a material embodiment of the dynamic interaction of consumers and producers, private and public institutions, existing and potential capabilities, and prevailing ideas about gender, health, and the environment.” Kirsch got his undergraduate degree at Harvard, his masters at the State University of Limburg, and his Ph.D. (in history) from Stanford. He’s now an assistant professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Flu Fears - The media loves a good scare and the word pandemic is a guaranteed headline grabber. By this evening, there were nearly 70,000 news stories about an influenza pandemic, many accentuated by pictures of crowds of people wearing blue surgical masks. But scaring you half to death with speculations of a new pandemic does little to help you. The known facts, offered in a balanced perspective, is really news you can use.

As is the case with virtually everything scary in the media, reputable scientists and health experts provide reassuring facts and information. The world is not coming to an end and there is surprisingly little cause for panic. (Junkfood Science)

Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO - A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease. (AAP)

Obesity becoming U.S. civil rights issue for some - NEW YORK - Kate Harding has spent most of her life on one diet or another, losing weight but always gaining it back. Determined to improve her quality of life, she joined a fast-growing group of anti-dieting activists promoting overweight people's civil rights.

Launching an anti-dieting blog called Shapely Prose, Harding and other fat-acceptance advocates online -- calling themselves the fat-o-sphere -- are also educating one another about how to improve overweight people's health.

She and other bloggers with names like FatChicksRule and Big Liberty say society's "war on obesity" makes overweight people hate their bodies and suffer from low self-esteem.

"Being fat doesn't make me lazy or stupid or morally suspect," said Harding, 34, of Chicago, who also has written a book, "Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere."

"The message we're promoting is health at every size."

Her blog entries criticize dieting obsessions and ponder coverage of weight issues in the mainstream media. (Reuters)

Science cash 'to beat food riots' - Food riots are a real threat in some developing and emerging countries unless funds for agricultural research are increased, says a UK scientist.

Prof Douglas Kell says investment in the UK alone needs to be increased by £100m if farmers are to produce sufficient food to meet global demand.

"This is happening now," he told BBC News. "Last year, in Indonesia and Mexico, there were food riots."

Prof Kell leads the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

He envisages further unrest if there is not a major effort to develop agricultural science. (BBC News)

Basically all that is required is for governments to stop mandating things -- ethanol, for example -- and get out of the way. The next thing they need to do is stop paying attention to misanthropic anti-development, anti-agriculture greenies and the incestuous plethora of NGOs obstructing water storage and reticulation, intensive agriculture, energy provision, transport infrastructure and wealth generation everywhere (it's really quite remarkable what wealthy societies can and are willing to do). Is government funding and government directed research a good thing? I really don't believe it is. Discussed under this topic on the forum.

'GREEN FATIGUE' - Stephen Drucker, the creator of the New York Times Sunday "Styles" section who after steering Martha Stewart Living is now editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, says the "whole subject of 'green' wants to make the top of my head come off."

Lecturing at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Mr. Drucker said "green is complicated" and "comes around every thirty years."

For proof, he displayed an entirely "green issue" of House Beautiful devoted to the environment dated October 1949. "The Scientists Behind Climate Control," blared one of the headlines 60 years ago. Another: "How to Fix Your Private Climate." One article suggested Americans move to the suburbs to escape "indoor pollution."

A green issue of House Beautiful was also published in 1979, asking: "Energy: Oil, Sun or Wind?"

On the same day this columnist attended Mr. Drucker's lecture, Katherine Bagley of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) wrote: "Another year, another Earth Day, another wave of 'Green Issues' on newsstands … or not. After three years, the springtime fad seems to have run its course, with a number of magazines cancelling and cutting back their special editions on the environment."

She suggested “green fatigue” has swept the nation. Indeed, only last year CJR reported that the number of special environment issues had nearly doubled since 2007.

"This year, the tide turned mightily," she wrote, with Outside, Vanity Fair, Discover, Mother Jones and others canceling green issues. Time and Newsweek even stepped back. Only U.S. News & World Report, Miss Bagley reported, produced "this year's only truly cover-to-cover green issue." (John McCaslin, Townhall)

Misanthropy rules: Government revokes rule limiting species protections - The Obama administration said Tuesday it was overturning a rule change made in the final weeks of the Bush presidency.

Officials at the Interior and Commerce departments said they have reimposed the consultation requirement that assured the government's top biologists involved in species protection will have a say in federal action that could harm plants, animals and fish that are at risk of extinction.

Such consultation had been required for more than two decades until the Bush administration made it optional in rules issued last December, just weeks before the change in administrations. Environmentalists argued that the change severely reduced the protection afforded under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Associated Press)

April 28, 2009

More money thrown at publicly funded research? President Obama Addresses NAS Annual Meeting - In a speech to National Academy of Sciences members gathered for the Academy's 146th annual meeting, President Barack Obama announced major initiatives to boost research funding and bolster math and science education. He said he was restoring science to its rightful place, and urged NAS members to join him in creative efforts to engage young people in science.

Probably not a good idea. Further comments here under yesterday's discussion How do we rescue the research environment from this invasive species?

Clear and present danger? U.S. pledges to make up for lost time in climate fight - WASHINGTON - The United States gathered China, India and the world's other top greenhouse gas polluters in Washington on Monday to "make up for lost time" and lay the groundwork for a U.N. deal to fight climate change.

The meeting, which President Barack Obama called last month, groups countries representing some 75 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions to find ways to help seal a global warming pact this year.

"The United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told delegates from 16 major economies as well as the European Union and the United Nations.

"Climate change is a clear and present danger to our world that demands immediate attention." (Reuters)

Quick! Someone give the president a copy of the 1990 Tom Clancy novel Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan) -- or at least the somewhat trivial Harrison Ford movie made from it.

Mr. President, Hollywood bogeymen do not constitute a "clear and present danger" and that most particularly applies to "globally averaged temperatures" (note that you are not, in fact, president of the fictional realm of "Globally Averaged").

Reckless 'Endangerment' - The Obama EPA plays 'Dirty Harry' on cap and trade.

President Obama's global warming agenda has been losing support in Congress, but why let an irritant like democratic consent interfere with saving the world? So last Friday the Environmental Protection Agency decided to put a gun to the head of Congress and play cap-and-trade roulette with the U.S. economy.

The pistol comes in the form of a ruling that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant that threatens the public and therefore must be regulated under the 1970 Clean Air Act. This so-called "endangerment finding" sets the clock ticking on a vast array of taxes and regulation that EPA will have the power to impose across the economy, and all with little or no political debate.

This is a momentous decision that has the potential to affect the daily life of every American, yet most of the media barely noticed, and those that did largely applauded. When America's Founders revolted against "taxation without representation," this is precisely the kind of kingly diktat they had in mind. (Wall Street Journal)

<GUFFAW> US admits responsibility for emissions to bring big polluters together - Hillary Clinton offers admission to ease obstacles towards reaching agreement at climate change summit in Copenhagen

The Obama administration issued a mea culpa today on America's role in causing climate change, in a move to get the major economies working together on a global warming treaty.

The admission by Hillary Clinton at a two-day meeting of the world's biggest polluters was intended to ease some of the obstacles towards a deal at UN talks in Copenhagen in December. She placed the gathering of officials from 17 countries, the European Union and the United Nations on a par with the G20 meeting on the economic crisis earlier this month. (The Guardian)

Funny, that's just what 'W' said: Clinton: China, India must join climate action - 'We all have to do our part,' she tells delegates from major economies

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that any agreement to combat global warming should require developing countries like India and China to reduce emissions, a position that prevented former President George W. Bush from signing an international pact. (AP)

Although this looks more like a case of deliberately sabotaging the upcoming talks so the Obama Administration can pretend willingness to take action.

Hopeless blend of hot air and hubris - THE ancient Greeks invented the idea of hubris, of human beings having overweening pride and self-esteem that needed to be punished for its excess. There are perhaps those who believe that what is commonly called climate change is a punishment for hubris, for human beings having gone beyond their place in the scheme of things.

However, an equally good case can be made that the call for human beings to make far-reaching changes to their way of life in response to climate change is itself a form of hubris. To begin, it is based on the belief that human endeavours, in the shape of industrial development, have had such an impact on the Earth that they threaten to disrupt its environment on an enormous scale. Not only have humans made such an impact on the planet, they are also capable, through an act of will, of reversing that impact and setting things right.

According to this scenario, human beings are the most important players in the history of the planet; they are the lords and masters who can destroy things as well as set them right. This belief in the capacity of humans to control the environment is very old. In some ancient civilisations the ruler was supposed to have the power to create a beneficial climate. If there were a prolonged drought, then the ruler sometimes was expected to make the ultimate sacrifice to propitiate the gods. During the depths of the Little Ice Age in Europe, some communities asked God for forgiveness of their sins so that a better climate might return.

Today, however, we look to the state to return us to the path of righteousness. Government can undo the wrongs that we have inflicted on the planet.

Think how much worse it would be for us if it could be demonstrated that the process of global warming were outside of human hands and unable to be manipulated by human efforts. The most we could do would be to adapt to the changes that are occurring. It would be a huge blow to humanity's ego. (Greg Melleuish, The Australian)

Global Warming Overreach - Congressman Henry Waxman played to the crowds this week with high-profile hearings designed to boost his climate legislation. To listen to the Energy and Commerce committee chair, a House global warming bill is all but in the recyclable bag.

To listen to Congressman Jim Matheson is something else. During opening statements, the Utah Democrat detailed 14 big problems he had with the bill, and told me later that if he hadn't been limited to five minutes, "I might have had more." Mr. Matheson is one of about 10 moderate committee Democrats who are less than thrilled with the Waxman climate extravaganza, and who may yet stymie one of Barack Obama's signature issues. If so, the president can thank Democratic liberals, who are engaging in one of their first big cases of overreach.

Not that you couldn't see this coming even last year, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi engineered her coup against former Energy chairman John Dingell. House greens had been boiling over the Michigan veteran's cautious approach to climate-legislation. Mr. Dingell's mistake was understanding that when it comes to energy legislation, the divides aren't among parties, but among regions. Design a bill that socks it to all those manufacturing, oil-producing, coal-producing, coal-using states, and say goodbye to the very Democrats necessary to pass that bill.

Such sense didn't deter Mrs. Pelosi, who first tried an end-run around Mr. Dingell in 2007 by putting Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey in charge of a new global-warming committee. When that didn't get her a bill, she helped her fellow Californian, Mr. Waxman, unseat Mr. Dingell. Environmentalists threw a party, and the Waxman-Markey duo got busy on legislation to please their coastal crowds. (Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal)

Cowards at the Capitol Ice Out Monckton from Global Warming Debate with Gore - If there ever was a time when President Obama should be apologizing for American bullying, the Congressional embarrassment and bullying of a British subject Friday, April 24th 2009 would qualify. On that day a House of Representatives Sub Committee on Energy and the Environment, chaired by Henry Waxman of California, had scheduled a hearing on global warming with a “celebrity” who was Al Gore. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

Climate change hearing on Capitol Hill highlights politics and hypocrisy - As legislators in Washington D.C. debated a climate change bill that would levy new taxes on businesses and potentially cost consumers, political theatre was in full view Friday at the House of Representatives. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings all last week on the legislation, culminating with the appearance of former Vice President Al Gore and former Speaker of the House and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Democrats who support the measure and the ‘cap and trade tax’ it would bring, brought forth the self-appointed head of the global warming movement Al Gore. Mr. Gore of course was full of his usual dire predictions of the Earth’s pending doom from carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere unless immediate action is taken. He likened those who doubted the theory to those who don’t believe man landed on the moon saying, “There are people who still believe that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.”

Perhaps Mr. Gore wasn’t aware but even some of those that have been to the moon and walked on its surface don’t believe all the hype about global warming. It was just recently that a real moonwalker announced his doubts about the theory as well. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Greens don't have a monopoly on virtue: just ask Al 'Moneybags' Gore - One of the great articles of faith among believers in imminent man-made eco doom is that they hold the monopoly in moral rectitude. It's only the bad guys - eg Big Oil, crazed journalists and bloggers secretly in the pay of Big Oil - who stand to make money out of climate change by disseminating their evil lies about global warming and keeping the carbon economy alive. The good guys, on the other hand - from scientists like Dr James Hansen to eco-activists like Al Gore and the Prince of Wales - are in it out of pure altruism: because they care and want to save Mother Gaia from harm.

But this isn't strictly true. The fact is that many of those associated with Big Green Al's Great Global Warming Scam stand to make a fat fortune out of climate change hysteria, be it through carbon offsets (the closest Wall Street or the City have ever got to trading thin air) or the fat subsidies available for those involved in otherwise economically unviable activities such as wind farming. The more people they infect with their hysteria, the more money they stand to make. (James Delingpole, Daily Telegraph)

Obama key propaganda outlet, MoveOn.org, desperate to get cap and trade passed - In an email email sent out by MoveOn’s Adam Ruben on the 17th of April he states:

“If Republicans convince voters that clean energy legislation amounts to a new tax, Obama’s plan is toast.”

Now, this is either an act of desperation or an admission that the cap and trade bill is, in fact, a new tax. White House budget director Peter Orszag made a statement that admits that cap and trade is a tax in order to “decrease carbon emissions”. Adam Ruben makes a wholly subjective statement that Republicans are lying when he stated:

“Republicans are telling a big lie to kill it. Their strategy is to frame the plan as a huge new tax on working families.”

Well, Mr. Ruben, can I please direct you the Peter Orszag’s admission noted above? (Global Warming Skeptics)

Global-warming politics - Pure science victim of an empirical meltdown

The professional practice of pure science, like most other honorable life pursuits, has its opinion leaders, its majority opinion and its minority opinion. However, the mix of pure science with politics, which is necessary from a practical standpoint, has obvious pitfalls.

To some large or small degree, highly opinionated and domineering personalities, stilted viewpoints and sometimes malevolent politics must enter into the recipe. The opinions and domineering seem to flow more freely around the time of the year we call Earth Day (for those who aren't hip, that would be April 22 every year). When politicking dominates the perspective of pure science on any day of the year, we all lose.

In our combined 50 years of professional atmospheric and environmental science experience in government, academia, activism and consulting, we have observed a dichotomy between the real and the academic-bureaucratic worlds of environmental science.

Scientists and engineers who work hands-on in the trenches with real-world environmental-science challenges on a daily basis are skeptical of claims of a substantial influence on global climate from human activity.

Academicians who view the world from their computer screens, theories, limited field investigations and well-read published reports are not only true believers but avid promoters of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). (Anthony J. Sadar and Susan T. Cammarata, Washington Times)

That New Climate Change Cabinet - Today, writing in The Times, Ed Miliband, the Minister for Hot Air - er, sorry - the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, quite unbelievably talks of “preventing climate change”. The hubris of our politicians knows no bounds. But the Government is now so deeply mired in its ‘global warming’ rhetoric, especially when trying to cover up a long history of incompetence over energy policy, that the whole Cabinet may have to be given new job titles. Here then is my proposed list, based on the present incumbents of those most august political offices: (Clamour Of The Times )

Again with the virtual world? Global warming threatens economic chaos in SE Asia-ADB - MANILA, April 27 - Southeast Asia is one of the world's most vulnerable regions to climate change and could face conflict over failing rice yields, lack of water and high economic costs, a major Asian Development Bank report shows.

The region's economies could lose as much as 6.7 percent of combined gross domestic product yearly by 2100, more than twice the global average loss, according to the ADB's report on the economics of climate change in Southeast Asia.

"By the end of this century, the economy-wide cost each year on average could reach 2.2 percent of GDP, if only market impact is considered...(to) 6.7 percent of GDP when catastrophic risks are also taken into account," the British-government funded report said. (Reuters)

No Trends in Landfalling Tropical Cyclones

A recent paper by Chan and Xu in the International Journal of Climatology looked at trends in landfalling tropical cyclones in East Asia. The paper finds no trends since 1945. From the abstract:

This paper is the first of a two-part series that presents results of a comprehensive study of the variations in the annual number of landfalling tropical cyclones (ATCs) in various parts of East Asia during the period 1945–2004. The objective is to identify possible trends and cycles in such variations, from inter-annual to inter-decadal, and the possible reasons for such variations. The East Asian region is divided into three sub-regions: South (south China, Vietnam and the Philippines), Middle (east China), and North (Korean Peninsula and Japan). . . An important finding from the time series analysis is that none of the ATC time series shows a significant linear trend, which suggests that global warming has not led to a higher frequency of landfalling tropical cyclones or typhoons in any of the regions in Asia.

Considering this finding along with previous research showing no trends in tropical cyclone (i.e., hurricane) landfalls in the United States (e.g., Pielke et al. 2008 in PDF) or Australia (Crompton and McAneney 2008), means that there are few remaining continental locations where such trends might be found. I’d welcome hearing from anyone aware of studies of landfall trends in the other continental regions exposed to tropical cyclones, including the Indian Ocean (including eastern and Horn of Africa) and Eastern Pacific (Mexico).

The data on landfall trends further confirms arguments that global trends in tropical cyclones losses can be explained entirely by growing populations and wealth in regions exposed to tropical cyclone impacts. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Time To Reassess The Sun-Climate Link - There is no let up in new research findings and news reports about the extraordinary behaviour of our sun. Both the UK National Astronomy Meeting and the Swedish Research Council are addressing the sun's prolonged inactivity that is baffling the astrophysical community. Solar researchers are readily admitting that they do not understand the mechanisms and dynamics that drive solar variability. Nor are they able to predict the timing and the climatic effects of the next solar cycles.

Most climate researchers, in contrast, seem happy to ignore the whole quandary as the sun's shifting activity and its terrestrial impact do not play any significant role in what is called the 'climate consensus.'

Solar scientists have been monitoring the sun's activity for many years in an attempt to establish whether or not its variability is correlated with terrestrial temperature changes. Interestingly, the sun was more active during much of the 20th century than it was for the last 1000 years. Yet, as long as the terrestrial warming trend persisted, this discovery was routinely rejected as wholly insignificant.

Now, however, the sun's cyclical behaviour has gone into reverse. And, coinciding with its exceptional inactivity, temperatures around the world have actually begun to stall, if not to drop slightly. The arrest of the warming trend of the late 20th century at a time that solar activity is exceptionally low again raises the key question of climate science: has our star perhaps a much more dominant effect on climate change than is generally assumed?

As David Whitehouse makes clear in The Independent today, this question can no longer be dismissed that easily. Neither can it be resolved, on way or another, in the short term. Only time and a determined effort to study and understand the sun's behaviour will provide answers. There is no doubt, however, that a growing number of scientists are concerned that the next two or three solar cycles may coincide with low solar activity comparable to previous solar minima.

Given the unexpected arrest of the global warming trend and the extraordinary behaviour of our sun, it is prudent to reassess the solar-climate link with extra rigour. The current climate lull provides the scientific community and the world's decision makers with a respite. They would be well advised to spend more time and money on the study of our variable star whose intrinsic dynamics and climatic effects remain a mystery to this day. (Benny Peiser, CCNet)

Episodes of relative global warming - Abstract: Solar activity is regulated by the solar dynamo. The dynamo is a non-linear interplay between the equatorial and polar magnetic field components. So far, in Sun–climate studies, only the equatorial component has been considered as a possible driver of tropospheric temperature variations. We show that, next to this, there is a significant contribution of the polar component. Based on direct observations of proxy data for the two main solar magnetic fields components since 1844, we derive an empirical relation between tropospheric temperature variation and those of the solar equatorial and polar activities. When applying that relation to the period 1610–1995, we find some quasi-regular episodes of residual temperature increases and decreases, with semi-amplitudes up to ~0.3 °C. The present period of global warming is one of them. (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 71, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 194-198)

Forecasting the parameters of sunspot cycle 24 and beyond - Abstract: Solar variability is controlled by the internal dynamo which is a non-linear system. We develop a physical–statistical method for forecasting solar activity that takes into account the non-linear character of the solar dynamo. The method is based on the generally accepted mechanisms of the dynamo and on recently found systematic properties of the long-term solar variability. The amplitude modulation of the Schwabe cycle in dynamo's magnetic field components can be decomposed in an invariant transition level and three types of oscillations around it. The regularities that we observe in the behaviour of these oscillations during the last millennium enable us to forecast solar activity. We find that the system is presently undergoing a transition from the recent Grand Maximum to another regime. This transition started in 2000 and it is expected to end around the maximum of cycle 24, foreseen for 2014, with a maximum previous sunspot number Rmax=68±17. At that time a period of lower solar activity will start. That period will be one of regular oscillations, as occurred between 1730 and 1923. The first of these oscillations may even turn out to be as strongly negative as around 1810, in which case a short Grand previous Minimum similar to the previous Dalton one might develop. This moderate-to-low-activity episode is expected to last for at least one Gleissberg cycle (60–100 years). (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 71, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 239-245 )

The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill? - Scientists are baffled by what they’re seeing on the Sun’s surface – nothing at all. And this lack of activity could have a major impact on global warming. David Whitehouse investigates (The Independent)

Flashback, February 2008: Very Low Solar Activity Causes Some to Speculate About a New Dalton Minimum - In 2004, NASA scientists started looking forward to a new solar minimum. In 2005, it began. At this time most scientists expected the new solar cycle 24 to begin in late 2006 or early 2007 with a following ramp up in solar activity.

But 2006 and 2007, according to NASA data, passed without any sign of a new solar cycle. During this time, the sun remained unusually quiet. Then, in early 2008, scientists finally found what they were waiting for -- a single sunspot with a reversed magnetic polarity. As a switch in magnetic polarity usually presages an increase in sunspot activity building up to a new solar maximum, scientists around the world proclaimed the new solar cycle had finally begun.

Now, nearly two months later, NASA observations show the sun is still unusually quiet. Day after day, the sun displays few, if any, sunspots. Even coronal holes are curiously absent. The long solar minimum now stretching into its third year coupled with curiously low solar activity even for a solar minimum is causing some scientists to speculate if the sun is entering a period of anemic activity like the most recent Dalton Minimum. (Robert Fanney, Associated Content)

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto: It's been a long, cold, lonely winter but, here comes the Sun. (And yes, it's all right) - The last time solar activity slowed this much, whole empires fell. But the past few days' activity may augur well (The Independent)

Let Us Not Forget About Carbon - For years with respect to climate policy, I have argued that adaptation needs to be treated as a complement to mitigation. Yet often the mere mention of adaptation is enough to get mitigation advocates in a tizzy, simply because you are talking about climate policy but not about carbon. A good example of this myopia can be found in an article last week in the FT by Fiona Harvey on malaria, as part of a special section on World Malaria Day. The article explains that malaria is not primarily an issue of human caused climate change: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

INTERVIEW - "Plenty Of Opportunities" From Arctic Thaw - Norway - OSLO - A thaw of Arctic ice will open "plenty of opportunities" in oil and gas exploration and shipping even though the overall impact of global warming will be damaging for the region, Norway's Foreign Minister said.

Jonas Gahr Stoere, who will host a meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council in the Norwegian city of Tromsoe on Wednesday, said now was the time to work out rules to head off potential disputes over resources in the polar region.

"I think there are plenty of opportunities," Stoere said of businesses looking to the Arctic. Arctic summer sea ice shrank in 2007 to its smallest since satellite records began. (Reuters)

Always provided it does actually thaw...

Sense at last? Wind farm may be torn down to make way for nuclear site - A Cumbrian village has found itself at the centre of the debate over Britain's future energy policy

To passionate advocates of the atom and renewable energy alike, this says it all. One of Britain's pioneering wind farms is threatened with demolition to make way for one of the Government's planned new generation of nuclear power stations.

The tall turbines of Haverigg wind farm, only the second commercial one to be built in Britain, have been turning for 17 years between the hills of the Lake District and the waters of the Duddon estuary on the Cumbrian coast. But they also happen to be right on one of 11 potential sites for new nuclear reactors announced by ministers 10 days ago.

And here, not far from Sellafield – on what the Cumbria County Council likes to call "Britain's Energy Coast" – the atom is due to take precedence over the zephyr. (Geoffrey Lean and Ian Griggs, The Independent)

Or not... Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman's Dangerous Agenda: 'US may never need new coal or nuclear energy plants' - Another frightening Obama appointee discloses a menacing energy agenda. (See Greenwire reference) (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

U.S. newspaper circulation declines worsen - NEW YORK - If there's one thing that the U.S. public is not giving newspapers, it's their support.

Paid weekday newspaper circulation in the six-month period that ended March 31 fell 7 percent to 34.4 million, compared with the same period last year, according to new figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

That decline, which tracked 395 daily newspapers that had five-day-a-week circulation in both periods, accelerated from last year's decline of 3.6 percent.

Sunday circulation at 557 papers fell more than 5 percent to 42.1 million. Last year, circulation fell 4.6 percent.

The declines may seem small, but the numbers tell a troubling story about the state of American newspapers.

Paid circulation has been trickling downward for several years, according to ABC figures. (Reuters)

Wonder if it has occurred to those responsible that it may not be the best business plan to keep telling your consumers they are a disease upon the pure Earth and that they must consume less (like starting with your product, maybe?)?

It's Not Easy Being Green - In Barack Obama's America, there are no costs and benefits. There are only "false choices" that must be avoided lest we fall into the dangerous trap of old thinking. We can increase deficit spending and improve budgetary discipline, expand health care funding and reduce costs, and pay for social programs unimagined by LBJ with the tax rates of Bill Clinton.

Such characteristically hopeful thoughts were on display this week during the president's Earth Day remarks. Speaking at a wind turbine tower plant that was once the site of a Maytag factory, Obama declared, "The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy -- it's a choice between prosperity and decline." (W. James Antle, American Spectator)

World Animal Health Body Says Swine Flu Wrong Name - PARIS - The flu virus spreading around the world should not be called "swine flu" as it also contains avian and human components and no pig was found ill with the disease so far, the World Animal Health body said on Monday.

A more logical name for it would be "North-American influenza", a name based on its geographic origin just like the Spanish influenza, another human flu pandemic with animal origin that killed more than 50 million people in 1918-1919.

"The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza," the Paris-based organisation said in a statement. (Reuters)

WHO Raises Pandemic Alert Level To 4 - GENEVA - The World Health Organisation raised its pandemic alert level over the deadly swine flu virus to phase 4 on Monday, indicating the infection could spread between humans to cause "community-level outbreaks".

Experts held four hours of emergency talks on whether to raise the alert level from phase 3 due to the outbreak which has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and spread to the United States, Canada and Europe.

"This can be interpreted as a significant step towards pandemic influenza, but also it is a phase which says that we are not there yet," acting WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda told a teleconference.

"At this time, we think that we have taken a step in that direction but a pandemic is not considered inevitable at this time. The situation is fluid." (Reuters)

Another definite... maybe: First European evidence for earlier female puberty - NEW YORK - Girls are beginning to grow breasts at an earlier age, and starting their periods sooner too, new research from Denmark shows.

The findings back up recent studies that found earlier breast development in American girls over the past several years, but still can't answer the question of why this might be happening, Dr. Lise Aksglaede of Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health. "At this point, we don't know what is happening, and that is also what worries us." (Reuters Health)

The punchline: The health consequences of earlier puberty also aren't clear, the researcher said. While precocious puberty can have psychological consequences for girls, and may also stunt growth, the girls in the current study were still entering puberty at a relatively normal age.

Death Knell Sounds For Europe's Beekeepers - BRUSSELS - Europe's beekeeping industry could be wiped out in less than a decade as bees fall victim to disease, insecticides and intensive farming, international beekeeping body Apimondia said on Monday.

"With this level of mortality, European beekeepers can only survive another 8 to 10 years," Gilles Ratia, president of Apimondia, told Reuters.

Hopefully they are also developing for equally likely cooler temperatures: Genetics may save crops in global warming - GAINESVILLE, Fla., April 27 -- U.S. plant molecular biologists say they are developing gene variants of wheat, rice and corn that can produce increased yields under heat stress.

The researchers say the crops under development might be able to prevent the most devastating effects of climate change since rising temperatures associated with global warming are expected to devastate staples, such as rice and corn, by the end of the century. (UPI)

Germany To Allow GMO Potato Trials - BERLIN - Germany's Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said on Monday she will allow test cultivation of a potato containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Open air trials of the GMO potato Amflora, developed by German chemicals group BASF presented no threat to public health or the environment, she said.

Aigner said this month she would carry out a new review of an application for the open-air trial cultivation of Amflora, which was test-cultivated on 150 hectares in 2008. (Reuters)

April 27, 2009

Meh... Don’t Waste Time Cutting Emissions - WE are often told that tackling global warming should be the defining task of our age — that we must cut emissions immediately and drastically. But people are not buying the idea that, unless we act, the planet is doomed. Several recent polls have revealed Americans’ growing skepticism. Solving global warming has become their lowest policy priority, according to a new Pew survey.

Moreover, strategies to reduce carbon have failed. Meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, politicians from wealthy countries promised to cut emissions by 2000, but did no such thing. In Kyoto in 1997, leaders promised even stricter reductions by 2010, yet emissions have kept increasing unabated. Still, the leaders plan to meet in Copenhagen this December to agree to even more of the same — drastic reductions in emissions that no one will live up to. Another decade will be wasted.

Fortunately, there is a better option: to make low-carbon alternatives like solar and wind energy competitive with old carbon sources. This requires much more spending on research and development of low-carbon energy technology. We might have assumed that investment in this research would have increased when the Kyoto Protocol made fossil fuel use more expensive, but it has not.

Economic estimates that assign value to the long-term benefits that would come from reducing warming — things like fewer deaths from heat and less flooding — show that every dollar invested in quickly making low-carbon energy cheaper can do $16 worth of good. If the Kyoto agreement were fully obeyed through 2099, it would cut temperatures by only 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Each dollar would do only about 30 cents worth of good. (Bjorn Lomborg, New York Times)

While Lomborg is correct in many ways his reasons are wrong.

Should energy be made cheaper? Certainly, although misanthropes have been on record for a long time with statements like "giving society cheap and abundant clean energy would be like giving an idiot child a machine gun" simply because they are against people prospering.

Should we scrap the whole carbon emissions reduction thing? Of course, returning carbon previously lost to the biosphere is the best thing humans have ever done for life on Earth -- probably the best we ever will do -- a profound if accidental gift whose benefit cannot be overstated.

Should we mandate spending on low carbon energy? No. Carbon reduction in the energy supply has been happening for a long time (people don't like the mess, basically) and the more affluent people become the more rapidly carbon will be reduced in the supply, if only for aesthetic purposes. Mandates are merely inefficient political selection of winners and losers among innovative techniques to do so -- never a good idea.

Discounting the Future (.pdf) - Is it equitable to favor tomorrow’s wealthier generations over today’s poorer generations? by Indur M. Goklany, Regulation 32: 36-40 (Spring 2009)

Be sure to visit Goklany's new web site here.

Rare case of Congress being obviously highly beneficial: Obama’s Power Plays - WITH its announcement last week that global warming is a threat to public health, the Obama administration has made clear that it plans to cut greenhouse gases substantially. This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee began its own effort to deal with warming, but Congress’s path to legislation is long and uncertain. President Obama can get started without waiting for Congress by taking these three steps: (Daniel F. Becker and James Gerstenzang, New York Times)

Know Your Times

>> UPDATE: Gore uses the flawed NYT article in his testimony to congress. READ MORE. <<

New York Times journalist, Andrew Revkin, generally writes thoughtfully in the paper, and on his Dot Earth blog, even if we generally disagree with him.

However, writing for the paper yesterday, he lowers himself to the level of debate we’re used to seeing from the likes of George Monbiot, who we frequently mention. Indeed, Revkin even quotes Monbiot.

George Monbiot, a British environmental activist and writer, said that by promoting doubt, industry had taken advantage of news media norms requiring neutral coverage of issues, just as the tobacco industry once had.

This is the ‘tobacco strategy’ thesis that Monbiot has taken from Naomi Oreskes. We’ve written about it on several occasions

The thesis needs no exposition here – read the links. Suffice it to say that it attempts (but also fails comprehensively) to show exactly what Revkin aims to show. (Climate Resistance)

Hmm... Booker's left himself open to criticism here: Lord Stern, 'Scaremonger in chief', exposed by simple blunders - How come "the world's leading expert on climate change" doesn't even know how much carbon dioxide there currently is in the air, wonders Christopher Booker. (Daily Telegraph)

Actually Stern is using the IPCC's "CO2 equivalence level" of overall concentration of the six Kyoto GHGs (i.e. CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6). See here.

CO2 skepticism from the PAS: Position Of The Geological Science Committee Of The Polish Academy Of Sciences On The Threat Of Global Warming

The climate change of our planet, which can be observed more frequently in recent years, has become alarming for public opinion. Various methods to remedy the situation are elaborated on the international level by decision makers, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (operating since 1988) and different ecologic organisations.

Having a part in this significant debate, the Geologic Science Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences wishes to turn to 10 fundamental aspects of the problem closely related to the functioning of geosystem - the complex interdependence of processes occurring in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. The knowledge of these factors should be the foundation for any rational and careful decisions, which could interfere in the geosystem. (Geologic Science Committee - Polish Academy of Sciences, via CCNet)

Lawrence Solomon: Australia becoming a Denier Nation - A break from faith in Australia! The continent down under, which until recently adhered to a strict form of global warming dogma, is experiencing an enlightenment. (Financial Post)

The kudzu vine of scientific research - the money keeps pouring in: Climate change research boosted - A Norfolk-based research centre has received £4.5m investment for further studies into climate change.

The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based at the University of East Anglia (UEA), is a partnership between seven universities.

The funding will help the centre carry out research into ways to counteract the effects of climate change.

The money is a combination of funding between the UK Research Council and UEA, centre bosses say.

Professor Trevor Davies from UEA said: "UEA's ongoing support will aid the further internationalisation of the Tyndall Centre's distinctive research and partnerships through new developments across science, the social and economic sciences and engineering."

The money will be used to develop research in: low carbon society, food, water and human security, and resilience for vulnerable people and places. (BBC News)

You can't really blame researchers for chasing grants to fund their work (disclosure: friends and colleagues have openly reframed grant applications to access gorebull warming money, pitching husbanded animal nutrition studies as 'methane reduction'; regional hydrology as 'climate prediction/proofing'; computer hardware upgrades as 'climate modeling requirements' and so on). Climate is where politicians are throwing vast sums of public money and if you want a ticket on the massive public funding gravy train then you have no choice but to pitch climate. For the longest time it has been a case of cry gorebull warming or starve, which is how this farce has been sustained, in fact caused to flourish.

The question now is how do we deal with this invasive species, this rampant feral strangling real science? Gorebull warming hysteria has taken over the benign-sounding 'climate science' and overrun scientific research in the same way as kudzu has turned feral in the southeastern U.S..

Image JJ Anthony, Kudzu - The Vine

How do we rescue the research environment from its strangling overburden of gorebull warming hype and hysteria? Discuss this on the forum.

New polling data entirely consistent with the growing disbelief in man-made global warming; 69% say global warming is a minor problem or no problem at all - Although the Obama Administration and Congress are gearing up to enact legislation and mandates to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a new Marist Poll indicates that 69% of American’s believe that man-made global warming will be a minor problem for their generation or no problem at all. (Gore Lied)

Examining SORCE data shows the Sun continues its slide toward somnolence - Guest post by Guillermo Gonzalez

I recently happened upon the SORCE/TIM website and decided to look up the plot of the full total solar irradiance (TSI) dataset (Watts Up With That?)

Quiet Sun: Who Saw it Coming? - The Sun has hit a 100-year low in sunspot activity, a 50-year low in solar wind pressure and a 55-year low in radio emissions. Who predicted this would happen? A couple of papers spring to mind: (Climate Research News)

Desperate times for warmers -- now they've trotted out Houghton: The truth about climate change - EXETER: Many people ask how sure we are about the science of climate change. The most definitive examination of the scientific evidence is to be found in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its last major report published in 2007. I had the privilege of being chairman or co-chairman of the Panel's scientific assessments from 1988 to 2002.

Many hundreds of scientists from different countries were involved as contributors and reviewers for these reports, which are probably the most comprehensive and thorough international assessments on any scientific subject ever carried out. In June 1995, just before the G-8 summit in Scotland, the Academies of Science of the world's 11 largest economies (the G-8 plus India, China, and Brazil) issued a statement endorsing the IPCC's conclusions and urging world governments to take urgent action to address climate change. The world's top scientists could not have spoken more strongly.

Unfortunately, strong vested interests have spent millions of dollars on spreading misinformation about climate change. First, they tried to deny the existence of any scientific evidence for global warming. More recently, they have largely accepted the fact of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change but argue that its impacts will not be great, that we can "wait and see," and that in any case we can always fix the problem if it turns out to be substantial. (John Theodore Houghton, Mmegi Online)

Tahiti corals clue to 'dynamic' glaciers -- Fossilised corals from tropical Tahiti show that the behaviour of ice sheets is much more volatile and dynamic than previously thought, a team led by Oxford University scientists has found.

Analysis of the corals suggests that ice sheets can change rapidly over just hundreds of years - events associated with sea level rises of several metres over the same period. It also shows that a natural warming mechanism thought to be responsible for ending ice ages does not fit the timing of the end of the penultimate ice age, around 137,000 years ago. (PhysOrg.com)

Birth of oil: geology, temperature, CO2

The left-wing blogosphere tries to humiliate Rep Barton and climate change at geological timescales. I am stunned by the extremely low quality of the discussion at most blogs. They essentially try to picture Rep Barton as a Young Earth creationist - there is no justification for such a description here - and they ignore his question completely.

Dr Chu failed to give a particularly quantitative answer to Rep Barton.

So let us ask again: Why is there oil in Alaska? Where did all the biological material come from? It turns out that continental drift was comparably important for the elevated temperatures needed to create oil as the global mean temperature. In this sense, Chu and Barton were comparably close to the truth, despite the emotional indications of many superficial blogs. ... [Read on for the surprise CO2 sensitivity result] (The Reference Frame)

US Seeks Reins In New Set Of Climate Talks - WASHINGTON - The United States hopes to take the reins of international efforts to battle global warming next week with a meeting of major economies aimed at facilitating a UN pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat who took office in January, called the meeting last month to relaunch a process that began under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, whose commitment to curbing climate change was viewed with scepticism by much of the world.

The stakes are higher now. The Kyoto Protocol, which caps greenhouse gas emissions, runs out in 2012 and leaders from around the globe will gather in Copenhagen in December to forge a successor treaty. Environmentalists hope renewed engagement by the United States and Obama's push for US leadership on the issue will result in a deal. (Reuters)

More potentially disastrous actions based on useless climate models and the accompanying idiotic 'storylines':  Galapagos Penguins Need ‘Condos’ as Shelter From Global Warming -- The Galapagos Islands, renowned for rare animals that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, may have to create special shelters to save species from global warming and rising sea levels.

Scientists who met there last week decided the indigenous penguin needs “condos” built in cooler, higher areas to nest more safely, Giuseppe Di Carlo, marine climate-change manager at Conservation International, said in an interview. Shadier bushes would protect plants and animals such as birds and tortoises that produce too many of the same sex in hotter weather.

“The challenge that we’re facing is a high rate of extinction,” Di Carlo said from the conference. “This will have consequences for the islands’ human population as the economy here is based almost entirely on tourism and fishing.”

The Ecuadorean territory 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of Guayaquil in the Pacific is one of the few places on Earth where tropical and cold-water species of fish and animals co- exist, helped by a meeting of sea currents, including the Humboldt. Climate and species scientists who gathered there 150 years after Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” are studying how to help the islands adapt to climate change.

Because of their location, the Galapagos may be more affected by climate change. The El Nino effect, a warming of equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific that affects ocean currents and climate around the world, may become more intense and variable with global warming, Di Carlo said. (Bloomberg)

Ice at the North pole in 1958 - not so thick - What would NSIDC and our media make of a photo like this released by the NAVY today? Would we see headlines like “NORTH POLE NOW OPEN WATER”? Or maybe “Global warming melts North Pole”? Perhaps we would. sensationalism is all the rage these days. If it melts it makes headlines. (Watts Up With That?)

Media addicted to “melt”, when it it should be “crack”? - Guest post by Steven Goddard (Watts Up With That?)

Warmists Whine, Pols Pander, You Pay - Noted urban policy analyst and author Joel Kotkin put it precisely when in 2009 he wrote: “California’s eco-groups have contrived legal and regulatory processes that provide the wealthy and their progeny an opportunity to act out their desire to ‘make a difference’ -- often without real concern for the outcome. Environmentalism becomes a theater in which the privileged act out their narcissism to gain green redemption.” The impractical result is a labyrinth of costly and often redundant environmental regulations that punish innovation and prosperity, and impose ubiquitous increased costs of living upon those among us who can least afford them. In the pernicious warmist’s “green pop culture,” environmentalists begin with seemingly good intentions, but are never held accountable for their bad, unintended impacts under the critical criteria of economics, national security and scientific rigor. Predictably, prosperity suffers by political expediency, and in particular, that borne of chronic and myopic environmentalism. California's reflex to regulate greenhouse gases will have no predictable, necessary or measurable benefit to the environment -- only negative economic impacts. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

?!! Businesses see employment upside with carbon cap - WASHINGTON — One question was on everyone's mind during hearings this week on a new U.S. energy policy: What would it do to the country's jobs and the American lifestyle?

"It's about jobs," and whether the new policies would help or hurt the country's economy, said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. "It's not just political. It's a legitimate concern." (Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers)

Congress warned about new climate change plan - Leaders from Dow Chemical Co. and other U.S. manufacturers joined labor unions Thursday in pleading with Congress to insulate U.S. jobs and industry when the lawmakers write new climate change rules.

At issue is the energy proposal advanced by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, which is designed to spur renewable energy production and combat climate change. Its centerpiece is a cap-and-trade program, under which power plants and other businesses could comply with new limits on carbon dioxide emissions by buying allowances to spew the pollutant blamed for global warming.

Rich Wells, Dow's vice president for energy, told lawmakers that they must carefully design any cap-and-trade program to ensure that U.S. manufacturers are not put at a disadvantage against competitors in countries without similar emissions limits. If lawmakers aren't careful, they "will fail to protect American jobs in the manufacturing sector," Wells told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Tom Conway, the international vice president of the United Steel Workers, said lawmakers must "ensure that the jobs that exist today in energy-intensive industries are not lost," either because U.S. companies move manufacturing operations overseas to less restrictive countries or because the American firms lose business to international competitors.

There is a "critical need to mitigate the competitive disadvantage that will be placed on these industries," Conway said.

Energy-intensive industries that could face higher costs under any cap-and-trade plan include paper mills in the Pacific Northwest, oil refiners in Texas, and Rust Belt steel and chemical companies. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Hearst Newspapers)

California adopts low-carbon fuel standard - California became the first state in the nation Thursday to mandate carbon-based reductions in transportation fuels in an attempt to cut the state's overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Air Resources Board approved a phased-in reduction starting in 2011, with a goal of shrinking carbon impacts 10 percent by 2020. Fuel producers could comply in different ways, such as providing a cleaner fuel portfolio, blending low-carbon ethanol with gasoline or purchasing credits from other clean-energy producers.

California's low-carbon fuel standard could lead to a national measure under President Barack Obama, as well as shape how the transportation sector evolves. But businesses and oil industry critics warned that the air board was moving too quickly and that its action would lead to higher costs for consumers in a recessionary economy.

Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols hailed the low-carbon fuel standard as a major step in moving the nation away from oil dependence and toward alternative fuels that generate lower greenhouse gas emissions. (Sacramento Bee)

New California Fuel Rule May Violate NAFTA - Lawyer - CALGARY - California's new low-carbon fuel rules may be a violation of NAFTA and World Trade Organization provisions because they would unfairly limit exports of crude from Canada's oil sands to the state, a prominent Canadian trade lawyer said on Friday.

California adopted a first-ever rule on Thursday requiring refineries, producers and importers of motor fuels sold in the state to reduce the "carbon intensity" of their products by 10 percent by 2020, with greater cuts thereafter.

The measures to slash such emissions would force refiners to consider the carbon footprint of the fuels they produce, a potential blow to synthetic crude upgraded from Alberta's oil sands, whose production emits more carbon-dioxide than conventional oil.

However, the state may have no business imposing such rules on oil produced in other countries, a Canadian lawyer said, and the provisions may violate international trade treaties. (Reuters)

ANALYSIS - California Rule Could End Ethanol's Honeymoon - NEW YORK - California's newly adopted low-carbon fuel standard may mark the beginning of the end of ethanol's coveted status as the sole US alternative motor fuel.

The US state with the most cars late on Thursday approved the world's first-ever regulations to slash emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide from vehicle fuels.

The ruling, which will be subject to further studies, will not kill the ethanol industry. But it sets the bar higher for cleaner development of corn ethanol, which enjoyed an investment boost over the last few years thanks to generous federal incentives and mandates calling for increasing amounts of the fuel to be blended into gasoline.

The measure also sets the stage for emerging alternative fuels -- such as cars that run on compressed natural gas and electric vehicles like plug-in hybrids that run on both gasoline and rechargeable batteries -- to compete with second-generation ethanol.

That fuel, known as cellulosic ethanol, is expected to be made in commercial amounts from non-food feedstocks like switchgrass and fast-growing trees.

"The ruling is the first sign that the ethanol industry could be brought out of its honeymoon phase," said Sander Cohan, an alternative motor fuels analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc in Boston. (Reuters)

GE stands to make billions for supporting Obama administration and cap and trade - We all know that NBC and MSNBC were campaigning openly for Barack Obama; the evidence is irrefutable. However, what many may not know is that GE’s Jeffrey Immelt may stand to profit from the support through the cap and trade bill being pushed through Congress. General Electric owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC news corporations and are in turn ran by Jeff Zucker, who has essentially turned the news agencies into hate TV: (Global Warming Skeptics)

CO2 Truth-Alert: Dirty Old Fuels

CO2 Truth-Alert: Getting Real About Coal and Oil

CO2 Truth-Alert: Free Energy is Not Cheap

CO2 Truth-Alert: Salvation on Demand

A Texas-Sized Energy Problem: Republicans, Democrats, and ‘Baptists & Bootleggers’ Running Wild in the Lone Star State (Obama sends his thanks) (Robert Bradley, Master Resource)

Greenhouse-gas caps may be eased - WASHINGTON -- Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are negotiating among themselves on whether to scale back legislation that would impose a mandatory limit on greenhouse gases.

Many environmentalists say all emissions allowances should be auctioned off under a cap-and-trade system, using the proceeds to finance development of clean-energy sources or offset the resulting higher energy costs for consumers.

The talks suggest that utilities that distribute electricity from coal-fired plants are making progress in their efforts to get free access to 40 percent of the emissions permits, underscoring the challenge lawmakers face in seeking strict limits on carbon dioxide and other contributors to global warming. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Bogus Models Used To Justify Anti-CO2 Push - Few things are more appealing in politics than something for nothing.

As Congress begins considering anti-global-warming legislation, environmentalists hold out precisely that tantalizing prospect: We can conquer global warming at virtually no cost.

Here's a typical claim from the Environmental Defense Fund: "For about a dime a day (per person), we can solve climate change, invest in a clean energy future and save billions in imported oil."

This sounds too good to be true, because it is. About four-fifths of the world's and America's energy comes from fossil fuels — oil, coal, natural gas — which are also the largest source of man-made carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

The goal is to eliminate fossil fuels or suppress their CO2. The bill now being considered in the House would mandate a 42% decline in greenhouse emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels and an 83% drop by 2050. (Robert Samuelson, IBD)

Going green to cost families £600 every year - Tough new targets to tackle climate change will cost every household at least £600 a year, push more than a million people into poverty and send fuel bills soaring, experts warned yesterday.

The Chancellor announced the UK is to become the only country in the world to set legally binding 'carbon budgets' to combat global warming.

Under the scheme, ministers must slash Britain's greenhouse gas emissions by a third within the next 11 years - or face legal action and hefty fines. (David Derbyshire, Daily Mail)

Darling's £0.5bn offshore windfarm 'leccy-bill stealth levy - '3m windmill-powered homes' claim is pure spin

A lot of people are wondering how the British government can deliver colossal bank bailouts and pay rapidly-climbing dole bills - all the while collecting less taxes as people are laid off and companies founder - and yet still find money to subsidise green energy. Chancellor Alistair Darling has found a cunning way around the problem: he will simply raise electricity prices and channel the resulting cash into wind farms. (Lewis Page, The Register)

Another step towards Kingsnorth - New coal-fired power stations form part of Britain's "low-carbon future", Ed Miliband told the Commons this lunchtime.

His pledge came as he outlined proposals to MPs for the construction of new conventional coal-fired stations, including Kingsnorth.

Mr Miliband said permission would be granted on the condition they can be retrofitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology within five years of 2020 – subject to the technology available. (Alex Stevenson, Politics)

The cold reality of today's energy strategy - Watch this one closely. Very closely. Ed Miliband today said he wants any new coal power stations to be fitted with carbon capture storage (CCS) - a commercially unproven technology.

The industry who build and run power stations think fitting CCS power stations makes them unsustainable because so much of the electricity produced must be fed back into turning the carbon from a gas to a solid. (Times Online)

And predictable eye-roller: Geoffrey Lean: We are one step closer to clean coal - The Government's decision to fit carbon-removing equipment will have a knock-on effect on all over the world

There is, no doubt, particular joy in the atmosphere over a polluter who repents. And, indeed, the Government's abrupt, if belated, conversion last week to slashing the amount of carbon dioxide that new coal-fired power stations pump into the sky does provide cause for celebration.
Related articles

* Wind farm may be torn down to make way for nuclear site

Ed Miliband's announcement on Thursday that, in future, such plants must be fitted with equipment to remove the gas, has laid down a whole avenue of milestones. It is the single most important green measure yet by this Government. It is the first time that a Secretary of State for Energy has overridden the irredeemably pro-pollution position of his department. And, by establishing what can, and cannot, be built, it marks the end of laissez-faire energy policy in Britain.

Not bad for one short lunchtime parliamentary statement. But there is more. The new measures are likely to trigger a rapid increase in the use of the technology – cumbersomely entitled "carbon capture and storage" (CCS) – in the United States and worldwide. They could give Britain a share of a lucrative market that it seemed determined to forfeit. And they make it much less likely that the energy company E.ON will build its controversial new power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. (The Independent)

II: Carbon capture and storage: A victory for green thinking - Last week, the government gave a rare demonstration of environmental leadership. It pledged that no new coal-fired power stations will be built in Britain unless they are fitted with technology to capture and store the carbon emissions. The announcement lacked detail about funding this technology, but the move is welcome none the less. In recent years, ministers have been happy to talk about reducing the nation's carbon emissions, but vague about how to achieve this. (The Observer)

Miliband calls for populist push in battle against climate change - Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary, warns today that he is "fearful" that the world may miss the opportunity to halt global warming and is calling for a Make Poverty History-style popular movement to push for a breakthrough at this year's Copenhagen summit.

He will travel to Washington this week for preliminary talks, amid concerns that Barack Obama's ability to back genuinely ambitious cuts in carbon emissions could be hindered by domestic political opposition. (The Observer)

Lord Mandelson has set up rival 'energy and climate change unit' - Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has launched a section to "help create the conditions for UK business success through key energy and climate change policies".

Lord Mandelson has set up an "energy and climate change unit" to lobby Ed Miliband's new energy and climate change department on behalf of business. Energy insiders said the move was further evidence of the peer encroaching on Ed Miliband's brief in a bid to water down green policies which may damage business.

According to Mandelson's Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) website, the unit's aim is to "help create the conditions for UK business success through key energy and climate change policies by working closely with and influencing the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), other Whitehall departments...minimising competitiveness impacts". (The Guardian)

Okay... so, doesn't that mean they are doing their job, or at least trying to? After all, they are the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Drilling drives a wedge at climate change summit - ANCHORAGE, Alaska - To drill or not drill for new oil and gas.

That was the issue that drove a wedge Friday between young people and many of the older delegates at the United Nations-affiliated Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change.

The five-day summit ended Friday with Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, president of the United Nations General Assembly, describing it as "a rather successful gathering."

After hours of debate, a consensus of sorts was reached on a declaration to be presented to the Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.

The document says indigenous people are "deeply alarmed by the accelerating climate devastation brought about by unsustainable development."

"Mother Earth is no longer in a period of climate change, but in climate crisis," the declaration says.

The hang-up was whether to call for a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling and a phase-out of fossil fuels.

The final document contains two options.

One calls for the moratorium where supported by indigenous people. The other says indigenous people would look to an eventual phase-out in the use of fossil fuels while at the same time respecting the rights of indigenous people to develop their resources. (Associated Press)

You just have to wonder... INTERVIEW - Ban Gasoline Cars From 2015 - Norway Finance Minister - OSLO - A proposal to ban sales of new gasoline-powered cars in Norway from 2015 could help spur struggling carmakers to shift to greener models, Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said on Saturday.

"This is much more realistic than people think when they first hear about this proposal," she told Reuters, defending a plan by her Socialist Left Party to outlaw sales of cars that run solely on fossil fuels in six years' time.

"The financial crisis also means that a lot of those car producers that now have big problems ... know that they have to develop their technology because we also have to solve the climate crisis when this financial crisis is over," she said. (Reuters)

It's not as though you haven't been warned: EU Targets Windows And Taps With Eco-Design Rules - BRUSSELS - Showers, taps, windows and home insulation will have to conform to environmental standards in the European Union, after lawmakers voted to widen the scope of existing "eco-design" regulations on Friday.

The move is aimed at weaning the 27-nation bloc off its heavy dependence on Russian gas and at cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the battle against climate change.

Current standards are restricted to energy-using products such as boilers, computers and televisions, but the European Parliament voted in favour of widening the measures to all products that can save energy. (Reuters)

Hmm... Goal of eliminating malaria in sight: experts - GENEVA - Fresh efforts and funding to tackle malaria in recent years have brought the goal of eradicating the deadly disease within sight, health experts said on Friday.

Wiping out malaria worldwide could take decades but many countries where it is endemic are on the brink of eliminating the disease, which infects up to 500 million people a year and kills nearly one million worldwide, they said.

"The vision of achieving elimination in a number of countries is certainly in sight," said Rifat Atun, strategy director at the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international financing institution.

Most malaria victims are children under the age of five and pregnant women. Roughly 90 percent of fatalities are in Africa, where malaria accounts for one in five childhood deaths.

The goal of eradicating malaria, caused by a parasite transmitted in mosquito bites, could take until 2050 or 2060, said Richard Feachem, chairman of the Malaria Elimination Group.

But it is now endemic in only about half the world's countries after being eliminated from others such as Canada and Finland since 1945, he told a news conference, launching two reports by the group for policymakers and health specialists. (Reuters)

Malaria was largely beaten in the industrial north by draining vector habitat (a major greenie no-no these days) and by prodigious, broad application and repeated spray campaigns with effective and persistent pesticides (try getting that past the greens multiple layered regulatory hurdles and litigated obstruction now).

Do our genes hold the secret to health and disease risk? - Genetic tests have received a lot of media attention. The public is being led to believe that genetic screening can identify people at risk for diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and that genes hold the promise of personalized medicine and nutrition. It all sounds so scientific.

It’s not. (Junkfood Science)

Advances Elusive in the Drive to Cure Cancer - In 1971, flush with the nation’s success in putting a man on the Moon, President Richard M. Nixon announced a new goal. Cancer would be cured by 1976, the bicentennial.

When 1976 came and went, the date for a cure, or at least substantial progress, kept being put off. It was going to happen by 2000, then by 2015.

Now, President Barack Obama, discussing his plans for health care, has vowed to find “a cure” for cancer in our time and said that, as part of the economic stimulus package, he would increase federal money for cancer research by a third for the next two years.

Cancer has always been an expensive priority. Since the war on cancer began, the National Cancer Institute, the federal government’s main cancer research entity, with 4,000 employees, has alone spent $105 billion. And other government agencies, universities, drug companies and philanthropies have chipped in uncounted billions more.

Yet the death rate for cancer, adjusted for the size and age of the population, dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005. In contrast, the death rate for heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia, it fell 58 percent.

Still, the perception, fed by the medical profession and its marketers, and by popular sentiment, is that cancer can almost always be prevented. If that fails, it can usually be treated, even beaten. (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

There are a few known environmental influences on cancer, arsenic in drinking water supplies in Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Japan, and Taiwan, for example, certainly increases the incidence of some cancers. Population churning can also increase viral infection rates which appears to increase the incidence of childhood leukemia. The majority of cancers remain a disease of aging (one of the reasons poor regions show lower cancer incidence rates is people don't live long enough to exhibit cancers) and so, short of curing aging, there is really rather little people can do to prevent or cure the disease. The 'war on cancer' might be good politics but it is a lousy research priority, impoverishing efforts that could do far more good, more rapidly and at less cost. Political medicine is not good medicine.

Beware: Health Warnings - Speaking of self-fulfilling prophecies, which we often are, Stu has a feature in today’s FT magazine about the negative impacts on our health of precautionary health advice: (Climate Resistance)

Mother's antibodies may contribute to autism - NEW YORK - While a mother of an autistic child is pregnant, she develops an immune response to her fetus's brain. As part of that immune response, her body develops antibodies that can attack the fetal brain. Now, in new research in mice, scientists have discovered that the mother's fetal brain antibodies are circulated back to the fetus through the placenta, possibly triggering inflammation in the brain that could eventually result in autism.

At the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Harvey Singer and colleagues took antibodies from human mothers of autistic children and injected them into pregnant mice, exposing the unborn mice pups to the antibodies as they circulated through the placenta. A second group of pregnant mice was injected with antibodies from mothers of non-autistic children. A third group of pregnant mice got no injections at all.

According to the researchers, autistic-like symptoms developed in the mice exposed before birth to the antibodies from the mothers of autistic children. For example, the affected mice behaved more anxiously, spent less time in open spaces, and were more hyperactive. They were also more easily startled by loud noises and were less social.

The differences between these mice and the pups that were not exposed prenatally to antibodies from mothers of autistic children became more pronounced as the animals moved from infancy to adulthood. As they aged, their autistic-like symptoms became more apparent. This pattern is also seen in humans with autism, who tend to develop new or more pronounced autistic symptoms over time.

"Comparing mice to humans is tricky," Singer cautioned in a prepared statement, "and we should be cautious anytime we do so, but our findings strongly suggest that the behaviors we observed in the offspring of mice injected with fetal brain antibodies from human mothers did behave in a manner that mimics some behaviors seen in people with autism."

"Autism is a complex disorder and it would be naïve to assume there's a single mechanism that can cause it," he said. "It's most likely the cumulative effect of several factors, including genes, metabolism, and the environment. We believe we have identified one of those factors." (Reuters Health)

The End of Times? - The nation's largest left-wing newspaper and the bible for network news producers and bookers may be going under. This week, The New York Times announced more staggering losses: nearly $75 million dollars in the first quarter alone. The New York Post is reporting that the Times Company owes more than $1 billion and has just $34 million in the bank. A few months ago, the company borrowed $250 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim at a reported 14 percent interest rate. With things going south fast, pardon the pun, Slim might want to put in a call to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

The spin from Sulzberger is that the Internet is strangling the newspaper industry, and there is some truth to that. Why read an ideologically crazed paper when you can acquire a variety of information on your computer? But other papers are not suffering nearly as much as the Times, so there must be more to it. (Bill O'Reilly, Townhall)

An Obit for the "Grey Lady" - The first thing they teach you in journalism school is to get a subscription to The New York Times. It’s also the final thing they really need to teach you.

Any observant student can see that what’s on the front page of the Times often ends up leading the network newscasts that evening. Other newspapers also play follow-the-leader, either by directly republishing Times stories or by aping the “gray lady” in style (liberal, stilted) and appearance (dull, drab).

As an aside, there’s a CNN corollary to this. The cable network often steals story ideas from The Wall Street Journal. If that paper has a story on Monday about how food companies are charging the same amount for smaller packages, expect to see a CNN reporter live on Tuesday in a supermarket, holding up bags of potato chips. “Smaller bag, same price. Back to you in the studio.”

In any event, any aspiring journalist with a subscription to the Times and the Journal can go ahead and skip the last four years of J school; for a few hundred bucks a year he knows all he needs to know about what stories will be covered and how they’ll be reported. But the Times may not be with us for much longer. (Rich Tucker, Townhall)

Eco-Oppression - A few months ago, my school deemed April 2009 “Ohio Earth Month” (because, obviously, Earth Day just isn’t enough). Ever since, I’ve been waiting for the sociology department to speak up about how Western environmentalists oppress Third World people in the interest of Saving The Planet.

It’s not an unreasonable expectation. Plenty of my professors believe that all academic subjects should be taught through the prism of racial and economic injustice, with Americans and Europeans as villains and Third World inhabitants as victims. Last year, when a columnist for our student newspaper wrote a satirical column comparing illegal immigrants to party crashers, the paper was flooded with gasbag letters whining about “colonial oppression.” Therefore, it seems Earth Month is the perfect time to confront the West’s burgeoning eco-imperialism.

Take, for example, the use of the chemical DDT. Environmentalists in the West congratulate themselves for nearly ridding the Earth of DDT, but the people of South America, Asia and Africa are not celebrating. They need DDT to ward off malaria, a mosquito-borne infection that thrives in tropical climates and is often lethal. (Ashley Herzog, Townhall)

Say what? Good Cop/Bad Cop Goes Green - On the environment, Greenpeace isn't always combative. (Sharon Begley, Newsweek)

They are misanthropic extortionists and standover merchants. Begley might approve of them but I think they should be declared targets of opportunity for elimination on sight. Nazis are still hunted for their crimes and yet they were mere amateurs with net WWII casualties of fewer than 50 million compared with the misery, suffering and death directly attributable to the environment movement (roughly 100 million from the anti-DDT campaign alone).

The deification of Earth - James Lovelock’s argument that Gaia is a living organism with its own interests — which it will ‘pursue’ against humans — exposes the mystical, anti-human streak in contemporary environmentalism. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

Drowning in plastic: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of France - There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre of the world's oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. Worse still, there seems to be nothing we can do to clean it up. So how do we turn the tide? (Daily Telegraph)

They do, eventually, get around to admitting the vast majority of wildlife mortalities are due to fishing gear entanglements, although they neglect to mention the major cause of seabird drownings (birds becoming hooked trying to steal the baits from longlines as they are deployed) have been overcome to a great extent by various means (streamers trailed over the deployment, rapid sink deployment and even seawater spraying to hide the baits from the birds as they are deployed have proven very effective).

Threat to European biodiversity 'as serious as climate change' - Most of Europe's species and habitats are in poor condition and the risk of extinction continues to rise, environment chiefs are to warn at a major biodiversity conference in Athens this week (The Guardian)

Levees Can't Save New Orleans From Floods - Report - HOUSTON - Bigger, higher and stronger levees cannot save New Orleans from the worst floods and the city remains vulnerable to a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, the National Academy of Sciences said on Friday.

New Orleans had the flood protection of a 563 km (350-mile) network of levees, I-walls and T-walls ringing the city when Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on Aug. 29, 2005. The levees broke, flooding 80 percent of the city.

The hurricane killed about 1,500 people along the US Gulf Coast and caused $80 billion in damages, making it the costliest US natural disaster.

As Katrina demonstrated, "the risks of inundation and flooding never can be fully eliminated by protective structures no matter how large or sturdy those structures may be," said the report by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council. (Reuters)

April 24, 2009

The excuses are becoming almost as convoluted as the, uh... climate: Antarctic sea ice increasing: study - In recent years all the headlines have been about ice melting in some of the globe's chilliest places. But it seems that global warming may actually be leading to an increase in sea ice in parts of the Antarctic.

Scientists in the United Kingdom have produced a study which shows ice has grown by 100,000 square kilometres each decade in the past 30 years.

The increase is being put down to the hole in the ozone layer.

The British Antarctic Survey combined with NASA to look at the levels of ice in the region over the long term.

What was clear was that climate change produces complex results. Instead of a widening hole in the ozone layer, produced by human activity, warming temperatures as they have in the Arctic, in Antarctica it was having the opposite effect. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Ozone Layer Burned by Cosmic Rays - Cosmic rays may be enlarging the hole in the ozone layer, according to a study appearing in the 13 August print issue of PRL. Researchers analyzed data from several sources, and found a strong correlation between cosmic ray intensity and ozone depletion. Back in the lab they demonstrated a mechanism by which cosmic rays could cause a buildup of ozone-depleting chlorine inside polar clouds. Their results suggest that the damage done by cosmic rays could be millions of times larger than anyone previous believed and may force atmospheric scientists to reexamine their models of the antarctic ozone hole. (Physical Review Focus)

UW prof says cyclic ozone hole proves cosmic ray theory - WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, March 23, 2009) -- A University of Waterloo scientist says that an observed cyclic hole in the ozone layer provides proof of a new ozone depletion theory involving cosmic rays, a theory outlined in his new study, just published in Physical Review Letters.

Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy and an ozone depletion expert, said it was generally accepted for more than two decades that the Earth's ozone layer is depleted by chlorine atoms produced by the sun's ultraviolet light-induced destruction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere.

But mounting evidence supports a new theory that says cosmic rays, rather than the sun's UV light, play the dominant role in breaking down ozone-depleting molecules and then ozone. Cosmic rays are energy particles originating in space. (University of Waterloo)

But wait! There's more... "Chemists poke holes in ozone theory: Reaction data of crucial chloride compounds called into question." - "As the world marks 20 years since the introduction of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, Nature has learned of experimental data that threaten to shatter established theories of ozone chemistry. If the data are right, scientists will have to rethink their understanding of how ozone holes are formed and how that relates to climate change.

Long-lived chloride compounds from anthropogenic emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the main cause of worrying seasonal ozone losses in both hemispheres. In 1985, researchers discovered a hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic, after atmospheric chloride levels built up. The Montreal Protocol, agreed in 1987 and ratified two years later, stopped the production and consumption of most ozone-destroying chemicals. But many will linger on in the atmosphere for decades to come. How and on what timescales they will break down depend on the molecules' ultraviolet absorption spectrum (the wavelength of light a molecule can absorb), as the energy for the process comes from sunlight. Molecules break down and react at different speeds according to the wavelength available and the temperature, both of which are factored into the protocol.

So Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, did a double-take when he saw new data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2). The rate of photolysis (light-activated splitting) of this molecule reported by chemists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was extremely low in the wavelengths available in the stratosphere - almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

"This must have far-reaching consequences," Rex says. "If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being." What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear. (Nature 449, 382-383 (2007) | doi:10.1038/449382a)

A measure of gorebull warmists' desperation? Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate - For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

The coalition was financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others. In 1997, the year an international climate agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, its budget totaled $1.68 million, according to tax records obtained by environmental groups. (New York Times)

We tend to treat Andy as a loveable global warming flake but this is really quite poor even by his standards (he even quotes moonbat & Benny the Santa).

What really is their major point here? It would seem to be that skeptics are, well, skeptical and do not find uncompelling arguments persuasive. 14 years ago there was no evidence (either way) regarding the quality or lack thereof of the near-surface record (as I recall it even predates Roger Pielke Sr.'s siting concerns). That situation has now changed dramatically with the work of auditors challenging claims of Chinese station analyses disproving urban heat island contamination, Meteorologist Anthony Watt's coordinated and hosted surfacestations.org volunteer audit of the USHCN network and let's not forget the invaluable effort of climateaudit peering under every rock in the paleoclimate reconstructions. Now we know the records are dodgy but back then there was no analysis to show that it was so. Were the situation repeated we could point to lots of evidence and reason to doubt claims of global warming and the issue likely would never have got legs.

With the benefit of hindsight most members of the then coalition standing against the gorebull warming fraud probably now recognize they should have continued to fight for what is right rather than jockeying for an invite to dinner -- not so comfortable now you can see you are actually on the menu, eh guys? Can't say you weren't warned. Oh well, come on home. All is forgiven.

Geologist Chides Revkin of New York Times For 'Strange, Silly' Climate Article (Climate Depot)

Climate change science isn't settled - MANY people think the science of climate change is settled. It isn't. And the issue is not whether there has been an overall warming during the past century. There has, although it was not uniform and none was observed during the past decade. The geologic record provides us with abundant evidence for such perpetual natural climate variability, from icecaps reaching almost to the equator to none at all, even at the poles.

The climate debate is, in reality, about a 1.6 watts per square metre or 0.5 per cent discrepancy in the poorly known planetary energy balance.

Let me explain. (Jan Veizer, The Australian)

Fire influences global warming more than previously thought - Fire's potent and pervasive effects on ecosystems and on many Earth processes, including climate change, have been underestimated, according to a new report.

"We've estimated that deforestation due to burning by humans is contributing about one-fifth of the human-caused greenhouse effect -- and that percentage could become larger," said co-author Thomas W. Swetnam of The University of Arizona in Tucson.

"It's very clear that fire is a primary catalyst of global climate change," said Swetnam, director of UA's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

"The paper is a call to arms to earth scientists to investigate and better evaluate the role of fire in the Earth system," he said. (University of Arizona)

To the relief of others sharing this office space I decline to remove my shoes and sox for better figuring but, on rough count-back, explanations have now been found and announced for approximately twenty-seven fifths of estimated warming since the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps that helps explain why gorebull warming skepticism is a growth industry in these depressed times.

It was never a serious concern to start with but... Ice study has good and bad news for planet -scientist - SINGAPORE, April 24 - A study of Greenland's icesheet has revealed that a vast store of planet-warming methane appears to be more stable than thought, easing fears of a rapid rise in temperatures, a scientist said on Friday.

Methane is about 25 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) and vast amounts of the compound are trapped in permafrost in the far northern hemisphere or in seabed deposits called clathrates.

Scientists have feared climate change could trigger a huge release of methane from the clathrate reservoir, sending global warming spiralling out of control.

An estimated 5,000 billion tonnes of carbon are locked up in these deposits, said Vasilii Petrenko of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado.

"That's about equal to all of the oil, coal and gas reserves that we think we have," he told Reuters from Boulder, Colorado.

Petrenko and an international team of scientists spent six years studying air samples from vast blocks of Greenland ice to see if a rapid rise in temperatures about 12,000 years ago was triggered by methane from clathrates or another source.

The results showed the methane was most likely to have come from wetlands rather than the clathrates, deposits which resemble ice and are held in place on the ocean bed by high pressures and relatively low temperatures. (Reuters)

Well, it sure is a relief to think something we were never concerned about isn't particularly likely to occur... I'm sure gonna sleep tonight!

Would CO2 Emissions Cuts Save Arctic Ice and Reduce Sea-Level Rise? - Yet again, rent-seeking “scientists” bidding for wealth, power, and glory at taxpayers’ expense have used computer games divorced from observed reality as the basis for making absurd, extravagant, scientifically-baseless, and now rather tired and shop-worn predictions that climatic doom will ensue unless the world shuts down two-thirds of its economic activity.

To save the planet, burn more CO2. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

'We Must Discuss Climate Change's Devastating Consequences Openly' - In a SPIEGEL interview, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, of the Social Democratic Party, discusses the prospects for climate protection in the economic crisis, the shortcomings of Obama's new emissions policies and the challenges to be faced in Copenhagen this December. (Der Spiegel)

Well, yes -- but there's no guarantee it's going to be as cold as the Maunder Minimum and we should be better able to withstand it if it is, so there's no need to panic.

Climate control push gains steam in U.S. - WASHINGTON - Democrats in Congress sought to stake out a compromise on climate control legislation on Thursday as environmentalists awaited California's decision on new limits on auto emissions.

The two moves signaled growing political momentum behind efforts to curb greenhouse gases, which President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has made a policy priority after years of slow going by his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

California regulators could announce as early as Friday a decision to lower carbon pollution from cars, seen as a major contributor to global warming.

While California would be the first U.S. state to impose such limits, its decision could prompt 11 other states to do the same, which critics say would be especially hard on grain-based alternative fuels such as ethanol.

In Washington, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday held its third consecutive day of hearings on a proposal to drastically limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases spewed from factories and utilities.

In the face of staunch opposition from most Republicans and concerns of several moderate Democrats, Representative Edward Markey announced on Thursday that industries would be allowed some free pollution permits under the legislation, to be written in coming weeks. (Reuters)

Administration's Gun To Congress' Head: Legislate Or Regulate On Cap-And-Trade - You might want to hold your breath while you read this. By ruling that greenhouse gases are a danger to the public, the Environmental Protection Agency gave Congress an ultimatum: enact expensive climate change legislation or suffer unduly burdensome regulation. (F. James Sensenbrenner, IBD)

When Expenses Outweigh Benefits - Should the Environmental Protection Agency place limits on carbon dioxide emissions, the costs to the oil industry, its customers and consumers in general will be stiff. Fighting global warming is not cheap. (IBD)

You do it! No, you! Administration Stops Short of Endorsing Climate Bill - WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials said Wednesday that an ambitious energy and climate-change proposal sponsored by House Democrats could help create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they stopped short of endorsing it.

Steven Chu, the secretary of energy, and Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told a House committee considering the measure that they believed it could help accomplish President Obama’s goals of moderating climate change, spurring clean-energy technology and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Yet both said they were still studying the details of the 648-page draft, unveiled late last month by two Democratic lawmakers, Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. In fact, Dr. Chu and Ms. Jackson said that they had not read the entire draft and that the administration had not given its blessings to the bill. They said they would work closely with Congress to help fashion acceptable legislation. (New York Times)

These guys want to destroy the American economy and way of life -- they just don't want the blame for doing so.

I Haven’t Read It — But It’s a Great Bill - So, EPA chief Lisa Jackson testified yesterday to kick off four days of hysteria that will culminate, naturally, with the Goracle on Friday (I'd leave the snow tires on until Saturday just to be safe).

She was forced to admit that she hadn't read the bill she was testifying about.

Later, she somehow managed to claim that the same bill would be vastly better than the disastrous "endangerment" rulemaking she had just threatened us all with, obviously to blackmail the weak-kneed into just suing for carbon peace (or at least, what they think will be peace).

Having read much of the bill that she hasn't, I can attest that the above assessment confirms her prior answer. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Obama is just blowing smoke - The White House says it's serious about climate change. But its plan to regulate carbon emissions is doomed to fail.

April 22, 2009 | Last week brought more bad news for supporters of cap and trade climate legislation. It came in the form of an appearance by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman's appearance on PBS' "The Tavis Smiley Show." When asked how cap and trade would create technology innovation, Waxman said, "When we raise the price of energy -- which will happen if we reduce the amount of carbon emissions -- and industries have to figure out how to live in a carbon-constrained environment, they are going to have to figure it out because it is in their profitable interest to figure it out."

Waxman's blunt statement that the goal of cap and trade is to raise energy prices was deeply off-message for green groups, which have long insisted that energy efficiency and conservation would prevent energy prices from rising. But it was only the latest in a series of setbacks for climate legislation.

In March, the White House floated the idea of passing cap and trade as part of the budget, in order to avoid having to garner 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. But when moderate Senate Democrats, led by Evan Bayh, D-Ind., whose state is over 92 percent dependent on coal for electricity, joined Republicans in opposing the move, the White House quickly backed off. Then, on March 31, the day after Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced cap and trade legislation, the Senate passed a resolution, 89-8, explicitly stating that the Senate will not pass climate legislation that raises energy prices. The next day the Senate passed another resolution, 98-0, which defined cap and trade as a tax.

Meanwhile, the environmental left was busy attacking cap and trade for being full of loopholes and corporate handouts. Friends of the Earth released a report documenting how cap and trade would create "carbon derivatives" markets that could be as dangerous as credit default swaps. A study by Rainforest Action Network and International Rivers Network calculated that because Waxman-Markey would allow firms to meet their emissions reduction target by purchasing dubious "carbon offsets," the bill would result in no emissions reductions before 2026 at the earliest.

Still, most greens were heartened after the White House announced plans to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. But the threat to regulate CO2 will ultimately run into the same political constraints that have hamstrung efforts to cap carbon emissions in the U.S. Congress. The Obama administration is unlikely to propose regulations that will significantly increase energy prices in key political battleground states, at least not in his first term. And subsequent administrations are no more likely to propose or stand behind unpopular regulations that will raise energy prices than will the Obama administration. As such, the threat to regulate CO2 will likely prove empty -- a gesture to environmental supporters and the international community that Obama is serious about climate change, but unlikely to result in substantial reductions in U.S. carbon emissions or break the current gridlock in Congress. (Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, Salon)

Comedic highlights of the Waxman-Markey bill hearing - File these vignettes among the endless list of political inanities that would be uproariously funny if the potential economic fallout were not so toxic.

Yesterday, in honor of Earth Day, House Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) held an interminable hearing on global warming legislation that he and Rep. Ed Markey (D-CA) have drafted.

Ranking Member Joe Barton of Texas today issued a press release providing some comedic highlights from the proceeding. A grim green award goes to anyone who can read it without laughing. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Report: Democrats Refuse to Allow Skeptic to Testify Alongside Gore At Congressional Hearing - 'House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated'

Washington DC -- UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington. Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.

“The House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,” Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “They are cowards.” (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)

EPA Relies on Peddlers of the Climate Alarmist Global Warming Scam - Aided by the astonishing ignorance of reporters like Time Magazine's Bryan Walsh

If the EPA really believes it's claim that greenhouse gases are "pollutants", then why is the EPA proposing to regulate virtually every atmospheric greenhouse gas except water vapor, responsible for nearly all greenhouse gas warming? (Bob Webster, WEBCommentary)

Countries need clear plans ahead of November climate-change talks, Prentice says - OTTAWA — Canada and other countries will need to outline their plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions well before November if nations are to conclude a deal that month on a global agreement to combat climate change, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice said.

In an interview from a meeting of environment ministers in Sicily, Mr. Prentice said leading developing countries, including China and India, must accept binding commitments to conclude a deal.

But he added the developed world will have to address their concerns over financing, technology transfers and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. (Globe and Mail)

At last, the answer to climate change: global mass suicide (The Australian)

Electricity providers say plan would raise prices - WASHINGTON — Consumers will face higher electricity prices if Congress passes a global warming bill without giving utilities some allowances to emit greenhouse gases, electricity providers warned Thursday.

"Revenues associated with pricing greenhouse gases would be returned to the very consumers who would be at risk for paying higher energy prices," said Richard Morgan, who leads the District of Columbia's Public Service Commission.

These higher prices would be the result of legislation that would put a price on the gases linked to global warming.

The providers say the best way to keep the electricity sector from passing on the cost of reducing greenhouse gases is to initially give away allowances to emit pollution, not sell them, as proposed by President Barack Obama. (Associated Press)

Uh, no. The best way of not increasing the consumer price is not increase the cost to start with, which means no 'permits' at any price, nor permitting system, absurd greenhouse panic...

Trying to ride Jimmy's coattails? Coal burning must end, says scientist - A CSIRO scientist has told a Senate inquiry it is imperative to begin phasing out coal burning in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

No coal-fired power plants should be built, and existing plants must shut within 20 years, if the world is to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide at a less dangerous level, the climatologist James Risbey said. (Sydney Morning Herald)

UK Imposes Carbon Limits On New Coal Plants - LONDON - Britain announced on Thursday plans to force all new coal plants in the country to test a pioneering carbon-cutting technology, as it tries to sharpen efforts to meet steep climate change targets.

The move would make Britain the first country to require coal plants to fit carbon capture and storage (CCS), still unproven on a commercial scale.

Initially, new plants would have to apply CCS to only about a quarter of power production rising to all output by 2025, Energy and Climate Minister Ed Miliband told parliament.

The government would fund up to four CCS test plants -- including one previously announced -- said Miliband, on measures which won support from analysts and some green groups.

"We need to signal a move away from the building of unabated coal-fired power stations," he said. (Reuters)

Will California Shuck Corn Ethanol? - California regulators are ready to conclude that corn ethanol cannot help the state fight global warming. It seems they've discovered putting food in our cars would destroy the earth in order to save it. (IBD)

Environmental discrimination? Exelon plans to build solar power plant on Chicago's South Side - Company would rely on Energy Department loan guarantees for $60 million project

Exelon Corp. will unveil on Wednesday plans to build a $60 million solar power plant on Chicago's South Side, a small step to fighting climate change that leans heavily on government funding due to the high cost of turning sunlight into electricity. (Chicago Tribune)

Exelon to build largest U.S. urban solar power plant on Chicago’s South Side - ComEd parent Exelon Corp. plans to build the nation's largest urban solar power plant on the city's South Side by year's end.

The $60 million project is expected to create about 200 temporary construction jobs and 10 to 15 permanent positions at the plant. The project is contingent upon Exelon getting a federal loan guarantee for up to 80 percent of its cost under the federal stimulus package that is doling out money for green jobs and emissions reductions. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Buying jobs at 4-6 million apiece seems a tad expensive, as does the maximum output of meeting the energy requirements of 1 household for $40,000 (we'd like to see that but it most certainly won't!).

Looks like subsidy farming. Sounds like subsidy farming...

Reports of wind farm health problems growing - More people are coming forward saying they're experiencing sleep problems, headaches, and heart palpitations caused by living near windmills.

Ontario physician Dr. Robert McMurtry told a news conference in Toronto Wednesday that while wind energy may offer a cleaner, more efficient way to generate electricity, those who live near the giant turbines are suffering through serious health problems.

McMurtry, a retired orthopedic surgeon who used to be an assistant deputy minister of the Population and Public Health Branch of Health Canada, decided to look into the health effects of windmills with the help of Carmen Krogh, a retired Alberta pharmacist.

Krogh and a group of volunteers distributed questionnaires in areas near wind farms, asking residents to describe whether they have experienced any effects from the turbines. (CTV.ca News)

Several people sent us this link, so, belatedly: Earth Day predictions of 1970. The reason you shouldn’t believe Earth Day predictions of 2009. - Earth Day is past now, but this article is so popular we’re pinning it at the top of the home page today so everyone looking for it can find it.

Luckily, we haven't run out of oil, but have exhausted our supply of 70s fashion.

Luckily, we haven't run out of oil, but we have exhausted our supply of 70s fashion.

For the next 24 hours, the media will assault us with tales of imminent disaster that always accompany the annual Earth Day Doom & Gloom Extravaganza.

Ignore them. They’ll be wrong. We’re confident in saying that because they’ve always been wrong. And always will be.

Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, spectacularly wrong predictions made on the occasion of Earth Day 1970. (I Hate The Media)

Today it’s global warming; in the ‘70s it was the coming ice age - Many Seattleites pride themselves on a fanatical environmentalism that frankly defies reason. On Earth Day, we commonly hear dark predictions about the looming horrors of global warming (a typical example, “What is at stake [is] our ability to live on planet Earth,” Al Gore).

Yet not so long ago the news media issued dire warnings about global cooling and a coming Ice Age. Consider these headlines: (John Barnes, Seattle Public Policy Examiner)

Latest excuse for the missing Apocalypse: 'Super reefs' fend off climate change, study says - The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today a study showing that some coral reefs off East Africa are unusually resilient to climate change due to improved fisheries management and a combination of geophysical factors. WCS announced the results of the study at the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), which is meeting this week in Phuket, Thailand. (Wildlife Conservation Society)

Dam their excuses - It’s taken eight years, but I’ve finally goaded Melbourne Water into trying to defend its disastrous refusal to dam the Mitchell River.

We sure can’t accuse it of panicking.

Melbourne’s dams are down to record lows of 28 per cent and draining fast, much as I predicted from 2001, when we still had time and green gardens. Yet only now do these jokers, who have left us so dry, explain why they still won’t even consider the one cheap and obvious solution.

Mind you, when I say “Melbourne Water” I really mean the “Labor Government”, whose orders it takes and for whom it now tries to cover up.

But first, the background. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Shocking levels of salt lurking in shop sandwiches - The high salt content of shop bought sandwiches could be putting the health of people across Northern Ireland at risk with a study out today finding some contain as much as several bags of crisps.

An investigation by Which? magazine has found that some lunchtime sandwiches could contain as much as nine packs of ready salted crisps — but consumers may not realise this as they do not have to carry a nutritional label. (Belfast Telegraph)

In the Genes of a Hereford, the Essence of Cow - Scientists have achieved what they describe as a major milestone in animal genetics: decoding the genome of the cow.

The findings provide “tantalizing clues to explain ‘the essence of bovinity,’ ” according to an essay in the journal Science, which is publishing several articles on the work.

“The cows have not disappointed us,” wrote Harris A. Lewin, an animal sciences professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, noting that the research had fulfilled its promise to provide “exciting new information” about the evolution of mammals and the workings of their genes. (New York Times)

Cow's DNA Sequence Reveals Mankind's Influence Over Last 10,000 Years - The genomes of man and dog have been joined in the scientific barnyard by the genome of the cow, an animal that walked beside them on the march to modern civilization.

A team of hundreds of scientists working in more than a dozen countries yesterday published the entire DNA message -- the genome -- of an eight-year-old female Hereford living at an experimental farm in Montana.

Hidden in her roughly 22,000 genes are hints of how natural selection sculpted the bovine body and personality over the last 60 million years, and how man greatly enhanced the job over the last 10,000. (Washington Post)

Why? U.S. Sets Survey Of Organic Farming And Marketing - WASHINGTON - The U.S. government will make its first in-depth survey of organic farming this spring, an eight-page questionnaire on which crops and livestock are produced, how they are grown and where they are sold.

Questionnaires will be mailed in early May with responses due by mail or Internet by June 17, said the Agriculture Department. A report is expected in early 2010. The 2007 Census of Agriculture counted 20,437 farms with land in organic production and sales of $1.7 billion.

Organic farming is a small part of American agriculture but commonly described as a rapidly growing segment. There are 2.2 million U.S. farms covering 920 million acres (372 million hectares). Organic farming accounted for 2.6 million acres in 2007.

Leaders in the organic movement have pressed for a USDA survey as the first step to more USDA research and aid to their sector. (Reuters)

April 23, 2009

Video: Steve Milloy on Glenn Beck - Click here for the video clip of Green Hell author Steve Milloy’s appearance on Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck Show on Earth Day.

Indoctrination materials for programming little gorebots: Kids Join the Fight Against Global Warming with New, Hands-On Book

A KIDS' GUIDE TO CLIMATE CHANGE & GLOBAL WARMING by Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., puts the power of positive change directly into kids' hands.

Minneapolis, MN April 22, 2009 -- Planet Earth's temperature is on the rise, creating news across the globe. While climate change is not new, global warming is increasing at a rate that has scientists, politicians, and others--including kids--asking serious questions and recognizing the need for action. Internationally renowned service learning guru Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., puts the power of change directly into young people's hands with her new workbook, A KIDS' GUIDE TO CLIMATE CHANGE & GLOBAL WARMING (Free Spirit Publishing, $6.95), part of our How to Take Action! series. (Vocus/PRWEB)

For deprogramming little gorebots try: "The Sky's Not Falling: Why It's OK To Chill About Global Warming" and/or "The Prince of Precaution: big Tim's little monster"

No Kidding, One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse - There's a new bogeyman lurking in the closet, and this one isn't imaginary. Us. One out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Earth won't exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least a very unpleasant place to live), according to a new survey.

Commissioned by Habitat Heroes and conducted by Opinion Research, the telephone survey polled a national sample of 500 American preteens—250 males and 250 females.

On a sliding scale of anxieties, minority kids have it worst; 75 percent of black children and 65 percent of Hispanic children believe that the planet will be irrevocably damaged by the time they reach adulthood. (TreeHugger.com)

Earth Day, 2009: The More You Know, the Less You Care - What on Earth is going on in Washington? The public believes less and less that human beings are responsible for global warming, surface temperature shows no net change in over a decade, and there’s still a bill about to be debated in the House that will require the average American in 2050 to have a “carbon footprint” no larger than it was for the average American in 1867.

The politics of global warming are becoming increasingly disconnected from the public. Day after day, hour after hour, telescreens shout, “Go Green! Go Green!” Fewer and fewer people care. (Patrick J. Michaels, Planet Gore)

Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery - Our lab has just published a new paper in PLoS ONE, detailing the interactions of coral and algae on the Great Barrier Reef, and uncovered just how resilient some reefs can be following coral bleaching events. The southern end of the Great Barrier Reef was exposed to extended periods of high sea surface temperatures in the end of 2006, resulting in extensive coral bleaching across the Keppel Islands throughout January 2006. Following the bleaching event, a single species of fleshy macro-algae (Lobophora) overgrew the coral skeletons, causing high rates of mortality throughout the second half of 2006. But, by February 2007, corals were rapidly recovering due to an unusual seasonal dieback of the macro-algae, and astonishing regenerative capabilities of the dominant branching Acroporid corals - almost twice the rate of offshore corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef. (ClimateShifts.org)

Earth Day: Is There Any Appetite for Tackling Climate Change? - Today, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the House will start a marathon parade of 54 witnesses over four days to talk about climate and energy, culminating with an inevitable Friday appearance by former vice president Al Gore. Will anyone be listening?

For all the heated rhetoric about global warming, plenty of people are starting to worry the issue is running out of steam. Elizabeth Kolbert kicked it off yesterday in The New Yorker, contrasting the multitudinous, bottom-up demonstrations at the first Earth Day that convinced Richard Nixon to create the Environmental Protection Agency with today’s environmental indifference. For all the House hearings, she writes, “there are plenty of reasons to wonder whether serious steps to reduce carbon emissions will be taken this year or, indeed, ever.”

The big difference with forty years ago, she argues, is that leaders are trying to lead—not follow: “Three and a half decades ago, when the nation’s key environmental laws were approved, politicians were responding to the mood of the country. Today, the situation is largely reversed.” (Wall Street Journal)

Save the Humans! - Get ready for a dazzling display of environmental alarmism this week as Washington takes up the evils of modern living.

When it comes to the Earth's demise, no one is innocent. Take, for instance, the recent story about a group of scientists who are wagging their scrawny fingers at our rotund brothers and sisters for contributing to the planet's demise by relentlessly stuffing their pudgy faces. (Eat green; be green!)

You see, eating more means humans must produce more food -- and more carbon dioxide. It means we must raise more soon-to-be juicy steaks that have a tendency to emit greenhouse gases that reek. You might find the thought of regulating food intake and livestock flatulence a bit bizarre, but hey, if it means saving the Earth, why not?

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency bravely moved forward by finding that things such as smokestacks and breathing, or things related to greenhouse gases, endanger public health and welfare. And because the EPA can regulate CO2, it can have a say in nearly everything we do, with little regard for silly distractions, such as economic trade-offs.

We're not talking about your cars or soon-to-be-extinct trucks; we're talking about your scooters and toasters, your dryers and pets (do you really need two dogs? Come to think of it, do you really need two children?), your coffeehouses and Subaru dealerships and organic-produce collectives.

It's not going to be easy. Climate change is the cause of -- and caused by -- everything. Reputable news pieces regularly allege, without any evidence, that climate change is the culprit in hundreds of dreadful events. From the decline of outdoor youth hockey to the scourge of teenage drinking to the massacre in Darfur, you guessed it; global warming is often the boogeyman. (David Harsanyi, Townhall)

The Late Great Planet Girth - We are now told that obesity causes global warming. Maybe that's why belief in human-caused climate change is at an all-time low. That and the fact that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting.

Over the past decade, as the earth cooled, the sun grew quiet and snow fell in Malibu, the disconnect between the computer models of Al Gore and the warm-mongers grew more apparent than ever. So much so that they started talking about "climate change" instead of "global warming."

That way, everything from drought to floods was covered, even record cold winters and snowfalls.

Even that's not working on an ever more skeptical public, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports national survey showing that just one of three voters — a new low — now believe that global warming is caused by human activity. (IBD)

Earth Day: Obama and allies in massive push for climate curbs - Washington - US President Barack Obama and key administration officials launched a full media blitz Wednesday to push for limits to climate-damaging pollution in the United States, coinciding with Earth Day.

Obama touted the importance of wind power during a trip to the US state of Iowa and called for a 'new era of energy exploration,' sounding a theme repeated by a series of cabinet members who testified before Congress on the same day.

'On this Earth Day, we must state in no uncertain terms that we have a responsibility to curb the carbon emissions from fossil fuels that have begun to change our climate,' Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives.

The House committee planned to hear from dozens of government, environmental and business officials during four days of hearings this week as it considers legislation that would force US companies to pay for emissions that cause global warming.

The legislation has struggled to gain traction in Congress amid opposition from conservative lawmakers and some Democrats from coal- producing states, who fear a cap on greenhouse gas emissions will do undue harm to the US economy.

Chu testified before the House committee Wednesday together with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson. Former vice president Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his efforts to raise awareness on climate change, is set to appear on Friday. (DPA)

Obama Climate Chief: U.S. Law Vital To Global Deal - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's top climate negotiator warned on Wednesday that international efforts to tackle global warming are doomed unless the United States enacts laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

"There will be no new global deal if the United States is not part of it and we won't be part of it unless we are on track in enacting our own domestic plan," Todd Stern told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Countries from around the world are scheduled to meet in Copenhagen in December to try to embrace a new plan for attacking climate change problems.

"Unless we stand and deliver by enacting strong, mandatory nationwide climate and energy legislation, the effort to negotiate a new international agreement will come up short," Stern said. (Reuters)

How EPA Lost $1.22 Trillion In Its Waxman-Markey Analysis - You can have a lot of fun playing games with assumptions. For instance, EPA managed to lose $1.22 trillion in the costs of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill to 2019. Here is how. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Happy Earth Day ? - Today, the massive costs of American environmental protections are embedded in all of our products, services and daily activities, and total about 5% of our gross domestic product (GDP) -- equal to our national defense and homeland security GDPs combined. America leads the world in environmental protection. The green establishment won't concede America's leadership and successes in environmental protection, because green groups would lose their issue identity, political leverage and livelihood as nonprofits. If you celebrate Earth Day, celebrate America, where real environmental problems are either solved, or are under active management. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Our linked piece on Strong was popular yesterday, so here's another flashback: Maurice Strong: The new guy in your future! - Shortly after his selection as U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan told the Lehrer News Hour that Ingvar Carlsson and Shirdath Ramphal, co-chairs of the U.N.-funded Commission on Global Governance, would be among those asked to help him reform the sprawling, world-wide U.N. bureaucracy. His first choice, however, announced in the Washington Post on January 17, 1997, was none other than Maurice Strong, also a member of the Commission on Global Governance. (Henry Lamb, January, 1997)

Light globes would probably be more useful: Governor Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Celebrate Earth Day at Opening of Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet - Outdoor Art Exhibit Features 50 Colorful, Super-sized Globes that Showcase Everyday Solutions to Global Warming – On Display at Exposition Park’s Rose Garden

LOS ANGELES--The Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet exhibit, featuring 50 super-sized globes that depict everyday solutions to global warming, opened today at Los Angeles’ Exposition Park Rose Garden with help from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and 350 school children who were all on hand to spread the message of conservation and climate protection. The five-foot diameter, seven-foot-tall globes, designed by local and national artists each convey different messages about what ordinary citizens can do to combat global warming.

“Here in California, we take the spirit of Earth Day and we live it every day,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am thrilled to be celebrating our environment and our planet today by shining a spotlight on the Cool Globes exhibit.” (BUSINESS WIRE)

Air pollution helps plants blunt climate change: study - Cleaning up skies choked with smog and soot would sharply curtail the capacity of plants to absorb carbon dioxide and blunt global warming, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Plant life -- especially tropical forests -- soak up a quarter of all the CO2 humans spew into the atmosphere, and thus plays a critical role in keeping climate change in check.

Through photosynthesis, vegetation transforms sunlight, CO2 and water into sugar nutrients.

Common sense would suggest that air pollution in the form of microscopic particles that obstruct the Sun's rays -- a phenomenon called "global dimming" -- would hamper this process, but the new study shows the opposite is true.

"Surprisingly, the effects of atmospheric pollution seem to have enhanced global plant productivity by as much as a quarter from 1960 to 1999," said Linda Mercado, a researcher at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Britain, and the study's lead author.

"This resulted in a net ten percent increase in the amount of carbon stored by the land," she said in a statement. (AFP)

The EPA Is Choking Democracy - One of the most important events of our lifetimes may have just transpired. A federal agency has decided that it has the power to regulate everything, including the air you breathe.

Nominally, the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement last Friday only applies to new-car emissions. But pretty much everyone agrees that the ruling opens the door to regulating, well, everything.

According to the EPA, greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide -- the gas you exhale -- as well as methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. It is literally impossible to imagine a significant economic or human activity that does not involve the production of one of these gases. Don't think just of the gas and electricity bills. Cow flatulence is a serious concern of the EPA's already. What next? Perhaps an EPA mandarin will pick up a copy of "The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally Friendly Sex" and go after the root causes of global warming.

Whether or not global warming is a crisis that warrants immediate, drastic action (I don't think it does), and whether or not such wholesale measures would be an economic calamity (they would be), the EPA's decision should be disturbing to people who believe in democratic, constitutional government.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court -- the least democratic branch of our formal government -- decided in Massachusetts v. EPA that the agency could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. With this judicial green light, the EPA has launched its power grab over all that burns, breathes, burps, flies, drives and passes gas. (Jonah Goldberg, Townhall)

Fuzzy Math - According to an MIT study, cap and trade could cost the average household more than $3,900 per year. (John McCormack, Weekly Standard)

G8 environment ministers gather for global warming talks - SIRACUSA, Sicily, April 22, 2009 - The environment ministers of leading industrialised and developing nations gathered in Sicily Wednesday for talks on combatting global warming amid growing momentum towards a historic international accord.

The three-day talks, which bring together countries responsible for more than 40 percent of the world's carbon gas emissions, will shine the spotlight on the new US leadership ahead of a forum of 17 major economies in Washington next week.

Kicking off on Earth Day, the talks in Sicily will be a milestone on the way to a UN meeting in Copenhagen in December aimed at sealing an international pact for curbing greenhouse gases beyond 2012. (AFP)

US ambassador blasts Europe's claims to climate leadership - Departing ambassadors give valedictory addresses, most of which are stunningly dull. Not so the US special envoy to the EU, the exotically named C Boyden Gray, who had a stark warning for Europe and a dig at Britain as he shut the door behind him.

C Boyden was scathing about the ­European plan for a 20% drop in greenhouse gases between 1990 and 2020, which would ­allow 50% of the "savings" to be achieved via "offsets" in developing countries.

With one eye clearly on UK plans to build Kingsnorth and up to seven other coal power stations, he pointed out that European countries could hardly claim to be world leaders on climate change if they were going to increase coal consumption and get everyone else to make the cuts. How much more ethical was the US, planning to cut emissions just as deeply but to make all except 15% of the cuts at home!

The ears of the British diplomats in the audience burned, seeing as they were the chief cheerleaders of the EU's offset arrangements. (The Guardian)

China's Forests Have Role In Soaking Up CO2: Study - OSLO - China's forests and other vegetation absorbed around a third of its greenhouse gases in the late 20th century, but the rate may now be falling because of a surge in industrial emissions, scientists said.

A study by Peking University said that increased summer rains, efforts to plant forests, an expansion of shrubland, shifts in crop use and higher bamboo mass soaked up between 28 and 37 percent of industrial emissions in the 1980s and 1990s.

The study gave the first estimate of the impact of plants in offsetting carbon dioxide emissions in China, which has recently overtaken the United States as top emitter. Plants soak up carbon as they grow and release it when they burn or rot.

The report, in the journal Nature, also said that China's plants and soils soaked up more carbon per square meter than in Europe but less than in the United States. (Reuters)

Pledge to reduce greenhouse gases - The chancellor has announced measures aimed at cutting the UK's greenhouse gas emissions - as part of £1bn spending to tackle climate change.

The Budget commits the UK to cut CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020.

Industry has pushed for the measures, saying it will allow them to invest in "greener" technologies, but scientists say the targets do not go far enough.

An extra £525m was also pledged in the next two years to help get off-shore wind farm projects under way. (BBC)

Australian Govt carbon reduction scheme “dead in the water” - setback for IPCC - News reports are building that the Australian Government will never achieve meaningful reduction of carbon emissions. (Warwick Hughes)

Bangkok Beats London In Carbon Pollution - SINGAPORE - Residents of the Thai capital produce as much carbon pollution as New Yorkers and more than Londoners, a U.N.-backed study released on Wednesday shows.

The report, "Bangkok: Assessment Report on Climate Change 2009," underscores the city's carbon-intensive habits but also highlights the threat to Bangkok from rising seas caused by global warming.

"In per-capita terms, Bangkok was responsible for producing 7.1 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum in 2007," said the report by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and the Bangkok-based Green Leaf Foundation, with support from the United Nations Environment Program.

That was the same level of emissions produced by New Yorkers in 2007. Londoners produced 5.9 tons per capita.

Transport and electricity generation were the main sources of greenhouse gases in Bangkok, the report said.

The paper based its calculations on the city's official population of six million but up to twice that number are believed to live in the city, many of them seasonal workers from the countryside. (Reuters)

Is the Sun a ‘Global Warming’ Denier? - The Sun isn’t playing ball with the ‘global warmers’. Indeed, I expect one of our more rabid Labour ministers to come out any day now fatuously accusing the fading star of ‘global warming’ denial on a par with denying the effects of smoking or the link between HIV and AIDS.

But one has to laugh. The sun is currently so inactive that even our ‘global warming’-obsessed media has been forced, through heavily rose-tinted sunglasses, to admit the phenomenon, rushing to add, of course, that this doesn’t mean that ‘global warming’ has halted, or that we must stop mending our evil ways. (The Clamour Of The Times)

One pretend problem hides another pretend problem: Sea ice spread linked to ozone layer - SEA ice around Antarctica has been increasing at a rate of 100,000sq km a decade since the 1970s, according to a landmark study to be published today.

The study by the British Antarctic Survey, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says rather than melting as a result of global warming, Antarctica continues to expand.

The fact that Antarctic ice is still growing does not in itself prove that global warming is not happening. But the BAS says increased ice formation can be explained by another environmental concern, the hole in the ozone layer, which is affecting local weather conditions.

But the absence of an ice melt overall does put a further question mark over extreme claims that the world faces precipitous rises in sea levels because of the melting polar ice caps. (The Australian)

Critic wary of science about climate - A local skeptic about climate change says the research isn't clear enough for a consensus the danger is real.

Ross McKitrick, a University of Guelph environmental economist, is the editor of a new Fraser Institute report that suggests there should be doubts climate change is real.

"Once you get into questions that matter, the science isn't settled," McKitrick said.

The conservative think-tank's report, titled Critical Topics in Global Warming, was released yesterday. (Guelph Mercury)

The Fraser Institute: New Report Details Over-Looked Scientific Evidence Against Simplistic Climate Alarmism

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 21, 2009) - A 110-page report by an international team of climate experts published today by the independent Fraser Institute examines critically-important scientific evidence that has been overlooked or omitted in government reports that blame climate change on carbon dioxide emissions.

The report, Critical Topics in Global Warming, supplements the Fraser Institute's Independent Summary for Policymakers, a 2007 analysis of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

The new peer-reviewed report's seven chapters investigate published scientific literature on issues such as the effects of ocean oscillations and solar variations on climate, historical climate variability, statistical challenges in climate analysis, uncertainties in climate modeling, and quality problems in temperature measurement systems. The report leaves no doubt that the science is far from "settled" on climate change.

Download Critical Topics in Global Warming here.

Psycho-Activists’ Lack-of-Substance Abuse - Last month, we mentioned a conference at the University of the West of England, which set out to diagnose the debilitating condition suffered by those who fail to subscribe to the environmental orthodoxy.

We suggested that it’s a sure sign that environmentalism’s political arguments are failing when its adherents resort to the pathologisation of dissenters. Climate psycho-activist George Marshall had followed up his opening address to the conference with a Guardian piece explaining that ‘the greatest obstacles to action are not technical, economic or political — they are the denial strategies that we adopt to protect ourselves from unwelcome information’.

What he meant by ‘we’ was ‘them’. But that’s the trouble with psychology: we all have one. If scepticism can be reduced to a psycho-pathological phenomenon, then so too can willingness to toe the line of green orthodoxy. Things get even more difficult for Marshall because, given that the majority of the world’s population would count as sceptics (and Marshall’s despair over the results of various opinion polls would suggest that he’d agree with this), it seems rather odd to be writing off such views as an aberration. (Climate Resistance)

Climate sceptics ready to storm heaven with earth's geological history - THERE'S nothing like healthy academic combat. In the corridors of Adelaide University, two respected professors on opposite sides of the climate change debate are pushing their theories on the subject, sparked by a new book that has sceptics rubbing their hands with glee.

Outspoken academic geologist Ian Plimer yesterday launched Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science, concluding that scientific modelling had placed too much emphasis on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global warming should not be blamed on increased human activity.

Speaking after the launch yesterday, Professor Plimer accused high-profile climate change advocates such as former US vice-president Al Gore of "scaring people witless" with theories about the world ending.

He also said 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery pushed a "political line" and had considered only a "small body of evidence" when studying global warming.

Many scientists, he said, had not considered the history of the earth when discussing climate change, or factors including the earth's rotation, changing tides and solar winds. (The Australian)

OUR OVEN EARTH by Stephen Wilde

If the above title drew your attention then that will be because you expect me to confirm the worst fears about humanity’s goose having been cooked by anthropogenic climate change.

A goose may be cooked but not the one you would expect so please bear with me while I explain. (Climate Realists)

Researchers Hope To Clear Mystery From Clouds - DELFT - Wearing 3-D viewing goggles, scientists peer at virtual pink, blue and purple clouds billowing in cyberspace at a research laboratory in the Dutch city of Delft.

By tracking how particles move in and around computer-simulated clouds, they hope to shed light on one of the unknowns of climate forecasting: how these masses of water droplets and ice crystals influence changing temperatures.

The research, at Delft University of Technology, was undertaken because of the growing urgency for scientists to improve ways of forecasting climate change. (Reuters)

Sunspots, where have they gone? - Currently, we are experiencing a deep solar minimum in the sunspot cycle. In fact, not one sunspot has been observed this month with the spotless day streak growing to 44 days straight. The current solar minimum is part of the pattern, and for the most part on time. I say for the most part because it seems many forecasts and scientific analogs pointed towards 2008 being the solar minimum with an increase in sunspot activity arising in 2009. The problem is the sunspot number continues to decrease in April of 2009. (Joe Roy, Connecticut Weather Examiner)

Exploding myths on energy, environment - This year’s official Earth Day poster depicts a polar bear climbing a wind turbine that sits atop a sheet of ice floating at sea. A catchy picture, to be sure, but hyperbole will not advance energy-policy discussions—especially when environmental goals must be balanced with the need to cope with a recession and rising unemployment.

To ensure continued access to the reliable, affordable energy that is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, policies must be rooted in facts and realities, not myths and pipedreams.

Unfortunately, results from a new survey conducted for the Manhattan Institute by Zogby Associates illustrate that a majority of Americans’ ideas on energy and the environment are not based in fact. For example, 49% of respondents believe Saudi Arabia exports the most oil to the U.S., while just 13% correctly identified Canada as our top foreign supplier.

Over two-thirds believe that we can meet future energy demand through conservation and efficiency – but energy usage has historically increased alongside efficiency gains, and conservation provides only marginal consumption reductions.

Environmentalists tout wind and solar power, but collectively these sources generate less than 1% of our electricity. They are significantly more costly than their conventional counterparts – coal and oil – and provide power too intermittently to be added to our electric grid in large volumes. (Drew Thornley, The Examiner)

Consumers start feeling higher costs of clean fuel - Clean energy has a dirty secret.

It isn't cheap.

Consumers already are starting to feel at least a modest pinch in their electric bills. The impact is expected to grow in the next few years as utilities accelerate their investments to meet state quotas requiring a portion of clean energy in their generation mix. And bills in Congress would impose a similar national quota, an idea President Obama supports.

The cost is one reason electric rates have been fairly stable as oil and natural gas prices have plunged.

"There are offsetting costs — renewables is one — that are keeping power prices up," says Larry Makovich of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).

Until recently, clean energy didn't noticeably affect rates because it accounts for just 3% of U.S. power generation. That's changing as utilities scramble to meet state quotas, says Standard & Poor's analyst Anne Selting. (Paul Davidson, USA TODAY)

Ethanol’s California problem - The California Air Resources Board is set tomorrow to consider sweeping rules for the state’s new low-carbon fuel standard, which is designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. The rules require biofuels to be analyzed for their impacts on global land use. (There are similar requirements in the 2007 energy bill for the national renewable fuels standard. EPA has yet to issue those rules.)

Obviously, a key market is at stake for the ethanol industry if its product doesn’t qualify for California’s low-carbon fuel. But the industry also is worried that the rules could discourage investors from putting money into cellulosic fuels. The industry already is having enough trouble as it is attracting capital.

In a letter today to the board, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said the proposed rules “will not only damage existing producers but will also significantly slow advanced biofuels investment and development.”

California’s low-carbon standard is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by at least 10 percent from their 2006 levels. Congressional Democrats have proposed enacting a similar low-carbon standard as part of a broader effort to address global warming. (Des Moines Register)

“Science” By Press Release - A new study on global streamflows has just been announced via press release by NCAR. Here is how the press release opens:

Rivers in some of the world’s most populous regions are losing water, according to a new comprehensive study of global stream flow. The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), suggests that in many cases the reduced flows are associated with climate change. The process could potentially threaten future supplies of food and water.

Here is what the paper actually says:

We emphasize, however, that the actual streamflow and discharge examined here likely include changes induced by human activities, such as withdrawal of stream water and building dams, and thus they are not readily suitable for quantifying the effects of global warming on streamflow

Lets see how many news stories follow the press release rather than the paper. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Hogging the Climate Change Gravy Train - Nearly two years ago, we wrote a post about ‘research’ emerging from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showing that fat people contribute disproportionately to climate change.

True to the commandments of environmentalism - Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle - the researchers have put a new spin on their old stuff. Why bother doing new research when you can pass the same old leftovers to hungry newsrooms? The BBC wolfed it down whole without chewing: (Climate Resistance)

And who should we burn at the stake if there's even one accident, one death or injury even slightly contributed to by reduced safety lighting?  Darkness beckons for carbon-saving motorway - Roadside lighting to be switched off tomorrow morning in a move that will save 90 tons of carbon a year

A stretch of the M27 motorway in Hampshire will be thrown into darkness at midnight tonight in a move designed to cut carbon emissions and light pollution that is likely to be adopted more widely in the coming months.

The lights will be switched off between midnight and 5am on a carefully selected stretch of road between junctions seven and eight near Southampton.

The Highways Agency said the road had an excellent safety record and low traffic flow during the early morning. It added that the plan had been successfully trialled at a site in the south west and that the lights on the motorway approaches and junctions would remain lit. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Yet another facet in the green assault on modernity: EPA to limit mercury from cement plants - The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday called for the nation's first limits on mercury emissions from the more than 100 cement factories across the U.S.

The proposed new rule would require cement kilns to add pollution controls that would reduce mercury emissions by 81 percent by 2013. The rule also would reduce emissions of soot, hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and sulfur dioxide from the production of cement.

Mercury is contained in the raw material used in kilns and in the coal used for power. Once released into the air, mercury travels over wide distances and settles in soil and water. People are exposed to mercury mainly from eating contaminated fish. (McClatchy-Tribune)

Hudson ditching survivor `shocked' by FAA secrecy - A survivor of the jetliner that ditched in the Hudson River after hitting birds and most other public commenters opposed a government proposal to make secret its data on when and where such bird strikes occur.

Public comments about the Federal Aviation Administration's secrecy proposal ran 5-to-1 against it as the comment period closed Monday. One major group, which some had expected to support the rule, declined to take a position.

The primary trade group for U.S. airports, the Airports Council International-North America, told the FAA that its member airports were split on the issue so it "cannot take a position either supporting or opposing" the secrecy. But it urged the agency "to provide explanatory information to assist the public and media to use the data responsibly" if it decides against imposing secrecy.

Donald C. Jones, of Jacksonville, Fla., who was fished from the Hudson Jan. 15 along with the other 154 people aboard US Airways flight 1549, told the FAA he was "surprised and alarmed" to read its proposal. "This issue needs to be addressed openly, not swept under the rug," Jones said. Six private pilots and an air traffic controller also were among 35 people who objected in writing to the FAA's plan. (Townhall)

The only reason for secrecy is so people don't realize what a hazard the pretty birdies pose and want the rotten things shot.

Homo Sapiens, Get Lost - Anti-humanism comes to Hollywood.

When Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic 1932 novel, Brave New World, he envisioned a dystopian future in which mankind would become, in the words of bioethicist Leon Kass, “so dehumanized that he doesn’t even realize what has been lost.”

Huxley believed we would evolve into a society steeped in radical hedonism — where drugs would be used to erase every negative emotion and promiscuity would be not just common but the norm. He also saw us as becoming profoundly utilitarian and eugenic, depicted in his novel by genetically engineered babies being decanted through a cloning-type process rather than being born, and then propagandized rather than educated, so as never to question the existing order. Huxley’s Brave New World is a society without families, without the old and sick — who are done away with rather than cared for — and without real purpose other than experiencing transitory pleasure.

Looking around, can we have any doubt of Huxley’s prescience? But as acute as his prophetic faculties were, he did miss one crucial feature of the coup de culture against which he warned: The minions of Brave New World believed in nothing. However, as an intrinsically moral species, we may be congenitally incapable of literal agnosticism: We will always believe in something — and that “something” increasingly looks like a radical earth religion that views human beings as the enemies of the planet. (Wesley J. Smith, NRO)

Is Demonizing Monsanto Blocking Real Progress? - Germans are celebrating the fact that the government has banned genetically modified corn. But the country's almost blanket opposition to genetic modification ignores the fact that it might just help scientists find a solution for feeding a swelling global population. (Der Spiegel)

April 22, 2009

Endangered agenda: Greens mount ad hominem Amazon attacks against Green Hell - If you need more evidence of the intellectual vacuity of the green agenda, you need look no further than the Amazon.com customer review battle over Steve Milloy’s new book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Want to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

As of the evening of April 20, the newly published Green Hell had garnered 14 Amazon customer reviews — 6 five-star (love it) and 8 one-star (hate it) ratings, and nothing in between. It doesn’t get too much more polarized than that.

The five-star ratings seem to have been written by thoughtful people who have actually read Green Hell and seem to be very helpful to would-be purchasers. In fact, of the 358 would-be purchasers who read the five-star customer ratings, 273 (more than 76%) thought the reviews helpful. In contrast, of the 304 who read the one-star customer reviews, only 64 (21%) thought them helpful.

Almost funny: Climate Change Drying Up Big Rivers, Study Finds - WASHINGTON - Rivers in some of the world's most populated regions are losing water, many because of climate change, researchers reported on Tuesday.

Affected rivers include the Yellow River in northern China, the Ganges in India, the Niger in West Africa, and the Colorado in the southwestern United States.

When added to the effects from damming, irrigation and other water use, these changes could add up to a threat to future supplies of food and water, the researchers reported in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

"Reduced runoff is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially with more demand for water as population increases," Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, who led the study, said in a statement. (Reuters)

Actually it's pretty frustrating with fragmented doctrines all accepting the output of climate models as gospel. The above is a prime example because they are either unaware of or blithely ignore the inherent contradiction in the above claim.

The effect of doubling carbon dioxide in the absence of confounding feedbacks is moderately well understood -- all other things being equal increasing Earth's atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from 280 - 560 ppmv delivers a theoretical +1.2 K warming of global mean temperature (1.2 °C or ~2.2 °F), approximately half of which has already occurred since ~1750.

To derive a slightly scary +3 °C warming from 2 x CO2 an amplification factor of 2.5 is applied (2.5 x 1.2 = 3) -- which regular readers know we call the marvelous magical multiplier -- and the rationale is that warming due to increased CO2 increases evaporation and adds to the stock of the primary greenhouse gas -- yes, water vapor -- which increases greenhouse effect...

Inevitably, adding more water vapor to the atmosphere leads to more precipitation (what goes up must come down unless it reaches escape velocity). So, to get the temperature increases used as inputs to guesstimate drying and reduced runoff (as the above modelers do) actually requires a significant wetting of the atmosphere and consequent increase in precipitation and runoff (as gorebull warming modelers do).

All of which leaves us with the truly wonderful situation where a hypothetical wetting of the atmosphere causes a hypothetical drying of the atmosphere. At the same time we have recent publication of studies suggesting observed increases in runoff (in Europe, as I recall) are due to increased water efficiency of plants in the slightly less CO2-depleted atmosphere with reduced transpiration loss causing higher retained soil moisture levels between precipitation events (which, if memory serves, is supposed to increase the risk of damaging floods).

What a thoroughly stupid game this is.

The climate sure is changing when doubt gets an airing - HMM, I could be wrong. Maybe the climate is changing after all. The intellectual climate, I mean.

For years it's been a social crime to doubt man is heating the world to hell.

But suddenly the ice is cracking - and no, not the ice around Antarctica, which has actually grown.

Take a few signs from last week alone.

Australia's pre-eminent academic geologist, Prof Ian Plimer, published Heaven and Earth, challenging the gospel that the world is warming dangerously and that human-caused gases are to blame.

In fact, says Plimer, what warming we saw until a decade ago was not unusual, not dangerous and most likely caused mainly by solar activity. What's more, temperatures now seem to be falling.

While true, this kind of talk has been enough - until recently - to get you defamed as crazy or corrupt. Only last November, Plimer had a leper's bell rung over his head when he appeared on the ABC's Lateline Business, with presenter Ticky Fullerton warning he was "a geologist, not a climatologist" who "by definition works closely with the mining industry". Cross yourselves!

(When did the ABC last warn viewers that Al Gore "is an ex-politician, not a climatologist", and Tim Flannery "is a mammal expert, not a climatologist"?)

Then came Fullerton's "how-corrupt-are-you" question: "You are a greenhouse heretic . . . Is this scepticism genuine, or is it also about economic self-interest?"

(Has the ABC asked Flannery: "Is your warming belief genuine, or is it also about the $50,000 speaking fees?") (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

CBS Newsman Charles Osgood A Climate Skeptic? Questions Whether Quiet Sun May 'Counteract' Global Warming - Washington DC: Veteran CBS newsman Charles Osgood, the host of the CBS News Sunday Morning show since 1994, has released an April 21, 2009 surprise “The Osgood File” radio report questioning man-made global warming predictions.

In the radio report, Osgood reveals that “the sun is the dimmest it's been in nearly a century” and noted that previous quiet sun periods have “led to a mini-Ice Age here on Earth.” Osgood even admonished himself for questioning man-made warming fears by declaring "Hush, Child! You're not even supposed to suggest that." (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)

Key Obama Climate Change Exchange Being Swayed by Top UN officials - A greenhouse gases trading system funded with the support of then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama, which is likely to play a major role in his $650 million cap-and-trade initiative, lists five present or former top-ranking U.N. officials on its advisory board who’ve had enormous influence over climate change matters – including one who received $1 million from a convicted South Korean lobbyist.

The most controversial figure of the five, Maurice Strong, was one of former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s key aides at the U.N. for years until the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal forced him to leave. Since then Strong has lived mostly in China. Calls to the exchange for comment about Strong’s role, and that of other U.N. figures, were not returned. (Edward Barnes, FoxNews.com)

PETER FERRARA: We’re Doomed If the EPA Continues to Embrace Bad Science - Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency began implementing Obama administration policy with a “finding” that man-made global warming is a threat to human health. This finding provides the legal foundation for massive regulation of American life that would ultimately chase remaining manufacturing out of the country, sharply reduce America’s standard of living, and tumble the American economy into long term decline.

The EPA and Obama are just following the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the UN is as self-interested on this issue as the oil companies — except that it tilts in the completely opposite direction — because global warming provides a powerful excuse for a massive expansion of UN powers. That is why the UN’s global warming reports involve shoddy science skewed to favor the theory of man-made global warming. Nevertheless, Obama and his left-leaning liberals have readily embraced the global warming theory because it provides a fabulous excuse for a massive expansion of the federal government as well. (Peter Ferrara, Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy, Institute for Policy Innovation)

Well, duh! Coalition wants to wreck new Kyoto: Wong - THE Opposition is trying to derail a new international agreement on global warming, the Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, said last night.

She said its lack of support for the emissions trading scheme was tantamount to destroying Australia's bargaining position at climate change talks to be held in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

"If Australia falls at this hurdle, we risk being seen as returning to the years of the Howard government Kyoto sceptics, when we were part of the problem, not part of the solution," Senator Wong told the Lowy Institute.

"Wrecking this reform is about much more than Australia's domestic political debate. Wrecking this reform shortens the odds of not getting a global deal on climate change." (Sydney Morning Herald)

About time the local Opposition started to do something sensible.

Ambitious Obama may want to simplify agenda - WASHINGTON — Not so terribly long ago most everything bad seemed to be blamed on one of three things — the press, the atomic bomb or sunspots. But that changed when someone discovered global warming, aided of course, by computers that spewed out the dire consequences as toxic as the greenhouse gases the true believers saw as the major culprit.

Almost daily new models predicted the end of life sometime in the not too distant future unless something was done quickly. Although many of us, including some first-rate scientists, were highly skeptical, the overwhelming weight on the other side has beaten down most of those who cautioned against panic. It seems to be accepted theory that unless the industrial nations of the world unite to plug the holes in the ozone, we are all going to end up toast.

Despite the growing cries for action from around the world and the environmentalists here, President Bush resisted the economic impact of tightening the limits on gases. It would be bad for business, he said. But the new White House regime has made it abundantly clear that dealing with global warming is a top priority.

The Environmental Protection Agency, in carrying out this shift in policy, recently announced that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions were a danger to public health, setting the stage for regulations that would be a major step in putting the clamps on pollutants from cars to coal-fired power plants. While this is likely to increase the pressure on Congress to do something, a bipartisan coalition from the fossil-fuel states is strongly opposed and clearly stands in the way of mandatory limits and such proposals as cap-and-trade that would limit emissions and permit the trading of pollution allowances.

If Congress should fail to adopt comprehensive legislation setting new limits, the Obama administration would have to try through regulation, based on the EPA's decision.

Is all of this complex enough for you? Well, you ain't heard nothing yet. (Dan K. Thomasson, Scripps Howard News Service)

How to Lose a Debate - Today’s ClimateWire has a story about the debate over the costs of cap and trade:

From the halls of Congress to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, experts and politicians are hoisting conflicting numbers describing the cost of a cap on greenhouse gases, with amounts from $3,100 to $324 to zero being touted as the annual hit on households. As Congress returns this week, it will find a cloud of numerical discrepancies hovering over climate change legislation.

This is a great example of the consequences of how issues are framed in political debate. If the framing is “costs” of cap and trade legislation, the Republicans will win the political debate, regardless of whose numbers turn out to be right. Of course, the reality is that cap and trade can be designed in any way you’d like with high or low (or zero) costs. But remember that the theoretical basis of cap and trade is that energy prices will increase, so low or zero cost increases will have low or zero effect on emissions.

The political point is that if the debate hinges on costs, Republicans have the upper hand because if Democrats respond with claims of low or zero costs, and if this turns out to be untrue, then such claims will become a political liability. But if the claims of low costs turn out to be true, they will gut the policy from the standpoint of emissions reductions, and thus become a political liability.

Bottom line: Democrats cannot win the cap and trade debate if the issue is framed as costs to American households. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

But Roger, how else can it be realistically framed? It has zero to do with 'saving the planet' (or the people on it) because carbon dioxide is an undeniable benefit (it forms the basis of the food web) and even if it did cause an increase in global mean temperature no one will be able to tell since local temperature is so variable a long-term rise in the mean cannot be felt. Think, for a moment, about how it has manifested itself -- we believe mean temperature has increased ~1 °F over the 20th Century, and it did so basically in the form of less-cold low temperature extremes -- when Grandma was born temperatures through the year ranged from say 35-95 with an arithmetic mean of 65 °F through the year and when she turned 100 (bless the old girl) temperatures ranged 37-95, with a mean of 66 °F. So, how great do you think was the effect on her day to day living of that 1 °F warming? Couldn't even detect it without thermometers and long-term records, could she? Bet she'd notice anyone sticking it to her cost of living though...

Obama Gambles on Americans’ Affection for Green - President Barack Obama’s historic decision to assert his administration’s ability to regulate American industry’s emission of greenhouse gases is much more of a political gamble than many might think. The key to its political viability will almost certainly be its cost.

The president is riding a wave of popularity and polls show that Americans are inclined at this point to give him the benefit of the doubt. The latest Quinnipiac University national poll, released this month, showed 58% of voters gave Mr. Obama a positive job review, compared to 31% who gave him thumbs down. That’s double President George W. Bush’s showing during his last year in office.

Although the survey found less support for some of Mr. Obama’s specific policies, none of the questions touched on the environment. But given news media coverage of environmentalism that is less skeptical than coverage of most other public policy issues, one might think it has almost become the civic religion in America today.

The key question isn’t whether Americans want a clean, pollution-free environment. That’s understood. The unknown is what Americans are willing to pay for it at a time when the vast majority sees the economy as the most uncertain and scary of their lifetimes. (Peter Brown, Wall Street Journal)

Fear over higher costs dominates climate debate - WASHINGTON - As Congress begins to debate climate change in earnest, the science is taking a back seat to economics: How much will it cost to slow the Earth's warming because of man-made pollution - and what's the cost of doing nothing?

With a key House committee starting four days of hearings, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed to get a climate bill approved this year. Noting that Earth Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, she told reporters by the next Earth Day "we want to celebrate what we've done this year" to address climate change and clean energy.

But the challenge of getting bipartisan support immediately became apparent.

The Energy and Commerce Committee hearing had barely begun when Republicans raised their concerns about higher energy prices produced by putting an added price for burning fossil fuels. (AP)

NFF backs climate change dissenter - The National Farmers' Federation has thrown its backing behind controversial climate change dissenter, Professor Ian Plimer, whose new book aims to debunk the theories and dire predictions of some within the scientific fraternity. (Stock & Land)

Where's The Runaway Warming? - CHURCHVILLE, VA—The global cooling trend that began early in 2007 continues. America’s official global reading for March, 2009 has been issued by Goddard Space Institute. The month was the coldest of this young century and colder than March of 1990. The satellite records show an even stronger recent cooling trend. (Dennis T Avery, CGFI)

'Quiet Sun' baffling astronomers - The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century.

There are no sunspots, very few solar flares - and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.

The observations are baffling astronomers, who are due to study new pictures of the Sun, taken from space, at the UK National Astronomy Meeting.

The Sun normally undergoes an 11-year cycle of activity. At its peak, it has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. This is followed by a calmer period.

Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.

According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.

"There's no sign of us coming out of it yet," she told BBC News.

New Paper “Influence Of Modern Land Cover On The Climate Of The United States” By N. S. Diffenbaugh 2009 - There is a new paper that provides yet another example that land cover change is first order climate forcing. The paper is Diffenbaugh, N. S., 2009:Influence of modern land cover on the climate of the United States. Climate Dynamics. DOI 10.1007/s00382-009-0566-z (in press). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

The "Flight of the Phoenix" Revisited: We can live with a Fossil Fuel Future: Oil, Gas, Coal and Shale Oil

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 695 individual scientists from 405 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Owens Lake, East-Central California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Solar Influence on Temperature (South America): How strong has it been in the past? ... and might it be responsible for Earth's recent warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Bittervine (Song et al. 2009), Chinese Fever Vine (Song et al. 2009), Creeping Daisy (Song et al. 2009), and Mile-A-Minute Vine (Song et al. 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Little Ice Age Glaciation in Greenland During the Holocene: When was it at its greatest extent?

Two Thousand Years of Icelandic Climate: What do the data imply about the about the island's current climate?

Climate History of Northern Europe During the Late Holocene: What is the tale told by evidence gathered from the bed of the North Sea?

Global Warming and Malaria: Does the Former Promote the Latter?: The proposition may seem rather straightforward, but the reality is much more complex.

The Virtues of Thyme: Are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

Talking Climate Change with Anthony Watts - Anyone who regularly tunes into WattsUpWithThat.com, the popular climate-science blog operated by Anthony Watts, will never make fun of TV weathermen again. Watts - who was a TV meteorologist for 25 years - provides a steady diet of smart, always interesting and sometimes deeply complex scientific information and opinion about global climate change. Watts is also the founder of surfacestations.org, a project that for nearly two years has been quality-checking each of the 1,200-plus weather stations of the U. S. Historical Climate Network (USHCN) to see if they are set up and maintained properly. So far, Watts and his volunteers have checked about 820 of the weather stations, which have been in place for about 100 years and are the source for the country's official average annual temperature. Watts has found that temperature data from nearly 70 percent of the stations is of questionable accuracy because the stations do not adhere to the USHCN's own quality-control guidelines. I talked to Watts April 16 by phone from his office in Chico, Calif. (Bill Steigerwald, Townhall)

Kansas oil and gas producers blast Obama tax plan - Tax policy changes being sought by the Obama administration would wreak havoc on the oil and natural gas industries in Kansas and other states and make the nation even more dependent on foreign oil, according to some Kansas officials.

Sen. Sam Brownback and other members of Kansas’ congressional delegation are working with the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association to head off the changes.

“I am extremely concerned that the Administration’s budget will be harmful to independent oil and gas producers in Kansas, and lead the nation further from energy security,” Brownback said in a statement Monday. (Kansas Liberty)

Arrgh! IEA warns China faces dire future without strong action on coal pollution - THE International Energy Agency said China must clean up its coal sector or face dire environmental consequences for itself and the world.

The Paris-based body outlined steps to mitigate pollution in China, including tougher enforcement of regulations, more foreign investment in energy, and putting a price on carbon emissions.

“Without strong action, CO2 emissions could rise in an unsustainable way,” IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said at a launch of a report on clean coal technology in China. (Wall Street Journal)

There is nothing 'unsustainable' about emissions of CO2 - they are the epitome of sustainability, nourishing the green plants on which we all depend for sustenance.

A $100-million bet on making fuel from trash - As the state moves to reduce the carbon footprint of fuel, an engineer hopes to build a plant in Lancaster that will convert garbage into an alcohol-based mixture. (LA Times)

Swedish nuclear team in India - The interest in India’s nuclear sector opportunities is growing. An industrial delegation from Sweden is in India currently to discuss potential for participating in the country’s nuclear sector.

The Swedish delegation is also open to the idea of investing in the country and partnering with Indian firms in the high-end nuclear solutions side.

Sweden is among a growing list of countries doing a rethink on nuclear power as a source of energy amid concerns over global warming. The Swedish Government had, in February this year, decided to scrap a three-decade ban on building new nuclear reactors, saying it needs to avoid producing more greenhouse gases. (Business Line)

Rejection of science squared - Or: Computer modeling is not science

Fat people are now being blamed for contributing to climate change by breathing. Actually, it’s worse than that. Headlines are saying: “Fatties cause global warming.”

Hundreds of news stories this week are based on the latest carbon dioxide paper just published in the online version of the International Journal of Epidemiology. Its authors were Phil Edwards, senior lecturer and lead organizer of the module “Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health,” and Ian Roberts, both in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. [There’s that new field of population health again.]

As JFS readers will remember, professor Roberts had written the article in New Scientist, published in 2007 also around Earth Day, titled: “How the obesity epidemic is aggravating global warming.” It had accused fat people of killing polar bears and had begun by stating: “WE KNOW the world is warming and we know humans are causing it...”

While being called a study by epidemiologists and the media, reading the actual text of their new paper reveals the methodology: (Junkfood Science)

The overtly anti-development Crone: De-Watering Wyoming - To the list of truly terrible ideas, we would like to add the one that is stirring up residents of southwestern Wyoming.

A developer named Aaron Million has proposed to build a private, 560-mile-long, 10-foot-high pipeline from Wyoming’s Green River Basin, along Interstate 80, and then south along Colorado’s Front Range to Denver and Colorado Springs. The pipeline is meant to carry water — more than 80 billion gallons a year. Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers presented the proposal in the town of Green River, Wyo., where it was met with outrage.

What Mr. Million is proposing is legal enough, and he has claimed that he will not build the pipeline if it doesn’t meet strict environmental standards. But there is a problem at both ends of his project. He is proposing to remove billions of gallons of water annually from a rich, aquatic ecosystem.

Doing so would not only harm fish and wildlife in the Green River watershed, it would also encourage new water storage projects — for example, dams and reservoirs — farther upstream that would destroy the character of the river.

But the real problem is this: What water grows on the Front Range is development, nothing else. Mr. Million’s claims to be building an environmentally acceptable pipeline completely omit the fact that there is nothing environmentally sound or sustainable about encouraging new development in an already overpopulated region with already inadequate water supplies.

The path to sustainability for the Front Range is less development, not more.

Mr. Million’s plan faces many obstacles along the way — enough, we hope, to kill it dead. Drawing up an environmental impact statement will take at least three years. But the critical role will be played by the public and its comments.

If the gathering that took place last week in Green River is any indication, opposition to the pipeline will be fierce, and rightly so. (New York Times)

The region is short of water so -- don't bring water there. Right...

April 21, 2009

MSN Finds It's Not Easy Bein' Green - REDMOND, Wash., April 20  -- With Earth Day just around the corner, a new MSN Green survey finds it's not always so easy being green. The survey found that overwhelmingly, almost 70 percent of the Americans surveyed say that they would never limit toilet flushes to conserve water or use a kitchen compost. (PRNewswire-FirstCall)

Good for them! There is absolutely no sound reason to do so - it took centuries to get decent sanitation and green wackos are trying to undo all that good.

Use Energy, Get Rich and Save the Planet - When the first Earth Day took place in 1970, American environmentalists had good reason to feel guilty. The nation’s affluence and advanced technology seemed so obviously bad for the planet that they were featured in a famous equation developed by the ecologist Paul Ehrlich and the physicist John P. Holdren, who is now President Obama’s science adviser.

Their equation was I=PAT, which means that environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied by technology. Protecting the planet seemed to require fewer people, less wealth and simpler technology — the same sort of social transformation and energy revolution that will be advocated at many Earth Day rallies on Wednesday.

But among researchers who analyze environmental data, a lot has changed since the 1970s. With the benefit of their hindsight and improved equations, I’ll make a couple of predictions: (John Tierney, New York Times)

Nah! This lot've got it all wrong! Stay Slim To Save The Planet, UK Scientists Say - LONDON - Overweight people eat more than thin people and are more likely to travel by car, making excess body weight doubly bad for the environment, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

"When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler," and food production is a major source of greenhouse gases, researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in their study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

"We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce (carbon) emissions and slow climate change," the British scientists said. (Reuters)

Well-upholstered people sequester way more carbon than skinnies do so gorebull warming worriers should shovel in as many carbs as they can manage. "Fight gorebull warming -- gain weight!" (Al's doing his part!) Even worse, skinny people tend to feel the cold more than the better insulated among us, so who is that keeps turning up that thermostat?

B-Schools: Make Climate Change Front and Center - A professor argues that business schools are not doing enough to help companies tackle the management challenges posed by a warming planet

Money and climate go hand in hand. Lord Nicholas Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank, explained the economics of climate change nearly three years ago: the benefits of strong, early action far outweigh the high costs that will be incurred if we do nothing.

Business executives understand this. In July 2008, CEOs of 100 global companies, together with the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, presented a statement to Group of Eight leaders describing climate change as "a serious social and economic challenge" that demands urgent and immediate action. "Nothing less than a rapid and fundamental strategy to reach a low-carbon world economy is needed," they wrote. "Emissions will have to fall very strongly in all countries by 2050 if we are to avoid dangerous climate change."

Climate change is indeed the biggest management challenge of the century, maybe the millennium. Sadly, most business schools, despite all their talk about sustainability programs and green buildings, are not paying enough attention. (Business Week)

Business schools have no business fomenting climate panic, period! Neither have the dipsticks in the next item.

Next best option after they flunked tealeaf reading... Climate change mastered by degrees - These could be the faces guiding the world on how best to adapt and cope with the inevitable effects of climate change.

It has taken some 12, others 18 months to gain the knowledge they need to lead councils, government bodies and members of the public in the right direction to handle climate change.

That knowledge saw them last night become the first in the world to receive a Master of Climate Change Adaptation degree from the University of the Sunshine Coast. (Sunshine Coast Daily)

Comment On “Debate Over Climate Risks - Natural or Not” On Dot Earth - There is an interesting discussion on going at Andy Revkin’s weglob Dot Earth on the topic Debate Over Climate Risks - Natural or Not, which invites responses to the statement,

“One clear-cut lesson [of this study] seems to be that human-driven warming, for this part of Africa, could be seen as a sideshow given the normal extremes. Tell me why that thought is misplaced if you feel it is.”

This subject was initiated by a Science article by Shanahan et al and subsequent news item on April 16 2009 by Andy Revkin which includes the text

“For at least 3,000 years, a regular drumbeat of potent droughts, far longer and more severe than any experienced recently, have seared a belt of sub-Saharan Africa that is now home to tens of millions of the world’s poorest people, climate researchers reported in a new study.

That sobering finding, published in the April 17th issue of Science magazine emerged from the first study of year-by-year climate conditions in the region over the millenniums, based on layered mud and dead trees in a crater lake in Ghana. “
(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

This what passes for quality publicly-funded broadcasting in Aus -- Transcript: PM - Six years to fix climate change - LISA MILLAR: Australia's chief scientist says the world has six years to reverse the trend of increasing carbon dioxide emissions to avoid damaging climate change.

Professor Penny Sackett says the evidence is clear the planet is warming due to human activity and she's 'surprised' politicians are still discussing the merits of the science.

The chief scientist says Australia should set the steepest possible target now; a target she's shared in private discussions with the Government but is reluctant to reveal publicly.

PM's Sabra Lane spoke with Professor Sackett and started by asking her if human induced climate change is real. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Meanwhile: Wong can't name a climate plan backer - FEDERAL Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has been unable to name a single supporter of the proposed Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) after spruiking the Government's carbon reduction plan in Sydney.

Stating her determination to have the proposed legislation through Parliament by December's UN climate talks in Copenhagen, Senator Wong blamed Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull for blocking the scheme.

But when it came to naming supporters of the ETS, the minister fell back on the voters who elected Labor in 2007.

"This is a reform that was a commitment of the Rudd Labor Government, made prior to our election,'' Senator Wong said today. (AAP)

Cute:) GORE LIED computer model shows public belief in man-made global warming disappearing by 2020 - GORE LIED has fired up our staff computer modeling contraption, input the latest Rasmussen Reports data on the public’s belief in man-made global warming, and has produced a computer model which is showing the imminent demise of any belief in man-made global warming.

Rasmussen Reports has reported that the public’s belief in man-made global warming has decreased from 47% to 34% in just one year.

The GORE LIED computer model below shows that at the current rate of loss of belief in man-made global warming that such belief will be virtually non-existent by 2020 (with the exception of Al Gore, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Joe Romm, and a few other assorted dead-enders). Evidence of a positive feedback trend suggests that the actual rate of loss of belief in man-made global warming is happening even faster than this model is predicting, and that the world may be completely free of belief in man-made global warming by as early as 2015.

We Cannot Make a Dent in Global Carbon Emissions - Like medieval priests, today’s carbon brokers will sell you an indulgence that forgives your carbon sins. It will run you about $500 for 5 tons of forgiveness—about how much the typical American needs every year. Or about $2,000 a year for a typical four-person household. Your broker will spend the money on such things as reducing methane emissions from hog farms in Brazil.

But if you really want to make a difference, you must send a check large enough to forgive the carbon emitted by four poor Brazilian households, too—because they’re not going to do it themselves. To cover all five households, then, send $4,000. And you probably forgot to send in a check last year, and you might forget again in the future, so you’d best make it an even $40,000, to take care of a decade right now. If you decline to write your own check while insisting that to save the world we must ditch the carbon, you are just burdening your already sooty soul with another ton of self-righteous hypocrisy. And you can’t possibly afford what it will cost to forgive that.

If making carbon this personal seems rude, then think globally instead. During the presidential race, Barack Obama was heard to remark that he would bankrupt the coal industry. No one can doubt Washington’s power to bankrupt almost anything—in the United States. But China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. That’s another whole United States’ worth of coal consumption added every three years, with no stopping point in sight. Much of the rest of the developing world is on a similar path.

Cut to the chase. We rich people can’t stop the world’s 5 billion poor people from burning the couple of trillion tons of cheap carbon that they have within easy reach. We can’t even make any durable dent in global emissions—because emissions from the developing world are growing too fast, because the other 80 percent of humanity desperately needs cheap energy, and because we and they are now part of the same global economy. What we can do, if we’re foolish enough, is let carbon worries send our jobs and industries to their shores, making them grow even faster, and their carbon emissions faster still. (Peter W. Huber, FrontPage Magazine)

SCENARIOS - US Greenhouse Decision And Congress Climate Push - WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's declaration that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health comes as Congress prepares legislation to significantly reduce those emissions and spur the use of cleaner alternative fuels.

Friday's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency was widely expected among lawmakers. Nonetheless, it could influence the debate that is unfolding in a few ways: (Reuters)

I don't think Reuters has any of this correct -- they left off their list the one thing this really is: a major boost for Republicans as people come to realize how much of their standard of living socialists and greens are trying to steal. For the first time in decades the GOP has a real and highly visible hobgoblin to protect the people from - one whose ownership is actually claimed by Democrats and green misanthropists. What a gift!

At the high-stakes table... China considers setting targets for carbon emissions - Government's decision could help negotiations on a Kyoto successor treaty in Copenhagen

The Chinese government is for the first time considering setting targets for carbon emissions, a significant development that could help negotiations on a Kyoto successor treaty at Copenhagen later this year, the Guardian has learned.

Su Wei, a leading figure in China's climate change negotiating team, said that officials were considering introducing a national target that would limit emissions relative to economic growth in the country's next five-year plan from 2011.

"It is an option. We can very easily translate our [existing] energy reduction targets to carbon dioxide limitation" said Su. "China hasn't reached the stage where we can reduce overall emissions, but we can reduce energy intensity and carbon intensity." (The Guardian)

Is it really almost a decade since the fuel protests against green taxes? Time for a reprise? Binding green targets in Budget - The chancellor this week will revolutionise climate policy by announcing the world's first legally-binding budgets for greenhouse gases.

The Budget statement on 22 April will contain budgets for CO2 emission cuts alongside projections for tax and spending.

The carbon budgets will run for five-year periods up to 2022 when the UK should have cut emissions by between 34% and 42%.

The carbon budgets are strongly supported by industry, but some scientists say they are not ambitious enough. (BBC News)

All brought to you by your friendly neighborhood misanthropists: Budget 2009 - Government to set legally-binding short-term climate targets - Short-term legally-binding targets for tackling climate change will be unveiled by the Government as part of its Budget announcement this week (Wednesday 22 April).

The targets are being introduced as part of the Climate Change Act, which Friends of the Earth led the campaign for through The Big Ask.

Friends of the Earth is calling on Ministers to listen to advice from leading climate scientists at the Tyndall Research Centre, published by the environmental campaign group last month, urging the Government to ensure that:

· UK carbon emissions are cut by at least 42 per cent by 2020;

· this target should be met only through domestic reductions, and not by buying pollution offsets from abroad.

MPs from all parties, including the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee and over 100 Labour MPs, have signed a Parliamentary petition backing the call for a 42 per cent target. (Press Release)

D'oh! The Great Green Con: Labour's climate measures mainly hot air - After last week's eco-car initiative, Wednesday's Budget will have a green spin. But the Government's low-carbon strategy could be making matters worse, says environment editor Geoffrey Lean (The Independent on Sunday)

Now unleaded petrol causes gorebull warming: Surprising Clouds Forming Due to Lead in Air - Lead in the air is causing clouds in odd conditions—in conditions typically too warm and dry for cloud formation—according to scientists who've "bottled" clouds and even grown their own.

Driven mainly by industrial lead-dust emissions, lead-heavy clouds could change weather patterns and might actually help fight global warming, the study suggests.

Researchers collected cloud samples atop a Swiss mountain and found that about half of their ice crystals contained lead. Then, by building artificial clouds in laboratory chambers, the team determined that lead actually causes ice crystals to form.

Clouds formed in warmer, drier air when lead was present, the team found. The element "supercharges" the dust particles at the cores of most cloud crystals, according to the new study. (National Geographic News)

Say what? Aborigine, Inuit Tradition Can Fight Climate Change - WASHINGTON - Alaskan Inuits, Australian aborigines and Pygmies from Cameroon have a message for a warming world: native traditions can be a potent weapon against climate change.

At a summit starting Monday in Anchorage, Alaska, some 400 indigenous people from 80 nations are gathering to hone this message in the hope that it can be a key part of international climate negotiations. (Reuters)

These guys have been paying too much attention to the mystic mumbo-jumbo of Gaia-nuts. Primitive man's technique for dealing with adverse weather events? Suffer its effects, mostly and adapt to whatever they get -- with perhaps a pro-active stance of shouting loudly to frighten away the thunder. Given that the declared 'climate emergency' is mythical I guess it's reasonable for them to want to hop on the bandwagon & see what crumbs they can sweep off the table at climate pork-fests but surely they do not expect to be taken seriously?

Headline looks good, for a moment: Africa Says Poor Need Billions To Fight Climate Fight - OSLO - Developing nations will need at least $267 billion a year by 2020 to fight climate change and adapt to droughts, heat waves and rising seas, according to African nations. (Reuters)

Alas, it turns out they are not looking for funds to fight the fight against the phantom menace but rather to fight the phantom menace.

Based on the make-believe generated by climate models: Q+A - How Great Is The Threat From Melting Ice Sheets? - April 17 - The UN Climate Panel says seas could rise by 18-59 cms (7-24 inches) by 2100, without taking account the possible acceleration of a melt of ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland.

Even a small thaw of Antarctica and Greenland would affect sea levels since together they lock up enough ice to raise sea levels by about 65 metres (215 feet) if they all melted.

Following are responses to questions from Reuters by a leading glaciologist as part of an ad-hoc global series of top climate change scientists, policy makers and academics.

Ian Allison is leader of the Australian Antarctic Division's Ice, Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate program and a researcher within the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. (Reuters)

Sec. Chu's assertions 'quite simply being proven wrong by the latest climate data' - Energy Secretary Offers Dire Global Warming Prediction - FoxNews.com - By Major Garrett - April 19, 2009

FoxNews.com Excerpt: Caribbean nations face "very, very scary" rises in sea level and intensifying hurricanes, and Florida, Louisiana and even northern California could be overrun with rising water levels due to global warming triggered by carbon-based greenhouse gases, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Saturday. [...] Conservative climate change skeptics immediately denounced Chu's assessment of the threat and potential consequences of global warming. "Secretary Chu still seems to believe that computer model predictions decades or 100 years from now are some sort of 'evidence' of a looming climate catastrophe, said Marc Morano, executive editor of ClimateDepot.com and former top aide to global warming critic Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

"Secretary Chu's assertions on sea level rise and hurricanes are quite simply being proven wrong by the latest climate data. As the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute reported in December 12, 2008: There is 'no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise.'" Morano said hurricane activity levels in both hemispheres of the globe are at 30 year lows and hurricane experts like MIT's Kerry Emanuel and Tom Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "are now backing off their previous dire predictions." He said Chu is out of date on the science and is promoting unverified and alarming predictions that have already been proven contrary. End Excerpt. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)

Eye-roller of the moment: Why Antarctic ice is growing despite global warming - It's the southern ozone hole whatdunit. That's why Antarctic sea ice is growing while at the other pole, Arctic ice is shrinking at record rates. It seems CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals have given the South Pole respite from global warming.

But only temporarily. According to John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey, the effect will last roughly another decade before Antarctic sea ice starts to decline as well.

Arctic sea ice is decreasing dramatically and reached a record low in 2007. But satellite images studied by Turner and his colleagues show that Antarctic sea ice is increasing in every month of the year expect January. "By the end of the century we expect one third of Antarctic sea ice to disappear," says Turner. "So we're trying to understand why it's increasing now, at a time of global warming."

In a new study, Turner and colleagues show how the ozone hole has changed weather patterns around Antarctica. These changes have drawn in warm air over the Antarctic Peninsula in West Antarctica and cooled the air above East Antarctica. (New Scientist)

Select the That Ozone Thing menu option from the home page for some actual information on the ozone farce.

From the dimming bulb department: Atmospheric engineering scheme to combat global warming could diminish solar power - A widely discussed "atmospheric engineering" scheme intended to combat global warming could have unanticipated consequences in reducing the effectiveness of certain kinds of solar power around the Earth, a new study has concluded. It is appears in the current issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal. (American Chemical Society)

EU Closes Climate Loophole For Car Air Conditioners - BRUSSELS - The European Union has closed a loophole that would have allowed car manufacturers to continue putting climate-damaging chemicals in air conditioners of new vehicles beyond a 2011 ban, a Commission document showed.

The move opens up a new market for greener refrigerants, with industry giant Honeywell International pitching its HFO-1234yf coolant against rival carbon dioxide-based systems, such as that of Austria's Obrist Engineering.

The European Union ruled in 2006 that from 2011 it would ban the use of fluorinated chemicals, such as the industry standard known as R134a, which have a powerful climate-warming effect when released into the atmosphere.

The move aimed to help the EU meet its commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol, the United Nations' main tool against climate change. (Reuters)

EU Greenhouse Emissions Fall - Because It's Warmer - OSLO - European Union emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for stoking global warming fell by 1.2 percent in 2007, paradoxically aided by a mild winter that cut heating demand, EU data showed on Friday. (Reuters)

There's no paradox and no mystery -- warmer winters mean people need to burn less fuel for the warmth needed to survive. Warmer winters always mean less fuel demand in the populous industrial north. It applies to some extent in the southern hemisphere although the effect is much less marked due to lower population and greater sea to land proportion reducing the amplitude of seasonal changes. Warmer years always reduce net human fuel requirements though.

People live in models now? Climate victims will double - Oxfam - The number of people hit by climate-related disasters around the world will increase by more than half in the next six years, aid agency Oxfam has warned.

The charity predicted the number affected by events such as flooding, storms and drought would rise from 242 million people to hit 375 million a year by 2015.

And with the humanitarian aid system already a "postcode lottery on a global scale", it is already barely able to cope with current levels of disasters and could be overwhelmed by increases in the next few years, Oxfam warned.

The aid agency said the expected rise of 133 million at risk stemmed from a combination of existing poverty and people migrating to densely populated slum areas which would be prone to increasingly frequent climate-related crises. (Press Association)

The Vindication Of Carbon Means The Vindication Of Human Freedom - (The Climate Sceptics readily accept there has been a recent period of global warming and that climate change is a reality. What the Climate Sceptics reject are the alarmist claims that human activity is the main cause of climate change. It is because of this that we vehemently reject all Emissions Trading Schemes, Carbon Pollution Reduction Schemes or any form of carbon taxation. On both scientific and common sense grounds we hereunder passionately argue our case against all these efforts to demonize and to reduce carbon emissions.)

The evidence is piling up every day that the world is now getting cooler instead of warmer, the oceans are now cooling instead of warming, the ice is returning to the Arctic rather than receding, the sea ice in the Antarctic is at record levels, and that rising sea levels have moderated. The sun has recently gone into a less active phase of fewer sun-spots, and the ocean decadal currents have changed from a warming to a cooling phase.

Before too long the global warming scare will be as dead as the scares about the Y2K bug or acid rain. (Robert D. Brinsmead)

Left-coast lunacy: More tools pending for climate change - The state Senate will take up legislation that has passed the House on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Despite disappointment in some circles over the demise of a cap-and-trade proposal, progress is at hand under difficult economic conditions.

Proposals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions pending final approval in the Legislature represent important steps forward in the state's clean-energy transition.

The multifaceted bill, amended and passed by the House last week, is back in the Senate where it began. For some, the measure is a disappointment because it does not include a cap on carbon-dioxide emissions and a trading mechanism to accomplish the limits as cheaply as possible.

Cap-and-trade was overwhelmed for now by the complexity of crafting the details in a distracting environment of epic state budget deficits and broad economy uncertainty. The possibility of belated action by the federal government on a national plan also undercut progress. As if to make the point, the Environmental Protection Agency made preliminary declarations about greenhouse gases thought to signal coming regulation of the pollution. (Seattle Times)

Greenies and activist courts strangling the energy supply: US Court Strikes Down Bush Oil Leasing Plan - ANCHORAGE - An appeals court on Friday struck down the Bush administration's five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing, saying it was put into effect without proper environmental review.

The US Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ordered the Interior Department to rewrite the 2007-2012 plan, which was challenged by a coalition of environmental groups and Alaska Natives.

That entire leasing program, which includes several lease sales to be held as well as a 2008 sale in the Chukchi Sea that drew a record $2.66 billion in high bids, is vacated because its "environmental sensitivity rankings are irrational," the ruling said.

Although the case disputes oil development in the Alaska outer continental shelf, the court's ruling mandates a rewrite for the entire nation, said Peter Van Tuyn, an Anchorage attorney who represented an Inupiat Eskimo village and some of the environmentalists who objected to the plan.

Upcoming Alaska lease sales that were slated to be held between 2010 and 2012, including sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and North Aleutian Basin, "no longer exist," Van Tuyn said. "There is no leasing schedule." (Reuters)

Save The Whales, Kill The Economy - With Ahab-like determination, environmentalists have once again blocked oil exploration in the American Arctic. They may just have succeeded in putting the American economy on ice.

On Friday, a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals Court panel in Washington, D.C., struck down the Bush administration's five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing off Alaska's northern coast.

The plan was vacated, the panel ruled, because of allegedly insufficient environmental review because its "environmental sensitivity rankings are irrational."

What is irrational is that despite a more than three-decade long record of environmental sensitivity at Prudhoe Bay and elsewhere, and despite booming polar bear, caribou and fish populations, the fiction that oil exploration and environmental protection are somehow incompatible and will decimate Arctic wildlife remains enshrined in law.

The Bush administration had started the process of auctioning off leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Cook Inlet and in the North Aleutian basin. Shell Oil, which spent more than $2 billion to acquire some of the leases, and its partner ConocoPhillips had planned to start drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2010.

The stakes are enormous. Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf by itself may hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of clean-burning natural gas.

That oil is important in its own right, but as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when he visited Anchorage, without it the Alaskan pipeline may have to shut down due to reduced flow. (IBD)

Coal: Labour’s Trojan Black Beauty - For five years or so, I have been consistently predicting the return of ‘King Coal’. I have long believed this to be inevitable, despite the political hysteria over ‘global warming’, the self-righteous climate protests, and Government gerrymandering. The lamentable failure of the last five governments to face up to the looming energy crisis in Britain has effectively guaranteed it. As I have repeated often, by 2010, there will be no choice. Coal is the Trojan Horse of power realities, the ‘Black Beauty’ now standing ready to be hauled into the City of Utopia. And, like some Cassandra, I have constantly despaired at the wishful denial by those who cannot - or will not - see it coming.

But now, it seems that the dramatic moment has at last arrived, and that the Government is indeed sending out its troops to drag the Trojan Horse of Coal through the Portcullis into its Utopian Green City. As The Sunday Times reports today:

“Gordon Brown is to risk a clash with the green movement by throwing the government’s weight behind the construction of a new generation of coal-fired power stations.

Ministers intend to give power companies permission to construct at least two new coal-fired stations, with more to follow.

The move will anger climate change scientists and campaigners because coal produces more CO2 for each unit of energy generated than any other fuel. (The Clamour Of The Times)

Um, no: Cleaning up by perfecting carbon clean-up - Our reliance on coal puts carbon capture into a different light.

IT'S easy to be sceptical about efforts to clean up Australia's coal industry. Clean coal is an oxymoron; even its advocates shy away from the term.

Capturing and storing greenhouse gases is eminently worse than forgoing the emissions in the first place. Safely trapped carbon dioxide is still pollution, and there's plenty of doubt about the safety part.

Industry has hardly put its money where its mouth is. By one estimate, business has so far invested about $10 million to build carbon capture and storage facilities in Australia — a piddling sum given our coal miners sell more than $50 billion of the stuff a year.

Even the constant discussion of why coal is needed to fulfil our base load power requirement is frustrating. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Bottom line is that, unless it's your cheapest source for desperately needed CO2 there is absolutely nothing to be gained capturing this combustion product during power generation. It's purpose is to strangle the energy supply to keep misanthropists happy, not 'protect the planet' in any real or meaningful way.

Clown Cars - The Environmental Protection Agency ruled Friday that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be regulated. Many are willing to pay the economic costs. Will they be willing to pay in lost lives, too?

There are a number of CO2 sources, mostly natural. But Washington can more easily — and eagerly — control human sources, which are roughly 3% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Unless Congress steps in with a legislative plan, unelected bureaucrats will have the authority to set caps on CO2 emissions on electric utilities, energy companies, airlines, cars, trucks, schools, hospitals — anything that releases carbon into the atmosphere.

To reduce carbon emissions in automobiles, the carmakers will be forced to build more fuel-efficient cars, which means they will have to build more of the small cars they already make, increase the number of small models in their fleets or shrink their full- and midsize offerings.

Any, or all, of those options will please SUV-hating environmentalists — that is, with the possible exception of those who lose their lives when traffic fatalities due to automobile downsizing inevitably increase.

Smaller cars are more dangerous cars. Both common sense and the data tell us this. (IBD)

Face it -- they just don't like you driving: Electric cars 'not enough to meet transport emissions targets' - Government must encourage motorists to get out of their cars and walk or cycle, say scientists

Britons must reduce their dependency on cars if the UK is to meet its climate targets, scientists warn today. In a new study they said that simply switching wholesale to cleaner or all-electric cars, as announced by the government in its low-carbon car strategy last week, would not be enough for the transport sector to cut its carbon emissions.

The report by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) said the government had to tackle driver behaviour as well as car technology to reduce transport emissions. That means incentivising overall changes in the way people travel by encouraging walking and cycling, for example, and also discouraging the use of cars through taxation or other levies. (The Guardian)

Seems I recall something about similar concerns being expressed over the railway in the age of steam, enabling poor people to travel, milling endlessly about their pointless pursuits... I'm no fonder of elitists now.

Africa Will Have to Feed EU’s Artificial Biofuels Demand - PARIS, Apr 19 - Earlier in the decade, biofuels were hailed as the energy panacea, the silver bullet to solve oil shortages and abide by environmental concerns. The European Union recently took the lead in imposing the use of these liquid or gaseous fuels made from plants.

But the green credentials of biofuels have since been disputed. The total amount of energy needed to transform biomass into ‘‘green’’ fuels offsets most of the energy biofuels save when the entire process or life-cycle is considered.

Soils must be fertilised. American corn and soybeans, French sugar beet, Brazilian sugar cane or peanuts from Benin must undergo heavy, water-intensive industrial processes to become fuel, and the final product has to be transported, mostly by truck.

These steps dramatically increase biofuels’ overall carbon footprint, and has spurted a worrying new surge of deforestation in many developing countries.

But this is not the reason why a coalition of French development activists is furiously campaigning against biofuels.

The French chapters of Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD) and others have joined forces under a single watchword: ‘‘Biofuels won’t feed the planet.’’ (IPS)

Hired to Crack The Blend Wall: General Wesley Clark Carries Fertilizer For The Ethanol Scammers - The ethanol scammers have no shame. None. And neither does the ethanol industry’s new flack, General Wesley Clark.

Last week, the EPA announced that it was considering raising the volume of ethanol that could be blended into gasoline from the current limit of 10 percent to as much as 15 percent. The agency is reacting to a petition from the pro-ethanol trade group, Growth Energy, a recently formed group that hired Clark to be its spokes-general. More on Clark in a moment.

There’s plenty of opposition to Growth Energy’s proposal. Among the biggest opponents are the automakers. The problem is obvious: automobile warranties could be voided and cars could be damaged by the higher ethanol blends. There are about 250 million motor vehicles in the US and of those, fewer than 10 million have been built to handle blends greater than 10 percent ethanol. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Scientists seek to make energy as plants do - WASHINGTON — Scientists who are seeking new sources of clean energy are trying to mimic the way plants and trees do it, by converting sunlight into fuel.

Unlike standard solar panels on rooftops or arrays of solar collectors in the desert, this is a form of ``artificial photosynthesis.'' It tries to imitate the elaborate system that microbes, algae and green plants developed over 3 billion of years of evolution.

If it works, artificial photosynthesis could help reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels without generating climate-warming greenhouse gases. (McClatchy Newspapers)

UK Readers: See the TPA Green Calculator & see how much green tax you've paid over the last year. (Tax Payers Alliance)

UN Says Staff Needn't Worry About Asbestos Removal - UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations sought to reassure its increasingly nervous staff on Friday, saying that the removal of toxic asbestos during a major renovation project at UN headquarters would be done safely.

"In addition to the company that will be performing the asbestos abatement, we will have another independent group that will monitor how the abatement process is carried out, and ... try to ensure that it's done in a safe manner," UN spokesman Farhaq Haq told reporters.

Haq was responding to concerns about the removal of the cancer-causing flame-retardant asbestos lining the ceiling tiles of the UN building raised by Stephen Kisambira, president of the UN staff union, during a rare news conference on Thursday.

Kisambira said many people working at UN headquarters were worried about the $2 billion renovation project, intended to make the blue-green tinted 40-story building along Manhattan's East River safer, more comfortable and greener. (Reteurs)

Better idea would be to kick the useless freeloaders out and sell off the site for redevelopment. The world would be a better place for it, too.

Dearth Day Recycling: The dish on fish and mercury: How healthy is your catch? -- Every week, Jackie Kaminer of Roswell, Georgia, buys fish for dinner at the local market. Although she knows it's full of nutrients -- including good-for-your-heart omega-3 fatty acids -- she's careful of the types of fish she brings home.

Her concern? Mercury and the dangers it poses to her children. So, she sticks to certain varieties: salmon, cod, tilapia and haddock are "safe fish," but she stays away from swordfish, sea bass and tuna.

As a mother of three, Kaminer should be concerned. Released into the atmosphere by industrial pollution, mercury contaminates water systems (and soil) when it rains. As fish feed on one another, the mercury stores up in their bodies.

The toxic metal affects the nervous system. And although studies have shown large amounts of mercury can also affect fertility and blood pressure, and possibly cause memory loss in adults, it's particularly dangerous to young children and fetuses. (CNN)

Nonsense mercury scares are just about season-traditional now, aren't they?

Does it really matter how your numbers measure up? Or can you ditch the tape measure? - Why was one of the most important studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention buried?

Can we tell by a physical feature or measurement what our risks are for dying prematurely? As increased body weight and now BMI (body mass index) have proven to be poor predictors of mortality risk, the explanation sometimes suggested is that BMI doesn’t differentiate fat (“bad”) from muscle (“good”).* Increasingly trendy ways to identify “unhealthy obesity” include measures such as body fat, the shape of bodies (“apple” or “pear” figures), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (“belly fat”). Do any of these measures really matter or are they just different ways to make us self-conscious about our bodies and provide marketing tools for healthy diets, lifestyles and anti-obesity programs?

The best way to answer these questions and determine if there’s even a credible link between a body measurement and mortality is to look at the most reliable and objective data available: actual measurements on a large representative sample of the population and actual mortality data. Senior scientists at the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC and the National Cancer Institute did just that. Their results were published in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Junkfood Science)

Why would we want to? Australia '10 years behind UK in managing waste' - Australia must ramp up taxes on landfill to force the waste management sector to look at alternatives, an international waste management expert says.

Peter Jones, who advises the City of London on waste management issues, says Australia is a decade behind the United Kingdom in the way it handles its rubbish.

But, he says, it won't take 10 years to catch up, and Australia can learn from what's being done in the UK and Europe.

He says a large tax hike on landfill must be a priority, with the average cost of landfill in Australia sitting at about $50 a tonne - just half of what is charged in Europe.

A higher tax hit would make alternatives economically viable.

"Because landfill is the cheapest kid on the block if you don't tax it ... most of these advanced technologies that we're looking at, you really need gate fees of $120-150 a tonne," Mr Jones said. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia has a surface area of almost 3 million square miles, roughly 2 million of which are arid and desperately short of organic nutrients and trace elements. In short, most of Australia would benefit mightily from being used for landfill. Why would we want to use taxes to discourage people from feeding this exhausted old land? What an idiot!

Norway Threatens Action If EU Bans Seal Products - BRUSSELS - Norway has threatened to challenge the European Union over plans to ban imports of furs and other products from seals.

The executive European Commission last year proposed banning the import of pelts from seals that have endured excessive suffering while being killed.

"In our view, the proposal cannot be justified under the WTO (World Trade Organization)," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote in a letter to EU trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, a copy of which was seen by Reuters on Monday.

"A ban on trade in seal products will set a dangerous precedent in the matter of sustainable harvesting of renewable resources," Stoere wrote.

Canada has also threatened to challenge the EU's proposed ban. (Reuters)

Reads as though they'd rather the bears ate the hunters... As US bears die, hunters and climate change blamed - BOZEMAN, Montana — Hunters are killing grizzly bears in record numbers around Yellowstone National Park and researchers say the once-endangered predator is expanding across the region.

Bears are being seen — and killed — in places where they were absent for decades. Researchers suspect climate change is wiping out one of the bear’s food sources and they worry the trend will continue as the animals roam farther in search of food. (Associated Press)

April 20, 2009

To the delight of misanthropists, babies' breath is now toxic waste: E.P.A. Clears Way for Greenhouse Gas Rules - WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that endanger public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that will lead to the regulation of the gases for the first time in the United States.

The E.P.A. said the science supporting the proposed endangerment finding was “compelling and overwhelming.” The ruling initiates a 60-day comment period before any proposals for regulations governing emissions of heat-trapping gases are published.

Although the finding had been expected, supporters and critics said its issuance was a significant moment in the debate on global warming. Many Republicans in Congress and industry spokesmen warned that regulation of carbon dioxide emissions would raise energy costs and kill jobs; Democrats and environmental advocates said the decision was long overdue and would bring long-term social and economic benefits. (New York Times)

Breath is toxic waste? by Junkman Steve MIlloy

EPA Says Emissions Are Threat To Public - Finding Could Lead to Greenhouse Gas Limits - The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday officially adopted the position that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to the public's health and welfare, a move that could trigger a series of federal regulations affecting polluters from vehicles to coal-fired power plants. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Of course, The Crone approves: A Danger to Public Health and Welfare - In what could be a historic moment in the struggle against climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday confirmed what most people have long suspected but had never been declared as a matter of federal law: carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases constitute a danger to public health and welfare.

The formal “endangerment finding” names carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases as pollutants subject to regulation under the federal Clean Air Act. This in turn sets the stage — after a 60-day comment period — for broad new rules touching major sectors of the American economy and profoundly influencing how Americans use and generate energy.

The finding is also likely to accelerate the progress of climate legislation in Congress and will give the United States the credibility it lost in international climate negotiations during the Bush administration. The next round of talks is scheduled for Copenhagen in December. (New York Times)

Green TEA party: EPA seeks public input on proposed CO2 ‘endangerment’ finding - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comment on its proposed finding that greenhouse gases threaten the public welfare. The agency will be accepting comments from the public for 60 days.

Click here for the EPA proposal.

Take action:

It’s time for a green TEA party. Tell the EPA that you are taxed-enough-already and that you oppose the agency’s use of junk science to tax and regulate you even more.

Click here for information on submitting your comments to the EPA. (Green Hell)

Stop the EPA Before it Destroys America! - If the Environmental Protection Agency were some benign government unit tucked away in the corner of some massive federal government building, we could safely conclude it was doing its job to keep the nation’s air and water clean.

It is the very antithesis of that. It is a Green Gestapo that has wreaked havoc with all aspects of the nation’s industrial and agricultural communities, run roughshod over property rights, declared puddles to be navigable waters, and removed invaluable, beneficial chemicals from use to protect the lives and property of all Americans. (Alan Caruba, Warning Signs)

Greens Hail Obama's OK to Regulate Greenhouse Emissions - WASHINGTON, Apr 17 - U.S. green groups hailed Friday's formal finding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases "endanger" public health and welfare as a landmark – if long overdue – step toward slowing global warming.

They said the finding, which gives the EPA the authority to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act, should add to pressure on Congress to enact its own legislation establishing national standards and reduction targets as early as this year, possibly before December's U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, the first formal effort to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. (IPS)

Endangerment Finding: Legislative Hammer or Suicide Note? - EPA’s soon-to-be-published endangerment finding definitely puts a swagger in the step of energy-rationing advocates in the Administration, Congress, and environmental groups. They believe it gives them the whip hand in Congress–a hammer with which to beat opponents into supporting cap-and-tax legislation. This is too clever by half.

Yes, as explained previously, the endangerment finding will trigger a regulatory cascade through multiple provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA). A strict, letter-of-the-law application of those provisions to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would not only raise consumer energy prices. It could also freeze economic development, even shut down much of the economy. (Marlo Lewis, Master Resource)

The Great Government CO2 Power Grab - The inevitable has happened.

The Obama government has declared CO2—a nutrient required by plants to live, and a gas exhaled with your every breath—a pollutant. Let there be rejoicing in the ranks of activists.

Now, when I say that what occurred was “inevitable” it means that there was nothing anybody could have done to stop the government from doing what it lusted to do.

No facts would have stopped them, no arguments, no evidence, no sober quantifications of uncertainty. This was going to happen as soon as Obama was elected.

Control is what was wanted and control is what was had.

The EPA, an agency of our ever-expanding government, has no direct electoral oversight, by which I mean there is nothing you or I or any ordinary citizen can do to influence any of its actions.

The president can influence it and occasionally rein in its excesses, as can congress indirectly, but we folk are out of the loop.

I say this to make you feel a little better if you are upset at this, unfortunately not unprecedented, move to add more governmental control of our lives. There was nothing you could have done except possibly have voted for McCain—and it’s not clear that that would have helped either.

So this EPA ruling was as natural an occurrence as CO2 being released in the breath of spotted owls in old growth forests.

Again, this was going to happen, it was unstoppable. But, just for the fun of it, I will tell you why it was the wrong thing to do. (William M Briggs, Statistician)

Only 34% Now Blame Humans for Global Warming - Just one-out-of-three voters (34%) now believe global warming is caused by human activity, the lowest finding yet in Rasmussen Reports national surveying. However, a plurality (48%) of the Political Class believes humans are to blame.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of all likely voters attribute climate change to long-term planetary trends, while seven percent (7%) blame some other reason. Eleven percent (11%) aren’t sure.

These numbers reflect a reversal from a year ago when 47% blamed human activity while 34% said long-term planetary trends. (Rasmussen Reports)

Special Report: Global Warming Gloom and Doom Cools Off - Based solely on a far-Left agenda that includes a plan to control worldwide energy production, the climate change hysteria movement has jumped the shark. Now our leaders need to start asking tough questions of Al Gore, the United Nations IPCC and other alarmists.

Reducing your carbon footprint in the wake of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was the hottest thing for liberal elites and celebrities alike, but their sell to the American people seems to have gotten stale.

It appears that politicians haven’t lost interest, though. Even though global temperatures stopped rising in 2001 and despite the almost total failure of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the European Union, President-elect Obama continues to make green energy and a new green economy one of his top agenda items. The Supreme Court’s 2008 decision that carbon dioxide is indeed a “pollutant”— and its instruction to the EPA that it must decide whether to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act—offers Obama the opportunity to force new and costly carbon emissions regulations on businesses large and small. (Roy Spencer, Townhall)

EPA and Waxman Polish Greenhouse Gas Rules - Two new, and potentially very costly, regulatory proposals were leaked from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman of Los Angeles. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

What rubbish: Congress weighs far-reaching global warming bill - WASHINGTON -- The last time Congress passed major environmental laws, acid rain was destroying lakes and forests, polluted rivers were on fire and smog was choking people in some cities.

The fallout from global warming, while subtle now, could eventually be even more dire. That prospect has Democrats pushing legislation that rivals in scope the nation's landmark anti-pollution laws.

Lawmakers this coming week begin hearings on an energy and global warming bill that could revolutionize how the country produces and uses energy. It also could reduce, for the first time, the pollution responsible for heating up the planet.

If Congress balks, the Obama administration has signaled a willingness to use decades-old clean air laws to impose tough new regulations for motor vehicles and many industrial plants to limit their release of climate-changing pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said rising sea levels, increased flooding and more intense heat waves and storms that come with climate change are a threat to public health and safety. The agency predicted that warming will worsen other pollution problems such as smog.

"The EPA concluded that our health and our planet are in danger. Now it is time for Congress to create a clean energy cure,'' said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., one of the sponsors of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. (Associated Press)

The "killer fogs" were in the 1950s, long addressed by the time Congress found green religion. And that silly "acid rain" thing?

British acid rain helps our trees, says Norway - British acid rain is good for Norway's trees, says a Norwegian scientific study.

It wipes out damage caused by pollution from local industry and has helped the country's forests spread by a quarter in recent decades.

The report, by the state-run Norwegian forestry research institute, says that acid rain has been unfairly demonised.

Svein Solberg, of the institute, said: "After 15 years' research, it is now clear to us that, as far as forests are concerned, our fear of acid rain was totally unfounded.

"What we have found is that Norwegian forests have had a growth rate of some 25 per cent over the past 15 years and that acid rain is the reason."

The disclosure will severely embarrass the Norwegian environment ministry, which for at least 20 years has not missed an opportunity to take Britain to task over trans-border pollution.

Most of the acid rain that falls in Norway, especially in the south, is believed to contain British pollutants because of prevailing winds.
(Daily Telegraph, August 3, 2002)

Climate Change, Acid Rain Could Be Good For Forests — After more than 20 years of research in the northern hardwood forests of Michigan, scientists at Michigan Technological University's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science have reached a surprising conclusion: Moderate increases in temperature and nitrogen from atmospheric pollution actually improve forest productivity. (ScienceDaily, Oct. 26, 2008)

Planet doomsayers need a cold shower - The global warming scare campaign is reaching fever pitch. We have had one eminent Australian scientist claim this week to the senate inquiry on climate policy that global warming has already killed people in Australia.

We have had another four CSIRO scientists at the inquiry arguing for Australian emissions reduction targets up to six times greater than planned, 90 per cent by 2050, and warning of catastrophic consequences otherwise.

We have also had the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, agree on ABC's Lateline program this month that sea levels would rise as much as six metres due to human-caused global warming this century. Yet even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body dedicated to discovering evidence of human-caused climate change, forecasts less than half a metre rise in the century to 2090.

It seems that when it comes to convincing the Government to take drastic, jobs-killing, economy-crushing and ultimately futile unilateral action on climate change, the ends justify the means. "How we get there matters much less than the fact that [emissions] are very low by 2050," CSIRO's Dr Michael Raupach, told the inquiry.

While debating with a National Party senator the wisdom of imposing reductions of carbon dioxide emissions, the University of Melbourne's Professor David Karoly declared: "Loss of jobs is important but loss of life is really important".

True enough, but where is the evidence that climate change has killed a single Australian? More to the point, since Australia accounts for just 1.4 per cent of global emissions, even if we shut down all industry and move into caves, how would any theoretical effect on climate be more than negligible? (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

Sceptic spells doom for alarmists - NEXT Wednesday I will be honoured to serve as the master of ceremonies at the Adelaide launch of a book that promises to be a cause celebre. It is Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science.

I expect that when the history of global warming as a mass delusion comes to be written, Australia's leading geologist will be recognised as a member of the international sceptical pantheon. As far as the progress of what passes for national debate is concerned, in all likelihood 2009 will be seen as the turning point and divided into the pre and post-Plimer eras.

Mind you, I think this year would have been a turning point in any event because global recessions have a way of forcing the great powers to behave pragmatically. Neither the US nor China is going to pay more than lip-service to global warming alarmism and even the bien-pensant Rudd Government has stopped pretending to accept the advice of its preferred adviser, Ross Garnaut, at face value.

But none of that detracts from Plimer's achievement in giving sceptics a campaign document containing all the scientific ammunition they could want, packed into 493 eloquent pages. Heartened by it, perhaps some timid politicians in both main parties will at last feel at liberty to own up to their private reservations about warmist catastrophe and all those drowning polar bears we keep reading about in the Fairfax press.

One of Plimer's gifts is a reassuring matter-of-factness. For example, he says: "The level of scientific acceptance of human-induced global warming is misrepresented. Furthermore, the claim by some scientists that human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech reflecting the speaker's commitment to the belief.

"It has no mathematical or evidential basis. It is comparable to 100 per cent certainty professed by religious devotees that theirs is the one and only true faith. (Christopher Pearson, The Australian)

“Cap-n-Tax is a Crusade without a Cause” - The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was promoted using two lies and would fail in the Senate because of two fatal flaws.

In a submission to the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change, the Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the mis-named “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” had nothing to do with carbon or pollution - “these are two Orwellian lies dreamed up to generate public fear and loathing about a non-polluting harmless natural gas that sustains all life on earth”.

“The Cap-n-Tax Scheme is all about capping and taxing the production of carbon dioxide, a life-preserving plant food which has always been in the earth’s atmosphere, generally at concentrations far above the trace amounts present today. It is not a pollutant.

“Penny Wong’s Bill also has two fatal flaws which should ensure it will NEVER become law if the Senate operates as an effective House of Review and not just another room full of party hacks.

“The first fatal flaw is that this bill is not supported by independent scientific advice that proves that production of carbon dioxide drives global temperature. Judging from the number of scientists prepared to go public with their opinions, there are more prominent scientists opposing this idea than are supporting it.

“The second fatal flaw is that the government has not provided a detailed cost-benefit analysis, done by independent experts, to the standard required by any public corporation seeking to raise huge funds from an increasingly sceptical public.

“The government is demanding more stringent and transparent disclosure from private financial bodies. The Senate should thus insist that independent enquiries are held into the science and the cost-benefits of Cap-n-Tax before this flawed bill gets legislative support.

“All over the world, global warming alarmism has become a Crusade without a Cause. It is increasingly exposed as an agenda to transfer wealth, businesses, technology and jobs from Western taxpayers, shareholders and consumers to India, China and Africa, and to parasitic non-viable sink-holes such as solar and wind power.”

The detailed submission to the Senate from the Carbon Sense Coalition entitled “Two Fatal Flaws” can be found here. (Viv Forbes, Carbon Sense Coalition)

Really? Organizers say 40th Earth Day as important as first - Issues have changed, but the purpose remains, activists say

BOULDER, Colo. — Oakleigh Thorne is getting ready to participate in the Earth Day events in Boulder for the 40th time.

These days, the founder of Boulder’s Thorne Ecological Institute is letting someone else do the heavy organizing, but the man who helped put on Boulder’s first Earth Day in 1970 is still planning to participate in Saturday’s Earthfest.

“It is a celebration of the Earth; that’s the way we looked at it back in the day,” he said. “It was a celebration and also an education, an awareness and an awakening. We were awakening people that these were Earth’s problems.”

Earth’s problems have changed since 1970, and the tide of green enthusiasm has gone out only to come flooding back. But for many eco-veterans, Earth Day now is as relevant as it was back then. (Daily Camera)

Can these clowns offer any evidence that anything they've done has been of the slightest benefit? They were too late for "clearing the air" - simple industrial efficiency and corporate self-interest were way in front of the curve there (it's simply not good business to dump soot on workers' washing, for example -- the workers move to raise their families in cleaner areas and you can't get labor...). Same with clean water and aesthetics. Greenies claim a lot of unearned credit but it is wealth generation and development that actually sees the greatest (only?) environmental improvements. Can you name any green want or desire that does not increase cost and/or reduce wealth generation? Us neither... which really means greens and their misanthropy are anti-environment.

Ideological child abuse: EPA climate campaign - The EPA announced today that,

With Earth Day only a few days away, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off the 2009 “Change the World, Start with Energy Star” campaign to educate kids and their families about how to save money and fight climate change through energy efficiency.

“People of every age have a part to play in confronting climate change,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Using Energy Star to cut electricity usage and costs, and educating young people and their families to make a difference — big or small — is how we make real progress.”

But even Consumer Reports says Energy Star is a dubious program. In September 2008, the consumer watchdog spotlighted flaws in the program including that product qualifying standards are lax ─ for example, until recently, 92 percent of dishwashers qualified. If all virtually all dishwashers are “efficient,” is anyone really saving any money on energy use? (Green Hell)

'Save the planet' rhetoric soars to crazy new heights - The terrifying threat of global warming is beginning to turn people's minds, observes Christopher Booker.

How would you cope if faced with a GCSE physics paper? Have no fear. You don’t need to know anything about physics. As can be seen from the adjacent question from last year’s paper on physics and electricity, so long as you’ve listened to enough environmentalist propaganda to know what answers are expected (eg that most of the sources of the electricity we use are creating global warming), you could get 100 per cent. But if, of course, you don’t agree with the Government on these matters, you will fail.

Doubtless one of the teaching aids which might have guided you to the right answers would have been Al Gore’s famous Oscar-winning movie An Inconvenient Truth, which in 2007 our then environment secretary, David Miliband, ordered to be sent to every secondary school in the country. It was obviously inconvenient that in October that year a High Court judge should have ruled that nine of the claims made in that film were so scientifically absurd that the Government would be in breach of the law against teaching propaganda in schools unless the film was accompanied by material correcting its errors. But when last week I asked the Department for Children, Skills and Lifelong Learning (or whatever they now call the old ministry of education) for sight of that corrective material they never came back with an answer.

Does one not get the feeling that all this propaganda over the terrifying threat of global warming is beginning ever so slightly to turn people’s minds? (Daily Telegraph)

The climate of disastrous consensus - IAN Plimer calls himself an old-fashioned scientist. That means you question what others won't. You marry yourself to the data; you buck the received wisdom and political correctness of your colleagues.

When it comes to climate change, you say: "I was trained to be sceptical."

This is not exactly the view de jour when the great and the good, from Kevin Rudd to 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery and former US vice-president Al Gore, are singing from the same hymn sheet about the hydra-headed menace of global warming.

Australia's top earth scientist has inserted a typically discordant note into the chorus. In his latest book, Heaven and Earth, Plimer sets out the "missing science" of climate change and challenges the assumption that the world's warming is down to human activity.

Far from heating up to dangerous levels, the planet is in a lull in an ice age that began 37million years ago, he says. (Jamie Walker, The Australian)

How to Fix a Climate Emergency - As forecasts for global temperatures grow increasingly dire, scientists are taking a serious look at an idea once considered crazy: reengineering the atmosphere. (Fred Guterl, NEWSWEEK)

Another hypothesis (not reviewed by JunkScience.com) Believe it or not, global cooling to start in 2023! - FLORIDA: Various theories are being propounded about the global warming phenomenon due to rise in green house gas emissions, coal, pollution, animal waste. But now a new research done by David Dilley of Global Weather Oscillation does blame the earth or the any of these causes for the rising temperature. It is is earth’s natural satellite –moon.

Due to the significance of these finds, Meteorologist and climate researcher David Dilley has offered his book, Global Warming-Global Cooling, Natural Cause Found” for download free of cost at globalweathercycles.com. (Commodity Online)

We could wish: Climate change could mean a walk in the Arctic woods - While global warming is expected to endanger most of the globe's woodlands, trees may prosper in Canada's Far North, scientists say

Baffin Island is covered with an austere, Arctic tundra now, but some time later this century it will be capable of sprouting something unusual: a verdant coniferous forest.

The idea that trees might some day spread to many parts of Canada's Far North may seem unlikely, but it is being touted as a realistic possibility in one of the most extensive looks at how the world's forests will cope with further global warming.

Call it a climate-change paradox: While the overall prognosis for the planet's woodlands is dismal because higher temperatures are expected to lead to more droughts, increased insect invasions and fires, trees may prosper in northerly regions where they now don't even exist.

The report, which is being released next week at a forestry forum at the United Nations in New York, says there will be a silver lining for selected areas of northern Canada, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In these countries, the boreal, or northern forests composed of evergreen trees such as black spruce, will grow more productive and start to shift northward. (Globe and Mail)

Change is a cold certainty - RUSSIAN sea captain Dimitri Zinchenko has been steering ships through the pack ice of Antarctica for three decades and is waiting to see evidence of the global warming about which he has heard so much.

Zinchenko's vessel, the Spirit of Enderby, was commissioned in January last year to retrace the steps of the great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, marking the century of his Nimrod expedition of 1907-09.

Spirit of Enderby was blocked by a wall of pack ice at the entrance to the Ross Sea, about 400km short of Shackleton's base hut at Cape Royds. Zinchenko says it was the first time in 15 years that vessels were unable to penetrate the Ross Sea in January. The experience was consistent with his impression that pack ice is expanding, not contracting, as would be expected in a rapidly warming world. "I see just more and more ice, not less ice."

Rodney Russ, whose New Zealand company Heritage Expeditions has operated tourist expeditions to Antarctica for 20 years, agrees. He says ships regularly used to able to reachthe US base of McMurdo in summer, but ice has prevented them from doing so for several years.

"Vessels are usually stopped 8km to 14km short of the base. A few years ago, that was often open water," Russ says.

"We have experienced quite severe ice conditions over the past decade. I have seen nothing in this region to suggest global warming is having an effect." (Greg Roberts, The Australian)

Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking - ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.

The results of ice-core drilling and sea ice monitoring indicate there is no large-scale melting of ice over most of Antarctica, although experts are concerned at ice losses on the continent's western coast.

Antarctica has 90 per cent of the Earth's ice and 80 per cent of its fresh water. Extensive melting of Antarctic ice sheets would be required to raise sea levels substantially, and ice is melting in parts of west Antarctica. The destabilisation of the Wilkins ice shelf generated international headlines this month.

However, the picture is very different in east Antarctica, which includes the territory claimed by Australia.

East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades".

Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica. (Greg Roberts, The Australian)

Idiot! The crushing of eco-protest brings shame on our police - Labour appears to agree with those campaigning against climate change, so why the vindictive action against them?

It sounds like a slogan from the Obama campaign: "People working together can make governments take notice." In fact, it comes from the user-friendly Miliband brother, Ed, the energy and climate change secretary who was speaking after the screening of the film The Age of Stupid. On another occasion, he said: "The scale of the popular movement and the force with which activists and agitators deliver their arguments is the key to the success of any future international agreement to tackle climate change."

His message is unambiguous, so we are forced to ask whether it is simply routine hypocrisy or terminal disarray that permits the government to back activists in the run-up to the climate change summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year, while at the same time allowing a campaign of intimidation and harassment that is specifically designed to deter the very activism he urges. (Henry Porter, The Observer)

These people have the right of protest -- they just don't have the right to engage in criminal acts and disrupt essential services. What's so hard to understand about that?

Another Example Of An Environmental Tradeoff - Reduced CO2 Emissions And Lower Fuel Cost Versus Personal Safety - Climate Science has often blogged on the need to assess the entire spectrum of effects when a particular environmental (or other) regulation is implemented (e.g. see and see).

In the April 14 2009 news there is a well written article by Ken Thomas of the AP which provides another example of the multi-faceted effects of particular decision with respect to the environment.

In this case, the issue is the benefit to the environment of reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and lower fueling costs from a smaller passenger vehicle, versus the risk to the personal safety of you and your family. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Obama's Energy Policy Driven by Ideology, not Reason - Recent news stories asserting that President Obama’s interest in pursuing cap-and-trade legislation is dwindling are premature. These media accounts make too much of rumors that Obama is backing away from auctioning 100 percent of carbon emissions credits and the Administration’s only tepid support of proposed global warming legislation authored by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA).

In reality, sketchy plans and letting Congress take the lead is classic Obama.

Recall that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote the stimulus bill and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s initial bank bailout plan was panned for lacking details.

What Obama lacks in leadership, substance and management skills, he more than makes up for with rhetoric and ideological zeal. Time and again Obama shows he will use his power to drive the left-wing agenda without regard to economic consequences or loss of liberty. Moreover, with the liberal holy grail of penalizing fossil fuel use in his grasp, it’s doubtful Obama will shy away. (Tom Borelli, Townhall)

Crude producers deserve better treatment - The old mind set was visibly at work. Branding the OPEC as the black sheep -- the villain of the world -- painting the producers in black -- has been a favorite pastime. Indeed gone may be the era of the 70s, when OPEC was the whipping boy all around, yet indeed old habits rarely die fast.

Some of the recent headlines in the mainstream media were disturbing -- OPEC in the bad boy role. One said: UN climate talks threaten our survival, another said: Action on climate to harm Gulf economies: Saudi official, another emphasized: OPEC members split with developing nations on UN carbon cuts.

Reports from the recently held climate conference said the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries split (with the rest) over stringent cuts in the burning of fossil fuels, fearing their economies will suffer from shrinking demand for oil.

Negotiations are on for UN sponsored climate-change treaty, cutting fossil-fuel emissions and slowing global warming by improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and buildings, installing solar panels and adding wind farms. United Nations scientists say the developed countries need emissions cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 to avert the worst effects of climate change. Now developing countries want more. Indeed the objectives seem very prudent and worthy enough to carry the day. Yet there was another side of the story too.

Under the hammer was the statement of Mohammad Al-Sabban, the adviser at the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral. "Whatever policies will be adopted will add to the uncertainties for the demand for oil," he is reported to have underlined. "We share the concern for climate change but at the same time we don't want to be a victim."

And the debate continued. "The OPEC members are yet to agree with numbers because they want to know the potential economic consequences on their economies and how it would affect oil exports," Pa Ousman Jarju, a Gambian delegate said. "For us it's a survival issue, it's not an economic issue. We see a definite bias against the oil-producers," he said.

Saudi Arabia, however, wanted access to the existing adaptation fund. "Adaptation is not only to the impact of climate change but also the impact of climate policies," said Al-Sabban. (MENAFN - Arab News)

Future-proof coal - Australia has carved a leading role in climate science

AS an investment in future-proofing, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, launched by Kevin Rudd yesterday, is visionary. Costing $100million a year, it has the potential to help protect about 100,000 Australian jobs and shore up the future of the nation's biggest export earner, coal. The institute is a far smaller government investment than the $43 billion broadband network, that without coal-generated electricity would be going nowhere.

Chaired by former World Bank head James Wolfensohn, the institute will speed up and co-ordinate piece-meal international efforts to make clean coal technology work on a commercial scale. It will begin by determining the status of various projects already under way. (The Australian)

Coal will be required come what may. What we need to overcome is the myth there is any value in throwing away 30-40% of energy generation reburying carbon we have expended energy mining in the first place.

Such a Waste of Political Energy - The Government’s ludicrous proposals on electric cars are truly shocking. Even their master flywheel of spin, the Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson, looked distinctly unplugged as he and the stuck-in-first-gear Transport Secretary, Geoff Hoon, yesterday test drove a Mini E in Scotland for the press pack, a car for which there are currently no plans either for commercial release or for sales in Britain. Well chosen, lads. What a couple of bright sparks! The cost of leasing a two-seater Mini E [the battery is so enormous, there is no more room] for trial is reported to be three times that of leasing a petrol-driven Mini Cooper. “I say, Jeeves! That’s a bit of a drain on the old battery, what!” “As you say, Sir!”

Again, The Times has got it right (p.3), with Ben Webster, its Transport Correspondent, presenting an excoriating analysis of the Government’s proposals, here and here. (The Clamour Of The Times)

Hmm... Sellafield: the most hazardous place in Europe - Last week the government announced plans for a new generation of nuclear plants. But Britain is still dealing with the legacy of its first atomic installation at Sellafield - a toxic waste dump in one of the most contaminated buildings in Europe. As a multi-billion-pound clean-up is planned, can we avoid making the same mistakes again? (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Death threats to children — the government’s idea of public health messages  - We thought the Change4Life campaign to eradicate fat children couldn’t get any worse ...

than government health officials ignoring science, the evidence, and their own health statistics, and embracing reports of fabricated predictions and compilations of opinion polls. Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, Sir Liam Donaldson, described the “obesity timebomb” facing the UK, and obesity as the new cancer.

Then it did … in a sickening development when the Department of Health decided it was okay for fat children to be bullied.

But government health officials have found a way to stoop even lower in their sick Change4Life “healthy lifestyle” campaign. They spent $739,000 (U.S. dollars) on two 4YourKids advertisements that have been appearing in women’s weekly magazines. The ads threaten children with premature death should they eat a cupcake or play a video game. (Junkfood Science)

The silent pain of bullied children - Despite concerns of healthy school environments, this week’s news reminds us that, for many young people, school is anything but healthful. Sadly, many victims of bullying are on their own to find ways to deal with it and they can often respond in unhealthful and even risky ways. (Junkfood Science)

Subsidy Plan Seeks to Cut Malaria Drug Cost - A new campaign to save lives and prevent drug resistance by driving the price of the best malaria medicine down to as little as 20 cents was announced Friday by international health agencies and European governments.

The subsidy program, unveiled in Norway, will have an initial budget of $225 million and will be run by a new partnership called the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria.

Malaria experts hailed the program as one of the most important recent advances in fighting the disease, which kills one million people a year, 90 percent of them children. Awa Coll-Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, called it “a triumph of international cooperation.”

But the United States, the world’s biggest donor to the war on malaria, is not supporting it yet. (New York Times)

And what makes them think cleptocratic regimes will not continue to rake in punitive taxes on effective drugs for which people will pay exorbitant prices? Know a lot of kind and benevolent dictators, do they?

Lawrence Solomon: John Maddox, skeptic, 1925-2009 - Sir John Maddox, the legendary editor of the science journal Nature, died this week at age 83. The obituaries were laudatory, as might be expected given his role, over a 22-year career, in elevating Nature to one of the world's great journals.

But few obituaries referred to Maddox's reputation as a skeptic of doomsaying environmentalism and a skewerer of politically correct science. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Dead flat wrong: Weekly Report/ Environment: The world wants it both ways--saving the environment and jobs - Faced with the grim reality of global warming, nations are working to shape a "green economy" in which they are trying to use more renewable and alternative energy sources and spur economic recovery.

Expanding upon this Green New Deal is also an urgent task for Japan. As the turmoil deepens, how can Japan and other countries increase employment while protecting the environment?

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi, and Masamitsu Sakurai, chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), spoke on the topic with The Asahi Shimbun. It's now or never for moves to thwart global warming. (Asahi Shimbun)

The dichotomy of jobs or environment couldn't be more wrong. The simple fact is no jobs, no environment worth 'saving'. It is wealth generation which is ultimately environmentally friendly because societies generating a surplus can afford to view their surrounds as other than an immediate source of food, fuel or shelter and misanthropic greenies who are the real destroyers by forcing impoverished peoples to eat or burn anything they can get their hands on.

New fuel for Britain's tired engine - PATRIOTISM may be the last resort for scoundrels promising British jobs for British workers, but when it comes to a penniless Prime Minister searching for an economic silver bullet to save his skin, only a green Budget will do. If all else fails, hug the trees and hold on tight until the storm passes.

Gordon Brown is in a tight spot after last week's Smeargate revelations. On the economy, despite a huge fiscal stimulus and the adoption of quantitative easing, the longed-for green shoots of recovery are as elusive as ever.

So how will voters view an expansive package of green measures that prioritises the environment when they face tax rises and cuts in services, and can Brown and Darling's green policies be justified as the centrepiece of what is effectively an austerity Budget? (Scotland on Sunday)

Protecting the Jungle Has a Price - RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 17 - Government officials, business leaders and non-governmental organisations agreed in Brazil on the need for rich countries and companies to "pay" the people of the Amazon jungle as "providers of environmental services" for contributing to the fight against climate change by not deforesting. (IPS)

Go ahead, level the forest. I double-dog-dare you! What I won't do is pay anyone to not develop.

Divers do transplants to turn tide on dying coral reef - BENEATH the waves of this sapphire-blue corner of the East China Sea, a team of divers was busy at work. Hovering along the steep, bony face of a dying coral reef, some divers bored holes into the hard surface with compressed-air drills that released plumes of glittering bubbles. Others followed, gently inserting small ceramic discs into the fresh openings.

Each disc carried a tiny sliver of hope for the reef, in the shape of fingertip-sized sprigs of brightly coloured, fledgling coral.

This undersea work site may look like a scene from a Jules Verne novel, but it is part of a government-led effort to save Japan's largest coral reef, near the southern end of the Okinawa chain of islands. True to form in Japan, the project involves new technology, painstaking attention to detail and a generous dose of taxpayer money.

The project has drawn national attention, coming after alarming reports in the last decade that up to 90% of the coral that surrounds many of Okinawa's islands has died off. This raised a rare preservationist outcry in a heavily industrialised nation whose coastal vistas tend toward concrete sea walls and oil refineries.

The result has been what marine biologists call one of the largest coral restoration projects in the world, begun four years ago. The goal, say biologists, is to perfect methods that could be used around the world to rescue reefs endangered by overfishing, pollution and global warming. (Scotland on Sunday)

Lawrence Solomon: Danger overhead - Toronto’s plan to mandate green roofs on new buildings could seriously threaten the city’s building stock

To some, green roofs are wonderful. They absorb rainwater, reducing strain on sewer systems. They insulate buildings from the cold in winter and the heat in summer, and from noise all year long. They provide greenery that building occupants and building neighbours can sometimes view. Some green roofs even provide food.

To others, green roofs are terrible. They add to the capital costs of buildings. They need continual maintenance. They add to the insurance and warranty costs that building owners face. They may even harm the environment. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

The war on mining: fighting back - Gold has become a safe haven as jittery investors move away from weakened stock markets, and currencies are threatened by inflation. But the allure of gold goes well beyond its future value or price per ounce.

The demand for the precious metal has propelled economic growth in the developing world as investment in exploration has led to significant job creation and improvements in health. Despite this, the industry is under attack by environmental NGOs, which accuse it of bringing poverty and pollution to the regions.

The war on mining is global. In 2007, Newmont CEO Richard Ness was cleared in a 21-month Indonesian criminal trial for the firm’s alleged pollution of Buyat Bay. National Geographic criticized the same operation on the grounds that mine’s benefits — $391-million in local royalties and taxes, 8,000 jobs and $3-million in welfare projects — accrue to only five of the nearest communities.

In Ecuador, NGOs sow alarm among poor communities with claims that if large-scale mining were to start near them, their rivers would be contaminated, their animals and crops would die and their children would fall ill. To prove their point, environmentalists play videos of the damage that mercury, cyanide and arsenic can cause, blithely ignoring the fact that new techniques no longer use those chemicals and cause little environmental impact.

Poverty, not the natural resources industry, is the biggest enemy of people. So what would the anti-mining activists’ success mean for the communities where they are concentrating their efforts? (Silvia Santacruz, Financial Post)

To Fill Food Safety Gap, Processors Pay Inspectors - HURON, Calif. — Clipboard in hand, Debra Anderson spent three hours one recent sunny morning trooping through a field of romaine lettuce looking for trouble.

She searched for animal tracks at the Church Brothers field, watched picking crews wash their hands and sampled rinse water to make sure it had enough chlorine to kill germs. Though she is a California state employee, Ms. Anderson was working on behalf of the food industry, part of the latest experiment in improving safety.

With huge losses from food-poisoning recalls and little oversight from the federal Food and Drug Administration, some sectors of the food industry are cobbling together their own form of regulation in an attempt to reassure consumers. They are paying other government agencies to do what the F.D.A. rarely does: muck through fields and pore over records to make sure food is handled properly.

These do-it-yourself programs may provide an enhanced safety level in segments of the industry that have embraced them. But with industry itself footing the bill, some safety advocates worry that the approach could introduce new problems and new conflicts of interest. And they contend that the programs lack the rigor of a well-run federal inspection system. (New York Times)

Strange fruit: Could genetically modified foods offer a solution to the world's food crisis? - It's a decade since GM products were hurriedly swept from UK shops after a panic about their safety. In the meantime, GM crops have been widely – and successfully – cultivated elsewhere. So is it time we embraced the new food? (The Independent)

April 17, 2009

Another silly scare washes out? Asteroids won't raise killer waves - but mind the splash - THE odds of encountering a tsunami kicked up by an asteroid strike have just plummeted. Best to hope, though, that you're not underneath the almighty splash such an impact could create.

Small impactors hit us far more frequently than larger ones: a 200-metre asteroid hits Earth about every 10,000 years on average, while 10-kilometre objects like the one that probably killed off the dinosaurs strike every 100 million years. Much of the worry over asteroids has centred on the more likely event of a smaller one splashing down in the ocean and triggering a powerful tsunami.

Now simulations to be presented at an asteroid hazard conference in Granada, Spain, this month suggest that small asteroids do not after all pose a major tsunami threat. (New Scientist)

Coral Fossils Suggest That Sea Level Can Rise Rapidly - Evidence from fossil coral reefs in Mexico underlines the potential for a sudden jump in sea levels because of global warming, scientists report in a new study.

The study, being published Thursday in the journal Nature, suggests that a sudden rise of 6.5 feet to 10 feet occurred within a span of 50 to 100 years about 121,000 years ago, at the end of the last warm interval between ice ages.

“The potential for sustained rapid ice loss and catastrophic sea-level rise in the near future is confirmed by our discovery of sea-level instability” in that period, the authors write.

Yet other experts on corals and climate are faulting the work, saying that big questions about coastal risks in a warming world remain unresolved. (New York Times)

Rebuttal from Professor Emeritus Don Easterbrook: We seem to be slipping back into the Dark Ages of science--this has got to be one of the dumbest papers I've ever seen. Why Nature would even publish such nonsense is amazing. Consider for example:

1. There is no way to date 120,000 year old corals with an accuracy of 20-50 years. The best you could do would be with a ± of tens of thousands of years.

2. The average temp in Antarctica is about -55 degrees F below zero. In order to melt any ice at all you would have to raise the temperature 55 + 32 = 87 degrees just to get to the melting point of ice. To do this in 10-50 years is absurd! You would need to raise the temp many degrees above the freezing point at a rate of about 10 degrees per year every year!

3. The volume of ice in Antarctica is estimated to be about 30 million Km3 To melt all of this ice in 10 years you would have to melt 3 million Km3 per year in a land whose average temp is -55 degrees!

4. At the last glaciation maximum at (~20,000 yrs B.P.), glaciers covered huge areas in mid-latitude North America, northern Europe, and Russian. At the end of glacial maximum, temperatures rose abruptly and the continental glaciers melted at a maximum rate. That produced a sea level rise of about 10 mm per year or 1.0 m per century. Today, these glaciers are all gone and only two ice caps, Antarctica and Greenland, remain, so glacial melting cannot be anywhere near as drastic today as during the end of the maximum deglaciation. Therefore, the value of 10 mm per year (1.0 m in a century) may be used as an absolute maximum possible value for future sea level rise.

Don

We'd Be Fools To Fully Rely On Geeks' Data - Beware of geeks bearing formulas. That's the lesson most of us have learned from the financial crisis. The "quants" who devised the risk models that induced so many financial institutions to buy mortgage-backed securities thought they had reduced risk down to zero.

Turns out they got a few things wrong. Their formulas were based on only a few years of actual data. Or they failed to take into account the possibility that housing prices would fall. Or that the market for mortgage-backed securities might suddenly stop functioning.

The lesson seems clear. Don't allow a whole system to become hostage to the workings of some geek's formula. Keep in mind the possibility that the real world might not behave as the formula indicates.

But, astonishingly, our society seems about to forget that lesson, just as it should have been learned. Congress is poised, at least if the Obama administration gets its way, to pass major new laws on carbon emissions and on health care whose success depends on geeks bearing formulas.

Consider carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is a harmless gas, not a pollutant. But geeks bearing formulas tell us that increasing amounts of it will heat up the world's climate and cause catastrophic damage some decades hence. Al Gore is so certain of this that he tells us all debate must end — disagreeing is like denying the Holocaust.

But the Holocaust happened, while the disasters that Gore predicts have not. When you try to predict climate, you are dealing with even more factors and more unknowns than when you try to predict financial risk.

Prudent people will want to hedge against some risks that seem possible. But imposing huge costs on the private-sector economy — raising the price of electricity for everybody — solely on the basis of some geeks' formulas seems, well, not prudent. But that's what Barack Obama tells us we must do. (Michael Barone, IBD)

Major Oops! Potential Dependence of Global Warming on the Residence Time (RT) in the Atmosphere of Anthropogenically Sourced Carbon Dioxide - Abstract: The driver for this study is the wide-ranging published values of the CO2 atmospheric residence time (RT), τ, with the values differing by more than an order of magnitude, where the significance of the difference relates to decisions on whether (1) to attempt control of combustion-sourced (anthropogenic) CO2 emissions, if τ > 100 years, or (2) not to attempt control, if τ 10 years. This given difference is particularly evident in the IPCC First 1990 Climate Change Report where, in the opening policymakers summary of the report, the RT is stated to be in the range of 50−200 years, and (largely) on the basis of that, it was also concluded in the report and from subsequent related studies that the current rising level of CO2 was due to combustion of fossil fuels, thus carrying the, now widely accepted, rider that CO2 emissions from combustion should therefore be curbed. However, the actual data in the text of the IPCC report separately states a value of 4 years. The differential of these two times is then clearly identified in the relevant supporting documents of the report as being, separately (1) a long-term (100 years) adjustment or response time to accommodate imbalance increases in CO2 emissions from all sources and (2) the actual RT in the atmosphere of 4 years. As a check on that differentiation and its alternative outcome, the definition and determination of RT thus defined the need for and focus of this study. In this study, using the combustion/chemical-engineering perfectly stirred reactor (PSR) mixing structure or 0D box for the model basis, as an alternative to the more commonly used global circulation models (GCMs), to define and determine the RT in the atmosphere and then using data from the IPCC and other sources for model validation and numerical determination, the data (1) support the validity of the PSR model application in this context and, (2) from the analysis, provide (quasi-equilibrium) RTs for CO2 of 5 years carrying C12 and 16 years carrying C14, with both values essentially in agreement with the IPCC short-term (4 year) value and, separately, in agreement with most other data sources, notably, a 1998 listing by Segalstad of 36 other published values, also in the range of 5−15 years. Additionally, the analytical results also then support the IPCC analysis and data on the longer “adjustment time” (100 years) governing the long-term rising “quasi-equilibrium” concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. For principal verification of the adopted PSR model, the data source used was the outcome of the injection of excess 14CO2 into the atmosphere during the A-bomb tests in the 1950s/1960s, which generated an initial increase of approximately 1000% above the normal value and which then declined substantially exponentially with time, with τ = 16 years, in accordance with the (unsteady-state) prediction from and jointly providing validation for the PSR analysis. With the short (5−15 year) RT results shown to be in quasi-equilibrium, this then supports the (independently based) conclusion that the long-term (100 year) rising atmospheric CO2 concentration is not from anthropogenic sources but, in accordance with conclusions from other studies, is most likely the outcome of the rising atmospheric temperature, which is due to other natural factors. This further supports the conclusion that global warming is not anthropogenically driven as an outcome of combustion. The economic and political significance of that conclusion will be self-evident. (American Chemical Society)

We just bet they do: EU calls on US to help lead climate change fight - PRAGUE — European Union environment ministers called on the United States Wednesday to help the bloc lead and finance the battle against climate change. (AFP)

Report: French Reversal on Climate Policy? Outspoken Skeptical Scientist May Be Tapped as Environmental Minister! - Allegre Converted From Warming Believer to Climate Skeptic

Washington D.C.: A bombshell April 1, 2009 report from the German publication “ScienceBlogs” reveals that renowned geophysicist and former socialist party leader Dr. Claude Allegre – France’s most outspoken global warming skeptic -- may be considered as the next French Environment Minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration. If Dr. Allegre, who has mocked former Vice President Al Gore’s Nobel Prize as “a political gimmick,” is chosen for the appointment, it would send political earthquakes through Europe and the rest of the world. [Editor's Note: Though the "ScienceBlogs report is dated April 1, it appears not to be a joke.]

Allegre is a former believer in man-made global warming who reversed his views in recent years to become one of the most vocal dissenters of man-made global warming fears. [Editor's Note: Another political shock may be coming from down under as Australia is now pondering throwing in the towel on carbon trading. See: Australia may dump emissions trading scheme and 'have another crack at it' later' & India: 'It is morally wrong for us to reduce emissions when 40% of Indians do not have access to electricity' ]

Germany’s “ScienceBlogs” reported that the consideration of Allegre “is probably linked to a general shift in French climate policy.” “ScienceBlogs” continued, “Some of my colleagues fear this may also have an influence on the part of the budget which deals with the funding of climate research.” (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)

Really? And what, exactly, is 'happening' in the U.S.? U.S. moves mean Canada needs carbon pricing: panel - OTTAWA - U.S. efforts to curb emissions of greenhouse gases mean Canada will have to put a price on carbon and set up a national cap-and-trade system, an official panel said on Thursday.

Canada's Conservative government wants to fight global warming by reducing the intensity of emissions rather than capping them. But the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy said this was not a realistic approach, given what was happening in the United States. (Reuters)

From here it looks like a 3-way standoff between the Obama Administration, the EPA and Congress: "No, you go. No, you. No, you do it..." If anything is happening it's a general realization that dramatically increasing the energy cost for everyone is a fast track to an appearance before an angry mob, not a good career move.

Obama’s Climate Policy: A Work in Progress - Leaders around the world have come to agree that the continuing accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere poses risks requiring action. But as the Obama Administration is learning, accepting the need for action and actually implementing effective carbon policies are two different things.

The Obama Administration favors an approach called cap and trade, which establishes a cap on total emissions and sets up a market to buy and sell emissions allowances under the cap. The theory is that, as the binding cap declines over time to some target value, the market will determine the most efficient manner of reducing emissions.

In such a market, someone has to receive the initial revenue associated with creating a market where none existed before. Rather than handing this over to emitters, the Obama Administration sees the new revenue as a timely and welcome contribution toward its goal of reducing the size of the federal deficit. Predictably, this has already started a debate in the US Congress over cap and trade as a new and regressive tax.

But what has gone largely unmentioned thus far in the emerging debate over cap and trade is the fact that the Obama Administration's goal of reducing US emissions by 14 percent from their 2005 values by 2020 (to about 5.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year) is almost certainly unachievable without compromising economic growth. Policy makers, to be sure, won't trade emissions reductions for economic growth. Thus, with cap and trade, the Obama Administration runs the risk of establishing an enormously complex new program that does many things - but appreciably reducing emissions will not be among them. (Roger A. Pielke, Jr., Ostina)

US, Mexico Agree New Partnership On Climate Change - MEXICO CITY - The United States and Mexico agreed on Thursday on a new partnership to fight climate change and promote environmentally-friendly forms of energy production, they said in a joint statement.

US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, meeting in Mexico City, agreed to broaden political and technical cooperation on those issues by forming a "US-Mexico Bilateral Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change," the statement released by the White House said.

"The Bilateral Framework will focus on: renewable energy, energy efficiency, adaptation, market mechanisms, forestry and land use, green jobs, low carbon energy technology development and capacity building," it said.

Strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would also be discussed, it said. (Reuters)

D'oh! Kyoto treaty is ‘failing the world’s poor’, say scientists - Initiatives aimed at cutting emissions while encouraging economic development are failing the world’s poorest countries, leading scientists from Oxford University are warning.

Pay us not to develop: INTERVIEW - Carbon Deal Seen Key To Amazon Preservation - RIO DE JANEIRO - Deforestation in Brazil's huge Amazonas state could fall to zero by 2020 if a global climate summit in Copenhagen in December adopts measures to put an economic value on preserving forests, its governor said on Thursday.

Eduardo Braga's state government has pioneered the preservation of the Amazon by granting financial incentives to forest dwellers, an idea that has gained ground in international climate policy ahead of the summit.

The mechanism allows rich countries to offset their carbon emissions by paying to prevent deforestation, which accounts for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

Despite widespread tree-felling, Amazonas, Brazil's biggest state, still has relatively intact forest covering an area six times the size of the United Kingdom.

Braga urged negotiators to make funding for forest preservation, either through carbon credits or payments from rich countries, central to a new deal to replace the 1992 Kyoto Treaty. (Reuters)

Still pitching the hot air scam: Global carbon market to hit $669bn by 2013 - Report predicts faltering market will bounce back stronger than ever over next four years

Investors are being urged to take advantage of the "exceptional opportunity" presented by the low price of carbon credits after a new report predicted the global carbon market is poised to enter a five-year-long period of rapid growth as the world's economy recovers.

The report from US-based research firm SBI predicts that while the global carbon market will contract 29 per cent this year to just $84bn (£56bn), it will recover quickly over the next four years, growing at an average of 68 per cent a year to be worth $669bn by 2013. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Cranking up the hysteria: We're off target on climate, inquiry told - Australia is clearing native vegetation at a rate that amounts to a $2.4 billion annual loss of stored carbon, a Senate climate change inquiry heard yesterday.

''We are still logging native vegetation at a rate of something like 60million tonnes of carbon a year,'' CSIRO climate scientist Michael Raupach told the inquiry.

Global climate change had reached a critical point where ''it feeds on itself'' due to less carbon being absorbed by oceans and forests, Dr Raupach said. Australia must aim for a 90 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 ''to keep the risk below the danger point'', and stop its per capita carbon use growing by the current unsustainable rate of 2per cent a year.

Dr Raupach, one of the world's leading carbon cycle experts, is among a group of four senior CSIRO scientists who defied a gag order by the organisation to submit new research to the inquiry. (Canberra Times)

The genial prophet of climate doom - James Lovelock is perhaps the world’s leading thinker on environmental issues – and his prognosis for the future of humanity is grim. In Ireland to speak at UCD this week, he tells RONAN McGREEVY why he thinks climate change is irreversible and why Ireland may become ‘a lifeboat for humanity’ (Irish Times)

"Wet Office" Issues a Scarewatch - The scare: For years, scientists, politicians, journalists, academics, and schoolteachers have been fabricating lurid and imaginative disaster stories about the supposed environmental impact of anthropogenic “global warming”. There have been apocalyptic predictions about soaring temperatures, Arctic ice-melt, sea-level rise, hurricanes, extreme-weather events of all kinds, species extinction, etc., etc. These scare stories have little basis in scientific reality: they are pure inventions, usually designed to attract funding or increase circulation. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Oh Jonathan... Climate Change Could Worsen African 'Megadroughts' - WASHINGTON - The recent decades-long drought that killed 100,000 people in Africa's Sahel may be a small foretaste of monstrous "megadroughts" that could grip the region as global climate change worsens, scientists reported on Thursday.

Droughts, some lasting for centuries, are part of the normal pattern in sub-Saharan Africa. But the added stress of a warming world will make these dry periods more severe and more difficult for the people who live there, the scientists said. (Reuters)

Africa has been drying since long before people seriously influenced atmospheric carbon dioxide levels -- check out the American Meteorological Society's Monthly Weather Review article: The Desiccation of Africa, there's a link to the .pdf but no abstracts are available for reprints from The Geographical Journal, Feb., 1919, vol. 53, pp. 122-123.

See Climate change - there is no need for concern, Prof WJR Alexander, Science in Africa

For reasons not well understood the Sahel has been greening since the 1980s. Undoubtedly increased water efficiency and aerial fertilization from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels played at least some part in this 'recovery'.

Here's the unspun version: Megadroughts in sub-Saharan Africa normal for the region - Devastating droughts worse than the infamous Sahel drought are part of the normal climate regime for sub-Saharan West Africa, according to new research.

For the first time, researchers have developed an almost year-by-year record of the last 3,000 years of West Africa's climate. In that period, catastrophic droughts occurred every 30 to 65 years, and the pattern can be expected to continue in the future, the team reports.

"What's disconcerting about this record is that it suggests that the most recent drought was relatively minor in the context of the West African drought history," said first author Timothy M. Shanahan, who conducted the research while he was a doctoral student at The University of Arizona in Tucson.

If stupid actions against the phantom menace are taken: 3.7 times more heat-related deaths forecast by end of 2000s - The National Institute for Environmental Studies and 13 other research institutes reported to a government panel Tuesday that the risk of people dying from rising temperatures in the nation would increase 3.7 times by the end of the 21st century compared with 1990 if no countermeasures were taken against global warming. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

However, if energy costs are reduced and air conditioning made more affordable, especially for the elderly and infirm, far fewer heat-related deaths can be anticipated. Idiots.

Um... no: Forests Could Become Source of Warming: Report - NEW YORK - The world's forests are at risk of becoming a source of planet-warming emissions instead of soaking them up like a sponge unless greenhouse gases are controlled, scientists said.

Deforestation emits 20 percent of the world's carbon dioxide when people cut and burn trees, but standing forests soak up 25 percent of the emissions.

If the Earth heats up 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees F) or more, evaporation from the additional heat would lead to severe droughts and heat waves that could kill wide swaths of trees in the tropics of Africa, southern Asia and South America. And emissions from the rotting trees would make forests a source of global warming. (Reuters)

Wrong on so many levels. To begin with Earth's surface is 70% water, so increased evaporation isn't going to dry much out since there are severe limits on hot wet the atmosphere can become before it begins to precipitate out as rain or snow. And 30% of increased evaporation will precipitate out on land (and the geological record provides evidence ice ages are generally cold and dry while interglacials are both warmer and wetter).

Key point however, is that we have zero reason to believe the world will warm significantly and so nothing to trigger their imaginary feedback.

Changing climate will lead to devastating loss of phosphorus from soil - Crop growth, drinking water and recreational water sports could all be adversely affected if predicted changes in rainfall patterns over the coming years prove true, according to research published this month in Biology and Fertility of Soils.

'Ocean glider' home after two-month voyage - Scientists are celebrating the first successful deployment and retrieval in Australia of a remotely controlled, deep ocean-going robotic submarine destined to play a central role in measuring changes in two of Australia's most influential ocean currents. (CSIRO)

Everyone's got to get into the act... McAfee jumps on global warming bandwagon - Claims spam has a carbon footprint

Since everyone plus dog is scared of global warming, McAfee has attempted turn the fear into sales for AV products.

It claims in its report with the catchy title "The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam Report" that spam has a carbon footprint and for everyone which crosses your inbox 0.3 grams of CO2 is produced. Now if only there were a person or company which made a product that could save polar bears and fluffy animals from the dire effects of spam. Well says McAfee we do make one or two.

Apparently the mere act of people around the world deleting spam and searching for legitimate e-mail falsely labeled as junk creates the annual energy consumption equivalent in the U.S. of 2.4 million homes using electricity and the same greenhouse gas emissions as 3.1 million passenger cars using two billion gallons of gas.

One spam is about the same as driving three feet in equivalent emissions. When multiplied by the 62 trillion spam e-mails sent globally, that is like driving around the Earth 1.6 million times.

Now apparently the spam being created does not kill polar bears, it is all the effort of deleting it. If people had Spam filters it only takes 16 per cent of the energy and is the same as taking 13 million cars off the road per year.

If spam filters were used universally, the energy saved would be equivalent to taking 2.3 million cars off the road, the report said. (Nick Farrell, Fudzilla)

“Air Temperature Change Due To Human Activities In Taiwan For The Past Century” By Lai and Cheng 2009 - There is another excellent paper which documents the significant role of local human activities on the long temperature trends, as well as challenges the development of grid averaged temperatures using the observed large heterogeniety of the surface temperature observations.

The paper is Lai, L.-W., and W.-L.Cheng 2009: Air temperature change due to human activities in Taiwan for the past century. Int. J. Climatology, 10.1002/joc.1898. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The oceans as a calorimeter - A few months ago, I had a paper accepted in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Since its repercussions are particularly interesting for the general public, I decided to write about it. I would have written earlier, but as I wrote before, I have been quite busy. I now have time, sitting in my hotel in Lijiang (Yunnan, China).

A calorimeter is a device which measures the amount of heat given off in a chemical or physical reaction. It turns out that one can use the Earth's oceans as one giant calorimeter to measure the amount of heat Earth absorbs and reemits every solar cycle. Two questions probably pop in your mind,

a) Why is this interesting?
and,
b) How do you do so?

Let me answer. (Nir Shaviv, ScienceBits)

Climate Models -vs- Climate Reality: diverging or just a dip? - Here’s something really interesting: two comparisons between model ensembles and 3 well known global climate metrics plotted together. The interesting part is what happens in the near present. While the climate models and climate measurements start out in sync in 1979, they don’t stay that way as we approach the present. (Watts Up With That?)

Consensus climate science: What would Thomas Huxley say? - Guest Post By Paul MacRae

“The evidence … however properly reached, may always be more or less wrong, the best information being never complete, and the best reasoning being liable to fallacy.” -Thomas Huxley, Science and Christian Tradition, p. 205

Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895) was one of the first and most vigorous promoters of modern scientific thinking. He is perhaps best-known as “Darwin’s bulldog”-no one did more to fight for Darwin’s theory of natural selection in the face of theological opposition-but he also almost single-handedly introduced science into the British school curriculum at all levels.

Huxley was a formidable philosopher of science, anticipating many of the principles of scientific inquiry that Karl Popper would make a mainstay of scientific thinking in the 20th century, including the need for falsifiable hypotheses and non-dogmatic, continuous inquiry.

In short, in the history and philosophy of science, Huxley is someone to be reckoned with.

So what would T.H. Huxley have thought of today’s “consensus” climate scientists, with their claims that the issue of man-made climate change is “settled,” that there is no need for further debate, and that those who challenge the hypothesis of anthropogenic warming in any way are, in effect, heretics?

Three of Huxley’s books-Science and Hebrew Tradition (SHT), Science and Christian Tradition (SCT), and Hume, a biography of Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776)-present Huxley’s philosophy of science very clearly. How well does “consensus” climate science bear up in Huxley’s crucible? (Watts Up with That?)

Why Third Year Arctic Ice Will Increase Next Year - Guest post by Steven Goddard

In spite of the excess global sea ice area and the freezing Catlin crew, AGW proponents have recently ramped up the rhetoric about “melting ice caps.” (Watts Up With That?)

Guest Commentary: Obama’s climate control promise is in conflict with his stated goal of energy independence - President Barrack Obama made many promises during his campaign; he is now finding it difficult to keep them.

... Robert Bryce, Managing Editor of Energy Tribune, wrote in the March 5 issue of The Wall Street Journal that even if Obama is able to double electric production from wind and solar by 2012 the production will “still be almost inconsequential.”

Bryce pointed out that total solar and wind output for 2008 will be about 45.5 million megawatt hours about 1% of 4.18 billion megawatt hours of total electricity generated during the rolling 12-month period that ended in November.

Bryce took it another step further by comparing wind and solar to oil. He said, “one barrel of oil contains the energy equivalent of 1.64 megawatt hours of electricity. Thus 45.5 million megawatt hours divided by 1.64 megawatt hours per barrel of oil equals 27.7 million barrels of oil equivalent from solar and wind for all of 2008.

“Now divide that 27.7 million barrels by 365 days and you find that solar and wind sources are providing the equivalent of 76,000 barrels of oil per day. America’s total primary energy use is about 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

“Of that 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, oil itself has the biggest share – we consume about 19 million barrels per day. Natural gas is the second biggest contributor, supplying the equivalent of 11.9 million barrels of oil, while coal provided the equivalent of 11.6 million barrels of oil per day.”

If the nation was to increase its production of wind and solar by the 76,000 barrels of oil equivalent every year, it would take more than 600 years to reach today’s total energy needs. (Alex Mills, President, Texas Alliance of Energy)

Sapping America's Energy - Global-warming legislation would drive up the cost of everything.

If Americans don't start paying attention to what Congress is up to, our nation's energy policy may seriously change for the worse. A bill styled the American Clean Energy and Security Act, sponsored by Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, soon goes before the House. The enactment of laws to combat global warming is an established priority of the new administration and Congress, and their impact on the lives and opportunities of America's people would be substantial and detrimental. (Pete DuPont, Wall Street Journal)

Big Oil’s Stimulus of the Economy - Until the credit crunch crisis and recession-speak took over the national and international debates, it was bad Big Oil that was hurting America and its citizens’ inalienable right to drive.

Four-dollar gasoline was all Big Oil’s doing and Congressional investigations were well on their way to uncover all sorts of evil from anti-trust to outright conspiracies, or worse. The election was at stake and while political posturing by some used Big Oil as the regular whipping boy, the economy tanked and oil and gasoline prices followed suit in a decline whose speed was unprecedented in history.

Oil prices peaked in July 2008 at almost $150 per barrel. But proving once again that this is a margin business where small percentages of over- or under-supply can cause wild fluctuations in the price of both oil and refined products such as gasoline and diesel, starting around March and April 2008 there was some barely then noticeable movement. Gasoline demand dropped by a mere 1 percent from a level of about 280 million barrels per month, compared to 2007, this after a 10 percent growth since 2000.

But by last May, the monthly decline from the previous year became 4 percent, then grew to about 6 percent in August and September, the peak of the driving season. By December, after the election, the shortfall was less than 3 percent and by January 2009 it was back to an imperceptible 1 percent. But what happened during those critical months was the huge decline in gasoline prices and in some parts of the country, regular gasoline was selling for $1.50 a gallon, eventually settling around $2. By then the price of oil dropped to $40 per barrel, steadying around $50.

Of course what all these events showed was that oil companies, many of which are anything but big, helplessly watched along with the other sectors of the economy as its fortunes decline, only in an even more precipitous way.

The politicians who were grandstanding when gasoline prices were over $4 are now nowhere to be found to point out the beneficial effects of lower oil prices to the American consumer and the economy. Many of them may lament at least quietly the price decline because they can no longer justify some radical social engineering, motivated by ideological gobbledygook. The notable exception is the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, who is quoted as saying “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” (Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)

An Age-Old False Choice on Energy - Offshore oil and natural gas production will devastate our beaches, wreak havoc on tourism, and destroy sensitive ecosystems. Unlike every other developed nation in the world, the United States cannot safely produce oil and natural gas on its outer continental shelf (OCS) to grow the economy without harming the environment. At least, that’s the age-old drone of opponents to increasing offshore energy production here at home. And, speaking as a cattle rancher, it’s all a load of bull.

Thankfully, according to recent polling data, most Americans know this to be the case, successfully demanding last year that their government remove the bans that prevented offshore energy production for nearly three decades. But not all of our elected leaders seem to have accepted this new reality. Later today, the secretary of the Interior will be in San Francisco – rallying support for the old line of reasoning that says economic gain cannot be achieved without environmental pain. (Richard Pombo, Townhall)

EU Energy Overhaul May Feature Efficiency Drive - BRUSSELS - Unused funds from a European Union plan to spend 4 billion euros (US$5.3 billion) overhauling energy infrastructure could be funnelled into energy efficiency measures, according to a agreement reached on Thursday.

European Union countries struck the deal in closed-door negotiations with the European Parliament after weeks of squabbling within the 27-nation bloc.

The plan is part of EU attempts to bolster itself against energy shocks and follows this winter's gas crisis, caused by a price row between Moscow and transit country Ukraine.

That crisis shook the EU, which has been uneasy about its reliance for energy on the newly assertive Moscow since Russia invaded neighbouring Georgia last August. (Reuters)

'We Have to Save, Save, Save' - The world could run out of oil in 20 years. This grim scenario is not the prediction of environmentalists, but of Michel Mallet, the general manager of French energy giant Total's German operations. In an interview, Mallet calls for radical reduction of gas consumption and a tax on aviation fuel. (Der Spiegel)

Repsol On A Hot Streak - Spanish oil major Repsol is in the midst of an enviable hot streak. It has made nine major discoveries this year including big gas finds in North Africa and significant oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.

This week, Repsol announced that the joint venture in which it holds a 25 percent stake found “high quality oil” in Brazil’s Santos Basin, home of the continent’s biggest discoveries in decades. While it didn’t say what the potential production could be, it is in the vicinity of several huge discoveries in Brazil’s pre-salt layer. Petrobras has a 45 percent stake and BG Group has another 30 percent.

2009 is shaping as another good year, following the company’s earlier progress to address its Achilles’ Heel, replacing its reserves. In 2008 Repsol’s reserve replacement ratio almost doubled to 64 percent from 35 percent in 2007. Still to be seen is how quickly it develops these new finds, as the company has already said it will cut back on more expensive projects because of the credit crisis. The company said it will drill 35 exploratory wells this year, down from last year’s 40. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

EPA Seeks Public Comment On US Ethanol Blend Rate - WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it is seeking public comment on whether to allow a higher level of ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

Growth Energy and more than 50 ethanol manufacturers petitioned the EPA last month to raise the maximum blend level for ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to as much as 15 percent.

The current limit of 10 percent has been in place since 1978, but ethanol manufacturers say that level must be increased to accommodate rising federal ethanol production mandates. (Reuters)

Algae Could 'Supply Entire World with Aviation Fuel' - Although oil prices have fallen rapidly, the airline industry is still clamouring for alternative fuel sources. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, chief Boeing environmental strategist Billy Glover explains how a giant mass of algae may fuel jets in the future. (Der Spiegel)

Solar Isn’t Green Enough For California - An endangered desert tortoise sits in the middle of a road in the proposed location of three BrightSource Energy solar-energy generation complexes in the eastern Mojave Desert.

The greatest threat to any perfect dream is to have it become reality. That’s because when pie-in-the-sky comes down to Earth it usually doesn’t taste nearly as good as the dreamers thought. And in the case of alternative energy, many dreams have turned out to be about as tasty as cowpie in the sky.

That’s certainly what’s happened with biofuels, as their true costs give lie to the idea that the world was only a few seeds away from eternal green energy. And that’s what may be starting to happen in with solar energy in California.

California seems like the ideal place: the land where abundant sunshine meets abundant environmentalism. But when solar makes the transition from perfect dream to needing an appropriate building site, it’s no longer green enough for the purists among the greens.

In response to public policy, nearly two dozen companies have proposed building solar and wind facilities on tracts of California’s sunny and windy Mojave Desert that were recently purchased from the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad. And what has been the response of the advocates and even the actual authors of that same public policy?

"This is unacceptable," according to Diane Feinstein, the Democratic US Senator from California who beseeched Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to “suspend any further consideration of leases to develop former railroad lands for renewable energy or for any other purpose." David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy, was less supportive than Feinstein, stating that the proposed energy facilities "would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem.”

Funny, I thought solar was supposed to save ecosystems. Apparently, it might need to pave over some of them. (Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune)

Growing Wind, Solar Power Challenge US Grid - Study - HOUSTON - The push to add more renewable wind and solar megawatts to the US electric mix will force changes in the way the power grid operates to keep electricity flowing reliably, said an industry watchdog Thursday.

Climate-change concerns have led more than half of US states to mandate that a percentage of future electric supply come from less-polluting resources, such as wind and solar power that emit no greenhouse gas.

US legislators are also discussing a federal mandate.

However, a report from the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) issued Thursday points out that many types of renewable power are much different from power plants that burn coal or natural gas, plants that can be turned off and on as needed to meet power demand.

That lack of control, or variability, creates thorny integration issues for operators of the bulk-power network - the large power lines that move electricity from plants to neighbourhoods, NERC said. (Reuters)

Dangerous Idealism and Decrepit Truths: Nuclear Power and Global Warming - After a decade of prevarication and many false starts, the British Government has at last released a list of eleven sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power stations might be built. The actual number of new stations in the initial drive is, however, likely to be fewer than eleven. It is thought that getting five - with two reactors each - up and running by 2018 could well prove enough to refresh the immediate needs of our nuclear portfolio. Every energy engineer knows that this is a most urgent task; that we are already seriously behind the curve if we are to save the country from a crippling energy gap - a gap that can in no way be filled by wind, wave, and warm feelings - ; and, that there can be no more tolerance of delay.

Regrettably, however, there are still some self-indulgent, theologically-driven, siren voices out there who want to continue to try to achieve this, that is, to delay, or to prevent altogether, the new nuclear energy programme. In present circumstances, such actions would be both immoral and damaging for the economy. As a country, we stand at the energy crunch. This issue must, therefore, become the litmus test of whether or not the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Nationalists, and the more extreme Greens are living in the real world. The Conservatives should also not be found wanting or dithering. Above all, this decision must be read as the ultimate test of whether or not the ‘liberal elite’ truly believe in their own hysterical rhetoric on ‘global warming’ - a powerful suite of coal-fired stations (without carbon-capture-and-storage) awaits in the wings to fill the looming void. (Clamour Of The Times)

Have Our Politicians the Energy? - Today, I must congratulate The Times, which sheds its drippy-green, Camilla Cavendish-side in favour of a robust analysis of the energy crisis now confronting Britain. Robin Pagnamenta, its Energy and Environment Editor, presents an excellent report on the proposed nuclear timetable (p.20); Mark Henderson, Science Editor, has a neat analysis of the new standards of nuclear safety (p.21); and, Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent, reviews the economic and engineering problems of the ridiculous EU policy on biofuels (p.9).

Above all, however, there is a truly seminal comment (p. 28), ‘We are six years away from an energy crisis’, by Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford. Helm’s analysis of the current energy debacle should be force fed into every politician in the land. He says it all - the looming, and growing, energy gap; the fact that by 2020 we may need to expand from 70 GWs to 90-100 GWs to meet peak demand; the inconvenient truths that wind will do little to combat climate change and that it may even prove counterproductive in managing supply; the fact that current policies will raise prices markedly for consumers; our increasing dependence on imported gas; and the likelihood of a return to ‘unabated’ coal. These are, of course, themes that I have personally hammered home here, and on previous blogs, but Helm puts them together in an unanswerable and devastating critique. (Clamour Of the Times)

Updated: Best practice biomass could cut emissions to almost zero - But poor practices could lead to more emissions than coal

The best biomass power plants have the potential to cut carbon emissions by up to 98 per cent compared to using coal, but poorly designed facilities could lead to a net increase in greenhouse gases.

That is the conclusion of a major new report from the Environment Agency this week, which is calling on the government to introduce new regulations and incentives to ensure that only "sustainable biomass" that delivers deep carbon savings is used in new biomass power plants.

The government has repeatedly signalled its support for biomass power plants that burn waste, wood chips or other forms of biomass and has said that the technology will play a key role in its renewable energy strategy, ultimately providing almost a third of the country's renewable energy by 2020. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Peter Foster: Trading honesty for ‘social responsibility’ - Eschewing honesty and fair dealing, business adopted the tar baby of social policy at governments’ and NGOs’ behest

Last September, when the extent of the financial crisis was becoming horribly apparent, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, declared “We need a new understanding on business ethics and governance, with more compassion and less uncritical faith in the ‘magic’ of markets.”

Strange, since business has never been more involved in the UN’s brand of Global Salvationism, or less inclined — perhaps even able — to defend free markets. Nothing better symbolized the murky global business environment than the final communiqué of the London G20 meeting two weeks ago. It called for “an open world economy based on market principles,” even as it projected massive new regulation and declared support for an “inclusive, green and sustainable recovery” and “the corporate social responsibility of all firms.”

Who knows what that all means.

It is surely also intriguing that the current financial crisis should have come after an explosion in the business ethics industry and the steady rise of the corporate social responsibility movement up the corporate hierarchy. You would be pushed to find any financial institution involved in the current debacle who was not dedicated to the very latest in independently monitored and internationally benchmarked governance practices, complete with high-sounding “codes” and commitments to carbon neutrality and fighting child poverty. And wasn’t the regulatory side of corporate governance meant to have been rendered cast iron by Sarbanes-Oxley?

Could that be the problem? Business ethics has become not so much about honesty and fair dealing as about the additional burdens companies should be taking on in the name of infinitely expansive corporate social responsibility and getting out in front of environmental issues. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Enemies Of The State - The secretary of homeland security equates dissent with extremism. If you're pro-life or support the right to bear arms, you need to be watched. And did you know Timothy McVeigh was a disgruntled veteran?

If we are to believe the report released this week by Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," the vast right-wing conspiracy is alive and well and dangerous.

The Tea Party activists who demonstrated against onerous taxation past, present and future are "right-wing extremists" who bear watching as they conspire against government authority. Perhaps we'd better check their trunks for guns and ammonium nitrate.

Where are those who fiercely opposed the Patriot Act and its provisions that focused on real terrorists such as al-Qaida and its operatives? They objected to monitoring conversations between actual foreign terrorists and their U.S. contacts. But if you have a bumper sticker opposing gun control or open borders, you're fair game.

Found on the second page of the report is this ominous warning:

"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that . . . are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration." (IBD)

From DDT to Dursban - Detroit, Mich. — Greens can take a bow: Bedbugs are back with a vengeance.

Responding to the biggest bedbug outbreak since World War II, the Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first-ever “bedbug summit” Tuesday outside Washington to address a widening public outcry. Some of the most vulnerable communities are inner cities like Detroit, and the major culprit, as it turns out, was the summit host.

Nine years ago, the zealots at Bill Clinton’s EPA banned the pesticide chlorpyrifos (to widespread media and environmentalist hosannas), the most commonly available household product in the world to address bedbugs, cockroaches, and other nuisances. Better known by its trade name, Dursban, chlorpyrifos had been available for 30 years in some 800 products in 88 countries around the world.

But despite widespread protest in the scientific community, EPA Chief Carol Browner erased Dursban from the shelves. “EPA has gone to great lengths to present a highly conservative, worst case, hypothetical risk based in large part on dubious extrapolations . . . and exaggerated risk estimates,” said Michigan State University toxicologist J. I. Goodman in a typical response.

Even Dr. Alan Hoberman, the principal researcher whose data Browner cited, told the Detroit News he disputed the agency's interpretation of his findings. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

Cities are running out of water, says expert - DEVELOPED CITIES and regions around the world are beginning to run out of water in advance of the effects of climate change, a seminar in Dublin was told yesterday.

The Institute of International and European Affairs was told that increasing drought was no longer “an image associated with third world charity”, but now affected cities and regions such as San Francisco, Mexico, Raleigh North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia among others in North America, as well as Barcelona in Spain, parts of southern Europe, Turkey and Egypt and large parts of Australia.

A second tier of cities – including Dublin – are likely to face severe water demand over the next 20 years, while international bankers had already begun to see a market in “water rights” in relation to ownership of rivers and lakes and access to water in the ground. (Irish Times)

Actually there's no shortage of water (the planet is 7/10ths covered in the stuff) it's merely that governments are failing to supply sufficient quantities of potable water to consumers. Much of the reason for this is greenie interference in development. We have the technology. We have the finance and we certainly have the ability. What's missing is the will to do something useful and not get distracted by such phantom menaces as gorebull warming.

PREVIEW - Hot Summer, Absent El Nino Set To Aid India Monsoon - NEW DELHI - India's monsoon rains, vital for the farm-dependent economy and the success of major crops, may exceed the norm this year if the El Nino system that brings drier weather fails to appear, as expected, forecasters say.

That would be good news for a country hit by the global recession, ensuring another large summer rice harvest and laying the foundation for a second bumper winter wheat crop, both helping sustain the two-thirds of India's 1.1 billion people who live in rural areas and depend primarily on agriculture.

The June-September monsoon is a major influence on output of key crops, economic activity and also affects sentiment in the country's financial markets. (Reuters)

Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn - Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, claiming that MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. But that argument might not stand up in court and Berlin could face fines totalling millions of euros if American multinational Monsanto decides to challenge the prohibition on its seed.

The sowing season may be just around the corner, but this year German farmers will not be planting genetically modified crops: German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced Tuesday she was banning the cultivation of GM corn in Germany. (Der Spiegel)

'There Was No Reason to Accept The Risks of GM Corn' - The German government's decision to ban the cultivation of genetically modified corn has been welcomed by most media commentators in Germany as an overdue step in response to fears that it poses unforeseeable risks. One paper, however, scoffs that "progress has become a dirty word" in Germany.

The news Tuesday that Germany was joining five other European Union countries in banning the cultivation of genetically modified corn met with mixed reactions. Environmentalists were delighted, while supporters of GM foods warned it could lead to an exodus of research efforts from the country. (Der Spiegel)

Frankenfood Ban Is 'Neither Populism nor Panic-Mongering' - A German ban on genetically modified corn has found broad support in the German public, and protests against a patent on a strain of pig made headlines on Wednesday. German commentators wonder if this is just European technophobia or whether genes are a natural resource which no patent should restrain.

It's been a tough week in Germany for proponents of genetically engineered farm products. First Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced a ban on cultivating a strain of genetically modified (GM) corn. Then on Wednesday, demonstrations were held in the Bavarian capital of Munich and the Hessian capital of Wiesbaden against a patent on a breed of pig. (Der Spiegel)

April 16, 2009

So, CO2 is now only 40% responsible for gorebull warming? Third-World Stove Soot Is Target in Climate Fight - KOHLUA, India — “It’s hard to believe that this is what’s melting the glaciers,” said Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, as he weaved through a warren of mud brick huts, each containing a mud cookstove pouring soot into the atmosphere.

As women in ragged saris of a thousand hues bake bread and stew lentils in the early evening over fires fueled by twigs and dung, children cough from the dense smoke that fills their homes. Black grime coats the undersides of thatched roofs. At dawn, a brown cloud stretches over the landscape like a diaphanous dirty blanket.

In Kohlua, in central India, with no cars and little electricity, emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, are near zero. But soot — also known as black carbon — from tens of thousands of villages like this one in developing countries is emerging as a major and previously unappreciated source of global climate change.

While carbon dioxide may be the No. 1 contributor to rising global temperatures, scientists say, black carbon has emerged as an important No. 2, with recent studies estimating that it is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide. Decreasing black carbon emissions would be a relatively cheap way to significantly rein in global warming — especially in the short term, climate experts say. Replacing primitive cooking stoves with modern versions that emit far less soot could provide a much-needed stopgap, while nations struggle with the more difficult task of enacting programs and developing technologies to curb carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. (New York Times)

Let's just do a quick thumb rule on this. Using Lubos Motl's rapid ratio check of proportion of forcing change experienced (using the IPCC logarithmic formula) that's LN(356/280)/LN(560/280) = 46% or roughly half of anticipated warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. So about half the warming has already been experienced and that amounted to about 0.6 °C ± 0.2 °C. According to the preceding article CO2 accounts for ~4/10ths of that warming (~0.25 °C). And carbon hysterics want us to dramatically lower our standard of living and spend how much to avoid another one-fourth degree warming from a doubling of atmospheric CO2? Even if we were looking at the whole 0.6 °C, do you think it would be worth any attempt to avoid?

Clouds Cool the Climate System…But Amplify Global Warming? - One of the basic tenets of the IPCC view on global warming is that cloud feedbacks are positive. That is, clouds react to a warming influence by further amplifying the warming.

This makes all the difference in the world for forecasts of global warming because the existence of negative cloud feedbacks could limit manmade global warming to less than 0.5 deg. C by late in this century, while positive feedbacks could result in ten times that amount of warming: 5 deg. C.

What is peculiar about all of the IPCC climate models now producing positive cloud feedbacks is that it is well known in the climate business that the average effect of clouds on the climate system is one of cooling…not warming. In the presence of radiative heating by the sun, clouds provide a stronger solar shading effect than their greenhouse warming effect, leading to a net reduction in average global temperatures by about 5 deg. C. (Roy W. Spencer)

Oh... Catastrophic sea levels 'distinct possibility' this century: study - A breakthrough study of fluctuations in sea levels the last time Earth was between ice ages, as it is now, shows that oceans rose some three meters in only decades due to collapsing ice sheets.

The findings suggest that such an scenario -- which would redraw coastlines worldwide and unleash colossal human misery -- is "now a distinct possibility within the next 100 years," said lead researcher Paul Blanchon, a geoscientist at Mexico's National University.

The study, published by the science journal Nature, will appear in print Thursday.

Rising ocean water marks are seen by many scientists as the most serious likely consequence of global warming. (AFP)

Study: Emissions Cuts Could Lessen Climate Change - Escaping the most severe effects of global warming will require quick, steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a new government-funded study finds.

Cutting emissions by 70 percent by the end of the century would cause the Earth to warm by an average of about 2 degrees Celsius, versus 4 degrees if emissions continue growing at their current rate, according to computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

And that would give the world its best chance to avoid massive loss of Arctic sea ice and permafrost and limit sea level rise, the scientists said. Future changes in snow and rainfall patterns and the incidence of heat waves would be about half as intense as they would be without the steep emissions cuts.

The study, which will appear in the April 21 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, was funded by the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation.

Its authors based their findings on computer simulations that examined the degree to which climate change's effects can be limited by human actions.

"We can no longer avoid significant warming during this century," lead author Warren Washington, an NCAR climatologist, said in a statement. "But if the world were to implement this level of emission cuts, we could stabilize the threat of climate change and avoid catastrophe." (ClimateWire)

Obama Wants Climate Bill Mindful Of WTO Rules - Kirk - WASHINGTON - The Obama administration wants to ensure that legislation being crafted by Congress to fight global climate change does not violate international trade rules and backfire on US exports, the top US trade official said in a letter to a Republican lawmaker.

The letter from US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, released late on Tuesday, was in response to questions Rep. Joe Barton raised about Energy Secretary Stephen Chu's recent suggestion that the United States may need to impose a border tax on Chinese goods.

Despite Chu's comment, the administration "does not support any specific measures, including border measures, at this time" to address concerns about the climate bill relating to trade, Kirk told Barton, the top Republican on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

Many energy-intensive US industries, such as steel, are worried that proposed new taxes on carbon emissions could cripple their competitiveness if developing country rivals such as China and India do not take similar steps to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)

China exploiting the scam -- and who's to blame them? Copenhagen Climate Signs Positive: Australia, China - CANBERRA - There are positive signs a climate summit in December will forge a broader pact between rich and poorer nations to fight global warming, a top Australian official and an influential Chinese expert said on Wednesday.

But the "wasteful and luxurious" lifestyles of rich nations could yet alienate poorer nations, with developed countries like the United States and Australia needing to curb energy use and first set an example, China climate expert Pan Jiahua said.

Australia's centre-left government on Wednesday began sparring with key Green rivals over its plan to slash carbon emissions between 5 and 15 percent by 2020, with the Greens demanding much deeper cuts as the price of support in parliament.

"Like in the United States, there is huge waste of energy here. I think that China must say (at Copenhagen in December) the Australians could do a little bit more," Pan told a climate forum in Canberra ahead of the government's planned talks. (Reuters)

India demands climate cash pledges - India has thrown down the gauntlet to developed nations in the latest round of climate change talks, saying the developing world wants to see pledges of cash before it is prepared to discuss emissions curbs.

The move draws the battle lines between rich and poor countries and threatens to halt progress on climate change, because rich countries insist they cannot name sums before getting commitments that future emissions will be substantially lower than projections. (Financial Times)

Well duh! Australia: Emissions scheme 'designed to fail' - The Rudd Government should ''tear up'' its flawed emissions trading scheme and replace it with a carbon tax administered by an independent agency, a leading economist says.

The director of the Australian National University's business college, economist Professor Warwick McKibbin told a climate forum in Canberra yesterday he believed the Government's cap-and-trade scheme was ''designed to fail on purpose'' as a way to defer policy action on climate change.

''I think the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme is designed on purpose not to make it through the Senate,'' Professor McKibbin said. (Canberra Times)

May be best to dump emissions trading scheme: Garnaut - The government's own climate adviser says it might be best to dump the emissions trading scheme (ETS) and "have another crack at it" later.

Professor Ross Garnaut says it's lineball whether the scheme in its current form is worth doing.

He urged senators to make substantial changes during a committee hearing on Thursday. (Australian Associated Press)

Australian carbon emissions absorbed by our landmass ? - I remember in the early 1990’s reading in a paper by R M Gifford, that Australian carbon emissions were absorbed by our land area. I had a photo copy for years but now can not find same. Can anybody point me to this or any other published paper which states this conclusion.

I wonder why Australian Governments would not have taken the view that this natural advantage for Australia could have been a reason for us to ignore the entire IPCC process, leading to Kyoto and beyond, Garnautland - Ruddland wherever our odd leaders take us. Australia has for centuries borne the extra freight costs due to our location in the Antipodes plus other disadvantages due to our isolation. Unless this early 1990’s data has been proven to be incorrect, I see nothing illogical if our Government was to say, “carbon is not our problem - we already have no net emissions”. (Warwick Hughes)

This certainly won't be the last Kyoto 'liability' to disappear off the books :) New Zealand Expected To Exceed Kyoto Target - Report - WELLINGTON - New Zealand will better its target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol because of drought and reassessment of its forests, a government report said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

The Arctic's cold? Climate change research: Weather hampers Arctic mission - Extreme weather is hampering attempts by a team of three British explorers to examine the effects of climate change on Arctic sea ice around the north pole.

The Catlin Arctic Survey mission, led by Pen Hadow, is travelling about 600 miles on foot to the pole, and set off on 2 March. Despite rigorous testing before the expedition, a pioneering radar system designed to establish ice thickness without drilling and an onboard sledge computer kit have both been disabled by brutally cold temperatures. A fault has prevented the use of a probe which measures the water beneath the floating sea ice, and there have been problems with equipment to monitor the health of the explorers remotely from London.

Simon Harris-Ward, the survey's director of operations, said: "The extreme weather, even by Arctic standards, has affected much of the team's standard kit. They've had breakages to equipment such as stoves and skis because of the harsh conditions." (The Guardian)

And then he blows it by claiming the IPCC isn't loony enough: UN climate change panel got it wrong, says Lovelock - BEING GREEN and good-intentioned “can be more disastrous than doing nothing” about the state of the planet, according to scientist James Lovelock, who was the first to describe the earth as a self-regulating system he called “Gaia”.

In a public interview at UCD last night with Prof Frank Convery, chairman of Comhar, the Government’s sustainable development council, he cited the banning of pesticide DDT – blaming this for two million deaths from malaria every year.

The ban was imposed 10 years after publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962. “DDT may be a bad thing for birds, but the person who invented it was given a Nobel prize because it had done more to save lives by killing mosquitoes”, he said.

Lovelock also complained that the scientific community was too divided “not for any bad reason, but because biologists don’t speak to chemists”. Even within biology, there were now 30 branches “almost proud of the fact that they don’t talk to each other”.

In the 1970s, when he propounded his Gaia theory of how the earth works, “the biologists so hated it that it was impossible to publish” at first in scientific journals such as Nature . “They thought Gaia was not only wrong, but dangerous to science, even evil.” He told a large audience at the O’Reilly Hall that anyone doing science needed to be “as hands-on as possible”, rather than relying on “fancy models of the world”. They should go out into the real world and measure things in nature, as he himself had done. (Irish Times)

A New Paper “An Analytical Framework For Estimating The Urban Effect On Climate” By Lamptey 2009 - There is an excellent new paper that further exmines the role of urban areas in climate. The article is Lamptey, B., 2009: An analytical framework for estimating the urban effect on climate. Int. J. Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.1873

The abstract reads

”The surface energy budget has been used to illustrate the influence of urban landscape on both global and regional climate. This was done using empirical as well as remotely sensed data of components of the surface energy equation. At the global scale, the urban land cover has the least impact on the sensible and latent heat fluxes compared to the other land cover types. Replacing the urban land cover with vegetation did not result in a significant change to the proportionate values of the turbulent fluxes originally due to vegetation. The least impact of current urbanization on the global climate in terms of radiation and surface fluxes is because the urban land cover has the smallest fraction of all the land cover types. The relative importance of the urban landscape at the regional scale was illustrated using the example of Chester County and surroundings near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the USA. The urban effect becomes more important as the fraction of urban land cover to the total increases. This is illustrated by computing turbulent fluxes for 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1996 over the Chester County area. Urbanization in Chester County and surrounding areas increased from 11% in 1987 to 19% in 1996. In 1996, urban land cover produced the largest proportionate sensible (21.4 Wm-2) and latent (14.2 Wm-2) heat fluxes during winter. During the 1996 summer, urban and vegetation land cover produced the largest proportionate sensible heat (59.2 Wm-2) while urban land cover produced the second largest proportionate latent heat flux (39.5 Wm-2). The implications of this simple analytical study point to the need to account for the urban landscape particularly in regional studies.”

The conclusions include the text

”It has been shown from an analytical approach that the impact of urbanization is important at the regional scale. The impact of urban land cover becomes relatively more important as the fraction of urban land cover increases.”

Among its implications, this study provides further evidence as to the role of the urban landscape on long term trends in surface temperatures.  As documented in his paper,  urbanization changes over time (which is relatively gradual). Thus, surface air temperature increases in these areas could be incorrectly attributed to “global warming” when in reality they are due to this landscape change.

The conclusion of the significant role of landscape change on surface temperature trends which is obtained from the Lamprey paper bolsters the conclusions that we reached in

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Where Is Science Behind Climate Change Claims? - As an environmental advocate I have placed land under conservation and restored habitats. I recycle, reuse rainwater, walk when others drive, and generally leave a small environmental footprint.

Yet I am angered by climatologists, environmentalists, and politicians who purvey one of the biggest myths of modern time: that climate change (aka global warming) during the past half century is primarily due to anthropogenic (manmade) causes. (Dave Epstein, Colby Magazine)

US Greenhouse Emissions Rose 1.4 Pct In 2007 - EPA - WASHINGTON - US greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2007, compared to the previous year, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported on Wednesday.

The report also indicates that US emissions of climate-warming gases such as carbon dioxide and methane rose 17.2 percent from 1990 to 2007.

The increase in 2007 was mainly due to a rise in carbon dioxide emissions related to fuel and energy consumption, the environmental agency said in a statement.

There was more demand for heating fuel and electricity due to cooler winter and warmer summer temperatures, compared to 2006, the report said.

There was also increased demand for fossil fuels to generate electricity, coupled with a significant decrease -- 14.2 percent -- in hydropower generation to meet this demand. (Reuters)

Energy Secretary Chu, on Power Sources Old and New - Steven Chu has likened his arrival in Washington as President Obama's energy secretary to being thrown into the deep end of the pool -- and he boasted this week that he hadn't yet drowned. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist and PhD moved from running a research lab in California to taking over a sprawling federal agency with a $70 billion annual budget and 114,000 employees. "I still have my head above water," he joked in a wide-ranging interview in his office.

His expertise is in developing alternative forms of energy, such as solar and wind power, and he believes -- for starters -- that the country needs to take better advantage of existing technologies. Most important, he says, scientists have come to appreciate that the energy crisis is such a huge economic and environmental problem that many are changing careers to help. "So with more intellectual, top-quality intellectual horsepower going into this, the possibility and the probability of a really transformational breakthrough will be much higher." (Washington Post)

US Interior Hears Alaskans On Offshore Drilling - ANCHORAGE - US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heard hours of Alaskans' opinions about drilling for oil and gas off their state's shores and came away on Tuesday promising a plan to allow development while accounting for environmental risks.

"I think everything is on the table. We are not prejudging the outcome of this process," Salazar said at a news conference held during a break in a special public meeting in Anchorage.

Salazar came to Alaska as part of four meetings in different US regions to gather public input on a five-year offshore leasing plan that he says was rushed in the last days of the Bush administration. (Reuters)

Obama budget will increase energy costs - As bureaucrats in Washington attempt to chart a course that will take the nation out of this economic wilderness, President Barack Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget is a stunning departure from the fiscal restraint and responsibility he promised during the campaign. The president's tax-and-spend binge is drawing fire from both sides of the aisle and for good reason. With a $787 billion "stimulus" bill and $700 billion in Wall Street bailout funds already committed, how much more can taxpayers be expected to bear under the guise of "stimulating" the economy? (Andrew Moylan, Detroit News)

Solomon: No Peak Gas - Is the United States running out of natural gas?

No way, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which estimates that the U.S. has 211 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proved reserves - gas that is already discovered and economically recoverable - and another 1533 tcf of technically recoverable natural gas.

Much of the technically recoverable gas is unconventional -- shale gas, tight sands, and coalbed methane. It accounts for 60% of the onshore recoverable resource.

All this adds up to a lot. The U.S. produces about 19.3 tcf a year of natural gas. At that rate, the U.S. has enough natural gas to last 90 years. Less conservative estimates of the potential for shale gas add another 26 years to the potential U.S. supply, or 116 years.

For more information on this cheery news about our fossil fuel future, see here. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Australia launches 'clean coal' institute - Australia launched what it described as a major initiative to develop clean coal technology Thursday, saying it could play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute's launch showed Australia was facing up to its responsibilities as the world's largest coal exporter. (AFP)

Russia Reins In Bioethanol Plans As Tax Reforms Drag - MOSCOW - Russian companies, frustrated by slow legal reforms, have abandoned costly projects to produce bioethanol from grain and are instead trying to make the environmentally friendly fuel component from other sources.

One Siberian plant has started production and two projects are under development, a far cry from the dozen projects mooted when oil prices were rising to record highs in the middle of last year, industry officials and lawmakers said. (Reuters)

IBN Researchers First to Transform Carbon Dioxide into Methanol - ‘Very Important’ Paper in Top Chemistry Journal Describes Green Method for Sequestra - Abstract: Scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have succeeded in unlocking the potential of carbon dioxide - a common greenhouse gas - by converting it into a more useful product. Using organocatalysts, the IBN researchers activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce methanol, a widely used industrial feedstock and clean-burning biofuel. (Nanotechnology Now)

Biofuels could hasten climate change - WASHINGTON: A new study has found that biofuels can hasten climate change, and it will take more than 75 years for the carbon emissions saved through the use of biofuels to compensate for the carbon lost when biofuel plantations are established on forestlands.

If the original habitat was peatland, carbon balance would take more than 600 years.

The oil palm, increasingly used as a source for biofuel, has replaced soybean as the world's most traded oilseed crop. Global production of palm oil has increased exponentially over the past 40 years. (Times of India)

Personal mobility vehicles hit roadblock - Real-world testing foiled by products outside the box

In a world still reeling from three-figure oil prices and haunted by the specter of global warming, automakers are looking beyond traditional trucks and cars to smaller, more fuel-efficient types of vehicles. But government regulations may not be keeping up.

Toyota Motor Corp. says it has a solution: The i-Real, a single-person three-wheel "personal mobility device" that it unveiled just over a year ago at the Tokyo Motor Show and is ready for production today. Last week, General Motors Corp. and Segway Inc. announced Project P.U.M.A., a plan to build a two-person "personal urban mobility and accessibility vehicle."

Both are electric vehicles that run off lithium-ion batteries. GM says the P.U.M.A. can go 35 mph and travel 35 miles on a single charge. Toyota's i-Real can travel about the same distance at about 25 mph.

Both automakers see a place for such automobile alternatives in a future where high oil prices and strict government fuel economy regulations are the norm. But Toyota says governments are standing in the way of real-world testing of its model. (Detroit News)

BMI = w÷h²* The formula to beat obesity, claims SNP - ALL primary school children in Scotland will be checked for obesity once a year under radical SNP plans to improve the country's appalling health record, The Scotsman has learned.
Nationalists will vote this weekend to back regular weight and height tests for all primary school children.

The information will be used to calculate the body mass index (BMI) of every child in Scotland, which will be updated annually, allowing doctors and even teachers to work out which children are overweight or obese.

While the plan is in its early stages, the information could be used to develop early intervention plans at school, include special diets and exercise regimes. Parents would also be told. (The Scotsman)

Most Green Products Make Some False Claims: Report - OTTAWA - Just 2 percent of the growing number of self-proclaimed green products on store shelves make completely legitimate claims on their labels, a report by consulting firm TerraChoice Environmental Marketing said Wednesday.

The remainder commit "greenwashing" sins, that is they mislead consumers about the environmental benefits of a product or the practices of a company, said TerraChoice, which runs the Canadian government's eco-labelling program and counts companies as diverse as Canon and Husky Energy among its customers.

The number of green products available in stores surveyed by TerraChoice increased dramatically between 2007 and 2009, the report said, and marketing claims became more creative. (Reuters)

The Liberal War on Science - Christina Hoff Sommers writes about a looming liberal war on science. Based on a campaign promise Obama made to feminist groups in October 2008, Sommers foresees the Obama Administration moving to artificially cap male enrollment in math and science classes to achieve gender proportionality — the way that Title IX currently caps male participation in intercollegiate athletics. The result could be a substantial reduction in the number of scientists graduating from America’s colleges and universities. (Hans Bader, Cooler Heads)

Tyranny Grows When Majority Rules The Law - Democracy and majority rule give an aura of legitimacy to acts that would otherwise be deemed tyranny.

Think about it.

How many decisions in our day-to-day lives would we like to be made through majority rule or the democratic process?

How about the decision whether you should watch a football game on television or "Law & Order"?

What about whether you drive a Chevrolet or a Ford, or whether your Easter dinner is turkey or ham?

Were such decisions made in the political arena, most of us would deem it tyranny.

Why isn't it also tyranny for the democratic process to mandate what type of light bulbs we use, how many gallons of water to flush toilets or whether money should be taken out of our paycheck for retirement?

The founders of our nation held a deep abhorrence for democracy and majority rule. (Walter E. Williams, IBD)

Pitching to the perennially gullible: Report: The State of Green Investing 2009 - New York, NY - April 15, 2009 - Now that the stock market is showing signs of life again, green investors, who saw their portfolios sink even lower than the overall market, are benefiting from holding on. Unlike the mass of investors, who sold at the bottom of the market, green investors are taking a long term view.

In 2008, many green mutual funds, ETFs and individual stocks sunk 50-80%, while the Dow shed about 40%. But green investors can also expect their portfolios to rise higher than the overall market as it recovers. (SustainableBusiness.com)

Deeper In Red From Going Green - The administration tells the country it can revive the economy with a "green" stimulus. But, like government-provided universal health care, where it's been tried in another nation, it hasn't worked.

Washington has been in a lather about restoring the economy by greening it through an ambitious renewable energy program since before Barack Obama took office. The fever has only become hotter since his inauguration.

Obama's 2010 budget includes roughly $20 billion in tax incentives to stimulate clean-energy programs. He has promised to create 5 million green-collar jobs over the next decade.

Four days before taking office, while conditioning the country for what's to come, he talked about nations that are "making real investments in renewable energy . . . surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new (green) industries."

Outside of Washington, an e-mail campaign from supposedly average Americans supporting Obama's green economy initiatives recently swamped our mailbox. The Associated Press has reported that "community colleges across the country are reporting a surge of unemployed workers enrolling in courses that offer training for 'green-collar' jobs."

Those who finish their courses might go to work installing solar panels or building windmills (while the administration tilts at them in the name of economic recovery).

But for every one that is hired for a green job, he or she will displace several already at work. That's no stimulus. That's not a gale of creative destruction. That's the road to a depression. (IBD)

Attenborough & the Descent of Man - Sir David Attenborough, the face and voice of quality BBC natural history programmes, controller of BBC2 during the ‘golden age’ of British television, national treasure, has become a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, the organisation that campaigns for reductions in the human population.

For a long time, Sir David refused to campaign on environmental matters, maintaining that he was there only to show the wonders of life on Earth. It was almost as if he credited audiences with the ability to draw their own conclusions.

Not any more. In his dotage, he has been trading on that trust. Take his closing remarks to his 2002 flagship BBC series The Life of Mammals:

Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time to control the population to allow the survival of the environment.

In a statement, Sir David said:

I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.

Perhaps we can be of assistance… (Climate Resistance)

SOUTH AFRICA: Biodegradable Label Less Eco-Friendly Than It Promises - CAPE TOWN, Apr 15 - South Africans buying products with "biodegradable" plastic packaging are often duped by companies eager to profit from the current trend towards environmentally-conscious consumerism. While the plastics do break up into small pieces, they remain toxic and potentially dangerous to human health.

In an attempt to reduce pollution and the amount of waste going into limited landfill space, the country has started to buy into a newly developed form of plastic that rapidly degrades, known as oxo-biodegradable plastic. However, these plastics have come under fire by environmentalists because, contrary to how they are marketed, they are not truly biodegradable.

Lack of environmental regulation means that labelling can be misleading and consumers don’t necessarily get what they are promised. South Africa does not have a certification system in place which distinguishes between degradable and biodegradable plastics. (IPS)

In Praise Of Cages For Laying Hens - CHURCHVILLE, VA—My wife and I used to have free-range chickens. We didn’t get an abundance of eggs because the hens hid them in the barn hay—and then brought us batches of live chicks instead of breakfast makings. And, they stopped laying during the winter so we had to buy commercial eggs at the local grocery.

Then the local foxes and hawks discovered our chickens, and we learned first-hand why people invented chicken houses: the roosters and non-nesting hens usually survived by roosting in the barn rafters, but the nesting hens and those with chicks got taken, with the chicks as appetizers. That’s why Britain invented fox-hunting in the old days—to protect the village hens. People also kept the birds inside their homes at night, which meant more disease risk, poor husbandry, and poor hygiene.

Reluctantly, the Averys decided to put the new chickens into a coop with a fenced yard—and netting overhead to keep off the hawks.

Now our problem is that the chickens peck some of each others’ feathers off. We haven’t had any chickens pecked to death yet, but that’s the typical problem with birds that are confined, but not caged. The “pecking order” is real and natural. The only real solution is to de-beak the birds and my wife won’t allow it. We have thrown the roosters out of the “safe house” and the damaged hens are in a separate area re-feathering. But we have fewer than two dozen chickens to fuss over.

That’s why the egg producers of the modern world have invented wire cages for their hens. The birds are kept safe and comfortable, and they’re socially surrounded by other birds that can’t peck them to death. Higher feed efficiency with the cages is kinder to the planet, because millions of acres don’t have to be converted from wildlife habitat to grow extra feed and for chicken pastures. (Dennis T Avery, CGFI)

It's almost a given this will not stand publication scrutiny -- hence the pre-publication press party: ARGENTINA: Scientists Reveal Effects of Glyphosate - BUENOS AIRES, Apr 15 - Glyphosate, the herbicide used on soybeans in Argentina, causes malformations in amphibian embryos, say scientists here who revealed the findings of a study that has not yet been published.

"The observed deformations are consistent and systematic," Professor Andrés Carrasco, director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires medical school and lead researcher on the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), told IPS.

Reduced head size, genetic alterations in the central nervous system, an increase in the death of cells that help form the skull, and deformed cartilage were effects that were repeatedly found in the laboratory experiments, said the biologist.

The news was reported Monday by the Argentine newspaper Página 12.

The scientist explained to IPS that the conclusions were from "a research study that came up with precise data," but that the final report was not yet ready for publication.

Nevertheless, he believed it was necessary to make the results public due to "a question of general interest." (IPS)

Back in that poor virtual world: Climate Change May Halve Southern Africa Cereal Crop - DURBAN - Cereals production could fall by 50 percent in parts of southern Africa in the long term due to climate change, causing increased hunger and poverty, a researcher told an agriculture conference on Wednesday.

South Africa is the largest carbon emitter on the continent, mainly due to its reliance on coal to produce most of its electricity.

Changes in the region's climate are expected to cause worse flooding in some parts and longer drought in others, reducing crops and raising prices. Other areas may face lower soil fertility, reducing harvests.

"Overall, the effects of climate change in southern Africa are expected to be negative," said Constansia Musvoto, a researcher at South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). (Reuters)

April 15, 2009

Green Hell: Obama's Environmental Plans Will Lead To 'Energy Chaos,' Author Says - Fox News commentator Steve Milloy, founder of the JunkScience.com Web site, tells Newsmax that the U.S. is at “the point of no return” as the Obama administration is set to implement environmental policies that will lead to “energy chaos” in this country.

Milloy, author of the new book “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them,” also said the so-called cap and trade plan to reduce carbon emissions could double the cost of electricity and affect every aspect of American life. (Jim Meyers, Newsmax)

Oh, so that's what they mean by 'climate feedback' :) Closing the Climate Feedback Loop — with Everyday Citizen Opinions - Lars Klüver of the Danish Board of Technology talks about the World Wide Views on Global Warming project he directs that will gather opinions of everyday citizens in 45 countries globally in September 2009 to feed into negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen in December 2009. And Colin and Carrick McCullough of OurRenewableNation.org talk about their “cross-country eco-video adventure” where they will visit, video, and interview folks advancing sustainability solutions — as well as everyday folks on their thoughts about climate change and this shift toward renewable energy. Finally, this week’s Sea Change ViewPoint comes from Nell Minow of The Corporate Library with commentary on first steps on toxic assets. (Corporate Responsibility Foundation)

How does it go? First you use PR firms to front a campaign of 'concern' to excite the populace, churn out a procession of panicky 'studies' and a parade of 'concerned experts' and then you ask people they think gum'mint should 'protect them' from the boogeyman you created. You have to admit, the watermelons have refined this to a fine art. See Green Hell for more.

Cap-and-Trade Hurts Little Guy, Aids the Corrupt - The American people have had enough of convoluted, indecipherable financial schemes and the opportunists who exploit them. The public is understandably angry about Wall Street’s exploitation of Main Street, and yet our political leaders are setting the stage for another complex trading market, ripe for corruption. The future Enrons and Bernie Madoffs of the world would like nothing better than to see the U.S. impose a new market for carbon emission trading. (William O’ Keefe, U.S. News & World Report)

Where’s the Benefit? - Global warming realists (that is, those who don’t buy the Al Gore-like catastrophism because they see the earth is no warmer than it was 12 years ago) often argue against various forms of energy taxes, but too many stop short of asking alarmists, “What’s the benefit?” (Paul Chesser, Spectator)

Cap-and-Trade a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing - President Barack Obama has been shockingly upfront about his heavy-handed plans to govern energy production across the country from Washington, D.C. His plan is known as cap-and-trade, but it amounts to a new national energy tax that will be detrimental to consumers’ pocketbooks at the worst possible time. (Senator John Ensign, Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Are they so naive they think greens are their friends or allies? Labor, greens team up - Environmental groups are spending the congressional recess lobbying for two of the most controversial issues in Congress: the Employee Free Choice Act and a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gases.

The confluence of lightning-rod issues highlights an alliance between unions and environmental activists to promote green jobs as a solution to both declining union membership and global warming. “The economy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” said Margrete Strand Rangnes, director of the Sierra Club’s Labor, Workers’ Rights & Trade Program and deputy director of the Blue Green Alliance. “People are recognizing that, at this point, we’ve moved beyond that cliché of environment vs. jobs or climate vs. the economy.” (Lisa Lerer, Politico)

Climate change: The despair edition - Things may be looking a little brighter today in the financial world - at least, there are signs of ‘cautious optimism’ - but gloom is beginning to set in about efforts to reach agreement on climate change. A Guardian survey of attendees of a scientific conference in Copenhagen last month suggested that a large majority of climate scientists do not believe that a climate increase of more than 2°c, a threshold which is thought vital to avoid devastating damage, will be averted. (Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times)

Don't Expect Much From The Next Kyoto - The Copenhagen Climate Convention is months away, but likely DOA already. Here's why.

The Copenhagen Climate Convention is still eight months off, but it already looks likely that the follow-up to the Kyoto Climate Protocol will end without agreement on dramatic new action to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. The reason? American politics. (Forbes)

INTERVIEW - Obama Open To Discussion About CO2 Rules - WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama hopes to get a climate change bill on his desk this year and is open to discussing how stringent the rules of a carbon emissions trading system should be for industry, a top adviser said on Tuesday.

Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the Obama administration was still studying the main climate bill in the US Congress and would look at other proposals that may crop up in the coming months.

"The president asked for a bill to be sent to him this year and that's, I think, still the hope," she told Reuters in an interview. (Reuters)

COLUMN - Obama Mulls Cap-And-Trade By Decree: John Kemp - LONDON - Senior US administration officials have indicated that if Congress does not pass comprehensive legislation providing for a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions they will press ahead unilaterally with proposals using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s existing authority under the Clean Air Acts.

This is an attempt to gain political leverage after deep divisions within the Democratic Party appeared when 26 Democratic senators rebelled earlier this month and voted for an amendment to the budget resolution barring cap-and-trade being considered as part of the budget.

The Financial Times reported White House budget director Peter Orszag admitting attempts to push a cap-and-trade scheme through Congress using the expedited budget reconciliation process had failed.

But Orszag insisted cap-and-trade is "nowhere near dead". Officials have been briefing lobby groups the administration will ratchet up the pressure by declaring it already has authority to regulate emissions through the Clean Air Acts and the EPA, with an announcement coming as early as this week. (Reuters)

Obama’s Climate Policy Bind - The Obama Administration has painted itself into a corner on climate policy, with no really good options for moving forward. The New York Times characterizes the Administration’s recent actions on climate policy as follows:

...

Republicans must be drooling over the possibility that EPA will take extensive regulatory action on climate change. Why? Because the resulting political fallout associated with any actual or perceived downsides (e.g., like higher energy prices) will fall entirely on Democrats and the Obama Administration. Far from being an incentive for Congress to act on its own, the looming possibility that EPA will take regulatory action is a strong incentive for Republicans to stalemate Congressional action and a nightmare scenario for Democrats.

Expect the Republicans to call the Obama Administration’s “EPA will regulate unless you act” bluff.

Then expect a protracted “you go first” stalemate between EPA and Congress as no one will want to be responsible for increasing the costs of energy. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

India Rejects Calls For Emission Cuts - Officials Say Growth Will Be Compromised - NEW DELHI -- Days after the Obama administration unveiled a push to combat climate change, Indian officials said it was unlikely to prompt them to agree to binding emission cuts, a position among emerging economies that many say derails effective action.

"If the question is whether India will take on binding emission reduction commitments, the answer is no. It is morally wrong for us to agree to reduce when 40 percent of Indians do not have access to electricity," said a member of the Indian delegation to the recently concluded U.N. conference in Bonn, Germany, which is a prelude to a Copenhagen summit in December on climate change. "Of course, everybody wants to go solar, but costs are very, very high."

India's position goes to the heart of the vexing international debate over how quickly nations should try to phase out carbon-spewing fuels such as coal and switch to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. In India, the debate has been cast as a choice between pursuing urgently needed economic growth to reduce poverty and addressing climate change.

More than 60 percent of India's power is generated from coal. As India rapidly climbs the list of global polluters, analysts say coal will continue to fuel the economic demands of the country's 1.1 billion people for two decades. But India has repeatedly said that it will not compromise on growth by committing to emission reduction goals set by developed nations, which it deems bigger culprits when it comes to pollution. (Washington Post)

We mustn’t warm to this myth - EVERY totalitarian regime needs its defining myth. With the Nazis, it was the “Aryan” fantasy of racial purity.

With the USSR, it was the dictatorship of the proletariat. With secularised, semi-pagan Western societies in historic decline, it is global warming.

Sometimes comparisons among these are alarming. For example, Ed Miliband, the climate change minister, has said that opposing wind farms is “socially unacceptable”.

How long before global warming denial becomes an offence, like holocaust denial?

The Government seizes approvingly on outrageous remarks by such as Dr James Hansen, who wrote in a national newspaper: “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

What I find bewildering is that the Greens, who claim to care for the environment, are so strongly in favour of wind farms, which are a kind of pollution of the countryside. What’s more, they don’t work very efficiently. So why ruin the countryside for the sake of obsessed environmentalists’ gesture politics? (Peter Mullen, Northern Echo)

Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael’s, Cornhill, in the City of London, and Chaplain to the Stock Exchange.

Society finally beginning to protect itself? Police raid dozens of homes as climate change activists arrested - Computers and mobile phone records seized in pre-emptive strike on summer climate action

Police have raided dozens of homes across the country as they questioned climate change protesters planning action this summer against coal-fired power stations and airports.

More than 200 officers carried out a pre-emptive raid early on Monday, arresting 114 people thought to be preparing a protest at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire.

Yesterday it emerged that as the campaigners were in custody, officers raided homes around the UK, seizing computer equipment and mobile phone records.

All of those arrested but not charged for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass were released yesterday on police bail – many with onerous conditions, including bans on approaching any UK power station or attempting to disrupt their operations. (The Guardian)

Ever more ridiculous: Global Warming May Leave U.S. Southwest Pining for Pinyons - An experiment shows that hotter average temperatures caused by climate change may be enough to kill off the pinyon pine

The short, bushy pinyon pine thrives in the arid climate of the U.S. Southwest, where there may be little or no rain for months or even years. Yet, a drought that began in 2000 killed some 10 percent of the pines in the Four Corners region where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet—even in moister, high-elevation areas—and scientists wondered if the warmer temperatures resulting from climate change might be the cause.

So ecologist Henry Adams, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona (U.A.) in Tucson, and his colleagues decided to test the effect of higher average temperatures on the pinyon, Pinus edulis. The researchers transplanted 20 trees from New Mexico to Biosphere 2—a 7.2-million-cubic-foot (203,900-cubic-meter) dome in the desert that can recreate any climate—and subjected 10 of them to ambient desert temperatures and the other half to temperatures 7.7 degrees Fahrenheit (4.3 degrees Celsius) warmer, which is near the middle of the range of average temperature increase forecast by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. They then cut off the water to five trees in each temperature group. (David Biello, SciAm)

For a start the IPCC didn't make projections, they merely published 'storylines'. Leave that aside. Going by the IPCC's publications Earth has experienced roughly 2.5 W/m2 increased forcing over the period 1880-2000 due to increases in greenhouse gases and other forcings (various). Over the same period the Earth is believed to have warmed 0.6 ± 0.2 °C which suggests Earth has a climate sensitivity in the range of roughly 0.15 - 0.3 °C for each additional W/m2 forcing. The IPCC also provided the formula for calculating increased forcing from increased carbon dioxide: 5.35xLN(Future CO2/Origin CO2), which yields 3.7 W/m2 from doubling pre-Industrial Revolution estimates of 280 ppmv. Going by 120 years of demonstrated sensitivity that yields approximately 0.8 ± 0.3 °C total warming inclusive of that already experienced. Biello overstates guesstimated warming by a factor of 5, above.

We've already had a detailed look at climate sensitivity in This "global warming" thing... what Watt is what?.

<chuckle> Birds face longer migrations due to climate change - OSLO - Some European birds will have to fly further as global warming shifts their breeding grounds northwards in the biggest challenge to the tiny migrants since the Ice Age, scientists said on Wednesday.

Some types of warbler would have to add 400 kms (250 miles) to twice-yearly trips up to 6,000 kms to and from Africa, according to the report which said it was the first to examine the potential impact of climate change on avian migration.

"For some birds the extra distance might make the difference between being able to make it or not," Stephen Willis of Durham University told Reuters of the study he led with a team of British-based scientists. (Reuters)

Right, this as opposed birds failing to bother migrating as warming ameliorates hostile conditions? The birds might wish for warming but there is nothing to suggest they'll get it.

To some extent we agree: New Pollution Monitoring: Our Air is Dirtier Than We Thought - One of my pet peeves is the focus we have on global warming. While global climate change is important, it continues to provide a red herring of sorts, taking attention away the public health concern that is air pollution. Recent developments in pollution tracking may change things. With help from satellites, scientists are beginning to understand just how dirty our air is becoming. (Miranda Marquit, PhysOrg.com)

Gorebull warming is a huge distraction from real issues, although we are less than convinced air in the developed world demonstrates declining quality.

Climate Science Comment On The April 11 2009 Guest Weblog By Dr. James E. Hansen - Dr. Jim Hansen of GISS wrote a guest weblog on April 11 2009, and Climate Science will follow up with a few comments here. First, his willingness to engage in a constructive discussion of the science issues should be a message to other climate scientists, who have elected not to engage in such discussions. Thanks again to Jim for doing this.

With respect to the science, these are my comments: (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

GISS: March 2009 coolest March in this century - GISS data for March 2009 are out. With the global anomaly of 0.47 °C, March 2009 is reported as the coldest March since 2000 - and colder than March 1990 and 1998, despite the ending La Nina that is being superseded by ENSO-neutral conditions. That puts March 2009 out of the "top ten".

Also, the March 2009 global mean temperature differed by 0.03 °C only from the March 1981 figure - from a month when the ENSO/ONI index was pretty much equal to the current value. This cherry-picked monthly comparison would suggest that there may have been 0.03 °C of warming in 30 years. (The Reference Frame)

Aarrrggh! 'Maths' to crack climate change - A team of 10 Scottish scientists are to attempt to crack problems such as predicting exact climate change effects by using algorithms.

Some of the numerical challenges presented by modern science are to be tackled by experts from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt University.

The experts in high-performance supercomputing and mathematics are also from Strathclyde University.

The £8m project starts in August and will also have 40 researchers.

The Numerical Algorithms and Intelligent Software (Nais) team will also help with designing telecommunications networks and modelling oil reserves for extraction. (BBC)

First we need to understand the system, then we use mathematical models...

Where are all the sunspots? - Last month (March 15th, to be exact), I posted an article about the current, highly unusual sunspot cycle after being alerted by a friend pursuing a PhD in solar physics. At that time, the sun had no sunspots... and it still doesn't. (Brian Enke, Denver Space Industry Examiner)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

The Bleaching of Mentawai Island Corals During the 1997-98 El Niño: How bad was it? ... and why did it occur?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 693 individual scientists from 404 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Buddha Cave, Qin Ling Mountains, Central China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Oceans (Productivity): As atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures rise, so too do cries of alarm that they will negatively impact both terrestrial and oceanic productivity. We here explore this contention as it applies to the world's seas.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Blue Skullcap (Stutte et al. 2008), Coolibah Tree (Idso and Kimball 1993), Creeping Daisy (Song et al. 2009), and Rice (Shimono and Bunce 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Northern European and North Atlantic Storminess: How has it varied over the past 160 years?

Advances and Retreats of Alaska's Tebenkof Glacier: What do they reveal about the surrounding region's climate over the past two millennia?

The Impact of Global Warming on Viral Diseases: What is it? ... and what is the evidence for it?

Heat Shock Proteins in the Copper Butterfly: Do warmer temperatures increase their degree of expression?

The Impact of Warming on Photosynthesis in Wheat: How is it influenced by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

US green policy will kill economy, says oil chief - Washington’s energy and environment policy risks plunging the US into an economic tailspin that could turn it into “the world’s cleanest third world country”, one of the US oil industry’s most successful chief executives has warned.

James Hackett, chairman and chief executive of Anadarko, one of the US’s largest independent oil and gas companies, said in an interview: “The histrionic and maniacal focus on carbon dioxide is intellectually repugnant to me.” It was “taking the economy into a tailspin”.

Mr Hackett’s assessment echoes the private views of many oilmen less willing to be quite so direct and reveals the fissure developing between the industry and Washington. His views contrast with those of cautious, politically and environmentally correct European oil executives .

Unlike executives at many European companies, Mr Hackett opposes a cap and trade system, such as the one included in legislation recently introduced by Democrats in the House of Representatives. He said it was an indirect tax on individuals that would be as open to manipulation as the European model.

As with many industry veterans and proponents of improved energy security, he warns government officials and environmental advocates to stop suggesting that solar and wind could reduce the US’s need for petrol.

Instead, he said focusing on solar and wind would work against Washington’s goal of reducing the US’s dependence on foreign oil as it would displace sources of energy produced domestically, such as uranium, natural gas and coal. Somewhat predictably, opening more US land to drilling would be his solution. (Financial Times)

Tiny Saskatchewan town turns carbon trap into cash - WEYBURN, Sask. – Carbon dioxide has breathed new life into this small southern Saskatchewan city.

The odourless, tasteless gas and major global warming ingredient is pumped in from a coal gasification plant in North Dakota to help push untapped oil reserves to the surface and extend the life of an old oil field by 25 years.

Thousands of nodding oil pump jacks dot the landscape well into the Saskatchewan horizon, many of them assisted by the cast-off gas.

"It has put Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada not just on the provincial or national map – it has put us on the international map," says Mayor Debra Button, who is tickled pink to be leading this boom town of 10,000 people.

And the best part, the experts say, is that the water soluble gas doesn't appear to escape from its earthly prison, presenting opportunities to capture the pollutant in the ground.

Besides new life for an old field, the use of CO2 makes the Weyburn site, operated by EnCana Corp., the largest greenhouse gas sequestration project in the world. (Toronto Star)

They are extending oilfield extraction? Great. As for the rest of it... We are far from certain increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have had a measurable effect on global mean temperature (to begin with, we aren't that good at measuring it).

Seriously? David Foster: Clean energy will create jobs - A commentary by Michele Bachmann failed to recognize both the cause of higher energy costs and the potential offered by the proposed solutions.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann argued on these pages April 8 against a cap-and-trade policy. But her argument ignored both the real cause of energy price hikes and job loss in America today, while missing the incredible opportunity that exists in passing comprehensive climate-change legislation to create millions of jobs building the clean-energy economy.

We all clearly remember last summer's skyrocketing energy prices, which were caused by our failure to develop renewable sources of energy as the absolute supply of oil declined. That experience should provide even more incentive to change the way we produce and consume energy in the United States. Since then, our economy has suffered enormous setbacks in the form of financial collapse, increasing unemployment, and bailouts for reckless banks and shortsighted automotive companies. (Star Tribune)

Actually there's no shortage hydrocarbons for fuel -- we have hundreds of years supply waiting in the ground, ready for harvest and conversion to the desired form most suited to the use we want to put it to. And then there's the shale reserves besides, methane hydrates... One thing actively interfering with a secure U.S. energy supply is cap & trade, yet here's Foster claiming it would increase energy supply and create jobs (obviously hasn't been keeping up with the Spanish experience).

Make fuel waste an offence, demands climate expert - HOMEOWNERS who do not to take action to improve the energy efficiency of their properties should be treated as criminals, one of the country's most influential environmentalists said last night.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, believes tough measures are needed to force people to cut their use of fossil fuels and thinks governments should consider making it a crime for members of the public not to take measures such as installing cavity wall insulation.

He also said he thought failing to put in energy efficiency measures was "as antisocial as drink driving".

Dr Dixon said: "I think it should be a crime to be wasting energy. It's clearly a moral crime against the climate, and I think we should be having a discussion about whether it should become an actual crime."

His controversial views came as it emerged that the Scottish Government's energy efficiency action plan – promised for six years – had been delayed again. (The Scotsman)

Your life on an electronic file - Imagine your entire life and all your records were in the possession of other people and you could occasionally see parts of what they had, but you just figured the pros had it under control. Dave deBronkart, blogging as PatientDave, gained access to his personal electronic medical records from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and found “a whole lot of errors and the people carefully guarding [the] data were not as on top of things as everything thought.” As he learned, the errors could cost him his life. (Junkfood Science)

Hmm... Paper and Fuel Wood Biggest Stresses on Forests - WASHINGTON, Apr 14 - Protecting the earth’s nearly 4 billion hectares of remaining forests and replanting those already lost are both essential for restoring the earth’s health, an important foundation for the new economy.

Reducing rainfall runoff and the associated flooding and soil erosion, recycling rainfall inland, and restoring aquifer recharge depend on simultaneously reducing pressure on forests and on reforestation. (Lester R. Brown, IPS)

Oddly enough Australian researchers kicked up a fuss about allowing (re)forestation to count in Kyoto carbon accounting on the grounds it would encourage more trees, reducing watershed catchment, lowering water tables and reducing aquifer recharge through increased transpiration*. I seem to recall they were worried about forest intrusion on prime cropping lands reducing productivity too. Now here's Lester claiming we need to increase trees to address the same problems.

* Note that this applied to Australian native species, in particular Tasmanian Blue Gum plantations were big water hogs while imports like Radiata Pine had little impact. Further assessment on a species by species basis is required and the net water balance of forested land is unclear.

Earth is enough - COPENHAGEN -- According to conventional wisdom, we are voraciously using the world's resources and living way beyond earth's means. This narrative of decline and pessimism underlies much of today's environmental discourse, and is often formulated in a simple fashion: By 2030, we will need two planets to sustain us, owing to higher living standards and population growth.

If everyone managed to live at American living standards today, we would need almost five planets. But this received wisdom is fundamentally wrong.

Environmental campaigners use the so-called "ecological footprint" -- how much area each one of us requires from the planet -- to make their point. We obviously use cropland, grazing-land, forests and fishing grounds to produce our food, fiber and timber and we need space for our houses, roads and cities. Moreover, we require areas to absorb the waste emitted by our energy use. Translating all these demands into a common unit of physical area gives us an opportunity to compare it with earth's productive area -- and thus to get a sense of how sustainable we are.

For more than a decade, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and several other conservation organizations have performed complicated calculations to determine individual "footprints" on the planet. Their numbers show that each American uses 9.4 hectares of the globe, each European 4.7 hectares and those in low-income countries just one hectare. Adding it all up, we collectively use 17.5 billion hectares.

Unfortunately, there are only 13.4 billion hectares available. So the WWF points out that we are already living beyond Earth's means, using around 30 percent too much. And it will get worse. They tell us that the recent financial crisis "pales in comparison to the looming ecological credit crunch," which could presage "a large-scale ecosystem collapse."

This message is being seared into the public consciousness. The British newspaper The Observer used the headline "Wanted: New Earth by 2050"; according to the BBC, earth is "on course for eco-crunch"; and The Washington Post was horrified by the four extra planets needed, and urged us to use more canvas shopping bags and energy-saving light bulbs.

The message has been received loud and clear. We are using up too much of the planet's area. But wait a minute. How can we do that? How can we actually use more area than there is on earth? (Bjorn Lomborg, Todays Zaman)

Cattle, Not Soy, Drives Amazon Deforestation - Report - BRASILIA - Cattle ranchers are far bigger culprits in Amazon deforestation than soy farmers, a study showed on Tuesday, as the environmental record of Brazil's commodity exporters comes under increasing international scrutiny.

The study, produced jointly by environmental groups and the soy industry, showed that only 12 of 630 sample areas deforested since July 2006 -- or 0.88 percent of 157,896 hectares (390,000 acres) -- were planted with soy.

By comparison, nearly 200 were converted into pasture land for cattle. The rest of the deforested areas had not yet been put to use.

"The big villain of Amazon destruction is cattle ranching," said Paulo Adario, Amazon campaign coordinator with Greenpeace, one of the groups that sponsored the report. (Reuters)

Germany To Ban Cultivation Of Monsanto GMO Maize - BERLIN/HAMBURG - Germany will ban cultivation and sale of genetically modified (GMO) maize despite European Union rulings that the biotech grain is safe, its government said on Tuesday.

The ban affects US biotech company Monsanto's MON 810 maize which may no longer be sown for this summer's harvest, German Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner told a news conference.

The move puts Germany alongside France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg which have banned MON 810 maize despite its approval by the EU for commercial use throughout the bloc. (Reuters)

April 14, 2009

The environment is too important to be left to the green movement - The green movement as it stands should receive the last rites. Its only hope is for a complete overhaul. Its mystic, utopian view of nature and its attachment to meaningless notions such as sustainable development or the precautionary principle should be done away with. It is time to move on.

Or so says Professor Anthony Giddens in his new book, The Politics of Climate Change. It is not that Giddens disputes that mankind is dangerously warming up the planet. The scientific evidence is overwhelming; the risk of a global calamity all too real.

It is just that he has the chutzpah to acknowledge what is obvious. Despite the threat, and the mounting evidence, there is no hope of mobilising western governments and the public into action by appeals to green utopianism or impossible demands to give up our current standard of living. There needs to be a new language, a focus on climate change alone, because that is what counts and is a practical route forward that makes sense to the mass of people. Otherwise, we really are lost.

Giddens curiously and paradoxically overlaps with Nigel Lawson's recent polemics against environmentalists. Yet Giddens is not a global-warming sceptic like Lawson, who disputes even the evidence of science. But he does understand Lawson's impatience with some of the daffy thinking that surrounds the environmental debate and tries to replace it with some tougher ideas. (Will Hutton, The Observer)

Climate change is real enough -- it's gorebull warming that is outright make-believe.

"Impact of climate change will continue for a decade" - CHENNAI: The impact of climate change would continue for a decade or more though drastic measures were taken to reduce its effect, Chairman of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr R K Pachauri said.

"The impact of climate change is likely to continue for another decade or more though measures were taken in the wake of global warming," Pachauri said speaking at a function to celebrate of 50 years of Hindu-Hitachi Scholarship and a symposium 'Energy, Environment and future Indo-Japan Collaboration'.

On the changes in global average surface temperature, he said that over the last 100 years it (temperature) had increased by 0.74 degree C in the planet.

Pachauri said that the melting of the glaciers has led to nearly 28 per cent rise in the sea level since 1993. "Water stored in glaciers are projected to decline in the course of the century, due to which 500 million people across the globe will be affected," he added.

Sea level had risen since 1961 globally at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year, he said adding that the average Arctic temperature also increased almost twice the global average rate in the past 100 years. (Times of India)

Wow! And if we extrapolate the last [almost] half-century's rate that means it could rise, um, 180 mm/Century! Why, that's about 7 inches! Call out the Guard! that's slightly less than the per century rate estimated for the last few thousand years! What are we going to do? Who can we telephone? Just a minute - slightly less than the estimated past rate... Call off the Guard!

Humans are 'not hurting' the climate - AN Adelaide professor says climate change is unavoidable - but that humans are not the cause of it.

University of Adelaide Professor of Mining Geology Ian Plimer this week launches his seventh book, Heaven and Earth, Global Warming: The Missing Science, which aims to refute every scientific argument that humans are responsible for global warming.

Professor Plimer embarked on the project after being incensed by increasing public acceptance of the idea that humans have caused global warming. (The Advertiser)

Beware the climate of conformity - Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I - and you - capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let's see.

The subject of this column is not small. It is a book entitled Heaven And Earth, which will be published tomorrow. It has been written by one of Australia's foremost Earth scientists, Professor Ian Plimer. He is a confronting sort of individual, polite but gruff, courteous but combative. He can write extremely well, and Heaven And Earth is a brilliantly argued book by someone not intimidated by hostile majorities or intellectual fashions.

The book's 500 pages and 230,000 words and 2311 footnotes are the product of 40 years' research and a depth and breadth of scholarship. As Plimer writes: "An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history."

The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia's most eminent geologist. As such, he thinks about time very differently from most of us. He takes the long, long view. He looks at climate over geological, archaeological, historical and modern time. He writes: "Past climate changes, sea-level changes and catastrophes are written in stone." (Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald)

A Global Warming Cookbook: What Causes Temperature to Change? - Something that fascinates me about the science of global warming is that some climate ‘experts’ do not have any better understanding of the basic physical processes involved than the lay person does.

For instance, in a recent paper of mine that was rejected for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, the editor assigned only a single peer reviewer, who did not even understand what causes temperature to change. And yet, the reviewer was casting judgment on my analysis that showed that the cloud-altering behavior of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the last 100 years might explain most of what we now call climate change and global warming.

So, let’s review the basics of why the temperature of an object changes. In a few minutes, you will have a better understanding than even that (presumed) climate expert has. It doesn’t matter whether it is the Earth, or a pot of water on the stove, the fundamental concepts are the same. And if you think you already understand why a pot of water on the stove warms up, you might be in for a surprise. (Roy W. Spencer)

A New Policy Direction for Climate Change - Famously, during the 1992 US election Bill Clinton’s staff hung a sign on the wall of his campaign office that read, “It’s the economy, stupid!” It was no coincidence that Mr Clinton won the subsequent election, because focusing on real issues is what real leaders do.

In contrast, Australia currently possesses leaders of both its government and opposition who are lost in an imaginary world of virtual reality about one of the most important public issues of the day. They need a new and different sign on their desk, namely: It’s natural climate change, stupid!

For, whether it reflects simple ignorance or the sophisticated seeking of political advantage, and it must be one or the other, both Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull have declared themselves in favour of the introduction of carbon dioxide taxation in order to help “stop” a wholly imaginary human-caused global warming. Their beliefs are supported only by speculative computer climate models already known to be wrong, and they will implement an emissions trading system (ETS) at their own political peril and to the great detriment of the Australian people. (Bob Carter, Quadrant)

The Very Inconvenient Freeman Dyson - The recent New York Times magazine profile of the great physicist Freeman Dyson, whose work in the scientific community currently revolves largely around the issue of climate change, is a fascinating read. To put matters mildly, Dyson is quite skeptical of the alarm surrounding climate change, a skepticism that has caused rifts between him and a number of others in the scientific community. On the issue of climate change, Dyson has no problem departing from consensus, stating that “the fact that the climate is getting warmer doesn’t scare me at all,” and taking specific issue with the likes of Al Gore and NASA Goddard Institute head James Hansen, arguing that the two are promulgating “lousy science.” (Pejman Yousefzadeh, New Ledger)

Climate challenge - Two Internationally respected scientists are putting up a challenge to those saying CO2 causes Climate Change.

Professor Ian Plimers new book "Heaven and Earth" Global warming, The missing science is a huge challenge for people like David Karoly, Penny Wong, Bob Brown and Tim Flannery. It has evidence that natural events unrelated to human activity have always controlled the Earths climate.

President of the climate sceptics Leon Ashby says "This contradicts the green religious assumptions and beliefs of those saying reducing CO2 emissions is vital to save the planet."

"This new evidence demands a debate on ABC TV between Professor Plimer and any of the above. The science needs to be put in the public TV arena and if the ABC does not bring us such a debate, it is obviously biased and failing in its charter as an independent reporter" he added. (Independent Weekly)

Not convincing: Climate change 'own goal': Laws to combat acid rain are DRIVING Arctic warming, claims Nasa - It is widely recognised that humans are their own worst enemies when it comes to global warming.

But the latest research from Nasa suggests laws created to preserve the environment are causing much of the damage.

Legislation to improve air quality and cut acid rain has accounted for a shocking half of Arctic warming over the past three decades, the space agency reports. (Cher Thornhill, Daily Mail)

To begin with it isn't exactly what Shindell claimed nor has there ever been any evidence presented by atmospheric chemists to support claims by the modeling fraternity that aerosols have been 'hiding' gorebull warming (or that said particulates are even capable of behaving as modelers have claimed).

Playing God with the Weather Will Outdo Mother Nature’s Worst Nightmares - Actions without thought or concern for the consequences are the pattern of the day as political agendas trump facts or logic. Consider the dangerous and baseless proposal to offset global warming by adding particulates to the atmosphere. It was in the news as a strategy, albeit a last resort, from a member of the Obama administration.

Unfortunately, last resorts often attain higher priority once considered, especially if blindness about the problem exists and persists. The idea is purely political because it is completely without scientific justification. If done it will trigger severe cooling, including global harvest failures and much more severe weather. It is a much greater threat than warming. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Is JR Killing the Polar Bears? - ‘Tis the season of resurrections. And right on cue, science PR is working overtime to bring the polar-ice soap opera back from the dead.

Following a disappointing summer of 2008, in which the ‘worst ever’ Arctic ice scenarios prophesied at the start of the year failed to materialise, there was the danger that viewers would start channel-hopping. Something had to be done.

To get things rolling, the scriptwriters at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) have introduced a couple of new characters for the 2009 season - winter maximum sea ice extent and ice thickness, both of which made an appearance in the first episode aired this week by the BBC: (Climate Resistance)

Heat grows on US Congress over climate - President Barack Obama’s administration is preparing to ratchet up pressure on Congress to pass climate change legislation this year by declaring its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has been considering its approach to global warming since a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 found it was entitled to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under existing air pollution laws.

George W. Bush’s administration declined to take up the authority but Mr Obama has given the EPA the green light to declare CO2 emissions a danger to public health and welfare.

An announcement could be made this week, according to several environmental groups briefed about the plans. The EPA did not respond to calls.

Regulations would not come into force at once but the declaration would intensify pressure on Congress to pre-empt EPA action by passing its own legislation to curb industrial emissions. (Financial Times)

Blue Dog Democrats growling at climate-change plan - Party's fiscal conservatives and those elected in mining states could side with GOP to veto Obama's cap-and-trade proposal

WASHINGTON -- Nancy Pelosi keeps a small statue of a coal miner on her desk.

Miners "need not fear" that Democrats would ever tolerate a climate-change bill that abandoned the coal industry, the Speaker of the House of Representatives told The Washington Post. "You can't."

Ms. Pelosi's admission highlights the growing resistance from within the Democratic Party to the Obama administration's efforts to forge a cap-and-trade system to fight global warming.

"There seems to be a disregard, an indifference on the two coasts to manufacturing," Ohio Senator Sharrod Brown, a Democrat, said recently, referring to liberal Democrats who tend to cluster along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

"But manufacturing is the ticket to the middle class for a large part of the country. We've got to focus our attention on it when it comes to taxes, trade, energy and other issues." (Globe and Mail)

How to Profit from Energy Illiteracy - Politics is a painfully slow and inadequate way to go about forming an energy strategy, but it seems to be the only way we have.

A new bill submitted by Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), the American Clean Energy and Security Act, would aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020 (vs. the 15% proposed by President Obama), and by 80% by 2050.

The new emission targets are particularly interesting in that it would bring federal law nearly into line with California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (also known as AB 32) which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 (a 30% drop) and 80% by 2050.

The proposal includes some requirements to modernize the electrical grid, produce electric vehicles and improve energy efficiency, all of which are crucially important steps toward meeting our energy challenge.

But it is also based on a cap-and-trade market approach to emissions, which I fear could prove a disastrous boondoggle. There is ample evidence that such programs have been a failure in Europe and elsewhere as traders exploited loopholes, and the programs did not produce the expected reductions in emissions. (Chris Nelder, Business Insider)

Put Cap-And-Trade In The Trunk, Where It Can't Cause Any Trouble - When running for president, Ross Perot began a discussion of major problems by saying we have to "look under the hood."

That's simple but smart advice. And with House Democrats releasing a draft climate bill earlier this week, it's time for lawmakers and the U.S. public to "look under the hood" of cap-and-trade.

Aimed at reducing our country's greenhouse gas emissions, a cap-and-trade policy is well-intentioned.

However, advocates of the regulation seem to hide behind those good intentions as a way to deflect serious questions about the policy's "caps": The rationale for setting specific emissions levels, the practicality of getting them right, and the possible costs of getting them wrong.

Take for instance, the cap-and-trade system outlined in the draft bill released by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman last week. It calls for a 20% reduction in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020.

Since emissions are mostly generated from energy use (heating your home, cooling your groceries, driving to work, etc.), these targets would effectively mandate energy rationing.

Moreover, these targets are not based on economic or technological realities. (William O'Keefe, IBD)

Global Warming Bills Meet With Limited Success - LITTLE ROCK — Supporters hopeful that the 2009 regular session would usher in sweeping changes in Arkansas energy policy were disappointed by session's end that only a handful of bills recommended by the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming passed the Legislature.

The 21-member commission, created in 2007 by an act of the Legislature, produced a report last year containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contribution to climate change. A number of bills filed this session either originated with the commission or happened to coincide with its goals, but few were successful.

"Arkansas hasn't woken up enough to the global warming issue yet," said commission member Art Hobson. "So you don't see much concern about it in the Legislature. But we're going to wake up to it more and more." (The Morning News)

Sucker play: Official: US needs to be world energy leader again - CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — A top adviser to President Barack Obama said Monday that Congress needs to pass a sweeping energy bill to spur the development of renewable energy while curbing the emissions that contribute to global warming.

Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, said the country needs the legislation to help "re-establish the United States as a leader" in clean energy production and fighting climate change.

Browner said the administration would like to have comprehensive legislation in hand before a planned U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

"It is the strong preference of the administration that we secure legislation," Browner said. "Copenhagen and the position we can take will be driven by what we are prepared to do domestically."

Browner made her comments at a forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosted by Democratic Rep. Edward Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

A bill co-authored by Markey is set to come up for a hearing next week in Congress. The bill would require 25 percent of the nation's electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. It also would create a cap on global warming pollution, push the production of electric cars and require improvements to the nation's electric grid.

Markey said if Congress fails to act, the Environmental Protection Agency may have to set new regulations on greenhouse emissions ? a process that he warned would carry "less flexibility" than congressional action. (Associated Press)

Uh, no... Risk Of EPA Move Smoothes Way For U.S Carbon Law: Rep - CAMBRIDGE - The threat of tougher regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should ease industrial opposition to a cap-and-trade market on greenhouse gases, a U.S. lawmaker said on Monday.

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, co-sponsor of a bill that would cut the nation's emissions of greenhouse gases associated with global climate change, said the EPA's authority to act should convince industrial lobbyists that it is in their best interest to work with Congress on the issue. (Reuters)

... what it means is you have to fight all the harder to protect our way of life and standard of living against the myth-makers and fear-mongers who really hate you and the rest of humanity too.

Not all Americans have been 'greenwashed' - Many of our elected leaders, it seems, are being "green-washed." From the Governor's Mansion to the White House, public officials are racing to become the most radical supporter of clean energy, as well as the fiercest opponent of man-made climate change.

Does anyone not think that green energy and man-made global warming are urgent priorities? Evidently, just those crazy global warming "deniers" — the American people.

According to a recent Gallup environmental survey, global warming is last on the list of Americans' environmental worries. In fact, four in 10 Americans worry only a little or not at all about global warming and the "greenhouse effect." Similarly, last month a Pew survey found that only 30 percent of Americans rate dealing with global warming as a "top domestic priority," enough for last on a list of 20 possible priorities.

Reasonable citizens have good cause to doubt the seriousness of man-made climate change. First, alarmists' predictions simply don't fit the facts. For instance, research published last month found that the world's oceans have actually cooled since 2003. Second, published, peer-reviewed research from climate scientists such as Roy Spencer and William Braswell (aka "global warming skeptics") is showing that basic assumptions of man-made climate change theory are likely false. (Derek Monson, Deseret News)

NDP environment plan would cause job losses: Study - A study by an international expert on greenhouse-gas emissions predicts the NDP’s environmental platform would eliminate 60,000 jobs around the province.

Simon Fraser University School of Resource and Environmental Management professor Mark Jaccard said on Friday they have used the NDP’s well-publicized climate policy proposals and found if implemented there would be significant job losses in areas with high-emission industries that are already hard hit by the downturn in the global economy.

“It is the smelting, the aluminum, zinc lime, cement, pulp and paper, these are the industries where there would be production decreases and, in some cases, shutdowns would occur,” said Jaccard.

With the NDP’s election climate plan, Jaccard thinks there would be 30,000 direct and another 30,000 indirect job losses within 11 years. (The Province)

Two Fatal Flaws - The Carbon Sense Coalition has delivered its submission to the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change in response to the Exposure Draft of the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009″. (Carbon Sense Coalition)

Eye-roller: Climate change explained - the impact of temperature rises (Mark Lynas, The Guardian)

Oh puh-lease! In face of global warming, can wilderness remain natural? - BERKELEY — For those who think of nature as a wild, unspoiled Eden that preserves the natural flora and fauna free from human interference, global warming has a nasty surprise in store, according to University of California, Berkeley, biologist Anthony Barnosky. (Press Release)

If these are virtual animals inhabiting only the virtual worlds of computer models they may indeed be at risk from virtual climate change. Since, however, they are real adaptable critters in a real dynamic ecosphere they face no abnormal climate stressors.

“Limits On The Space Launch Market Related To Stratospheric Ozone Depletion” By Ross et al. 2009 - There is a new paper (which one of authors, Professor Darin Toohey, effectively weblogged on last week; see). The article is Ross, M., D. Toohey, M. Peinemann, and P. Ross, 2009: Limits on the Space Launch Market Related to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Astropolitics, 7, 50-82, doi:10.1080/14777620902768867.

and which directly relates to the issue of geoengineering as discussed, for example, in a recent interview by John Holdren who is President Obama’s science advisor (see), and weblogged on by Professor Toohey.

The abstract of the paper reads: ”Solid rocket motors (SRMs) and liquid rocket engines (LREs) deplete the global ozone layer in various capacities. We estimate global ozone depletion from rockets as a function of payload launch rate and relative mix of SRM and LRE rocket emissions. Currently, global rocket launches deplete the ozone layer ~0.03%, an insignificant fraction of the depletion caused by other ozone depletion substances (ODSs). As the space industry grows and ODSs fade from the stratosphere, ozone depletion from rockets could become significant. This raises the possibility of regulation of space launch systems in the name of ozone protection. Large uncertainties in our understanding of ozone loss caused by rocket engines leave open the possibility that launch systems might be limited to as little as several tens of kilotons per year, comparable to the launch requirements of proposed space systems such as spaceplanes, space solar power, and space reflectors to mitigate climate change. The potential for limitations on launch systems due to idiosyncratic regulation to protect the ozone layer present a risk to space industrial development. The risk is particularly acute with regard to the economic rationale to develop low-cost, high flight rate launch systems.” with its press releases here.

Clearly, as reported on Climate Science, any attempt for a solution  to an environmental concern which is considered too narrowly (e.g. see also with respect to biofuels), can result in serious unanticipated consequences. For additional discussion on Climate Science with respect to geoengineering; see Comments On The Physics Today Article “Will Desperate Climates Call for Desperate Geoengineering Measures?” by Barbara Goss Levi. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Do they actually believe any of this nonsense? Will the ozone return? - First the good news: the atmospheric ozone layer that keeps us all from being fried by the sun, will recover.

However, the “new” ozone layer will be different than the stratus of old. That one was rent by chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), which were used in refrigerators, aerosol cans, and other products before they were banned.

Now researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have created a computer model of the atmosphere and put in all of the current numbers, and some extrapolations into the future.

What they found was a nasty surprise. Global temperature changes caused by greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, will likely create a pattern that distributes ozone unevenly.

Chlorine molecules, which chew up ozone, will be back to pre-1980 levels by about 2025. Ozone will also return, but where? (Abram Katz, Hartford Environmental Health Examiner)

Since ozone is apparently going to reappear as an 'issue' I've added a main menu item for the ozone page.

As if they didn't already have a housing crisis... New California homes would have to be energy producers - If state Assemblywoman Lori Saldana has her way, buyers of California homes built a little more than a decade from now would not have to worry about paying big electricity bills. The homes would produce power themselves.

The San Diego Democrat has introduced legislation that would require all homes built starting in about 2020 to be so-called zero net energy buildings. That means they would be extremely energy efficient and produce enough power to offset any electricity they draw from the grid.

That homegrown power would probably come from solar panels. But it also could be generated by nearby wind or geothermal plants, said Bernadette Del Chiaro, a clean energy advocate with the group Environment California, which supports the bill.

The measure is on the agenda of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday. It is one of more than 400 bills scheduled to be considered this week as lawmakers return from an Easter recess. (Associated Press)

New chapter in offshore oil debate on North Coast - The three-decade war over oil drilling on the North Coast is shifting to a more measured consideration of wind and wave power generators along the rugged and scenic seascape.

President Barack Obama’s preference for renewable, carbon-free energy appears to be buffering the Sonoma and Mendocino shoreline from the prospect of oil rigs irrevocably associated with the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969.

That 4 million-gallon spill, which propelled a nascent environmental movement into the mainstream, brought offshore oil development to a halt in California.

But last year, President George W. Bush lifted the drilling moratorium imposed in 1981, raising the prospect of oil exploration on nearly all of the nation’s offshore lands, including the North Coast where protection of the seashore and saltwater verges on religious passion. (Press Democrat)

More than 100 campaigners arrested over 'power station plot' - More than 100 people are in custody after police smashed a major plot to sabotage one of Britain's biggest power-stations.

Officers swooped on environmental protesters as they prepared a mass raid that could have disrupted supplies to tens of thousands of homes.

The demonstrators are thought to have gathered at night in readiness to move on Ratcliffe-on-Soar power-station, Nottinghamshire.

They were rounded up shortly after midnight on Sunday at the Bakersfield Community Centre in Sneinton, Notts, by scores of officers.

Detectives later revealed they recovered specialist equipment that suggested the group represented a "serious threat" to the station's safety. (Daily Telegraph)

Washington Enters Fray On Aviation Cap-And-Trade Debate - The movement to cap emissions of greenhouse gases may have had a head start in Europe, but the debate is now shifting to Washington, where two powerful lawmakers are aiming to fast-track legislation that could have a costly price tag for the airline industry.

Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, have drafted a bill that would cap greenhouse gas emissions and require polluters that exceed those limits to buy tradable permits at auctions, where prices would be determined by market demand. While their initial 648-page draft is deliberately vague on how emission allowances would be set and distributed, the airline industry is bracing to be hit with yet another government levy, albeit one aimed at saving the Earth's environment.

The proposal is expected to be formally introduced shortly and marked up by Waxman's committee in May. More specific details on how the system would work will be hashed out during markup, according to a source close to Waxman. (Madhu Unnikrishnan and Robert Wall, Aviation Week)

'Down with the Scrapping Bonus!' - A government program designed to get Germans out of their old cars and into brand new ones was supposed to help buyers and manufacturers alike. But the "scrapping bonus" may backfire.

Germany's auto industry has been buoyed recently by a government program designed to get drivers into new cars. The so-called "scrapping bonus" gives buyers €2,500 ($3,300) towards a new car in exchange for junking their old model, provided it's been on the road for at least nine years. The program's popularity among car buyers and car companies encouraged politicians to extend the program's timeline through the end of the year and boost funding from €1.5 billion to €5 billion.

The bonus is a stimulus measure, meant to kick-start business for German automakers during the economic downturn. But German commentators on all sides of the political spectrum have raised concerns about the wisdom of expanding what some call an election-year gift to the car industry. (Der Spiegel)

UK Says Still Looking At Car Scrappage Scheme - LONDON - Britain said on Saturday it was still looking into the possibility of introducing a car scrappage scheme to boost the recession-hit vehicle industry, despite a report that the Treasury was blocking the idea.

Under the proposed scheme, cars more than nine years old could be scrapped in return for a 2,000 pound ($2,946) discount on a new car.

The Times newspaper reported on Saturday that there was a deep rift between Business Secretary Peter Mandelson and the finance minister, Alistair Darling, over the proposal.

The unsourced report said Mandelson wanted Darling to make a scrappage scheme the centerpiece of his April 22 budget but said Darling was concerned about the cost and terms of the program. (Reuters)

Aventine Goes Down the Drain, Another Study Finds Ethanol Drives Food Prices Higher  - The recurring lesson emerging from the corn ethanol scam is this: too many mandates and subsidies are probably worse than none at all. Evidence of that can be found by looking at Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings, the Illinois-based ethanol producer. On Wednesday, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, saying it had $799.5 million in assets and nearly $491 million in debts.

Aventine, which has production capacity of 207 million gallons of ethanol per year, operates plants in Illinois and Nebraska. And Aventine’s bankruptcy, which I discussed as a possibility in this piece on March 30, won’t be the last in the ethanol sector. The ethanol producers are in a fundamentally untenable position: they are selling product into a market where gasoline demand is falling and corn prices are still relatively high.

What’s amazing is that Aventine and the other ethanol companies who’ve failed can’t make money even though Congress is giving them a fat subsidy -- $0.45 per gallon – and a mandate that requires gasoline producers to use 12 billion gallons of their product this year. By 2015, that requirement will increase to 15 billion gallons.

The huge mandates and subsidies for corn ethanol resulted in a spending binge on new production capacity, much of which now sits gathering dust. According to Ethanol Producer Magazine, the U.S. now has 37 ethanol plants that have been idled. Those plants have total output capacity of 2.2 billion gallons per year. And of those 37 plants, at least 23 have been built since 2005. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

As industry struggles, Pacific Ethanol is running on fumes - After laboring a quarter-century in the ethanol business, Neil Koehler insists the industry will become healthy again, maybe in as little as two years. Others agree with him.

But Koehler's company, Pacific Ethanol Inc. of Sacramento, might not make it to the promised land.

The unprofitable ethanol maker has warned investors it could run out of cash at the end of April and might have to file for bankruptcy protection – a stunning downfall for a company that once set out to conquer the West and counted Bill Gates as an investor.

Adding insult to injury for Koehler and other ethanol pioneers: As their industry struggles, their old nemesis, the oil industry, is prepared to gobble up the remains. Oil refiner Valero Corp. just agreed to buy seven bankrupt ethanol plants in the Midwest for 30 cents on the dollar. (Sacramento Bee)

Water Worries Cloud Future For U.S. Biofuel - KANSAS CITY - It's corn planting time in the U.S. Plains, and that means Kansas corn farmer Merl "Buck" Rexford is worrying about the weather -- and hoping there is enough water.

Rexford plans to start seeding his 7,000 acres near Meade, Kansas, this week and he is relishing a recent heavy snow storm that dropped several inches of much-needed moisture.

Like corn farmers throughout the United States, Rexford hopes to grow a healthy crop yielding more than 150 bushels an acre this year. Much of his crop will wind up at a nearby ethanol plant.

And that puts the 65-year-old Rexford at the center of a bitter divide over biofuels, particularly corn ethanol.

Critics argue that precious water resources are being bled dry by ethanol when water shortages are growing ever more dire. Federal mandates encouraging more ethanol production don't help. (Reuters)

Budget will make or break renewable energy - INDUSTRY LEADERS have warned that this year’s budget will “make or break” Britain’s struggling renewable-energy sector.

The Treasury has been flooded with demands for several billion pounds in funds that industry says it needs to stave off the collapse of sectors like wind power and to jump-start fledgling industries such as electric cars and clean coal.

Executives fear, however, that chancellor Alistair Darling will disappoint when he reveals the government’s spending plans on April 22 because the parlous state of the public purse has left him with little money to plough into the sector. (Sunday Times)

Biofools - Farming biofuels produces nitrous oxide. This is bad for climate change

MANY people consider the wider use of biofuels a promising way of reducing the amount of surplus carbon dioxide (CO2) being pumped into the air by the world’s mechanised transport. The theory is that plants such as sugar cane, maize (corn, to Americans), oilseed rape and wheat take up CO2 during their growth, so burning fuels made from them should have no net effect on the amount of that gas in the atmosphere. Biofuels, therefore, should not contribute to global warming.

Theory, though, does not always translate into practice, and just as governments have committed themselves to the greater use of biofuels (see table), questions are being raised about how green this form of energy really is. The latest come from a report produced by a team of scientists working on behalf of the International Council for Science (ICSU), a Paris-based federation of scientific associations from around the world. (The Economist)

Citation needed — government excise tax on sweeteners extremely proper? - When an article gets published in a major medical journal that wouldn’t even past muster for a Wikipedia article, you know something’s up. And it’s a pretty good bet that it’s not sound science.

There were other clues, too. It was published online and the entire article offered for free to the public, with the journal’s standard $10 per article fee waived*. It wasn’t that the article was reporting major clinical trial findings of critical importance for medicine, either. It was an opinion piece. Its release was also coordinated to appear simultaneously with other opinion pieces in major media outlets — from ABC News to the Wall Street Journal — by the same authors. That’s marketing.

It was written for consumers and given the patina of medical authority by appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors were the health commissioner for New York City and the director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Citing alarming rates of childhood obesity, the authors called for large taxes on sugary drinks, claiming they “may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic.” (Junkfood Science)

Fact or Fiction? Kids today are fat because they’re not getting enough PE - One of the most popular answers to childhood obesity is physical education. Countless governmental health and school officials have enacted programs to increase physical activity to combat childhood obesity. Are these interventions grounded on sound scientific understandings of the causes of obesity and have they been shown to have any effect on child obesity?

A new study — the largest systematic review of the evidence on school-based physical activity interventions to date — provided some answers. But few parents heard about this major international review.

Calls for increased PE to slim down young people are based on widespread beliefs that today’s generation of young people are telly tubbies, who get little physical activity and spend their days plopped in front of television and computer screens. The image being portrayed in media is “of a fat, lazy and physically feeble generation,” said Michael Gard, a physical and health educator at Charles Sturt University’s Bathurst campus, and co-author of The Obesity Epidemic. “There is more than a hint of disgust in these words…I have a great deal of trouble matching this image with the children I know, most of whom are busy, active, lively young people.” (Junkfood Science)

Diet soda linked to higher diabetes risk - NEW YORK - Middle-aged and older adults who drink diet soda everyday may have a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

The study, of more than 5,000 U.S. adults, found that those who drank diet soda daily were 67 percent more likely than those who did not to develop type 2 diabetes over the next several years.

They also had higher odds of blood sugar elevations and weight gain around the middle, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Jennifer A. Nettleton of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, add to those from previous studies linking diet soda consumption to metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease that includes abdominal obesity, high blood sugar and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

But it remains unclear whether diet soda, per se, is to blame. (Reuters Health)

South Australia's plastic shopping bag ban to introduce heavy fines - A STATE ban on plastic bags will introduce hefty fines for anyone caught distributing them.

South Australia will be the first state in the nation to ban plastic shopping bags when they disappear from supermarkets in three weeks.

The environmentally-friendly plan, starting on May 4, is backed up by steep penalties for businesses caught distributing the wrong type of plastic bag.

Retailers will face on-the-spot fines of $315 or a maximum fine of $5000 for breaching the ban. If a supplier provides a retailer with bags it knows are banned, it can be fined $20,000.

"South Australians are leading the nation by saying no to plastic bags," Premier Mike Rann said in a statement.

"We did it back in 1977 with our hugely successful drink container deposit which has dramatically cut litter and landfill.

"Now we're going to have 400 million fewer plastic bags in SA's waste and litter streams every year and we're pleased to set the example for the rest of the nation."

he ban does not apply to the bags on rolls commonly used for fruit and vegetables or meat in the supermarket, and heavier department store or boutique clothing bags will still be available.

Shoppers are being urged to carry green reusable shopping bags with them.

"By banning checkout-style bags we'll be slashing energy use, cutting waste to landfill and we'll have cleaner streets, parks and waterways," Environment and Conservation Minister Jay Weatherill said. (AAP)

Flashback: Scientists trash plastic bag ban - SCIENTISTS and environmentalists have questioned the case against the use of plastic shopping bags as based on flawed science and misreporting.

And in a blow to Environment Minister Peter Garrett's plan to phase out plastic bags by January 1 next year, questions have also emerged over the accuracy of a claim in a report carried out for the Australian Government in 2002 which said plastic bags were responsible for the deaths of 100,000 animals a year.

The report, later amended but widely quoted by environmentalists, actually attributed the deaths to all plastic debris, including fishing nets and equipment.

The Times newspaper in Britain has quoted scientists, including an expert who advises environmental group Greenpeace, as saying plastic bags pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds.

In January, Mr Garrett said he wanted to phase out the use of supermarket plastic bags by the end of the year and was prepared to consider a ban if necessary.

And yesterday, while denying a report that he was considering a plan for customers to be charged $1 per bag, Mr Garrett said he remained committed to a phase out by January 1 and would meet state government counterparts next month to consider "a range of options" which did not include a levy on bag use.

The claim that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals every year is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 animals were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.

However, in 2002, a report prepared for the Australian Government by Nolan-ITU in association with the RMIT Centre for Design and Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd said the Newfoundland study attributed the deaths to "plastic bags".

But according to the Australian Government's Environment Department website, the report was amended in 2006.

The figure has often been used by conservationists as proof that the bags are killers. (The Australian, March 10, 2008)

Reno's high-tech science lab turns 50 - Searching for water in a West African nation, scientists turned to the heavens. Using satellite remote technology, they pinpointed fractures in the Earth to identify where water pools below the surface, giving well drillers on the ground the best shot at finding potable water.

Today, those wells provide villagers in Ghana with drinkable water free of disease-bearing parasites common in shallower water sources.

The technology is a cornerstone of Nevada's Desert Research Institute, now called DRI, that this year celebrates a half century of scientific pursuits.

From identifying air pollutants and plotting global warming through miles of ice cores drilled from the polar shelves to studying desert terrain in a quest to identify deadly land mines, DRI's pursuits and stature in the scientific community have grown around the world.

In the 1970s, one study determined that air pollution from Los Angeles was making its way as far east as the Grand Canyon. A decade later, DRI scientists pioneered the use of chemical "fingerprinting" to determine the origin of air pollutants. (Sandra Chereb, Associated Press)

Why should we believe him about this either? Why the Ecologist has gone online - We are closing down our print edition to focus on the internet in search of a broader, more immediate impact

Ecologist readers will know by now that the magazine is to relaunch online. I want to explain why.

There is the unavoidable fact of the recession, and it has played a role. It has long seemed likely that media generally will shift away from print and on to the internet. That change will come sooner because of the recession as magazines struggle to maintain their ad revenue and subscribers.

But we have been flirting with the idea of shifting entirely online for a few years, and not for financial reasons.

First, this is not a face-saving way of closing down. We are emphatically not closing down. The Ecologist has lost money from the day it was launched in 1970, and will continue until the last edition is printed. It was never set up as a business venture. It was set up as a campaign, and like all good campaigns, it cost. Its various backers have, over the years, been happy to pay that cost. They still are.

What has changed is that we have reached a point – compounded by the recession – where we are not able to get as much value for money as we could from the internet. Online our potential readership is limitless. If we get it right, we can reach millions. We can launch campaigns and see immediate results. We can bring news to people when it matters – now. The format will change, of course, but we won't lose anything that has made the Ecologist vital and relevant. We will continue to provide the best analysis and the best investigations. We will continue to provoke, fearlessly, where that's needed. (Zac Goldsmith, The Guardian)

French Workers Shut Down Eiffel Tower: A Preview Of Socialism - A Rasmussen poll here in America has just found that only 53% Americans prefer capitalism to socialism. Care to see what the alternative looks like?

“Strike closes Eiffel Tower; worker’s demands not known,” read the headline of a Canadian Press story this week. Apparently 500 people who work in the city’s largest tourist attraction all just walked off the job. No one even needs an excuse not to work in France anymore. Coming up with things like “demands” takes work and effort. And why bother going through the rigmarole of requesting time off, jockeying for prime vacation days with your colleagues, or even notifying your boss of your absence when they could have it so much worse and really should be so lucky that you just decided not to show up. (Rachel Marsden, Townhall)

Progressive death and debt I: Science versus sentimentality - This is a potentially infinite series of editorials on the subject of the Progressive love affair with both death and debt as solutions to the problems of not only national life, but, more revealingly, to the problems of Life itself.

Death and debt, veiled by a woman's right to abortion and a Liberal's environmental concerns, are the Progressive diving boards, off of which the Radical Left springs … and with which it will plunge us into tyranny. In addition, they do it while sporting Christian credentials.

"Let me hear you say it," proclaims Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, "Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."

For a Catholic, even a lapsed Catholic like myself, to hear a Reverend say that abortion is a blessing … well … that's rather unsettling, but for her to add that "our work is not done" … uh … doesn't that at least make you curious … about what work is left to be done?

You may not know about the long-term goals of the American Progressive Movement … or, as the Clinton's prefer to describe it, their "Global Initiatives". (Michael Moriarty, ESR)

Misanthropic nature-nuts: David Attenborough argues the planet cannot handle more people - SIR David Attenborough has become a patron of an organisation that campaigns to limit the number of people in the world, arguing that the growth in global population is frightening.

The television presenter and naturalist said the increase in population was having devastating effects on ecology, pollution and food production.

"There are three times as many people in the world as when I started making television programs only a mere 56 years ago," Sir David, who has two children, said after becoming a patron of the Optimum Population Trust think-tank.

"It is frightening in the sense that we can't go on as we have been. We are seeing the consequences in terms of ecology, atmospheric pollution and in terms of the space and food production.

"I've never seen a problem that wouldn't be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more. Population is reaching its optimum and the world cannot hold an infinite number of people."

The OPT counts among its patrons the environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and the academic Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta. However, Sir David's appointment has already been criticised.

Austin Williams, author of The Enemies of Progress, said: "Experts can still be stupid when they speak on subjects of which they know little. Sir David may know a sight more than I do about remote species but that does not give him the intelligence to speak on global politics.

"I have a problem with the line that people are a problem. More people are a good thing. People are the source of creativity, intelligence, analysis and problem-solving.

"If we see people as just simple things that consume and excrete carbon, then the OPT may have a point, but people are more than this and they will be the ones to find the solutions." (The Times)

Population Alarmists - The great British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has become the latest in a long line of illustrious people to say we need to cut population growth sharply or face a grim future. Is he right?

We have nothing against Attenborough, but in supporting Britain's Optimum Population Trust, a group that advocates reducing human numbers, he's put himself on the wrong side of one of the great questions of our time.

Today's world population is about 6.8 billion, give or take a hundred million or so. By 2050, most estimates show the population will be about 9 billion — roughly a 35% or so increase. That's the equivalent, population-wise, of adding seven new countries the size of the U.S. to the world population. When you say it that way, it does sound dramatic and, as Attenborough put it, "frightening."

The problem is, numbers lie. Past estimates of population growth have virtually always overestimated world fertility rates, and underestimated social trends that led to fewer babies.

This time will be no different. If fertility rates decline just a little more than predicted (and the decline in fertility rates over the past four decades has been faster than almost any estimate out there), the population actually begins to shrink in 2040.

By 2050, at the low end of fertility expectations, U.N. forecasts show just 7.96 billion people in 2050. And by the end of the century, the population will actually drop below its current levels. (IBD)

New orangutan population found in Indonesia - Indonesia -- perhaps as many as 2,000 -- giving a rare boost to one of the world's most endangered great apes.

A team surveying forests nestled between jagged, limestone cliffs on the eastern edge of Borneo island counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a "substantial" number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at the U.S.-based The Nature Conservancy.

"We can't say for sure how many," he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate "several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even."

The team also encountered an adult male, which angrily threw branches as they tried to take photos, and a mother and child.

There are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia and the rest in neighboring Malaysia.

The countries are the world's top producers of palm oil, used in food, cosmetics and to meet growing demands for "clean-burning" fuels in the U.S. and Europe. Rain forests, where the solitary animals spend almost all of their time, have been clear-cut and burned at alarming rates to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations.

The steep topography, poor soil and general inaccessibility of the rugged limestone mountains appear to have shielded the area from development, at least for now, said Meijaard. Its trees include those highly sought after for commercial timber.

Birute Mary Galdikas, a Canadian scientist who has spent nearly four decades studying orangutans in the wild, said most of the remaining populations are small and scattered, which make them especially vulnerable to extinction. (Associated Press)

Waldheim's Monster: United Nations' Ecofascist Programme - Three score and seven years ago the United Nations was founded primarily to advance the interests of English-speaking countries. Now the UN is primarily interested in conducting economic warfare on those countries. The tipping point in UN history roughly corresponds with Kurt Waldheim’s tenure as Secretary-General (1972-81). This essay draws upon: the recent reportage on the UN’s Global Ministerial Environmental Forum; the recently leaked Management Review of Environmental Governance within the United Nations System; the Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements; the websites of UN agencies, and other troves to sketch a portrait of the UN’s environmental programs. (William Walter Kay)

Exposed: green myths against farming - LONG-HELD views that farmers have blithely plundered the Australian environment - raping the soil, polluting the rivers, killing off species and hastening global warming - are for the first time being challenged as a green myth.

Rather than the popular belief that Australian agriculture is destroying the environment, there is an emerging counterview that responsible modern farming helps preserve the land.

"Agriculture has a bad name in Australia," scientist and onetime farmer David F. Smith says.

The former director-general of agriculture for Victoria who now works at the University of Melbourne says: "We are told that: it has exhausted the soil, and yields of crops have collapsed; it has caused massive erosion; it has polluted some rivers, made many others salty and used all the water from the rest; its animals make methane, a main cause of global warming; clearing the land has made too many species extinct; put simply, we shouldn't have come here - we should have left it to the Aborigines who were so much more in harmony with the land than we are."

But the agricultural scientist, writing in the April edition of Quadrant magazine, says it is all a myth promulgated by popular environmentalists such as Tim Flannery.

"The true story of Australian agriculture is generally one of aware people farming sensibly, problems being identified and researched (largely with their own funds) and amelioration carried out and adaptations devised. This is the basis of sustainability," Dr Smith says. (The Australian)

See the Quadrant item here: Green Myths About Australian Farming (David F. Smith, Quadrant)

German Lawmakers Mull a Frankenfood Ban - Does Germany's agriculture minister want to ban genetically modified corn in Germany because it may be risky, or is the idea meant to give her party a quick boost in the polls? The controversy exposes a rift in Germany's conservatives.

German agriculture minister Ilse Aigner will announce in the coming weeks whether her office will impose a ban on the commercial use of a type of genetically modified corn produced and marketed by the American biotech giant Monsanto.

But the idea has sparked a war of words between normally allied German conservatives. Aigner is a member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. Since Bavaria is an agricultural region, a CDU official has condemned the CSU's push for the ban as populism -- or, more precisely, as "irresponsible, cheap propaganda." (Der Spiegel)

GM Maize Finds Its Way to Cuba's Fields - With little fanfare, genetically modified maize produced by Cuba's genetic and biotechnology engineering centre, CIGB, is being grown on test plots as part of a new project involving five of the Caribbean island nation's provinces.

The CIGB, Cuba's leading institution in scientific development, has been researching transgenic crops for several years, in programmes that its directors say are kept under strict regulations to ensure biological and environmental security.

But the experimental cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize has sounded the alarm among academic experts with ties to agriculture. (Tierramérica)

April 13, 2009

C-SPAN: Forget Obama; It’s time for Green Hell!

C-SPAN broke away from covering President Obama today to cover Steve Milloy’s presentation of his new book Green Hell at the Heritage Foundation.

Watch for the polar bear activist that tried to disrupt the Q&A portion of Milloy’s talk.

Click here for C-SPAN’s breakaway from Obama and the entire video of Milloy’s presentation.

Obama science chief: Geo-engineer to save Gaia! - If we can develop the scientific knowledge needed to change the climate for the benefit of humanity, and change it in a controlled manner, shouldn't we be trying to do it? Is it so different from developing antibiotics? Remarks this week by Obama's chief science advisor John Holdren have reopened the debate. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)

Science Chief Discusses Climate Strategy - Obama Adviser Hints at Compromise on Cap-and-Trade Emission Allowances

The Obama administration might agree to auction only a portion of the emissions allowances granted at first under a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas pollution, White House science adviser John P. Holdren said yesterday, a move that would please electric utilities and manufacturers but could anger environmentalists.

In one of his first interviews since being confirmed March 19 as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Holdren said a group of Cabinet-level officials is trying to establish principles to guide the climate legislation that has just begun to move in Congress.

During the presidential campaign, Obama called for auctioning off all the emissions permits issued at the outset of a cap-and-trade system, rather than auctioning some of them and giving the rest away. Industries would buy and sell the allowances in an open market as the cap on total emissions was gradually lowered. Many industry leaders say that having to pay for all the allowances at first would drive up energy costs too quickly.

"The idea, obviously, is to end up with a bill that reflects both the thinking of Congress and the administration, a bill that the president can sign," Holdren said, adding of a 100 percent auction, "whether you get to start with that or get there over a period of time is something that's being discussed."

Holdren's comments shed light on the administration's behind-the-scenes effort to shape national climate policy, an issue that Obama has identified as a top priority but has so far left largely to lawmakers to flesh out. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Great 'mad scientist' pic: Greenhouse gases must be cut, Obama aide says -- In sharp contrast to the low priority the Bush administration gave to global warming, President Obama's new science adviser said Wednesday that the world's industrialized nations must immediately cut greenhouse gas emissions to ward off the most extreme effects of climate change.

"We are already experiencing increased heat waves, drought, wildfires, floods and pest infestations - all of that is at today's levels," said physicist John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"In my judgment, climate change is already dangerous, and the question is, 'Can we stop short of a completely unmanageable degree of climate change?' " he said.

Holdren called for deep cuts in emissions, more climate research and greater preparation for inevitable planetary change. He also is pressing for large investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"The scientific evidence has increasingly supported the idea that the risks rise rapidly above an increase of 3.6 degrees in the global average surface temperature," said Holdren, 65, who was confirmed last month, told The Chronicle in an interview.

The world's temperature has already risen 1.4 degrees over the past century or so. But greenhouse gas emissions already discharged into the atmosphere by coal, oil and natural gas combustion and deforestation are projected to cause an additional rise of nearly 1 degree in the coming years, Holdren said. (SF Chronicle)

Saving us from ourselves - "Government consists of acts done by human beings," reminded John Stuart Mill in "Representative Government" in 1861. "And if the agents, or those who choose the agents, or those to whom the agents are responsible, or the lookers-on whose opinion ought to influence and check all these, are mere masses of ignorance, stupidity and baleful prejudice, every operation of government will go wrong."

Welcome to the United States in 2009.

Nowhere is this ignorance more on sad display -- and the ramifications of that ignorance more frightening -- than with the debates on global warming and our economy.

Global warming

President Obama's new witch doctor, er, "science adviser" is proposing that we fool with Mother Nature to save us all from the supposedly guaranteed (but still highly debatable) coming catastrophic consequences of man-made global warming.

John P. Holdren, the Teresa and John Heinz -- ahem -- Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at HAH-vahd, suggests that we might shoot pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and, thus, the story goes, help cool the planet.

Never mind that Professor Holdren, who spent a couple of decades at the University of California, Berkeley (ah, that explains a lot, eh?), admits that such a plan could have grave side effects -- I would note little things like eliminating growing seasons and killing billions who've never had a need for a furnace but might now -- he says we might just be forced to act anyway. (Colin McNickle, Tribune-Review)

UN climate chief says rich countries must do more - BONN, Germany — Industrial countries are falling short of pledging to slash their carbon emissions by 2020 on the scale needed to prevent climate disasters, U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said Wednesday.

But the chief U.S. delegate urged negotiators from 175 countries to think of longer-term objectives rather than focus on short-range targets that would be difficult to meet.

"We are actively working to move forward aggressively," Jonathan Pershing told hundreds of delegates on the final day of talks before the negotiations adjourn for two months.

The U.S. favors adopting "pathways" toward a mid-century goal rather than a definitive near-term target, Pershing said. (AP)

Nations Fail to Offer CO2 Targets at UN Climate Talks -- The world’s wealthiest nations failed to offer more ambitious carbon-dioxide cuts, stalling United Nations climate talks as developing countries called for funding help and technology to combat global warming.

“Progress has been very slow in Bonn,” Amjad Abdulla, director-general of the Maldives Environment Ministry, said today as 10 days of UN climate talks wrapped up. “Developed countries have been very reluctant to put numbers on the table” for emissions cuts and financial aid to poorer nations. (Bloomberg)

Obama, Who Vowed Rapid Action on Climate Change, Turns More Cautious - WASHINGTON — President Obama came to office promising swift and comprehensive action to combat global climate change, and the topic remains a surefire applause line in his speeches here and abroad.

Yet the administration has taken a cautious and rather passive role on the issue, proclaiming broad goals while remaining aloof from details of climate legislation now in Congress.

The president’s budget initially included roughly $650 billion in revenue over 10 years from a cap-and-trade emissions plan that he wants adopted. But the administration, while insisting that its health care initiative be protected, did not fight to keep cap-and-trade in the budget resolutions that Congress passed last week, and it wound up in neither the House’s version nor the Senate’s.

Overseas, American officials are telling their counterparts that they need time to gauge the American public’s appetite for an ambitious carbon reduction scheme before leading any international effort.

Has the administration scaled back its global-warming goals, at least for this year, or is it engaged in sophisticated misdirection?

Maybe some of both. While addressing climate change appears to be slipping down the president’s list of priorities for the year, he is holding in reserve a powerful club to regulate carbon dioxide emissions through executive authority.

That club takes the form of Environmental Protection Agency regulation of the gases blamed for the warming of the planet, an authority granted the agency by the Supreme Court’s reading of the Clean Air Act. Administration officials consistently say they would much prefer that Congress write new legislation to pre-empt the E.P.A. regulatory power, but they are clearly holding it in reserve as a prod to reluctant lawmakers and recalcitrant industries and as evidence of good faith to other nations. (New York Times)

At U.N. Talks on Climate, Plans by U.S. Raise Qualms - BONN, Germany — At the start of the United Nations climate talks here 12 days ago, the Obama administration’s chief climate negotiator, Todd Stern, received a round of rowdy applause. It was the first appearance of the new negotiating team at any global meeting.

But by Wednesday, as the meetings drew to a close, some delegates — and even some United Nations officials — were grumbling that the United States was not moving fast enough to take action on global warming.

On Wednesday, Mr. Stern’s team offered the first broad hints of a new international climate policy for the United States, noting that more details would be submitted in a proposal to the United Nations later this month. But even in its broadest brush strokes, the American proposal differs significantly from other plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions enacted by the United Nations and the European Union.

The Obama administration’s plan would require all countries, including developing nations like China and India, to curb greenhouse gas emissions, said Jonathan Pershing, the deputy special envoy for climate change, at a news conference. The plan’s main focus is on long-range goals — as distant as 2050 — for greenhouse gas reduction.

Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, initial emission-reduction targets for the developed nations that signed the agreement were set for 2012. And most other proposals to lower emissions, including the plan in use in the European Union, focus on 2020 as an initial target. Though he praised Europe’s efforts, Mr. Pershing said, “U.S. policy is something we’re developing at home, according to what we see as the science and political capacity.”

But many officials here were clearly impatient. “We are still waiting for the U.S. to put its position on the table,” said Michael Zammit-Cutajar, a top official of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “They have asked us to keep the door open, and it is,” he said.

Mr. Pershing said that the Obama administration was working to fill in the plan. “We promise in June to come back with a much more detailed set of policies,” Mr. Pershing said. Negotiations resume here on June 1. (New York Times)

Waxman-Markey litigation shell game - When I first eyeballed the 648-page draft cap-and-trade bill, authored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), I was perplexed, even stunned.

Secs. 831-834 of the draft bill exempt carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from regulation under the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program, Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) program, New Source Review (NSR) pre-construction permitting programs, and Title V operating permits program.

This surprised me for two reasons.

First, it is tacit admission that free-market and industry analysts were correct when they warned that EPA could not control the cascading effects of CAA regulation of CO2 once it starts. It is implicit confirmation of our view that the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA decision set the stage for an economy-choking regulatory morass.

What a difference one presidential election can make! Back in July 2008, Waxman and Markey bashed Bush’s EPA for responding to Mass v. EPA by issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). EPA’s purpose was to inform and solicit public comment on the administrative, legal, and economic repercussions of greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA. Waxman denounced the ANPR as “a transparent delaying tactic.” Markey called it a ”shameful display of political interference with potential regulation of global warming pollution.” They demanded that EPA simply declare ”global warming pollution” a menace to society, and propose regulations to combat it.

Yet today, Waxman and Markey are peddling legislation that would exempt greenhouse gases from several CAA regulatory authorities. It’s as if they actually learned something from the ANPR and the comments free-market and industry analysts submitted to EPA spotlighting the perils of CO2 regulation under the CAA. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Carbon tax resurfaces in Liberal policy resolutions - OTTAWA — Stephane Dion may be gone but his much-maligned carbon tax proposal lingers on among Liberals.

The idea was a flop with voters during last fall’s federal election but it has popped up again in priority policy resolutions to be debated later this month at a Liberal convention that will officially crown Michael Ignatieff as Dion’s successor.

One resolution, proposed by the Quebec wing of the party, calls on a Liberal government to unconditionally commit to meeting the Kyoto Protocol targets, enacting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would include “establishing a carbon tax, a cap and trade system or a combination of both.”

Another, proposed by the British Columbia wing of the party, calls on a Liberal government to consider “all mechanisms of investment, incentive and taxation” to combat global warming and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

The two proposals are among 30 priority resolutions chosen by Liberal riding presidents to be debated at the April 30-May 2 convention in Vancouver. (CP)

Energy-efficient projects generate jobs: Pachauri - CHENNAI: Geo-engineering solutions cannot be considered for combating global warming without considerable research and analysis, said Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Delivering the first R Venkataraman Endowment Lecture at the Madras School of Economics on Saturday, Pachauri spoke about measures that India could take to promote economic development, keeping climate change in mind.

"If Indian industry is to compete in the global market, it must have a headstart in engaging in low carbon development measures," he said, adding that Indian industry must target sectors such as clean energy, environmental resource management, energy and material efficiency and environmental services.

Pachauri said that energy efficiency investments had positive effects on employment - either directly by creating new business opportunities, or indirectly by leading to a rise in similar industrial plants. He spoke about the idea of a solar thermal power generating complex being mooted in Rajasthan and Gujarat. "If it takes off, the bulk of fabrication has to take place in India, which will generate employment opportunities." He was for government encouraging such initiatives by offering subsidies and creating the right kind of incentives. (Times of India)

Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign - WASHINGTON — Marc Morano does not think global warming is anything to worry about, and he brags about his confrontations with those who do.

For example, Mr. Morano said he once spotted former Vice President Al Gore on an airplane returning from a climate conference in Bali. Mr. Gore was posing for photos with well-wishers, and Mr. Morano said he had asked if he, too, could have his picture taken with Mr. Gore.

He refused, Mr. Morano said.

“You attack me all the time,” Mr. Gore said, according to Mr. Morano.

“Yes, we do,” Mr. Morano said he had replied.

Mr. Gore’s office said Mr. Gore had no memory of the encounter. Mr. Morano does not care. He tells the story anyway.

As a spokesman for Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Mr. Morano was for years a ceaseless purveyor of the dissenting view on climate change, sending out a blizzard of e-mail to journalists covering the issue. Now, with Congress debating legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions, Mr. Morano is hoping to have an even greater impact. He has left his job with Mr. Inhofe to start his own Web site, ClimateDepot.com. (New York Times)

Statement on NYT Profile: 'Mainstream media appears to be realizing that climate skepticism has gone mainstream!'

Overall, not a bad article by the New York Times reporter Leslie Kaufman. The fact that the NYT has done this profile of a skeptic in such a balanced way, simply reveals that tide is turning. An article like this would not have been possible just two years ago. The mainstream media appears to be realizing that climate skepticism has gone mainstream! (Climate Depot)

NYT Profile Related: Climate Clash: Gore Rebuffs Morano 37000 feet over South China Sea in 2007 - 'You all attack me all the time'

[Marc Morano Note: The New York Times Profile article (see: New York Times Profiles Climate Depot's Morano: Using Science as a 'Political Battering Ram' -- Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign) notes that Gore does not remember meeting me on a plane in 2007. Leslie Kaufman of the NYT writes: "Gore had no memory of the encounter. Mr. Morano does not care. He tells the story anyway." Yet, according to Joe Romm of Climate Progress, Gore appears to remember the incident after all. Romm reports in an April 10 post: "I happened to be speaking to Gore today and he remarked on this Morano fable and said he just doesn’t remember it happening the way Morano describes."

Hmm. Gore tells NYT that he has "no memory of the encounter," yet Romm says Gore told him he "doesn't remember it happening the way Morano describes."

Lest anyone doubts the meeting took place or how it occurred and since Gore cannot seem to recall his encounter with me very well, I have – for the first time ever – publicly released the full report of the Gore/Morano airplane encounter in 2007.

The below was written on the airplane immediately after the encounter with Gore in 2007. ] (Climate Depot)

Anti-Global-Warming Activist Marc Morano Gets Cold Shoulder - The Times tries to discredit anti-global-warming activist Marc Morano by linking him to some of their favorite villains: Exxon, the Swift Boat Veterans, and Richard Mellon Scaife. (Times Watch)

The Accidental Geo-Engineer - Sometimes swallowing a spider to catch a fly isn`t all that good of an idea.

Recently, Barack Obama`s chief science advisor John Holdren suggested America should look into ways to geo-engineer the planet; in essence, Holdren believes that Anthropogenic Global Warming is so dire that we need to invent some drastic measure to essentially terra form the planet to keep temperatures down

Terraforming literally means “Earth-shaping” and is a concept considered in relations to other planets in our solar system-most notably Mars-to make them Earthlike for human colonists) Holdren is essentially suggesting that we pour pollution into the atmosphere, emitting particulate matter-aerosols-to increase the Earth`s atmospheric albedo (reflectivity). It would act like an enormous parasol, much like the pale young ladies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries would employ to keep their snow-white complexions. Holdren and other AGW alarmists (the Gang-Green, as I like to call them) are absolutely convinced that human emissions of carbon dioxide are at the core of the cataclysmic 1* of warming in the 20th century, and that we are approaching a “tipping point” where temperatures will skyrocket worldwide, leading to catastrophic melting in the Arctic and Antarctic and a disastrous rise in sea levels. (Timothy Birdnow, American Daily Review)

Global warming could take bite out of Midwest corn, report says - Rising temperatures could cost states billions

WASHINGTON — Global warming could sock Illinois right in the Corn Belt—to the tune of $243 million a year, a national environmental group estimated in a report released Thursday.

The Environment America study, based on government and university data, projects rising temperatures will reduce yields of the nation's biggest crop by 3 percent in the Midwest and the South, compared to projected yields without further global warming.

According to the report, Iowa would be hit hardest, losing $259 million a year in corn revenues.

The nation overall would lose about $1.4 billion in annual corn revenue, the group said. (Chicago Tribune)

And cooling could cost it more...

“Surface Temperature Variations In East Africa And Possible Causes" By Christy Et Al 2009 - The excellent papers which document that the uncertainties and biases in the land surface part of the construction of a global average surface temperature trend continue to appear. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Comments On “Air Pollutant Climate Forcings Within The Big Climate Picture” By Hansen et al. 2009 - There is an informative powerpoint presentation by Jim Hansen and colleagues at the March 11 2009 Copenhagen meeting. Thanks to Doug Gleason for alerting us to the pdf of this talk! (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Guest Weblog By James E. Hansen - Jim Hansen has graciously agreed to write an invited response to the Climate Science weblog Comments On “Air Pollutant Climate Forcings Within The Big Climate Picture” By Hansen et al. 2009.

Guest Weblog By Dr. Hansen

We include land-use changes as one of the climate forcings in our climate modeling, as discussed in the papers “Efficacy of climate forcings” (J. Geophys. Res. 110, D18104 doi:10.1029/2005JD005776, 2005) and “Dangerous human-made interference with climate: a GISS modelE study” (Atmos. Chem. Phys. 7, 2287-2312).

Those simulations used a global data set of Ramankutty and Foley for land use changes over the past two centuries. The effect of the land use changes was found to be quite large, even dominant, on local regions where a large fraction of the gridbox was affected by land use change. But on global average the effects of greenhouse gases and aerosols were much larger than the effects of land use changes.

As noted in those papers, we did not include irrigation, which can also have large regional effects, because of the absence of a good global data set for irrigation fluxes. Nevertheless, from the simulations that have been made, and from comparison of the climate forcings, these papers make it clear that the largest global climate forcings are changes of greenhouse gases and aerosols. (Climate Science)

We discuss Hansen's model forcing in This "global warming" thing... what Watt is what? Suffice it to say we remain less than impressed.

Colossal waste of energy: New era for fossil fuels as first carbon capturing power plant begins work - French power station leading the way in the world's sluggish move towards using environmentally vital CCS technology

Carbon capture is regarded as a big step towards achieving CO2 emissions targets. Photograph: Joel W. Rogers/Corbis

The world's first retrofit of a power plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will begin operating this month in the south of France.

At a power plant at Lacq, energy company Total has upgraded an existing gas-fired boiler with CCS technology – a crucial step towards reducing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants worldwide.

With renewable energy sources a long way from covering the world's increasing demand for energy, many experts believe that developing reliable technology to allow countries to burn fossil fuels without releasing dangerous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is essential to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Experts welcomed Total's achievement but added that it highlighted how Britain was being left behind in the development of an important technology to head off climate change.

"CCS remains the most important initiative that needs to be implemented both here and around the world in reducing emissions from coal, gas and oil-fired power stations," said Environment Agency chairman Chris Smith. (The Guardian)

Not to mention the biosphere resource of carbon dioxide.

Eye roller: Gov. Gregoire must lead Washington beyond its reliance on coal - The state needs to invest in new clean-energy sources to meet rising demand for electricity and to stimulate the economy, writes the Sierra Club's Dan Ritzman and LeeAnne Beres, executive director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light. Gov. Gregoire can help lead this vision by moving Washington beyond coal by 2018. (Dan Ritzman and LeeAnne Beres, Seattle Times)

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World... - While the British Government continues to live in a cloud-cuckoo land of expensive, inefficient wind farms and expensive, tiny electric cars that hardly anybody is buying or can afford, the real world is getting on with normal life despite the economic downturn: (Clamour Of The Times)

Fill 'er up: Prof awarded $2.1M to build hydrogen fueling station at UCLA - Vasilios Manousiouthakis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded $2.1 million in grant funding to build a state-of-the-art hydrogen fueling station on the UCLA campus.

A $1.7 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and a $400,000 grant from the state's Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) will go toward the construction of one of the largest hydrogen fueling stations in California, with a capacity to produce 140 kilograms of hydrogen a day for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles.

"The grants will enable UCLA to achieve a number of its long-term goals for promoting sustainability, both on campus and in the greater Los Angeles region," said Michael Swords, executive director of Strategic Research Initiatives at UCLA. "The development of this hydrogen fueling station will also provide our students with a state-of-the-art learning and research facility where they can study and evaluate the logistics of hydrogen generation, distribution and supply — all of this while also providing a much needed boost to the development of the 'hydrogen highway' here in California." (UCLA)

Environmentalists balk at Surry's hen-poop power - It might be dirtier than coal

The novelty of power plants that burn chicken droppings, mandated by North Carolina's new renewable-energy law, has given way to irony: They might be dirtier than the coal plants that environmentalists loathe.

A Pennsylvania company, Fibrowatt LLC, plans to build plants powered by poultry litter, the birds' bedding material, in Montgomery, Surry and Sampson counties.

Fibrowatt says the plants will give growers a new market for the tons of waste produced in one of the nation's biggest poultry states.

But the plants might also release comparatively large amounts of toxic arsenic, lung-damaging fine particles and pollutants that form smog, according to preliminary state estimates and the company's one operating plant, in Minnesota.

Those emissions are beginning to worry doctors in the mountains of Surry County, who fear their community's need for jobs will overshadow potential health risks. (Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer)

Wind turbine imports increase; Can U.S. factories catch up? - WASHINGTON — Manufacturing of wind turbine parts in the United States grew last year as the market for wind energy boomed, but trade figures show that imports continued at a high rate after years of big growth.

Wind turbine imports from Europe and Asia rose from $60 million in 2004 to $2.5 billion in 2008, according to Customs data reviewed by McClatchy. Imports of other equipment usually, but not always, used for wind power production also increased in the same period. The value of AC generators and towers, for instance, jumped from $84 million to $1.6 billion.

The numbers suggest that there's potential for U.S. manufacturers to seize some opportunities, and some of the largest turbine makers say they're looking for U.S. suppliers. (McClatchy Newspapers)

Report: Ethanol raises cost of nutrition programs - WASHINGTON — Food stamps and child nutrition programs are expected to cost up to $900 million more this year because of increased ethanol use.

Higher use of the corn-based fuel additive accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That could mean the government will have to spend more on food programs for the needy during the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. It estimated the additional cost at up to $900 million.

The CBO said other factors, such as skyrocketing energy costs, have had an even greater effect than ethanol on food prices. CBO economists estimate that increased costs for food programs overall due to higher food prices will be about $5.3 billion this budget year.

Ethanol's impact on future food prices is uncertain, the report says, because an increased supply of corn has the potential to eventually lower food prices.

Roughly one-quarter of corn grown in the United States is now used to produce ethanol and overall consumption of ethanol in the country hit a record high last year, exceeding 9 billion gallons, according to the CBO. It took nearly 3 billion bushels of corn to produce ethanol in the United States last year — an increase of almost a billion bushels over 2007.

The demand for ethanol was one factor that increased corn prices, leading to higher animal feed and ingredient costs for farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers. Some of that cost is eventually passed on to consumers, since corn is used in so many food products. (Associated Press)

Healthcare multiple choice — what would you choose? - If you were a government health official, where would you choose to focus limited healthcare resources — money and the time and attention of healthcare professionals — in order to most improve people’s health and provide the best evidence-based medical care? This week’s news from the UK provides an insightful array of choices: (Junkfood Science)

P4P has nothing to do with Easter Peeps - As long as the public believes that “quality” of health care means measures shown to improve patient health outcomes, save lives, reduce medical errors or reduce healthcare costs, then the doublespeak will continue to be used in ways that cost them.

Doctors, medical professionals and healthcare providers already know that “quality” measures, also known as “pay for performance” measures, have not been shown in clinical research to result in the benefits being claimed. Instead, they can even increase risks for many patients. They are not the same as evidence-based medical care, although some confuse the terms. Pay for performance (P4P) measures, do however, make money for the stakeholders who create them. (Junkfood Science)

New York Health Official Calls for Tax on Drinks With Sugar - A month after Gov. David A. Paterson dropped his proposal for a soda tax, New York City’s health commissioner has written an article advocating “hefty” taxes on sodas and sports drinks containing sugar. Such a tax, the article said, could be the biggest boon to public health since tobacco taxes.

The commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, and Kelly D. Brownell of Yale University, his co-author, argue in the New England Journal of Medicine that a tax of a penny per ounce could reduce consumption by more than 10 percent and raise $1.2 billion a year in New York State alone.

“It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task,” said the article, published in the journal’s April 30 issue and released online Wednesday. “Only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.” (New York Times)

Calorie-counting is an eating disorder - Imploring restaurants to list calorific content won’t help people lose weight, but it will zap the pleasure from eating.

Big Mac: 500. Regular fries: 250 or so. Diet soda: zero, as near as damn it. Total: 750-ish; 1,250 left for today.

Welcome to the world of calorie counting.

This is the kind of nutritional accountancy that our health guardians would like all of us to undertake every day. Now, some of the UK’s biggest restaurant chains will be joining in the fun by prominently displaying the calorie content of their menu items. And it’s not just the usual ‘ethical’ suspects like Marks and Spencer or Waitrose; fast-food joints like Pizza Hut and KFC and big workplace caterers like Compass and Sodexo are also jumping on the calorie bandwagon.

According to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), who together with the UK Department of Health came up with the idea that we should always be told how many calories we are consuming, by June more than 450 food outlets across Britain will have introduced calorie information, some on a pilot basis. Each company will ‘display calorie information for most food and drink they serve, print calorie information on menu boards, paper menus or on the edge of shelves, and ensure the information is clear and easily visible at the point where people choose their food’.

The UK minister for public health Dawn Primarolo, announcing the first batch of 18 companies taking part in the scheme, said: ‘We know that people want to be able to see how many calories are in the food and drink they order when they eat out. I want to see more catering companies join this ground-breaking first group to help their customers make healthier choices.’ (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

Oh dear... Has the bubble finally burst for capitalism? - Global capitalism has been rescued from the brink of collapse by huge state bailouts. Newsnight’s economics editor looks at what may lie ahead (The Sunday Times)

In fact global capitalism has effectively been sabotaged by a suite of incompetent socialist governments, notably the U.S., U.K. and Australians. So badly are they handling a relatively minor problem (caused, incidentally, by socialist interference in the free market) that even EU socialists won't play. Meanwhile communist China is doing a better job of capitalism than are the U.S., U.K. and Australians. How sad is that?

Obama's Red Sea - America is diving into a Marianas Trench of red ink. There is barely a digit of black anywhere on the balance sheet, and spendthrift lawmakers are closing off numerous sources of positive revenue.

On the spending side of the ledger, the White House and Congress enacted a $700-billion financial bailout, followed by an earmark-laden $787-billion “stimulus” law and plans to ladle out $1.6 billion in federal government bonuses in 2009. Then came a $3.5 trillion FY 2010 budget, and the prospect of $9.3 trillion in total indebtedness over the coming decade.

A March 31 Bloomberg study found that the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, FDIC and HUD have thus far obligated generations of Americans to $12.8 TRILLION in debt. That’s 90% of our nation’s entire 2008 Gross Domestic Product!

It’s more accrued debt than 43 previous administrations combined, and it doesn’t include the US share of the $1.1 trillion “global stimulus” devised by the Group of 20, to be administered by professional spenders at the International Monetary Fund – or the cost of servicing these debts.

Taxes will soar, to pay off these debts – and cover new levies on everything we do. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

Now I’m Hoping the Change Will Change - Long, long ago and far, far away before the Red Dawn, before the November Revolution. Before the Straight Talk Express careened into a ditch when Ralph Kramden suspended his campaign heroically flying to Washington proclaiming, “Hemina, Hemina, Hemina, Me Too” which translated into “That’s All Folks.”

Before we realized without a teleprompter, the greatest orator of the age has more ahs, uhs, and wells than a freshman Senator. Before “How’s your 401K doing?” became a cruel joke I wondered, “What does he mean by Change?”

I knew he was promising plenty of it. I knew everyone believed in it. I even knew it somehow seemed to make large crowds of people hopeful but I couldn’t quite grasp what he meant by it.

Finally, Toto has pulled back the curtain and though many of my fellow Americans still say the Emperor has a fine new set of clothes I believe I’m getting my mind wrapped around what change means in Newspeak. (Professor Robert Owens, American Daily Review)

The Dysfunctional Human Rights Council - The Bush administration — which disdained the United Nations only slightly more than it disdained the hard work of diplomacy — chose to boycott the United Nations’ highly dysfunctional Human Rights Council. The Obama administration has decided to run for a seat on it. That may be the best chance to shape up this international embarrassment, but it won’t be easy. (New York Times)

Really? The UN is a completely lost cause, junk it.

Polar bear offended by woman's carbon footprint? Video shows bear attack on woman - Shock video shows woman leaping into polar bear enclosure at feeding time.. and she SURVIVES

THIS is the terrifying moment a woman is MAULED by a polar bear after she JUMPED into its zoo enclosure at feeding time.

She screamed and writhed in agony as the hulking animal-one of the most dangerous land predators alive-sank its teeth into her ARMS, LEGS, HIPS and BACK.

But incredibly the 32-year-old woman SURVIVED the attack and was pulled to safety. (News of the World)

Local view: Don’t weaken fish and wildlife’s ‘bill of rights’ - The Endangered Species Act is the “bill of rights” for our nation’s fish and wildlife. The act is a fundamental statement that we value other species and that they have the right to exist. (Marc Fink, Duluth News Tribune)

Hmm... if we look at things 'naturally' then these critters have a right to be eaten...

Humanity Even for Nonhumans - One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens — and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.

I’m referring to the stunning passage in California, by nearly a 2-to-1 majority, of an animal rights ballot initiative that will ban factory farms from keeping calves, pregnant hogs or egg-laying hens in tiny pens or cages in which they can’t stretch out or turn around. It was an element of a broad push in Europe and America alike to grant increasing legal protections to animals.

Spain is moving to grant basic legal rights to apes. In the United States, law schools are offering courses on animal rights, fast-food restaurants including Burger King are working with animal rights groups to ease the plight of hogs and chickens in factory farms and the Humane Society of the United States is preparing to push new legislation to extend the California protections to other states.

At one level, this movement on behalf of oppressed farm animals is emotional, driven by sympathy at photos of forlorn pigs or veal calves kept in tiny pens. Yet the movement is also the product of a deep intellectual ferment pioneered by the Princeton scholar Peter Singer.

I'd be [marginally] impressed by this if people's rights were universally respected and protected. In the absence of that situation, animals have the right to be food or anything else people need of them. As for Singer, he's a gibbering misanthropic nitwit, Lord only knows why Princeton gives him an income and platform for his completely unethical ethics.

Free-Range Trichinosis - IS free-range pork better and safer to eat than conventional pork? Many consumers think so. The well-publicized horrors of intensive pig farming have fostered the widespread assumption that, as one purveyor of free-range meats put it, “the health benefits are indisputable.” However, as yet another reminder that culinary wisdom is never conventional, scientists have found that free-range pork can be more likely than caged pork to carry dangerous bacteria and parasites. It’s not only pistachios and 50-pound tubs of peanut paste that have been infected with salmonella but also 500-pound pigs allowed to root and to roam pastures happily before butting heads with a bolt gun.

The study published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease that brought these findings to light last year sampled more than 600 pigs in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. It discovered not only higher rates of salmonella in free-range pigs (54 percent versus 39 percent) but also greater levels of the pathogen toxoplasma (6.8 percent versus 1.1 percent) and, most alarming, two free-range pigs that carried the parasite trichina (as opposed to zero for confined pigs). For many years, the pork industry has been assuring cooks that a little pink in the pork is fine. Trichinosis, which can be deadly, was assumed to be history.

Agricultural scientists have long known that even meticulously managed free-range environments subject farm animals to a spectrum of infection. This study, though, brings us closer to a more concrete idea of why the free-range option can pose a heightened health threat to consumers. Just a little time outdoors increases pigs’ interaction with rats and other wildlife and even with domesticated cats, which can carry transmittable diseases, as well as contact with moist soil, where pathogens find an environment conducive to growth. The natural dangers that motivated farmers to bring animals into tightly controlled settings in the first place haven’t gone away. (New York Times)

U.S. Food Safety No Longer Improving - WASHINGTON — After decades of steady progress, the safety of the nation’s food supply has not improved over the past three years, the government reported Thursday. And, it said, in the case of salmonella, the dangerous bacteria recently found in peanuts and pistachios, infections may be creeping upward.

The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demonstrates that the nation’s food safety system, created when most foods were grown, prepared and consumed locally, needs a thorough overhaul to regulate an increasingly global food industry, top government health officials said Thursday.

“The system needs to be modernized to address the challenges and changes of the globalization of the food supply and rapid distribution chains,” said Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration. “F.D.A. needs to do more inspections.”

Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the agency’s food center, agreed. “As supply chains get longer and longer,” Dr. Sundlof said, “there’s more opportunity to introduce contaminants that have a public health effect.” (New York Times)

An Activist Tea Party to Reverse Founding Principles - When activist groups recently held a “reverse tea party”—dumping bottled water into the Boston Harbor—their goal was not to dilute the harbor. Instead it was to dilute free enterprise by protesting “water privatization” and to secure taxpayer dollars to fix problems related to government-provided tap water.

In essence, the protesters seek the reverse of what the founders offered in their forward-thinking tea party, which fought government controls that impede human progress. And unlike the fight for liberty, this regressive agenda won’t do much to help anyone, as it is based on many fallacies. (Angela Logomasini, Townhall)

House push for national database of arsonists - As a federal prosecutor, Adam Schiff struggled to tie an arson suspect to a string of fires in California's San Bernardino National Forest.

But then authorities stumbled across a file showing the man had set fires using the same modus operandi years earlier. Once the accused was confronted with the evidence, he pleaded guilty.

Today, Schiff, a Democratic congressman from Glendale (Los Angeles County), uses the story to make the case for legislation that would set up a national system for tracking convicted arsonists, an arsonists' version of the sex offenders' registry.

Had such a system been in place when Schiff worked on the arson case - providing the names, addresses, fingerprints and photographs of arsonists and their methods for starting fires - "we may have been able to stop him before he committed several later fires," the congressman said.

With another fire season looming, Schiff is making a push to pass the Managing Arson Through Criminal History, or MATCH Act.

The bill is one of a spate of measures aimed at reducing the threat of wildfires. (Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times)

April 9, 2009

Just gets worse and worse... Obama looks at climate engineering - WASHINGTON  - The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

"It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table."

Holdren outlined several "tipping points" involving global warming that could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.

Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

At first, Holdren characterized the potential need to technologically tinker with the climate as just his personal view. However, he went on to say he has raised it in administration discussions. (Associated Press)

CHIEF Mad Scientist Alert! (Skeptics Corner)

Obama "flexible" on climate legislation - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will be flexible about climate change legislation moving through Congress, the White House said on Wednesday, indicating some wiggle room on a demand for full auctioning of carbon emissions permits to industry.

"The President has asked Congress to send him comprehensive energy legislation that would spur a transition to a clean energy economy, create thousands of green jobs, and wean us of our dependence on foreign oil," spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

"Members of Congress are looking at a variety of policy options to help us make that transition, and the administration will be flexible during the policymaking process as long as those larger goals are met."

Obama is pushing for the creation of a cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions blamed for heating the earth. (Reuters)

U.S. Plays Down Hopes At Climate Talks - BONN - U.S. negotiators tried to dampen expectations on Wednesday of rapid progress on climate change after President Barack Obama vowed new U.S. leadership, on the closing day of U.N. talks in Bonn.

The 11-day meeting was the latest in a series meant to help prepare a deal to be sealed in Copenhagen in December to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

Obama vowed U.S. leadership on climate change on a trip to Europe last week, raising hopes.

But in Bonn, Germany, the reality was complex negotiations with fewer than nine months left to sign a global deal to curb man-made climate change, and U.S. officials stressed how hard the job was.

"The negotiations are just starting, this is a complicated subject," said the new U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, Jonathan Pershing.

"The simple headline that temperatures are rising captures the public imagination as it ought, but the difficulties, complexities, the nuance of what you do about it requires a great deal of time, energy and sophistication." (Reuters)

Sorry, But The Science Is Never 'Settled' - President Obama has said that the science of global warming is "beyond dispute," and therefore settled.

This is the justification for the imposition of a carbon cap-and-trade system that will cost $2 trillion.

But Obama does not understand science.

"Settled science" is an oxymoron, and anyone who characterizes science as "settled" or "indisputable" is ignorant not only of science, but also history and philosophy.

Aristotle, who lived and wrote in the fourth century B.C., was one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known.

He invented the discipline of logic, and founded the sciences of ecology and biology.

Aristotle's physics were accepted as correct for nearly two thousand years. In 1534, faculty at the University of Paris officially asserted that the works of Aristotle were "the standard and basis of all philosophic enquiry." (David Deming, IBD)

Medieval Warm Period Rediscovered - A recent article in the journal Science has provided a new, detailed climate record for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), also know as the Medieval Warm Period. It was the most recent pre-industrial warm period, noted in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The researchers present a 947-year-long multi-decadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) reconstruction and find a persistent positive NAO during the MCA. The interesting thing is that the MCA had basically been removed from the climate record by Michael Mann's infamous “hockey stick” history graph that was adopted by the IPCC a decade ago. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

Livestock are carbon sinks – van der Lingen - I hope that other readers can make sense of Hocking's letter, because, frankly, I can't.

My original article argued that cattle and sheep do not contribute to an increase in greenhouse gases but, to the contrary, are carbon sinks. Hocking seems to agree with most of what I am saying. So what is he arguing about?

New Zealand so far is the only country that wants to include agriculture in an emissions trading scheme. This contrasts with the United States, where farmers can claim carbon credits from growing grass (which was one of the elements of the carbon loop in figure 1 in my original article-see above).

From reading Hocking's two letters, he seems to believe in catastrophic man-made global warming. It is difficult to counter beliefs with factual arguments. However, there are a few points in Hocking's letter that warrant some comments.

Hocking uses some of the usual hoary old chestnuts trotted out by global warming alarmists against so-called climate sceptics.  (Gerrit van der Lingen, Country-Wide)

Brown's electric dream for Britain - Exclusive: PM reveals plans to create first 'green' cities geared towards electric cars in drive to create 400,000 new jobs

Gordon Brown has promised an environmentally friendly Budget later this month to kick start a "green recovery" – including the mass introduction of electric cars on Britain's roads.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Prime Minister trailed measures to make Britain "a world leader" in producing and exporting electric cars, hybrid petrol-electric vehicles and lighter cars using less petrol. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, will announce in his Budget that trials for electric cars in two or three cities will begin next year. Councils will be invited to bid to become Britain's first "green cities". The Government will open talks with power companies to ensure the vehicles can have their batteries recharged at a national network of power points at the roadside.

Mr Darling will also set a target of creating 400,000 jobs in "green industries" over the next five years. (The Independent)

Is the Electric Car Gordon’s Golden Bullet? - The British Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, has had another bright idea: he is dreaming of a place somewhere over the rainbow, A Land of Electric Cars. But can this Wizard of Oz deliver, or is this yet another blustering, empty gesture? Is the electric car The Great Gordo’s ‘golden bullet’? (Clamour Of The Times)

The Limitations of Human Control and Memory - I have been amazed by the range of intelligent people who have expressed surprise to me at the Italian earthquake in the Abruzzo. One said only today: “I never thought of Italy as a region of serious earthquakes.” This is quite extraordinary when you consider the large number of earthquakes that inflict Italy, some leading to significant destruction and serious loss of life. Just recall the earthquake, 6.9 on the Richter Scale, that struck Irpinia, near Naples, on November 23, 1980, killing nearly 3,000 people. Then again, there were the 5.6 and 6.0 earthquakes which hit Umbria and Le Marche in September, 1997, infamously damaging the Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi, and some of its renowned frescoes, and the 5.9 earthquake that affected Puglia in October, 2002, killing 28 people. Yet further, of course, above the Bay of Naples, rises that seminal iconic image, the louring cone of Mt. Vesuvius, which so famously erupted in 79AD engulfing the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii, suffocating, burning, and burying around 3,360 people, a massive death toll in percentage terms, granted the population levels of the day. (Clamour Of The Times)

New Climate Change Web Site Promises to be ‘Eco-News on Steroids’ – An environmental news Web site that creators say will be “the most comprehensive information center for climate and energy news and information,” launched Wednesday.

“ClimateDepot.com,” which is owned by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), is intended to an information clearinghouse featuring investigative reports alongside policy briefs aimed at lawmakers, teachers, parents, and the general public, according to its managing editor, Marc Morano.

“The purpose is to provide the American people and, frankly, the international community with an alternative to the mainstream media and the environmental pablum they serve up to their viewers and readers every single day,” Morano told CNSNews.com.

Morano said that the Web site wouldn’t be “just another home” for climate change skeptics – it would expose readers to the entire spectrum of climate change debate.”

The Web site will feature links to former Vice President Al Gore’s global warming blog, as well as to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the world’s premier proponent of “anthropogenic” (man-made) global warming.

“What we’re trying to do is offer people a counter (weight),” he said.

“The site will also offer research and environmental news that questions the theory of man-made “global warming.” (CNSNews.com)

Climate Progress's Romm Responds Unkindly to NewsBusters - After getting wiped all over the floor by Marc Morano in a March 27 global warming debate, and responding by childishly forbidding any articles of Morano's be linked at his Climate Progress blog, Joe Romm has set his sights on NewsBusters.

In an article hysterically titled "Newbusters jumps the shark (if that’s possible) in its attack on my truthful statement “windpower now generates more jobs in this country than coal mining," Romm took issue with some statements I made about his debate performance in my April 3 piece. (Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters)

The Butterfly Effect - The ‘global warming’ Bunnies have got the butterflies. Unfortunately for them (and for everybody else, I might add), the last two British summers have been pretty dreadful, being cold and very wet. This has also been a bit of a downer for a number of our native butterfly species:

“Numbers are at a new low according to data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, and the miserable British weather is said to be a key factor. Wet conditions limit the insects’ ability to fly and find food, and also hamper the creatures’ breeding success. Butterfly Conservation says that for 12 species, 2008 was their worst year since records began in the mid-1970s.”

Not quite what the global warming models had in mind, I think! Remember the brouhaha over the hot summer of 1998! Yet, as ever, the story is not all bad news: (Clamour Of The Times)

The jury is still out on warming - I have noticed an interesting and consistent media phenomenon: Virtually no airtime or other coverage is given to the idea that maybe, just maybe, global warming is not occurring. Or if it is occurring, it is not mankind’s fault but rather is the result of natural phenomena. It is always presented as accepted fact, axiomatic really, that it is true, it is bad and mankind is largely responsible. Me? I’m not sure.

The global warming issue is complex, but I believe the key questions can be boiled down to these four:

1. Do we live in an era of global warming?

2. If so, is it mostly man-made?

3. If so, should such a moderate temperature increase bother us more than other pressing problems?

4. If we want to change the climate, can it be done? And would our efforts be the best allocation of our always scarce resources? (Bob Roper, Columbia daily Tribune)

ERRATA STATEMENT - On March 30th I sent out a column titled “Now CO2 Is Declining Along With Temperatures.” The column contained an obvious misstatement of the real data trend in atmospheric CO2, which is still rising. We issued a “hold” on the column within hours, and the next day substituted a corrected column.

Unfortunately, some websites had already published the column. Apparently a few newspapers did not connect the retraction with the column, and so unwittingly misled their readers, publishing the original column up to a week later. Most ran the corrected column.

The error was caused by my attempt to be “first” in pointing out a new correlation. I was wrong about it. In fact, Hudson’s role is not to be “first” but to focus on long-term perspectives in the climate change field, such as the moderate, natural 1,500-year climate cycle and the historic expansions and contractions in sea ice and glaciers over centuries. That’s why we have always waited for peer-reviewed publication of climate data. I deeply apologize for the errors in the March 30th column, and will henceforth return my focus to the long-term perspectives.

Dennis T. Avery
Hudson Institute

CAS doing a 'Capricorn 1'? Catlin Arctic Survey website recycles biotelemetry data? - Something quite odd is going on at the Catlin Arctic Survey website:

It appears that they are presenting recycled data from the biotelemetry sensors on the team. The “live from the ice” biotelemetry data for each team member is presented here: (Watts Up With That?)

The 800 Pound Gorilla in the Climate System - The issue of global warming has so many facets that it has always been difficult to concisely state the objections we skeptics have to the theory (yes, ‘theory’) that our present warmth is caused by all of you consumers out there driving your SUVs and eating Big Macs. What follows is a demonstration of my main objection. (Roy W. Spencer)

Has the climate recently shifted? - “Has the climate recently shifted?” is the title of a just-published paper in Geophysical Research Letters by researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their examination of this topic was undoubtedly prompted by the recent behavior of global temperature which shows that the rate of warming has dramatically slowed during the past 7-12 years.

Updating a methodology that they had previously developed and used to identify several changes in the climate state that occurred during the 20th century, Swanson and Tsonis examined the temperature data from recent years to see if another state change had taken place:

Here, a new and improved means to quantify the coupling between climate modes confirms that another synchronization of these modes, followed by an increase in coupling occurred in 2001/02. This suggests that a break in the global mean temperature trend from the consistent warming over the 1976/77–2001/02 period may have occurred.

In other words, the authors think that they have identified another in a string of break points that signal a change in the general state of the earth’s climate.

Polar Ice Worries - North and South - Guest post by Steven Goddard

From The Washington Post :

Norway’s foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere, painted a stark picture of the climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. “The ice is melting,” Stoere said. “We should all be worried.”

According to the University of Illinois, Antarctic sea ice area is nearly 30% above normal and the anomaly has reached 1,000,000 km2. You could almost fit Texas and California (or 250 Rhode Islands) inside Antarctica’s excess sea ice. (Watts Up With That?)

Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming -- Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.

Emitted by natural and human sources, aerosols can directly influence climate by reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation. The small particles also affect climate indirectly by seeding clouds and changing cloud properties, such as reflectivity.

A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience. (PhysOrg.com)

All predicated on the idiot 'storylines' output by GCMs: Climate change to spur rapid shifts in wildfire hotspots -- Climate change will bring about major shifts in worldwide fire patterns, and those changes are coming fast, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with scientists at Texas Tech University. (PhysOrg.com)

Climate change is too big a problem to be left to the environmentalists - The environmental movement does not have sufficient public support to secure action on the scale needed – charities, churches, schools, the health sector, unions can all play their part (Stephen Hale, The Guardian)

Ma and Pa solutions to global warming - The prairies offer opportunities for capitalizing on environmentally friendly farming practices and potentially useful agricultural waste to produce jobs, economic growth, commercial opportunities, and renewable energy sources, according to a perspective article published in the current issue of the International Journal of Private Law.

In the Nude Socialist, cooling = warming too: Has global warming really stopped? - According to some records of past temperatures there has been no significant surface warming between 1998 and 2008.

"Now the world is COOLING!" the bloggers scream. As if this means we can all stop worrying about global warming.

I am not sure how anyone who takes even a brief look at records of past surface air temperatures for themselves can jump to such conclusions. It's blindingly obvious that even when there's a long-term warming trend, over shorter periods temperatures may fall.

There was also no significant warming trend from between 1977 and 1985, or between 1981 and 1989 - and those periods certainly weren't the end of global warming. Now, as if more evidence were needed, two climate scientists have produced more data showing that the current lull in no way contradicts the fact that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing long-term warming. (New Scientist)

Carbon bonuses could determine development of a low-carbon economy - National Grid managers to earn bonuses for hitting carbon and financial targets, an initiative which may spread throughout industry and Whitehall

Bonuses are wrong, right? If our journey over the economic precipice has taught us anything, it is that bonus schemes promote reckless risk taking, create perverse incentives and breed resentment. Your financial reward is your salary, the bonus is keeping your job.

Or was it the scale and structure of the turbo-charged bonuses given to incompetent bankers that created the testosterone-fuelled culture that preceded the crash? Modest bonuses paid out when tangible targets are achieved motivate employees and represent a proven mechanism for sharing the rewards of a well-executed strategy.

It is hardly news that the resolution of this debate will reshape the financial sector over the next few years, but it could also determine the pace at which a low-carbon economy develops. (James Murray, The Guardian)

White House seeks consumer aid in climate plan - WASHINGTON - A portion of the revenue from any U.S. system capping carbon emissions must go toward softening the impact of higher energy prices on consumers, a White House official said on Wednesday.

Joseph Aldy, special assistant to the president for energy and the environment, said building a clean energy economy will not be easy.

"There will be those who are going to be vulnerable as we make this transition and ... we need to actually target the allowance value and revenues to those households, communities, and businesses," Aldy said at an Energy Information Administration forum.

President Barack Obama's budget proposal called on Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill that would auction 100 percent of carbon permits, essentially forcing companies to pay quickly for their emissions. (Reuters)

Yeah? Here's a better plan: don't tax energy to begin with.

Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead - The Obama administration wants to reduce oil consumption, increase renewable energy supplies and cut carbon dioxide emissions in the most ambitious transformation of energy policy in a generation.

But the world’s oil giants are not convinced that it will work. Even as Washington goes into a frenzy over energy, many of the oil companies are staying on the sidelines, balking at investing in new technologies favored by the president, or even straying from commitments they had already made.

Royal Dutch Shell said last month that it would freeze its research and investments in wind, solar and hydrogen power, and focus its alternative energy efforts on biofuels. The company had already sold much of its solar business and pulled out of a project last year to build the largest offshore wind farm, near London.

BP, a company that has spent nine years saying it was moving “beyond petroleum,” has been getting back to petroleum since 2007, paring back its renewable program. And American oil companies, which all along have been more skeptical of alternative energy than their European counterparts, are studiously ignoring the new messages coming from Washington.

“In my view, nothing has really changed,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, said after the election of President Obama.

“We don’t oppose alternative energy sources and the development of those. But to hang the future of the country’s energy on those alternatives alone belies reality of their size and scale.” (New York Times)

U.N. Climate Talks Threaten Our Survival: Saudi Arabia - BONN - United Nations climate talks threaten Saudi Arabia's economic survival and the kingdom wants support for any shift from fossil fuels to other energy sources such as solar power, its lead climate negotiator said.

Contrasting interests of different countries are challenging faltering climate talks, meant to forge by December a new global deal in Copenhagen to curb man-made climate change.

Small island states say their survival is threatened by rising seas. But Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, says it could suffer from any pact which curbs oil demand by penalizing carbon emissions.

"It's a matter of survival for us, also. So we are among the most vulnerable countries, economically," Mohammad Al Sabban told Reuters on the fringes of talks which end on Wednesday, after the latest in a series of meetings meant to thrash out a deal to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. (Reuters)

Green groups want Shell oil sands permits rescinded - CALGARY, Alberta - Canadian environmental groups asked regulators on Wednesday to rescind approvals for part of a $13.7 billion expansion of Royal Dutch Shell Plc's oil sands project, alleging the company backed off promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Oil Sands Environmental Coalition -- which includes the Pembina Institute, the Toxics Watch Society of Alberta and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association -- say Shell has broken a negotiated agreement to significantly cut the output of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide from an expansion of its Muskeg River and Jackpine oil sands mines in northern Alberta.

The coalition is asking the Canadian government and Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board, who jointly approved the project, to reconsider their ruling through a new public hearing because Shell's promise was a factor in the decision. (Reuters)

Nano is eco-friendly, India tells the world - BONN: The prospect of Nano, the world’s cheapest car, clogging Indian roads and raising emission levels has figured in the ongoing global discourse on a new climate change deal.

Shyam Saran, special envoy to PM Manmohan Singh, pooh-poohed the suggestion that people in developing countries should not aspire to own cars. “This is not saleable,’’ Saran said on Tuesday , adding that India sought to deal with climate change without compromising on its developmental needs.

Responding to questions from mediapersons, Saran said Nano was one of the most fuel-efficient cars and its entry into the market would not divert India from its focus on developing mass transport systems as sustainable development. (Times of India)

Japan Solar Subsidies Lure Fewer Users Than Planned - TOKYO - Japan's subsidies for home solar panels have attracted far fewer applicants than planned, industry data showed on Wednesday, underscoring the likelihood of bold government steps to promote solar power. (Reuters)

Government urged to act now to save offshore wind ambitions - Industry warns that financial crisis will leave UK with no hope of meeting renewables targets unless urgent action is taken to strengthen economic case for wind energy projects (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

But is there a legitimate economic case for wind generation?

Wind industry slams "pitiful" planning delays - Wind farm proposals are still waiting an average of a year to receive planning decision (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Wind power is a complete disaster - There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone). (Michael J. Trebilcock, Financial Post)

Where's the Fire? - The first time Tom Kiklas saw an electronic cigarette, he recalls, "I couldn't stand it … I thought, 'I don't want to be involved in this.' I'm an anti-smoking kind of guy."

But after Kiklas realized that electronic cigarettes, a.k.a. e-cigarettes, deliver nicotine without tobacco or combustion products, thereby eliminating virtually all of the health hazards associated with smoking, he was comfortable becoming media relations director for inLife, one of the companies that sell the devices in the United States. Unfortunately, many anti-smoking activists and public health officials are stuck in that first stage of visceral antipathy toward anything that resembles cigarettes, an emotional reaction that could prove deadly for smokers.

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a bill that authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. Lest anyone think that cigarettes will be safer as a result, the bill prohibits manufacturers from mentioning FDA regulation, saying, "consumers are likely to be confused and misled" if they know about it.

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill, which the Senate will consider later this year, are demanding that the FDA ban e-cigarettes, a potentially life-saving alternative for smokers, as unauthorized drug delivery devices. Last month, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who brags that he is "one of the Senate's leaders in protecting Americans from the dangers of smoking," urged the FDA to take e-cigarettes off the market "until they are proven safe." The next day, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded Lautenberg's position. (Jacob Sullum, Townhall)

Desk jobs making more people obese, study finds - NICOSIA - Desk jobs are increasing obesity, with many employees and employers ignorant of the risks of sitting down all day, researchers said on Wednesday.

"Obesity is an epidemic, rising at troubling proportions," said John S. Evans, a senior lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health in the United States.

The School, which cooperates with the Cyprus International Institute for the Environment and Public Health, said a link between obesity and conditions in the workplace was growing.

"As the workplace becomes our second home, our traditional diets have been swapped for fast food that is high in saturates," said Evans, one of the researchers.

Two billion people worldwide will be overweight by 2015, and more than 700 million will be obese, according to the researchers, whose EU-funded study examined exercise and working habits across the European Union. (Reuters)

A Crisis That Obama Won't Waste - This economic crisis is too useful for Obama to want it to end. When Rahm Emanuel -- and later Hillary Clinton -- spoke of never letting a good crisis "go to waste," many people were shocked. But now Obama seems to embody the corollary: that the crisis should continue until he has thoroughly milked it to reshape American politics, society and the economy.

As with Faust, it seems that this "given moment ... he wishes to endure forever." Unlike Faust, however, he will not lose his "life and soul" to such a wish. He'll sacrifice ours, instead. (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, Townhall)

Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics - President Obama says the economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Actually, it is the worst since the Reagan recession of 1982-83. Further, the 2009 market crash is not the worst since 1929 but since 1987—also on Ronald Reagan’s watch.

What did Reagan do—or, more importantly, didn’t do—in response to these “crises?” How was Ronald Reagan’s response different from what Barack Obama is doing?

In both cases, Reagan did the exact opposite of Obama’s massive government spending infusions. In fact, it’s worth noting that Bill Clinton—listen up, Democrats—didn’t invoke Obama’s method when he faced recessions at the very start and end of his presidency. (That’s another article for another time.) (Dr. Paul Kengor, Townhall)

The Second French Revolution - Every old ideological conflict eventually becomes new again. So it is with today’s battle between the forces of socialism, called “fairness” by its advocates, and the forces of capitalism, labeled “liberty” by its supporters. What we are witnessing is an ancient struggle between those who believe in the rights of the individual and those who believe in a sort of “general will.” Those of conservative bent ardently hope for a second American Revolution; those of the left wish desperately for a second French Revolution.

This is not mere rhetoric. Look at the history of the first American Revolution, and you will see the fundamental principles that animate Rush Limbaugh; look at the history of the first French Revolution, and you will see the spirit that animates President Barack Obama. (Ben Shapiro, Townhall)

The Moral Sentiments of Capitalism - Economic conservatives have aggressively opposed President Obama’s agenda to radically expand government, financed by deficits that run into the trillions. If social conservatives want to protect America’s families and social values, they must join with fiscal conservatives to oppose President Obama and reverse America’s culture of debt. (Ken Blackwell, Townhall)

Government Deception - Most Americans accept the continuing attack on tobacco companies and smokers, but how do they feel about the massive government deception? In 1998, 46 state attorneys general and major tobacco companies signed the Master Settlement Agreement. The major tobacco companies agreed, among other things, to give states $240 billion over 25 years to provide for smoking cessation programs and cover the health costs associated with using their product. In return state attorneys general promised tobacco companies that they wouldn't sue them and would use their lawmaking power to protect the major tobacco companies from competition from small tobacco companies. Of the $80 billion extorted so far, states have spent about 30 percent on health, not all tobacco-related, and less than 6 percent on smoking cessation programs. Instead, state legislatures spent the bulk of their tobacco money for items such as museum building, tax relief, rainy-day funds and other expenditures having nothing to do with tobacco or health. (Walter E. Williams, Townhall)

Obama's Bailout for the Despots - It's President Obama's worst bailout so far. He's going to rescue the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Now admittedly, the council wasn't on the verge of going out of business. Heck, if there were a nuclear war, the pinstriped thugs of the United Nations' "human rights" bureaucracy would probably be all that's left to keep the cockroaches company.

But although the effete goons of the UNHRC aren't going bankrupt, Obama has bailed them out in another way. He's given the repugnant cabal that dominates the council a fresh injection of political capital. (Jonah Goldberg, Townhall)

One Down, Six to Go! - Oh the Worries of Our Modern Malthusians! In Washington this week, the Anarctica and Arctic Councils met for the first time. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used the occasion to discuss the problems that global warming was “causing” in these areas. Among the myriad disasters is the possibility that the region’s energy resources will become available and that an all-year passage around the pole might open.

As I recall my history, European explorers spent centuries searching for a Northwest Passage. Given the massive increases in global trade, the efficiencies that this would provide could give our flagging global economy a significant boost – and reduce energy use also. And increasing access to new secure energy reserves (especially given that Norwegian and Alaskan activities have already shown we can extract such resources safely) would do much to address energy security concerns. But to our Modern Malthusians, these are problems!

As I remember geography there were seven continents – North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, and Anarctica. Since humanity never reached the latter continent, it had no real defenders and, thus, in 1959, the global Antarctic Treaty, transformed it forever into a ward of the United Nations. The treaty suggests the global goals of our Modern Malthusians.

There is a total ban on economic activity, even though continental drift over the eons has meant that Anarctica might well have extensive fossil fuel reserves. The treaty forbids almost all economic activities but does authorize residency by “scientists.” This illustrates another bias of the left – “Research good, technology bad!” In her speech however, Hillary went further calling for tourist restrictions (so much for eco-tourism). One begins to understand – to protect the planet, we must wall it off from humanity!

An ambitious goal but one that shouldn’t be ignored. Malthusians have now captured one continent – only six to go! (Fred Smith, Cooler Heads)

'Germany's Baby-Boom Dream Has Been Shattered' - In late 2008, it looked as though Germany had finally managed to reverse its falling birthrate. New statistics, though, indicate that the opposite is true. German commentators say Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen was naive to believe otherwise.

In February, Germany's Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen was all smiles as she released her "Family Report 2009." The report indicated that 2008 saw a rise in the German birthrate -- good news in a country that has been suffering from a dropping number of babies for years.

Even better for von der Leyen, though, was that the numbers seemed to indicate that her family policies, pushed through in 2007, were a success. Generous payments to couples who took time off work to have children seemed to be having the desired effect.

The problem, though, is that the mother of seven's report only used data for January through September 2008. On Tuesday, though, the German Federal Statistical Office released preliminary figures for all of 2008, and the news is not pretty. Rather than the heralded rise in births, 2008 saw a 1.1 percent drop in the birthrate -- or 8,000 fewer children for a country already worried about its growing demographic crisis.

German commentators on Wednesday criticized von der Leyen for her premature triumphalism and said her policies didn't go far enough. (Der Spiegel)

Pavement sealcoat a source of toxins in stormwater runoff - Driveways and parking lots may look better with a layer of sealcoat applied to the pavement, but the water running off the surface into nearby streams will be carrying more than just oxygen and hydrogen molecules. New research conducted at the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center (UNHSC) indicates that sealcoat may contribute to increasingly significant amounts of polyaromatic hydrocarbons entering waterways from stormwater runoff. (University of New Hampshire)

Reserves found to be 'effective tool' for reducing fires in Brazilian rainforests - Rainforest reserves - even those disturbed by roads - provide an important buffer against fires that are devastating parts of the Brazilian Amazon, according to a new study by a trio of researchers at Duke University published April 8 in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

April 8, 2009

Hey lookit! Moonbat's offering a non-prize!

Pure rubbish: Christopher Booker Prize 2009
George Monbiot's blog

Nominate any single article, statement, lecture, film or interview which you think misrepresents or distorts information about climate change. This work must be available online. One point is given for every mistake made in our opinion, though one point will be deducted for every retraction or correction published by the author or the original outlet within a reasonable period of time.

Please use the field below to make your nominations and remember to add a link to the specific article. Nominations will remain open until 31 December 2009. There are no prizes for readers nominating pieces for the Christopher Booker prize.

We reckon we can do a lot better than that!

I haven't spoken to Steve yet but I'm pretty sure I can talk him out of an autographed copy of Green Hell for a winning entry posted here (we'll open a poll to vote for the best, eh?).

Our only condition is that your nomination must also be submitted via The Guardian's form.

Now, George's criteria "any single article, statement, lecture, film or interview which you think misrepresents or distorts information about climate change. This work must be available online." gives you a pretty wide field, although the IPCC's AR4 appears to be excluded under the "single article" clause so that's out, maybe algore's books & multimedia presentations too.

Whatever, see what gorebull warming nonsense you can find to nominate.

Let's give George & The Groaniad a hand.

Just post your nominations as a reply to this item (you may have to self-register on the forum if you haven't already)

Forecaster lowers Atlantic hurricane prediction - MIAMI – Citing cooler seas and the prospect of a weak El Nino, Colorado State University's hurricane team lowered its 2009 Atlantic forecast on Tuesday to 12 tropical storms, of which six could become hurricanes.

The research team, founded by storm forecasting pioneer William Gray, said the season could see two "major" hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale. Hurricanes of that magnitude have sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour).

In its December forecast, the CSU team predicted 14 storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes in the 2009 season, which begins on June 1 and lasts six months.

The researchers said sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean had cooled in recent months. Hurricanes draw energy from warm sea water, so cooler water could diminish hurricane activity.

In addition, the eastern Pacific Ocean could see the current weak La Nina conditions change to neutral, or even weak El Nino, by June, the researchers said. El Nino is a warm water phenomenon that can suppress Atlantic hurricane formation. (Reuters)

EU: Earth Warming Faster - OSLO/BONN - Global warming is likely to overshoot a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) rise seen by the European Union and many developing nations as a trigger for "dangerous" change, a Reuters poll of scientists showed on Tuesday.

Nine of 11 experts, who were among authors of the final summary by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 (IPCC), also said the evidence that mankind was to blame for climate change had grown stronger in the past two years.

Giving personal views of recent research, most projected on average a faster melt of summer ice in the Arctic and a quicker rise in sea levels than estimated in the 2007 report, the most authoritative overview to date drawing on work by 2,500 experts.

"A lot of the impacts we're seeing are running ahead of our expectations," said William Hare of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (Reuters)

Greenpeace is getting quite a return on investment "loaning" Bill Hare to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (which means they continue to pay his wages while he propagandizes from within the Potsdam Institute).

So, where enhanced greenhouse effect is supposed to be most obvious, warming is, well, uh, negligible, actually. The 2 major satellite analyses suggest 0.3-0.5 °C/Century (if the 30-year trend held that long). The enhanced greenhouse hypothesis insists this warming is greater than enhanced greenhouse warming experienced at the planet's surface. Solar and ocean watchers both tend to suggest we are in for a decade or three of cooling trends. Meanwhile the Reuters-selected group of futurists and ball gazers doubt warming can be constrained to a couple of degrees...

Scientist Links Melting Polar Ice to Greenhouse Effect but His Group's Own Research Shows Otherwise - A scientist who tracks levels of ice and snow in the Arctic Ocean told CNSNews.com Monday that there is a “correlation” between the receding ice in the Arctic Sea and man-made global warming caused by the greenhouse effect.

But Dr. Walter Meier, a cryosphere scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo., admits he can’t prove that the link is cause-and-effect. (CNSNews.com)

Kids' comp 'is climate change propaganda' - LIBERAL Senator Cory Bernardi has accused Climate Change Minister Penny Wong of pushing "extreme propaganda" on the nation's schoolchildren.

Senator Bernardi, who does not disguise his view that man-made climate change is a myth, has attacked a new climate change awareness competition for schoolchildren launched by Senator Wong yesterday.

The competition "Think Climate, Think Change," asks students in years 3 to 9 to use short stories, poems and art work to answer the question "what does climate change mean to me?"

First prize is a trip for two to Canberra (the winner and a parent), a Nintendo Wii console, sports kit and Wii Fit pack, and books for the winner's school.

Senator Bernardi slammed the competition.

"Encouraging children to look after the environment is laudable aim but this seems to have more in common with the ministry of propaganda than the balanced education of our children," he told AdelaideNow.

"One can only guess that the only children eligible to win this competition will be those who conform to the Rudd Government and Minister Wong's extreme political propaganda about climate change.

"I doubt the competition materials will include any discussion of how the Rudd Government ETS (emissions trading scheme) will export Australian industry overseas and result in hundreds of thousands of job losses for Australian workers." (The Advertiser)

Interesting to see this in The Guardian: The threat to the Amazon rainforest should not be overstated - Highlighting only the most catastrophic scenarios could backfire, say Yadvinder Malhi and Oliver Phillips

Your article stated that "global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon" (Too late to save Amazon forest from catastrophe, climate experts warn, 12 March). "Even under the most optimistic climate-change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is 'irreversible'," you reported.

As representatives of a UK-wide community of scientists which has been studying the impacts of climate change on the Amazon rainforest for over a decade, we believe the article greatly overstated the inevitability of severe forest dieback.

You reported a study which "used computer models to investigate how the Amazon would respond to future temperature rises". But it was based on just one computer model (admittedly, one of the better ones), from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, which makes a more pessimistic prediction than almost all other climate models. Most climate models substantially underestimate the current rainfall in Amazonia, so it does not take much extra drying to simulate the disappearance of the forest. The representation of vegetation in these models is also rather simple compared with modern ecological understanding, and may be oversensitive to temperature increase. (The Guardian)

So, they're hoping for the gorebull warming summer drought we were warned about... Conservationists hope a hot summer will rescue British butterflies - Two cool and wet summers in a row have left butterfly numbers at their lowest for more than a quarter of a century.

One species, the high brown fritillary, has almost died out in Britain and several others have suffered dramatic slumps.

For a dozen species, last year was the worst on record and conservationists fear that they could suffer long-term damage if there is a third dire summer this year.

Even butterflies that were once common garden visitors, such as orange-tips and the small tortoiseshell, are among those to have suffered significant declines.

The weather has had such an impact because heavy rain, of which there was plenty in the summers of 2007 and 2008, prevents butterflies from flying to find mates or to reach the flowers that supply them with nectar. Similarly, butterflies need the Sun in order to become fully active.

Several species, especially those that rely on specific types of habitat, have been in decline for years and the bad weather has intensified the pressure already on them from habitat loss and other human impacts. Cooler conditions makes it harder for them to become active. (The Times)

Analysis of Australian Temperature - Part 2 - For all new readers, please read Analysis of Australian Temperature - Part 1 first.

Part 2: What is interesting in the analysis done in Part 1, might not have been that 44% of all warming in Australia is accounted for, simply by a better mathematical method of analysing the data, but rather the variations in the temperature throughout the day as shown below: (Gust of Hot Air)

TERI and IMF Join Hands to Encourage Glacier Studies in India - The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and IMF (Indian Mountaineering Foundation) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to study, preserve and safeguard the Himalayan glaciers under the National Mission of Sustaining the Himalayan Eco- system (NAPCC). Present on the occasion were Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Director- General TERI, Prof. Syed Iqbal Hasnain, Padmashri and Senior Fellow TERI and Major HPS Ahluwalia, President IMF among other distinguished guests. (Business Wire India)

William Yeatman feels left out: DeSmogBlog: What About Me?

Yesterday DeSmogBlog added 7 more entries to its Global Warming Denier Database, which is touted as “an extensive database of individuals involved in the global warming denial industry.”

I took a look at the Database, and I am outraged. Why I am I not on the list!!?? (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

If it makes William feel any better, I'm not either. Steve is, with some imaginative prose and a cute "Information on the funders for Steve Milloy's websites JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com is not accessible." Well duh! We don't and can't publish your individual contributions and it hardly suits the smog's cause to cite Google advertising and Amazon sales commissions as funders of the evil denier machine, now does it? And all that big money backing? Come out, come out, wherever you are... my wife really wants a word with you.

Meanwhile:

Please support JunkScience.com



Donate US$25 or more and get a free gift
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Debate Loser Romm: No More Morano Posts at Climate Progress - In today's That's the Funniest Thing I've Ever Heard moment, the loser of March 27's global warming debate, climate alarmist extraordinaire Joe Romm, has taken his defeat like a man: he's officially banned from his Climate Progress website any articles by the victor, Marc Morano.

Attaboy, Joe!

Not only that, Romm actually made the banning official in a CP posting Tuesday (I'm not kidding): (Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters)

Battle looms over climate change legislation, with Christopher "Kit" Bond, Claire McCaskill and Dick Durbin playing key roles - WASHINGTON — With debate over climate change gaining momentum, Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., has emerged as one of Washington's biggest opponents to pro-environment legislation at the heart of President Barack Obama's first budget.

The senior Missouri senator, who began an offensive against a proposed limit on carbon emissions in February, stepped up his criticisms in the last two weeks, engineering an amendment in the Senate's $3.5 trillion budget that could throw a roadblock in front of any effort to pass climate change laws.

Under the amendment, senators who see a danger of job loss as a result of greenhouse gas regulations can hold up the bill, forcing the Senate to reach 60 votes to overturn the objection and continue debate. (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

India calls carbon tariffs protectionist - At the Bonn, Germany, UN meetings on global warming issues, India urged rich countries not to use “green” protectionism by imposing carbon tariffs on carbon-intensive products from poor countries. India’s special envoy to the talks, Shyam Saran, was quoted as saying:

“That is simply not acceptable, that is protectionism.”

“We should be very careful that we don’t start going in that direction. We welcome any kind of arrangement … where there can be a sharing of experience or best practices for any of these energy-intensive sectors.”

Earlier, China’s top climate change official had warned about possible retaliation if carbon tariffs were assessed, as was suggested by the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Sounds like this issue is shaping up as the rich against the poor, i.e., already industrialized and developed countries attempting to penalize those emerging economies dependent on energy use for their continued economic growth. (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

Rightly: India, China reject climate pact that obstructs economic growth - Bonn: India and China have told the United Nations a climate change agreement that slows down their economic growth and locks them into poverty is unacceptable to them. (IANS)

UN climate talks stall over emissions cuts by rich - AMSTERDAM — Negotiators at U.N. climate talks, buoyed by U.S. promises to lead the fight against global warming, are demanding that industrial countries pledge deeper cuts in greenhouse gases over the next decade. (AP)

Eye-roller: US Ready To Take Carbon Mantle - WASHINGTON - Steps President Barack Obama has taken on climate and clean energy have shown that the United States is getting ready to lead the world in fighting global warming, a White House official said on Tuesday.

"The administration is signaling to the rest of the world that the United States is ready to assume leadership in helping to bring the world together and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the planet," Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, told a carbon trade conference. (Reuters)

From The Chilling Effect:

The Vote that (may have) Changed the World - In a procedural vote on April 1, 2009, fifteen Democratic Senators joined all of the Republicans in defeating, for now, a climate change bill that would have allowed fast-tracking of President Obama's cap-and-tax proposal so that it could be passed as part of the current Federal budget. (Click here to see how your Senator voted.) Senator Lamar Alexander called this "the biggest vote of the year."

The bill that would have passed would probably have resembled the Waxman-Markey discussion draft of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a bill proposal designed to combat global warming by encouraging the use of "renewable" energy sources (nuclear energy providers need not apply). So it is possible to look closely at the Waxman-Markey draft to see what the Senate rejected. (Raymond Richman and Howard Richman, American Thinker)

Carbon slump threatens emission-cut goals - SINGAPORE — First, came the credit crunch and recession. Now there is a carbon price slump that may undermine one of the main ways governments have chosen to combat global warming. This is happening as Japan, the United States and other advanced economies develop plans for carbon trading based on national emissions targets. (Japan Times)

UK green companies facing cash crisis - Poll reveals frustration at government rhetoric on green new deal as firms struggle without loans or investment

More than three quarters of Britain's green energy companies are facing major financial difficulties in gaining access to loans and investment money, according to a survey by the renewable energy industry body.

Out of 39 member firms that responded to a poll by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), 32 said they were suffering from a shortage of cashflow and other problems.

The findings come just days after BP announced that it was cutting 620 of the 2,200 jobs inside its solar operation as a result of global over-production and just after G20 ministers failed to come up with any real financial push on green issues.

Philip Wolfe, director general of the REA, said the survey highlighted the need for immediate action by ministers. "Given all the rhetoric on 'Green New Deal' and 'Green Tech' it is astonishing that so far the renewables industry has received no dedicated support – even in areas that don't cost extra money," he said. (The Guardian)

Tesco's 'flights for lights' promotion – every little hurts - Supermarket's offer of air miles in exchange for low-energy light bulbs is like giving away a pack of Benson and Hedges with every Nicorette patch

I'm an optimist. And not because, as the cynics would have it, I'm actually a pessimist who's not in possession of all the facts. And despite the apocalyptic and increasingly shrill science that flows like glacial meltwater from the world's climatologists, my optimism remains.

Then I spot something that makes my head explode with eye-popping disbelief at its stupidity. This happened on Saturday when a colleague showed me the latest Tesco ad "Turn lights into flights". Yes, you read that correctly. (The Guardian)

Americas on alert for sea level rise - Climate change experts in North and South America are increasingly worried by the potentially devastating implications of higher estimates for possible sea level rises. (BBC)

Correlation of sunspots and sea level - I find this graph by David Archibald stunning. Relevant posts at climate realist websites:

The graph (in original post) shows a remarkably accurate correlation between the number of sun spots - following the approximately 11-year solar cycle - and the annual sea level rise in millimeters.

To draw it, Archibald had to calculate the "derivative" of the usual graphs showing the sea level itself, as a function of time (years).
In the real climate, the solar activity seems to influence the sea level rise. As you can see, something is usable out of the ardent & concerned writers' website: the logo.

I would bet that such a tight correlation simply cannot be a coincidence. There's no independent reason for such an accurate "11-year" cycle in the sea levels that would moreover happen to be synchronized with the sun spots. If you know about an alternative explanation of the 11-year cycles in the sea level rise, let me know: I am very curious. (The Reference Frame)

Archibald on sea level rise and solar cycles - Guest post by David Archibald (Watts Up With That?)

Say what? Earthshine reflects Earth's oceans and continents from the dark side of the moon - Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University have shown for the first time that the difference in reflection of light from the Earth's land masses and oceans can be seen on the dark side of the moon, a phenomenon known as earthshine.

The paper will be published this week, in the international journal Astrobiology.

Sally Langford from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics who conducted the study as part of her PhD, says that the brightness of the reflected earthshine varied as the Earth rotated, revealing the difference between the intense mirror-like reflections of the ocean compared to the dimmer land. (University of Melbourne)

Earthshine on the dark side of the moon? Right... Presumably they mean the sun-shaded portion of the light side of the moon, not the same at all.

Update: I sit corrected:

Dark Side of the Moon
Bad Astronomy: "That's as remote as the dark side of the Moon!"

Good astronomy: "That's as remote as the far side of the Moon!"

To astronomers "dark side" refers to the unilluminated "near side".

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

Climate Change in Copenhagen: Doom and gloom pervade an international meeting of climate alarmists in this famed city. Click on the image below to watch a video presentation of this editorial.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 690 individual scientists from 404 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Temple Hill Moss, Southeast Scotland, United Kingdom. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Solar Influence on Climate (Temperature: North America): Do North American temperatures dance to the rhythms of the sun?

Plant Growth Data:
We are in the process of revising the Plant Growth Data section of our website. Stay tuned for a major update that will be made available later this week!

Journal Reviews:
Earth's Magnetic Field and Low-Latitude Precipitation: Is there a link between them?

The Roman, Medieval and Current Warm Periods in the Northwestern Italian Alps: How did the peak warmth of the first two periods compare with that of the latter period?

Medieval Droughts of Northern Europe and Beyond: How far does "beyond" extend? ... and what does the result suggest?

Carbon and Nitrogen Storage in a Tallgrass Prairie Soil: Is it enhanced or reduced in a warmer environment?

British and Irish Seabirds: How did they fare during the "unprecedented" warming of the 20th century?

CO2 Truth-Alerts: Click here to watch short videos on various global warming topics, to embed any of our videos on your own web page, or to watch them on YouTube in a higher resolution.  (co2science.org)

Summary Of Roger A. Pielke Sr’s View Of Climate Science - I want to make sure my view of climate science is clear to those who read Climate Science and to those who comment on other weblogs. I have written on this subject before on Climate Science (e.g. see and see) and in published papers (e.g. see and see).

First, to provide some background (see also the March 19 on Climate Science) on my commitment to the environment, I have worked throughout my career to improve environmental conditions including air quality. This includes two terms on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission where we implemented the oxygenated fuels program to reduce atmospheric CO emissions from vehicles,  to mandate strict regulations on wood and coal burning in residential fireplaces and stoves, and on asbestos concentrations in the air. 

I served on Governor Romer’s Blue Ribbon Committee to develop approaches to reduce diesel emissions into the atmosphere. I was also a member of an NRC committee that rejected an attempt to exempt certain locations such as Fairbanks Alaska from the national CO health standard (see ) and also an NRC committee to communicate the major concerns of overgrazing, which includes an increase in dust emissions into the atmosphere (see). I worked with the National Wildlife Federation to prevent a ski area from building in a pristine area of southwest Colorado. I  also served on a local board of the Nature Conservancy and was on  a committee in Fort Collins that mandated that the permit to construct and operate a brewrey near the city require the burning of natural gas rather than coal.

I have taught graduate classes and advised numerous graduate students in air pollution, modeling, weather and forecasting and climate at the University of Virginia, Colorado State University, the University of Arizona  and the University of Colorado in Boulder (even a class on the U.S. Wilderness System in which the preservation of pristine air quality is a major issue that we discussed). [see for recent classes].

Thus, based on this experience, I have the following recommendations and science findings:

  •  Research has shown that the focus on just carbon dioxide as the dominate human climate forcing is too narrow. We have found that natural variations are still quite important, and moreover, the human influence is significant, but it involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to the human input of CO2 (e.g. see NRC, 2005 and Kabat et al, 2004). These other forcings, such as land use change and from atmospheric pollution aerosols, may have a greater effect on our climate than the effects that have been claimed for CO2 (e.g. see);
  • The IPCC and CCSP assessments, as well as the science statements completed by the AGU, AMS and NRC, are completed by a small subset of climate scientists who are often the same individuals. This oligarchy has prevented science of the climate system to be properly communicated to policymakers (e.g. see, see and see).
  • The acceptance of CO2 as a pollutant by the EPA , yet it is a climate forcing not a traditional atmospheric pollutant, opens up a wide range of other climate forcings which the EPA could similarly regulate (e.g. land use; water vapor).
  • Policymakers should look for win-win policies in order to improve the environment that we live in (e.g. see).  The costs and benefits of the regulation of the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere need to be evaluated together with all other possible environmental regulations.  The goal should be to seek politically and technologically practical ways to reduce the vulnerability of the environment and society to the entire spectrum of human-caused and natural risks (e.g. see Chapter E in Kabat et al 2004).

I welcome discussion on these four points and would be glad to present guest weblogs by credentialed (peer reviewed published) climate scientists (please e-mail me if you would be interested in doing this). All perspectives with these credentials are welcome. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Sea Level Graphs from UC and some perspectives - I got a couple of emails today saying that I should take a look at the most recently posted sea level graph from the University of Colorado shown below: (Watts Up With That?)

Thinning Arctic sea ice alarms experts - Volume of Arctic sea ice last summer may have been lowest on record – and possibly worst in 8,000 years

The total volume of sea ice in the Arctic is likely to have reached a record low last summer, despite previous reports that the area of ice recovered slightly from the previous year's dramatic decline, leading experts have warned.

The latest alarm about the fate of the Arctic sea ice, due to an unusually high proportion of thinner "first-year" ice, raises the prospect of an acceleration in the loss of ice during the warmer summer months, considered a key indicator of climate change.

... Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Meteorological Office, said a separate study had shown an increase in older, thicker ice in the Arctic last summer, and urged caution about warnings that the ice will disappear very quickly. "It's very likely the summer sea ice will disappear over the next 60 years, but precisely when I think is still an open question," she said. (The Guardian)

NSIDC Raises The Bar - Guest post by Steven Goddard

In past years, NSIDC has referred to “declining multi-year ice” as the problem which the Arctic faces. Mark Serreze at NSIDC forecast a possible “Ice Free North Pole” in 2008, based on the fact that it had only first year ice. This year, multi-year ice has increased and NSIDC is now referring to declining “2+ year old” ice as the problem. Note the missing age group (2 year old ice) in the paragraph below from their latest press release .

First-year ice in particular is thinner and more prone to melting away than thicker, older, multi-year ice. This year, ice older than two years accounted for less than 10% of the ice cover at the end of February. From 1981 through 2000, such older ice made up an average of 30% of the total sea ice cover at this time of the year.

Due to the record minimum in 2007, it goes without saying that there isn’t a lot of three year old ice in 2009. Maybe next year they can raise the bar to 3+ year old ice, as the multi-year ice ages one more year? (Watts Up With That?)

Et tu Trouet? - New Scientist, also known as Nude Socialist magazine, never misses the opportunity to use the derogatory phrase ‘climate-change deniers’ in order to smear sound scientific argument against an unverifiable computer modelled catastrophe driven by harmless aerial plant food gas. The latest opportunity has arisen courtesy of a new paper in Science magazine by Trouet el al, which purports to explain the Medieval Warm Period, or Medieval Climate Anomoly as it is termed in this paper, as a regional phenomenon driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Mikey ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann has a predictable ‘this means it’s worse than we thought’ comment in the Nude Socialist article, perhaps not noticing that the proxies used don’t give much of a hockey stick shape. Deniers ’scuppered’ sounds like wishful thinking.

Of course, Steve McIntyre is giving the paper a thorough examination over at Climate Audit. Craig Loehle has this amusing comment on the CA thread: “It is hilarious that the same people who dismissed my reconstruction as only having 18 proxies are quite happy to make a bold statement about the MWP based on 4. It also stretches my credulity that the NAO was stuck in one mode that long.”

Talking of the NAO, as CRN has reported previously, Tsonis et al name the NAO as the ‘pacemaker’ of the climate shifts that can explain all the 20th century temperature changes. Alarmists ’scuppered?’ (Climate Research News)

Green obsession puts deadly heat on elderly - THE green jihad against airconditioners must stop. Too many elderly Australians have died already.

Victoria's chief health officer, Dr John Carnie, this week said some 374 Victorians may have been killed by the January heat wave, most of them old.

In South Australia, the toll is estimated at 80.

Just how many died because power blackouts knocked out their airconditioning is not known. And I doubt either government will ever say.

But what we are told is that both states now have plans to cut off the airconditioning - or make it too costly for pensioners to use - just when the heat is at its most lethal and the lives of the elderly hang in the balance. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Current and Currency - Yesterday, Interior Secretary Salazar made his first stop on a four-city tour to gauge public opinion on offshore drilling. A New Jersey crowd featured anti-drilling activists. The Wall Street Journal reports: (Drew Thornley, Planet Gore)

Alaska Senator Begich on Energy Policy - Here's an excerpt from an address Senator Begich gave on Tuesday to the Alaska legislature. Note the section on how little those in D.C. know about oil and natural gas: (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)

Duke Energy CEO says lower carbon emissions possible, with technology and government help - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The U.S. must set a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions as soon as possible to spur energy industry investment in needed high-tech power lines and electrical systems, the chief executive of Duke Energy Corp. said Tuesday.

Duke Energy CEO James E. Rogers said he believed the energy companies could meet a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 — a timetable set in a climate change bill by House Democrats. However, he said the federal government would need to take greater control of an industry regulated by individual states to leverage incentives to companies that cut down on electricity use.

"I believe we can set those kinds of goals and reach those goals, but we can't do them without technology," Rogers told an audience at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. "If the Pentagon can say a vision without resources is a hallucination, I'm going to tell you that a carbon policy without technology is a hallucination." (AP)

The greater hallucination is the 'enhanced greenhouse emergency'.

More Companies Lobbying to Hike Your Energy Costs - Wednesday's Oil Daily reports:

“We’re going to have to have higher energy prices,” said Michael Thaman, President of Owens Corning, the world’s largest maker of fiberglass insulation. “You can’t manage demand without talking about price and we’re living in a fantasyland if we think all this is going to happen at $1.89 a gallon for gasoline and 7¢ a kilowatt for electricity. We’re going to have to encourage a reduction in demand.”

As chance would have it, the "this" (the state "managing demand" for that which drives all economic activity — energy) that "has to . . . happen" would, by happy coincidence for Owens Corning, impose policies that force you to buy their products. The Owens Corning website blares: "Energy Efficient: We're delivering solutions that improve comfort and support more responsible use of our natural resources." Just not more efficient use of your personal resources because — like decisions about using natural resources — how those are used is apparently Owens Corning's business.

So they're pretty intent these days lobbying government to deliver to them new, unwilling customers, rigging policy to get you to buy Owens Corning products that you otherwise might decide didn't make economic sense for your budget. World's second-oldest profession, I tell you.

And of every penny you spend on their products, a portion of it goes to lobbying for higher energy taxes to force you into handing over more to the state and, in a convenient public-private partnership, to Owens Corning. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Dutch Government ditches eco ticket tax in efforts to halt declining traffic at Amsterdam Schiphol – The Dutch Government is to scrap from July 1 its air passenger ticket tax, first dubbed the ‘eco’ tax when it was introduced against major opposition by aviation and local industry last year. The controversial departure tax, which ranges from 11 to 45 euros, is blamed for a steep decline in passenger traffic at the main Dutch airports, particularly at Amsterdam Schiphol. The move was welcomed by airlines, particularly those from the low-cost sector, who called for similar taxes to be abandoned in Italy, Ireland and the UK. (GreenAir)

UK hopes Europe can save offshore wind farm - Government plans to make Britain a global leader in green energy are set to be rescued by the European taxpayer.

The Times has learnt that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is in talks with developers about a financial rescue package for the £3 billion London Array scheme, which is located in the Thames Estuary. Planned to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, it is a project that has strong personal backing from the Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown wants part of the renewable energy scheme finished before the 2012 Olympics.

The UK desperately needs London Array to fulfil its ambitious target of generating 35 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. (The Times)

GM in the News - Forget taxpayer money used for bonuses — I want to know how much GM is wasting on this: (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)

Auto Demography - Yuval, that GM Puma (by the way, is there a GM Cougar?) is fine for mowing down grannies in the discount-aisle at Wal-Mart or for the nuclear space-laser lab technicians to get around the Nehru-suited villain's secret volcano lair in a Roger Moore-era Bond movie, but not for much else. (Mark Steyn, Planet Gore)

Renewable Energy: The Road Less Traveled for a Reason - President Obama has been touting green energy investment and green jobs since his campaign trail, but he really kicked it into another gear once the economy tanked, calling the green stimulus a cure to the recession and to climate change. During his push for stimulus bill support, President Obama said the following at a windmill plant in Ohio:

If we don’t act now, because of the economic downturn, half of the wind projects difficult because of the capital intensive nature of these projects for them to move forward if they can’t get loans, if they can’t get access to credit.

And think about that. Think about all the businesses that wouldn’t come to be, all the jobs that wouldn’t be created, all the clean energy that we wouldn’t produce. And think of what’s happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan, where they’re making real investments in renewable energy. They’re surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in this new industry.

This isn’t because they’re smarter than us, or work harder than us, or are more innovative than we are. It’s because their governments have harnessed their people’s hard work and ingenuity with bold investments — investments that are paying off in good, high-wage jobs — jobs they won’t lose to other countries.”

But is Spain’s model really one we want to replicate? (The Foundry)

Study: Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder? - Being a teenager means experimenting with foolish things like dyeing your hair purple or candy flipping or going door-to-door for a political party. Parents tend to overlook seemingly mild, earnest teen pursuits like joining the Sierra Club, but a new study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that another common teen fad, vegetarianism, isn't always healthy. Instead, it seems that a significant number of kids experiment with a vegetarian diet as a way to mask an eating disorder, since it's a socially acceptable way to avoid eating many foods and one that parents tend not to oppose.

The study, led by nutritionist Ramona Robinson-O'Brien, an assistant professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Minnesota, found that while adolescent and young adult vegetarians were less likely than meat eaters to be overweight and more likely to eat a relatively healthful diet, they were also more likely to binge eat. Although most teens in Robinson-O'Brien's study claimed to embark on vegetarianism to be healthier or to save the environment and the world's animals, the research suggests they may be more interested in losing weight than protecting cattle or swine. (Time)

Lawmakers seek to ban trans fats at Texas restaurants - Texas lawmakers seeking to tackle obesity have a new target: trans fat.

Restaurants in the Lone Star State wouldn't be allowed to serve foods with trans fat under a proposal being considered at the Capitol.

Critics say the government shouldn't get between Texans and their chicken-fried steak, but supporters say the proposal is a way to help lower diners' risk for stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

"When you take a look at what's happening in a place like El Paso, Texas, and you see 200-pound fifth-graders, you know we've got to do something about this," said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, author of the Senate version of the proposal.

Shapleigh's Senate Bill 204 and House Bill 1523, by Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, would ban foods containing trans fats from chain restaurants starting Sept. 1, 2010. Restaurants with fewer than 15 locations would have an additional year to comply, as would bakeries that make doughnuts and other deep-fried treats.

Restaurants would still be able to sell packaged foods containing less than half a gram of trans fat per serving.

The 5,000-member Texas Restaurant Association supports the legislation. The group's general counsel, Glen Garey, said that since many restaurants are already cutting out trans fats, the proposal would speed along something he thinks would have eventually happened anyway.

Trans fats — created when liquid oils are turned into solid fats, a process called hydrogenation — are found in shortening, margarine and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Like saturated fats, trans fats can raise levels of the bad kind of cholesterol, which increases the risk of coronary heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

These days, there are no trans fats in Dunkin' Donuts items, McDonald's french fries or Oreo cookies, according to the companies. (Austin American-Statesman)

Biologically plausible: Why Fever Helps Autism: A New Theory - The autism wars go on and on, and the debates go round and round. Is the number of afflicted kids climbing or are we just overdiagnosing the condition? If mercury in vaccines isn't the culprit (the metal has been removed from nearly all of them), then it must be environmental toxins. But if that's so, why aren't we all showing symptoms?

Too often, what's lost in all the finger-pointing over what's to blame for the problem is the salient question of how to fix it. A paper just published in the journal Brain Research Reviews is taking a stab at that, suggesting a brand-new strategy — one that focuses on a very particular part of the brain. (Jeffrey Kluger, Time)

A people’s rebellion against the cancer cops? - If it’s true that the British public is ignoring cacophonous cancer warnings, that isn’t a sign of stupidity: it’s the height of rationality.

‘A quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds rarely think about cancer.’

As a news story, this surely ranks alongside ‘dog bites man’ and ‘Gordon Brown photographed looking sullen’ for its mind-numbing predictability. Why should young people think about cancer? According to statistics, 140,080 people died from cancer in England and Wales in 2007, and 189 of them – or 0.135 per cent – were in the 20- to 24-year-old age bracket. Just as young people don’t sit around fretting about being struck by lightning or dying in a plane crash, so there is little reason for them to contemplate cancer.

And yet, in our health-obsessed age – when all of us are supposed to be five-a-day-eating, navel-gazing, waist-measuring worriers about our bovine constitutions – the revelation that young people think little about cancer has generated handwringing. It springs from a BBC survey of 1,000 people, unveiled on Newsnight last night, which also suggests that a third of all British adults ‘try to ignore cancer’ or ‘hardly ever think about it’, and that 60 per cent of us think the government has provided quite enough advice about the alleged link between lifestyle and cancer yet still we refuse to change our diets or manacle ourselves to exercise bikes at the local gym.

The cancer-combating authorities are outraged. The BBC headlined its panicked report: ‘Cancer risk is “not changing habits”.’ Dr Karol Sikora of CancerPartnersUK says the survey shows that people think they have enough information about cancer, or want more, yet ‘when they get it they don’t do anything about it’. Richard Evans of the World Cancer Research Fund was shocked that so many of us seem not to know – or care – that ‘things like diet and body fat are linked to cancer’. People need to hear the ‘positive message’ that ‘by making healthy choices today, they can reduce their risk of development of cancer later in life’, says Evans. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

Kids Who Lack Self-Control More Prone to Obesity Later - Children are impulsive. Any parent knows that from experience — they want everything they see, and they want it right now. That's not necessarily a bad thing; grabby curiosity is what spurs kids to explore their world and learn new things.

But that same self-indulgence may also be helping to drive children to obesity. That's the conclusion of a group of researchers who studied the relationship between self-control and weight gain in youngsters enrolled in a government study. In two papers published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, scientists found that preschool-age children who had trouble with self-control and the ability to delay gratification gained more weight by the time they were preteens than those who were better at regulating their behavior. (Time)

Peter Foster: Atlas shrugs, leftists rage - Alan Greenspan was indeed once part of Ayn Rand’s circle, but Rand would have seen his monetary policy as not just flawed, but immoral

Novelist Ayn Rand has always driven lefties to distraction, but it seems that readers are turning in increasing numbers to the founder of “Objectivism” for clues about the origins of the current financial crisis.

Atlas Shrugged — her sprawling novel set in a United States where the economy is collapsing under the dead weight of government edict — reportedly sold 200,000 copies south of the border last year. Sales have continued to rise in 2009 and, according to tracking Web site TitleZ.com, the book is currently No. 30 on the Amazon rankings. The Economist has noted that spikes in sales of the book, which has sold six million copies since it was published in 1957, have tended to coincide over the past year with announcements of U.S. bank bailouts. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Corporation, Sell Thyself - The American corporation has been the greatest creator – and distributor – of wealth in the history of the human race. Nothing else even comes close: no government, no individual, no private foundation. In fact, the largesse that governments, individuals and foundations “distribute” would not even be possible without the American corporation. (And Americans gave over $306 billion to charitable causes in 2007).

But you would certainly never know that from the news today. Corporations – and by extension inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs – are being demonized, denigrated and blamed for every social ill – including and especially the social ills that are the fault of well-meaning but brainless government programs like Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act.

This is the worst climate I can remember for American business in my whole life. Yes, the oil crisis of the 1970s was bad, and yes, the car companies’ reputation at the same time was not much better. But it was viewed as an economic crisis, not an identity crisis. Never have I seen such worldwide antipathy for business and commerce generally. People smashing bank windows, urinating on buildings, and carrying signs that read “capitalism is terrorism”? (Meanwhile, actual terrorists get a pass; they’re just misunderstood and in need of a great big geopolitical hug.) (Laura Hollis, Townhall)

Wagoner’s Media Caricature - Detroit, Mich. — No auto story seems complete these days without gross MSM malpractice, and the media’s summation of GM ex-CEO Rick Wagoner’s career in the wake of his removal by The Chosen One is a case in point.

Wagoner’s caricature neatly fit the Media/Washington/Big Green narrative that Detroit is a victim of its resistance to going green. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

The Declaration Of Independence Has Been Repealed - On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiqué essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.

The mandate conferred on the FSB is remarkable for its scope and open-endedness. It is to set a "framework of internationally agreed high standards that a global financial system requires." These standards are to include the extension of "regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments, and markets...[including] systemically important hedge funds."

Note the key word: "all." If the FSB, in its international wisdom, considers an institution or company "systemically important", it may regulate and over see it. This provision extends and internationalizes the proposals of the Obama Administration to regulate all firms, in whatever sector of the economy that it deems to be "too big to fail."

The FSB is also charged with "implementing...tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms."

That means that the FSB will regulate how much executives are to be paid and will enforce its idea of corporate social responsibility at "all firms." (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, Townhall)

Attacking The Tea Party Movement - Those on the left have spent so much time over the past eight years bashing George Bush that they are having trouble shifting gears. Instead of enjoying their big win in 2008 and going positive, following their leader Obama’s “hope and change” message, they are still tearing down anyone who doesn’t agree with them. The latest attack from the left is not aimed at the Republican party or Michael Steele or Rush Limbaugh, but at Democrat, Republican and Independent Americans across the country who have dared to organize “tea parties” to oppose rising taxes, more government control over private enterprise and less individual liberty.

The Tea Party Movement has caught fire and spread from one end of the country to the other. It has captured the imagination of the conservative grassroots and has taken hold. So far the reaction from the national media has been to downplay or ignore the tea party rallies. Reaction from many on the left most recently is to ridicule and openly attack tea party participants. (Lorie Byrd, Townhall)

Military sonar blamed for mass dolphin strandings - Mass strandings of dolphins and whales could be caused because the animals are rendered temporarily deaf by military sonar, experiments have shown.

Tests on a captive dolphin have demonstrated that hearing can be lost for up to 40 minutes on exposure to sonar. Hearing is the most important sense for dolphins and other cetaeceans, and losing it is likely to cause them to become disorientated and alarmed.

The finding by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology may explain several strandings of dolphins and whales in the past decade. Most strandings are still thought to be natural events, but the tests strengthen fears that exercises by naval vessels equipped with sonar are responsible for at least some of them.

The study also suggested, however, that dolphins and whales would usually be able to swim away fast enough and far enough to escape any ill effects from sonar. (The Times)

Food Crisis Not Over, U.S. Aid Is Key: WFP Official - KANSAS CITY - Moves by the United States to provide more cash instead of commodities to fight a growing world food crisis are welcomed, but more is needed, a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) official said on Tuesday.

"Just because food prices have come down doesn't mean the crisis is over," said Allan Jury, WFP director of U.S. relations.

The United States provides a little more than half of the world's food aid, with an operating budget for food aid for fiscal 2008 of about $2.5 billion.

This year, WFP is projecting its needs will total nearly $6 billion, compared with about $5.7 billion in 2008. (Reuters)

Solution To Drought: It's In The Genes - California is short of more than jobs, money and optimism these days.

Several years of drought have dried up reservoirs, parched fields, damaged forests and caused regulators around the state to impose restrictions on water usage.

California agriculture, which employs 1.1 million people and yields products worth more than $36 billion annually — including more than half of the nation's vegetables, nuts and fruits — consumes 80% of the water used in the state.

Thus, it is hardly surprising that farmers and ranchers — especially in the state's vast, fertile Central Valley — have borne the brunt of the burden up to now.

The pain is about to spread.

According to the director of the California Department of Water Resources, "We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history. It's imperative for Californians to conserve water immediately, at home and in their businesses."

Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu was even more alarming: "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California. I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going."

But droughts are just acts of God, about which nothing can be done, right? Wrong.

Scientists might be able to provide a partial solution — if only federal policymakers and local regulations permitted it.

Gene-splicing, sometimes called genetic modification (GM), offers plant breeders the tools to make old crop plants do spectacular new things.

In the U.S. and two dozen other countries, farmers are using gene-spliced crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower inputs and reduced environmental impact.

In spite of research being hampered by resistance from activists and discouraged by governmental over-regulation, gene-spliced crop varieties are slowly but surely trickling out of the development pipeline in many parts of the world. (Henry I Miller, IBD)

April 7, 2009

Pistol-packin' E.P.A. agents? - He said that the E.P.A. had 180 agents “fully authorized with arrest powers, carrying firearms” around the country, but that it usually worked with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Coast Guard, the Homeland Security Department and Interpol.

When people are wanted by the agency, Mr. Parker said, information goes into criminal justice databases in the United States and abroad. (for discussion on the JunkScience.com forum)

Color Your Future Green: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life - Move over red, white, and blue, America is going green. Green energy. Green technology. Green homes. Green cars. Green jobs. Green commerce. Green living. Green government. We’ve just elected our first green president, Barack Obama, as well as numerous senators and local representatives who campaigned on promises of leading America to greener pastures. You can color our your future green. (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Insidious indoctrination: WWF Gets Kids Involved in Framing Climate Change - TORONTO, ONTARIO - WWF-Canada is inviting schools and communities across the country to help young people shape our response to global warming. Building from the astonishing success of Earth Hour 2009-when millions of Canadians voted with their light switches for action on climate change-the Canadian division of the world's largest conservation organization is now assisting young people in sending their climate change messages directly to the Prime Minister. (Marketwire)

ClimateDepot.com Launch Aims To Redefine Global Warming Reporting

Climate Clearinghouse to Challenge Mainstream Media’s Eco-Reporting

Washington, DC - Marc Morano, former Communications Director for the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and senior aide, speechwriter, and climate researcher for Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), will become the executive editor and chief correspondent for ClimateDepot.com, a pioneering climate and eco-news center. The news effort, set to debut this week, will be a special project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) with the goal of becoming the most comprehensive information center on climate news and the related issues of environment and energy.

CliimateDepot.com will serve as a premier news and information center for global warming and related news on environment and energy. The news outlet will be a climate and environmental clearinghouse complete with special investigative reports, voluminous data bases, and guides for policymakers, parents, teachers, scientists, and the general public. (ClimateDepot.com)

Study reveals potential to amass more carbon in eastern North American forests - With climate change looming, the hunt for places that can soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is on.

Obvious "sinks" for the greenhouse gas include the oceans and the enormous trees of tropical rainforests. But temperate forests also play a role, and new research now suggests they can store more carbon than previously thought.

In a study that drew on both historical and present-day datasets, Jeanine Rhemtulla of McGill University and David Mladenoff and Murray Clayton of University of Wisconsin-Madison quantified and compared the above-ground carbon held in the forest trees of Wisconsin just prior to European settlement and widespread logging, and the total carbon they contain today.

Writing in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that despite decades of forest recovery, Wisconsin's woodlands still only hold about two-thirds the carbon of pre-settlement times — suggesting substantial room for them to accumulate more.

"There's probably more potential (to store carbon) than people were considering," says Mladenoff. "There's still a big difference between what was once there and what's there now."

He adds that the true storage potential is probably at least two-fold higher than what he and Rhemtulla calculated, since they factored in only the live, above-ground biomass of tree trunks and crowns, and not the carbon stored in roots and soil. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

C02 Global Warming’s IPCC-created Hobglobin - Over 50 years ago H.L.Mencken said, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Nothing is more imaginary than the claim that CO2 is causing global warming and the proposal designed to lead us to safety is unnecessary and will create real problems.

Imagine basing a major global policy on the output of a grossly simplistic computer model of a very complex system. Worse, the model considers only one miniscule variable known to have no effect while it ignores the major variables. In any area of science, social science or politics the insanity would be soundly rejected. However, that is what the entire world is planning to do with global energy policy to counteract the non-existent problem of global warming.

It is non-existent because the world has cooled since 2000 as CO2 increased and temperatures correlate with changes in the sun. Many climate experts expect the cooling to continue at least until 2030. Why? What is their evidence it is the sun? (Tim Ball, CFP)

The Earth Still Recovering from a Glacial Hangover - A new explanation for the cause of changes in the chemical makeup of the oceans through recent Earth history is put forward in a paper published in Nature (26th March, 2009). Scientists from the Universities of Southampton and Bristol suggest that adjustments in ocean chemistry through recent geological time are driven by variations in the intensity of chemical breakdown of continental rocks by rain and ground water. These changes are, in turn, controlled by the profound changes in the Earth’s climate, and in particular the Ice Ages, that have occurred over the past 2-3 million years. (Climate Research News)

Hopes for climate treaty set back by G20's weasel words - World further from agreement than two years ago

It was meant, in Gordon Brown's words, to strike "a global green new deal" to tackle climate change and pull the world out of recession at the same time. In fact, the G20 meeting has sharply put back the chance of an international pact to stop global warming running out of control.

Far from being at the heart of last week's London summit, the looming climate crisis was relegated to a brief, vague and weaselly-worded afterthought at the very end of the communiqué. This has had an immediate dampening effect on negotiations on a new treaty supposed to be agreed at a vital meeting in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Participants in the negotiations – now under way in Bonn – say that, partly as a result, they are now further from reaching agreement than they were towards the end of George Bush's presidency, despite the new energy and commitment brought to environmental matters by the Obama administration. Rich and poor countries now appear to be further apart than at the end of 2007, when the former president was still trying to obstruct progress. (The Independent)

Climate change the biggest loser of G20 summit, warn environmental groups

• G20 stimulus package has 'short-changed the planet'
• Fears that greenhouse emissions will continue to rise

The $1.1 trillion stimulus package agreed by G20 leaders yesterday risks locking the world into a high-carbon economy in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, environmental groups have warned.

Campaigners agreed that the summit's biggest loser was the fight against climate change, despite a positive response from global financial markets to the announcement of financial aid. At the summit, prime minister Gordon Brown reiterated support for low-carbon economic growth and tackling climate change. (The Guardian)

Carbon Cap Deal "Very Difficult" - UN Climate Chief - BONN - It will be hard work getting rich nations to agree cuts in greenhouse gases that are deep enough to satisfy the demands of developing countries at climate talks, UN's climate chief told Reuters on Monday.

Some 175 nations are meeting this week in Bonn in one of a series of UN-led meetings meant to forge a deal in Copenhagen in December to replace or extend the Kyoto Protocol.

The talks are split on the level of action which industrialised countries take to curb their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. More ambitious goals would unlock action from developing nations.

Asked whether he ruled out agreement on the most commonly referenced range of emissions cuts, Yvo de Boer said:

"I'm not ruling it out but I'm saying it would be very difficult. If you look at the offers that are on the table at the moment they're a long way from that range." (Reuters)

Report to argue for carbon price of £85 a tonne - Government-commissioned study expected to show that carbon price needs to increase eightfold if it is to drive sufficient low carbon investment

The price of carbon allowances in the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) should be at least £85 a tonne, if they are to encourage firms to switch to low carbon technologies at a pace fast enough to ensure the government meets its emission targets.

That is the conclusion of a government-commissioned study into the scheme that will provide fresh ammunition to critics who argue that the government must intervene to push up a carbon price that is currently languishing at around €12 per tonne.

According to Sunday Times reports, a study from Chris Hope of Cambridge University's Judge Business School to be published later this year will argue that the ETS in its current form is flawed and that the price of EU allowances (EUAs) needs to be in excess of £85 a tonne if a sufficient range of low carbon technologies are to become viable. (BusinessGreen)

Hmm... In January 2005 the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) commenced operation as the largest multi-country, multi-sector Greenhouse Gas emission trading scheme world-wide. The scheme is based on Directive 2003/87/EC, which entered into force on 25 October 2003.

Now, my reading of the ETS has always been trading of CO2 or equivalent, so I'm assuming they want to price this as £85 per mt/CO2 or about £310 mt/carbon.

Everyone wants a piece of the action: Poor nations call for 'levy' on air tickets to help adapt to climate change - World's poorest 49 countries tell UN meeting that aviation industry must help them cope with global warming by raising money from a tax on airline tickets and emissions trading scheme

A levy on all airline tickets and a global trading system for aircraft emissions are the contrasting proposals presented today to tackle the impact of flying on climate.

Negotiators at UN climate talks in Bonn were told by the world's poorest 49 countries that the annual 760m international air passengers should each pay a levy of about $6 (£5.4) on every flight to help those nations adapt to climate change.

The least developed group of countries (LDCs) said a modest levy could raise up to $10bn (£6.8bn) a year and help countries in the frontline of climate change adapt to the intense floods, droughts, sea level rises and crop failures that poor nations are experiencing as a result of global warming. (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Antarctic issues converge on Baltimore - Treaty delegation to discuss tourism, environmental concerns

The Antarctic ice sheets are melting, the krill are disappearing, and tourists are tramping about on fragile penguin habitat.

For the next two weeks, those problems and more will land in Baltimore as the city hosts hundreds of diplomats, scientists and others attending the 32nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. That's the body that governs the use of Antarctica by the international community, protects its environment and promotes scientific research.

Nearly 400 people, including diplomats from 47 countries, will confer at the Baltimore Convention Center. It is the first time since 1979 that a U.S. city has hosted the meeting.

High on the agenda for the meeting's working groups and committees are rising concerns about threats to a fragile polar environment. (Baltimore Sun)

Oh boy... Transcript: Peter Garrett joins Lateline - Reporter: Tony Jones

Environment Minister Peter Garrett joins Lateline from Washington where he is attending a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the 23-nation Antarctic Treaty.

Transcript
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: A short time ago I spoke to the Environment Minister Peter Garrett in our Washington studio.

Peter Garrett, thanks for joining us.

PETER GARRETT: Hi, Tony.

TONY JONES: Another giant ice shelf has collapsed in Antarctica. Are your scientific advisers telling you that this is due to global warming?

PETER GARRETT: Well, I haven't received specific advice on that matter but I've certainly seen the reports, Tony, and I don't think that there's any doubt that global warming is contributing to what we've seen both on the Wilkins ice shelf and also more generally in Antarctica. And it is the case that scientists, because of the fact of the Antarctic's unique and critical role in the world's climate system, are focusing very strongly on climate change research and also potential impacts.

TONY JONES: Of course, sceptics are saying that ice shelves have been collapsing for as long as we've been travelling down to the continent, that this latest collapse is nothing new. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Oxford Announces International Climate Conference: 4 Degrees and Beyond - The University of Oxford is holding an International Climate Conference together with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the UK Met Office entitled “4 Degrees and Beyond: Implications for people, ecosystems and the earth system,” from 28-30 September 2009.

The conference aims to (1) assess the consequences of a change in global temperature above 4°C for a range of systems and sectors and (2) explore the options that are open for avoiding climate changes of this magnitude. The results will form an important background to the COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, December 2009, and the inevitable negotiations that will follow COP 15.

The conference is open to anyone with expertise to share, and aims to bring together the best range of experts with the widest expertise from around the world. Registration is open now and abstracts for presentations and posters can be submitted under the themes of: i) Agriculture, Water and Food Security ii) Vulnerable People and Places iii) Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services iv) Earth System Feedbacks and Thresholds, and v) Emissions Reductions. Places are limited and the closing date for abstract submission is 1 May.

Further information at www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees (British Ecological Society)

The Association of Knowledge with Concern About Global Warming: Trusted Information Sources Shape Public Thinking - ABSTRACT: During the last decade, a great deal of news media attention has focused on informing the American public about scientific findings on global warming (GW). Has learning this sort of information led the American public to become more concerned about GW? Using data from two surveys of nationally representative samples of American adults, this article shows that the relation between self-reported knowledge and concern about GW is more complex than what previous research has suggested. Among people who trust scientists to provide reliable information about the environment and among Democrats and Independents, increased knowledge has been associated with increased concern. But among people who are skeptical about scientists and among Republicans more knowledge was generally not associated with greater concern. The association of knowledge with concern among Democrats and Independents who trust scientists was mediated by perceptions of consensus among scientists about GW's existence and by perceptions that humans are a principal cause of GW. Moreover, additional analyses of panel survey data produced findings consistent with the notion that more knowledge yields more concern among Democrats and Independents, but not among Republicans. Thus, when studying the relation of knowledge and concern, it is important to take into account the content of the information that different types of people acquire and choose to rely upon. (Wiley InterScience)

New Paper “Increasing World Consumption Of Beef As A Driver Of Regional And Global Change: A Call For Policy Action Based On Evidence From Queensland (Australia), Colombia and Brazil” By McAlpine et al. 2009 - Climate Science has urged a broader perspective on the role of humans within environment. There is a new paper which supports this view. It is McAlpine, C.A., A. Etter, P.M. Fearnside, L. Seabrook, and W.F. Laurance, 2009: Increasing world consumption of beef as a driver of regional and global change: A call for policy action based on Evidence from Queensland (Australia), Colombia and Brazil, Global Environmental Change,19, issue 1, 21 - 33.

The abstract reads: “While the global community is seeking to reduce fossil fuel consumption, a parallel but equally important issue is the environmental impacts of increased world consumption of beef. We provide a comparative analysis and synthesis of the expansion of beef cattle production and its regional and global environmental impacts for Queensland (Australia), Colombia and Brazil. Evidence assembled indicates that rising beef consumption is a major driver of regional and global change, and warrants greater policy attention. We propose four policy imperatives to help mitigate escalating environmental impacts of beef: stop subsidising beef production and promoting beef consumption; control future expansion of soybeans and extensive grazing; protect and restore regrowth forests in grazing lands; and allocate resources to less environmentally damaging alternative land uses.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Arctic sea ice fights losing winter battle (again) - Earth’s crisp white skullcap of Arctic sea ice is emerging from winter much the worse for wear.

Scientists monitoring the ice’s annual growth and contraction say the frigid sheath ended winter with the fifth-smallest geographic reach since 1979, when satellites first began tracking sea-ice trends. All six below-average winters have occurred between 2004 and 2009.

This year, winter ice also enters a new melt season with record-low levels of thick older ice, the kind that has has survived several summers. This is the ice that persists the longest to help cool the planet during summer; it reflects sunlight back into space during the Arctic’s long hours of daylight – think 186 “days” of sunlight at the North Pole.

And it’s the ice that provides the foundation for further thickening when sea ice expands again the following winter. (Pete Spotts, CSM)

"Going into this past winter, researchers say, things appeared to be looking up at the top of the world. The winter began with a larger inventory of two-year ice than the year before. But during the winter, much of that “tweenage” ice blew out through the Fram Strait toward lower latitudes and melted. This boosted the proportion of single-year ice in the Arctic." So, wind not temperature, again. Why are they claiming gorebull warming then?

:) Antarctica to Arrive at North Pole in Time to Restore Polar Ice Cap - The Ice Bridge which holds the Antarctic Ice Shelf in place has shattered and the frozen southernmost continent is drifting north. Already moving up the Atlantic coast of South America, emperor penguins are shedding their coats and making reservations in Rio.

The melting iceberg is believed to bring a serious economic chill to the Caribbean tourist trade and will only exacerbate the fall hurricane season by adding snow, sleet and hail to the already violent storms that batter the Gulf and East coast states of the US.

By the time Antarctica reaches the northernmost reaches of the Arctic Ocean, it should arrive just in time to restore the polar ice cap. Republican climatologists told me that they told everybody that there's nothing to worry about so called global warming! (The Spoof!)

Oh... Antarctic ice melting faster than expected - UP TO one-third of all Antarctic sea ice is likely to melt by the end of the century, seriously contributing to dangerous sea level rises, updated scientific modelling on global warming shows.

The evidence will be presented to an international meeting of Antarctic and Arctic scientists in the US tonight, at which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak.

The modelling is the first release of a landmark study being conducted by the global scientific body the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, made up of the peak scientific bodies from 23 countries including Australia.

The report, Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment, is the result of research undertaken by all 23 nations, the first time such a study has been undertaken. The final report will be released in June. (Tom Arup, The Age)

Sea ice already displaces all the water it's going to... besides, Antarctic sea ice is actually increasing:

Antarctic summer sea ice concentration and extent: comparison of ODEN 2006 ship observations, satellite passive microwave and NIC sea ice charts

Abstract. Antarctic sea ice cover has shown a slight increase (<1%/decade) in overall observed ice extent as derived from satellite mapping from 1979 to 2008, contrary to the decline observed in the Arctic regions. Spatial and temporal variations of the Antarctic sea ice however remain a significant problem to monitor and understand, primarily due to the vastness and remoteness of the region. While satellite remote sensing has provided and has great future potential to monitor the variations and changes of sea ice, uncertainties remain unresolved. In this study, the National Ice Center (NIC) ice edge and the AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System) ice extent are examined, while the ASPeCt (Antarctic Sea Ice Process and Climate) ship observations from the Oden expedition in December 2006 are used as ground truth to verify the two products during Antarctic summer. While there is a general linear trend between ASPeCt and AMSR-E ice concentration estimates, there is poor correlation (R2=0.41) and AMSR-E tends to underestimate the low ice concentrations. We also found that the NIC sea ice edge agrees well with ship observations, while the AMSR-E shows the ice edge further south, consistent with its poorer detection of low ice concentrations. The northward extent of the ice edge at the time of observation (NIC) had mean values varying from 38 km to 102 km greater on different days for the area as compared with the AMSR-E sea ice extent. For the circumpolar area as a whole in the December period examined, AMSR-E therefore may underestimate the area inside the ice edge at this time by up to 14% or, 1.5 million km2 less area, compared to the NIC ice charts. Preliminary comparison of satellite scatterometer data however, suggests better resolution of low concentrations than passive microwave, and therefore better agreement with ship observations and NIC charts of the area inside the ice edge during Antarctic summer. A reanalysis data set for Antarctic sea ice extent that relies on the decade long scatterometer and high resolution satellite data set, instead of passive microwave, may therefore give better fidelity for the recent sea ice climatology.

Final Revised Paper (PDF, 702 KB) Discussion Paper (TCD)

Citation: Ozsoy-Cicek, B., Xie, H., Ackley, S. F., and Ye, K.: Antarctic summer sea ice concentration and extent: comparison of ODEN 2006 ship observations, satellite passive microwave and NIC sea ice charts, The Cryosphere, 3, 1-9, 2009.

Hmm... bit of a problem here: Greenhouse gas levels, like temperatures, are falling - The atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide measured at Hawaii's Mauna Loa observatory have declined since 2004. How can this be when humans keep emitting more greenhouse gases? Could declining atmospheric CO2 levels mean that the whole greenhouse warming theory is collapsing?

Think back to 2006, when Al Gore released his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." Mr. Gore showed us 400,000 years of the ice record from Antarctica's Vostok glacier.

Temperatures and CO2 levels moved radically together, up and down, through four ice ages and four interglacial warmings – including the so-called Modern Warming. In the film, Gore then got on a lift truck and hoisted himself 30 feet in the air, drawing upward a horrifying graph that predicted a parboiled planet.

Gore told us that more CO2 in the atmosphere meant higher temperatures. That was the huge technical error in his movie. More recent Antarctic studies, on more refined time scales, have shown that CO2 levels, instead of causing warming, respond to warming.

Apparently, the oceans absorb massive amounts of CO2 from the air every time they cool. Since 1850, the planet has been slowly and erratically warming as we transitioned out of the Little Ice Age. This is due to a solar-linked Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle that happens every 1,500 years, hence the historic Roman Warming and the Little Ice Age.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen over the past 150 years and, certainly, since 1976. But that surface warming stopped in 1998. Now the most accurate ocean temperatures ever recorded tell us that the oceans stopped warming in 2003, and the CO2 emissions from Mauna Loa began to decline the next year. Have the oceans begun re-absorbing the CO2 they released as they warmed from 1976-1998? (The global thermometer record has fallen about 0.5 degree C since early 2007.) (Dennis Avery, OC Register)

That ocean temperatures are falling is true, although only the rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has slowed, it has not gone into reverse (at least, not yet). Rate of increase was similar for 2008 as 2001, 2004 and 2006, and somewhat less than 2002, 2003, 2005 & 2007.

Nature's Big Stick - Nature is doing just fine in beating back the carbon dioxide threat to an overheated atmosphere, according to a recent study from the University of Leeds, published in Nature.

Trees in tropical rainforests are getting bigger, so much so that Earth's tropical forests are a much larger carbon sink than anyone had previously known. "Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of climate change," stated Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society Research Fellow at the university's Earth & Biosphere Institute. He speculated that the carbon dioxide emissions themselves may be responsible for creating their own carbon sink, since carbon dioxide acts as a kind of fertilizer that promotes plant growth.

The Leeds study is a fruit of research spanning 40 years, during which researchers repeatedly measured the diameters of tens of thousands of trees in 79 areas of intact forest across ten African countries. By noting how the amount of carbon stored in each of the 79 areas changed over time, and by comparing the rate of new growth with that of old growth, they realized that trees were becoming increasingly larger. Per hectare, trees have been accumulating an extra one half tonne of carbon per year.

For more details, see the abstract from Nature, below, followed by a press release and editorial notes provided by the University of Leeds upon the release of its findings. (Lawrence Solomon, Energy Probe)

Head Steven Chu: "Our Dependency On Oil Is Dangerous And Shortsighted" - Energy Secretary Steven Chu uncorks quite the mission statement in an op-ed published in Newsweek, writing "our dependency on oil is dangerous and shortsighted."

This isn't like when George W. Bush said the country is addicted to oil, it appears as though there's some substance behind this rhetoric. After all, this comes from a guy that doesn't even own a car.

While Chu admits that "burning oil for fuel can be understood" from a physicist's perspective, as it is the most efficient fuel going, from any other angle, it makes no sense. He calls oil "a huge drain on our economy because any dollar we send overseas for oil is a dollar we can't reinvest in America," and it "weakens our security because much of the world's oil is controlled by regimes that do not share our values." For all the global warming deniers, Chu has a blunt message: "The science on global warming is clear and compelling: greenhouse-gas emissions, primarily from fossil fuels, have started to change our climate."

Chu suggests we simply use less oil by producing more fuel efficient autos as well as participating in car pools and taking public transit. He suggests a transition to more electric cars and more renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

Good news Steven, you're sitting atop $40 billion that's supposed to be used for funding clean tech initiatives. You want more solar, more electric cars? Then start cutting some checks. (Business Insider)

California’s Deal with EPA: Watch Your Wallets! - Detroit, Mich. — An environmental watchdog group reported Monday that California and EPA have reached agreement in principle that auto fuel-economy rules will be set by the federal government — but according to California’s proposed regulations. The resulting hike over already-onerous federal rules, say industry analysts, could cost U.S. automakers billions more in regulatory compliance at a time when they are already financially insolvent. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

The Art of Spinning - As the previous post indicated, we in the U.S. have a pretty low energy IQ. One of the reasons is that energy stories are often reported in a very biased or uninformed manner, which tends to distort public viewpoints. For instance, you may think those evil oil companies are wrecking the world. You are entitled to your opinion, and admittedly the oil industry has done plenty to help forge those sorts of views.

However, in the U.S. we take an especially negative view of the oil industry relative to the rest of the world. Why? Odds are that your opinion has been shaped by stories like the examples in this essay. Make no mistake: Your views are carefully nurtured and cultured by various groups with agendas, often by publishing stories full of misinformation. (Full disclosure: I am attempting to influence your viewpoint here, but I am going to do so by pointing out shenanigans).  (Robert Rapier, R-Squared Energy Blog)

April 4th, 1984 - As one British blogger commented, Orwell was only off by 25 years and 2 days.

Tomorrow morning, the European Union directive goes into force which will require all internet activity, emails, visits to websites and internet phone calls to be collected and retained by the government. This is the first step in the centralized database at the heart of the Intercept Modernisation Programme [covered here and here]. As the Daily Telegraph reports today, Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said: "I don't think people are aware of the implications of this move. “It means that everything we do online or on the phone will be known to the authorities. They are using this to produce probably the world's most comprehensive surveillance system.” (Junkfood Science)

Sheesh! Postmen Could Be Fined Over Dropped Rubber Bands - LONDON - Postmen should face on-the-spot fines for throwing away the red rubber bands they use to bundle letters, a litter watchdog said on Monday.

Keep Britain Tidy said Royal Mail staff are not above the law and should be subject to the same 80-pound spot fine for littering as other members of the public.

"Elastic bands may not be as visually offensive as dog dirt or half-eaten pizza, but they are most definitely litter," said the charity's Dickie Felton.

"Is it really too much to ask them to put the rubber bands in their pocket as they do their daily rounds?"

He said it was difficult to assess the scale of the problem as the bands were also dropped on garden paths and driveways, but the charity estimated that six percent of all England's streets had red rubber bands strewn around them. (Reuters)

Oh, they only want to waste your time and energy: Households could be forced to collect food waste in separate bins under EU plans - Every household could be forced to collect food and garden waste in separate bins from other rubbish under proposed EU laws designed to combat climate change.

The European Commission wants to cut the carbon emissions that are created from recycling people's left over food and other biodegradable waste.

Proposals in a green paper put before MEPs in Brussels suggest that this should be done by asking councils that recycle food and garden waste to collect this in separate bins from other waste.

This would ensure energy is not wasted sorting so called "bio-waste" from other materials later on in the process.

Since most councils plan to recycle biodegradable waste in the future, the plan would impose separate bin collections on millions of households at a huge cost to the taxpayer. (Daily Telegraph)

for the poor, bribes for the Dear Leader - North Korea would be a lot better off if it could export legal products as good as its counterfeit Viagra.

The country's ruler, Kim Jong-il, cannot admit that his father's celebrated economic doctrine of juche, or self-reliance, has failed.

He keeps the country tightly sealed and pretends all is rosy while one-third of the population is so desperately short of food that it is suffering from malnutrition, according to the United Nations World Food Program.

One result of this socialist triumph is that the country has an economy estimated to be the size of Tasmania's combined with Canberra's. Twenty-three million North Koreans live off as much activity as generated by just three-quarters of a million people in Australia.

Just across the demilitarised zone, in democratic capitalist South Korea, live people with an average income of $37,000 in one of the world's most successful economies, while North Koreans forage for weeds. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Poison: It's What's for Dinner - Hunt Narrows for Genes that Let Packrats Eat Creosote-

April 6, 2009 -- As the U.S. Southwest grew warmer from 18,700 to 10,000 years ago, juniper trees vanished from what is now the Mojave Desert, robbing packrats of their favorite food. Now, University of Utah biologists have narrowed the hunt for detoxification genes that let the rodents eat toxic creosote bushes that replaced juniper.

"It was either eat it or move out," says biology Professor Denise Dearing, senior author of the study, published online Tuesday, April 7 in the journal Molecular Ecology. (University of Utah)

Creating the Great American Potato Famine? - McDonald’s just agreed to pursue pesticide-free potatoes for its restaurants. The anti-technology zealots pushing this organic move had better hope the company drags its feet—or we risk having the first McDonald’s in history with no French fries. Less than a decade ago, the Danish government’s high-level Bichel technical committee concluded that an organic-only mandate would cut Danish potato production by 80 percent.

As for the published claim that French fried spuds are “bathed in pesticides,” give me a break. The pesticides—including the organic ones—are used on the plant’s leaves, while the potatoes grow underground. There’s absolutely no documented danger from conventionally raised potatoes.

We understand why McDonald’s is retreating. The organic/hard-left/anti-corporate movement seems to be ruling the world right now. The Obama White House is planning an organic “First Lady” garden. Most important, non-profit institutional McDonald stockholders are threatening to stir investor turmoil.

Potatoes, however, are a uniquely important crop for the world, especially the world’s poor. They produce more food value per acre than any other crop, even in short growing seasons. That’s why cool Ireland got so potato-dependent that the famine starved one million people in the 1840s, and drove another 1.5 million refugees out of the country.

Unfortunately, potatoes are also particularly vulnerable to pests. Late blight is always a lurking disaster, and a more-aggressive new strain has recently presented itself in Europe. Organic farmers try to stave it off by dousing their fields with huge amounts of copper sulfate—which is highly toxic to virtually every mammal, bird and insect. The EU has tried to ban copper sulfate, but organic farmers say they can’t survive without it. (Dennis Avery, CFP)

Potato hailed as 'food hero' - The phrase "the humble potato" was banished in favour of "food hero" at the recent World Potato Congress in Christchurch.

The resounding theme was the vital role the potato could play in feeding the world, said Terry Olsen, chairman of the New Zealand Congress Organising Committee.

He is a potato grower at Opiki, near Palmerston North.

The world's population would reach 9 billion by 2050, and it would be increasingly difficult to meet demand for food, he said.

The potato was named a hero by several of the speakers, including former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Cuisine food editor Lauraine Jacobs, because it's highly nutritious, uses little water and can be grown in almost any conditions.

This makes it an ideal crop for feeding a growing population in a time of global warming and increasing competition for land.

More than 550 people from 50 countries attended the industry event.

The next congress will be held in 2012, with the location to be confirmed later this year. (Manawatu Standard)

April 6, 2009

Lobotomized Science - Back when consensus science was that lobotomies were a good way to treat mental disorders, they had one thing going for them that the current consensus on global warming does not, their misguided theory showed results.

After all if you cut out a portion of a person’s brain you are bound to change the persons personality, and lobotomies achieved that goal.

On the other hand the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming relies on the premise that added CO2 in the atmosphere (man made only of course, preferably from Western Countries the evil US being the main culprit) will cause a chain reaction of events, all of them predictable and all of them bad. (Weather Underground)

Marc Morano and Joe Romm debate the politics of climate change - Marc Morano, former Republican director of communications for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Joe Romm, environmentalist blogger and author, just debated the politics of climate change on Roll Call TV. (Milo Yiannopoulos, Daily Telegraph)

No Wonder Climate Alarmists Refuse to Debate - When you hear the names Al Gore and James Hansen in the same sentence you immediately assume the subject to be manmade global warming panic. But there’s another distinction which links these two – they both steadfastly refuse to defend their positions in formal debate. And a recent performance by one of their own in just such a venue reminds us why. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

Here We Go Again With the Wilkins Ice Shelf - This is CNN (you know, no bias; no bull) — so complete the last sentence from this article’s first few paragraphs for me: (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Eye-roller: Researchers pin the blame on dramatically rising temperatures - Retreat of glaciers in Antarctica due to climate change is happening more rapidly than expected, according a report by the USGS and the British Antarctic Survey release last Friday.

The findings come on the heels of a study published last week in Geophysical Research Letters finding that Arctic sea ice could be completely gone in September by the late 2020’s — three times more quickly than previous estimates. (See this post in CEJournal for more information about that study.) (Tom Yulsman, CEJournal)

Fellas, the Antarctic has been cooling since people have been measuring it (now more than 50 years at the south pole) and sea ice around the continent has been increasing (not usually a sign of dramatic warming). These make-believe articles are really quite tedious.

Same old desperate claims: Natural mechanism for medieval warming discovered - Europe basked in unusually warm weather in medieval times, but why has been open to debate. Now the natural climate mechanism that caused the mild spell seems to have been pinpointed.

The finding is significant today because, according to Valerie Trouet at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research in Birmensdorf, the mechanism that caused the warm spell in Europe – and meant wine could be produced in England as it is now – cannot explain current warming. It means the medieval warm period was mainly a regional phenomenon caused by altered heat distribution rather than a global phenomenon. (New Scientist)

Where to start? This one comes up with the old "Medieval Warming was a local event" line (it wasn't, just check out co2science.org's Medieval Warm period Project).

With one novel twist, this piece reverses previous claims gorebull warming will induce a near-permanent El Niño state and has Mikey Mann claiming "Mann is also concerned that the dominance of medieval La Niña conditions now indicated by Trouet's work might make it more likely that the current man-made warming could also put the El Niño system back into a La Niña mode, although most climate models so far had predicted the opposite."

Just to be clear, La Niña is associated with net cooling of the Earth system so Mikey thinks global warming is likely to cause... net cooling?

Climate alarmists call for more groupthink - Nothing is more Orwellian than quoting Orwell to attack freedom of thought and discussion. Today’s ClimateWire (subscription required) provides a case in point. “Scientists need to stop doublespeak on climate, [PR] experts say,” reports Christa Marshall. By doublespeak, Orwell meant a political orthodoxy so pervasively embraced as a party line that everybody sheepishly repeats and even believes manifest falsehoods: Ignorance Is Strength, Freedom Is Slavery, War Is Peace.

But to the PR experts cited by Marshall, “doublespeak” means that the world’s scientists, journalists, and government agencies do not all speak about climate change with one voice. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Obviously not written by an Australian or anyone with any knowledge of Australia whatsoever: Warming takes centre stage as Australian drought worsens - On March 28, for the first time in anybody’s memory, the floodlights surrounding the soaring white shells of the Sydney Opera House were temporarily extinguished, part of Earth Hour, an international event spanning 88 countries and 24 time zones to prompt world leaders to take action on global warming.

Although iconic buildings in Paris, New York, London, and Tokyo were similarly darkened, arguably none of these symbols was as apt as the unnerving black space that suddenly opened on the shores of Sydney’s harbour. Perhaps more than any industrialised nation, Australia is contending with the increasingly dangerous effects of hotter, dryer, and more unpredictable weather patterns - changes that many of the country’s leading scientists and politicians now attribute to shifting weather patterns, at least in part due to climate change. (Keith Schneider, Online Opinion)

For the record, about half of Australia is enjoying "average conditions", while about one-quarter is in either flood or drought -- in other words situation perfectly normal for Australia. Average rainfall has actually increased over the 20th Century, so claims of gorebull warming-induced drought are about as wrong as they can get in the land down-under.

The political spiel in this piece is off with the fairies and the nonsense about bushfires nothing short of a coverup for idiotic greenie policies which literally got people killed.

Why are BoM 3 month forecast models so pathetically WRONG - Just taking a quick look at the latest January to March rainfall and temperature three month Outlooks from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). I have linked to the originals for rainfall and temperature. Note these forecast maps were issued on 17 Dec 08.

I have made the actual rain and temperature anomaly maps at this useful page. You can choose rain or temperature (max or min) for various periods or parameters. I am not saying medium term forecasting is easy but I am puzzled the BoM maps are often so EXACTLY wrong. (Warwick Hughes)

Yet more mind-boggling figures on global warming - Are we really to believe that the benefits gained from the Climate Change Act will amount to £1,024 billion, wonders Christopher Booker.

Last October the House of Commons passed, by 463 votes to three, the most expensive piece of legislation ever put through Parliament. The only MP to question the cost of the Climate Change Act, requiring Britain to cut its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years, was Peter Lilley. It was also Mr Lilley who, just before the MPs voted to stop runaway global warming, drew the House’s attention to the fact that, outside, London was experiencing its first October snow for 74 years.

What made the MPs’ lack of interest in the cost of this Act even more curious was that the Government’s own “impact assessment” showed that, whereas its benefits were estimated at £110 billion, its costs were £205 billion. The MPs thus happily voted for something that would be twice as costly as any benefit.

But these figures were based on the Government’s original plan to cut CO2 emissions by only 60 per cent. A last-minute amendment had this to 80 per cent (a target which can only be achieved by closing down most of Britain’s economy), so our “climate change minister”, Ed Miliband, was obliged to produce new figures. These he has now belatedly slipped out via the Department of Energy and Climate Change website – no thought of reporting them to Parliament – and truly mind-boggling they are. The cost of the Act has nearly doubled, to £404 billion, or £18.3 billion for every year between now and 2050. However, the supposed benefits are given, astonishingly, as £1,024 billion, an increase of 1,000 per cent. (Daily Telegraph)

A protest against carbon/CO2 cap and trade or tax proposals - This summary is being sent to politicians, media outlets, scientists, and others across the world. It is a protest against the madness of anti-carbon thought and policies. (Wendell Krossa)

So, now you know: Congress Approves Budget - $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan Paves Way for Obama Goals - Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama's ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation yesterday, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities.

Voting along party lines, the House and Senate approved budget blueprints that would trim Obama's spending proposals for the fiscal year that begins in October and curtail his plans to cut taxes. The blueprints, however, would permit work to begin on the central goals of Obama's presidency: an expansion of health-care coverage for the uninsured, more money for college loans and a cap-and-trade system to reduce gases that contribute to global warming. (Washington Post)

By their own mouths condemned: "Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) called cap-and-trade "the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time," and said it would be difficult to pass without reconciliation because Democrats would be forced to accommodate a handful of Republicans as they did in the debate over the president's stimulus package. Although winning use of the maneuver is unlikely, Cardin said, "a lot of us don't want to give up without a fight."" See also: Cap-And-Trade = Smoke-And-Mirrors (John Rosenberg, Discriminations)

Senate Doesn’t Smile on Pollyanna - I always thought that Polly Toynbee’s belief that President Barack Obama would “fix the climate” (whatever that means) was about as naive and as silly a piece of journalism as I have read in some time. I suspect that even Mr. Obama might be a tad more circumspect, and with good reason. This week, political reality struck back. (The Clamour Of The Times)

'Zero chance' of imminent change on US climate legislation - THERE is "zero chance" of climate change legislation being signed by the US before the UN Copenhagen summit in December, according to sources close to the Obama administration.

Despite the emergence of an ambitious draft bill in the US Congress this week, which was seized upon by the Greens and environmental lobby groups in Australia as proof the Rudd Government was not going far enough in its own climate change legislation, significant doubts remain about the progress of any legislation in the US.

The bill, introduced by chairman of the energy and commerce committee Henry Waxman, stunned climate change proponents with its aggressive call for carbon emissions to be cut by 20 per cent by 2020, from 2005 levels. But it is seen by many in Washington as simply an ambit claim in US climate change legislation stakes.

Moves towards a comprehensive cap and trade system are being blasted by Republicans as a tax increase and senior Democrats and moderate Republicans have been pouring cold water this week on expectations of anything happening this year.

While Australian Greens senator Christine Milne characterised the Waxman bill this week as a sign the US had seized the leadership role and was surpassing countries such as Australia, the reality is very different in the US capital.

The signals publicly - and more emphatically privately - are that the best President Barack Obama can hope for going into Copenhagen is, in the words of one source, "something credible to point to". This means at best legislation that is still likely to be working its way through the Senate.

Even Nancy Pelosi, the liberal leader of the House of Representatives in Washington, called the bill introduced by her colleague Mr Waxman this week a "start". (The Australian)

Obama's Tax Proposals Cap Economic Growth - WASHINGTON -- I recently predicted that President Obama's cap-and-trade energy taxes would be the first casualty of his ambitious legislative agenda.

A bipartisan group of Senate Democrats and Republicans drove the first nail into its coffin by adding an amendment to the pending budget resolution. The amendment will deny carbon-emissions-tax supporters the use of a fast-track budget reconciliation rule to limit debate and pass their tax scheme by a simple majority, skirting the tougher 60-vote hurdle to end debate and quickly move to consideration of the measure.

Senate Democratic leaders do not have the 60 votes to bring cap-and-trade to an up-or-down vote. And even if they had 60 members of their party in the Senate, they would lose many, if not most, Midwestern and Gulf State Democrats who fear that Al Gore's so-called climate-change tax scheme on all carbon emissions would be the death knell of their states' oil- and gas-powered economies. (Donald Lambro, Townhall)

Technology Is the Answer to Climate Change - Carbon caps or levies will throttle taxpayers. - Last summer, China and the developing world announced the price for their cooperation on a global-warming treaty: up to 1% of the developed world's gross domestic product. For the U.S., this would mean sending $140 billion a year to China, Iran, North Korea and Cuba, among other countries. This is in addition to the $28 billion we already distribute each year in foreign aid.

For a U.S. family of four, China's demand comes to nearly $1,900 in yearly taxes. And that's just the beginning.

The tenor of international climate negotiations has emboldened the Indian government to claim in a February filing with the United Nations that the West owes it billions of dollars in compensation for climate change. These payments, it said, should be mandatory and not "subject to decisions of developed country governments and legislatures." (F. James Sensenbrenner, Wall Street Journal)

Obama's disaster in the making - Few things are as frightening as governments that don't want to be confused by the facts because their minds are made up.

So it is with U.S. President Barack Obama and most Democrats, who, determined to create a domestic carbon cap-and-trade market, which Canada will inevitably be forced to join, are rushing into this useless and discredited "tool" for addressing man-made climate change, like lemmings going over a cliff.

It's not as if we don't know what's going to happen.

Based on the experience of the world's largest carbon trading market -- Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), created in January, 2005 -- we know exactly.

First, electricity prices paid by already hard-hit North American consumers are going to rise even higher and faster than they are now.

Second, giant energy utilities, hedge fund managers and speculators are going to make a fortune on the backs of ordinary taxpayers, from the moment the government puts a price on emitting carbon dioxide.

Third, emissions by major industries -- which cap-and-trade is supposed to reduce -- will continue to rise under normal economic conditions, as they did in the ETS from 2005 to 2007.

(Preliminary data from the European Union released yesterday shows 2008 emissions dropped, but that was mainly due to the global recession, since the less demand there is for goods and services, the less energy it takes to produce them.)  (Lorrie Glodstein, Toronto Sun)

US to be 'pragmatic on climate' - The US must balance science with what is politically and technologically achievable on climate change, America's lead negotiator has said.

Speaking at UN talks in Bonn, Jonathan Pershing said the US must not offer more than it could deliver by 2020.

Poor countries said the latest science showed rich states should cut emissions by 40% on 1990 levels by 2020.

President Barack Obama's plan merely to stabilise greenhouse gases at 1990 levels by 2020 is much less ambitious.

Mr Pershing, the US delegation head, previously spent many years promoting clean energy for the International Energy Agency and at the Washington think-tank WRI - World Resources Institute. (Roger Harrabin, BBC)

It’s a Funny Old World - G20 Leaders’ Final Statement: the Leaders’ Statement from the G20 summit in London can be read in full here. I have only one observation to make. The statement comprises 3,146 words and 72 paragraphs. The word ‘climate’ is mentioned only 2 times, and the phrase ‘climate change’ only once, while both are obviously an afterthought, a ritual genuflection, buried deep in Section 28, paragraph 71. (The Clamour Of The Times)

Economy Thwarts Regional Cap-And-Trade Plan On Climate - A plan to regulate global warming emissions at the regional level has stalled. The twin culprits are the recession and the arrival of new blood in Washington, D.C.

Last year, the governors of seven Western states – including Oregon and Washington -- agreed to a regional “cap-and-trade” system. But of the seven state legislatures called to adopt the plan, only one -- California’s – has gone along.

Correspondent Tom Banse looks at what happened and what might come next. (OPB News)

Scammers want out before dot.bomb carbon bubble bursts: Dutch Onecarbon Seeks Capital Or Takeover - LONDON - Netherlands-based carbon project developer OneCarbon is seeking an equity injection of tens of millions of euros, including a possible takeover, the company told Reuters on Friday. OneCarbon wants to generate carbon offsets more cheaply under the UN's clean development mechanism, a strategy made more urgent by falling carbon prices and margins, said Chief Executive Jan Willem Bode.

"Of course that is one of the reasons that we do it right now," he said. "It makes it more urgent to start thinking about what the medium and long-term business models are at which you can generate low-cost carbon."

"There's a much more strategic reason, we started thinking even before the carbon prices dropped," he said referring to a six-month old strategy to make bigger margins using a big portfolio of projects and a stronger balance sheet.

"If you manage to team up with a financial player in order to provide the initial capital investment required for these projects then the combination is stronger." (Reuters)

What would you pay for 400,000 new green jobs? - This New Green Deal is gonna cost

Good news emerged from the recent Low Carbon Summit hosted by bailed-out £10bn loss-making bank, RBS. Peter Mandelson got covered in custard, and the government announced a new industrial strategy.

Apparently 400,000 new "environmental sector" jobs will be created by 2017, according to Gordon Brown, who reckoned 1.3 million people would by then be working in "green" jobs. According to Mandelson, "The huge industrial revolution that is unfolding in converting our economy to low carbon is going to present huge business and employment opportunities."

But what are these jobs - and how did they get that number? (Ben Pile, The Register)

Fact? Or Junk Science? Are We Warming? Or Cooling? - In its April 28, 1975, issue, 34 years ago, Newsweek magazine published an article titled "The Cooling World." The article touted the "fact" that global cooling was the next great disaster to be visited upon the world.

Data had been collected that indicated a great cooling trend, including shorter growing seasons and smaller crop harvests. This led some scientists to believe the Earth was entering a new ice age, the effects of which would change--or, in the worst case, destroy--human habitation.

Fast-forward to 2005: We are told global warming is the new threat to mankind. Further, we are told that human activity is the cause of this calamity; if we don't make extreme changes--immediately--to basic human activities, the world as we know it will end.

Puzzled? Me, too. (Frank W. Wagner, Free Lance-Star)

Oh... Climate change threatens Channel Islands artifacts - SAN MIGUEL ISLAND, Calif.- Perched on the edge of this wind-swept Southern California island, archaeologist Jon Erlandson watches helplessly as 6,600 years of human culture - and a good chunk of his career - is swallowed by the Pacific surf.

It was not long ago that this tip of land on the northwest coast cradling an ancient Chumash Indian village stretched out to sea. But years of storm surge and roiling waves have taken a toll. The tipping point came last year when a huge piece broke off, drowning remnants of discarded abalone, mussel and other shellfish that held clues to an ancient human diet.

"There's an enormous amount of history that's washing into the sea every year," Erlandson said matter-of-factly during a recent hike. "We literally can't keep up."

The sea has long lashed at the Channel Islands, also known as the North American Galapagos - stripping away beaches, slicing off cliff faces and nibbling at hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cultural relics.

Past coastal erosion for the most part was a natural phenomenon, but the problem is feared to grow worse with human-caused global warming and higher sea levels. (Associated Press)

We have no evidence of accelerated sea level rise, in fact precious little evidence of any rise at all and none of enhanced greenhouse effect either, when it comes down to it.

Circular Reasoning in the Theory of Manmade Global Warming - As regular readers here are already aware, I am increasingly convinced that the greatest mistake that the IPCC and mainstream climate researchers have made is their assumption that cloud cover on the Earth remains the same on climate time scales, say over 30 years or longer. The issue is critical because clouds determine how much solar energy is absorbed by the Earth, which then largely determines average global temperatures.

Assuming that cloud cover remains the same is part of the climate modelers’ worldview in which nature was in balance before humans came along and upset that balance.

But there is no way to support this worldview with data…it is a matter of faith. It takes only a 1% change in global average cloud cover to cause substantial climate change, either warming or cooling. It has only been since 2000 that have we had sufficiently stable satellite data (from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites) to determine whether there are any long-term, natural changes in global cloudiness, and unfortunately eight years of data is not much in the context of climate change.

Even our latest, state-of-the-art radiation budget instruments on those same satellites are still not sufficient to measure whether an imbalance in the Earth’s radiative budget exists to better than about 1% (about 4 Watts per sq. meter). That’s five times the ‘manmade imbalance’ that has been theorized to exist today from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

But there’s an interesting consequence of this assumption that the climate system has always been in balance: The assumption ends up leading to a tautology – a process of circular reasoning – regarding the role of mankind in climate change. Let me explain. (Roy W. Spencer)

New Study: Black Carbon Responsible for Half of Arctic Warming - Washington, D.C., April 2, 2009 – An article published this week in Nature Geoscience shows that black carbon is responsible for 50 percent, or almost 1°C of the total 1.9°C increased Arctic warming from 1890 to 2007. The paper by Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space (GISS) and Greg Faluvegi of Columbia University also notes that most of the Arctic warming – 1.48°C of the 1.9°C – occurred from 1976 to 2007. The study is the first to quantify the Arctic’s sensitivity to black carbon emissions from various latitudes, and concludes that the Arctic responds strongly to black carbon emissions from the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, where the emissions and the forcing are greatest.

Black carbon is an aerosol produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass and is estimated to be the second or third largest contributor to climate change. Its emissions cause damage in two ways: while in the atmosphere, the dark particulates absorb sunlight and emit it as heat; when it falls back to earth it can darken snow and ice, reducing their reflectivity and accelerating melting. (Insciences)

Internal Modeling Mistakes By IPCC Are Sufficient To Reject Its Anthropogenic Global Warming Conjecture - Albedo Regulates Climate, Not The Greenhouse Effect. CO2 Has No Measurable Effect On Climate.

FATAL ERRORS IN IPCC'S GLOBAL CLIMATE MODELS

Some critics of the science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) urge that its reliance on a consensus of scientists is false, while others simply point out that regardless, science is never decided by consensus. Some critics rely on fresh analyses of radiosonde and satellite data to conclude that water vapor feedback is negative, contrary to its representation in Global Climate Models (GCMs). Some argue that the AGW model must be false because the climate has cooled over the last decade while atmospheric CO2 continued its rise. Researchers discovered an error in the reduction of data, the widely publicized Hockey Stick Effect, that led to a false conclusion that the Little Ice Age was not global. Some argue that polar ice is not disappearing, that polar bears are thriving, and that sea level is not rising any significant amount.

To the public, these arguments cast a pall over AGW claims. But in a last analysis, they merely weigh indirectly against published positions, weigh against the art of data reduction, or rely on short-term data trends in a long-term forecast. Such charges cannot prevail against the weight of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its network of associated specialists in the field, principally climatologists, should they ever choose to respond categorically. Moreover, these proponents can support their positions with hundreds running into thousands of published, peer-reviewed papers, plus the official IPCC publications, to weigh against tissue-paper-thin arguments, many published online with at best informal and on-going peer review.

On the other hand, what can carry the day are the errors and omissions included in the AGW model with respect to real and demonstrable processes that affect Earth's climate. Here is a list of eight major modeling faults for which IPCC should be held to account. (Jeffrey A. Glassman, Rocket Scientist's Journal)

<chuckle> This after all those claims of accelerating sea level rise: Thames Barrier gets extra time as London's main flood defence - Six-year study reveals that original designs overestimated threat from climate change

London is less vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by global warming than experts realised, according to a new analysis.

Experts at the Environment Agency said the Thames Barrier will protect the city for decades longer than engineers thought, with a six-year study revealing that the barrier's original designs overestimated the threat from climate change.

Rather than becoming obsolete by 2030, as its designers thought, the barrier will not need to be replaced until 2070, the agency said today.

Chris Burnham, who worked on the Environment Agency project, called the results "good news". He said the barrier's designers had overestimated the likely sea level rise in coming decades when they gave the flood defence a best-before date of 2030. (The Guardian)

Well D U H !  of the moment: Plants buy Earth more time as CO2 makes them grow - TREES and plants are growing bigger and faster in response to the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans, scientists have found.

The increased growth has been discovered in a variety of flora, ranging from tropical rainforests to British sugar beet crops.

It means they are soaking up at least some of the CO2 that would otherwise be accelerating the rate of climate change. It also suggests the potential for higher crop yields.

Some researchers believe the phenomenon is strong enough to buy humanity some extra years in which to try to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. However, few dispute that this will provide anything more than a temporary reprieve.

“There is no doubt that the enrichment of the air with CO2 is increasing plant growth rates in many areas,” said Professor Martin Parry, head of plant science at Rothamsted Research, Britain’s leading crop institute. “The problem is that humans are releasing so much that plants can remove only a fraction of it.”CO2 Plants survive by extracting CO2 from the air and using sunlight to convert it into proteins and sugars.

Since 1750 the concentration in the air has risen from of CO2 278 parts per million (ppm) to more than 380ppm, making it easier for plants to acquire the CO2 needed for rapid growth. (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

CLIMATE CHANGE: Farming Could Be Friend or Foe - UXBRIDGE, Canada, Apr 2 - Don't forget about agriculture in the upcoming global negotiations to combat climate change, experts warn. Not only is farming most at risk in an increasingly variable and tempestuous climate, it is also a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

But with the right policies in place, agriculture could both continue to feed the world and play a crucial role in solving the climate problem.

"Agriculture has been missing in the run-up talks to Copenhagen," says Mark Rosegrant of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). (IPS)

There are two paths ahead; each marked with a “Danger” signpost - (As everyone knows who has been a regular reader of Paradigms and Demographics and my weekly newsletter, Green Notes, Mr. James Marusek is a nuclear physicist and an engineer. He clearly demonstrates his expertise in this work. Please follow the links. The information is somewhat long, but I can’t emphasis enough how important that information is. I would like to thank him once again for allowing me to reprint his work. Click HERE in order to see the original PDF. RK) (Paradigms and Demographics)

Bad news for Catlin Expedition: Satellite Data Shows Arctic Cooling in February and March - Guest Post by Steven Goddard

As reported by Anthony, RSS satellite temperature data is out for March. And as the Catlin adventurers have discovered, it has been “stupidly cold” in the Arctic. March was the second consecutive month of below normal Arctic temperatures, and the continuation of a four year cooling trend - as seen below. Google’s linest() function shows that since the beginning of 2005, Arctic temperatures have been cooling at a rate of 1.8 degrees C per decade, or 18C per century ( see comments). Also note that Arctic monthly temperature anomaly now is about three degrees lower than in January, 1981.

That short term trend isn’t meaningful, except in the context of the Catlin Expedition and the cold they are experiencing. (Watts Up With That?)

Back in the virtual world: Ice-free Arctic Ocean possible in 30 years, not 90 as previously estimated -- A nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer may happen three times sooner than scientists have estimated. New research says the Arctic might lose most of its ice cover in summer in as few as 30 years instead of the end of the century. (PhysOrg.com)

Who cares? of the moment: An Antarctic ice shelf has disappeared: scientists - WASHINGTON - One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday.

They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.

Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available here. (Reuters)

How this should have been written up is "A vestigial ice fragment on the south side of Marguerite Bay has finally and very belatedly broken up. Marguerite Bay is on the exposed western flank of the Antarctic Peninsula, which protrudes into the Southern Ocean towards South America. Unlike the Antarctic mainland the Peninsula has shown some warming in the northernmost region, possibly due to changes in circumpolar ocean currents."

Surging Glacier Reaches The River - The Tweedsmuir Glacier on the famous Alsek River is moving more than 100 times it’s usual speed! There are very few regions in the world that boast surging glaciers - only small bits of northern Canada, Alaska and the Himalaya. This is one of the reasons why the racing Tweedsmuir Glacier is such a remarkable phenomena (and one could legitimately say “awesome”). The multi million tons of ice has “flowed” more than a kilometer in the last year, paradoxically behaving more like a fluid than a solid. Glaciologist Chris Larsen reports that it appears to be on a 30 year cycle, last reaching the Alsek River in 1974. It is thought that at one time in history, the glacier actually dammed the river causing the formation of the formidable gorge, appropriately known as Turnback Canyon. Further upriver, the Lowell Glacier blocked the river creating a massive lake for some years. (Northern Currents)

Leave it to market pressure, dopey! Getting Fuel Economy Right - The Obama administration has before it a rare opportunity to establish an aggressive — and unified — national standard for automobile fuel economy that could save consumers money at the pump, reduce oil dependency and greenhouse gases and help make America’s car companies (or what’s left of them after the present restructuring) more competitive.

Doing so will require overcoming bureaucratic obstacles and harmonizing state and federal mandates. And that will mean intervention by the White House, specifically Carol Browner, the president’s coordinator on energy and environmental matters, whose job description includes unraveling just this kind of knot.

At first glance, the situation looks impossibly tangled, with three different governmental entities involved. One is the Department of Transportation, which sets fuel-economy standards. In 2007, Congress required all new cars and light trucks to meet a fleetwide average of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020 — a 40 percent increase over today’s standard — and ordered the department to devise a timetable.

California is also a player as a result of a 2002 state law mandating big reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles. The mandate established no new fuel-economy standards, since that is a federal responsibility. But because the only obvious way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles is to make them more efficient, the mandate would inevitably require a big jump in fuel economy. (New York Times)

If consumers want to buy more economical vehicles, that's what producers will build, otherwise... Either way mandates have no place in a producer-consumer relationship.

Nonsense Energy Policies - Because Democrats abandoned a plan to use a Senate squelch-the-minority maneuver to pass a disastrous cap-and-trade carbon tax, the idea may be done for this year. But don't give thanks too quickly.

It's far from dead and buried and other disastrous energy policies are being readied for public infliction. Before the Obama administration and its congressional allies are done, we could be reeling from one of the most extraordinary spectacles in American political history ― a wholly misguided war against our own self-interests as a people.

Start with the aversion to carbon dioxide, which happens to be essential to human life and which is emitted from the mouths of every person every day by the simple act of breathing. Industrial and auto emissions of the gas may or may not be contributing to significant, potentially catastrophic, global warming. But science simply does not know, no matter what you read. (Jay Ambrose, Scripps Howard News Service)

Oil Producers Look for Ways out of Crisis - PARIS, Apr 3 - With the price of crude oil down more than 50 percent from a year ago, and with U.S. President Barack Obama championing alternative forms of energy, oil producers are scrambling to find ways to protect their industry.

At the 10th International Oil Summit, held in Paris Thursday, government ministers, company executives and representatives of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) discussed ways of dealing with the current economic crisis and future challenges.

But no one at the conference seemed to have any clear idea on what steps should be taken, and many speakers went on the defensive, criticising Obama's plans to make the United States less dependent on oil, blaming consumer practices for harming the environment, and warning that low prices mean less funds to invest in alternative forms of energy. (IPS)

Will Mexico Start Sending Natural Gas North? - In the North American energy business, the words “gas exports” do not usually appear in the same sentence as “from Mexico.” But get ready, because Mexico has recently increased its production and LNG imports, slashed pipeline imports to a trickle, and looks poised to start shipping gas north this year.

In recent issues, we have addressed the complex relationships within the North American gas industry among the price drivers of increasing US shale gas production, decreasing Canadian gas exports, uncertain LNG import levels, and declining US demand levels. Sorting through the interplay between these drivers and North American gas price levels has knotted many brows across the industry. The Mexican gas industry may soon compound that consternation.

According to the US Energy Information Agency, Mexico has been a net importer of US natural gas since 1990. Mexican gas imports peaked at 1.8 bcf/d in 2004, declined gradually to 1.3 bcf/d by 2006, and then plummeted to 0.4 bcf/d in 2008. Mexico is poised to achieve a positive net export balance for natural gas in 2009-2012.

The reversal of trade flows will be dramatic. The 48-inch Pemex trunkline that connects the major oil and gas reserves of southeast Mexico to markets in northeast Mexico and Texas was originally built to facilitate large-scale Mexican exports to the US. Contrary to that intent, the Pemex system has instead served as a major import corridor for US supplies. Now it may after all serve its original purpose.

It did not function as originally planned because, for several decades, Mexican gas production has been consistently lower than consumption. This was the product of a disparity in investment between the robust private programs for natural gas delivery infrastructure and power generation, and the inadequate public investment in natural gas production, which is the exclusive responsibility of the state oil and gas company, Pemex. (Christopher J. Goncalves, Energy Tribune)

Because electrickery is bad... Power plants a 'danger' - MORE than 600 non-government organisations have warned that three second-hand power plants under construction in East Timor may endanger the health and livelihoods of the country's 1 million people.

Joining environmental groups that have already attacked the construction of the polluting heavy oil plants, the Timor Leste NGO Forum accused the Dili Government of failing to consider other electricity technologies and not obtaining an independent assessment of the environmental impact before approving the $400 million project.

"We fear the project undercuts sustainable development, could squander public resources and may endanger people's livelihoods and health," the forum said in a statement at a government conference in Dili.

The statement represents the views of East Timor NGOs and other overseas organisations that work in the country. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Energy Poverty: Environmental Problem #1 (worth remembering Sunday) - “Climate change is not an economics problem. It’s an ethics problem.” - Stephen Schneider, Science, June 4, 2004.

Well, yes it is. And the climate-change debate brings up the energy-policy debate.

Poor people around the world need abundant, affordable, modern energy. And this points to private property and free markets–and adaptation in the face of uncertainties–and not government ownership and control of energy resources. The failure of Kyoto I should not be followed by a Kyoto II. The United States should not enact either a carbon tax or a carbon cap-and-trade program. Resource access on government lands (and waters) should be permitted. The goal is a robust supply-side strategy that respects free consumer choice to benefit one and all, and particularly the most vulnerable. (Robert Bradley, Master Resource)

Poor Marian, she really believes: Clean coal remains a faraway dream - When the Academy Award-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen used their talents a few weeks ago to make an anti-ad ridiculing clean coal, industry lobbyists were not happy. When Robert Kennedy jnr branded clean coal in America "a dirty lie", and suggested some coal executives should face criminal charges, they got really upset. This state's most passionate coal advocate, the head of the NSW Minerals Council, Nikki Williams, reacts to Kennedy's name with a mix of outrage and sorrow.

But the coal industry and, more importantly, Australia's politicians, should come to grips with the reality that it is beginning to lose its social licence to operate in Western democracies. And the strategy of holding up clean coal as the Holy Grail for the industry's greenhouse problem is not working.

Australia is increasingly seen as the Saudi Arabia of coal - a leading exporter of a major greenhouse gas pollutant. Despite the present economic downturn, industry and government forecasts say our coal exports will keep rising in the next decades. The NSW Government is issuing new exploration licences like they were confetti, and the expansion of the Newcastle coal loader is a national and state priority.

All this flies in the face of the scientific forecasts delivered in Copenhagen last month. Unless there are rapid and sustained cuts in greenhouse emissions, the world will not avoid dangerous climate change.

High-profile figures such as the former US vice-president Al Gore, and a NASA climate scientist, James Hansen, advocate a moratorium on new coal plants in the US and Britain unless and until clean coal comes good. Similar public pressure is likely to come in Japan, our largest coal customer. (Marian Wilkinson, Sydney Morning Herald)

China Will Not OK New Coal Licenses Until 2011 - China is suddenly awash in coal. The economic slowdown has resulted in an excess of coal production capacity and the result is that the Ministry of Land and Resources recently announced that it would not issue any new coal mining licenses until 2011.

The decision, announced last week by the agency, extends a ruling made in early 2007 that aimed to cut coal output. The ban on new coal mining licenses was expected to end in 2008, but the ministry extended it through 2011 due to lagging demand for electricity and coal. China currently has about 23,000 coal mines with about 270 billion tons of coal reserves. (Lee Geng, Energy Tribune)

Will dams on Amazon tributary wreak global havoc? - The Xingu River, the largest tributary of the Amazon, runs wide and swift this time of year. Its turquoise waters are home to some 600 species of fish, including several not found anywhere else on the planet. A thick emerald canopy of trees hugs its banks, except in places where man has carved out pastures for cattle.

Now man, in the form of the Brazilian state power company, wants to harness a section of the Xingu by building the world's third-biggest dam.

Called the Belo Monte, the dam would drown 200 square miles of tropical rainforest -- an area equivalent to the sprawling city of Tucson, Ariz. -- and would flood the homes of 19,000 people. It would be only one of more than a dozen dams that the Brazilian government is planning to construct on tributaries of the Amazon, the world's mightiest river. (McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)

Poor children used to boost vending machine sales - Children from socially deprived areas — 1,641 elementary students in all — were specifically targeted by a government-funded study that promoted a large drink vendor. The experimental intervention, which had no scientific basis and is known to put children at risk for harm, involved compulsory lessons of mythologies designed to scare these youngsters...thin. Medical ethics is, indeed, a fragile thing.

How did this study pass an Institutional Review Board? There are ethical guidelines on human experimentation which especially safeguards the welfare of under-age children and other vulnerable populations who are not in positions to give voluntary, informed consent. Yet, no medical professional has spoken up on behalf of these underprivileged children.

Mainstream media has heralded the program, inaccurately reporting that the intervention is harmless and could be the answer to childhood obesity and help kids fight fat, and even that it had proven effective and able to “prevent obesity in kids.” In actuality, it had failed and wasn’t harmless, either.

Why has no health writer reported what was actually happening to these young disadvantaged children? It would have taken just minutes to go beyond the abstract and read the actual study, to look up the registered clinical trial protocol and Google the curriculum to learn what was being done to these children. It would have taken just one health reporter who understood science… for the world to have learned the truth. Yet, no journalist did. (Junkfood Science)

Rocket-powered kids? Perchlorate found in infant formula -- CDC - Samples of powdered infant formula contain trace levels of a rocket fuel ingredient, a federal study has found.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested infant formula for traces of perchlorate because of concerns that the chemical can damage thyroid function. Their findings were published last month in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

Perchlorate has been found in the drinking water of at least 35 states and the District of Columbia. The chemical can inhibit the thyroid gland's iodine uptake, interfering with fetal development.

The highest levels of perchlorate were found in formulas derived from cow's milk, the researchers found. They also looked at soy-based formulas, as well as formulas from lactose-free cow's milk and synthetic amino acids. They declined to say which brands they tested, but said each one contained detectable levels.

The study does not answer questions about how traces of perchlorate affect human health. Some factors could offset the chemical, including the presence of iodine. An infant's weight and formula consumption can also influence risk.

The researchers also offered several caveats for understanding the results, including the scope of the study. The samples were all taken from one city, meaning the results might not apply nationwide. (Greenwire)

The ability to detect trace amounts of anything really means squat. Were these traces large enough to present any known danger to kids consuming formula? Obviously not since there is no warning nor hint of associated recall.

Deafness after mumps more common than thought - NEW YORK - Japanese researchers say mumps-related hearing loss in children may be 20 times more common than previously suggested.

"Deafness is a rare but important complication of mumps virus infection," the researchers note in a report in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

They determined the incidence of sudden hearing loss in children with mumps based upon a population-based office survey of more than 7500 patients from 40 pediatric practices in Japan, a country where mumps is endemic (constantly present). (Reuters Health)

Nut-rich diet may have myriad benefits - LONDON - Adding nuts to a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fruit and vegetables appears to provide extra health benefits, Spanish researchers said on Monday.

A daily serving of mixed nuts helped a group of older people manage their metabolic syndrome, a group of related disorders such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and abnormal blood sugar, Jordi Salas-Salvado of the University of Rovira i Virgili in Spain and colleagues said.

"The results of the present study show that a non-energy-restricted traditional Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, which is high in fat, high in unsaturated fat and palatable, is a useful tool in managing the metabolic syndrome," they wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine. (Reuters)

Corporate Social Responsibility Appeasers - On February 3, 2009, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told a gathering of news media lapdogs that the House Financial Services Committee—Barney chairs the committee—would consider legislation to apply compensation restrictions to all financial institutions and that the salary restrictions might be extended to all U.S. companies. News reports indicated that Barney and his buddy Barack were working closely to craft the particulars of the bill.

Just a few weeks later, the beloved and munificent (with our money) Leader decided it was time to take a private sector scalp—the masses craved a sacrificial goat and he was going to deliver.

How about an AIG executive? No, that might be awkward since The Leader accepted $130,000 from AIG on his campaign collection plate in 2008. In fact, he and Sen. Chris Dodd ranked first and second on the AIG gravy train.

What about Ron Gettelfinger, the Grand Poobah at the United Auto Workers union? After all, many believe that Gettlefinger and his union brethren ransacked, pillaged and plundered the U.S. auto industry to the point of collapse. No, garroting Gettelfinger might prove disconcerting to the rank-and-file; wouldn’t want them to show up with pitchforks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Nick Nichols, Townhall)

T.E.A. Party Bumper Sticker (The Patriot Depot)

Car Designer in Chief - WASHINGTON -- The Constitution enumerates three requirements of those who would be president (they must be natural-born citizens, at least 35 and a resident within the country for 14 years) and now the government's thrashing about in the economy imposes a fourth: Presidents must be able to speak pluperfect nonsense with a straight face, lest the country understand what the government is doing. Obfuscation serves political salvation when what the government is doing includes promising that if Chrysler will sell itself to Fiat, U.S. taxpayers will lend that Italian firm $6 billion.

Barack Obama displayed reality-denying virtuosity last week when, announcing the cashiering of General Motors' CEO, and naming his replacement, and as the government was prompting selection of a new majority of GM's board of directors, and as the government announced the next deadline for GM to submit a more satisfactory viability plan than it submitted at the last faux deadline, and as the government kept the billions flowing to tide GM over until, well, whenever, the president said: "The United States government has no interest in running GM."

Actually, his administration prefers to do that rather than allow bankruptcy to infuriate the United Auto Workers union, which was pre-emptively grateful to Obama's administration with lavish contributions to candidate Obama. The president supposedly showed "toughness" in sacking a conspicuous member of a particularly unpopular little cohort, CEOs of big corporations. He will need more grit if, as his administration hints, this time it is serious, that its patience is wearing thin, that someday GM could face "controlled" or "prepackaged" or "surgical" bankruptcy. One suspects that those adjectives intimate that it will be faux bankruptcy, gentle in dealing with the UAW.  (George Will, Townhall)

Is Barack Obama The "Moral Alternative" To Capitalism? - Who ever imagined that in the year 2009, the President of the United States and the protesters who sought to disrupt the G-20 Summit would actually agree on something?

“Capitalism is immoral” was one of the phrases scrawled on several of the banners carried outside the summit meetings this past week. And although he has never said this in so many words, indeed President Obama would seem to be in lock-step with that assertion, or at least with the sentiment that the assertion entails.

But whether you’re a protester or the President, to assert (or even to simply “imply,” as Mr. Obama does) that “capitalism is immoral” is to invite a slew of crucial questions. And the first and most obvious question that this raises is, “what does this assertion mean?” (Austin Hill, Townhall)

The West's Fatal Overdose - The G-20 has agreed on plans to fight the global downturn. But its approach will only lay the foundation for the next, bigger crisis. Instead of "stability, growth, jobs," the summit's real slogan should have been "debt, unemployment, inflation."

Now they're celebrating again. An "historic compromise" had been reached, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in London, while US President Barack Obama spoke of a "turning point" in the fight against the global downturn. Behind the two leaders, the summit's motto could clearly be seen: "stability, growth, jobs."

When the celebrations have died down, it will be easier to look at what actually happened in London with a cool eye. The summit participants took the easy way out. Their decision to pump a further $5 trillion (€3.72 trillion) into the collapsing world economy within the foreseeable future, could indeed prove to be a historical turning point -- but a turning point downwards. In combating this crisis, the international community is in fact laying the foundation for the next crisis, which will be larger. It would probably have been more honest if the summit participants had written "debt, unemployment, inflation" on the wall.

The crucial questions went unanswered because they weren't even asked. Why are we in the current situation anyway? Who or what has got us into this mess? (Der Spiegel)

Obama's Ultimate Agenda - WASHINGTON -- Five minutes of explanation to James Madison, and he'll have a pretty good idea what a motorcar is (basically a steamboat on wheels; the internal combustion engine might take a few minutes more). Then try to explain to Madison how the Constitution he fathered allows the president to unilaterally guarantee the repair or replacement of every component of millions of such contraptions sold in the several states, and you will leave him slack-jawed.

In fact, we are now so deep into government intervention that constitutional objections are summarily swept aside. The last Treasury secretary brought the nine largest banks into his office and informed them that henceforth he was their partner. His successor is seeking the power to seize any financial institution at his own discretion.

Despite these astonishments, I remain more amused than alarmed. First, the notion of presidential car warranties strikes me as simply too bizarre, too comical, to mark the beginning of Yankee Peronism. (Charles Krauthammer, Townhall)

G20 sells out freedom - Keith Hennessy, a former economics advisor to President George W. Bush, says G20 leaders seem to have had a disturbing change of heart about freedom since November:

Here is the key paragraph from the November summit, hosted in Washington by President Bush.  Thanks to President Bush’s negotiators, led by his “Sherpa,” Dan Price, and Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Dave McCormick, the following text is incredible… Formerly Communist China and Russia (along with all the other participating nations) agreed to the following text.”

12. We recognize that these reforms will only be successful if grounded in a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems. These principles are essential to economic growth and prosperity and have lifted millions out of poverty, and have significantly raised the global standard of living. Recognizing the necessity to improve financial sector regulation, we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows, including to developing countries.

Let’s parse it a bit:

“… a commitment to free market principles …”
“… rule of law …”
“… respect for private property …”
“… open trade and investment …”
“… competitive markets …”
“… and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems.”
“… we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows …”

Now let’s examine yesterday’s text:

3.  We start from the belief that prosperity is indivisible; that growth, to be sustained, has to be shared; and that our global plan for recovery must have at its heart the needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets and the poorest countries of the world too; and must reflect the interests, not just of today’s population, but of future generations too. We believe that the only sure foundation for sustainable globalisation and rising prosperity for all is an open world economy based on market principles, effective regulation, and strong global institutions.

Parsing this new language:

“… a commitment to free market principles …” has been replaced by “… based on market principles …”.  Note that the word “free” is nowhere in the document.
“… rule of law …” is nowhere in the document
“… private property …” is nowhere in the document
“… open trade and investment …” has been replaced by “… open world economy …” (This one is fine, I think.)
“… competitive markets …” and the word “competitive” are nowhere in the document
“… efficient, effectively regulated financial systems” has been replaced by “effective regulation, and strong global institutions.” The over-regulation caution is gone.

It seems we’re all socialists now. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Oops! Vanity Fair's green slip is showing - It's spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and everything is going green. Everything, that is, except Vanity Fair, which has decided to ditch its annual "green issue".

For the past three years, the monthly glossy has made much of dedicating its May issue to the environment: from Leonardo DiCaprio posing on an iceberg to last year's open letter from Robert Kennedy Jnr to the next president calling for action on global warming. This year, the tradition has been quietly dropped. (Forum.JunkScience.com)

Insurers looking to take money off people for bogus risks? Nah... Insurers seize climate change opportunity with over 600 new products - Report finds number of new climate change and low carbon related insurance offerings doubled last year

The insurance sector is responding rapidly to the opportunities presented by climate change and the emergence of low carbon technologies with a glut of new products and services that should help accelerate the adoption of greener business models.

That is the conclusion of a major new report from sustainable investor group Ceres, which found that there are 643 climate change related products and services being offered by almost 250 insurers worldwide, including a doubling in new product offerings launched in 2008 alone.

"A vanguard of insurers is taking bold steps to adapt their business model to the realities of climate change," observed Dr. Evan Mills, the report's author and a scientist at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who also worked on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, he added that further product development was required if the industry is to catch up with customers, "who are rapidly changing the way they construct buildings, design products, and produce energy, in response to climate change".

Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, agreed more climate change-related insurance was required, arguing that "the scope and breadth of the insurer response fails to match the scale and urgency of the risks - or the opportunities - facing the industry". (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Lawrence Solomon: Stimulating sprawl - Governments throughout the continent are shovelling money as fast as they can, largely into low- or no-value infrastructure projects

Sprawl in Toronto just got its biggest boost in 50 years, thanks to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s decision this week to stimulate the economy through a $9-billion spending spree on transportation infrastructure. Look for Toronto to bust out all over — North, East and West — in line with the major routes he promises to fund. And look for low-density sprawl to spread to Toronto’s detriment, just as occurred with the uneconomic transportation infrastructure built in the past. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Not so rare, so... Huge population of rare dolphins discovered in South Asia - The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced the discovery of a huge population of rare dolphins in South Asia—but warns that the population is threatened by climate change and fishing nets.

Using rigorous scientific techniques, WCS researchers estimate that nearly 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, which are related to orcas or killer whales, were found living in freshwater regions of Bangladesh’s Sundarbans mangrove forest and adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal—an area where little marine mammal research has taken place up to this point. Prior to this study, the largest known populations of Irrawaddy dolphins numbered in the low hundreds or less.

Each discovery of Irrawaddy dolphins is important because scientists do not know how many remain on the planet. In 2008, they were listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List based on population declines in known populations. (Mercopress)

... so obviously that means we have a lot more of them to worry about.

Gosh, critters find the most suitable habitat. Go figure... Rarest birds warm to Britain’s changing climate - Some of the rarest birds to breed in Britain appear to be increasing in numbers, helped by the warming of the climate or the availability of suitable habitats, a study has found.

The little egret, firecrest, cranes and Mediterranean gulls have all been recorded in their highest numbers since monitoring by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel began in 1973.

Mark Holling, its secretary, said that the firecrest was “a species which has found new habitat and a climate to suit”. But other species were suffering because of changes in the climate and landscape. (The Times)

Where Farm Meets City, Hello Sty-Scrapers! - TORONTO, Canada, Apr 3 - One of the displays at an exhibition here imagines a Netherlands pig grower who, in some not-distant future, has given up his farm and now commutes to work downtown at a high-rise "Pig City."

The animals he helps to tend, conceived in the "eros room," don’t leave the open-sided, 40-storey sty until they’re slaughtered and processed.

A portion of their feed is grown in or around the building; the rest is waste from nearby food processors. Their manure is converted into fertiliser as well as biogas for heat and electricity.

Some 44 towers could supply all the Netherlands’ pork, say the designers, MVRDV of Rotterdam.

Pig City is the most provocative concept at "Carrot City," a two-month exhibition here devoted to the rapidly growing field of urban agriculture and how it interacts with the design of buildings and spaces. No one is yet prepared to build the sty-scraper, and the exact concept might never fly.

But it and the entire show are inspiring discussion about city "farms" and their role in the coming new world of food production. In both industrialised and developing nations, experts say, humans must begin to nourish themselves with crops and livestock raised in their ever-expanding metropolises.

Populations are growing, arable land is being lost to development, fuels will become expensive and scarce, and greenhouse gas emissions must be cut to curb climate change.

To those concerns add "a crisis of trust" in the current food system, says Joe Nasr, one of three professors at Toronto’s Ryerson University who organised the exhibition. "It’s increasingly showing flaws," he said. Here, warning signs include the recent deadly bacterial contamination of imported spinach, peanuts and pistachios.

These issues, along with unease about chemicals and genetic modification, as well as reduced nutritional value, have sparked interest in local food and the "100-mile" diet, as well as "small plot intensive," or SPIN farming, based on producing organic fruits and vegetables in numerous tiny backyard plots.

In the developing world, food shortages are endemic, and climate change is expected to further reduce production. (IPS/IFEJ)

I hate to spoil their futurist imaginings but my idea of SPIN food has more to do with a Cuisinart than it does the size of the growers' plots.

April 3, 2009

Looks like this naive turkey is being trussed and stuffed: Obama: U.S. To Lead On Climate So China, India Follow - LONDON - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States would "lead by example" in combating climate change so that developing nations such as India and China would follow suit.

Speaking at the G20 meeting of major economies, he used his presidential debut on the world stage to contrast his policies with those of former President George W. Bush, who had twinned U.S. action to curb climate greenhouse gases with pressure on emerging economic powerhouses.

"China and India ... justifiably chafe at the idea that they should somehow sacrifice their development for our efforts to control climate change," Obama told a news conference at the conclusion of the London summit.

He told reporters he had pledged U.S. climate leadership in a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (Reuter)

What would it take to reduce CO2 levels to 350 ppm? - “Climate 350″–for 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere–is fast becoming the new mantra of Gorethodox believers in climate doom and coercive energy rationing. Columbia University will host a conference on the topic next month, featuring NASA scientist James Hansen as the keynote speaker. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

More ball gazing... CLIMATE CHANGE: Going Beyond the Carbon Market - Darío Montero interviews economist JOHN NASH*

MONTEVIDEO, Apr 2 - With an incisive report in hand about what awaits Latin America and the Caribbean in the future if action is not taken to fight climate change, economist John Nash defends the role of the World Bank and underscores the need to expand the so-called "clean development mechanism".

Nash, the World Bank's lead economist for the region, sets out a dramatic scenario for what lies ahead if no agreement is reached to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change - a treaty that has been in force since 2005 and expires in 2012. (Tierramérica)

... as if we hadn't all just been given a lesson in the hazards of trusting models and future prognostication.

Economy Plans Are Environmentally Friendly - According to a green ranking of stimulus plans released Thursday, Germany and U.S. economic recovery plans are more climate friendly that those in France, Britain or Italy, but all fall short of what is needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.

A G-20 summit is being held in London on Thursday with the world's largest economies in an attempt to align efforts to combat global recession.

"These packages amounting to billions of dollars provide a clear opportunity to shift to a more environmentally sustainable economy," said Kim Cartensen, director of WWF's Global Climate Initiative. (redOrbit)

Environmentally friendly in the sense they are economy killers?

Can We Afford To Bet Our American Economy On The Supposition That Freeman Dyson Is Wrong? - Albert Einstein's work was considered heretical, because it was interpreted by those who thought him wrong as a repudiation of Newton who as everyone knew was right. Those who challenged Einstein were for the most part not only very eminent but who also had an understanding of the issues being raised by Einstein. There were very few people qualified to challenge Einstein, but the average person, no matter how intelligent, was not among them. Einstein's detractors and his supporters were both among the cream of the human race in intelligence. What they had in common was their belief that only empirical evidence could resolve the issue, as it ultimately did when an critical experiment was designed that could be carried out practically. That is not at all how to describe the cult like followers of the religion of global warming, and it is a very good reason to withhold judgement on global warming until all of the facts are in. (Jack Lifton, Gerson Lehrman Group)

Environmental Groups See Snub At G20 Summit - LONDON - World leaders at the G20 summit disappointed environmental groups on Thursday who said their commitment to fight climate change had been vague.

The leaders reaffirmed a previous commitment to sign a U.N. climate deal this year, a step the U.N. climate-change chief said was useful, though action would be better.

The London summit had focused on averting a financial meltdown, pledging a $1 trillion package to save the world economy and boost fragile consumer and business confidence.

On "green" causes the leaders affirmed a 15-month-old commitment to agree in December this year a new climate treaty and resolved to "accelerate the transition" to a low-carbon economy. (Reuters)

Another gorebull warming myth goes under... Vanishing islands: Blame on KoPT - KOLKATA: The lack of proper dredging and not global warming is behind the obliteration of two islands in the Sunderbans, if experts are to be believed. Around 10,000 people were rendered homeless when the Lohachara island vanished from the map in the late 1990s.

There is, however, some good news: this island the first inhabited one in the world to get obliterated is emerging again.

But a wide spectrum of experts including former KoPT hydraulic engineers refute the global warming theory and say that the lackadaisical attitude of port authorities and lack of proper dredging are to be blamed for the vanishing of Lohachara and Bedford (Suparibhanga) islands. Apart from these two, Ghoramara, a third island in the north of Sagar and only around 120 km from Kolkata, is being eroded with every passing day.

"One shouldn't blame global warming for the islands vanishing. Several geo-morphological changes and other problems were behind the fragile islands eroding. While I was in KoPT, we had submitted a Rs 360-crore plan to solve the navigability problems and improve the draught in the estuary. It was a seven-point project, which included building a number of underwater guide walls. But only one of the walls could be built before the scheme got shelved for want of funds," says Tapobrata Sanyal, former chief hydraulic engineer of Kolkata Port Trust. As the project got shelved, dredging of the estuary was neglected.

There are a number of shallow patches or bars' in the shipping channel to the Kolkata and Haldia docks. Of these, the Balari bar on the north-west of Nayachar substantially influences the river dynamics of the region.

Nayachar island, situated almost in the middle of the Hooghly, virtually divides the river into two channels. Till the early Eighties, the channel between Nayachar and Haldia (Jellingham-Haldia-Jiggerkhali-Balari channel) was navigable up to Kolkata port. But because of reduced flow (thanks to Farakka barrage and irrigation canals upstream), sediments started getting deposited further upstream (including at Balari) instead of compensating erosion in the sea-facing islands.

As the riverbed at Balari became more and more shallow, the main downward flow of the river took the Rangafalla channel on the eastern side of Nayachar, thereby eroding the islands of Lohachara, Bedford and Ghoramara. (Times of India)

Myths believed by some AGW skeptics - Roy Spencer finally wrote a text that I wanted to write for quite some time: In defense of the greenhouse effect

We frequently hear arguments from the fellow skeptics that the greenhouse effect has to be impossible, exactly zero, that it contradicts some basic laws of mechanics, thermodynamics, and so on.

Well, these thoughts lead to the correct practical conclusions: it is absurd to spend trillions to "fight climate change".

But from a scientific viewpoint, all these statements are as ludicrous as the statements of the alarmists that the ongoing "climate change" threatens life on the Earth. Every effect that cannot be proved to be zero - by symmetries and closely related principles - is guaranteed to be nonzero. That's why there are so many other effects, too. The only question are the coefficients, i.e. the strength of all these effects.

As Roy Spencer explains, the greenhouse effect is technically different from the effect used in the greenhouse with vegetables. The greenhouse effect is about the infrared absorption while the greenhouse mechanically prevents heat convection. But both of them reduce the ability of the system to cool down, which means that the equilibrium temperature increases. The only question is how much.

The bare value (neglecting rain, effects on other parts of the atmosphere etc.) can be calculated for the CO2 greenhouse effect from well-known laws of physics: it gives 1.2 °C per CO2 doubling from 280 ppm (year 1800) to 560 ppm (year 2109, see below). The feedbacks may amplify or reduce this value and they are influenced by lots of unknown complex atmospheric effects as well as by biases, prejudices, and black magic introduced by the researchers. (The Reference Frame)

Oil Not To Blame For Climate Change: OPEC - PARIS - OPEC said oil was not to blame for climate change and consuming countries should pay to fight the threat, while the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said drivers could help by not buying Hummer sports utility vehicles.

"Oil is not responsible," the producer group's Secretary General, Abdullah al-Badri, told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of the International Oil Summit in Paris.

"It is the industrialized countries which are making all this pollution in the world." (Reuters)

True, oil is not the cause of climate change, nor is fossil fuel use or industrialization.

Senate votes to kill cap-and-trade? - Well, not overtly, but the Senate voted 89-8 for an amendment to the Fiscal year 2010 budget resolution (S. Con Res. 13), introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), which would prohibit any future greenhouse gas cap-and-trade initiative from increasing gasoline prices and electricity rates for U.S. households and businesses. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Pelosi vows global warming bill by 2010 - Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has set her sights on passing a global warming bill by the end of the year, pushing past strong misgivings from moderate Democrats in the House and Senate.

Asked Thursday when the House would pass an energy measure that seeks to reduce carbon emissions and possibly impose a cap and trade system, Pelosi said simply: "This year."

Pelosi, who refers to climate change as "the flagship issue" of her speakership, said the political dynamics in the Senate won't impact her decision to move legislation in the House -- even though her own moderate members have expressed apprehension about passing a bill if the Senate doesn't act. House moderates are particularly concerned that being forced to vote on a major global warming bill that has no chance in the Senate, since that vote may hurt them politically in conservative districts.

"We're building our consensus," Pelosi said, "and when we're ready, we'll bring it to the floor. I've never been driven by a Senate timetable or what they're willing to pass. We set our own pace and our own standard here." (Patrick O'Connor, Politico)

Australian Miners Step Up Carbon Trade Opposition - CANBERRA - Australia's coal and gas producers, including miner Rio Tinto Ltd, said the government must give more assistance to major emitting export industries, and to increase the number of free carbon pollution permits.

Mining and gas firms have stepped up their campaign against the government's carbon trading plans, telling a Senate inquiry the current plan will stifle investment and force mines to close. (Reuters)

The EU's Dead Parrot Sketch - This is destined to go down as a classic, naturally from (at least some of) the people who brought us Monty Python.

First came reports in the WSJ (bearing the accurate headline “UPDATE: EU '08 Emissions D[ow]n As Recession Takes Hold”) and Reuters, respectively, that carbon emissions from heavy industry and utilities in the EU fell 6 percent last year as the economic downturn slowed industrial activity in everything from construction to auto manufacturing, and that the ETS was at least 40 million tonnes short of carbon permits in 2008, the first time the scheme has registered a shortfall. Reuters noted that it is likely that the ETS will once again register a surplus of permits in 2009, raising questions about its effectiveness.

So I sent a caution to a particular list-serve that the usual suspects will soon make claims that the ETS is finally on track, has found its legs, etc, even though for its first three years the “certainty of emissions” (denoting reduced emissions, and to an amount certain) was in fact emission increases each year…even while economy-wide emissions managed to dip! It’s that distorting and subject to gaming. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

UN agency calls for inclusion of farming in talks on new climate change treaty – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today urged policy makers gathered in Germany to include farming in their negotiations on an ambitious new international greenhouse gas reduction pact which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. (UN News)

“On How Hot Towers Fuel the Hadley Cell: An Observational And Modeling Study Of Line-organized Convection In The Equatorial Trough From TOGA COARE” By Fierro At Al 2009 - Dr. Joanne Simpson is one of the giants of meteorology. Among her many accomplishments is her pioneering study on the concept of the “hot tower” as the vertical transport leg of the Hadley circulation. She and her colleagues now have a new paper that updates that theory.

The new paper is Fierro, A. O., J. M. Simpson, M.A Lemone, J.M. Straka and B. F. Small, 2009: On How Hot Towers Fuel the Hadley Cell: An Observational and Modeling Study of Line-organized Convection in the Equatorial Trough from TOGA COARE. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences: In Press (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Oops! Someone else on the wrong page... Ecologists question effects of climate change on infectious diseases - Recent research has predicted that climate change may expand the scope of human infectious diseases. A new review, however, argues that climate change may have a negligible effect on pathogens or even reduce their ranges. The paper has sparked debate in the ecological community. (Ecological Society of America)

HEMISPHERIC TIMING SHOWS OCEANS ARE SOURCE OF CO2 - CHURCHVILLE, VA—Australia’s Tom Quirk, an Oxford-trained research physicist, noted that carbon 14 molecules from nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and ‘60s took some years to travel through the atmosphere between the northern and southern Hemispheres.

Quirk further noted that about 95 percent of the CO2 from fossil fuels has been emitted in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, there should be a lag between the variations in CO2 levels at the Northern Hemisphere’s stations such as Mauna Loa, and Southern Hemisphere stations such as Antarctica.

But he has found no time differences between the CO2 variations in the two hemispheres.

“The seasonal variations in CO2 and the lack of time delays between the hemispheres suggest fossil-fuel-derived CO2 is almost totally absorbed locally in the year it is emitted,” he says. “This implies that natural variability of the climate is the prime cause of increased CO2, not the emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels.” (Dennis T Avery, CGFI)

PHYSICIST COMPARES GLOBAL WARMING CRAZE TO AZTEC SACRIFICES - CHURCHVILLE, VA—A leading “climate skeptic” met with the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment on February 25.th Dr. William Happer holds an endowed chair in physics at Princeton, served as the senior scientist at the Department of Energy—and was reportedly fired by then-Vice President Al Gore for disagreeing with Gore’s belief in man-made global warming.

Happer noted that climate change has long worried humans.

“Sometimes the obsession for control of the climate got a bit out of hand, as in the Aztec [society] where the local scientific/religious establishment of the year 1500 had long since announced that the debate was over and at least 20,000 human sacrifices a year were needed to keep the sun moving, the rain falling; and thus stop climate change. The widespread dissatisfaction of the [neighboring tribes] who were unfortunate enough to be the source of these sacrifices played an important part in the success of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.” (Dennis T Avery, CGFI)

Not a better mousetrap, just a better analysis: Analysis of Australian Temperature - Part 1 - Australian temperatures are on the increase, there is little doubt about that. Maximum and minimum temperatures have risen by about 0.7 degrees in the last 100 years. Our analysis will look not only at maximum and minimum temperatures, but also at time based temperatures, which we previously argued are a better more consistent representation for temperature analysis. (Gust Of Hot Air)

Climate Change May Cost California Billions - SAN FRANCISCO - Climate change may cost California tens of billions of dollars annually in coming years as sea levels rise and hot days cause people to turn up the air conditioning, a draft report from the state said on Wednesday.

Thirsty cities may be able to buy water from farmers and high-altitude forests are expected to benefit for most of the century as trees enjoy the warmer weather, but a long-term effort to understand the details of climate change suggests costs will be higher than expected.

Much depends on whether global efforts to slow the Earth's heating are successful. (Reuters)

Should read: Climate Change Hysteria Will Cost California Billions

At least they recycle... Study: Arctic sea ice melting faster than expected - WASHINGTON – Arctic sea ice is melting so fast most of it could be gone in 30 years. A new analysis of changing conditions in the region, using complex computer models of weather and climate, says conditions that had been forecast by the end of the century could occur much sooner. (Associated Press)

... if only virtual world nonsense.

Seth Boringhteme on solar inactivity: Sun has fewest sunspots since 1913, better GPS - WASHINGTON—The sun has been unusually quiet lately, with fewer sunspots and weaker magnetic fields than in nearly a century. A quiet sun is good for Earth: GPS systems are more accurate, satellites stay in orbit longer; even the effects of manmade global warming are marginally reduced, though just by three-tenths of a degree at most. Discuss

It's all a normal part of the strange but regular cycles of the sun's activity. Scientists don't know why it happens, but "for humankind it's probably a good thing," said David Hathaway, chief solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. (Seth Borenstein, Associated Press)

HWGA: Suit to Be Filed to Protect Arctic Seal Threatened by Global Warming - Flawed Bush-era Decision Ignored Science in Denying Endangered Species Act Protection to Ribbon Seals

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace today notified the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of their intent to file suit against the agency for denying necessary protections under the Endangered Species Act for the ribbon seal despite clear scientific evidence that the species is threatened by global warming. The ribbon seal, an ice-dependent species of the Bering, Chukchi, and Okhotsk seas off Alaska and Russia, is threatened by global warming and the consequent loss of its sea-ice habitat, as well as recent decisions to open its habitat to oil development.

In response to a 2007 legal petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency concluded in December 2008 that the ribbon seal did not warrant Endangered Species Act protection because sufficient sea ice would remain in the seal’s habitat for the species to survive at least until mid-century. The agency’s conclusions, however, ignored numerous studies by independent scientists and were not supported by its own data.

“The science is clear that global warming is threatening the ribbon seal with extinction,” said Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This decision was a parting shot from the Bush administration, emblematic of the disregard for science under that administration, and it must be reversed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cannot take a head-in-the-sand approach to global warming while Arctic species like the ribbon seal slide toward extinction.” (Center for Biological Diversity)

Could carbon capture and storage keep the lights on in a carbon-constrained future? - Only if the costs decline dramatically, a recent Congressional Research Service report suggests, as I discuss here. Currently, the costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS) are too high to justify continuing investment in coal-based power–the source of 50% of U.S. electricity–under increasingly stringent caps or taxes on CO2 emissions. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Excessive Economic and National Security Costs to Result From Low Carbon Fuel Standards - New Studies Highlight Consequences of Proposed Federal and State Actions

The George C. Marshall Institute has released two studies documenting the adverse economic, environmental and national security implications of proposed low carbon fuel standards (LCFS). Low carbon fuel standards have been proposed at both the federal and state level, and serve as an element of the Obama Administration’s broad energy and environmental agenda. The studies, issued in early April, come on the heels of climate and energy legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy & Commerce Committee, which includes a LCFS similar to one under consideration by several states, notably California.

A low carbon fuel standard sets limits on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowed from the production and consumption of a transportation fuel and then reduces those limits over time.

"The low carbon fuel standard is another in a long line of examples of government legislating by whim instead of facts and reality," Marshall Institute CEO William O’Keefe said. "The low carbon fuel standard is expensive, environmentally ineffective given available technologies, and may undermine U.S. energy security. It is just another government boondoggle." (George C. Marshall Institute)

WILL OBAMA LEAVE OUR CHILDREN POWERLESS - President Obama just killed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility—and with it any realistic chance of actually slashing U.S. carbon emissions without massive consumer costs. Instead of more nuclear energy, he’s putting our energy future in the shaky basket with wind, solar, and biofuels. It’s a recipe for disappointment and disaster. (Dennis T Avery and Alex A Avery, CGFI)

Final Offshore Wind Rules In Months: U.S. Interior - ARLINGTON - U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Thursday he expects his department to finalize rules for offshore renewable energy in a few months.

"I expect that because we have done so much work on these rules that a good time horizon is within the next couple of months that we will have these rules finalized," Salzar told reporters at energy forum.

The department is considering whether to give final approval to offshore wind energy project Cape Wind off the coast of Massachusetts, which aims to provide power for 400,000 homes but has drawn powerful opponents including Sen. Ted Kennedy and other residents of coastline communities.

The project would consist of 130 wind turbines over 24 square miles in Nantucket Sound, within view of popular Cape Cod resorts. (Reuters)

Gene-Engineered Viruses Build A Better Battery - WASHINGTON - Researchers who have trained a tiny virus to do their bidding said on Thursday they made it build a more efficient and powerful lithium battery.

They changed two genes in the virus, called M13, and got it to do two things: build a shell made out of a compound called iron phosphate, and then attach to a carbon nanotube to make a powerful and tiny electrode.

Such an electrode could conceivably make more powerful memory devices such as MP3 players or cellular telephones, and are far more environmentally friendly than current battery technologies, said Angela Belcher, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology materials scientist who led the research.

"It has some of the same capacity and energy power performance as the best commercially available state-of-the-art batteries," Belcher said in a telephone interview.

"We could run an iPod on it for about three times as long as current iPod batteries. If we really scale it, it would be used in a car," she added. Such scaling is not even close, Belcher cautioned. (Reuters)

South Africa Says Still Facing Major Energy Crisis - JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's energy minister said on Thursday the country was still in the grip of a major power crisis despite being able to keep the lights on since a series of blackouts early last year.

Voluntary energy savings had failed to meet the required levels, and the country was risking new power cuts, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica said in a statement.

State-owned utility Eskom, which provides 95 percent of the country's power, has rationed electricity since early last year, but has not cut power since last April.

Sonjica said Africa's biggest economy was suffering from a perilously low electricity reserve margin or spare capacity. (Reuters)

Technology opens promise, perils of ocean mining -- There's gold in that thar sea floor. Silver, copper, zinc and lead, too. The problem is, it's a mile or two underwater and encased in massive mineral deposits that layer a dark, mysterious world.

But new technology and worldwide demand have combined to make mining for these metals economically feasible for the first time. A breakthrough project is moving forward in New Guinea, and new rules to govern deep ocean mining will be set by an international authority this spring.

On Thursday, scientists, businessmen and policymakers from 20 countries meet on Cape Cod for a public forum on how to best extract these riches while protecting hidden worlds in the earth's oceans. Strange animals, from six-foot tubeworms to "blind" shrimp, thrive in water as acidic as battery acid, near "hydrothermal vents" that spew out mineral-laden liquid as hot as 750 degrees. (Associated Press)

Study argues benefits of mammograms overstated - WASHINGTON - Women who believe mammograms will save their lives may be overestimating the benefits, two experts said in what is sure to be a controversial report published on Wednesday.

They said fewer than 5 percent of all women whose breast tumors can be detected through screening actually have their lives saved by a mammogram.

The American Cancer Society disputed these figures and said the number was 15 percent.

Experts have long debated whether regular screening tests for breast cancer are worth the trouble, expense and the anguish of waiting for further tests if a woman does have an unusual X-ray.

But most countries have settled on a plan for regular mammograms after age 40 or 50 in the hope of detecting tumors while they are small and easily cured.

Drs. John and James Keen believe women and their doctors do not fully understand why the women are getting mammograms.

"The people who are promoting screening are not explaining it," said John Keen, a radiologist at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and former consumer advocate.

"They are pushing the wrong statistics. I am saying that women need to be told the benefits and the harms and they need to make their own decision." (Reuters)

House Passes Tobacco Bill, but Senate Battle Looms - WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed legislation by a wide margin on Thursday to give the Food and Drug Administration sweeping new powers over tobacco products, which kill an estimated 400,000 Americans each year.

Despite the 298-to-112 House vote, though, a closer battle is likely in the Senate between public health advocates and some tobacco industry supporters. Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, the nation’s leading tobacco producing state, has threatened a filibuster.

And while the cigarette leader Philip Morris supports the legislation, other big tobacco companies oppose it. (New York Times)

The other companies object to the legislation as the Philip Morris market share protection act & who can blame them? Nonetheless, that isn't why I posted this item. Again we see the 400K annual tobacco deaths... Is that a reasonable figure? Just for perspective, the US has roughly 300 million residents, with a life expectancy of perhaps 75 years, so in any given year 4 million citizens can be expected to die simply of old age. Did tobacco kill 10% of them? Of course not. It might have shortened some of their lifespans to some extent, might even have contributed in the deaths of some but even without tobacco very few of those 400K annual deaths would fail to occur. Ban tobacco today and you'll still have roughly 4 million deaths of American residents each year from a population base of around 300 million.

Have no illusions, some people will suffer badly from a tobacco habit, like most recreational drugs but it wouldn't take me long to think of some other problems we should address that would serve the community much better than has the tobacco jihad.

The Real Reason Newspapers Are On Life Support - The newspaper business is in trouble and for good reason. On March 19, according to the Philadelphia Bulletin, "A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee. The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a 'a game changer.'"

Recently Barack Obama, a guest on the Jay Leno show, stuck his foot in his mouth by telling an insensitive joke featuring the Special Olympics, forcing him to apologize. The Internet instantly was abuzz about Obama's failed joke. The White House quickly issued a statement saying he was merely joking and didn't mean to disparage the developmentally challenged. The incident was widely covered and drove the online news cycle for nearly 24 hours. Oddly, the newspaper that claims to cover "all the news that is fit to print," missed it. The New York Times' Helene Cooper, while covering Obama's appearance on the show, failed to mention his blooper.

For Cooper not to mention it, even in passing, shows she was engaged in a type of politically motivated censorship. A more serious dereliction of duty is The New York Times' decision to forgo printing the ACORN story prior to the fall election. Editors who made this decision were violating the long- influential paper's mission statement in order to influence a political campaign. (Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Townhall)

Europe on the Cheap - American voters want -- and President Obama campaigned on a platform of -- European-style government at American tax rates.

Consider the Obama take on GM's and Chrysler's extended hand for another Washington bailout. Obama recognizes that the Detroit automakers are in trouble because of pension and retiree health care costs and quality issues, but his focus Monday was on the failure of GM and Chrysler to manufacture the "fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us toward an energy-independent future." That's the happy conceit of Democrats who -- their own personal driving habits and what you see on the nation's highways every day notwithstanding -- have determined that Americans really prefer driving small, fuel-efficient cars in the style of Our Betters in Europe.

Now, with gasoline in the $2 per gallon range, Obama's brainstorm for a successful business model is to create "the next generation of clean cars." Get it: GM and Chrysler are in trouble because their cars weren't liberal enough. (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)

House Passes Obama's $3.5 Trillion Spending Plan - Party-Line Vote Permits Work to Begin on President's Key Agenda Items

Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama's ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation this evening, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities.

The House voted 233 to 196, along party lines, to approve a streamlined version of Obama's budget request that would trim his spending proposals for the fiscal year that begins in October and curtail his plans to cut taxes. But it would permit work to begin on the central issues of Obama's presidency: an expansion of health care coverage for the uninsured, more money for college loans and a cap-and-trade system to reduce gases that contribute to global warming. (Lori Montgomery, Washington Post)

Invasion of the Corporate Snatchers - The plot of the 1956 cult classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" seems remarkably similar to the storyline of the Obama administration, which is invading, and appears eager to take over, corporate America. Unfortunately, the reality of the threat to American corporations is far creepier than any science-fiction film could ever be. (Cal Thomas, Townhall)

Obama Follows in Hoover’s Footsteps - During the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover damaged the economy, and impoverished the American people, with costly, artificial attempts to stimulate the economy through increased government spending, financed by heavy taxes like the Revenue Act of 1932.

Obama is now doing the same thing through his proposed $2 trillion cap-and-trade carbon tax. That tax fulfills his prediction in 2008 to the San Francisco Chronicle (which didn’t report it) that “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” As Obama admitted, that cost would be directly passed “on to consumers” — just the way Herbert Hoover’s regressive excise taxes were in 1932. Although the tax’s supporters claim it will cut greenhouse gas emissions, it may perversely increase them and also result in dirtier air.

The $2 trillion that Obama’s proposed “cap-and-trade” carbon tax on energy use and utility bills is expected to raise is far more than the $646 billion the Administration earlier estimated. That’s at least $3,100 per family per year.

Obama is also emulating Herbert Hoover’s protectionism. Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, which helped turn a recession into the Great Depression by triggering a trade war with other countries. (Hans Bader, Cooler Heads)

Political Courage - British Style - The Republicans finally found a leader. Too bad he's a Brit.

Daniel Hannan, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, stood up in that chamber and forcefully addressed Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"Prime Minister," MEP Hannan said, "I see you've already mastered the essential craft of the European politician, namely the ability to say one thing in this chamber and a very different thing to your home electorate. You've spoken here about free trade, and amen to that. Who would have guessed, listening to you just now, that you were the author of the phrase 'British jobs for British workers' and that you have subsidized, where you have not nationalized outright, swathes of our economy, including the car industry and many of the banks? Perhaps you would have more moral authority in this house if your actions matched your words. Perhaps you would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not going into this recession in the worst condition of any G-20 country.

"The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. (Larry Elder, Townhall)

Markets Rally on Hopes of Regulatory Relief - The stock market has gone up by 280 points so far today, fueled by FASB’s vote to relax rigid mark-to-market accounting rules, which require financial institutions to value assets at their current fire-sale prices, and magnify boom-bust economic cycles.

The market may also be getting a boost from the Senate’s earlier vote undercutting the Obama Administration’s proposed $2 trillion cap-and-trade carbon tax, which would impose burdens on the economy akin to Herbert Hoover’s disastrous 1932 Revenue Act at the beginning of the Great Depression.

The market’s rise contrasts with its fall in the weeks after passage of Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package, which Obama falsely claimed was needed to avert “disaster” and “irreversible decline.” Obama made that claim even though the Congressional Budget Office, controlled by his own Congressional allies, admitted that the stimulus package would shrink the economy over “the long run.” (Hans Bader, Cooler Heads)

The ‘sustainable development’ con - Yesterday’s report from the UK Sustainable Development Commission shows what the S-word really means: no growth.

‘The myth of growth has failed us. It has failed the two billion people who still live on less than $2 a day. It has failed the fragile ecological systems on which we depend for survival. It has failed, spectacularly, in its own terms, to provide economic stability and secure people’s livelihoods.’ (Sustainable Development Commission, 30 March 2009.)

For some time now there has been considerable scepticism in Western societies about the benefits of growth, perhaps inspired by the inability of developed economies to grow much at all. The latest figures for the change in gross domestic product (GDP) still attract considerable interest - especially when those values go into rapid reverse as they have recently. But the notion that material wealth should increase year-on-year, generation-by-generation is being called into question. Once it was only extreme ecologists who suggested that economic growth was a bad thing per se; now that view is held in the corridors of power. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

CUBANS STARVE ON DIET OF LIES - CHURCHVILLE, VA—The Cubans told the world they had heroically learned to feed themselves without fuel or farm chemicals after their Soviet subsidies collapsed in the early 1990s. They bragged about their “peasant cooperatives,” their biopesticides and organic fertilizers. They heralded their earthworm culture and the predator wasps they unleashed on destructive caterpillars. They boasted about the heroic ox teams they had trained to replace tractors.

Organic activists all over the world swooned. Now, a senior Ministry of Agriculture official has admitted in the Cuban press that 84 percent of Cuba’s current food consumption is imported, according to our agricultural attaché in Havana. The organic success was all a lie—a great, gaudy, Communist-style Big Lie of the type that dictators behind the Iron Curtain routinely used throughout the Cold War to hornswoggle the Free World.

This time the victims of the Big Lie are the Greens in the organic movement who want us to trust our future food supplies to their low-yield “natural farming” The Greens want us to outlaw nitrogen fertilizer, biotechnology and whatever else might save room for the planet’s wildlife through higher farm productivity.

But now the Cubans have admitted sneaking rice, wheat, corn and soy oil imports into the country, bought with tourist dollars from European and Canadian visitors—many of whom came to see Cuba’s “stunningly successful” farming-of-the-future. As the U.S. embargos have loosened, food imports from the U.S. are also increasing. (Dennis T Avery, CGFI)

April 2, 2009

Do parents have a right to endanger their children and society like this? California schools' risks rise as vaccinations drop - A Times analysis finds hundreds of campuses, which tend to be in more affluent areas, at risk for childhood disease outbreaks. Parents seem to fear shots more than mumps or measles. (Rong-Gong Lin II and Sandra Poindexter, Los Angeles Times)

That's a question under consideration on the JunkScience.com forum, here. Do you have an opinion on the matter? Drop in to the forum and have your say -- it's a self-register arrangement so, if you haven't already done so, choose your screen name, log in and blaze away!

No, no, NO! Underground Water Absorbs CO2 Emissions: Study - LONDON - Water deep below ground has safely trapped carbon dioxide for millions of years and may one day help absorb emissions of the greenhouse gas to help slow climate change, researchers said Wednesday.

The finding shows that such carbon capture and storage is possible provided scientists find an area where the geology is suitable, said Chris Ballentine, a researcher at the University of Manchester, who worked on the study.

This means locating ancient deep water systems thousands of meters below the surface to ensure gas doesn't escape back to the surface and into the atmosphere, he told Reuters.

"Clearly we want to bury carbon dioxide in the ground, that is a no-brainer," Ballentine said. "The big question is when we put carbon dioxide into the ground, how safe is it?" (Reuters)

Clearly we do not want to waste a magnificent resource like atmospheric carbon dioxide by locking it underground (sheesh, we expend a great deal of effort and energy to mine carbon specifically to combine with oxygen and manufacture carbon dioxide to begin with, the payoff being the energy released when we do so).

In Defense of the Greenhouse Effect - One of the points that Dr. Richard Lindzen made during his keynote speech at the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change, held in New York City March 8-10 this year, is that we global warming skeptics need to be careful about what aspects of the theory of manmade global warming we dispute.

And I fully agree. (Roy W. Spencer)

Climate Change's Dim Bulbs

Fervent. 1. Hot, burning, glowing, boiling. -- Oxford English Dictionary

"Fervently" is how America will henceforth engage in talks on global warming. So said the president's climate change negotiator Sunday in Germany, at a U.N. conference on reducing carbon emissions. This vow was fervently applauded by conferees welcoming the end of what the AP news story called the Bush administration's "eight years of obdurate participation" in climate talks.

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998. Regarding the reversing, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change has many ambitions, as outlined in a working group's 16-page "information note" to "facilitate discussions." For example:

"Tariffs can be lowered to grant special preference to climate-friendly goods, or they can be maintained at high levels to discourage trade in GHG- [greenhouse gas-] intensive goods and services." The working group says protectionism "in the service of climate change objectives" might virtuously "shelter domestic producers of climate-friendly goods." Furthermore, using "border carbon adjustment," a nation might virtuously "impose costs on imports equivalent to that [sic] faced by domestic producers" operating under a carbon tax. Or a nation with a cap-and-trade regime regulating carbon emissions by domestic manufacturers might require foreign manufacturers "to buy offsets at the border equal to that [sic] which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the good been produced domestically." Cynics will see only potential for mischief by governments, including the U.S. government, using such measures to give a green patina to protectionism. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is having its own problems with one "climate-friendly good" that might not be. Last week, the New York Times front page carried this headline: "The Bulb That Saved the Planet May Be a Little Less Than Billed."

The story recounted some Americans' misadventures with the new light bulbs that almost all Americans -- all but those who are filling their closets with supplies of today's incandescent bulbs -- will have to use after the phaseout of today's bulbs in 2014. (You missed that provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?) (George F. Will, Washington Post)

U.S. says climate plans do not signal protectionism - BONN, Germany, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. plans to step up the fight against climate change and revive the economy will not mean a slide towards protectionism, Washington's delegation told United Nations climate talks on Wednesday.

Developing nations at the 175-nation U.N. meeting in Bonn say that exports, of everything from Chinese steel to African flowers, would suffer if rich states put up import barriers to penalise their emissions from burning fossil fuels.

"We certainly do not see it that way," U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change Jonathan Pershing told delegates at the March 29-April 8 meeting in Bonn, Germany, working on details of a U.N. climate pact due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

"We are looking to improve efficiency, we're looking to improve technology, we're looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This does not in our minds constitute a protectionist strategy," he said.

But many developing nations in Bonn have aired worries that their exports will suffer. And recession adds to risks of protectionist barriers, perhaps veiled as measures to slow global warming, some delegates said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said last month that Washington's plans to put a price on domestic greenhouse gas emissions included examination of the option of tariffs on imports from countries that did penalise carbon emissions.

"There is a risk of trade protectionism," Fareed Saeed Asaly, international policies senior adviser at the Saudi oil ministry, told delegates. (Reuters)

Think of economy when talking emissions, Stelmach urges Harper - EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is warning Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Canada's future prosperity could hinge on international talks on energy and the environment.

Stelmach advised Harper by letter Wednesday that any commitments to slow down climate change will have a major impact on the Canadian and Alberta economies.

"The issues of energy security, environmental protection and economic recovery are interrelated and must be addressed together," Stelmach states in the letter.

He says "a creative and thoughtful emissions-regulation mechanism" can provide cleaner energy and strengthen the economy for decades to come.

The premier warns Canada must stay away from "schemes" to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that divert money to other countries. In particular, Stelmach urges Harper not to adopt an "unwieldy" system to trade emissions credits "that lacks full transparency and accountability." (Darcy Henton, Edmonton Journal)

Rich Urged To Make Deeper CO2 Cuts - BONN - China, India and other developing nations joined forces on Wednesday to urge rich countries to make far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than planned by 2020 to slow global warming.

Many developing states at 175-country talks in Bonn, working on a new U.N. climate pact, urged the rich to cut emissions by "at least 40 percent" below 1990 levels by 2020 to confront what they said were worsening signs of climate change.

The calls, part of negotiations on a new U.N. climate pact due to be agreed in December, marked a break with praise earlier this week for President Barack Obama's promises to do more to fight global warming than former President George W. Bush.

"We believe that by 2020 the (developed nations) should reduce their emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels," Chinese delegate Xu Huaqing told the March 29-April 8 meeting. (Reuters)

Poor Nations Must Set Own Emissions Targets: Mexico - LONDON - Developing nations must adopt targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and they need to do their share to reduce global warming, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Wednesday.

Developing countries -- so far exempt from meeting emissions targets -- need to help solve the world's most pressing problem, global warming, and stop blaming rich nations for causing it, he said in a speech at the British Council.

"Talking as a developing nation is difficult for me because fellow leaders in developing nations say that industrialized nations provoked the problem and they have enough money to fix it," he said. "We need to change that point of view." (Reuters)

NGOs slam emissions trading policy - EU emissions trading scheme will deliver no real change without tighter caps, say leading charities

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is in urgent need of tighter caps on carbon emissions if it is to deliver even modest reductions in Europe's long-term carbon footprint, NGOs warned the Environmental Audit Committee yesterday.

The scheme – which puts a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide firms are allowed emit and requires them to purchase carbon allowances to cover emissions above that cap, in Europe – has been heavily criticised in recent months as falling levels of industrial output and carbon emissions have led to a collapse in the price of carbon allowances. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

Stotty's April 1 response to Californian car color madness: Bumper Solution to Global Warming - In an unexpected and sudden announcement to appease the small rump of G20 Global Warming protesters, the Government has announced an immediate ban on the production of white vans, and of both white and silver/metallic cars, The Daily Tread reports. From March 2010, all white/silver vans and cars must be replaced by black or dark-coloured vehicles, preferably dark green ones

The Government spokesperson, Joleena Jobsworth, commented: “This important measure will help enormously to cut down on fuel consumption, and thus on damaging CO2 emissions. Having a black van or car will help to keep the vehicle a few degrees warmer in winter, and this will mean that drivers can use their car heaters less, or set them to a lower temperature. This is a bumper solution to global warming, and it shows how serious the Government is about this crucial issue.” (The Clamour Of The Times)

NY Times Story Gives Huge Waxman-Markey Global Warming Tax Bill One-Sided Treatment - When the New York Times today told its readers about the massive Henry Waxman-Ed Markey 648-page draft global warming tax bill, it bent over backwards to report the pros and cons of the proposal.

Not. (National Center)

Northeast compact inspired climate change bill - Democrats urge emissions caps, credits

WASHINGTON - A groundbreaking climate change bill unveiled yesterday by leading House Democrats takes some inspiration from a pact among 10 Northeastern states that was the first in the United States to place a mandatory cap on carbon emissions and begin trading pollution allowances.

The bill would set strict new limits on greenhouse gases, cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and by 85 percent by 2050. Pollution credits would be given or auctioned off to utilities and businesses, and would theoretically rise in value as the cap is lowered over time - similar to the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which set up a cap-and-trade system for Northeast power plants with the goal of cutting emissions by 10 percent by 2018.

Like the Northeast compact, the new legislation also places a significant emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy, albeit in a more direct way. The bill would require utilities to operate 10 to 15 percent more efficiently by 2020 than they do now and require 25 percent of America's electricity demands to be met with wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable sources by 2025.

"My view is that the legislation will create clean energy jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and make America the global leader in energy technology," said Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and coauthor of the bill. (Boston Globe)

Now you know it's a really bad idea: EU Says U.S. Emission Plan To Help In Climate Deal - BRUSSELS - The European Union's executive arm welcomed on Wednesday a new U.S. plan on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, saying the proposal would facilitate a global deal late this year on fighting climate change.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives launched a sweeping effort on Tuesday to control emissions of gases blamed for global warming and at the same time help industries that will struggle to meet the proposed environmental requirements.

"We welcome this. It is really very encouraging," European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a news conference. (Reuters)

No CO2 Cap and Trade Bills Please - With support from the Obama Administration, leading Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have introduced a bill that would establish the country’s first-ever curb on carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. It is a remarkable paradox: At a time when productivity gains combined with new energy-efficient technologies are increasing the global competitiveness of U.S. merchandise, the plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions will have the opposite effect. It will drive up energy costs significantly – and slow our economy, while allowing developing countries to make massive amounts of money by selling their emission credits.

The most destructive effect of a carbon cap-and-trade scheme would be a severe blow to U.S. competitiveness. Among the hardest hit industries would be chemical and paper companies, steel mills, oil refineries, and aluminum and cement manufacturers. Many companies would move production to countries with limited carbon controls or none at all. The cost in dollars and forfeited jobs and revenue would be huge, the effects of which would be felt for decades.

The push for carbon controls coincides with international negotiations that are under way on a new treaty on climate change. The objective is a new treaty by December. Government leaders are arguing for binding targets and timetables that would require the United States and other industrialized countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

But many scientists – myself included -- question the adequacy and reliability of data on which governments rely. Given the imprecision and large uncertainties of computer models of today’s climate, how can governments place any trust in models of the climate 50 to 100 years in the future? (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

U.S. Senate Leader Tries To Quell Climate Bill Fears - WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached out to industrial-state lawmakers on Tuesday to ease concerns about proposed measures to cut climate-warming carbon emissions.

Reid told reporters on Wednesday that the 10 Democratic senators he met with from states heavily dependent on coal were not opposed to a global-warming bill.

But states like Ohio, Michigan and Indiana want assurances that their economies will not suffer from new environmental requirements. (Reuters)

Nice one :) The Thune Amendment - The ability of Congressional legislation on cap and trade to result in actual emissions reductions was dealt a serious blow yesterday. An Amendment was introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) on the Budget Resolution and its text is as follows:

To amend the deficit-neutral reserve fund for climate change legislation to require that such legislation does not increase electricity or gasoline prices.

What is this? Climate change legislation cannot increase electricity or gasoline prices? The entire purpose of cap and trade is in fact to increase the costs of carbon-emitting sources of energy, which dominate US energy consumption. The Thune Amendment thus undercuts the entire purpose of cap and trade.

What was the vote on the Thune Amendment? 89-8 in favor of the Amendment, 48 Democrats and 41 Republicans. Only 8 members of the Senate were willing to go on record saying that they support the purpose of a cap and trade bill, to make carbon-emitting energy more expensive. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) voted for the Thune Amendment had this to say:

Any kind of cap-and-trade system that comes forward will not raise energy and gas prices.

The Thune Amendment effectively kills cap and trade as a mechanism for reducing emissions. I have little doubt that the legislation will go forward, and it likely will pass in some form and do many things. Its just that reducing emissions won’t be among them. Cap and trade is dead, but the charade will go on.

For those who may be wondering, this post is not an April Fools Joke. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

EU Short Of CO2 Permits In 2008, Incomplete Data Shows - LONDON - The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme was at least 40 million tons short of carbon permits in 2008, analysts said after reviewing preliminary EU data on Wednesday.

Carbon market analysts said discounting incomplete data and comparing like-for-like figures between 2007 and 2008 showed companies emitted between 40 and 100 million tons over their allocated quota of emissions permits.

The scheme, worth $90 billion last year, is the EU's flagship weapon in its fight against climate change. Wednesday's preliminary data gave a first glance at the EU's industrial emissions for last year.

This is also the first time the scheme has registered a shortage of EUAs in its first four years, the preliminary data showed.

The EU handed out an excess of permits from 2005-07, undermining the scheme's goal of driving carbon cuts through creating a shortage of permits available to industry. (Reuters)

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Rough times for ''Carbon Communism'' - The global warming industry had a bad week at the end of March. The month that entered like a lion – with snowstorms mocking (and greatly reducing the ranks of) an act of mass “global warming” civil disobedience – came to a close with sheepish expressions all around the Kyoto II preparatory talks which kicked off in Bonn.

These actions were to pave the way for a Kyoto II treaty that the U.S. is universally expected to agree to this December in Copenhagen but which, it has now become clear from all quarters, President Barack Obama has no intention to embrace. It remains unclear just what clever plans he has to substitute for the anticipated treaty which of course would never received the necessary two-thirds Senate approval, but the big-ticket item now requires some fancy rhetorical footwork.

The bad news didn’t stop there. The alarmists’ domestic brass ring, a carbon dioxide rationing scheme, and one bearing the added benefit of funding massive social engineering by grabbing all of the revenues for the state, fell out of the Obama budget. That potato became a little too hot when even Pravda the former newspaper of the Soviet Union, began complaining of the “carbon communism” of U.S. elites. (Chris Horner, Energy Tribune)

U.N. Con on Global Warming Nearly Foiled - The con game is about over. The attempt to portray a life-giving natural gas as a dire threat to this planet is failing rapidly, as well it should.

It is becoming more and more obvious to the American people that carbon dioxide, the very substance that gives life to the world's plant life, is not a pollutant, as the global-warming hoaxers would have us believe, but a vital element that keeps the earth green and healthy.

This is bad news for the would-be masters of the universe at the United Nations who have been using the supposed threat of global warming to advance their desire to turn the United States of America into a vassal state and its citizenry into its subdued subjects.

If increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are not causing the global climate to undergo a dangerous rise in temperatures, the United Nations has lost its strongest weapon in its attempt to assume world hegemony.

Those of us who have been warning about the U.N.’s covert ambition have found an ally in Mother Nature, who has managed to cool things down despite the rapidly increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the past decade. The climate stopped warming around 1998. During the past 10 years, she's lowered the thermostat to the extent this year is moving rapidly toward the distinction as one of the coldest on record.

In my 1997 series, Behold, The Iceman Cometh, I warned about the U.N.'S attempt to use global warming to achieve its dream of putting the United States in its hip pocket, writing that the U.N.'S Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was setting the stage for the international body's attempt at world domination. (Philip V. Brennan, Newsmax)

Hopes of G20 green deal on the wane - Leaked communiqué raises concerns climate change will be sidelined at economic talks

Fears are mounting that environmental issues could be almost entirely sidelined at tomorrow's G20 summit in London as leaders of the world's largest economies resist calls to make clear green commitments as part of the meeting's closing communiqué.

According to Guardian reports, UK officials are leading a last-ditch effort to have clear environmental commitments incorporated into the global economic recovery package that will back up politicians' repeated calls for a " green new deal".

Gordon Brown has said that the inclusion of a commitment on the environment would be one of the tests of the summit's success, but he admitted that the negotiations were likely to be tough.

The draft version of the communiqué leaked at the weekend made only a passing reference to climate change and it is thought some nations are resisting more detailed commitments to dedicate a proportion of the global stimulus package to green projects that they fear could provide an excuse for protectionist measures.

There is also reluctance to incorporate climate change commitments that could be seen to step on the toes of the UN's climate change negotiations, which are continuing this week at a separate conference in Bonn, Germany. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Uh-oh... Deep Solar Minimum - The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower.

2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.

Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).

It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

"This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. (Science @ NASA)

A New Comment/Reply On The Subject “Climate, Hydrology and Freshwater: Towards An Interactive Incorporation Of Hydrological Experience Into Climate Research” - There is exchange of viewpoints by Demetris Koutsoyiannis and colleagues and by Kundzewicz and colleagues.

Climate Science needs more such published debates and both sets of authors should be recognized for participating. Readers of the Climate Science weblog are urged to read both contributions in order to see that there is a wider diversity of perspectives in the study of climate and its consequences than is commonly assumed. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Climate change 'fans Nepal fires' - The forest fires that flared unusually viciously in many of Nepal's national parks and conserved areas this dry season have left conservationists worrying if climate change played a role.

At least four protected areas were on fire for an unusually long time until just a few days ago.

Nasa's satellite imagery showed most of the big fires were in and around the national parks along the country's northern areas bordering Tibet.

Active fires were recorded in renowned conservation success stories like the Annapurna, Kanchanjunga, Langtang and Makalu Barun national parks.

The extent of the loss of flora and fauna is not yet known. (BBC)

The Beeb thinks dry forest and grassland needs gorebull warming to burn? Oh dear...

Let the NAIC Global Warming Follies Begin! - In a move that could spark the biggest waste of time and money since the federal government’s $787 billion stimu-pork package, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is requiring insurance companies to disclose “the financial risks they face from climate change, as well as actions the companies are taking to respond to those risks.”

“Climate change will have huge impacts on the insurance industry and we need better information on how insurers are responding to the challenge,” says Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario, who chairs the NAIC Climate Change and Global Warming Task Force.

And just what are those impacts? According to climate change proponents, major increases in the Earth’s temperature and carbon dioxide levels will result in such disasters as major cities being flooded by rising oceans due to catastrophic arctic ice melting. There are also projected negative impacts on the planet’s food supply and poverty level from fires, floods and droughts. For awhile, they were also saying that it would also mean more hurricanes—and thus more property damage—but that seems to have been debunked by recent statements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others in the scientific community.

All this fear is based on computer models created by climatologists and other interested parties, and computers—as we all know—never make mistakes. Unfortunately, the people who put the information into computers and then interpret results are prone to make mistakes—driven, perhaps, by greed or political correctness. (Ara C. Trembly, Insurance Networking News)

US bill gets tough on greenhouse emissions - CALLS for Canberra to adopt more ambitious greenhouse emissions reductions have been triggered by a key US congressional committee, which has proposed a trading scheme with tougher targets than those in Australia's bill.

The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday unveiled a draft bill for a cap and trade scheme to cut US emissions by 20 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020, with an additional 10 per cent to be achieved by purchasing deforestation credits from overseas.

If the proposed US reductions and Australia's proposed 5 per cent reduction are measured against 1990 emission levels in order to make them comparable, the total US cut would be 19per cent and the cut just from domestic emissions would be 7per cent, compared with a 4 per cent reduction by Australia.

The draft could well be watered down as it is debated in Congress, but conservationists seized upon its ambition to pressure the Rudd Government to embrace tougher targets than the 5 per cent to 15per cent range contained in the bill to be presented next month. (The Australian)

Farmers unsure climate change is man-made - FARMERS in the Northern Territory are calling on the Federal Government to cease work on climate change policy until all scientists agree that global warming is man-made and not part of a natural cycle.

The Commonwealth is also being warned that the agriculture industry could become unviable if the proposed carbon emission scheme pushes ahead.

At a conference in Alice Springs last week, the outgoing head of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association Roy Chisholm said it was a fallacy that farmers were anti-environment.

"The wider community continues to be hoodwinked by the ill-informed into believing that the pastoral industry flogs the land,'' he told a gathering of about 300 delegates at the organisation's 25th annual conference.

"This is a belief founded on emotion, not fact.

"The truth is that the Northern Territory pastoral land base is in a healthy state, and this is almost exclusively the result of sound land management practices.''

But Mr Chisholm expressed concerns about federal plans to push forward with a carbon emissions scheme, despite the financial crisis. (Australian Associated Press)

Energy bill — “first shot” in carbon trade war? - In the wake of the release of the Waxman-Markey energy bill, many commenters have pointed to the drastic restrictions on domestic energy use to address greenhouse gas emissions, while some, like CEI, have pointed to the huge economic costs that would result — costs that would be paid for by consumers and in terms of reduced manufacturing and jobs. Few have noted a further economic consequence — the possible disruption of the world trading system because of the bill’s endorsement of carbon border taxes on imports from countries that don’t have an energy-repressive regime. Here’s what CEI’s Iain Murray has to say about that: (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

U.S. Court Upholds Power Plant Cooling Water Rule - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can compare costs with benefits to determine the technology that must be used at power plant water-cooling structures, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a setback for those seeking greater protection for aquatic life.

By a 6-3 vote, the high court handed a victory to the EPA, Entergy Corp, units of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc and the Utility Water Act Group, which consists of individual energy companies that operate power plants.

The justices overturned a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that the federal clean water law does not permit the EPA to consider the cost-benefit relationship in deciding the best technology available to minimize adverse environmental impact. (Reuters)

Nuclear Reactor’s Life Is Prolonged in New Jersey - WASHINGTON — The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted Wednesday to allow the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor in South Jersey to operate for another 20 years, rejecting claims made by opponents about risk.

The Oyster Creek case had generated intense interest because the plant, in Lacey Township in Ocean County, is the nation’s oldest nuclear reactor, having opened in 1969, and rust had corroded its steel liner. The liner would contain radioactive steam in an emergency and supports hundreds of tons of water in a pool above the reactor during routine refueling.

But after extensive repeated examinations by the plant’s operator, now called the Amergen Energy Company, engineers at the regulatory commission concluded that the rust was not progressing and that enough metal remained for safe operation.

Since 2000, the commission has allowed extensions of initial 40-year licenses for 51 other reactors in the country. By authorizing its staff to extend the Oyster Creek license, it sent a signal that opponents of renewals at other plants — including Indian Point 2 and 3 in Buchanan, N.Y., and Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vt. — may find it hard to prevail.

Three of the commission’s four members voted to uphold a ruling by a lower regulatory panel to license the plant and deny an appeal by opponents who wanted the case reopened for discussion. The fourth dissented from part of the majority opinion but said he agreed with much of it.

Some commission officials have even discussed the possibility of a second round of extensions that would allow reactors to operate for up to 80 years. The commission’s position is that the initial licenses were limited to 40 years to address antitrust concerns and future economic considerations — not because of the reactors’ physical limits.

The prospect of higher prices for competing fuels like oil and natural gas has also been good news for old nuclear reactors lately. Proposals to impose new costs on coal-fired plants for the carbon dioxide they emit, a factor in global warming, have also heartened nuclear operators. (New York Times)

U.S. Groups Say Vast Areas Off Limits To Clean Energy - SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. environmental groups on Wednesday published online maps of the American West with vast areas that they said should be off-limits for renewable energy projects begun by the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama's plan to ramp up the country's renewable energy infrastructure has sparked some concerns among environmentalists who fear that a boom in solar and wind energy could endanger wildlife. (Reuters)

Wind industry launches "stealth" turbine fund to tackle radar challenge - New fund to invest in development of technologies that ensure wind turbines do not show up on radar

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has today announced the launch of a new investment fund designed to accelerate the development of technologies that will help overcome objections to wind farm developments from the aviation industry.

An estimated 4,700MW of planned wind farm developments are being held up in the planning system because of objections from military and civil aviation authorities which fear turbines will interfere with radar systems.

The BWEA brokered a memorandum of understanding with the aviation industry last year designed to address the issue, but it is now seeking to further accelerate efforts by directly funding technologies that aim to ensure turbines do not appear on radar systems.

The £3.2m fund has been contributed to by 14 wind energy developers, including energy giants E.ON, EDF, RWE and Vattenfall. BWEA chief executive Maria McCaffery said that the industry was also calling on the government to make a financial contribution to the fund.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Nicola Vaughan, head of aviation at the BWEA, said the fund was likely to look at new radar technologies as well as new "stealth" turbine designs that ensure rotor blades are not detected by radar systems.

"Work is already under way looking at changes to algorithms within the radar systems that change the way false alarms are processed, and research is also being done into new composite structures that place radar-absorbing materials in the blades," she said, adding that a trial of new composite blades was planned at a wind farm near Glasgow airport this summer. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Or we could do something sensible, like not put the turbines there in the first place...

Air Industry Chiefs Call For Global Emissions Deal - GENEVA - Aviation leaders called on Monday for a global carbon emissions scheme for their industry, arguing that an emerging patchwork of regional and national systems could bring more, not less, environmental damage.

The call, from airlines, plane and engine manufacturers, air traffic control organizations and airports, was twinned with a pledge to push ahead rapidly to achieve widespread use of biofuels on commercial flights.

Delegates at a two-day "Aviation and Environment" conference "underscored the absolute necessity of a global sectoral approach" to emissions and urged the U.N.'s aviation agency ICAO to renew efforts urgently to shape one, a communique said.

The communique also called on governments to aim to have a deal ready for a December conference in Copenhagen, aimed at producing a new overall climate change treaty to replace Kyoto Protocol which runs out in 2012. (Reuters)

How infection may spark leukaemia - Scientists have shown how common infections might trigger childhood leukaemia.

They have identified a molecule, TGF, produced by the body in response to infection that stimulates development of the disease.

It triggers multiplication of pre-cancerous stem cells at the expense of healthy counterparts.

The Institute of Cancer Research study appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. (BBC)

Not so silly. It would fit with apparent 'clusters' of cases associated with new construction projects/towns where population churning exposes susceptible kids to higher infection risk due to greater population mixing.

HWGA: Get junk food out of U.S. schools: PTA, diet group - WASHINGTON - Congress can fight the epidemic of childhood obesity by getting "junk" food out of school stores and snack machines, a parent-teacher group and the American Dietetic Association said on Tuesday.

They backed an overhaul of federal rules so all food sold in schools must meet nutritional standards similar to school lunches. High-fat, high-sugar or high-calorie "competitive" foods now can be sold anytime outside of school cafeterias.

Roughly 17 percent of school-age children are obese, triple the rate in 1980 rate and "an epidemic in the United States," says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other chronic illnesses. (Reuters)

Tenuous results from another dredge: Crop herbicide may cause cancer - NEW YORK - Exposure to the crop herbicide imazethapyr might promote the development of some cancers, researchers report in the International Journal of Cancer.

Imazethapyr belongs to a group of chemicals called heterocyclic amines and "there is a wealth of evidence implicating several heterocyclic amines as (cancer causing), although not all of these compounds are equally harmful," lead researcher Dr. Stella Koutros told Reuters Health. "Several heterocyclic amine compounds are used in occupational settings, such as use of the crop herbicide imazethapyr among farmers." (Reuters Health)

Where do they find these misanthropic nitwits and why does anyone listen to them? Earth population 'exceeds limits' - There are already too many people living on Planet Earth, according to one of most influential science advisors in the US government.

Nina Fedoroff told the BBC One Planet programme that humans had exceeded the Earth's "limits of sustainability".

Dr Fedoroff has been the science and technology advisor to the US secretary of state since 2007, initially working with Condoleezza Rice.

Under the new Obama administration, she now advises Hillary Clinton. (One Planet, BBC World Service)

“Robbery of the American People” - “Nobel Prize-winning liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz points out that the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s plan to have the government subsidize investments in ‘toxic assets’ creates a serious moral hazard: Private investors will pocket any gains, while the federal government promises to cover virtually all potential losses: ‘Quite frankly, this amounts to robbery of the American people.’”

It’s the London Telegraph that’s reporting this, though. U.S. newspapers are too busy running puff pieces about Barack and Michelle Obama — and describing critics of Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package, which the Congressional Budget Office admits will shrink the economy in the long run, as being opposed to what the papers dishonestly refer to as the “economic recovery plan.” (With a few exceptions, the press did not report the CBO’s finding that the stimulus will actually shrink the economy, which contradicts Obama’s false claim that failing to pass the bloated stimulus package would lead to “irreversible decline.”) (Hans Bader, Cooler Heads)

Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary - It was nearly two weeks ago that the House of Representatives, acting in a near-frenzy after the disclosure of bonuses paid to executives of AIG, passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses. Despite the overwhelming 328-93 vote, support for the measure began to collapse almost immediately. Within days, the Obama White House backed away from it, as did the Senate Democratic leadership. The bill stalled, and the populist storm that spawned it seemed to pass.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees -- not just top executives -- of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies. (Byron York, Washington Examiner)

Greenpeas? Who cares? PC makers are failing the environment, says Greenpeace - Campaign group criticises leading manufacturers HP, Dell and Lenovo for not cutting down on toxic components – but praises Apple, Nokia and Acer

Greenpeace has accused three of the world's biggest PC manufacturers of failing to live up to their promises to make more environmentally friendly computers.

Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo have all been singled out in a report from the environmental campaign group, which claims they have failed to deliver new machines that do not depend so heavily on toxic chemicals.

"HP, Lenovo and Dell had promised to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009. Now they've told us that they won't make it this year," Greenpeace said in its latest Guide to Greener Electronics report.

"The phase-out of toxic substances is an urgent priority to help tackle the growing tide of e-waste. Still, producers only go green when they feel public and consumer pressure to do so," it continued. (The Guardian)

Hmm... Dig sites threatened by climate change - While we worry about global warming affecting our future, it will also damage our past. Archaeological sites from the frozen steppes of Central Asia to the coast of Greenland are threatened by climate change.

In the survey Sites in Peril for the Archaeological Institute of the American publication Archaeology, Andrew Curry says that “archaeologists can’t stop global warming but they can make dealing with it a priority”.

One project is to save frozen tombs in the Altai Mountains of Kazakhstan and Russia, which in the past 60 years have yielded burials with well-preserved grave goods. Many have been frozen for more than two millennia, sandwiched between frozen subsoil and the insulating mound of rubble above which forms a kurgan, similar to the round barrows of Salisbury Plain in appearance. The bodies have been mummified by the cold, and their clothing, often with elaborate appliqué designs, and stomach contents have been preserved intact.

“The material is so well preserved it’s almost a kind of ethnography instead of archaeology,” says Hermann Parzinger, of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, after excavating the tomb of a Scythian warrior three years ago.

The problem, Curry says, is that the Altai is warming, the glaciers shrinking, and “for the first time since their occupants were buried 3,000 years ago, the Scythian tombs are in danger of thawing out and rotting away”. Jean Bourgeois, of the University of Ghent, notes that just a degree or two can be enough to destroy the frozen contents of the kurgans. He hopes to find ways to keep temperatures down: possibilities include painting the kurgans white to reflect sunlight away, and installing underground “thermo-pumps” to stabilise the temperature. The priority is to ascertain which kurgans still have a layer of permafrost below them and might therefore be saved. Others may have to be excavated in an emergency campaign, Curry says. (The Times)

Oh... The Crone destroys her own credibility again: State of the Birds - Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, released a new, nationwide survey last month that assesses the state of bird populations in America. The news is grievous. Over all, a third of the bird species in this country are endangered, threatened or in serious decline.

There is special concern for grassland birds — whose habitat has been vanishing steadily for decades — for birds in Hawaii, where a variety of species face a variety of threats, and for coastal species. The good news is that wherever nature is allowed to recover, especially in the case of wetland birds, it shows its usual resilience.

But there is no glossing over these staggering losses, and there is no dismissing what they mean. There is nothing accidental or inevitable about the vanishing of these birds. However unintentional, it is the direct result of human activity — of development, of global warming, of air and water pollution and of our failure to set aside the habitat these birds need to flourish. Every threatened species reveals some aspect of our lives that could be adjusted. (New York Times)

Gorebull warming is not a net wildlife threat by any stretch of the imagination -- life thrives on a warm planet and always has while cold kills.

Amphibians May Develop Immunity To Fatal Fungus — Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, principally because of the spread of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis. Researchers know that some amphibian populations and species are innately more susceptible to the disease than others. (ScienceDaily)

The Sierra Club Exposed

Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” -- David Brower - First Executive Director, Sierra Club

John Muir founded The Sierra Club to “Make the mountains glad” in 1892 and is probably the most powerful environmental group in the nation. Originally founded to better the future enjoyment of the wilderness, it has become more radical by promoting anti-growth, anti-technology and espousing populationism. Their priorities now are best illustrated by the animal rights activist and extremist, Paul Wa