How Obamacare Impacts Small Business

Small businesses will bear a significant burden under Obamacare. New regulations, mandates, taxes and numerous costs will impact how companies operate.

The National Federation of Independent Business counted all of these new requirements and came up with 25 ways the new health care law changes life for business owners over the next 10 years. Its video puts some perspective on what’s to come in the years ahead.

Earlier this week Heritage’s John Ligon revealed four ways Obamacare penalizes small businesses: higher health care costs, an ineffective small business tax credit, higher regulation compliance costs, and Medicare taxes on “flow-through” and investment income.

Medium-sized businesses between 50 and 199 employees don’t escape Obamacare’s taxes either. Ligon estimates that employees will ultimately pay the biggest price with lower wages, discontinued hiring or even loss of employment. (The Foundry)

 

Volcker Pronounces VAT a No Go

According to Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and a senior economic advisor to President Obama, an European-style Value Added Tax (VAT) would be a good idea for the United States but is too unpopular to be under consideration “now or for the indefinite future.”

On the one hand, Mr. Volcker’s public acknowledgment of the VAT’s unpopularity shows he is a MOTO – a master of the obvious. Even this early in the debate, 85 United States Senators stood up on April 15 to oppose a VAT.

On the other hand, Volcker’s recognition of the VAT’s enduring unpopularity throws cold water on the big-government crowd who hope to fund their massive spending dreams with VAT revenues. For example, David Ignatius writes in The Washington Post today that the sensible response to “our ballooning federal deficit” is a VAT.

Ignatius goes on to write that “by ruling out a VAT when it could keep the federal deficit in check, politicians have all but guaranteed that the debt crisis, when it comes, will be more damaging.” Not really. According to the President’s own projections revenues will soon recover to normal levels, and so the deficit problem is clearly and solely a spending problem. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Memo to Deficit Commission: Spending is the Problem

The President’s deficit commission met yesterday to begin its task to address the mounting fiscal crisis facing the nation.  As we show in our 2010 Budget Chart Book, the estimated federal deficit in 2010 will be $1.54 trillion, and spending on entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) and interest on the federal debt is slowly squeezing out other programs.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) outlined a way forward for the commission yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, and while we agree with Leader Hoyer on the gravity of the nation’s financial situation, his analysis was lacking in the following ways:

Pointing the Finger in the Wrong Direction. Leader Hoyer attributes the climbing deficit to President Bush, claiming that “more than 90% of the projected deficit we will face over the next decade is the result of President Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the rescue of the financial sector he began in the last few months of his presidency, and lower revenues from the recession.” To ascribe the enormous deficits of the past, present, and future to President Bush is erroneous.  Heritage’s budget expert Brian Riedl finds that the cost of the Bush tax cuts, funding of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Medicare prescription drug program created under the Bush administration comprise a little over a third of the $13 trillion in baseline deficits for the next decade.
Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Obama’s Kinsley-esque Gaffe: ‘You’ve Made Enough Money’

File this one away for 2012, or perhaps simply this fall, as Democrats are preparing to run on their record (such as it is) on the economy. Ed Morrissey, and in the video above, Mark Levin, catches the president saying, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

As Ed writes:

Via News Alert and Breitbart TV, consider this Share the Wealth 2010. Barack Obama went off the TelePrompter in his speech to a Quincy, Illinois audience about Wall Street reform. After saying that Democrats don’t begrudge success that’s “fairly earned,” Obama then ad-libs — and reveals more about himself than he probably wanted:

We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy.

Compare that to his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Now, we’re not doing this to punish these firms or begrudge success that’s fairly earned. We don’t want to stop them from fulfilling their responsibility to help grow our economy.

He should have stuck with the TelePrompter. The President doesn’t get to decide when people have “made enough money.” In fact, as the radio host notes, that’s a statist point of view. Furthermore, the responsibility of an entrepreneur isn’t to “grow our economy,” core or otherwise. It’s to grow his own economy. In a properly regulated capitalist system, the natural tension of self-interests create economic growth through innovation and efficient use of capital and resources.

Put simply, a free people work for themselves, not for the government. Barack Obama seems to have a problem understanding that.

Of course. This is a man whose biographer wrote in 2007:

“[Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn’t want to be on one of those trains every day,” said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. “The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions… that was scary to him.”

Obama’s wife echoed those anti-business sentiments in early 2008:

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

But what exactly is that “certain point?” I think we can safely assume that it’s at least one dollar over $5.5 million, which the president earned last year.

I wonder if he will pass on his advice to the city of San Francisco, where according to the Chronicle, “More than 1 in 3 of San Francisco’s nearly 27,000 city workers earned $100,000 or more last year — a number that has been growing steadily for the past decade.”

(A decade which hasn’t been remarkably disastrous for the rest of the city, as Greg Gutfeld notes in his Wednesday Gregalogue.)

Related: “So, who wants to be the first one to tell Oprah?” Meanwhile, from a nation even further down the commuter train to serfdom than America, Brian Micklethwait observes “the unintended consequences of President Obama.” (Ed Driscoll, PJM)

 

US flu vaccines up, but not enough, government says

WASHINGTON - More Americans got vaccinated against influenza in the past season than ever before, but too few people are seeking vaccines, U.S. health experts reported on Thursday.

Publicity surrounding the pandemic of H1N1 swine flu probably drove people to clinics, the team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Separately, Quest Diagnostics reported that H1N1 has almost completely displaced seasonal flu strains this year and still continues to be active in the U.S. south.

U.S. health experts are trying to get more Americans to seek flu vaccines every year. In an average year, influenza kills about 36,000 and puts 200,000 or so into the hospital. (Reuters)

 

Growth hormone for kids not linked to cancer

NEW YORK - Despite some concerns that growth hormone therapy in children could present a cancer risk, a new study finds no clear evidence that it does -- at least in the shorter term.

The findings, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, come from an international database set up in 1987 by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc., to monitor the long-term safety of growth hormone therapy for children with impaired growth. (Reuters Health)

 

Prevent Alzheimer's? No evidence you can: US panel

WASHINGTON - Fish oil, exercise and doing puzzles may all be good for the brain but there is no strong evidence that any of these can prevent Alzheimer's disease, an expert panel concluded on Wednesday.

Nor can any other supplements, drugs or social interaction, the independent panel meeting at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington concluded.

The group of experts looked at the dozens of studies that have suggested ways to prevent Alzheimer's - a devastating and incurable breakdown of the brain - and found none were strong enough to constitute proof. (Reuters)

 

William Watson: Keep the state out of kitchens

The Liberals want to have a $40-million food program to support existing food programs

By William Watson

The new Liberal national food policy is not so much a policy as a lovely five-page brochure—four if you don’t count the full-page photo of bright-red tomatoes—listing several no doubt focus-grouped talking points. My favourite line is where it says a Liberal government will spend “$40-million over four years to implement a new federal Healthy Start program to support existing programs helping 250,000 children from low-income families access healthy, homegrown foods.”

That last bit is peculiar. Do we want healthy foods for poor kids only if they’re home-grown? Or is it that only homegrown food is healthy (a view we hope foreigners don’t take of our own multi-billion food exports)?

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Thin Edge Of the Wedge: A Fat Kid

The Supreme Court announced this week that it will consider the constitutionality of a California law that prohibits selling grotesquely violent video games to minors. Given the court's' surprise ruling this month that kitten-crushing videos and the like are a protected form of free speech, one might expect CGI cruelty to get a First Amendment nod, too. But savvy court-watchers suspect that since the question is one of exposing youth to cartoon violence, California just may be allowed to treat M-rated video games like cigarettes. 

Then again, if California really wants to rein in kids' consumption of electronic entertainment, the state should simply note that screen time (whether on video games, the Internet or plain old TV) contributes mightily to the sedentary state of our children. Officials could then simply climb on a regulatory bandwagon—the fad for fighting fat—that makes the feds' effort to spank financiers look timid and half-hearted.

This week's innovation in gastronomic regulation comes from California, where the commissars, sorry, commissioners, of Santa Clara County passed an ordinance banning restaurants from giving out toys with meals of more than 485 calories. This no doubt came as a relief to Marc Ambinder, who complains in the May issue of the Atlantic that restaurant chains have (gasp!) turned food into entertainment: "We barely blink at fast-food commercials that lure kids by offering free toys with their meals." Well, Santa Clara is blinking up a storm. (Eric Felten, WSJ)

 

Now we get it! Food nannies really want to increase our military recruitment! The latest national security threat: obesity

Are we becoming a nation too fat to defend ourselves? 

It seems incredible, but these are the facts: As of 2005, at least 9 million young adults -- 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24 -- were too overweight to serve in the military, according to the Army's analysis of national data. And since then, these high numbers have remained largely unchanged. 

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show obesity rates among young adults increasing dramatically nationwide. From 1998 to 2008, the number of states reporting that 40 percent or more of young adults are overweight or obese has risen from one to 39. 

While other significant factors can keep our youth from joining the military -- such as lacking a high school diploma or having a serious criminal record -- being overweight or obese has become the leading medical reason recruits are rejected for military service. Since 1995, the proportion of potential recruits who failed their physical exams because of weight issues has increased nearly 70 percent, according to data reported by the Division of Preventive Medicine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. 

We consider this problem so serious from a national security perspective that we have joined more than 130 other retired generals, admirals and senior military leaders in calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation. (Washington Post)

 

Winning the Worm War

Since ancient times, one of the world’s most terrifying ailments has been caused by what the Bible calls “the fiery serpent,” now known as Guinea worm.

Guinea worms grow up to a yard long inside the body and finally poke out through the skin. They cause excruciating pain and must be pulled out slowly, an inch or two a day. In endemic areas like this district in Lakes State of southern Sudan, people can have a dozen Guinea worms dangling from their bodies.

Yet this is a good news column.

This district is, in fact, one of the last places on earth with Guinea worms. If all goes well, Guinea worms will be eradicated worldwide in the next couple of years — only the second disease ever to be eliminated, after smallpox.

For the last 24 years, former President Jimmy Carter has led the global struggle against the disease. When he started, there were 3.5 million cases annually in 20 countries. Last year, there were fewer than 3,200 cases in four countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali and Sudan. The great majority of the remaining cases are here in southern Sudan. (Nicholas D. Kristof, NYT)

 

The Benefits of Free Trade

FBN's John Stossel argues everyone will be better off with free trade.

 

Flood victims condemn £324,000 'fish ladder'

Flood victims have condemned the Environment Agency for spending £324,000 on a 'fish ladder' rather than improving flood defences.

Villagers have been campaigning for flood barriers to protect their homes but their pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Some of the residents have only just moved back into their homes after the floods of 2007 in the village of Darfield, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Now hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent to create a herringbone fish ladder out of huge boulders on the River Dearne.

Fish ladders are used to help migrating fish pass around barriers such as dams or locks by swimming and leaping up a series of relatively low steps

John Bannister, a Darfield flood committee member, said: "A massive crane has to lift these boulders some of which are the size of a family saloon car.

"The project has gone on for months with hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on the scheme. I can't believe this mass of boulders in the river won't affect the water level.

"Everyone here feels defeated. Do the powers that be care more for fish than people? That's what it seems to come down to. (TDT)

Get real, "environment agencies" are anti people by definition.

 

Oh... Are genetically modified foods harmful?

Springfield hears both sides of the GMO debate

Your favorite fruits and vegetables could be hazardous to your health, says Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. 

Smith, a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of genetically modified foods, brought his message to Springfield last weekend, as the keynote speaker for the Earth Day celebration. Smith also visited the Capitol April 23, urging legislators to enact statewide laws banning products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are engineered by scientists, who take genes from one species and insert them into another, in order to achieve desired traits, like herbicide resistance or the ability for a plant to produce its own pesticides.

Many commercial crops are genetically modified, such as corn, soy and zucchini, according to the Institute for Responsible Technology. Meat, dairy and eggs may also contain GMOs, if they’re from animals that have eaten feed containing genetically modified corn and soy. 

Consumers need to be aware of the dangers of genetically modified foods, Smith says. He believes the industry is on the verge of a “tipping point,” which will push genetically modified foods out of the market. It’s simply a matter of education, he says. (Illinois Times)

We've got some sad news for these whackos -- unless you only eat weeds and wild critters you've always eaten genetically modified foods (something people have been doing with crops and husbanded animals for thousands of years). The only really notable difference with biotechnology is that it's a great deal faster and more precise.

 

Russian PM Putin Orders Arctic Cleanup

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered that a million abandoned barrels of Soviet-era fuel be removed from the Arctic because they are polluting the environment.

Putin visited the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land, 1,000 km (600 miles) from the North Pole, as part of Russia's drive to reassert its presence in the resource-rich region, now opening up to commercial exploration because of melting ice.

Putin told state-run Rossiya 24 television in the Arctic he was shocked to see stocks of "abandoned barrels of fuel scattered all the way to the horizon." It was not immediately clear when Putin made the trip.

"The decrease in military activity after the collapse of the USSR has left this dump which we see now. The pollution level is six times higher than normal. What we need to do now is to organize a sweeping cleanup of the Arctic," he said.

He said fuel may leak into the Arctic Ocean from the rusty barrels as temperatures slowly rise.

An increase of up to 4 degrees Celsius has been felt across the Arctic in the past 30 years. While some scientists put it down to fluctuating weather patterns, environmentalist groups say it is caused by global warming due to human activity. (Reuters)

 

World fails to stop extinction

World leaders have failed to prevent the extinction of species despite pumping millions of pounds into nature conservation, according to a new study. (Louise Gray, TDT)

The obvious answer then is to stop wasting our money on failed species -- move on. (I don't think that's what the misanthropists want to hear...)

 

Answers to a Fisherman's Testimony about Ocean Acidification

Written by Christopher Monckton

In April 2010, a sea-fisherman gave testimony about ocean “acidification” before the US Senate. The list of supposed effects of ocean “acidification” included in the fisherman’s testimony seems to have been written for him by climate-extremist lobbyists.

Read more...  (SPPI)

 

Open Carry Advocates: Shooting Themselves in the Foot

In terms of PR, advocates of open carry are one of the more tone-deaf groups in the country.
April 29, 2010
- by Bob Owens

In shooting circles, a “negligent discharge” is the unintentional firing of a weapon, almost always as the result of careless behavior. For those of us who subscribe to this point of view, there are no such thing as gun accidents, just incidents of gun negligence.

One of the more common kind of negligent discharges occurs when a shooter attempts to holster a pistol with his or her trigger finger still inside the trigger guard. As the shooter pushes the gun into the holster, the side of the holster comes in contact with the finger, driving it back into the trigger. The resulting sharp report is stunning, and is soon followed by the pain that comes from the bullet carving a crease down the outside of the shooter’s leg on its way to the ground. In somewhat rarer instances, shooters with their finger in the trigger guard sometimes manage to shoot themselves in the buttocks … and you have every right to read that with your best Forrest Gump accent.

Open carry advocates, as a gun rights subgroup, are the continuing negligent political discharge of the shooting community. Their disastrous nationwide campaign to normalize the open carrying of firearms alienates Americans from coast to coast, even among those who champion the concealed carry of weapons. (PJM)

 

 

'Hide the Decline' Global Warming Video Creator Says Mann Backlash Effort to 'Cleanup' ClimateGate Indiscretion

If you try to sweep your problems under the rug, they'll go away, right? Michael Mann, a Penn State professor and a central figure in the Climategate scandal and best known for his "hockey stick graph" hopes so. (Jeff Poor, NewsBusters)

 

Too late! Oh, Mann: Cuccinelli targets UVA papers in Climategate salvo

No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory. (Courteney Stuart, The Hook)

 

Climate Bill Analysis To Take Up To Eight Weeks: EIA

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will take up to eight weeks to analyze the stalled Senate climate bill after receiving most of its details from the office of Senator John Kerry, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Elements of the bill that is aimed at reducing greenhouse gases were delivered to the EIA both verbally and by hard copy.

"We received details. It's not a copy of legislation, but it was specific enough to allow us to go forward with our modeling efforts," said Jonathan Cogan spokesman for the EIA, the independent statistics arm of the Department of Energy.

Because of the way of it was delivered some stakeholders such as environmentalists and utility lobbyists are openly wondering if the bill is complete, despite six months of work on it by Kerry, a Democrat, and Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, an independent.

Kerry also has been careful not to commit any of the bill's details to paper but some of its key features have been leaked by sources. (Reuters)

 

Early Warning Funding Plays Second Fiddle To Climate Change

Give early detection a bigger sliver of what we spend on trying to prove climate change and we might be safer. (Mark Mills, Forbes)

 

World Rethinks Climate Legislation

Costly cap-and-trade system isn't the political winner it once was.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation in an election year. But with Senator Lindsey Graham's likely decision to withdraw his support from the landmark bill, the prospects are now virtually zero.

That is not just because Mr. Graham had been the only Republican senator to endorse a broad approach to tackling global warming. It's because the climate, politically speaking, has changed dramatically since June when the House of Representatives narrowly passed a climate cap-and-tax bill. President Obama's decision to make immigration reform a higher priority in the Senate legislative calendar is a recognition of this reality: Cap-and-tax is dead. And not just in Washington either.

All over the globe, politicians of different ideological stripes are reconsidering the costs of slashing greenhouse gases to combat the speculative problem of global warming. In France, the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy has shelved its carbon-tax plans. In Canada, cap-and-trade is stalled in legislative limbo. In Japan, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is struggling to pass an emissions trading scheme. In China and India, leaders insist they won't sign a global agreement to cap emissions, which they see as an economic suicide pact. Even in New Zealand, pressure is building on the conservative government of John Key to delay the implementation of a cap-and-trade plan.

The changing climate is most evident in Australia. This week, the Labor government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided to shelve its own proposed cap-and-trade for three years. Mr. Rudd had discovered that after the Senate had twice rejected his centerpiece policy of cutting carbon emissions by 5% to 15% from 2000 levels by 2020, it would defeat the bills in a third vote in several weeks. It is believed that Labor's retreat from climate change will save Canberra about 4 billion Australian dollars ($3.7 billion) in the federal budget on May 11. (Tom Switzer, WSJ)

 

A change in the climate: Make us greener, oh lord. But not yet

ONLY a few months ago Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, was painting a dark picture about looming storm surges, rising sea-levels, a fall of over 90% in irrigated farming and a drop of nearly 2.5% in GNP over this century unless Australia took action against climate change. “Action now,” he declared. “Not action delayed.” But this week Mr Rudd climbed down from what seemed a defining pledge of his leadership. Instead of using this year to get parliament to adopt an emissions-trading scheme that would put a price on carbon pollution, action will now be delayed until 2013 at least. Some wonder if it will ever happen at all. (The Economist)

 

Rudd and Turnbull weren’t the only ones to get the ETS wrong

Leading journalists also have egg on their faces, argues James Paterson — but conservative Liberal sceptics led by Nick Minchin are vindicated

Kevin Rudd’s unceremonious burial of his no-longer-beloved emissions trading scheme this week marks one of the most dramatic policy turnarounds in modern Australian political history. And his promise not to resurrect it until 2013 demonstrates how fundamentally the politics of this issue have changed. From languishing in political oblivion, the Liberal party’s decision to oppose the ETS and change its leader has rehabilitated its electoral fortunes. But it nearly didn’t happen. (Spectator)

 

Not entirely fair even if accurate: Poor political skills doomed Rudd's climate policy

KEVIN Rudd's principal answer to climate change, an emissions trading scheme, was doomed to failure because Labor's approach put symbolism before substance and politics before policy. (Dennis Shanahan, The Australian)

It isn't fair because AGW is not a real physical problem and so can never be effectively "addressed". Given that the "issue" is a purely symbolic political construct there is literally no possibility of substantial response.

 

Memo Minister Wong: Release Modelling On Price Impact Of The Renewable Energy Target

Penny Wong’s estimate of the impact on power prices of Labor’s revamped Renewable Energy Target is vastly at odds with industry and her own chief bureaucrat.

Minister Wong says the impact will be $4 a year for households.

The Aluminium industry, in its submission to the Minister’s Discussion Paper on the second Rudd Government revamp of the RET in a year, says prices will rise significantly under the scheme, and by almost as much as if the CPRS had proceeded.

Origin Energy Chief Executive Grant King recently said that the reliance on wind energy to achieve the RET will require major new transmission and distribution networks, as well as construction of back-up baseload power to deal with the unreliability of wind, that will be major factors in a 200% to 300% increase in power costs by 2020.

NSW’s IPART says power prices will rise by between 20% and 42% as a result of the RET – down from an impact of 42% to 60% with the RET and the CPRS. (Senator Ron Boswell)

 

No stopping the UN trying to get their hands in our pockets: U.N. Advisers Push Annual $35b-$40b Global Plan to Expand Energy Use and Reduce Carbon

UNITED NATIONS -- At least $35 billion to $40 billion of annual investments will be required to link all people in the world with modern forms of energy by 2030, a goal that must be reached while reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, a U.N. advisory group recommended yesterday.

Fifteen billion dollars of this should be in the form of annual grants donated by rich nations to expand electricity access to the poor. And the world should not only achieve universal access to energy by 2030, but it should do so while increasing efficiency by 40 percent overall, or 2.5 percent per year. Such steps will be necessary to not only reduce extreme poverty but also combat climate change. (ClimateWire)

 

The ClimateGate Scandals: What has been revealed and what does it mean?

by William Yeatman

April 28, 2010 @ 11:10 am

The ClimateGate Scandals: What has been revealed and what does it mean?On April 16th, the Cooler Heads Coalition and the Heritage Foundation hosted a briefing on Climategate by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute and Joseph D’Aleo, Executive Director, ICECAP, and Consulting Meteorologist.

The scientific case for catastrophic global warming was already showing signs of weakening when the Climategate scientific fraud scandal broke in November 2009.  This release of thousands of computer files and emails between leading global warming scientists showed evidence of data manipulation, flouting of freedom of information laws, and attempts to suppress publication of research that disagreed with the alarmist “consensus.”

Climategate has raised many questions about the reliability of key temperature records as well as the objectivity of the researchers and institutions involved, but it is far from the only global warming-related controversy.  It has been followed by revelations that some of the most attention-grabbing claims in the 2007 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report - the supposed gold standard of climate science - were simply made up.  Before laws regulating energy use are enacted that could well cost trillions of dollars, it is crucial to understand the extent to which the alleged scientific consensus supporting global warming alarmism has been discredited by these scandals.  Join us for a discussion featuring two scientists who have closely studied Climategate.

Click here to view video of the briefing. (Cooler Heads)

 

The Climategate Investigation

Last month, while the American media were distracted by the health care vote in Congress, the British Parliament published the results of its investigation into East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that has been at the center of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) controversy. It seems that many were hoping that no one would read this report, at least not beyond the milquetoast executive summary. (Dexter Wright, American Thinker)

 

Documentation Of Bias In The 2007 IPCC WG1 Report – Part I

There has been considerable discussion of the 2007 IPCC reports and its errors and exclusion of peer reviewed scientific perspectives that differ from those of the IPCC lead authors (e.g. see Judy Curry’s perceptive discussion of this topic). In 2007, I documented this clear bias in the IPCC reports in two posts (the second one will appear tomorrow).

I have reproduced this demonstration of bias below, as it is directly relevant to the current well-justified concerns on the accuracy, balance and value of the 2007 IPCC WG1 report.

The 2007 post is

Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part I (Climate Science)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, April 29th 2010

Al Gore has a modest new home in California, because every eco-cult leader needs a mansion on each coast. Australia’s government dropped emissions trading like a hot rock because the ‘climate crisis’ can wait until after the pesky election, and CNN emulates ancient cultures and is fearful of a vengeful planet. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Cool It! And Let's Think for Ourselves

Written by Dr. Mike Norton-Griffiths

In September last year, the World Meteorological Organisation hosted some 1,500 climate scientists at the much unheralded and poorly reported World Climate Conference 3 in Geneva, Switzerland. WCC3, an important precursor to “Copenhagen”, was called primarily to discuss, and advise on, the relative importance of shorter term climate cycles versus longer term trends. It succeeded in showing both the true depth of the divergence of views among the world’s top climate scientists, and how uncertain are predictions about global warming. Read more...  (SPPI)

 

Hmm... Through the looking glass: Scientists peer into Antarctica's past to see our future climate

The poles control much of our global climate. Giant ice sheets in Antarctica behave like mirrors, reflecting the sun's energy and moderating the world's temperatures. The waxing and waning of these ice sheets contribute to changes in sea level and affect ocean circulation, which regulates our climate by transporting heat around the planet.

Despite their present-day cold temperatures, the poles were not always covered with ice. New climate records recovered from Antarctica during the recent Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) "Wilkes Land Glacial History" Expedition show that approximately 53 million years ago, Antarctica was a warm, sub-tropical environment. During this same period, known as the "greenhouse" or "hothouse" world, atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded those of today by ten times.

Then suddenly, Antarctica's lush environment transitioned into its modern icy realm. In only 400,000 years – a mere blink of an eye in geologic time – concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreased. Global temperatures dropped. Ice sheets developed. Antarctica became ice-bound.

How did this change happen so abruptly and how stable can we expect ice sheets to be in the future? (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

Looks like I need to go back and do a lot of reading. For one thing I don't recall seeing in the literature that atmospheric CO2 levels were thought to be as high as 4,000 ppmv at any time during the Tertiary Period (last 65 million years). Moreover, development of Antarctic ice sheets is thought to be the result of Antarctica's separation from Australia some 33 million years ago as development of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current isolated the continent from warm currents transporting tropical heat. Coupled with insolation changes delivering a period of cool summers allowing persistent ice sheets to develop and alter regional albedo characteristics we had development of a permanent ice cap and cooler oceans.

These conditions do indeed appear right for a subsequent drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide but I don't recall anything about declining greenhouse effect actually causing formation of the ice cap.

The linked piece seems to be a radical retelling of the geological history from an unfounded greenhouse perspective.
  • Has there been a radical reevaluation of the planet's atmospheric CO2 history?
  • Is a new mechanism proposed for the development of Antarctic glaciation?

Inquiring minds want to know.

 

Study gives green light to plants’ role in global warming

Plants remain an effective way of tackling global warming despite emitting small amounts of an important greenhouse gas, a study has shown.

Research led by the University of Edinburgh suggests that plant leaves account for less than one per cent of the Earth's emissions of methane –which is considered to be about 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at global warming.

The results contrast with a previous scientific study which had suggested that plants were responsible for producing large amounts of the greenhouse gas.

The findings confirm that trees are a useful way of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, as their output of small amounts of methane is far outweighed by their capacity to store carbon from the atmosphere in their leaves, wood and bark.

To reach their conclusions, scientists created artificial leaves made from plant pectin and measured the methane produced when the leaves were exposed to sunlight.

They combined their results with satellite data on the leaf coverage of the Earth's surface, ozone in the atmosphere, cloud cover, temperature, and information on sunshine levels to help work out the amount of methane produced by all plants on Earth.

Their results refine previous studies that had indicated that the quantity of methane produced by plants might have been much higher. Future research will examine methane production from parts of plants other than leaves, and the amount of methane given off by different species of plants in different regions of the Earth.

Dr Andy McLeod, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said: "Our results show that plant leaves do give rise to some methane, but only a very small amount – this is a welcome result as it allays fears that forestry and agriculture were contributing unduly to global warming. (University of Edinburgh)

Truth be told we're not the least worried about global warming but never mind.

 

The Carbon Price Paradox

Yesterday's column in the NYT by Thomas Friedman illustrates why efforts to put a price on carbon are not going to do much at all to stimulate energy technology innovation. Friedman writes:

After months of heroic negotiations, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman had forged a bipartisan climate/energy/jobs bill that, while far from perfect, would have, for the first time, put a long-term fixed price on carbon — precisely the kind of price signal U.S. industry and consumers need to start really shifting the economy to clean-power innovations. . .

Without that price signal, you will never get sustained consumer demand for, or sustained private investment in, clean-power technologies. All you will get are hobbies. . .

I’d love to see the president come out, guns blazing with this message: “Yes, if we pass this energy legislation, a small price on carbon will likely show up on your gasoline or electricity bill. I’m not going to lie. But it is an investment that will pay off in so many ways. It will spur innovation in energy efficiency that will actually lower the total amount you pay for driving, heating or cooling. It will reduce carbon pollution in the air we breathe and make us healthier as a country. It will reduce the money we are sending to nations that crush democracy and promote intolerance. It will strengthen the dollar. It will make us more energy secure, environmentally secure and strategically secure. . . "
It is not clear what that "price on carbon" is in the legislation or how widely it would be applied, but for the purposes of discussion, let's just say that it starts at $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide and is applied economy-wide.

That level of tax equates to about a $0.12 increase to the cost of gasoline (from Table 2 here). It is hard to see how a $15 carbon tax -- or even a $150 carbon tax -- is going to do much at all to change oil economics or stimulate transformational innovation. It will just make the costs of transportation more expensive.

What about electricity? A price on carbon would have its biggest effects on coal, to be sure, because of its high carbon intensity. The most common form of coal would see its price increase by about 30%. The most immediate effect would likely be to hasten a shift already underway from coal to natural gas. A $15 per ton carbon dioxide price would increase the price of natural gas by about 7%. Over the past year natural gas prices have fluctuated by more than 100%. Wind is already close to cost competitive with fossil electricity in many places. However, a 2009 report from European Wind Energy Association indicates that a 25 Euro carbon tax does not increase the costs of coal or gas above wind (Figure 0.7, here in PDF). And FYI, 25 Euro is about $33, which is a higher price than the "ceiling" in House Legislation. In any case, wind energy is already being expanded dramatically based on mandates, subsidies and through conventional energy economics.

Bottom line -- it is hard to see a carbon price leading to transformational innovation in the electricity sector. It will lead to some marginal changes and make energy a bit more expensive.

Paul Krugman understands the inevitable weakness of a low price on carbon:
For the most part, the message from these economists is a sort of climate version of St. Augustine’s famous prayer, “Give me chastity and continence, but not just now.” Thus Nordhaus’s DICE model says that the price of carbon emissions should eventually rise to more than $200 a ton, effectively more than quadrupling the cost of coal, but that most of that increase should come late this century, with a much more modest initial fee of around $30 a ton. Nordhaus calls this recommendation for a policy that builds gradually over a long period the “climate-policy ramp.”

On the other side are some more recent entrants to the field, who work with similar models but come to different conclusions. Most famously, Nicholas Stern, an economist at the London School of Economics, argued in 2006 for quick, aggressive action to limit emissions, which would most likely imply much higher carbon prices. This alternative position doesn’t appear to have a standard name, so let me call it the “climate-policy big bang.”. . .

Personally, I lean toward the big-bang view.
To put this in perspective, the "central case" of the Stern Review indicates a carbon price of $310 per ton (p. 6 in Dasgupta PDF)-- this is the "big bang" view. It is at a level more than 3 times the ceiling that has been discussed in recent legislation ($310/tonne C = $85/tonne CO2 ~ 3 times $27/tonne CO2, thanks JJ). It is not in the cards. Krugman doesn't explicitly discuss the carbon price implied by Stern.

The carbon price paradox is that any politically conceivable price on carbon can do little more than have a marginal effect on the modern energy economy. A price that would be high enough to induce transformational change is just not in the cards. Thus, carbon pricing alone cannot lead to a transformation of the energy economy.

So where does this leave the debate?

An increasing number of scholars have been coming to the view that a carbon tax coupled with direct investments in energy innovation offers a way past the carbon price paradox. For instance, a Brussel's based think tank intelligently laid out the essential argument late last year (PDF):
How can governments tackle climate change while maintaining reasonable growth, even in the short term? How can they turn on the green innovation machine? We find that 1. both public intervention and private initiative are indispensable: governments must initially redirect market forces towards cleaner energy before market forces can take over; 2. climate change policy should combine a carbon price with high initial clean-innovation R&D subsidies: the carbon price would need to be much higher if used alone; 3. policymakers must act now: delaying clean innovation policies results in
much higher costs; 4. developed countries must act as technological leaders in implementing new environmental policies and should smooth access to new clean technologies for less-developed countries.
Thomas Friedman seems to get this when he finishes up his hypothetical "guns blazing" speech by the president:
". . . It will make us more energy secure, environmentally secure and strategically secure. Sure, our opponents will scream ‘carbon tax!’ Well, what do you think you’re paying now to OPEC? The only difference between me and my opponents is that I want to keep any revenue we generate here to build American schools, American highways, American high-speed rail, American research labs and American economic strength. It’s just a little tick I have: I like to see our spending build our country. They don’t care. They are perfectly happy to see all the money you spend to fill your tank or heat your home go overseas, so we end up funding both sides in the war on terrorism — our military and their extremists."
The ironic thing about Friedman's impassioned speech is how little money in US climate legislation has been targeted towards energy innovation. While the Senate bill hasn't been released, I would be surprised if it had more than a small amount of investment in innovation in parallel with putting a price on carbon. (How much investment is needed to transform the energy economy? Think about US investments in innovation in health or the military, perhaps $30-$100 billion annually for decades.)

Many environmentalists are so desperate for action, any action, that they'll support anything that is proposed. However, the proposals that we've seen so far would do more to sustain the general form of the modern energy economy than transform it. Seeing leading environmental groups and others calling for action on climate change put their energies behind such counter-productive policies may be the real carbon pricing paradox. (Roger Pielke Jr)

Roger still doesn't get it. Carbon pricing has nothing to do with climate or illusory societal/environmental benefits -- it is all about punishing consumption for the watermelons' motivation and money for the other advocates' (including politicians). It has never had anything to do with environmental or societal good.

 

Deutsche Bank, RWE Raided in German Probe of CO2 Tax

April 28 -- German prosecutors searched Deutsche Bank AG and RWE AG in a raid on 230 offices and homes nationwide to investigate 180 million euros ($238 million) of tax evasion linked to emissions trading.

The Frankfurt Chief Prosecutor’s Office said it targeted 150 suspects at 50 companies and has frozen assets. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, and RWE, the country’s second- biggest utility, said they are cooperating with the probe and aren’t the focus of the investigations.

The U.K., France, Netherlands are among nations that started investigations last year of “carousel fraud,” where carbon traders collect tax and disappear before turning it in to authorities. Today’s raid was the biggest related to a fraud that may have tainted an estimated 7 percent of carbon trades in last year’s $125 billion market.

“We are glad to see that German authorities are taking the necessary steps to deal with a fraud that has affected, however unfairly, foreign perceptions of the EU emission trading system,” Henry Derwent, chief executive officer of the Geneva- based International Emissions Trading Association, said in a phone interview. The lobby group speaks for CO2 trading firms.

Europe lost about 5 billion euros in revenue for the 18 months ending in 2009 because of value-added tax fraud in the CO2 market, according to Europol, the law enforcement agency. (Bloomberg)

Wonder why they ate picking on this lot -- by definition carbon dioxide emissions trading is fraud because it can never be effective for its promoted purpose.

 

Oil Spill Pressures White House On Drilling, Climate

The spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico could force the White House to rethink plans to increase offshore oil drilling, an essential component of a climate change bill it is working to push through Congress.

President Barack Obama could change his support for the plan, administration officials said on Thursday, depending on what was found to have caused the rig blast last week off Louisiana that left 11 workers missing, presumed dead, and led to the huge slick.

"Could that possibly change his viewpoint? Well, of course," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

"I think our focus right now is: one, the area, the spill; and two, also to ultimately determine the cause of it and see the impact that that ultimately may or may not have."

The White House sharply stepped up its response to the slick, which cast a shadow on the plan Obama proposed a month ago to encourage more offshore drilling in hopes of wooing Republicans to support a bill to tackle climate change.

Obama said on Thursday the administration would use every resource at its disposal, including the military, to stop the spill and help alleviate its impact.

The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd, was finishing a well for BP Plc about 40 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River when it exploded.

The spill fueled the anger of environmentalists who had criticized his administration's plan unveiled on March 31 to expand drilling after a decades-long moratorium on oil exploration in most of areas of the U.S. coast outside the Gulf of Mexico. (Reuters)

 

Shell Not Planning Oil Sands Expansion: Newspaper

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has no plans to quickly expand its oil sands operations, focusing instead on tweaking output from its existing investments, the head of Shell's U.S. arm told a Canadian newspaper.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail's editorial board, Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co, said the company was unlikely to launch a major expansion of its 60 percent-owned Athabasca oil sands project because new projects in the region, which contains the largest crude reserves outside the Middle East, are too expensive.

Shell's chief executive, Peter Voser, has also said the company has no near-term plans to expand its oil sands project. (Reuters)

 

Green Jobs Or Shale Gas? The Numbers Talk, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA— The shale gas industry’s boom is creating 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania during 2010, according to Penn State University. Only a few of these new jobs are on drill rigs; many of those jobs go to highly-skilled oil patch veterans from out of state. But the gas industry’s expansion has created jobs by the tens of thousands in steel production, construction, and services.

More important, the clean, low-cost energy from the shale gas will go on creating additional jobs in every Northeast regional industry that needs energy—meaning all of them. The shale gas boom is creating similar huge job gains throughout Appalachia, Texas, and Louisiana, with the new shale drilling system also about to expand in the huge Bakken oil shale deposits under the Dakotas and Montana.

Meanwhile, the giant state of California has created only 48,000 “green jobs” over the 13 years from 1995 to 2008. Green jobs still make up only 1 percent of California’s economy. Worse, says State Senator Bob Dutton, the high energy taxes needed to create those few green jobs are at the same time killing millions of jobs in all sorts of industries across the state. California’s unemployment has soared from less than 5 percent to more than 12 percent since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act three years ago.

The governor promised that the global warming tax would “create a whole new industry to pump up our economy, a clean-tech industry that creates jobs, sparks new cutting-edge technology and will be a model for the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.” Instead, the global warming taxes will drive up the prices of all non-renewable energy—as they were intended to do.

California taxpayers will now pay for wind turbines and solar panels made in China, while California has lost more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs. Business relocation specialist Joseph Vranich says he’s working full time to help companies flee California’s rising costs and restrictions. He warns that no one is calling about moving into the Golden State. (CGFI)

 

Terence Corcoran: The reverse National Energy Program

The 1980 NEP transferred nationalized oil industry money to consumers. The new version transfers money from consumers to the energy sector

By Terence Corcoran

Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel brought his oil sands energy crusade to Toronto yesterday, visiting newspaper editorial boards to outline his vision of a National Energy Strategy (NAS) that would unleash the global power of Canada’s oil sands to save the world’s poor from energy shortages and fossil-fuel deprivation. Saving the Third World from energy shortages may not be the first thing that comes to mind in connection with the oil sands, but that’s the latest element in Mr. Daniel’s ongoing campaign for a comprehensive national oil sands development strategy.

To meet his objective, Mr. Daniel told National Post editors that Canada will need to bring in carbon taxes, cap-and-trade regimes, subsidies for renewable energy and major conservation efforts. The number one objective, he said, would be to develop Canada’s oil sands, a plan that includes Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., from where oil would flow to the energy-starved regions of the Asia-Pacific.

Whether this crusade for a national oil sands strategy is one environmental activists will embrace seems doubtful. Even more in doubt may be support from Canadians who already support the oil sands as a market-based development in a free trade economy.

That support could fade fast once they get a handle on Mr. Daniel’s multi-faceted plan to tax the hell out of consumers to get his plan up and running. If that’s what it takes to develop the oil sands, many Canadians may well say forget it.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

The Insull Speech of 1898: Call for Public Utility Regulation of Electricity (The origins of EEI’s support for cap-and-trade in today’s energy/climate bill)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
April 29, 2010

[Editor note: Bradley is currently working on the second volume of his political capitalism trilogy. Book 1, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy, came out last year.  Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies (Scrivener Press/John Wiley & Sons) will examine the rise and fall of the father of the modern electricity industry, Samuel Insull. Publication of Book 2 is scheduled for year-end.]

“Several electric utilities, including nuclear power giant Exelon and PG&E, joined more than 170 businesses to punctuate the importance of placing a price on carbon through a complex bill that is facing a political impasse.”

 - Evan Lehmann, “Businesses Push Reid to Abandon Immigration for Climate,”E&E News, April 29, 2010

The Edison Electric Institute has controversially thrown its support behind cap-and-trade legislation sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), aka the KGL Bill.

The question may be asked: why would a major business lobby advocate legislation that increases costs and thus electric rates?

The answer is easy: the companies get to pass on the costs to their customers under public-utility regulation. So higher costs from CO2 rationing can be judged ‘reasonable’ by state authorities, and the new federal law can give the utilities a lot of sweeteners to make sure they profit, at least in the short term.

Jim Rogers of Duke Energy, who more than any other person in his industry has championed CO2 pricing, sees advantage. The Ken Lay protégé will go down in history as one of the major rent-seekers of our era–despite the troubled case for climate alarmism, the political problems of any global “solution,” and the negative effects on electricity users.

Where did the drive for automatic pass-through of  “reasonable” costs begin? For the electric industry, it began in Chicago in June 1898 in a then-controversial speech by Samuel Insull, the head of Chicago Edison Company and the president of the major trade association of the industry, the National Electric Light Association.

Insull did not want regulation for its own sake. He believed that franchise protection was worth giving authorities control over rates. Insull believed that this quid-pro-quo — exclusive franchises for cost-based rate maximums — would lower interest costs (a huge cost item for public utilities) and thus lower rates. Insull also saw statewide public utility regulation as a better alternative to local politics and to municipalization.

Insull’s political program was ahead of its time. Most of his fellow electric utility heads were opposed when Insull first gave his speech. But he would win them over in the next years, and state-after-state would implement formal cost-of-service regulation for electricity. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

 

Americans losing confidence in healthcare

WASHINGTON - Americans are steadily losing confidence in their ability to get healthcare and pay for it, despite the passage of healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

The Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index found that confidence lost three percentage points from a baseline of 100 in December to 97 in March.

"Strikingly, Americans expect the situation to worsen significantly in the next three months," said Gary Pickens, chief research officer at Thomson Reuters.

"The thing I thought was interesting was ... the level of sentiment about future expectations worsened more. The future outlook seems to be causing the people we interviewed angst." (Reuters)

 

D'oh! Editorial: Malpractice

Flaws of health-care overhaul grow more apparent every day 
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:53 AM

Almost daily, the ill effects of the health-care overhaul passed by Congress last month are becoming apparent. As employers and government bureaucrats analyze the law's effect on bottom lines for the private sector and for government, the alarm bells are ringing.

The tragedy is that these ill effects could have been and should have been calculated before the law was passed, not after.

In fact, many of them were prophesied before passage of the bill, but the prophets were ignored by President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress. That's because their uppermost goal was not to pass the best health-care bill possible but merely to pass anything that could be called "health-care reform" and could be claimed as a political victory by a president desperate for one.

The latest analysis of the bill's likely effects comes from the Office of the Actuary in the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report by Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster says that, far from reducing the cost of health care, the overhaul will add $311 billion to the nation's health-care costs over the first decade the law is in effect.

That's just for starters. The report also warns that the $575 billion in Medicare reductions that are supposed to help pay for the overhaul are unrealistic. If the cuts are not implemented by Congress, then hundreds of billions of dollars will be added to the national debt. (Columbus Dispatch)

 

Should Government Guarantee Our Right to Cars?

In the midst of the recent health care debates, opinion polls showed surprisingly strong majorities of Americans who agreed with the proposition that health care amounted to a basic human right.

But all those who affirm this entitlement—and, by implication, support the government’s role in protecting it — face an uncomfortable but inevitable challenge to their position: if citizens possess a fundamental right to health insurance, why should society stop there?

What about other basic needs that constitute pre-requisites for human dignity – like the right to food, shelter, education, jobs… and even cars? If the uninsured need and deserve medical protection, then surely the hungry should receive nourishment, the homeless ought to get housing, the unemployed require jobs and, ultimately, a compassionate nation must provide automotive transport for all who might otherwise feel trapped, immobile, hopeless and helpless with no access to the transportation they need to better their circumstances. (Michael Medved, Townhall)

 

The VAT Man Cometh: It Will Happen. How Bad Is It?

The poorly named tax will add unlimited complexity and government intrusion into commerce.
April 28, 2010
- by William M. Briggs

Surety

A VAT is coming. This prediction is wrapped in as much certainty as possible.

When?

Not before the 2010 elections. No Democrat standing for reelection whose seat is within 20 points will utter word one about a VAT. Their situation is already too desperate to suggest increased taxes.

It’s even money whether we’ll see active congressional committee work before Mr. Obama begins his reelection campaign: look for that in theaters near you, opening on January 2, 2011.

It’s a sure bet that the VAT comes by 2014, which is one year after Obama’s second term, or during the first year of whoever his opponent is. The more likely it looks like Obama keeps his seat, the sooner we’ll have the VAT.

Orwellian Spin

VAT, of course, stands for “value added tax.” It is as badly misnamed as the “earned income credit,” which really means unearned money gift.

A VAT doesn’t add anything: it removes value. There is no way a tax levied on a product or service can directly increase the value of that product or service. (PJM)

 

Let’s put cancerous myths to bed

There’s no causal link between sunbed-use and cancer, so why are politicians clamping down on teens tannning?

Ever since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded, last summer, that ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from sunbeds is ‘carcinogenic to humans’, the British medical and health promotion establishment, along with the government, has been ramping up efforts to ban the use of sunbeds. Now, Gillian Merron, Britain’s public health minister, has said that the government intends to ban under-18s from using tanning salons after a study in the British Medical Journal reported that at least 250,000 children aged 11 to 17 use sunbeds.

The basis for the IARC decision and the government’s intervention is twofold: first, that there is a melanoma epidemic in the UK, and, second, that there is a causal connection between sunbed-use and melanoma. Both of these claims are scientifically suspect.

In a recent study about the reported incidence of melanoma in the UK, a group of scientists at the dermatology department of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital found that the increase in melanoma in East Anglia between 1991 and 2004 was ‘almost entirely due to minimal, stage 1 disease. There was no change in the combined incidence of the other stages of the disease, and the overall mortality only increased from 2.16 to 2.54 cases per 100,000 per year.’ According to the report authors, the claims of a melanoma epidemic are based not on a real increase in cases but rather on a ‘diagnostic drift which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma’. In the past these cases would have been diagnosed as benign melanocytic nevi, not melanoma.

Further weakening the claim that these early stage melanomas were the result of excessive sun exposure is the fact that most of the cases were in areas of the body not exposed to the sun. One of the report authors, Dr Nick J Levell, told Reuters, ‘The main message is to be cautious about overstating messages about a melanoma epidemic to the public and media. Such behaviour will tend to induce unnecessary anxiety and behaviour that may cause distress and harm.’

Yet the IARC claim about sunbeds and cancer risk does precisely what Levell warns against. In its press release announcing that it had concluded that radiation from sunbeds is carcinogenic, IARC implied that this finding was based on new scientific evidence. This was not the case. The basis for IARC’s conclusion is the agency’s 2006 report Exposure to Artificial UV Radiation and Skin Cancer. But this report provides no compelling evidence that sunbed-use is associated with an increased risk for skin cancer. (Basham and Luik, spiked)

 

Does breastfeeding protect against asthma?

NEW YORK - Sticking to a strict diet of mom's milk during the first 4 months of life may reduce a child's risk of developing asthma by their eighth birthday, according to a new study.

"Breast milk is the optimal food for infants during the first months of life," lead researcher Dr. Inger Kull of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, told Reuters Health in an email. "But whether or not breastfeeding reduces the risk of asthma has been debated."

Through her milk, a mother transfers "good" bacteria, antibodies and proteins that can help thwart infection. But the evidence for how breastfeeding might influence the later development of asthma remains confusing, with various studies suggesting protective, neutral and even detrimental effects. (Reuters Health)

 

Two-year study finds no brain benefit for fish oil

NEW YORK - Fish oil may be good for your heart, but it doesn't seem to help preserve your smarts, a new two-year study shows.

"This is an important finding because a lot of people are taking fish oil in the hopes that it will be good for their cognitive function," Dr. Alan D. Dangour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health. But he didn't rule out the possibility that taking fish oil for a longer period of time might have beneficial effects.

Numerous studies have shown that people who eat more fish have better mental function, and are less likely to develop dementia. "The problem with a lot of these studies of course is there are lots of reasons why people eat more fish," Dangour pointed out. (Reuters Health)

 

HPV tests better for cervical screening - experts

LONDON - Cervical cancer screening intervals could be extended for women aged 30 and over if doctors used human papillomavirus (HPV) testing rather than smear tests, British scientists said on Wednesday.

Experts said research into different screening methods found that HPV tests were very accurate in picking up early signs of cervical cancer and detected more serious abnormalities than conventional smear tests in women aged 30 and over.

"Using HPV testing as the primary screening method for cervical cancer would not only mean women could be screened less often but it would also mean efficiency savings," said Jack Cuzick, a professor of epidemiology at Queen Mary, University of London, who worked on the study.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. There are more than 100 types of the virus, some of which cause only genital warts but others cervical cancer. (Reuters)

 

Mothers' obesity tied to newborn heart defects

NEW YORK - The more obese a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the greater the likelihood that her baby will be born with a heart defect, a U.S. government study finds.

Using a database of births in New York State over a decade, researchers found that obese women were 11 percent more likely than normal-weight women to have a baby with a congenital heart defect.

Meanwhile, women who were morbidly obese -- or about 100 pounds over their ideal weight -- had a 33 percent higher risk than normal-weight women did. (Reuters Health)

OK, I'll ask, why were these women morbidly obese? Dicky ticker, maybe?

 

It’s a sad day for Happy Meals in Santa Clara County

County officials vote to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children’s meals. (Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times)

The reasoning here is really bizarre. Kids like fries and sodas, with or without toys. The toys are an attempt by retailers to get kids to prefer their brand of tasty fast food over a competitors brand of tasty fast food and has little bearing on whether said tasty fast foods will be consumed in the first place.

Moreover, it is highly unlikely that the age of kids at whom "happy meals" are targeted can get themselves to fast food outlets and make their own purchases, is it, so it is parents and caregivers who introduce kids to fast foods and continue to supply them. Since the purchases are apparently already going to be made why shouldn't retailers be able to compete by offering additional toys or games (which incidentally I found added novelty to my children's boring car trips when they were young and consequently increased family tranquility).

 

Don't be impressed by headlines of Chinese drywall judgments

Those following the saga of tainted Chinese drywall can't possibly miss all the fanfare given to Judge Fallon's latest awards...

Judge awards $164K to Louisiana family for Chinese Drywall!

However, this is all quite meaningless as the judgment will never be perfected (that is, collected). This court can't enforce a judgment on a foreign nation, least of all on China—a country that holds our own government's markers for trillions.

This is one time that the plaintiff's lawyers are hurting themselves, since many of them actually believe that our courts will seize assets such as ships, to enforce the judgment.

If you buy that, I've got 5,000 tainted drywall houses in Cape Coral, FL I'd love to sell you. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

California's Man-Made Drought

COALINGA, Calif. — Would France rip out its storied vineyards? Would Juan Valdez scorch Colombia's coffee crop? Sri Lanka its black pepper harvest? China its tea?

With global markets won by nations specializing in doing what they do best, and with regional reputations important enough to drive some nations to protectionism, it's almost unthinkable.

But then there's California.

On a springtime drive through the Central Valley, it's hard not to notice how federal and state governments are hell-bent on destroying the state's top export — almonds — and everything else in the nation's most productive farmland.

Instead of pink blossoms and green shoots along Highway 5 in April, vast spans from Bakersfield to Fresno sit bone-dry. Brown grass, dead orchards and lifeless grapevine skeletons stretch for miles for lack of water. For every fallow field, there's a sign that farmers have placed alongside the highway: "No Water = No Food," "No Water = No Jobs," "Congress Created Dust Bowl."

Locals say it's been like this for two years now, as Congress and bureaucrats cite "drought," "global warming" and "endangered species" to deny water to this $37 billion breadbasket through arbitrary "environmental" quotas.

It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish — the delta smelt — that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn't help the fish.

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on "drought," though northern reservoirs are currently full. Now the cry is "save the salmon," a reference to water needs of the state's northern fisheries.

Whatever the excuse, 75% of the fresh water that has historically irrigated California is now being washed to the open sea. For farmers in the southwest part of the valley, last year's cutoff amounted to 90%. (Monica Showalter, IBD)

 

Stossel: Why Do We Appologize for Success?

John Stossel argues executives should tell Congress their profits are not the government's business.

 

Everyone Prospers With Free Trade

Trade is win-win. Two people trade only because each values what he gets more than what he gives up. That's why in a store both customer and clerk say, "Thank you."

At the international level, trade is also win-win because it allows countries to specialize in what they do well and trade the extra for things they don't make as well. When free trade is unmolested, the world is richer and has more choices.

But I keep hearing about unfair trade. I'm told that trade allows American companies to exploit people in poor countries and makes Americans jobless.

Tom Palmer of the Atlas Economic Research Institute says those are myths. (John Stossel)

 

U.N.'s Environmental Housekeeping in Chaos, Internal Report Shows

The U.N. is telling countries how to save the planet, but its own environmental housekeeping is a 'scattered' mess, according to a report by a special group of internal investigators.

When it comes to telling the rest of the world how it must behave in order to save the planet from environmental calamity, and lobbying for trillion-dollar solutions to those problems, no organization in the world makes greater claims to being the leading authority — and global arbiter — than the United Nations.

Except, it seems, when it comes to its own behavior as an environmentally friendly global citizen. There the U.N. system is, according to members of a special group of internal U.N. inspectors, in chaos. (George Russell, FOXNews.com)

 

Military develops multi-purpose 'green' decontaminants for terrorist attack sites

Chemists with the United States military have developed a set of ultra-strength cleaners that could be used in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The new formulas are tough enough to get rid of nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes, and anthrax. But they are also non-toxic, based on ingredients found in foods, cosmetics, and other consumer products. A detailed evaluation of the cleansers appears in ACS' Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research, a bi-monthly journal. (American Chemical Society)

 

Now Britain's oaks face killer disease

A new disease killing native oak trees could alter the British landscape even more than Dutch elm disease, woodland groups warned today as they called for more funding to tackle the problem.

Acute oak decline (AOD) is hitting both species of native oak, which show black bleeding on the trunk and stems and can suffer rapid dieback and death within three to five years, experts said.

The disease hitting the country's "iconic" tree has been found on 55 sites in the East of England, southern England and the Midlands, and experts warn other suspect cases have yet to be confirmed. (The Independent)

 

 

The $10 Trillion Climate Fraud

Cap-And-Trade: While senators froth over Goldman Sachs and derivatives, a climate trading scheme being run out of the Chicago Climate Exchange would make Bernie Madoff blush. Its trail leads to the White House.

Lost in the recent headlines was Al Gore's appearance Monday in Denver at the annual meeting of the Council of Foundations, an association of the nation's philanthropic leaders.

"Time's running out (on climate change)," Gore told them. "We have to get our act together. You have a unique role in getting our act together."

Gore was right that foundations will play a key role in keeping the climate scam alive as evidence of outright climate fraud grows, just as they were critical in the beginning when the Joyce Foundation in 2000 and 2001 provided the seed money to start the Chicago Climate Exchange. It started trading in 2003, and what it trades is, essentially, air. More specifically perhaps, hot air.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) advertises itself as "North America's only cap-and-trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide." Barack Obama served on the board of the Joyce Foundation from 1994 to 2002 when the CCX startup grants were issued. As president, pushing cap-and-trade is one of his highest priorities. Now isn't that special?

Few Americans have heard of either entity. The Joyce Foundation was originally the financial nest egg of a widow whose family had made millions in the now out-of-favor lumber industry.

After her death, the foundation was run by philanthropists who increasingly dedicated their giving to liberal causes, including gun control, environmentalism and school changes.

Currently, CCX members agree to a voluntary but legally binding agreement to regulate greenhouse gases.

The CCX provides the mechanism in trading the very pollution permits and carbon offsets the administration's cap-and-trade proposals would impose by government mandate. (IBD)

 

Al Gore laments media coverage of climate change debate

Public perception is everything in today’s fast-paced media world and purveyors of the manmade climate change theory have been taking a beating on that front over the past year. Former Vice President Al Gore lamented the state of affairs in a blog posting yesterday saying the media had done a ‘bad job’. (Tony Hake, Examiner)

 

Still minimizing his footprint then: Al Gore, Tipper Gore snap up Montecito-area villa

The Italian-style home has an ocean view, fountains, six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms. (Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times)

Not too afraid of sea level rise either, eh Al, since the Montecito littoral doesn't appear to have a lot of elevation...

 

Sen. Reid To Push Climate Bill Before Immigration

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday he would work to pass energy legislation before tackling immigration reform, a strategy that might restore the bipartisan coalition behind the climate change bill push.

"I am going to move forward on energy first," the Democratic senator told reporters at a news conference. "The bill's ready. I don't see why we can't do that."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pulled out of the effort to craft legislation addressing global warming with Democrat John Kerry and Independent Joseph Lieberman on Saturday, leaving the future of the climate bill unclear. (Reuters)

 

An Oldie But A Goodie: John Christy’s Letter to Lisa Jackson on Fuel Economy Regulation

by Marlo Lewis
28 April 2010 @ 6:50 pm

Well, it’s not really so old. I’m referring to a March 10, 2009 letter by atmospheric scientist John Christy to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. I post it on Open Market and GlobalWarming.Org because it is hard to find on the Internet, and Dr. Christy makes a key point that will need to be made again and again in the upcoming Senate battle over the Murkowski resolution of disapproval to veto EPA’s endangerment finding.

The endangerment finding is the  statutory prerequisite for the joint greenhouse gas/fuel economy standards rule that EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized on April 1, 2010. Veto the endangerment finding, Murkowski foes warn, and NHTSA will have to ”de-couple” its portion of the joint GHG/fuel economy rule, which could delay by a year implementation…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

So? Green groups divided over US climate bill stand off

Campaigners call for urgent effort to save US climate bill, while some insist proposed legislation remains fundamentally flawed (Danny Bradbury for BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network)

 

Climate Bill Delay Stymies Voluntary CO2 Market

Delay to a draft of a U.S. climate change bill this week has frustrated some investors in the voluntary carbon market, who were tipping it to become the template of a federal climate change bill.

Many investors are looking for any positive steps toward a U.S. climate bill before committing themselves to the voluntary market.

The so-called Kerry, Graham and Lieberman (KGL) draft was scheduled to be unveiled on Monday but a breakdown in bipartisan talks delayed it.

The bill was expected to indicate how many offsets could be imported under a U.S. emissions trading scheme.

"Factors such as sector, size, start date, auctioning limits and fungible credits were expected by many to be revealed with explicit information possibly jump-starting the moribund U.S. carbon market," said Grattan MacGiffin, head of voluntary carbon markets at brokers MF Global.

The KGL bill could be unveiled at a later date if Senator Graham rejoins talks or Kerry gets more support from climate moderates, but time is short to pass it before November elections. (Reuters)

 

Can the EPA Rely on UN Science?

Can the Environmental Protection Agency really base an endangerment finding on the discredited IPCC reports?
April 28, 2010
- by Jeffrey Bossert Clark

When did America risk coming to be ruled by foreign scientists and apparatchiks at the United Nations? The answer, it would seem, is ever since Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama, chose to issue a rule determining that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare.

Administrator Jackson acted to make her so-called “endangerment finding” on December 7, 2009, and befitting the historically tone-deaf selection of Pearl Harbor day for her announcement, the precipitous action embodied in the endangerment rule will also unleash immense negative consequences for the American economy entirely unexpected by most of the citizenry.

What would come as an even greater surprise to the public is that the endangerment rule is inextricably rooted in science performed by UN-designated scientists and reports written by UN bureaucrats. “I cannot think of any instance where the EPA depended so heavily on non-EPA synthesis reports to justify proposed regulatory action in [its] almost 39 years of existence,” noted Dr. Alan Carlin alarmingly.

Economist Dr. Carlin has been an employee of the EPA for 38 of those 39 years, performing complex risk assessments for EPA regulations. So his qualifications to look back with a keen eye across EPA’s history are tough to match. And yes, this would be the same Dr. Carlin that the EPA attempted to muzzle last spring and summer for arguing, within the halls of the agency, that the endangerment rule was unsupported. In an administration that congratulates itself for being the most transparent in history, Dr. Carlin was directly told to stop his work on the endangerment rule. (PJM)

 

Ah, global rationing... German scientists suggest per-person carbon emission quotas

Potsdam, Germany - German scientists called Tuesday for the world to accept per-person quotas for carbon dioxide emissions to kick-start a global trading scheme where poor nations will benefit.

The Potsdam Institute for Research on Climate Effects said everyone on the globe should be allowed 5 tons of carbon per year. That is just one quarter of the average per-person emissions for a US citizen, but still far above emissions in poor nations. (DPA)

 

Greatest moral challenge turns out to be Rudd's dearest folly


Illustration: Edd Aragon

Despite all the denials, we now see in black and white how the defunct - or in Kevin Rudd's language "extended" - emissions trading scheme already has an impact on electricity prices.

No sooner had the Prime Minister announced he was scrapping - sorry, "extending" - the scheme, all the energy companies came out to say the extra cost factored in for a scheme that hadn't even passed the Senate was, miraculously, no longer necessary. So now they'll only increase our already inflated bills by 36 per cent instead of 60 per cent, in EnergyAustralia's case.

There you have it - a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg that was Rudd's dearest folly, that had him prancing around the world stage and which he pitched as the defining achievement of his first term.

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Rudd's mission to rush out in front of the rest of the world with an ETS because climate change was "the greatest moral challenge of our time" has finally been exposed as flimflam. "It's very plain that the correct course is to extend the implementation date and to assess the action by other states at the end of 2012'' was Rudd's way of announcing his backflip this week.

It vindicates the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and his backer, Senator Nick Minchin, in their refusal last year to be coerced by their former leader Malcolm Turnbull into supporting the ETS.

In hindsight, it is even more extraordinary Turnbull was so obstinate. From the moment he rolled his hapless predecessor Brendan Nelson for articulating the exact wait-and-see position Rudd has now adopted, Turnbull and his supporters claimed the Coalition had no choice but to back Rudd.

They were supposedly terrified of handing Rudd a trigger for a double dissolution election on climate change. But even before Climategate, before the flop at Copenhagen, it was obvious that wasn't the case. As I wrote last August, Turnbull should have called Rudd's bluff, and embraced an election on a new energy tax.

Well, sure enough, Rudd blinked. He never wanted to go to voters with a new tax. He wanted to walk to the polls hand in hand with Turnbull, as a great statesman with his patsy, having pulled a fast one on an electorate soon to be burdened with the costs.

Yet one of the ABC's political sages, Alison Carabine, was claiming yesterday Turnbull was the only politician to emerge from the ETS with any "credibility". Hello?

Now all the ETS boosters in the business community, the rent-seekers whom Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg has dubbed the "climate-industrial complex", who stood to profit the most from carbon regulations, are right behind Rudd's backflip. It's business as usual, with a reported $2.5 billion saved to the economy. (Miranda Devine, SMH)

 

Rudd's ETS flip-flop sparks climate chaos

THE Rudd government has conceded its emissions trading scheme could be delayed beyond the 2013 election, and that the politically inspired decision to leave the country in policy limbo for at least three years will make it much more expensive for Australia to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Electricity generators have warned ''untenable'' and uncertain climate policies from both main parties will have ''dire consequences'' for investment decisions and possibly even electricity supply.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, told the Herald the government would not try to legislate the ETS even by its new delayed start year of 2013 unless there is ''credible action'' by the end of 2012 from countries such as China, India and the US. It would also require a resolution of the Copenhagen deadlock over how national efforts are checked.

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''We will only [legislate] if there is sufficient international action,'' Senator Wong said, declining to explain exactly what that meant. She admitted the delay would ''make meeting our [emission reduction] targets more expensive'' and that without a carbon price Australia would not meet the targets at all. (SMH)

Not just going down too well with the believers, apparently:

 

Bluster comes back to Bite Rudd

Rudd the BullySigh. Time to party right? Heigh Ho and ra ha ha and all that. Yes, forgive me for not cracking open the champagne. Rudd (Australia’s PM) has finally admitted what skeptics have known for two months, that he doesn’t have the courage of his “convictions” and that all the pious rhetoric was a bluff.

A week before the National Budget comes out, he’s announced he’s shelving the Emissions Trading Scheme that was a defining part of his election campaign for Kevin ‘07. It shocked some of the pundits.

Naturally, it’s not bad news, but let’s face it, a green tax is still on the agenda, literally billions of dollars is still being wasted in government programs, we’re still “signed up” for UN agreements worth gadzillions, and to top that off, we have a Prime Minister who’s so unprincipled that in his own words he’s a donothing delayer, an inactivist, a man who gambles recklessly with our childrens future. He’s a political coward, and a failure as a leader, and he’s acting against what he believes is Australia’s best economic interests. He said all that, and all the quotes of his faux anger (see below) come from just one speech. More » (Jo Nova)

 

Kevin Rudd's Department of Hot Air costing taxpayers $90m


The plush new headquarters of the Department of Climate Change Building in Canberra / The Daily Telegraph

  • No climate staff to be axed despite U-turn
  • $12m a year salary bill for 408 public servants
  • Rent for department's plush new offices $8m

TAXPAYERS will fork out $90 million a year to keep more than 400 public servants employed within the Federal Climate Change Department - despite most of them now having nothing to do until 2013.

More than 60 of them are classified as senior executive staff on salaries between $168,000 and $298,000 a year. Their salary bill alone will cost an estimated $12 million every year.

A further $8 million will also be paid in rent for plush offices at Canberra's Constitution Place until 2012, where it is believed 500 new computers will be delivered this week.

It can be revealed that despite Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's decision on Tuesday to suspend the failed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least 2013, the department has ruled out plans to cut back staff.

A formal response by department secretary Martin Parkinson to a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday - the same day as the scheme's suspension - claimed the department would not offer redundancies.

The formal response, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, said there were no plans for "the immediate future" of any scaling back of staff, despite the agency losing its core function.

According to official figures, the number of top-paid bureaucrats being paid up to $298,000 a year has almost doubled since January this year from 39 to 61. That was to gear up for establishment of the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will also now have no function.

Overall agency staff has also been ramped up since last year with total climate change employees having risen from an initial 246 to 408.

Of the 61 senior agency officials, only nine have been inherited from the scrapped home insulation scheme. The majority, 38, were employed on the CPRS and a further 19 were employed on the renewable energy scheme which has also been axed.

But none of the 408 staff within the department will be shed even though the department's key function, the CPRS, has been axed.

Its own tender documents reveal a lease contract of $16 million for its offices which expires in 2012.

"The hundreds of public servants who have been beavering away on this policy, the 114 public servants who they took to Copenhagen for that matter in support of this policy . . . none of that's changed," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday.

"Which is why I think that Mr Rudd for political reasons doesn't want to talk about his great big new tax on everything but as sure as night follows day, if he gets re-elected, we'll be stuck with it." (Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph)

 

[NZ] Govt may ditch emissions trading scheme

Pressure mounts for a rethink after Australia puts scheme off till 2013

The Government said yesterday it would probably ditch the rest of the emissions trading scheme as scheduled beyond 2013 if its major trading partners did not have schemes as well.

The scheme, already passed into law, is supposed to be a comprehensive "all sectors, all gases" scheme with a phased-in entry for different sectors.

But the confirmation by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday that he would shelve his proposed scheme until at least 2013 has forced the New Zealand Government to hedge its commitment to a full scheme.

The Act Party, business groups and the farming lobby have pointedly reminded National that it promised not to be a leader in the ETS but a fast-follower.

They argue that the scheme would impose costs on New Zealand businesses that its competitors did not have.

The New Zealand scheme has a built-in review of the ETS in 2011 - no details of when - and in 2014. (New Zealand Herald)

 

Barbara Hollingsworth: Fannie Mae owns patent on residential 'cap and trade' exchange

When he wasn't busy helping create a $127 billion mess for taxpayers to clean up, former Fannie Mae Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines, two of his top underlings and select individuals in the "green" movement were inventing a patented system to trade residential carbon credits.

Patent No. 6904336 was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on Nov. 7, 2006 -- the day after Democrats took control of Congress. Former Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., criticized the award at the time, pointing out that it had "nothing to do with Fannie Mae's charter, nothing to do with making mortgages more affordable."

It wasn't about mortgages. It was about greenbacks. The patent, which Fannie Mae confirmed it still owns with Cantor Fitzgerald subsidiary CO2e.com, gives the mortgage giant a lock on the fledgling carbon trading market, thus also giving it a major financial stake in the success of cap-and-trade legislation. (Washington Examiner)

 

Um... Wow! Government Report Says Global Warming May Cause Cancer, Mental Illness

A new government report says global warming could lead to an increase in both cancer and mental illness worldwide, and it calls for more federally funded research to determine how that might happen.

The report, A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change, was published by the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health – a combination of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH, State Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture, the EPA, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report's overall thrust is for more federally funded research to investigate the alleged links between global warming and public health, including the potentially negative effects from warming and the potentially negative side-effect of green technologies.

While the report touches on, for example, the health effects of unclean water and respiratory ailments, it also deals with two other types of health issues not normally associated with global warming: cancer and mental illness. (CNSNews.com)

Fear of weather does appear to be an ascendant mental illness...

 

US government: AGW causes cancer, insanity, all other diseases

To show what kind of incredible mess my dear American readers allowed to thrive in their very own formerly exceptional country, I offer you the following link:

A human health perspective on climate change (PDF)

Twenty-one authors affiliated with official U.S. government institutions argue that global warming leads to the increase of cancer, mental and neurological illnesses, impotence, asthma, allergies, foodborne diseases, nutrition disorders, human development dysfunctions, heat-related and weather-related morbidity and mortality, vectorborne, zoonotic, and waterborne diseases, as well as all other diseases.

The only problem is that global warming hasn't so far managed to kill the breathtaking parasitic imbeciles who are writing this kind of garbage. Quite on the contrary: they're the only pests whose rate is demonstrably increased by AGW - I mean the AGW propaganda and the related corruption and deterioration of the political and scientific institutions.

They have clearly jumped the shark but that doesn't mean that it's certain that they have lost. They want to win with the sharks, too - and they must be stopped.

Via Marc Morano » Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Bad clean air

by John Izzard

April 28, 2010

The Great Big Thermostat

Just when you thought it was safe to have a barbecue or put the bike away until 2013 (when Carbon Kevin promises to review the state of the planet), along comes the Los Angles Times’ environment reporter Eli Kintisch with a breath-taking new concept for all of us to contemplate and worry about — “clean air might actually intensify global warming”. 

Kintisch’s article, which got extensive coverage on America’s National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, tells us: 

You’re likely to hear a chorus of dire warnings as we approach Earth Day, but there’s a serious shortage few pundits are talking about: air pollution. 

That’s right, the world is running short on air pollution, and if we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industry smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound. 

The concern that Kintisch raises follows the announcement that the U.S. Clean Air Act has apparently cut major air pollutants, such as sulphur aerosols, for example, by 30% to 50% since the 1980’s. Kintisch goes on to say that “as industrialised and development nations alike steadily reduce aerosol pollution — caused by primarily burning coal — climate scientists are beginning to understand just how much these tiny particles help keep the planet cool.” 

No, I’m not making this up, nor is it a piece from Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson’s Media Department. Nor is it someone doing a spoof on Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels — this is a piece from one of America’s leading newspapers. (Quadrant)

 

Yet another lead author falsely cited; tourism mistake in the AR4

You might recall an earlier false claim in the AR4 about tourism, about Canada and wildfires. There is another mistake in the AR4 regarding tourism, this time it is in WGII, Chapter 9.4.7 Tourism. (ClimateQuotes)

 

EXCLUSIVE: Citizen’s Group Plans Extensive Audit of U.N. Climate Report

A leading global warming skeptic recruited a group of concerned citizens to fact-check the sources referenced in the U.N.'s latest climate-change bible -- and gave the report an "F." Now she's planning the nail in the coffin: a comprehensive audit of the entire report. (Gene J. Koprowski, FOXNews.com)

 

Credibility lies with authority

by Andrew Glikson

April 28, 2010

Response to Joanne Nova

I respond to criticisms by Joanne Nova (JN) as in her article “No, Dr Glikson” (Quadrant Online, 21.4.2010) of my article “The origin and consequences of climate change” (Quadrant Online, 21.4.2010), basing my comments on recent climate change reports, including among other the Copenhagen Synthesis Report, 2009; Four Degrees and Beyond conference, 2009; Steffen, 2010 and CSIRO-BOM. I point to statements inconsistent with instrumental measurements and direct observations and to misunderstanding of atmosphere/ocean climate processes. (Quadrant)

Glikson needs to acquaint himself with Huxley: "The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."

 

Credibility lies on evidence

by Joanne Nova

April 28, 2010

Reply to Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson still misses the point, and backs his arguments with weak evidence and logical errors. Instead of empirical evidence, often he quotes authoritative reports written by glorified committees. He sidesteps around the central issue—where is the evidence for the positive feedback assumed in the models? This feedback creates the disaster. If the “hot spot” is missing and feedback is negative, almost everything else is irrelevant. Glikson serves the Australian taxpayer, yet gives us only half the story. (Quadrant)

 

Man-Made Global Warming Hypothesis - Fully Discredited

The American public remains quite uninformed regarding the shabby “science” behind the man-made global warming scare. While many foreign news outlets, (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) are providing reams of the new insights discovered last November, the US media seem satisfied carrying water for the false global warming hypothesis. The record of the last 20 years of the terminally gullible media has been recently published by the Media Research Center, people who track the media ( http://tinyurl.com/27tuxm6 ).

Worse, many states and the Obama Administration are preparing to implement horrifically costly energy policy calling for limits of CO2 emissions, now known to be needless. Huge increases in energy costs will be a policy consequence, as well as major energy rationing. These policies will threaten jobs, reduced our standard of living, and, if we let it happen, will directly threaten the economy of the United States.

While many of the flaws of the man-made global warming hypothesis have been known for many years, the November release of thousands of email, documents, and computer codes have demonstrated an appalling lack of scientific integrity. The loss of integrity extends from the Climate Research Institute at the Univ. of East Anglia (CRU), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to leaders in NASA, NOAA, and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Ancient Weapons Emerge From Melting Arctic Ice

An array of weapons dating as far back as 2,400 years is found as ice patches melt away in Canada's Mackenzie Mountains.

A treasure trove of ancient weapons has emerged from melting ice patches in the Canadian Arctic, revealing hunting strategies thousands of years old.

The weapons, which include a 2,400-year-old spear throwing tools, a 1000-year-old ground squirrel snare, and bows and arrows dating back 850 years, have been found high in the remote Mackenzie Mountains, a region where Mountain Boreal caribou abound in the summer months. (Discovery News)

So, these artifacts date from the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods then? And they are reemerging from the ice now?

No word on how much Mountain Boreal caribou are suffering from the disturbance of artifact collectors harassing them off their remnant ice refuges...

 

Hairy research: Melting icebergs causing sea level rise

Scientists have discovered that changes in the amount of ice floating in the polar oceans are causing sea levels to rise.

The research, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, is the first assessment of how quickly floating ice is being lost today.

According to Archimedes' principle, any floating object displaces its own weight of fluid. For example, an ice cube in a glass of water does not cause the glass to overflow as it melts.

But because sea water is warmer and more salty than floating ice, changes in the amount of this ice are having an effect on global sea levels.

The loss of floating ice is equivalent to 1.5 million Titanic-sized icebergs each year. However, the study shows that spread across the global oceans, recent losses of floating ice amount to a sea level rise of just 49 micrometers per year – about a hair's breadth. (University of Leeds)

 

Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic, new study reveals

Melting sea ice has been shown to be a major cause of warming in the Arctic according to a University of Melbourne, Australia study.

Findings published in Nature today reveal the rapid melting of sea ice has dramatically increased the levels of warming in the region in the last two decades.

Lead author Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne says the increased Arctic warming was due to a positive feedback between sea ice melting and atmospheric warming.

"The sea ice acts like a shiny lid on the Arctic Ocean. When it is heated, it reflects most of the incoming sunlight back into space. When the sea ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the water. The warmer water then heats the atmosphere above it. " (University of Melbourne)

 

Arctic warming likely to reverse - scientist

Warming in the Arctic is likely to turn into cold and further records of the minimum amount of drift ice in the area will not be set, the head of a Russian Arctic expedition said on Tuesday.

"I think the repetition of this event is next to impossible...There are hints that the trend has changed its direction," Vladimir Sokolov said, referring to the recent forecast of global Arctic warming.

The scientist said the outlook from drifting stations showed that ice coverage had grown; the temperatures had become colder in winter while precipitation in summer had decreased.

In 2007, scientists observed the unique situation when drift ice in the area of the Arctic Ocean reached a record-breaking minimum.

Sokolov said the forecasts predicting the future reduction of Arctic drift ice are "incorrect."

"The statement over the melting of drift ice in the Arctic is incorrect as there is a polar day and a polar night. As long as polar nights exist, there will be ice because of negative temperatures and the lack of solar heat," Sokolov said.

The Arctic territories, believed to hold vast untapped oil and gas reserves, have increasingly been at the center of disputes between Russia and Norway, as well as the United States, Canada and Denmark as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice, making the extraction of natural resources easier.

Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries each have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.

ST. PETERSBURG, April 27 (RIA Novosti)

 

In Defense of Humans

Imagine if the global annual average temperature were about 5°F colder than it is presently.

Not quite sure how to? OK, consider this: During the Little Ice Age—a period extending from about the 1500s to the mid-1800s and thought to be one of the coldest periods during the past 10,000 years or so—the earth’s average temperature may have been 2-3°F colder than present. Associated with the Little Ice Age are all sorts of human calamities—widespread crop failures, plagues, famines, population declines, glacial encroachments, etc. For a collection of descriptions of all the fun times that a colder climate brings, take a gander at the Wikipedia page on the Little Ice Age. After spending a few minutes there, you’ll see that these were not high times for humans.

Now, consider a temperature decline twice that much. That can’t be good.

Yet that’s apparently where we would be had human ingenuity not come along.

According to a new study just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the global climate would be about 5°F colder than present were it not for human carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Brrr. (WCR)

 

Comments On Numerical Modeling As The New Climate Science Paradigm

Dick Lindzen has presented a summary of how climate science has changed over the last decade or so (see). In his article he writes [h/t to David L. for posting on Climate Audit]

“In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.”

There is an article in the March 2010 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society which exemplifies the first of the issues that have been raised by Dick Lindzen.  The article is

A. Navarra, J. L. Kinter III, J. Tribbia, 2010: Crucial Experiments in Climate Science. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Volume 91 Issue 3. 343–352.

I have provided excerpts from this article and will provide comments after each indicating points of agreement and disagreement.

There is a delicate web of interactions among the different components of the climate system. The interplay among the time scales is quite intricate, as the fast atmosphere interacts with the slow upper ocean and the even slower sea ice and deep-soil and groundwater processes. Spatial scales are tightly connected too, as small-scale cloud systems, for instance, affect the large-scale energy balance. Furthermore, everything is connected by water in its various forms. Water flows easily from place to place and exchanges energy with the environment every time it changes phase. Evaporation, condensation, freezing, and melting processes must be taken into account and evaluated as accurately as possible. The past 40 years of climate simulation have made it apparent that no shortcut is possible; every process can and ultimately does affect climate and its variability and change. It is not possible to ignore some components or some aspects without paying the price of a gross loss of realism.

This summary is a much-needed ,belated recognition of the accuracy of the 2005 NRC report [uncited in the Navarra et al 2010 BAMS article]

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

Figure 1-1 in the NRC report [reproduced below] schematically illustrates what is written in the Navarra et al paper.

The Navarra et al 2010 article then has the text

A strict application of the scientific method requires a process of isolation of constituent subsystems and experimental verification of a hypothesis. For the climate system, this is only possible by using numerical models. Such models have become the central pillar of the quantitative scientific approach to climate science [emphasis added] because they allow us to perform “crucial” experiments under the controlled conditions that science demands. Sometimes crucial experiments are recognized as such at the design phase, like the quest for the Higgs boson currently going on at the European Organization for Nuclear Research [Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN)]. Other times it is only in historical perspective that some experiments are recognized as truly “crucial.” This was the case of the 1887 test by Michelson and Morley that rejected the hypothesis of the existence of the “luminiferous aether” (Tipler and Llewellyn 2003), an undetected medium through which light was deemed to propagate (see Fig. 1 on title page; http://quantumrelativity.
calsci.com/Relativity/images/Michelson_Morley.jpg). Their result led to a reformulation of a physical theory of electromagnetic radiation and to special relativity and the invariance of the speed of light. “Crucial” experiments test competitive theories and the most successful one is finally selected.

This text seeks to equate climate modeling with the development of fundamental concepts in basic physics. However, these are not the same. Whereas fundamental physical constants such as the speed of light were the focus of the Michelson and Morley study, climate modeling relies on tunable parameters and functions in their parameterizations of clouds, precipitation, vegetation dynamics, etc in the construction of the models. Climate models are engineering code not basic physics. Only advection, the pressure gradient force and gravity provide the fundamental physics in climate model. The combination of a fundamental component of the model with an engineering component (in which the physics is tuned) results in engineering code, not basic physics.

I summarized the types of climate models in my post

What Are Climate Models? What Do They Do?

There are three basic classes: process studies; diagnosis; and prediction.  As I discuss in that post, the IPCC assessment models are actually process studies, although they have been marketed by the IPCC as predictions.  With respect to the  Navarra et al paper, their proposed modeling framework, in reality, is to develop a more comprehensive climate process assessment tool. The models hypotheses.

Navarra et al 2010 continue with the text

There have been no revolutionary changes in numerical models of climate since their advent over 30 years ago. The models make use of the same dynamical equations, with improved numerical methods, and have comparable resolution and similar parameterizations. Over the past 30 years, computing power has increased by a factor of 106. Of the millionfold increase in computing capability, about a factor of 1,000 was used to increase the sophistication of the model. Model resolution, the inclusion of more physical and biogeochemical processes, and more elaborate parameterizations of unresolved phenomena have all been modestly improved.

This is an accurate summary.  An interesting and important oversight, however, is any discussion on improvements in the predictive skill of the models on different time scales (i.e. seasonal; annual, multi-year; decadal). Of course, the absence of this discussion reflects the general lack of a demonstration of predictive skill beyond a few months at most by the IPCC or anyone else.

Navarra et al 2010 write

These trends indicate that the problem of weather and climate modeling can be organized in terms of four dimensions: resolution, complexity, integration length, and ensemble size.

There is an interesting oversight here. There is no mention of observational verification of the model skill.

Increasingly, century-long climate projection will become an initial-value problem requiring the current observed state of all components of the Earth system: the global atmosphere, the world oceans, cryosphere, and land surface (including physical quantities, such as temperature and soil moisture, as well as biophysical quantities, such as leaf area index, etc.) to produce the best projections of the Earth system and also giving state-of-the-art decadal and interannual predictions. The shorter time scales and weather are known to be important in their feedback on the longer-time-scale behavior. In addition, the regional manifestations of longer-time-scale changes will be felt by society mainly through the changes in the character of the shorter time scales, including extremes.

This is an accurate summary of the challenges in climate prediction. The admission that climate prediction is an initial value problem was ignored by the 2007 IPCC assessments.  See, for example, my recent post

Comments On A New Paper “A Unified Modeling Approach to Climate System Prediction” By Hurrell Et Al 2009

which refers to my paper

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746. {with respect to my Comments on the Hurrell et al paper that was sent to BAMS last year, it was only sent out for review in the past month!].

Navarra et al 2010 further write

The era of industrial computing. The changes that we have described will usher in a new era of calculation on such a large scale that it will be comparable to the transition from the artisan shop to the modern factory: it will be the era of industrial computing. Issues like quality control, procedure certifications, and data integrity will no longer be the subject of discussions by researchers, but they will be matters of procedural control and monitoring. It will free climate scientists from much of the engineering work that is now necessary in the preparation of the experimental apparatus they are using in their laboratory but that is hardly necessary to the core of climate science.

It will also create some new problems. It is unclear at this point if the field is going to need more software engineers and programmers or fewer as the computing power is concentrated in larger and fewer centers. A new professional figure may emerge who will maintain the laboratory and the experiment as the routine day-by-day simulations, developing along well-planned lines, may stretch for months or years. Questions about how such professionals will be trained arise without obvious answers.

This is a remarkable proposal for a new approach in climate modeling as it removes the climate modeller  from working with the real world data.  This exemplifies what Dick Lindzen stated

“we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation….”. 

The Navarra et al article concludes with the text

The discussions conducted for the simulations needed for the IPCC assessments have already gone in this direction, but they are still examples of a loose coordination, rather than the tight coordination that will be required by the petascale machines. The transition is similar to what happened in astronomy when that community went from coordinating observations at different telescopes to creating a consortium for the construction of one larger instrument. Industrial computing and numerical missions will rely on that capability even more to allow climate science to address problems that have never before been attempted.

The global numerical climate community soon will have to begin a proper discussion forum to develop the organization necessary for the planning of experiments in the industrial computing age.

The proposal put forth in Navarra et al 2010, if adopted, would concentrate climate modeling into a few well-funded institutions, as well as focus the use models for multi-decadal predictions of the real climate system (in which we do not, of course have observational validation data), rather than as a tool to test scientific hypotheses against real world observations. Policy decisions will be made from these unvalidated model predictions (has they have already been made based on the global-average and regional scale from the IPCC multi-decadal model forecasts).

This is a path that will likely lead to the eventual discrediting of the climate science community who participates in this activity if, as I expect, the regional multi-decadal regional (and even global average forecasts) generally fail to show skill in the coming years.

Even more importantly, they are unlikely to be useful to most of the actual needs of resource stakeholders in their plans to reduce the vulnerability to climate and other environmental and social threats; e.g. see Table E.7 in

 Pielke, R.A. Sr., and L. Bravo de Guenni, 2004: Conclusions. Chapter E.7 In: Vegetation, Water, Humans and the Climate: A New Perspective on an Interactive System. Global Change – The IGBP Series, P. Kabat et al., Eds., Springer, 537-538.

 While I support the use of climate models to examine climate processes, they must be solidly based on observational validation. It also must not be forgotten that climate models (and indeed all models) are hypotheses. Real world observations must be the standard to test the climate models.

The Navarra et al conclusion that

“Such models have become the central pillar of the quantitative scientific approach to climate science because they allow us to perform “crucial” experiments under the controlled conditions that science demands”

is not how climate science should proceed. The “central pillar” must be the real-world observations.

The American Meteorological Society, as represented by the Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of the AMS, Jeff Rosenfeld, agrees with the view with models as the central pillar of the quantitative scientific approach to climate science. He writes in his “Letter From The Editor” [which, unfortunately is not online at the BAMS website]

“If climate science develops the way Navarra et al suggest will this be proof that the age of numerical experimentation has matured? Perhaps so. A science shaped by Franklin and Lorenz’s critical experiments is now a critical experiment itself – a test of the viability of science when it is dependent on numerical modeling for methodology. For better or worse, the result of this grand experiment – the very state of climatology – will forever be ingrained in popular consciousness.”

Dick Lindzen’s perceptive statement that ”simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation” accurately (and unfortunately) represents the current position of the leadership of the American Meteorological Society. (Climate Science)

 

Earths Missing Energy: Trenberth’s Plot Proves My Point

The plot that is included in Kevin Trenberth’s most recent post on Roger Pielke, Sr.’s blog actually proves the point I have been making: The trend in the imbalance in the Earth’s radiation budget as measured by the CERES instrument of NASA’s Terra satellite that has been building since about 2000 is primarily in the reflected solar (shortwave, or SW, or RSW) component, not the emitted infrared (longwave, or LW) component.

To demonstrate that, the following is the chart from Trenberth’s most recent post, upon which I have overlaid the 2000-2008 trend lines from MY plots of CERES data, and which we have computed from the official NASA-blessed ES-4 Edition 2 global gridpoint dataset.

The plots I provided in my previous post have greater resolution in the vertical axis.

For those who are following this mini-debate, please see that post, not Roger’s version of my post, which was a draft version of my post and was incomplete.

And, again I point out, the most recent dip in the LW curve (above) is consistent with cooling of the global average troposphere seen in our plot of AMSU5 data. UPDATE, 1:45 p.m. CDT: small correction to above figure. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

The Big Question: How Much CO2 Can the Earth Hold?

UTRECHT, the Netherlands -- The Dutch used to discover new worlds across unexplored seas. Now, they are beginning to trace the edges of a new undiscovered country, and it is right beneath their shores.

The Netherlands, a country that chose to build many of its cities below sea level, is famous for its pragmatic, long-term planning. So it should be no surprise that, when it comes to efforts to store carbon dioxide underground for a millennium or more, Holland has been leading the way, planning for years to turn declining natural gas fields off their shores into storage sites.

Initial estimates of the fields were promising. It seemed 40 years of emissions from eight large coal-fired power plants could be stored. Then scientists looked closer, probing each site's geology, to disturbing results.

Some fields were too small or perforated by drills to store CO2, they found. Others were stubborn, their rocks likely to resist the injection of the gas.

Soon enough, the Dutch had to cut their storage estimate in half.

It is a disappointing result that should be kept in mind as estimates of CO2 storage potential, which mostly exist on countrywide or regional levels, are refined and localized, said Filip Neele, a research geologist here at the geosciences branch of TNO, the Dutch national lab of applied sciences.

In some cases, Neele would not be surprised to see storage estimates fall by up to 95 percent compared with the original projection. Though even then, he added, the capacity would be still large thanks to the vast size of the available storage formations. (Greenwire)

 

Bid to Burn Oil Untried on This Scale

Crews Aim to Mop Up Gulf Spill With Fire, a Technique Experts Laud But Which Has Never Been Applied So Widely

VENICE, La.—Crews in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday set fire to a portion of the oil spreading from the site of a sunken rig, a technique experts said was the safest, cheapest way to limit environmental damage but had never been tried on this scale.

"Burning oil on the water is the most environmentally friendly technique that one can think of," said combustion expert Anil Kulkarni at Pennsylvania State University, who has studied the technique for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

The controlled oil fire at sea started Wednesday evening in a small area of the gulf spill and lasted for a little over an hour, said Coast Guard spokesman David Mosley. (WSJ)

 

Arctic cold, ice extends oil spill response window

Petroleum News: Research shows in-situ burning, dispersant especially effective

The April 25 edition of Petroleum News carried the results of a joint industry program that looked at the feasibility or otherwise of responding effectively to an oil spill in ice-infested waters. 

Concerns about the ability of industry to clean up oil spills is one of the core questions in the debate about whether or not oil and gas development should take place in the Arctic offshore, Petroleum News senior staff writer Alan Bailey noted at the beginning of the article. 

Working on the basis that knowledge and data are the keys to addressing Arctic oil spill concerns, the results of a joint industry program begun in early 2006 and coordinated by Norwegian research company SINTEF, was the basis for the article. Bailey said the program had completed a series of research projects, establishing facts about the properties of spilled oil in icy water and the effectiveness of potential response techniques. 

The researchers were able to obtain permission from the Norwegian government to put actual crude oil into the sea in carefully controlled conditions, thus enabling the testing of oil behavior and cleanup effectiveness in ice conditions closely similar to those that might be encountered in an Arctic oil spill emergency. So, in addition to carrying out a variety of laboratory tests, the researchers were able to run some experiments in fjord ice at SINTEF’s research facility at Svea in Svalbard, as well as carry out larger scale tests in sea ice in the Barents Sea. 

The end results of the research include a dataset for the development of oil spill contingency plans; a web-based oil spill response guide for Arctic and ice-covered waters; and some new technologies for offshore Arctic cleanup. (GoO)

 

The Great E-llusion: Germany to Promote Electric Cars with Massive State Aid

The German government wants to promote the development of electric vehicles on a grand scale. But many industry observers point out that the perceived benefits of e-cars are massively overrated. In some cases, their carbon footprint is even worse than that of conventional autos. (Spiegel)

 

Power From Trash ...

IT’S been 25 years since the New York City Board of Estimate, under Mayor Edward Koch’s leadership, approved a plan to reduce the need for putting municipal garbage in landfills by developing facilities to burn it to create energy. At the same time, the city took the first steps toward creating a recycling program. Since then, disposal costs have risen faster than inflation, and the need to find better methods of getting rid of wastes is even greater. (NYT)

 

... And Sewage, Too

ON several quiet streets in Sheffield, a northern English city an hour from here, are street lamps that look like ordinary gas lamps, but do not burn ordinary gas. Instead, their light comes from gas released from the sewers that run beneath them. Thus, they are both relics of the past, when gas lamps lighted our streets, and of the future, when excrement and wastewater will again be seen as a resource, not a waste. (NYT)

 

Cape Wind, First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm, Approved

The first U.S. offshore wind farm, a giant project 5 miles/8 km off the Massachusetts coast, was approved on Wednesday after years of opposition involving everyone from local Indian tribes to the Kennedy family.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the green light for the historic 130-turbine, 420-megawatt Cape Wind project in Horseshoe Shoal, Nantucket Sound, in what supporters considered a huge step forward for renewable energy in the United States. (Reuters)

 

Cape Cod Residents Don’t Expect One Ruling to End Long Fight

HYANNIS, Mass. — The federal government may have described the Cape Wind project as a fait accompli, but Ian Parent does not expect to see turbines in the water or run the panini maker at his restaurant with electricity generated in Nantucket Sound any time soon. 

“I bet this goes on for another five years,” said Mr. Parent, the owner of La Petite France Café, as he unwrapped cheese behind the counter on Wednesday afternoon. 

Word that the federal government had approved a permit on Wednesday for Cape Wind Associates to build a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast here barely caused a ripple in Hyannis, where the installation will be visible from parts of the town, including a popular beach and many houses. 

After a nine-year battle over the proposal, most here thought the decision would lead to even more years of litigation and waiting. (NYT)

 

Germany's First Offshore Wind Farm Goes Online

Germany's energy supply is on the verge of an important turning point. Over the coming months and years, German utility giants plan to build massive offshore wind farms that are expected to produce huge amounts of green energy. The first such wind farm went online this week.

It is wet, cold and somewhat unreal on this morning in Emden, a small city on the North Sea coast in northwestern Germany. Patches of fog are slowly beginning to dissipate, but the worst thing of all is that it's dead calm. (Spiegel)

 

Europe and North Africa ‘could be powered by green supergrid’

All of Europe and North Africa could be powered by renewable electricity by 2050 with the North Sea at the heart of a European “supersmartgrid”, according to a reort by the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report, compiled with a range of research institutes, says that the North and Baltic seas could sustain a large amount of offshore windpower with the North Sea also contributing big quantities of electricity from wave and tidal power.

This could be connected to a European “supersmartgrid” with more electricity supplies being generated by solar power in North Africa and more hydro development in Scandinavia and the Swiss Alps.

Kevin Reynard, a partner at PWC in Aberdeen, said that the report had cleared up some of the conventional criticisms of large scale renewables.

By connecting wind farms over a wide area using smart technology, the report argues that wind could produce reliable amounts of electricity.

“Opportunities to use clean, affordable natural sources of energy have been talked about for over 150 years and now is the time for positive action,” he said. (The Times)

 

 

Decency Gap

Corruption: A review of the Democrats' health care bill, showing that the plan would increase costs, was available before Congress voted on the measure. The health secretary reportedly sat on it. This is transparency?

The report was compiled by Medicare's Office of the Actuary, an objective player in the health care debate. Its findings did not back up what the administration and Democratic leadership had been telling us about the health care overhaul.

Chief Actuary Richard Foster estimated that the program would add $311 billion over 10 years in costs beyond what would have been the case if the legislation hadn't become law.

The Health and Human Services Department reportedly had the report more than a week before the vote but refused to review it until after the Senate bill passed the House on March 21.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," said an unidentified HHS source in a Monday report in the Washington Prowler blog of the American Spectator. Pardon us, but wouldn't it have been better if this information had been made public or given to lawmakers before the House voted?

The outcome might have been different. If only four "yes" votes had been changed to "no," the bill wouldn't have passed and the country wouldn't be facing a future plagued by costly, substandard health care run by a cold and incompetent federal bureaucracy. (IBD)

 

Waxman Waning

Health Reform: It turns out that House energy panel Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., was wrong in calling American businesses liars. He and some of his colleagues should look in the mirror — if they can stand it.

Whether it's Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., repeatedly using four-letter words as he did Tuesday while bullying executives of Goldman Sachs, or oilmen getting dragged to Capitol Hill to be groundlessly accused of price-gouging, the liberal politicians now running Washington would have no agenda if it weren't for evil corporations.

A few weeks ago, Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of Energy's oversight subcommittee, were arranging a Watergatesque investigation against AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere and Verizon because they had the audacity to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission stating that ObamaCare's scrapping of a tax credit would reduce their earnings.

A hearing was scheduled to show the world what greedy liars these fat cats are. And Waxman and Stupak demanded that within two weeks the firms provide "any analyses related to the projected impact of health care reform ... any documents, including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform" and "an explanation of the accounting methods used ... since 2003 to estimate the financial impact" of the new monster health law.

Well, guess what. The Democratic staff of Waxman's committee checked the documents and found that the evil corporations were right and Waxman and Stupak were wrong. "The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the SEC in March and April," a staff memo admitted. (IBD)

 

If health care is so important, why don't we care about doctors?

That's the title of a recent HND piece, which focuses on an issue that you almost never hear about: How doctors—especially hospital residents—are being screwed by the system. Of course, this will only get worse under Obamacare.

Yes indeed, only liberal morons could come up with a "reform" of health care that spends untold billions, adds not a single doctor or nurse, but provides for upwards of 17,000 new bureaucrats.

The current piece, though, looks more at how these residents—the heart of the hospital—don't even make $50,000 per year, and this for working more than 100 hours a week. In addition, they are saddled with a huge student loan debt (averaging $200,000 or more). Note that these conditions have been in place for a long time.

You will also find out how the med school grads can't even pick their specialty or their location to practice, as this is all set up by the "Match." No wonder most docs are less than thrilled with their lives, but have invested so much time and money, few of them can just bail.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

A Taxpayer-Funded War Against Ranchers (PJM Exclusive)

There is a war between ranchers and environmentalists in the West — and the environmentalists are funded by the taxpayers.
April 27, 2010
- by Callie Gnatkowski

There is a war going on in the West. It has nothing to do with guns and bullets. It’s an environmental war, declared by eco-activists against farmers and ranchers who work the land.

It’s not covered by the mainstream media. But environmental groups boast that their aim is to run ranchers off their land, put them out of business, and bar beef and other food from our tables. And the environmentalists get taxpayers to pay them for their attempts at destruction.

The tools they use are the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other acts, along with a small army of lawyers who find bureaucratic loopholes to bankrupt farmers and ranchers.

While ranchers struggle to pay attorneys to represent their interests in these lawsuits, environmental groups are getting paid by taxpayers. Even though the activists don’t win all of these cases, they are reimbursed for their attorneys’ fees through the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The abuse of EAJA, where environmental groups collect up to $650 per hour for frivolous lawsuits, was covered recently by Pajamas Media.

“Essentially, these environmental groups are being paid to sue the federal government,” said Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen. “They file hundreds of lawsuits, and rather than fight the suits, the government often settles the case, agreeing to pay attorneys fees in the settlement.” (PJM)

 

What Raising Minimum Wages Has Meant for Two American Island Territories

Liberals, and especially unions, frequently claim that raising the minimum wage helps workers and the economy. They contend that if people earn more money through a higher minimum wage, then they will be able to spend more as well, creating more jobs, and making everybody better off as a consequence. Now two U.S. territories are putting these theories to the test.

The Federal minimum wage increase passed in 2007 also applied to American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The law incrementally raises the minimum wage in these two territories by $.50 per hour per year, until the minimum wage reach the level of the U.S. minimum wage. Both these territories have lower cost of livings than in the continental United States so the Federal minimum wage hike affected a substantial portion of their workforces: 74 percent of workers in American Samoa and 33 percent of workers in the CNMI. The Government Accountability Office recently issued a report examining the effects that this enormous increase in wages has had on the local island economies. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Peak Everything?

Forget peak oil. What about peak lithium, peak neodymium, and peak phosphorus?

When you really need something, it's natural to worry about running out of it. Peak oil has been a global preoccupation since the 1970s, and the warnings get louder with each passing year. Environmentalists emphasize the importance of placing limits on consumption of fossil fuels, but haven't been successful in encouraging people to consume less energy—even with the force of law at their backs.

But maybe they're going about it all wrong, looking for solutions in the wrong places. Economists Lucas Bretschger and Sjak Smulders argue that the decisive question isn't to focus directly on preserving the resources we already have. Instead, they ask: “Is it realistic to predict that knowledge accumulation is so powerful as to outweigh the physical limits of physical capital services and the limited substitution possibilities for natural resources?” In other words, can increasing scientific knowledge and technological innovation overcome any limitations to economic growth posed by the depletion of non-renewable resources?

The debate over peak oil is heavily politicized, so let's set it aside and test the idea of imminent resource peaks and their consequences for economic growth on three other non-renewable resources: lithium, neodymium, and phosphorus. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

 

Let’s challenge these myths of Chernobyl

Much of today’s anti-nuclear hysteria is based on a misunderstanding of what happened in Ukraine. (Rob Lyons, spiked)

 

Huh? PepsiCo CEO: 'If all consumers exercised...obesity wouldn't exist'

Having a vegetarian run a company known for shilling sugary soda and salty snacks might not seem like the most obvious match. But under Indra Nooyi's leadership, PepsiCo's growth has skyrocketed -- from the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998 and the Quaker Oats merger in 2000, to the much more recent purchase of Pepsi Americas and Pepsi Bottling, for $7.7 billion last year. (Fortune)

Seems a somewhat rash statement -- guess we can safely assume sumo wrestlers don't exercise then?

 

Citing Obesity of Children, County Bans Fast-Food Toys

SAN FRANCISCO — It was not a happy day for the Happy Meal. 

In what it described as a blow against the fattening temptations of fast food, the board of supervisors in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to ban the promotional toys that often accompany child-size portions of cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets if those meals don’t meet certain nutritional standards. 

The criteria, which are based on federal standards and recommendations from the nonprofit Institute of Medicine, would apply to all fast-food restaurants giving away toys in meals in-tended for children. Ken Yeager, the board president, said the new law would level “the playing field by taking away the incentive to choose fatty, sugary foods over healthier options.” (NYT)

Hold on there, cowboy! If you were really concerned about induced purchases wouldn't you start with movie merchandizing? They were quick enough going after smoking in movies so what's different here? Could it be the amount of money made in Hollywood from these product tie-up deals?

 

It's warming that's bad, right? Black grouse numbers plummet in cold winter

The harshest winter for 30 years has caused populations of rare black grouse to fall to their lowest recorded level in northern England, according to conservationists.

Black grouse had increased from 773 males in 1998 to a peak of 1,200 in 2007, but cold and rainy summers in 2007 and 2008 led to poor breeding seasons, with just 730 males recorded in spring 2009.

Scientists from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust were hopeful that a spell of good weather last spring had allowed the bird to bounce back with a more successful breeding season.

But the "appalling conditions" this winter, with long periods of freezing conditions and deep snow, have badly damaged the birds in their North Pennines stronghold. (TDT)

 

The prince of wails to be inflicted on American audiences: Prince to make environment TV debut

Prince Charles, once mocked for talking to plants, will have his Al Gore moment, when his views on the environment make their US television debut later this year in a televised special on NBC.

“Just as mankind has the power to push the world to the brink, so too does he have the power to restore it,” he says in a short clip of the upcoming film Harmony. 

The heir to the British throne is staging a multi-media assault on big business’s destructive impact on the environment that includes a book, feature film and television special.

The TV special will be aired in November as part of NBC Universal’s “Green is Universal” initiative, which includes a mandate from corporate bosses to weave environmental themes across much of its 69 global properties. (Financial Times)

 

Apparently not a joke: To show that you still believe in the global warming hoax, why not wear this seed-sprouting face mask *and* your tinfoil hat?

Seed-Sprouting Face Mask Protects You From Pollution, Sequesters Your CO2 : TreeHugger

We thought we saw them all when the swine flue craze was at its peak, but in the weird and wacky world of face masks, there's a new one to top them all. The Green Screen by designer Robert Ortega is an anti-bacterial and reusable face mask that "sequesters the Co2 from every exhale." Made from pulp and embedded with seeds that actually sprout, the face mask is supposed to not only help keep your lungs safe from the world, but keep the world safe from the mini carbon dioxide emissions coming from your lungs.

(Tom Nelson)

 

Replacement for the failing gorebull warming scam: Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean asserts that, unless man-made carbon dioxide emissions are substantially curbed or atmospheric carbon dioxide is controlled by some other means, the oceans will continue to become more acidic. Although the long-term consequences are unknown, a federal program under development is a positive move toward understanding and responding to the problem. (NAP)

Um... what problem?

 

Another "bad humans" hand-wringer in the Nude Socialist: Living world: The shape of life to come

26 April 2010 by Michael Le Page

The United Nations has made 2010 its Year of Biodiversity. While there could be as many as 30 million species on this teeming planet, so far fewer than 2 million have been identified. That includes a staggering 114,000 catalogued in the past three years alone. Our exploration of life is just beginning. No wonder the UN is keen that this year should be one of celebration.

It is also time to take stock, though. Human activities are causing a mass extinction, but the right action now could pull life back from the brink. At last we are beginning to understand what generates biodiversity (Why the tropics are hotbeds of evolution) and what makes a good conservation programme (How to save an island). We can also predict how our activities today will shape biodiversity in the future (this article, below). It is a sobering vision – but one that is still in our power to change. (New Scientist)

 

Food Companies Say No to Genetically Modified Potatoes

Some of Germany's leading food companies have indicated that they won't be using genetically modified potatoes any time soon, according to a recent survey. Several fear use of the GM crops in their products could damage their public images.

Public pressure has led several of the largest potato chip and french fry manufacturers within Germany to say they would shy away from using genetically modified (GM) potatoes -- even if they get approved for human consumption.

According to the results of a survey released this month by the German branch of the environmental organization Greenpeace, a number of snacks and fast food giants including Burger King, McDonald's, German seafood chain Nordsee and chipmaker Lorenz Snack-World have all said they would not use GM potatoes -- at least for the time being. A number said they feared their companies' public images would be damaged, and some said use of GM potatoes would drive up quality control costs.

Often referred to disparagingly as "Frankenstein foods," genetically modified crops have often been the subject of public concern and the targets of environmental groups in Europe. Fears have been voiced about GM crops contaminating and harming local ecosystems. In particular, German chemical giant BASF's GM potato brand Amflora has been criticized for its resistance to antibiotics. (Spiegel)

 

Lambs to the Slaughter, Part 1

Right now, Washington is scheming and scamming to erode and then erase the Second Amendment from our Constitution. And it will accomplish it through the signing of international treaties on gun control, bypassing the normal legislative process in Congress, tightening regulations upon firearm and ammunition manufacturers, using the anti-gun financing of tycoons and ultimately confiscating all firearms under the guise of terrorism patrol and enforcement. Without public debate and cloaked in secrecy, gun control covertly will come upon us like a thief in the night. One day, we will wake up to discover that the U.S. has signed a global treaty that will prohibit any transfer of firearm ownership, force reductions in the number of firearms privately owned and eventually eradicate the planet of guns for law-abiding citizens. Of course, the criminals still will have their guns illegally. And on that day, if you do not comply with that global treaty, you will be fined and face imprisonment. This is not a fictitious story or false warning. As sure as government health care has been shoved down our throats, so will the barrels of our guns. And left with little defense, we will go as lambs to the slaughter. (Chuck Norris, Townhall)

 

 

ClimateDepot's Morano on Mann Lawsuit: 'This Just Goes to Show You How the Mighty Have Fallen'

In case you missed it, expressing dissent about an issue that has become more and more politicized could warrant a lawsuit - even if it's just satire.

Michael Mann, a Penn State professor and a central figure in the Climategate scandal, but is best known for his "hockey stick graph" doesn't like being criticized. He has threatened to sue the creators of a video that has gone viral on YouTube mocking him. The creators of the video are a group called Minnesotans for Global Warming.

The possibility of a suit was the topic on Fox News April 27 "America Live," hosted by Megyn Kelly. Kelly asked ClimateDepot.com executive editor Marc Morano if Mann would be able to prove that this so-called YouTube spoof wasn't true and therefore win his lawsuit. (NewsBusters)

 

Crank of the Week - April 26, 2010 - Michael Mann

Michael Mann, the Penn State meteorology professor and global warming true believer, best known for his invention of the “hockey stick” temperature graph, is mad as hell and not going to take it any more. The globe may not be warming, but things are evidently getting too hot for Dr. Mann. After enduring university investigations, hostile questioning, legislative probes and attacks by colleagues he has had enough and is threatening to sue the makers of a satirical video that's a hit on You Tube. Look out—like mobsters on The Sopranos, the Climategate Mafia is lawyering up.

The parody video, titled “Hide the Decline,” received national attention when Rush Limbaugh played it on his radio show. Featuring a cat with a guitar, a talking tree, and a dancing figure sporting the image of Professor Mann, the catchy video has had more than 500,000 viewers on YouTube. It's the use of his image that Mann is complaining about, arguing that the video supports “efforts to sell various products and merchandise.” Is it just a funny parody or an illegal defamation? Decide for your selves. (The Resilient Earth)

 

The Vulture Club

I have know for a long time that green activists will say and do anything to advance their twisted cause, but the Sierra Club hit yet another new low this week.

Executive director Michael Brune tried to rescue the sinking Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate bill by blaming the recent coal mining and oil drilling tragedies on our “dirty, dangerous and deadly energy resources.” If only we had a “clean energy economy”—whatever that is—we wouldn’t now be “mourning workers lost in a coal mine in West Virginia and an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana,” Brune said in an April 26 statement.

Yes, the deaths (like all deaths) are tragic and coal and oil producers should do everything reasonable to promote safety and to prevent such tragedies from occurring. That said, the deaths are not reasons to abandon or curtail fossil fuel use—in fact, we need to accelerate their production and use to increase global prosperity and freedom.

Let’s keep in mind, that no occupation is without risk to life and limb and that coal mining and oil drilling are not even close to the most dangerous occupations. (Steve Milloy, Daily Caller)

 

Reid, Not Graham, Killed The Climate Bill

The climate change bill isn’t even officially dead (in fact, it was never officially resurrected), but that hasn’t stopped a lot of finger-pointing over who is responsible. Democrats and their allies are pointing their fingers at Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the co-authors of the bill, because he walked away late Friday. But is that fair? Not really; the fix appeared to be in well before that. Graham, it seems, was just acknowledging that it was already a goner. (Capital Hill)

 

Reid Committed To Both Climate, Immigration Bills

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday he is committed to passing both climate-change and immigration-reform legislation this year.

While the two efforts are widely seen as election-year long-shots, Reid, a Democrat, said, "I am committed to doing both this session of Congress. (Reuters)

 

Senator Kerry Says EPA To Start Climate Bill Analysis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin analyzing a compromise climate change bill Senator John Kerry hopes to move through the Senate this year, despite a significant setback his effort has suffered, Kerry said on Tuesday.

The EPA will examine the economic impact the bill would have from provisions aimed at reducing pollution blamed for global warming.

"We are sending the bill to be modeled now with Lindsey Graham's consent," the Democratic senator told reporters. (Reuters)

 

Last Binge Of A Condemned Congress

Unchecked Power: Having nothing to lose as they tumble toward November's electoral cliff, Democrats have gone into legislative overdrive. With the hangman ready, the condemned are ordering the whole menu.

The way things look right now, 2010 could go down in history as one of the biggest reversals of political power ever — with even "safe" seats in big trouble.

Take Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the powerful pork-wielding House Appropriations Committee, who has held his seat since before man walked on the moon. He looks like a dead duck against a Republican challenge from a current county district attorney and MTV "Real World" alumnus named Sean Duffy — who wasn't even born when Obey took office.

"It's not a lifetime appointment," Duffy told the New York Times for a story on the numerous vulnerable Democrats who were once unbeatable.

But like Thelma and Louise when they knew the jig was up, the Democratic Congress has decided it might as well put the pedal to the metal and go over the precipice with a crash and a bang. Unfortunately, they've got an already pummeled economy in the back seat with them.

No one should misinterpret the rearranging of the cap-and-trade and immigration deck chairs on the Democrats' Titanic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid want both — bullying industry in the name of saving the planet and buying Hispanic votes with amnesty for illegal aliens. (IBD)

 

E.P.A. Makes Its Case on Climate Change

Polls show that tackling climate change is a low priority for the American public. Indeed, a Yale poll found that only 12 percent of Americans were “very worried” about global warming.

In the last few days, the Environmental Protection Agency seems to have initiated a public campaign to make clear where it, and the science, stand, stating that the rise in greenhouse gases is a serious problem to be confronted.

On Monday night, the E.P.A. administrator, Lisa Jackson, made the point as a guest on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” And on Tuesday, the agency released an 80-page glossy report called “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” to help Americans make sense of climate change data. (NYT Green)

In a way it's a really good thing that Lisa is lashing the EPA so firmly to the titanic SS Global Warming since it will make it easier to expunge the EPA in a few years time.

 

EPA Issues Report on U.S. Climate Change Indicators

WASHINGTON – Heat waves, storms, sea levels, glaciers, and wildlife migrations are just a few of the environmental indicators that show measurable signs of climate change. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation’s citizens. (Press Release)

 

Nails in the Global Warming Coffin

My silence since mid-February has not meant that I have taken my eye off the climate-change scene. Far from it, although I have to confess that I have become increasingly wearied and bored by the fatuous lack of reality exhibited on this topic by many UK politicians. It is so glaringly obvious that, since the debacle in Copenhagen, ‘global warming’ is dying as a major political trope that I find it less and less exercising as an issue. Indeed, I do not want to waste too much energy in flogging a fundamentally dead corpse.

This last week, however, the nails in the global warming coffin have been driven in so thick and so fast that I thought it might be worth bringing attention once again to what is happening around the world - “You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Global Warming is as dead as a door-nail,” although I suspect that the Global Warming Ghost will hang around moaning and wailing for quite a while yet. (Emeritus Professor Philip Stott, The Clamour of the Times)

 

Column - Rudd chokes on his own great lie

THE great fraud has been found out, and his country saved - for now - from the greatest of his follies.

Here’s the worst lie that Kevin Rudd, perhaps our most deceitful Prime Minister, once told about global warming and his Emissions Trading Scheme: “The biggest challenge the world faces in the decades ahead is climate change.

“It is the great moral and economic challenge of our time.”

But on Tuesday Rudd decided “the great moral challenge” of our time wasn’t, after all.

It was just “a” challenge, he said. And with public trust falling in his ETS “solution” - a great green tax on gases - he cut and ran.

His ETS would be shelved until at least 2013. Two elections away. Yet only last year this same Government claimed “delay was denial”, and we could not wait to save “our jobs, our houses, our farms, our reefs, our economy and our future”. To stop “700,000 homes and businesses” on our coast from drowning. (Another lie.)

Rudd had his excuses, of course. The naughty Opposition now opposed the ETS in the Senate, and other countries were “slower to act” on global warming themselves.

But it was just more Rudd spin.

For years he’s mocked warnings from sceptics and some Liberals that it was reckless for small Australia to make cuts that almost no other country would make.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Column - Rudd chokes on his own great lie' (Andrew Bolt)

 

PM delays emissions trading scheme as inconvenient political truth

AFTER months of avoiding even mentioning an emissions trading scheme Kevin Rudd has formally dumped Labor's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least after the next election, and possibly the one after that.

After months of refusing to defend or promote the answer to the greatest moral and economic challenge “of our time” or to propose an alternative the Prime Minister has simply put it off as an inconvenient political truth and tried to blame the Coalition and the Greens for obstruction in the Senate.

The simple fact of the matter is that Rudd over-politicised and over-dramatised the importance of an ETS, put all his political capital into one policy that would split the Coalition and provide a campaign platform and had no answer when it failed.

Rudd's insistence the Senate pass the CPRS legislation before the Copenhagen climate change meeting in December now looks completely hollow and Australia's stance friendless and isolated internationally.

An ETS is no longer in the “lexicon” of the Obama administration and China and India are not budging on binding agreements after the expiration of the 2012 Kyoto agreement.

The demands for “business certainty” that drove Rudd's insistence are now empty rhetoric and the threats of a double-dissolution or an early election meaningless. (Dennis Shanahan, The Australian)

 

Eye-roller: Business leaders applaud carbon scheme deferral

CORPORATE Australia has broadly welcomed the Rudd government's deferral of a carbon pollution reduction scheme, saying it presents an opportunity for renewed bipartisan agreement and consideration of other measures to cut emissions.

Some companies heavily exposed to a CPRS, like Origin Energy, made the point that continuing uncertainty risked delaying investment, including the need to meet base-load electricity demands.

But Macarthur Coal chairman Keith De Lacy said the announcement came as no surprise.

"I think business would generally welcome the decision," Mr De Lacy said. "There is no point proceeding with an emissions trading scheme in Australia until there is a unified approach globally, and that seems like it's a long way off." (Richard Gluyas, The Australian)

These business weasels need to grow a spine, take a stand and say: "not now, not ever!".

 

Rudd's dangerous climate retreat

AS retreats go, they come no bigger than Kevin Rudd's delaying of his once cherished emissions trading scheme - one of the most spectacular backdowns by a prime minister in decades. (Paul Kelly, The Australian)

 

Warmists desperate fightback

by Des Moore

April 27, 2010

The fightback by defenders of the dangerous (sic) warming science

The Rudd government has decided not to proceed with the legislation to establish an emissions trading scheme until after the next election. While this will be a disappointment for the believers in the dangerous global warming thesis promulgated by some scientists, it may encourage them to step-up the kind of fight-back exemplified by the Victorian Government’s sponsorship of a series of lectures in June on a Brave New World? The Climate Change Challenge. In what seems the normal exclusionist policy adopted by such groups, the lectures all appear to be by warmists and there are no sceptics.

This is but one of many fightbacks around the world. Here we have recently seen the obviously hurried production last month of a joint CSIRO-Bureau of Meteorology pamphlet that concludes that ‘Australia will be hotter in coming decades’; ‘Much of Australia will be drier in coming decades’; ‘Carbon dioxide generated by humans makes the ocean become more acidic’; ‘It is very likely that human activities have caused most of the global warming observed since 1950’; and ‘Climate change is real’. With the imprimatur of “experts”, the media has ignored the many analytical (and conclusive) defects in this pamphlet but they will be exposed soon in a response by the Fair Farming Group. (Quadrant)

 

CSM has been taking a more skeptical look at the great carbon con:

 

IPCC's River Of Lies

Global Warming: Another shoe has dropped from the IPCC centipede as scientists in Bangladesh say their country will not disappear below the waves. As usual, the U.N.'s climate charlatans forgot one tiny detail. (IBD)

 

What the IPCC Learned from Press Releases

We now know that the UN's Nobel-winning, allegedly gold-standard climate bible bases factual assertions on dodgy source material like press releases. (No Consensus)

 

New Book Notice: Climate: the Counter-Consensus

Professor Robert Carter

The counter-consensus to quasi-scientific hype and induced panic on climate change is at last assembling. The argument is not in the first place as to whether or not climate change has been taking place, but whether any recent warming of the planet is appreciably due to human activity and how harmful it will prove. Tom Stacey, in his eloquent and provocative introduction, investigates our tendency to ascribe this and other perceived planetary crises to some inherent fault in ourselves, be it original sin or a basic moral failing. Climate: the Counter Consensus goes on to examine, with thoroughness and impartial expertise, the so-called facts of global warming that are churned out and unquestioningly accepted, while the scientific and media establishments stifle or deride any legitimate expression of an opposing view. In doing so, the book typifies the mission of Independent Minds to replace political correctness and received wisdom with common sense and rational analysis.

Follow this link to see a T.V. interview with Professor Carter, with the kind permission of the Rhema Broadcasting Group.

 

Sheesh! Tyndall researchers give special briefing in Westminster

In March, two Tyndall researchers gave a special breakfast briefing to members of the House of Commons. All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Survival. Andrew Jordan (TYN-UEA) spoke about the policy and political implications of preparing for high emissions scenarios ('mitigate for 2 degrees and adapt for 4 degrees'). Lorraine Whitmarsh (TYN fellow, Cardiff)) spoke about changing public perceptions of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The ESRC organised meeting was attended by around 30 MPS, senior civil servants, academics and opinion formers and was chaired by the Rt Hon. John Gummer MP. (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Propaganda)

 

Report: Save the Whales and They'll Save Us from Global Warming

Need more proof that Global Warming is the problem to environmentalists’ solutions? Take a whiff of this. 

Researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division have announced that increased whale excrement in our oceans could help fight global warming by encouraging the growth of carbon dioxide-consuming algae. It seems the iron-rich droppings help spark blooms of phytoplankton, which in turn help regulate the oceans’ carbon sink capabilities. 

Researcher Steve Nicol claimed that a larger population of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean would do the trick, but admitted that just how much excrement it would take to have any significant impact remains unknown. I suspect you’re way ahead of my response to that line, so I’ll save some typing.

But all manure is not created equal by greenie standards. In fact, up until now, animal waste has been right up there with that of internal-combustion engines and coal-fired power plants on the environmentalists’ Feces List. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

 

Actually he's not joking: Whale excrement could help fight climate change

Whale droppings could help fight global warming by 'fertilising' the oceans, according to a new study. (Louise Gray, TDT)

 

Climate Change Not Slowing: German Weather Service

Climate change is showing no signs of slowing despite a severe winter in Germany that helped reduce public concerns about the threat of global warming, Germany's leading meteorologist said on Tuesday.

Wolfgang Kusch, president of the German Meteorological Service (DWD), said it was a mistake to interpret the harsh winter of 2009/10 as a sign climate change is abating. A German opinion poll recently found fears of climate change falling sharply.

"Despite fluctuations, temperatures are still moving in one direction -- higher," he said. "Climate researchers have to look at least 30-year periods when talking about trends...At the same time the last decade was the warmest in Germany in 130 years."

Skepticism about climate change has been growing in Germany, one of the world's four largest industrial countries, after an unusually long and cold winter in northern Europe.

An opinion poll by the Infratest institute in Der Spiegel magazine found 42 percent of Germans are concerned about climate change, down from 62 percent in 2006. A third do not think the climate change research is reliable and a quarter believe Germany will actually profit from climate change. (Reuters)

 

Rahmstorf (2009): Response to Realclimate comments

RealClimate deleted my comment.

Back on March 21st I made a comment at Realclimate about the first of my series of posts concerning Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s 2009  attempt (referred to as VR2009 for the rest of this post) at predicting sea level rise for the 21st century.  Not surprisingly, they did not allow the comment to go beyond the “moderation” phase.  That’s OK I suppose – it’s their blog.  But it has come to my attention that there have been several comments  by “EFS_Junior” and Phillip Machanick about my series over at Realclimate to which I should respond.  And since RealClimate likes to delete my comments, I will respond here for the record.

When I entered my comment back in March I had the foresight to make a screen print of how it appeared while awaiting moderation (otherwise known as deletion at RealClimate). (Tom Moriarty, Climate Sanity)

 

Key climate model assumption wrong?

There's an interesting article over at El Reg, which discusses a new paper in Nature Geosciences on the subject of the reaction of soil bacteria to increases in temperature. The theory is that as temperatures rise, all the microbes in the soil will emit even more carbon dioxide than they do already, exacerbating warming still further.

That's the theory. Unfortunately, an ecologist from California has now rather thrown a spanner in the works by doing some good old-fashioned experiments. Steve Allison has discovered that although small increases in warmth do increase carbon dioxide emissions, as temperatures rise further, the effect tails off quickly and emissions plunge.

Interesting stuff. (Bishop Hill)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 17: 28 April 2010

4th International Conference on Climate Change:
The Fourth International Conference on Climate Change will be held in Chicago, Illinois on May 16-18, 2010 at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile Hotel, 540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. It will call attention to new scientific research on the causes and consequences of climate change, and to economic analysis of the cost and effectiveness of proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To register for the event, or for information about the program, speakers, co-sponsors, and more, click here.

Editorial:
Ocean Acidification: How Bad Can it Get?: The IPCC overdoes it again.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Northern Hemisphere): Why are we concerned about it? ... and how big a deal is our concern?

Journal Reviews:
Windstorms of Europe: How have they varied over the past four decades of supposedly unprecedented global warming?

The Medieval Warmth of China: How did it compare with that of the late 20th century?

Effects of Way-Above-Average Warming on Tasmanian Reefs: Are the effects also way-above-average?

Global Warming-Induced Hybridization in Flying Squirrels: It represents perhaps the first real-world demonstration of an oft-hypothesized -- and now-proven -- method of successfully coping with a major climate-change challenge.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on a Chesapeake Bay (USA) Wetland: One of the world's longest atmospheric CO2 enrichment studies ever conducted produces some results that have far-reaching implications for coastal hydrology.

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Red Ironbark (Ghannoum et al., 2010), Soybean (Oikawa et al., 2010), Sydney Blue Gum Tree (Ghannoum et al., 2010), and White Birch (Ambebe and Dang, 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 821 individual scientists from 488 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Egelsee Bog, Central Switzerland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)

 

People like to get where they are going as quickly as possible? Green Transport Losing Share To Polluters: EU Study

Europe's greenest modes of transport are falling behind the biggest polluters, which is contributing to a steep rise in climate-warming emissions, the European Environment Agency said on Tuesday.

Road and air freight, which both have a large carbon footprint, grew slightly faster than the economy, at around 43 percent and 35 percent respectively between 1997 and 2007, the European Union agency added in its annual review of transport's environmental impact.

The market share of the cleanest freight modes -- rail and inland waterways -- declined over the same period, it said. (Reuters)

 

Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future—by Robert Bryce (nutrition for energy appetites)

by Jon Boone
April 27, 2010

[Editor note: Bryce's Power Hungry, released today, is his second book on energy after Gusher of Lies and fourth book overall.]

In his brand new book Power Hungry, energy journalist and Austin apiarist Robert Bryce marshals many numbers to plainly show how modern culture exacts power from energy to save time, increase wealth, and raise standards of living. Bryce also dispenses common sense to citizens and policy makers for an improved environment, a more productive economy, and a more enlightened civil society.

Inspired by energy writings of Rockefeller University’s Jesse Ausubel, and the University of Manitoba’s prolific Vaclav Smil, he makes the case for continuing down the path of de-carbonizing our machine fuels—a process begun two hundred years ago when we turned from wood to fossil fuels and huge reservoirs of impounded water. As the world’s population continues to urbanize, people will inevitably demand cleaner, healthier, environmentally sensitive energy choices.

Today, the world uses fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) for approximately 86 percent of its energy, getting a lot of bang for its buck. Bryce offers convincing evidence that, over the next several generations, particularly since broad energy transformations require much time and financial investment, relatively cleaner burning natural gas will provide a bridge to pervasive use of nuclear power—“ the only always-on, no-carbon source that can replace significant amounts of coal in our electricity generation portfolio.” And if nuclear ultimately becomes the centerpiece for the electricity sector, which constitutes about 40 percent of our total energy use, this development would accelerate the de-carbonization of the transportation and heating sectors as well.

His narrative transcends the current climate change debate. He thinks the evidence on either side is equivocal, at best provisional, and, even if it could be proven conclusively that humans were responsible for precipitously warming the earth by producing a surfeit of carbon dioxide, there is little that could be done about the situation now that would be consequential or practical, except embrace imaginative adaptation approaches.

Four “Imperatives”

Bryce organizes his ideas around four interrelated “Imperatives” that serve as a prime motif for human history and explain much contemporary circumstance: power density, energy density, scale and cost. He shows that, although energy is the ability to do work, what people really crave is the ability to control the rate at which work gets done—power. Performing work faster means more time to do something else. This begets an appetitive feedback loop, where more power unleashes more time to produce more power. As the scale of this process increases, costs are reduced, making what power creates more affordable.

In terms of economic efficiency and improved ecosystems, producing the most power in the smallest space at a scale affordable by all is what present and future enterprise should ensure. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Oil Rig Blast Complicates Push for Energy and Climate Bill

WASHINGTON — The loss of life and the looming ecological catastrophe from the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico have piled political complications onto the push for energy and climate change legislation here, officials and interest groups say. 

Expanded offshore oil and gas drilling is a central component to the compromise plan being written in the Senate to address the nation’s energy needs and the emissions of the gases that contribute to global warming. The plan, which still does not exist in legislative form, would also include multibillion-dollar incentives for nuclear power and so-called clean-coal research. 

The energy initiative is already in trouble because a crucial sponsor, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, has walked away from negotiations as a result of a dispute with the White House and Senate Democratic leaders over immigration policy. 

The oil spill may have added to its distress. Several senators said they were troubled by the accident and might not support broad climate and energy legislation if it contains expanding drilling without adequate safeguards. 

Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said he had many concerns about the energy bill that appears to be taking shape, chief among them the aggressive pursuit of offshore oil. (NYT)

What "ecological disaster"? Oil seeps all the time, with or without human intervention.

 

Why? TransAlta Eyes Options To Cut Emissions From Coal

TransAlta Corp is preparing for regulations forcing drastic emission cuts from coal-fired power by studying switching away from the fuel at some plants and using technology to deal with the carbon at others, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

TransAlta, Canada's largest publicly traded electricity generator, is plotting its strategy as Canadian and U.S. governments lay the groundwork for tighter regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, CEO Steve Snyder said after the company reported a 60 percent jump in first-quarter profit.

The company runs 70 power stations, and its five coal-fired ones are among its largest. It has two more under development. (Reuters)

 

 

Study questions value of pricey heart screening

LONDON - Examining patient records to pick out those at high risk of developing heart disease is cheaper and just as effective as screening all adults aged between 40 and 74, a British study showed on Monday.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, raises doubts about a 250-million-pound ($387 million) a year screening programme launched by the British government in 2008 and suggests funds may be better spent on high-risk patients.

Simon Griffin of the epidemiology unit of Britain's Medical Research Council, who led the study, said it showed with healthcare budgets squeezed by global recession and a growing burden of chronic disease, health authorities should think carefully about pricey heart screening plans. (Reuters)

 

Four bad habits can cost you 12 years

Four common bad habits combined - smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet - can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviours. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 per cent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 per cent.

The risky behaviours were: smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily. (AP)

Hmm... looks a little like the old gag about the guy whose doctor told him he'd have to cut his "wine, women and song" by a third -- and who hadn't sung a note since...

 

Why scepticism is still ‘the highest of duties’

Scepticism is widely denounced as a poison and a disease today, just as it was in the Dark Ages. We urgently need to rescue its reputation. (Frank Furedi, spiked)

 

The undead salt myth, again: Fast food lunch packs major sodium punch

NEW YORK - Fast food fans beware: even if you're being calorie-conscious, you are very likely getting far too much sodium with that burger and fries-or even that chicken salad.

A survey of thousands of lunchtime patrons of 11 different fast food chains found their meals contained an average of more 1,700 milligrams (mg) of sodium. US health guidelines recommend most people eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily.

"Sodium was high across all of the chains that we looked at, and in particular the sodium density is high," Christine M. Johnson of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control Program of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health. (Reuters Health)

 

But that doesn't stop the nannies: Bloomberg recruits 16 companies to cut salt intake

NEW YORK - Starbucks and Heinz were among 16 U.S. food companies who pledged on Monday to cut salt levels in their products as part of a national campaign started by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The pledges are part of Bloomberg's National Salt Reduction Initiative, a coalition of cities and health organizations that aim to reduce salt in restaurant and packaged foods by 25 percent over five years.

Starbucks will cut salt in its breakfast sandwiches, while Heinz will reduce sodium levels in its ketchup and marinades and Boar's Head will cut salt in all manner of cured meats, cold cuts and sausages.

Other companies involved are Au Bon Pain, FreshDirect, Goya, Hain Celestial Group, Kraft, LiDestri, Mars Food US, McCain Foods, Red Gold,Inc., Subway, Unilever, Uno Chicago Grill and White Rose

"By working together over the past two years, we have been able to accomplish something many said was impossible - setting concrete, achievable goals for salt reduction," Bloomberg said in a statement.

U.S. researchers found recently that cutting salt intake by nearly 10 percent could prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes over several decades and save the United States $32 billion in healthcare costs. (Reuters)

Really? And where did they find that? In a dream? Under a rock, maybe? What evidence do they have that reduced salt intake is of any value whatsoever?

 

Tobacco Tyrants Turn Attention To Salt

Here's how my June 14, 2006, column started: "Down through the years, I've attempted to warn my fellow Americans about the tyrannical precedent and template for further tyranny set by anti-tobacco zealots ... .

"In the early stages of the anti-tobacco campaign, there were calls for 'reasonable' measures such as non-smoking sections on airplanes and health warnings on cigarette packs. In the 1970s, no one would have ever believed such measures would have evolved into today's level of attack on smokers, which includes confiscatory cigarette taxes and bans on outdoor smoking. The door was opened, and the zealots took over."

Once A Tyrant

What the anti-tobacco zealots established is that government had the right to forcibly control our lives if it was done in the name of protecting our health. In the Foundation for Economic Education's Freeman publication, I wrote a column titled "Nazi Tactics" (January 2003):

"These people who want to control our lives are almost finished with smokers, but never in history has a tyrant arisen one day and decided to tyrannize no more. The nation's tyrants have now turned their attention to the vilification of fast-food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, charging them with having created an addiction to fatty foods.

"In their campaign against fast-food chains, restaurants and soda and candy manufacturers the nation's food Nazis always refer to the anti-tobacco campaign as the model for their agenda."

America's tyrants have now turned their attention to salt, as reported in the Washington Post's article "FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons" (April 19, 2010).

Why do food processors put a certain quantity of salt in their products? The answer is the people who buy their product like it, and they earn profits by pleasing customers. The FDA has taken the position that what the American buying public wants is irrelevant. They know what's best and if you disagree, they will fine, jail or put you out of business. (Walter Williams, IBD)

 

U.S. Business Groups Threaten to Oppose Food Safety Bill Over BPA Ban

Major business groups representing the food industry, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say they will not support long-awaited food safety legislation if it includes an amendment banning bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in thousands of everyday plastics. The comprehensive bill, which easily passed the U.S House of Representatives with bipartisan support and is expected to come before the Senate in the next month, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more authority over food production and place more responsibility on manufacturers and farmers to reduce contamination in their products. An amendment by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would ban BPA, the primary component of hard and clear polycarbonate plastics — including water bottles, baby bottles, and the linings of canned foods. “We will not support food safety legislation that bans or phases out BPA from any food and beverage container,” said Scott Faber, vice president for federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. While studies have shown that the chemical can cause immune system disorders and disrupt development in animals, that link has not been confirmed for humans. Last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will require new studies on the chemical. Federal officials estimate the chemical is found in the urine samples of 90 percent of the population. (e360)

 

Ah, there's nothing like a few orders of magnitude mortality inflation to sell a book: Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People: New Book

NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 - Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility. (ENS)

Interestingly the UN's Chernobyl Forum gives a mortality figure of "less than 50". Zbigniew Jaworowski of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland, is in print with rather more sober assessment of Chernobyl radiation-induced mortalities: see Chernobyl: The Fear of the Unknown and somewhat longer The Truth About Chernobyl Is Told.

 

‘War’ on Obesity Needed for U.S. Health, Milken Says

April 26 -- The U.S. medical-system overhaul will improve the nation’s health and cut costs only if it’s followed by initiatives to curtail the epidemic of obesity and diabetes, said Michael Milken, founder of the Milken Institute.

Milken and health industry executives speaking at a panel presentation on the health-care overhaul today called for a national “war” on obesity modeled after the public campaign against smoking that has slashed rates of cigarette use among Americans. The panel was part of the institute’s annual global conference. (Bloomberg)

 

U.S. adult obesity stable, kids obesity up

CHICAGO, April 26 -- U.S. white adults have stopped getting obese but African-American young adults and children have rising obesity levels, researchers said.

Anirban Basu of the University of Chicago School of Medicine and colleagues used a simulation model based on national data from 2000-2004 and validated against 2005-2006 data.

The researchers project obesity rates across all age categories for the U.S. adult will remain stable for the next 10 years. However, the researchers project young African-American adults ages 18-39, children -- mainly boys ages 6-9 -- and African-American children age 10 and older will have rising obesity levels.

"The unprecedented rise in obesity among U.S. adults over the past two decades appears to have stabilized and will continue to remain stable over the next 10 years," Basu said in a statement. "Levels of obesity, however, remain very high and we're particularly concerned with the increase in rates of overweight among 6-9 year-old children -- especially boys."

The findings are published in the journal Medical Decision Making. (UPI)

 

Chilean Government Now Wants Higher Taxes on Junk Food

Posted by Juan Carlos Hidalgo

Following Rahm Emmanuel’s advice of not letting a crisis go to waste, the new center-right government in Chile now wants to extend the permanent rise in tobacco taxes—supposedly adopted as a measure to finance post-earthquake reconstruction—to foods with high concentrations of salt and trans fat [in Spanish]. Jaime Malañich, the Health Minister, said that the earthquake is opening up an opportunity to implement a measure that would increase the government’s revenue and fight obesity and that has been considered for many years.

My colleague Ian Vásquez wrote a few days ago that, by announcing unnecessary tax increases as post-earthquake reconstruction measures, the recently-inaugurated administration of Sebastian Piñera was quick to disappoint those who expected a bold move toward strengthening free market policies that have made Chile a Latin American success story. If these announcements are any guide, expect more disappointments. (Cato at liberty)

 

Now Who's Afraid Of The S Word?

IBD/TIPP: How dare you use the S word? they gasped in 2008 when we ran a series about Barack Obama titled "The Audacity Of Socialism." But now, more Americans than not think that's how our future is spelled.

Our 21-part series began in late August and continued into October, a period when then-candidate Obama was "edging to the center," as many observers put it. Moderates and Independents had already broken his way and a new term — "ObamaCons" — had surfaced to describe conservatives who were warming to this supposedly centrist Democrat.

Our series, however, focused not just on Obama's political posturing at the time, but the positions he had taken and the people he had associated with for years. And the bottom line was that the young senator from Illinois was anything but a moderate. In fact, we thought the series confirmed that Obama openly favored change based on principles that could only be called socialistic.

We know socialism comes in many forms. "People speak of socialism," Michael Harrington, movement leader and author of "The Other America," wrote in a later volume. "We should speak of socialisms."

But redistributing wealth and taking control of key industries are tenets in most definitions. And the Obama administration has seemed to be actively pursuing both over the last 15 months.

Back in 2008, however, relatively few Americans believed this was a direction their country would take.

In early August 2008, just before our series kicked off, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans if they agreed or disagreed with the statement: "The U.S. is evolving into a socialist state." Only 25% agreed, while 42% disagreed (see chart). Democrats shrugged off the possibility 46% to 20% and Independents by 39% to 23%.

Even Republicans disagreed (39%) more than they agreed (35%).

By the following March, however, after the new administration had settled in and the government was taking an ownership stake in the U.S. auto industry, more Americans (39%) suddenly agreed than disagreed (36%) that socialism was on the march.

Republicans had swung 63% to 21% and Independents 47% to 29% into the "agree" column. Interestingly, Democrats disagreed more (53% to 13%) than they did when asked seven months earlier. A month later, Americans were split.

IBD/TIPP asked the question again this month, and those who agree the U.S. is evolving into a socialist state have again opened up a three-point lead (41% to 38%).

This is a statistic worth watching. Why? Because our poll also found that Americans oppose government control of key industries by a 59% to 20% margin and government redistribution of wealth and income by an even more overwhelming 61% to 19%. (IBD)

 

Michael Medved on Anti-Capitalist Myths

Radio host Michael Medved breaks down the big lies often told about American business. (Stossel)

 

Insurers hit at global financial tax plan

The world’s 80 largest insurance groups have written to the G20 group of nations to protest at their industry’s inclusion in proposals for a global financial services tax, saying it is unfair and would have an adverse effect on consumers. (Financial Times)

Never mind just the insurance industry -- no extra-sovereign taxes, ever! And not for any ostensible purpose should unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats ever acquire a revenue stream (a supersized "oil for food" scam, wouldn't that be lovely!).

 

Hold The VAT! Spending Cuts May Be In Play

The Obama Democrats' stealth strategy for increasing the size and scope of the federal government is well under way, despite huge voter backlash. Federal spending has been increased from a 30-year average of 21% of gross domestic product to 25%, and a bipartisan commission tasked with reducing the deficit may recommend tax increases.

Presidential economic adviser Paul Volcker has already called for a value-added tax, a form of national sales tax, and presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs has declined to rule it out.

The assumption in some quarters is that a tax increase is inevitable and that the public won't allow any significant decrease in public spending. But there's reason to question that assumption.

Spending cuts have proved politically sustainable in other advanced countries. Economist Tyler Cowen, writing in the New York Times, notes that in the last two decades Canada, Sweden and Finland all cut government spending 20% within a few years when faced with structural budget deficits.

It may have been painful, but no one saw starving people in the streets of Ottawa, Stockholm or Helsinki. (Michael Barone, IBD)

 

Don't Try This Again

Jobs: Since the Obama administration took over, Washington has passed two recovery bills costing more than $800 billion. At that price, shouldn't we be experiencing an employment boom? Taxpayers are being fleeced.

Less than a month after his inauguration, President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill. The promises flowed freely. In the flush of the moment, the White House said that by the end of 2010, 3.5 million jobs would be created or saved — 90% of them in the private sector — and unemployment would peak at 8%.

As he signed the legislation, Obama declared that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "does not mark the end of our economic troubles," but that it would "mark the beginning of the end — the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs." There were "shovel-ready projects" just waiting to put Americans back to work.

A little more than a year later, with unemployment at nearly 10%, Congress passed a jobs bill that includes $17.5 billion in tax cuts, business credits and subsidies for state and local construction bonds. It also bumps $20 billion into the federal highway trust fund to be spent on highway and transit programs.

As expected, the March 18 Rose Garden signing ceremony for the jobs bill included another round of empty promises. "We may soon be adding jobs instead of losing them," Obama said. "The jobs bill I'm signing today is intended to help accelerate this process."

So how has the legislation played out in the real world? About as well as we expected, which is to say Washington is spending a lot of other people's money on initiatives that won't achieve what they were intended to. (IBD)

 

Looming demographic problems from population panic: Long-hated one-child rule may be eased in China

DAFENG, China — When asked why she and her husband do not want a second child, Shi Xiaomei smiles at her pudgy 9-year-old son and does a quick tally of the family budget.

Her salary as a cleaning lady and the income from a mahjong parlor in their spare room barely cover their son's school fees and other expenses.

"With just one, we can give him nicer things. But if you tried to split what we have between two or three, they would all end up with nothing," the 34-year-old says at her home in Dafeng, a prosperous but still-rural county 185 miles (300 kilometers) north of Shanghai.

For years, China curbed its once-explosive population growth with a widely hated one-child limit that at its peak led to forced abortions, sterilizations and even infanticide. Now the long-sacrosanct policy may be on its way out, as some demographers warn that China is facing the opposite problem: not enough babies. (AP)

 

The Consumption Conundrum: Driving the Destruction Abroad

Our high-tech products increasingly make use of rare metals, and mining those resources can have devastating environmental consequences. But if we block projects like the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, are we simply forcing mining activity to other parts of the world where protections may be far weaker? (Oswald J. Schmitz And T.E. Graedel, e360)

 

Reality imitates Penn & Teller

A few years ago, Penn & Teller’s “Showtime” series “Bullshit!” ran an episode devoted to recycling and all the BS that goes along with it. They sent their camera crew and a few actors out to pester some unsuspecting homeowners, to see how many separate recycling bins people could be suckered into accepting and having to deal with. Luckily, this segment is available on YouTube. In the end, the test subject were willing to accept up to nine separate recycling bins. This was played for laughs, since it’s clearly a ridiculous idea, and shows how far people will go to be seen as “green.”

Sigh.

The nine-bin nightmare: Families forced to follow green zealots' new recycling diktats (The Unwanted Blog)

 

Someone been watching ID4 lately? Aliens exist but they may be dangerous: Hawking

Aliens may exist but mankind should avoid contact with them as the consequences could be devastating, British scientist Stephen Hawking warned on Sunday.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," the astrophysicist said in a new television series, according to British media reports.

The programmes depict an imagined universe featuring alien life forms in huge spaceships on the hunt for resources after draining their own planet dry.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach," Hawking warned. (AFP)

Actually, for another species to bother coming here there'd need to be considerable incentive and it is a really nice planet, despite what greenie loons keep trying to insist -- perhaps they're alien agents, trying to talk us out of the place!

 

Scientists discover final piece in phytate jigsaw

A team of scientists in Spain and the UK have identified the final piece in the jigsaw of how phytate is produced in plants.

Published today by PNAS, the breakthrough discovery by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Madrid and the University of East Anglia (UEA) has implications for agribusiness, the environment and human health.

Phytate is a naturally-occurring phosphate deposit which accumulates in the seeds, beans and tubers of many crops. The researchers have identified for the first time how the enzyme that produces phytate works, by solving the molecular structure of the protein IP5 2-kinase.

Because many animals are unable to digest the phytate present in their feed, the phytate phosphorus is transferred to the soil as manure, leading to the harmful pollution of waterways.

As a result, the animal feedstuffs industry currently adds a special enzyme called phytase to the feedstuff which allows animals to absorb the phosphorus complexed within phytate. This is a costly process, and so the industry needs to identify low-phytate varieties of crops such as maize, rice, wheat, barley and soya bean. This new discovery completes our understanding of how phytate is made by plants.

Not only does phytate contribute to pollution, the phytate in crops is also an 'anti-nutrient' that can have a detrimental effect on human health. (University of East Anglia)

 

Llamas brought in to protect wading birds at RSPB reserve

Llamas have been brought in to protect eggs and chicks of wading birds from predators such as foxes at an RSPB reserve, the wildlife charity said.

The new security comes in the form of two animals, Willy and Jack, who have been recruited to act as guards during the nesting season.

The RSPB's Marshside reserve in Merseyside is already grazed by cattle to keep the habitat in good condition for important lapwing and redshank populations.

Now the highly territorial llamas – which are aggressive if provoked and can kick, spit and neck wrestle with each other – are being introduced as an experiment to protect the birds.

It is hoped their slightly erratic behaviour, along with the groaning noises and the ''mwa'' sound they make when afraid or angry, will be a deterrent to predators such as foxes.
The llama and its relative the alpaca are already used as livestock guards to protect lambs and sheep from predators.

The Prince of Wales uses alpacas to protect his lambs from foxes during lambing season on the organic farm at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire estate. (TDT)

 

How Grass Buffers Keep Agricultural Herbicides at Bay

How water runoff and subsurface infiltration affect herbicide loss

MADISON, WI, April 26, 2010-Grass buffer strips are commonly used in crop production to reduce herbicide runoff. These practices are encouraged through incentives, regulations or laws, and are effective at lowering herbicide concentration in runoff. However, subsurface filtration (under the buffer strips) is not as well documented, and neither are the effects of trees integrated into buffer strips with grasses. Understanding these effects is crucial as agriculture producers continue to adopt these strategies.

Researchers studied the impact of grass and grass/tree buffer strips on three herbicides commonly used in agriculture. The scientists studied the transport of the herbicides in both surface runoff and subsurface infiltration during two growing seasons.

Vegetative barriers reduce herbicide concentrations in runoff, but movement of herbicides through subsurface filtration actually increased. Total export of herbicides was reduced through the use of grass and grass/tree barriers. The research was conducted by Emmanuelle Caron, Pierre Lafrance, Jean-Christian Auclair of the University of Quebec, and Marc Duchemin of the Institute of Research and Development in Agri-Environment.

The results are reported in the March/April 2010 edition of the Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Soil Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. (American Society of Agronomy)

 

Plans to open Scotland's first goldmine raise environment concerns

A MAJOR environmental battle is looming over plans to open Scotland's first gold mine within a national park.

Owners of the Cononish mine, near Tyndrum, expect to extract up to 73,000 tonnes of ore per year for a decade to cash in on demand for the precious metal, which has soared in price over the last two years.

But the plan has been dealt a major blow by a formal objection from Scottish Natural Heritage, the government's countryside adviser, which says that the mine will damage the surrounding landscape.

At least four other environment bodies – including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) – have also raised concerns about the plan because of the potential risk to the protected Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Park area.

SNH is also concerned about possible harm to salmon in the River Tay, one of Scotland's prime angling rivers, from sediment leaking out of the mine workings into tributaries.

The application to open the mine has been lodged by Scotgold Resources Limited, which has carried out tests confirming the presence of gold at the Cononish site, two miles west of Tyndrum. (The Scotsman)

 

Court Turns Down Michigan Over Great Lakes Carp

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a legal request by Michigan aimed at keeping voracious Asian carp out of the Great Lakes where they are considered a threat to fisheries.

Two species of Asian carp -- the Bighead and Silver carp, which can grow to five feet in length and weigh 100 pounds (45 kg) -- are seen as a danger to the lakes' $7 billion fisheries.

Scientists fear they would consume plankton and other small life forms, crowding out other fish species.

The action marked Michigan's third Supreme Court setback this year. In January and in March, the justices rejected separate state requests for an order to close two Chicago-area waterway locks and for other steps that would keep the carp out of the lakes.

Asian carp were imported into the United States to eat algae in ponds but the fish escaped into the wild and have been reproducing in the Mississippi River and its tributaries since the 1970s. (Reuters)

 

Supreme Court to Hear Agribusiness vs Organic Growers in Biotech Alfalfa Case

WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2010 - The first genetically engineered crop case ever heard by the U.S. Supreme Court will be argued on April 27 and it has already attracted a lot of interest from food companies, farmers unions, scientists and legal scholars. (ENS)

 

 

Climate backers try to regroup

Backers of a bipartisan climate change bill are scrambling to revive efforts to pass legislation before the November midterms — even as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sticks by plans to slow-walk the measure behind immigration reform.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s decision to pull out of the high-stakes energy negotiations Saturday dealt a major blow to prospects that the once-in-a-generation legislation will be passed before the midterms.

But as tempers cooled Sunday, the White House and Senate Democrats who back the effort worked behind the scenes to defuse tensions between the South Carolina Republican and Reid (D-Nev.) over the bill’s timing, according to people close to the talks.

“Reports of the demise of climate change legislation have been greatly exaggerated,” said a senior Democratic aide involved in the talks on condition of anonymity. (Politico)

 

Buying Corporate Support for Cap and Trade

by Daren Bakst
26 April 2010 @ 11:45 am

Today, Senators Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman were expected to release their cap and trade bill.  However, immigration reform put a damper on that.  However, this is a bill that definitely should be on the radar screen.

When (if) the bill is introduced, there will be lots of fanfare about how oil companies and utility companies support the bill (or at least aren’t opposing it).

However, there’s a reason for this support.  They are being provided all kinds of goodies as discussed in this recent Mother Jones article.

There will be government-backed loans for nuclear power plants, oil companies won’t be subjected to the same cap and trade requirements as others, there will be $10 billion in subsidies for carbon capture technology research, etc.

It…

Read the full story (The Foundry)

 

Corporations at the Cap-and-Trade Trough

(April 26) -- When Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., threatened this weekend to pull back his support of a global warming bill he co-authored -- along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. -- it looked as though the once-dead cap-and-trade bill could be dead again. That might be just as well.

Unlike the previous cap-and-trade bills, the new bill, based on what's been reported by Mother Jones, has all kinds of new goodies for utility companies, oil companies and other corporate interests to gain their support. Indeed, if you can think of a big special interest group that would be opposed to climate change legislation, then you can safely assume that there's a benefit for it in the proposed bill.

Under this bill, for example, utilities would receive government-backed loan guarantees for 12 new nuclear power plants and $10 billion to research how to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Generally, utility companies can pass off the costs of regulatory compliance to their customers. Any additional costs aren't borne by utility companies and their shareholders, as it should be, but by the public. So it's not surprising that the Edison Electric Institute, the major trade group representing utility companies, is expected to support the bill.

While the details of the payoff to the oil companies are not clear as of this writing, they wouldn't be subjected to the same cap-and-trade requirements that other industries would have to follow. Three unnamed oil companies already are expected to support the bill, and the American Petroleum Institute allegedly isn't going to attack the bill as it had planned.

States won't be able to set tougher carbon dioxide emissions standards than the federal government. This would be appealing for many industries, including the automobile industry, which recently was thrilled when President Barack Obama set new federal vehicle emissions standards. (Daren Bakst, AOL News)

 

A New Approach in the Senate To Putting a Price on Carbon

As climate and energy legislation continues to founder in Washington, Senator Maria Cantwell says it’s time for a new strategy. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Cantwell explains why her bill can avoid the pitfalls of cap-and-trade and win the support of the public. (Elizabeth Kolbert, e360)

 

Obama Abandons Climate Bill in Congress, will have EPA Regulate CO2 Instead

By Fred Dardick Monday, April 26, 2010

The recent announcement of the Democrat’s switch of focus from Cap and Trade energy legislation to immigration reform is simply an administrative slight of hand.

Barack Obama and the rest of his co-conspirators in Washington including Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid know full well that a hard fought political battle in Congress over an energy bill was unnecessary. Instead they have given the EPA their blessing to unilaterally determine CO2 limits for the nation. (CFP)

 

Challenges to California climate change law

SAN FRANCISCO, April 26 - California's climate change law is the most aggressive in the United States and it faces challenges this election year.

Some of the same forces that may stall federal climate legislation, including oil companies and businesses concerned by higher energy prices, are now taking aim at California's landmark 2006 law.

Known as AB 32, the law includes vehicle and fuel standards, a market for pollution trade (still in the works), as well as "green" building and planning policies.

Its future depends on three factors: the November governor's race, a ballot effort to put the law on hold, and the fate of the federal climate bill.

Following are possible outcomes of the brewing fight. (Reuters)

 

BASIC countries want legally binding climate change agreement

India, China, Brazil and South Africa Monday called for finalising a legally binding treaty on reduction of carbon emission latest by 2011 and indicated that the world could not wait indefinitely. 

The third meeting of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) ministers concluded in Cape Town April 25. The meeting was cut short by a day as Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had to leave early. 

'The ministers noted news reports that domestic legislation in the US had been postponed and indicated that the world could not wait indefinitely, as it hinders our ability to reach an internationally legally binding agreement,' said a joint statement released here Monday. 

The statement said the ministers feel that a legally binding outcome should be concluded during climate change meet at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011. (Sify News)

 

Scientist: Climate Change Legislation a Power Grab

Politicians pushing climate-change legislation such as cap and trade are more interested in grabbing power rather than paying attention to the complete scientific record, Dr. Roy Spencer, a respected former NASA climate scientist, tells Newsmax.TV.

Spencer currently serves as a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and leads the advanced science team monitoring the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite, which monitors global climate fluctuations. 

“The legislation train left the station over 20 years ago, and it’s going to be very difficult to stop,” Spencer says. “I think there are politicians who really do not care about the science, but are looking to expand government and gain control over our energies.”

Former Vice President Al Gore, who has made millions through his company that buys carbon credits in exchange for planting trees to absorb the carbon, stands chief among them. (John Rossomando, Newsmax)

 

See! Good sense eventually begins to seep in: Merkel Abandons Aim of Binding Climate Agreement

Frustrated by the climate change conference in December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quietly moving away from her goal of a binding agreement on limiting climate change to 2 degrees Celsius. She has also sent out signals at the EU level that she no longer supports the idea of Europe going it alone. (Der Spiegel)

 

Good news from the land down-under: Labor shelves emissions scheme

It was once a centrepiece of the Federal Government's election strategy, but now the emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been relegated to the shelf until at least 2013. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

 

More Global Warming Profiteering by Obama Energy Official

Ex-Gore associate and current Obama energy official Cathy Zoi is exploiting global warming for her own mega-gain. (And see the exclusive PJTV interview with Christopher Horner.)

April 26, 2010 - by Christopher Horner

Surprising documents made available to this author reveal that Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green” policies.

Zoi, who left her position as CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection — founded by Al Gore — to serve as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, now manages billions in “green jobs” funding. But the disclosure documents show that Zoi not only is in a position to affect the fortunes of her previous employer, ex-Vice President Al Gore, but that she herself has large holdings in two firms that could directly profit from policies proposed by the Department of Energy. (PJM)

 

Climate Scientist, Heated Up Over Satirical Video, Threatens Lawsuit

The Penn State climate professor who has silently endured investigations, hostile questioning, legislative probes and attacks by colleagues has finally spoken out. He says he'll sue the makers of a satirical video that's a hit on You Tube. 

Their response: Bring it on.

Michael Mann, one of the central figures in the recent climate-data scandal, is best known for his "hockey stick graph," which was the key visual aid in explaining how the world is warming at an alarming rate and in connecting the rise to the increase in use of carbon fuels in this century. E-mails stolen from a university in England were released online, revealing exchanges between climatologists and a reference to a "trick" that Mann had used to get the graph to portray what global warming scientists wanted to see. ( Ed Barnes, FOXNews.com)

 

Disastrous Computer Models Predictions From Limits to Growth to Global Warming

 By Dr. Tim Ball  Monday, April 26, 2010

imageEvery time history repeats itself the price goes up. Anonymous

No matter what political committees try to absolve corruption of climate science of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they cannot hide the complete failure of the computer models to make a single accurate prediction.  Leaked emails from the CRU received media attention, but the emphasis must shift to the computer models. They gave the IPCC Reports far more credibility than they deserved by producing simple graphs and crude maps of a warmer world with increasingly, expanding and threatening red (hot) areas that avoided the need for scientific understanding.

What was more dramatic than the infamous hockey stick? The combination of the flat handle achieved by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period and the upturn of the blade in the 20th century with Phil Jones’ undisclosed data was visually dramatic. The propagandists in Hollywood who produced Gore’s movie understood this.

Computer climate models give unwarranted scientific credibility for people who don’t understand them. As Pierre Gallois explained, “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.” Dr David Frame, climate modeler at Oxford University said, “The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.” But climate models are not convenient fictions. They do not produce anything useful other than to deceive and scare the public. IPCC models are part of continuum of the exploitation of useless computer models to promote environmental extremism and political agendas. (CFP)

 

Campaigners Urge Transparency On Climate Aid

A lack of transparency over rich countries' pledges to help poor nations deal with climate change means much of the cash promised is being diverted from development aid commitments, campaigners say. (Reuters)

 

We're saved! Prince of Wales calls for environmentally-friendly stately homes

The Prince of Wales has called for a major environmentally-friendly refurbishment of Britain's historic buildings to "avert the climate crisis". (TDT)

 

Poles Apart

Why are warmists incompetent at Arctic exploration?

Last week Tom Smitheringale became the latest global warming alarmist to need rescuing from his own foolishness. His attempt to reach the North pole was, of course, to ‘bring attention’ to the issue of ‘climate change’. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Uh-huh... Soil microbes produce less atmospheric CO2 than expected with climate warming

Key players in the carbon cycle, they multiply slowly when overheated

— Irvine, Calif., April 26, 2010 —

The physiology of microbes living underground could determine the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from soil on a warmer Earth, according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

Researchers at UC Irvine, Colorado State University and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies found that as global temperatures increase, microbes in soil become less efficient over time at converting carbon in soil into carbon dioxide, a key contributor to climate warming.

Microbes, in the form of bacteria and fungi, use carbon for energy to breathe, or respire, and to grow in size and in number. A model developed by the researchers shows microbes exhaling carbon dioxide furiously for a short period of time in a warmer environment, leaving less carbon to grow on. As warmer temperatures are maintained, the less efficient use of carbon by the microbes causes them to decrease in number, eventually resulting in less carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

“Microbes aren’t the destructive agents of global warming that scientists had previously believed,” said Steven Allison, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at UCI and lead author on the study. “Microbes function like humans: They take in carbon-based fuel and breathe out carbon dioxide. They are the engines that drive carbon cycling in soil. In a balanced environment, plants store carbon in the soil and microbes use that carbon to grow. The microbes then produce enzymes that convert soil carbon into atmospheric carbon dioxide.” (UC Irvine)

Does anyone, anywhere have any evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide at current levels or greater contribute to climate warming at all?

 

A Brief History Of Dashed UHI Hopes

by Teodoro Georgiadis - slightly romanced English version by Maurizio Morabito

And there I am, at the beginning of March 2010: me and the brand-new, Volume 1, Number 1 , January / February 2010 issue of “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)” . Editor in Chief: Mike Hulme.

Wow, a fresh journal on Global Climate Change!

Even better: according to itself, the journal is meant as

a unique platform for exploring current and emerging knowledge from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon – environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics

Wouldn’t that be a welcome novelty, in a world post-climategate, post-submerged Holland, post-quickly disappearing Himalayan glaciers, post-Amazongate…in short, in a world that has seen an intense and compact series of scientific downpours on concepts perhaps too quickly assumed as established truth.

Downstream of Copenhagen, a new journal following WIRCC’s statement of intent would surely sport a truly different outlook: new style, new peer-reviewers, new structure all with the goal of providing science with the required level of objectivity, sadly and mostly missing in contemporary climate discourse.

I proceed therefore with all enthusiasm to select an article of surefire interest to me:

David E. Parker, ”Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change” p 123-133, Published Online: Dec 22 2009 12:42PM DOI: 10.1002/wcc.21

That’s it then! Finally we can leave the “gates du jour” behind and improve our knowledge of climate change.

Or maybe not.

First reference: IPCC. Second reference: Jones et al. (with Wang).

Wait a sec…what’s going on?

OK let’s move forward…alas, only to find something truly amazing:

the influence of urban heat islands on estimates of global warming is limited by the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and is absolutely unaffected by urban warming

Say what? Oh yes, the Blue Planet, ever the envy of nasty aliens such as those in HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. But hang on…most of the network of temperature measuring stations is literally on solid ground…if you place them on a map they’ll be a bunch of dots almost exactly superimposed to cities. As for the ocean temperatures, we know very well how they are derived.

This isn’t looking good.

Anything better?

Exclusion of urban sites, or selective use of rural sites, requires information (‘metadata’) about the site and its surroundings

Yes, yes…ah, that refers to a 2005 J Clim paper by Peterson and Owen…isn’t that the same Peterson unceremoniously criticized for example by McIntyre on Climate Audit, regarding the peculiar classifications of urban and rural stations? There is a truly remarkable definition of “Parking Lot Effect” on that site.

How strange though, of all the past and present discussions and questions on the topic, Parker manages to mention exactly nothing. Well, at least that might explain the article’s conclusions:

The urban heat island has had only a minor impact on estimates of global trends”… The impact is small because assiduous efforts have been made by the compilers of global surface air temperature records to avoid or compensate for urban warming

Assiduous effort“? Amen to that.

Current and EMERGING knowledge?” Not by a long shot.

My conclusions: “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“? New journal, same old story. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

If It Looks Like UHI, Heats Like UHI, And Graphs Like UHI, Then It Probably Is UHI

by Guido Guidi and Maurizio Morabito

Our friend Teo has just expressed his personal and perfectly reasonable opinions about new, old publishing venture called “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“.

In fact, we find it hard to disagree with him.

The subject of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) is topical, and it is somewhat ironic that such a self-evident effect is so happily dismissed away by AGW proponents. One suspects UHI is extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable to consider to those strictly supporting only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory.

Who them? By sheer coincidence, only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory can be used to dictate deep societal changes. But that’s another story.

Let’s just add some considerations based on a Willis Eschenbach post on WUWT. It’s a simple but eloquent analysis of a dataset of temperatures, with measures coming from about seventy stations over Northern Europe. Interestingly, an analysis of the monthly data across the decades for the duration of the dataset, shows a warming trend to be occurring primarily in winter months.

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

And what kind of forcing is especially important in the coldest period of the year? No prize for guessing that one right. This is precisely what is expected from the UHI effect, and it is due to changes over time to the environment surrounding the measurement equipments. Roads, buildings, infrastructure are built, woods are fallen and so on. That’s “Anthropogenic” as well, of course, and it has all the potential for local and global consequences.

Data so heavily biased are simply not compatible with the currently fashionable “globalization of forcing“, the mistaken belief that temperatures overwhelmingly taken on land and in heavily urbanized areas, are representative of the thermal state of the entire Blue Planet.

Think of it for a minute. We are talking about temperature anomalies with a positive trend coming from winter months. We are talking of continental regions at high latitudes. We are talking about winters with little insolation, in areas with a high albedo (reflecting visible light!) due to large amounts of snow cover.

  • Temperature sensors, under those specific conditions, show a gradual Winter warming

In the summer, with a much lower visible-light albedo in the absence of snow, the incoming solar radiation is absorbed and then re-emitted as longer waves: exactly those “captured” by greenhouse gases.

  • Temperature sensors, despite the abundance of infrared radiation, show no Summer warming

How could the positive anomalies be ascribed to a greenhouse effect, that remains a mystery to us. It definitely looks like this is enough to ring more than a few alarm bells, no matter what has been said in the past and by whom.

And the problem of telling between the greenhouse gas contribution to warming, and all other anthropogenic and natural effects, does not just apply to urban setting. It remains to be seen about who’s going to care about it, bringing forward a better understanding of the climate, rather than continuing to run like headless chicken always after the next CO2 molecule, as if it were volcanic ash… (OmniClimate)

 

A Response to Kevin Trenberth

Kevin Trenberth has a response over at Roger Pielke, Sr’s blog to my comments about his and John Fasullo’s recent Science Perspectives article about “missing energy” in the climate system.

Trenberth and Fasullo discuss in their original Science Perspectives article the observational evidence for missing energy being lost somewhere in the climate system, based upon satellite radiation budget measurements of the Earth which suggest that extra energy has been accumulating in the climate system for about the last 10 years, but with no appreciable warming of the upper ocean and atmosphere to accompany it as would be expected.

I posted some comments here about my view that the missing energy does not really exist. I also pointed out that they failed to mention that the missing energy over the period since about 2000 was in the reflected sunlight component, not the emitted infrared. This now makes two “missing energy” sources…the other one being the lack of expected warming from increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, which causes a steadily increasing global radiative imbalance in the infrared.

So, Kevin’s response on Pielke Sr’s blog begins with, “I saw Roy Spencer’s comment for the first time and it is not correct”, but I see no specific refutation of any of the points I made.

To further support my comments, here are the global-average CERES ERBE-like ES-4 Edition 2 radiative flux anomalies for reflected solar (1st graph) and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR, 2nd graph) for the period 2000 through 2008…these are daily running 91-day averages:


Clearly, the long-term “trend” during 2000 through 2008 was in the reflected solar (SW), not OLR (LW).

What is important for global warming or cooling is the sum of the global SW and LW, shown in the following graph (note I have flipped the y-axis, to correspond to the sense of the plot Kevin and John Fasullo showed in their Science Perspectives article):

But rather that address my points, Kevin instead focuses on the anomalous drop in OLR around the beginning of 2008. While he makes it sound like this event is currently inexplicable, he should recognize that there is indeed a very simple explanation for it: global-average temperatures were quite low at that time, as seen in the next graph:

After all, OLR is THERMALLY emitted radiation, and so it depends upon temperature. What would be the expected OLR response to such a drop in temperature? Well, we know that the expected change in OLR resulting from a 1 deg. C decrease in global average temperature should be a drop of about 3.2 Watts per sq. meter per degree C. The above temperature plot shows a fall of about 0.4 deg. C from early 2007 to early 2008, which should then cause a reduction in OLR by about (0.4 x 3.2 ), or about 1.3 Watts per sq. meter.

And indeed, as seen in the LW plot above, there was a fall of about 1 Watt per sq. meter in the LW (OLR) during the same time. To the extent that the drop in OLR with cooling was not quite as much as might be expected could be due to a small positive feedback in high clouds and/or water vapor. These are just rough estimates, anyway…the point is, one must take into account temperature changes when diagnosing the reasons for changes in OLR. This fact is seldom mentioned.

In our new paper accepted for publication in JGR, we show that the 2007-08 cooling event Kevin Trenberth discussed was due to a temporary increase in low cloud cover, evidence of which is clearly seen in the form of a large spike in reflected sunlight in the first plot, above. There is a lead-lag relationship between the two which clearly indicates the primary direction of causation.

And, as discussed in our JGR paper, this fact makes the diagnosis of feedback from natural climate variations much more difficult than previous researchers have been led to believe. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Simple Climate Model Release, Version 1.0

In my new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists, I show the results of experiments with a simple climate model that runs in an Excel spreadsheet. The model is meant to illustrate how natural monthly-to-yearly variability in global (a) cloud cover and (b) surface evaporation can affect our satellite observations of (1) temperature and (2) total radiative flux.

Those last two measurements are what are traditionally used to determine the temperature “sensitivity” of our climate system. By specifying that sensitivity (with a total feedback parameter) in the model, one can see how an analysis of simulated satellite data will yield observations that routinely suggest a more sensitive climate system (lower feedback parameter) than was actually specified in the model run.

And if our climate system generates the illusion that it is sensitive, climate modelers will develop models that are also sensitive, and the more sensitive the climate model, the more global warming it will predict from adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.

Here is the model to download. It is currently set up to do a 100 year simulation at monthly time resolution. Here are two example plots from the model, run with a 50 meter deep ocean and a feedback parameter of 3 Watts per sq. meter per deg. C…but the output of the model suggests a feedback of 2.08, rather than 3:

The 4 basic inputs to the model are in large blue font, all of which are adjustable. These include (in no particular order):

1) Bulk heat capacity of the system, specified as an equivalent ocean water depth (nominally 50 meters deep).
2) Net feedback parameter (controlling the model’s temperature sensitivity to energy imbalances)
3) Radiative forcing (e.g. from natural variations in cloud cover)
4) Non-radiative forcing (from fluctuations in convective heat transfer between the surface and atmosphere)

Those last 2 heat flux forcings are driven by a random number generator. The radiative forcing also has a low-pass filter applied to the monthly random numbers, which seems to mimic the satellite observations pretty well.

In addition to these 4 inputs, one can also “turn on” carbon dioxide forcing, which will lead to a long-term warming trend in the model at a rate that depends mainly upon the specified feedback parameter and ocean depth.

NOTES:
(1) After running the model many times, eventually the memory cache used by Excel gets filled up (I think), and garbage numbers start to appear. Just close out Excel and re-open it to fix this.
(2) A new model run is automatically made any time ANY entry in the spreadsheet is changed, including when you do a file “Save”. So if you want to show someone the results of a specific model run, you are going to have to copy and “special paste” the values somewhere else, and then make a new graphs from those. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

EU's Oettinger Skeptical About German CCS Projects

European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger on Monday said he doubted that carbon capture technology (CCS) will take off in Germany, where Vattenfall Europe is the biggest local stakeholder.

Oettinger on a visit to Germany's capital said the country's federal structure could make it financially and politically impossible for individual states to get others to receive and store piped carbon dioxide from coal-burning power stations.

"I suspect that our (Germany's CCS) chances are considerably small," Oettinger told reporters, saying the necessary financial transfers between states might not be enforceable.

But still fledgling CCS, a technology viewed as an important tool in combating climate change, might play a vital role in other country's coal-to-power sectors such as China, he added. (Reuters)

It won't, for the simple reason it's a lot of cost for absolutely no benefit.

 

Uh, no: Scientists Refute Carbon Capture Doubts

Geologists refuted on Monday a report which in January had cast doubt on a technology to bury greenhouse gases underground, and on which some policymakers have pinned hopes to fight climate change.

British geologists and engineers rejected the doubts on Monday, pointing to pilot projects in an email to Reuters, following a report about January's article in the Guardian newspaper on Monday.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) involves trapping and storing underground carbon dioxide produced by power plants which burn fossil fuels.

Some academics say that the world's efforts to limit dangerous climate change depends on CCS, which can in theory almost eliminate carbon emissions from burning coal and so give the world time to develop cheap fossil fuel alternatives.

The trouble is that the full chain of CCS processes from trapping and piping to burying underground carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power plants is untested at a commercial scale.

Pressure levels in underground aquifers could reach levels where projects either could not pump any more CO2 in, or force the greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere, rendering the process worthless, argued a paper published earlier this year. "The physics is so straightforward," said Christine Ehlig-Economides, co-author of the paper published in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering.

"When you try to inject something into an existing formation which is already at pressure, it (pressure) has to go up," she told Reuters on Monday. "The models that people are using more often than not do not accommodate this." (Reuters)

They complained about the exposure of some of the problems but they most assuredly did not "refute them". The biggest problem with their example is that Norwegian efforts are simply aimed at trying to maintain pressure in formations from which they are extracting oil and gas and that the Norwegians are getting back about 80% of the injected CO2 with the oil and gas it helps to extract. That is not at all like the situation for CCS, where no extraction is occurring and no injected gas return is desired. And there is absolutely no point in doing it anyway.

 

Population, Consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Human Well-Being in the Age of Industrialization (Part IV – There Are No PAT Answers, or Why Neo-Malthusians Get It Wrong)

by Indur Goklany
April 26, 2010

Editor’s note. This is the conclusion of a four part series by Indur M. Goklany, in which the Neo-Malthusian view of the adverse effects of industrialization, economic growth and technological change is contrasted with empirical data on the substantial progress in human well-being during the age of industrialization. Having established this, he appropriately warns about predicting the future. For ease of reference, links to the previous three parts are included at the end.

Neo-Malthusians believe that humanity is doomed unless it reins in population, affluence and technological change, and the associated consumption of materials, energy and chemicals. But, as shown in the previous posts and elsewhere, empirical data on virtually every objective indicator of human well-being indicates that the state of humanity has never been better, despite unprecedented levels of population, economic development, and new technologies. In fact, human beings have never been longer lived, healthier, wealthier, more educated, freer, and more equal than they are today.

Why does the Neo-Malthusian worldview fail the reality check?

The fundamental reasons why their projections fail are because they assume that population, affluence and technology — the three terms on the right hand side of the IPAT equation — are independent of each other. Equally importantly, they have misunderstood the nature of each of these terms, and the nature of the misunderstanding is essentially the same, namely, that contrary to their claims, each of these factors instead of making matters progressively worse is, in the long run, necessary for solving whatever problems plague humanity. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Let's excise the term "oil addiction." Oil has given Americans unprecedented freedom and prosperity for more than 150 years. Outside of coal, antibiotics and chlorine and maybe a few others, I can't think of any technology I'd rather be addicted to.

Steven Milloy, WSJ, 4/24/10

 

 Scientists discover underwater asphalt volcanoes

Impressive landmarks hidden for 40,000 years rise from sea-floor

About 10 miles off the Santa Barbara coast, at the bottom of the Santa Barbara Channel, a series of impressive landmarks rise from the sea floor.

They've been there for 40,000 years, but have remained hidden in the murky depths of the Pacific Ocean--until now.

They're called asphalt volcanoes.

Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), University of California at Davis, University of Sydney and University of Rhode Island, have identified the series of unusual volcanoes.

The largest of these undersea Ice Age domes lies at a depth of 700 feet (220 meters), too deep for scuba diving, which explains why the volcanoes have never before been spotted by humans, says Don Rice, director of NSF's Chemical Oceanography Program, which funded the research.

"They're larger than a football-field-long and as tall as a six-story building," says David Valentine, a geoscientist at UCSB and the lead author of a paper published on-line this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. "They're massive features, and are made completely out of asphalt. (National Science Foundation)

 

Engineers build underwater dome to contain Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Engineers are crafting a giant underwater dome to help to contain an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after attempts to shut off the leak using robotic submarines failed.

BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded 50 miles (80km) from the Louisiana coast last Tuesday, killing 11 workers, said yesterday that it was pursuing new tactics after failing to prevent its spread by closing a valve in the pipe.

While the robots continued their efforts one mile down and a new rig arrived to drill into the leaking well and plug it in an operation that could take months, BP said that its dome should trap the escaping oil and funnel it to tanks on the surface.

Such devices were tried when Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf in 2005 but have never been used in water this deep. Tony Odone, a spokesman for BP, said: “They have been used in shallow water before. They contain the oil in that dome and then suck it up. “The ROVs [remotely operated vehicles] will continue trying but we are trying to get these other things activated as quickly as possible, too.” (The Times)

 

Cleaning Up Oil’s Reputation

Oil, and foreign oil in particular, has been a favorite whipping boy for American politicians since the 1970s. They say that we are addicted to oil, that oil fosters terrorism and that we can win the oil endgame. While those claims are effective at rousing the masses, here's the reality: The world isn't using too much oil. It’s not using enough. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

Alberta getting tough with oil sands

Wants to get rid of wet tailings ponds; remains flexible with projects

The Alberta government wants to put an end to wet tailings ponds at the oil sands, now symbolized globally after 1,600 ducks died in the sludge at Syncrude Canada’s plant last year. 

The ponds, which cover about 35 square miles in northern Alberta, comprise a toxic brew of water, silt, sand, clay and chemical residues left over from the separation of heavy oil from bitumen. 

Premier Ed Stelmach declared that oil sands producers will be forced to eliminate the ponds within a “few years” because they are damaging Alberta’s international reputation. 

“It means we are going to have to force—when I say force, we’re going to get more aggressive—and work with companies presently in open pit mining to move to either dry tailings or develop their resource without wet tailings ponds,” he told reporters. 

“It’s going to take an investment. There’s no doubt about it. But we just can’t talk about it. We want to show progress.” 

However, Stelmach declined to set a fixed deadline, beyond saying “I know within a matter of a few years we should be able to get there.” (GoO)

 

So, some small good might come of it after all: Cash from EU green plan 'to fund dirty coal plants'

European countries will be able to use money from a key EU scheme for reducing climate-changing carbon emissions to build new coal-fired power stations, documents leaked to The Independent suggest.

Billions of pounds in revenues from the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – under which power plants have to buy "permits to pollute" so they have an incentive to drive their emissions down – may find their way into state aid for new coal-fired power station construction across the continent. (The Independent)

 

Will the courts finally make them pay the price for their disruptive stupidity? Coal protest shuts down rail route to opencast mine

Seven coal activists arrested after chaining themselves to railway track leading to Ffos-y-Fran mine

Seven protesters have been arrested by police after chaining themselves to the train line connecting an open cast coal mine with a power station in South Wales. Police are currently dealing with a second group of activists who have now locked on further up the line. (The Guardian)

 

Visible from space, deadly on Earth: the gas flares of Nigeria

Shell's activities in the West African country are under scrutiny

There is an ominous new arrival in the tropical forest outside Yenagoa in the southern Nigerian state of Bayelsa. It travels on black metal stilts above the green canopy before sinking into a concrete bunker where, when the bulldozers and cranes have finished work, millions of cubic feet of natural gas will be pumped before going up in smoke.

Shell's Opolo-Epie facility is the newest gas flare in the Niger Delta. And it gives the lie to claims from oil multinationals and the Nigerian government that they are close to bringing an end to the destructive and wasteful practice of gas flaring. (The Independent)

 

Giant gravel batteries could make renewable energy more reliable

Wind and solar power are often criticised for being too intermittent, but Cambridge researchers could change that

Newly designed giant gravel batteries could be the solution to the on-off nature of wind turbines and solar panels. By storing energy when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, it is hoped the new technology will boost to renewable energy and blunt a persistent criticism of the technology - that the power from it is intermittent.

Electricity cannot be stored easily, but a new technique may hold the answer, so that energy from renewables doesn't switch off when nature stops playing ball. A team of engineers from Cambridge think they have a potential solution: a giant battery that can store energy using gravel.

"If you bolt this to a wind farm, you could store the intermittent and relatively erratic energy and give it back in a reliable and controlled manner," says Jonathan Howe, founder of Isentropic and previously an engineer at the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Labour government committed to cutting the country's carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, both relative to 1990 levels. To achieve this, ministers outlined plans to build thousands of wind turbines by 2020. The only economically viable way of storing large amounts of energy is through pumped hydro – where excess electricity is used to pump water up a hill. The water is held back by a dam until the energy is needed, when it is released down the hill, turning turbines and generating electricity on the way.

Isentopic claims its gravel-based battery would be able to store equivalent amounts of energy but use less space and be cheaper to set up. Its system consists of two silos filled with a pulverised rock such as gravel. Electricity would be used to heat and pressurise argon gas that is then fed into one of the silos. By the time the gas leaves the chamber, it has cooled to ambient temperature but the gravel itself is heated to 500C. (The Guardian)

A 600-700 K difference in temperatures in a single pass cycle? I'd like to see that! And what prevents their pressurized gas and pulverized rock from becoming a sand blaster and scouring out the system?

 

 

Four-alarm fire: Troubled Waters

Regulation: Rep. James Oberstar wants to rewrite the Clean Water Act. If the Minnesota Democrat gets his way, the federal government will have even greater authority to take private property.

This isn't Oberstar's first attempt. In 2007 he also tried to rewrite the water bill. He and others weren't happy with Supreme Court rulings that defined the limits Washington has over bodies of water that have no nexus to navigable waters.

They want full federal control over all waters.

Consequently, changing the law has become an obsession for Oberstar, and not a harmless one. Should his rewrite become law, property owners will pay.

Oberstar, who represents the 8th District in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, wants to strike from the Clean Water Act the word "navigable," a restriction in the original bill based on constitutional principles that limit Washington's regulatory reach.

Without that check, the federal apparatus will have dominion over all waters in America. Rainstorm puddles, mud holes, drainage and irrigation ditches, ponds, intermittent streams and prairie potholes on private lands. These have nothing to do with interstate commerce, but would suddenly be subject to federal rules — as would adjacent property — if the word is removed from the law.

This would be a historic expansion of federal authority and has the potential to be a gross violation of Americans' liberty.

Farmers should be particularly concerned. The Oberstar bill gives federal regulators the power to police farming practices and to take their land through regulatory restrictions if those practices are deemed to be in violation of the law.

With the federal government already hobbling California farmers by denying them water, in large part due to the Endangered Species Act, Oberstar's ambition is an existential threat to farms.

When Oberstar tried to enlarge Washington's reach in 2007, Richard Baker, then a Republican congressman from Louisiana, a state filled with waterways, called the bill "the largest-ever expansion of federal powers over private property."

There's no reason to believe his current bill would be any kinder to farmers, ranchers, developers, average homeowners or the Constitution, which forbids the government from taking private property by whim.

Like almost everyone else in his party in Washington, Oberstar has gone too far. This assault on the private sector has left Americans in need of protection until they can get to the ballot box in November. We hope the minority party is up to the task. (IBD)

 

 

Oberstar’s Water Bill Sets Up Biggest EPA Power Grab Yet

Apparently the EPA’s current regulatory rampage is inadequate for the astonishingly big government taste of Jim Oberstar of Minnesota. The EPA is already limiting airplane de-icing fluid, launching a public propaganda campaign on the benefits of regulation, and readying a dizzying onslaught of global warming regulations. But the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee envisions something even more extreme: dramatically expand the Clean Water Act to give the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers control over all the water—and all the land—in the United States (Phil Kerpen, Daily Caller)

 

Oberstar “Clean Water” Bill Threatens Private Property Rights

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2010) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) are strongly opposing the so-called “America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act,” introduced earlier today by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.). The Act would remove the word “navigable” from the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, granting the federal government unprecedented regulatory authority over all waters regardless of whether or not they have any environmental significance. (The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association)

 

Bishop, Chaffetz rain criticism on water bill

Measure would reverse high court decisions that sponsor says hampers 1972 act.

Two Utah Republicans are leading a Western Congressional Caucus charge against a clean-water bill they say would give the federal government unprecedented power over water on private land, even mud puddles.

Utah's 1st District Rep. Rob Bishop, who heads the caucus, ripped into the America's Commitment to Clean Water Act, which was introduced Wednesday.

"Most Westerners are extremely concerned about the massive accumulation of federal power. In the past year, the federal government has taken control over our banks, cars and health care," Bishop said in a statement from nine GOP representatives of Western states. "Now, they are seeking to gain control over every drop of water, from backyard puddles to the arid playas of the West."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, of Utah's 3rd District, said "this is a bad bill, and I will work tirelessly to defeat it." (Patty Henetz The Salt Lake Tribune)

 

Oh, Bill... On Earth Day, the environmental movement needs repairs

Forty years in, we're losing.

This weekend, when speakers at Earth Day gatherings across the country hearken back to the first celebration in 1970, they'll recall great victories: above all, cleaner air and cleaner water for Americans.

But for 20 years now, global warming has been the most important environmental issue -- arguably the most important issue the planet has ever faced. And there we can boast an unblemished bipartisan record of accomplishing absolutely nothing. ( Bill McKibben, Washington Post)

Enviros have always been a bunch of losers, never accomplishing anything useful! Deal with it.

 

So, he really isn't on the same planet: Bill McKibben calls out to Eaarthlings to rename our planet

Ecologist and campaigner claims that because humans have changed the Earth so fundamentally, it's time to call it something different (Juliette Jowit, The Guardian)

Bill wants to rename the place "woof" or "barf" or something, which is his excuse to flog an even more ridiculous book than available from other green whackos.

 

On Earth Day, Did You Thank a Hunter?

In 1970, a Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson raised his voice and called on every American to take action on behalf of the environment,” reads President Obama’s Earth Day proclamation. “In the four decades since, millions of Americans have heeded that call and joined together to protect the planet we share.”

Well, I’ve got news for our President. Millions of Americans who had never heard of Gaylord Nelson “took action on behalf of the environment,” decades before the good Senator “raised his voice.” More newsworthy still, most of these belonged to those insufferable rustics who “cling to guns and bibles.” To wit:

The Pittman-Robertson Act (1937) imposed an excise tax of 10 per cent on all hunting gear. Then the Dingell-Johnson act (1950) did the same for fishing gear. The Wallop-Breaux amendment (1984) extended the tax to the fuel for boats. All of this lucre goes to “protect the environment” in the form of buying and maintaining National Wildlife Refuges, along with state programs for buying and maintaining various forms of wildlife habitat.

For the last couple of decades hunters and fishermen have contributed over $1.5 billion per year towards Senator Gaylord Nelson’s lofty goal. To date, hunters and fishermen have shelled out over $20 billion “on behalf of the environment.” A study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that for every taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife conservation, hunters and fishermen contribute nine. (Humberto Fontova, Townhall)

 

The Eco-Left’s Love of Eco-Taxes

Grocery bag

Earth Day is over, so you don’t have to worry about the special interest eco-lobby for another 364 days, right? Wrong. If you’ve recently paid a five-cent tax on a plastic bag while living in or visiting your nation’s capital, then you’ve been punitively taxed by the eco-left for a behavior they don’t approve of, and you should be concerned. In fact, the $9.5 million DC bag tax is just another step of the eco-left’s plan to nickel and dime you into living an “approved” lifestyle, complete with high unemployment, “skyrocketing” energy prices, stifled innovation and a sour economy.

The DC eco-tax was instituted in 2009 by the City Council at the behest of the Anacostia Watershed Society, who conveniently enough also collects and spends that money…your money. The purpose is reportedly to clean the Anacostia River, but according to DC Councilman Jack Evans, it really should be viewed as a “first step toward the long-term goal of severely limiting plastic bags and bottles nationwide.” Continue reading...

 

Trying to Recapture That Old Earth Day Magic

The contrast between PBS’s celebration of the huge public events of the first Earth Day in 1970 with the sleepy affair it is today tells you what’s wrong with today’s environmentalism: it is stuck in the past. (Steven F. Hayward, The American)

 

Return of the Neo-Malthusians

This Earth Day we heard various commentators bemoan the growth in population, consumption, and carbon emissions driven by fossil fueled technologies. Once again we are told that this is unsustainable, that we are running out of resources, prices are inevitably headed up, and, worse, such consumption reduces both environmental and human well-being. In this worldview, industrialization and economic development were fashioned in the Devil’s crucible, and that de-industrialization and de-development will be our saviour. (Indur Goklany, Cato at liberty)

 

U.S. Well-Being in the Age of Fossil Fuels

Elsewhere, I have shown data that, notwithstanding the Neo-Malthusian worldview, human well-being has advanced globally since the start of industrialization more than two centuries ago, despite massive increases in population, consumption, affluence, and carbon dioxide emissions. Here I will focus on long-term trends in U.S. well-being, as measured by the average life expectancy at birth, in the age of fossil fuels. ( Indur Goklany, Cato at liberty)

 

Obama’s Great Health Care Bait-and-Switch

It’s called “bait-and-switch”–the sales tactic of conning customers into believing they’re getting a good product, but then delivering shoddy goods instead.

America, we’ve been conned.

Government actuaries—the official bean counters for national health care—just released the bad news from analyzing how President Obama’s new law affects medical costs and insurance. Their verdict? “More Americans will be covered, but costs are also going up,” is how the Associated Press summarized it.

The higher expense is on top of the prior expectations of already-rising costs,

The minimum increase from Obamacare is one per cent higher, they report, but the maximum is likelier to be far greater, the analysts warned, because the legislation’s projected Medicare savings are probably “unrealistic and unsustainable,” just as The Heritage Foundation and many others have been saying.

So who are these guys who are sounding the latest alarm? They’re the professional actuaries at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), who typically operate with far greater independence than others who make official government projections. The Congressional Budget Office, for example, must follow rules handed down by Congress. The Office of Management and Budget is an extension of the White House and therefore governed by the President. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Side Effects: It’s Official- Higher Health Care Costs

Yesterday, the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that runs the giant entitlement programs, released their analysis of the new health care law. The AP reports that “White House officials have repeatedly complained that such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law’s potential to achieve savings,” but the official CMS analysis reinforces several of Heritage’s predictions regarding Obamacare.

Some highlights of the CMS report:

Mandates Without Impact. Writes CMS, “For many individuals, the penalty amounts for not having insurance coverage were not sufficiently large to have a sizable impact on the coverage decision” (p.7). Concerning employers, “the penalties would not be a substantial deterrent to dropping or forgoing coverage” (p.7). So these provisions will do little to achieve their purpose, i.e., to encourage individuals to carry coverage and employers to offer it.
Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Obamacare’s Big Surprises for the Uninsured

Bad News

The recently signed health-care legislation will have lasting consequences on health care in America. The massive two-piece package includes federal control of benefits, increased taxes, mandates on employers and individuals, and an expansion of costly and inefficient entitlements.

This represents a federal takeover of the U.S. health care system on the pretext to meeting the needs of the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured. However, in a recent paper, Heritage’s Kathryn Nix writes:

This ‘reform’ will result in less choice and competition for health care consumers and, although more Americans will be ‘covered,’ the quality of this coverage will decrease. Moreover, certain provisions of the new laws will make obtaining health insurance less desirable by increasing costs, causing even more Americans to drop or lose coverage.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

The VAT's in the Fire

When President Obama was a candidate, he pledged over and over to voters: If you make less than $250,000 a year, your taxes will not go up. Voters read his lips. They hoped for change.

Yesterday, the President said that the Value Added Tax is “on the table.” That means it will be the main course served up after the November elections. After ramming through his ObamaCare bill on the narrowest of partisan margins last month, the President is finding that it’s going to be impossible to deliver on that massive new entitlement without hefty additional taxes. That’s why he’s enlisted “go along to get along” types like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson--men who will never have to face the voters’ wrath--to stitch a fig leaf for an after-November major tax hike.

Margaret Thatcher used to say the problem with socialism is that soon you run out of other people’s money. The European socialism that is the President’s program will require a substantial increase in the already worrisome tax burden. (Ken Blackwell, Townhall)

 

The Silent Killer: Obama's VAT Proposal

When conservatives like Neal Boortz proposed the "fair tax" (a levy on consumption, not on income), we should have known that the Barack Obama left would seize on the proposal not as Boortz intended it to be -- a replacement for the income tax -- but as an addition to it. Now Obama has let it be known that the value-added tax, or VAT, is "on the table" as he casts about for taxes to lock in his gigantic levels of federal spending. (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, Townhall)

 

Peter Foster: Flaherty wins one for the world

Finance Minister Flaherty has done the whole world a service with his opposition to a global bank tax, but America’s leftward drift is worrisome

By Peter Foster

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seems to have killed the IMF’s threatened global bank tax, at least for the moment. Good for him. Also, kudos to the Big Six Canadian Banks for being bold enough to criticize other regulatory horrors being discussed at this weekend’s G20 meetings in Washington.

Mr. Flaherty had spoken out strongly against a global levy to create a bailout fund. “I’m not going to impose a tax on our banks that performed well during the financial crisis,” he said earlier this week. “It seems to me a very odd thing to do — to punish our banks that got the job done adequately.”

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Red Tape Rising: The Government Targets Your Dinner Plate

You may not realize it but government regulations affect each American every day. As the Environmental Protection Agency cheerfully notes in their pro-regulation video contest introduction:

Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity your alarm clock uses, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.

Apparently unfulfilled with the current level of intrusion, government regulators have now set their sights on your diet. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported: Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Capitalism vs. Capitalists

Five years ago this week, my former boss William F. Buckley started a column thusly:

"Every ten years I quote the same adage from the late Austrian analyst Willi Schlamm, and I hope that ten years from now someone will remember to quote it in my memory. It goes, 'The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.'"

Well, Bill is gone now, but his memory lives, and I'm sure he'd forgive me for taking up his request five years early.

Schlamm's point is still relevant, even though the kind of socialism we're dealing with is less doctrinaire. But it also distorts the issue somewhat. One might just as easily say that the problem with socialism is capitalists, too. (Jonah Goldberg, Townhall)

 

Oh dear... The ash cloud that never was: How volcanic plume over UK was only a twentieth of safe-flying limit and blunders led to ban

The Mail on Sunday can today reveal the full extent of the shambles behind the great airspace shutdown that cost the airlines £1.3 billion and left 150,000 Britons stranded - all for a supposed volcanic ash cloud that for most of the five-day flights ban was so thin it was invisible. (Mail on Sunday)

More complete version of North's piece: The "ash" crisis continued

 

Volcano crisis: Sense vanishes in a puff of ash

The closure of our airspace casts a highly disturbing light on the way we are governed, says Christopher Booker.

Last week, for the second time in a decade, a major crisis erupted out of the blue that cast a highly disturbing light on the peculiarly contorted way in which we are now governed. The Icelandic volcano shambles had striking parallels with the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.

Both episodes involved a massive system failure in a complex new structure of supranational governance which was being put to the test for the first time, Both were made much worse by over-reliance on an inadequate computer model, which ended up causing unnecessary chaos and misery for hundreds of thousands of people and costing not millions but billions of pounds. (Christopher Booker)

 

One of our Dorniers is missing


In her own words she condemned herself. Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday (online), Deirdre Hutton, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sought to defend her authority's decisions and claims that, "it led the way in getting airlines flying again."

But, in the very text to which she lent her name, she set out the procedures needed before aircraft could resume flying. "First," she wrote, "we had to understand the extent of ash contamination, by sending up planes bearing instruments that could measure its density (complementing the data provided by ground-based lasers)."

There is the endorsement of the very point which we have been making – that specialist aircraft were needed to investigate the ash cloud extent and bring back physical data to update and refine the Met Office's computer model. And, as we have already ascertained, there were only two such aircraft available in the whole of the UK.

The first and most suitable aircraft, the BAE-146 operated by the Facility of Airborne Atmospheric Measurement (FAAM), was in its hanger in Cranfield, stripped-down preparatory for repainting. When the balloon when up, it must have taken superhuman effort to get it reassembled and in flying condition, and every short-cut in the book must have been taken.

That left the very much smaller, German registered turbo-prop Dornier 228, operated by the Airborne Research and Survey Facility (ARSF), out of Gloucester airport. With limited range and performance, it is also unpressurised which gives it an effective ceiling of 20,000 feet, too low for it to reach the higher levels of the ash cloud, much less get above them to make vital measurements.


Nevertheless, something is better than nothing – although not much better – and evidently conscious of the need to get something into the air, we were told in a press release by the funding agency, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) that the aircraft was being readied for a flight on the evening of Thursday 15 April, the day the no-fly zone had been imposed.

Therein lies a mystery which, when the details of the events come fully to be explored – if they ever are – may give a clue to the disarray within the authorities which were charged with managing the situation. The mystery intensifies because the Met Office in its most recent briefing affirms that the Dornier flew on the Thursday evening, claiming that the flight "provided inconclusive evidence on the extent of the ash cloud."

It also claims that the aircraft flew on 16 April, when it is said to have detected three distinct layers of ash, thus claiming that its models were "also evaluated with observations, including the Met Office and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) aircraft".

Why this is a mystery is simply to explain, borne out by a second press release from NERC, which states that the first flight was from Cranfield airfield at 14:00 UK time on Sunday 18 April. After take off, the Dornier flew south via London, Southampton and Cardiff, and then north to Prestwick before returning to Cranfield. (EU Referendum)

 

1976 shot may protect against modern swine flu

WASHINGTON - People who got immunized against the 1976 "swine flu" epidemic that never happened may have benefited from the shots after all -- they may have been protected from the 2009 H1N1 swine flu strain.

Tests of blood from medical staff and their spouses showed those who had been vaccinated in 1976 had evidence of extra immune protection against both the 2009 H1N1 swine flu and the seasonal strain of H1N1 that circulated the year before.

"We gave this vaccine to 45 million people and it was declared one of the greatest public health blunders of all time, and now we are finding out that it actually did some good," said Dr. Jonathan McCullers of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, who led the study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study, published on Friday, supports a theory that different strains of flu virus cycle in and out of circulation and that getting a flu vaccine every year may protect people from as-yet unseen flu strains in the future.

"Our research shows that while immunity among those vaccinated in 1976 has waned somewhat, they mounted a much stronger immune response against the current pandemic H1N1 strain than others who did not receive the 1976 vaccine," McCullers said. (Reuters)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Savour the salt

Ignore the conventional wisdom. There is no evidence that salt, something we need to survive, is bad for us

By Lawrence Solomon

Take all those health warnings about table salt with a pinch of salt. The evidence that our current levels of salt consumption do more harm than good for human health has little weight, any which way you look at it.

The Japanese have one of the world’s highest levels of salt consumption and are also the most long-lived people on Earth, with the possible exception of Jews, whose kosher salt-laced foods rival those of the Japanese. In fact, the societies that consume the most salt tend to enjoy the longest life spans, and societal well-being throughout history has been tied to the availability of salt.

Salt is no mere food additive.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Earth Day Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity

Every Earth Day brings out new scaremongering from silly people.

This year, one scare is that BPA, a chemical in plastic, causes "obesity, breast cancer, to prostate cancer, diabetes, brain disorders, such as attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, liver disease, ovarian disease, disease of the uterus, low sperm count in men." That's according to a new documentary called "Tapped." So you better not drink bottled water! (John Stossel)

 

Swaddling effects could pose SIDS risk: study

NEW YORK - The calming effects of swaddling might make it more difficult for some infants to rouse from sleep -- raising the possibility that the practice could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a small study suggests.

The study, reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that in 3-month-old infants new to swaddling, the practice seemed to reduce the brain response to an external stimulus -- a puff of air delivered to the babies' nostrils.

An infant's ability to rouse from sleep in response to such conditions is believed to play a role in SIDS. The findings, therefore, raise the question of whether swaddling could, for infants new to the practice, increase the likelihood of SIDS, according to the researchers.

The potential role of swaddling in SIDS is controversial, with the few studies that have been done so far coming to conflicting conclusions. (Reuters Health)

 

Value of B vitamins in cutting heart disease risk challenged

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Two studies released this week reach contradictory conclusions on the value of B vitamins and folic acid (or folate in its naturally occurring form) in reducing the risks of heart disease. What are doctors and their patients to make of this?

"Not much," says Dr. Steven Woloshin of Dartmouth University's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

"One study is very weak and the conclusions can't be believed and the other's results don't add much for practitioners or their patients," Woloshin told Reuters Health.

 

U.S. students suffering from Internet addiction - study

NEW YORK - American college students are hooked on cell phones, social media and the Internet and showing symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addictions, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links. (Reuters Life!)

 

Addicted smokers at mercy of their genes, find scientists

NEW research suggests smokers who find it hard to cut down or quit may be at the mercy of their genes.

Scientists have identified three genetic mutations that increase the number of cigarettes people smoke a day.

Several also appear to be associated with taking up smoking and one with smoking cessation.

Some of the findings will now be incorporated into risk factor DNA tests developed by the Icelandic company deCODE, which took part in the research.

A previous study two years ago found a common change in the genetic code linked to nicotine addiction and lung cancer risk.

The new research, which combined data on more than 140 thousand individuals, confirmed this discovery, and pinpointed two more genetic variants that seem to increase cigarette consumption among smokers.

Results from the three studies have been published today in the journal Nature Genetics. (AFP)

 

Hmm... In Antarctic Waters

Early this month, the International Maritime Organization — the United Nations agency that oversees maritime law — announced that large cruise ships will no longer be allowed to burn heavy fuel in Antarctic waters. This is a welcome step in protecting the harsh but delicate polar environment.

It is also part of a global effort to end the use of heavy, high-sulfur fuel in oceangoing ships. Burning heavy fuel throws highly polluting emissions into the atmosphere, and it poses a serious risk to marine life if spilled.

Gasoline and diesel, used in cars and trucks, are relatively light refined fuels, with strict limits on their sulfur content. The heavy fuel used in ships, including cruise ships, is called bunker fuel. It is basically the crude residue of refining — closer to asphalt than gasoline — mixed with diesel fuel. (NYT)

Odd sort of a restriction. For a bunch allegedly concerned over global warming you'd think they'd welcome planet cooling sulfate emissions from ships' bunker fuel.

 

‘Water rats’ to carry on polluting

BRITAIN’S “water rats” — the giant utility companies — have been given permission to carry on polluting beaches just as families start digging out buckets and spades for the summer holidays.

The government’s Planning Inspectorate has rejected an attempt by the Environment Agency to impose regulations on 4,200 outlets that pump raw sewage into the sea and rivers.

It means the water companies — which together recorded profits of £1.8 billion in 2008-09 — have again escaped attempts to make them clean themselves up — 21 years after The Sunday Times first exposed what they were doing in a series of articles called the Water Rats.

Instead, Britain now faces the ignominy of being fined and ordered to purify its water by the European Court of Justice over deaths of fish in the River Thames.

The water companies say Britain’s increased population and erratic weather has put pressure on an underground system dating from Victorian times that routes both excess sewage and flood water through combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

However, campaigners claim that, rather than just being kept for emergencies, some CSOs are used hundreds of times a year.

The Environment Agency wanted better controls on the outlets, especially on their use during dry weather when it suspects the water companies find it cheaper to dump sewage rather than send it to treatment plants. Six water companies appealed against the move, however, and the Planning Inspectorate has ruled largely in their favour. The firms argue that if they did not discharge the sewage, it would back up into homes or flood streets. (Sunday Times)

Now here is a problem that the UK government should address rather than such absurd ideas as attempting to control the global thermostat.

 

Eye-roller: Sir David Attenborough: 'Wildlife disaster heralds silent summer'

AFTER Silent Spring, Britain now faces the silent summer. Fifty years after Rachel Carson’s seminal book about humanity’s impact on nature, Sir David Attenborough has warned that Britain’s wildlife could be on the edge of the next great environmental disaster.

He has written the foreword to a new book, Silent Summer, in which 40 leading British ecologists detail how factors such as pesticides, population growth and intensive farming are destroying the plants, insects and animals on which the rest of the country’s wildlife depends. (The Times)

 

Deer to blame for the decline of England's nightingales

Nightingale numbers have fallen by almost two-thirds in England in the past 15 years

Nightingales are disappearing from Britain because deer are eating the woodland undergrowth the birds need for nesting, a new study has shown. It is a significant breakthrough in understanding why numbers of the renowned songbird are rapidly falling.

Between 1994 and 2007, nightingale numbers in England – the bird is absent from Scotland and Wales – dropped by 60 per cent, and its range shrank towards the South-east, with concentrations limited to Kent, Sussex, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. The bird has vanished from many places where it was formerly loved for its remarkable song, which is sung in the dark and which has been celebrated in literature for thousands of years.

Researchers have suspected that one cause of the decline of the nightingale might be the destruction of woodland undergrowth – the nightingale's key habitat – by browsing deer whose numbers in Britain have increased in recent years. The prime culprit may be the muntjac – or barking – deer, a recently introduced species which is capable of breeding all the year round and which has no natural enemies. The animals' browsing is causing major changes in the structure of woodland vegetation, especially of the "understorey" of shrubs and bushes, which is, in effect, being eaten to bits. (The Independent)

 

Another whacko intrusion: Nine-bin recycling system introduced

Families are being forced to separate their rubbish into nine different bins in order to meet tough recycling targets. (TDT)

 

 

The Coming Anti Carbon Cram Down

Politico recently reported that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are set to replicate the health care bill’s cram-down, a by-whatever-means-necessary approach that circumvented the Senate’s regular committee process. This time, they will use it to quickly pass the “cap-and-trade” energy tax. Carbon cap-and-trade of course is modeled on Europe’s disastrous scheme, and this latest iteration, with a gas tax or “carbon-linked fee”, will begin its march next week.

The bill will be contained in something being styled, as is de rigueur and every three years or so, as “comprehensive energy legislation.” A parallel argument will be made that it is actually a “green jobs” bill. Democrat pollster Stanley Greenberg has discovered that these “work” better than the more candid “cap-and-trade.”

As you consider this prospect, also look to Europe, as President Obama instructed us to do on at least eight occasions for the model of his “green economy.” Helpfully, earlier this week the think tank Open Europe noted, in its daily press summary, the following:

European Commission calls for energy tax: In an interview with Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard calls for an EU energy tax, saying: “energy taxes are among the instruments we should use for climate protection in the EU, because that's how energy consumption is reduced.”

Indeed. Cap-and-trade doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions, if only because it isn’t designed to, larded as it must be with “offset” schemes ensuring that only inefficient wealth transfers occur. But that’s not quite the tale that elites are selling, for example The New York Times’ Tom Friedman, a man enamored with the high-cost energy policies of Denmark, where until recently Hedegaard was the “climate” minister. (Christopher C. Horner, Energy Tribune)

 

Far too early to gloat but this is at least promising: Graham Pulls Support for Major Senate Climate Bill

WASHINGTON — In a move that may derail a comprehensive climate change and energy bill in the Senate, one of the measure’s central architects, Senator Lindsey Graham, has issued an angry protest over what he says are Democratic plans to give priority to a debate over immigration policy.

Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in a sharply worded letter on Saturday that he would no longer participate in negotiations on the energy bill, throwing its already cloudy prospects deeper into doubt. He had been working for months with Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, on the a legislation, which they were scheduled to announce with considerable fanfare on Monday morning. That announcement has been indefinitely postponed.

In his letter to his two colleagues, Mr. Graham said that he was troubled by reports that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the White House were planning to take up an immigration measure before the energy bill. Mr. Graham has worked with Democrats in the past on immigration matters and was expected to be an important bridge to Republicans on that issue, as well as on energy.

Mr. Graham said that any Senate debate on the highly charged subject of illegal immigration would make it impossible to deal with the difficult issues involved in national energy and global warming policy.

He said in his letter that energy must come first and that Democrats appeared to be rushing to take up immigration because of rising anti-immigrant sentiment, including a harsh new measure signed into law in Arizona on Friday.

“Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,” Mr. Graham said. “I know from my own personal experience the tremendous amounts of time, energy and effort that must be devoted to this issue to make even limited progress.”

Hours after Mr. Graham released his letter, Mr. Kerry said in a statement that Mr. Graham’s actions had scuttled plans for an elaborate announcement of the proposal, whose passage is a major priority for the Obama administration. (NYT)

 

Graham move imperils Obama agenda

In a stunning move that could throw a major roadblock in front of two of President Obama's biggest legislative initiatives, Sen. Lindsey Graham abruptly declared Saturday he's abandoning talks on climate change legislation because he believes Democratic efforts to bring up a separate immigration reform package is undermining the legislative process. (CNN)

 

Climate bill not likely to come up this year

The bipartisan climate bill to be unveiled Monday isn't dead on arrival but it's not likely to be taken up this year — and not before an immigration bill comes to the Senate floor, according to Democratic aides. (Politico)

 

Obama's climate-change bill stymied by bipartisan quarrel

Prospects for an early international agreement to tackle climate change have suffered a major setback, as a US plan to cut carbon emissions descended into partisan bickering.

Senior American political figures had promised to introduce a "cap and trade" energy bill today, paving the way for the kind of substantial international talks that failed to materialise at last year's Copenhagen summit, but the launch has been called off at the last minute.

Green groups expressed disappointment at the development, which supporters of the bill described as a "postponement", but the Republican Senator who had previously been on board stormed out on Saturday after what he called a betrayal by the White House. (The Independent)

 

Hardly sufficient saving grace to make the eco-toff electable: Tories 'could put climate change agreement at risk'

Experts warn that Tory plans to fund attempts to tackle global warming in poorer countries from the aid budget could hamper efforts to promote poverty reduction

A historic climate change deal would be put at risk by a Conservative government because of the "injustice" of the way they would fund the battle against global warming in developing nations, David Cameron is warned today.

The Tory leader has promised to safeguard the international aid budget in an attempt to soften his party's image. However, unlike the other parties, he has refused to put a cap on the amount of money set aside for aid that could be raided to pay for helping poorer nations deal with climate change.

Writing in The Independent today, Nicholas Stern, the climate change economist, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, and the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, warn that using the aid budget would be "unacceptable" and that all money designed to fight climate change in poor areas should be additional. (The Independent)

 

Global warming: The Oxburgh Incident and the Italian Job

he world of renewable energy, as with so many new initiatives in the past, is currently characterized by a lot of government money being eagerly sought by many sources--some of them not very clean.

When the University of East Anglia decided to investigate itself, they could have chosen from a wide variety of scientific or legal figures. They decided on Lord Oxburgh, despite questions about his independence. As chairman of a windfarm manufacturer, could he really impartially decide on fundamental questions of the probity of climate science?

Would Lord Oxburgh have been appointed to his position as head of the panel investigating Climategate if it had been known that his employer was a subsidiary controlled by an Italian company enmeshed in scandals involving Sicilian waste? Let me hasten to add that I am not making any accusations of either Lord Oxburgh or Falck Renewables, the company he chairs. But was he really the best choice for this inquiry? (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

 

An Inconvenient Provocateur

Last week, a single blog comment by Judith Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, outraged the proprietors and readers of Real Climate. Curry had mentioned the IPCC and the term “corruption” in the same sentence. I then discussed the brewing firestorm here, and that triggered a spirited exchange in the comment thread, of which Curry was an active participant.

As this exchange was playing out, I sensed that Curry was expanding on her recent controversial critique of climate scientists, while also putting forth a contrary view of the two recent probes that have exonerated scientists of wrongdoing in the affair known as Climategate.  So I asked her if I could follow up with a few questions to clarify some of her recent statements. She immediately accepted and what follows is a short Q & A, conducted via email, and reproduced in its entirety. (collide-a-scape)

 

IPCC in trouble again

Donna Laframboise has discovered that the IPCC cited the Stern report no less than 26 times, even though the report had missed the cut off date for inclusion by some distance. In fact pretty much every rule in the book seems to have been trampled in the IPCC's haste to get Lord Stern's parvum opus included.

The conclusion here isn't pretty: by citing the Stern Review, the IPPC broke not one, not two, but three of its own rules. First, it had to deliberately overlook the fact that this document is not peer-reviewed...

Second, it had to violate the published-before-January-2006 rule about which Pachauri recently reminded us.

Third, it had to subvert its own requirement that text in the IPCC report be subject to two rounds of expert review.

Are we impressed yet?

The IPCC might have been breathing easy after the lack of any new 'gates for them to be criticised over. Looks like there may be a whole new wave of criticism coming. (Bishop Hill)

 

Hilarious! FEATURE - Climate debate gets ugly as world moves to curb CO2

SINGAPORE - Murderer, liar, fraud, traitor.

Climate scientists, used to dealing with sceptics, are under siege like never before, targeted by hate emails brimming with abuse and accusations of fabricating global warming data. Some emails contain thinly veiled death threats.

Across the Internet, climate blogs are no less venomous, underscoring the surge in abuse over the past six months triggered by purported evidence that global warming is either a hoax or the threat from a warmer world is grossly overstated.

A major source of the anger is from companies with a vested interest in fighting green legislation that might curtail their activities or make their operations more costly.

"The attacks against climate science represent the most highly coordinated, heavily financed, attack against science that we have ever witnessed," said climate scientist Michael Mann, from Pennsylvania State University in the United States. (Reuters)

Gotta love this from Mann, who set lawyers on a few kids for daring to engage in [gasp!] satire with this video :-)

Gorebull warbing is a multibillion dollar scam and they claim to be under coordinated and "heavily financed" attack? By whom, pray tell? The fossil fuel industries lining up to hop on the rent-seeking express? Oh... perhaps its the big finance houses who don't really want to flog a whole new line of exotic derivatives? Insurance companies loath to pad premiums? Or perhaps it's just big conglomerates, GE perhaps, because they are so embarrassed by their ecotardation line?

Memo to disbursements officers in this "coordinated attack", I'm still waiting for my turn being "heavily financed"... can I expect at least one check in the mail?

 

Alarmists keep ringing the bell

IN November last year a file appeared on the internet containing thousands of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. 

How this file got into the public domain is still uncertain, but the emails, whose authenticity is no longer in question, provided a startling view into the world of climate research.

In what has become known as Climategate, one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation.

Moreover, the emails showed collusion with other prominent researchers in the US and elsewhere. The CRU supplies many of the authors for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

One might have thought the revelations would discredit the science underlying proposed global warming policy. Indeed, the revelations may have played some role in the failure of last December's Copenhagen climate conference to agree on new carbon emissions limits.

But with the political momentum behind policy proposals and billions in research funding at stake, the effect of the emails appears to have been small. (Richard S. Lindzen, The Australian)

 

Open Letter: U.S. Climate Action Report 2010. 5th ed. from Howard Hayden, Prof. Emeritus of Physics, UConn

To: Department of State

Date: 23 April 2010

Re: U.S. Climate Action Report 2010. 5th ed.

Many states around the nation are trying to enact laws to restrict carbon emissions, and industries too numerous to mention have begun making changes hoping to be fully prepared to comply with laws they haven’t seen yet. Congress is considering laws in hopes that they can avoid having EPA impose its own version of CO2 restrictions.

Before jumping on this bandwagon, we should be certain that we understand the science. U.S. Climate Action Report 2010, 5th ed. might be understood by some Americans to be the definitive word; however nary a word in the report even pretends to

  • establish a link between CO2 and putative global warming
  • show that the increase in CO2 concentration is due to human activity instead of natural causes (such as natural warming of the oceans)
  • show that either an increase in CO2 concentration or an increase in temperature is, on balance, bad (or worse than laws restricting CO2 emissions) or
  • do any science whatsoever.

(via Climate Realists)

 

Twenty Years of Advocacy, Not Journalism, on Global Warming

The media has forged a consensus around climate change.

From the Media Research Center 

For more than two decades, the so-called mainstream media have preached the dangers of manmade global warming, insisting American businesses and consumers must make massive economic sacrifices to ward off a global climate catastrophe. Not even last November's exposure of e-mails from leading scientists on the alarmist side of the debate — showing them conniving to fudge or suppress data, discredit critics and distort the peer review process — has caused journalists to finally take a skeptical approach to radical environmentalists' doomsaying.

A new study from the MRC's Business & Media Institute documents how ABC, CBS and NBC have been just as strident in their advocacy in the months following "ClimateGate" as they were in the 20 years that preceded the scandal. At the same time, a review of the Media Research Center's archives going back to the late 1980s shows just how strongly reporters have pushed the liberal line on global warming. Here are just some of the many examples: (WSJ)

 

Global warming scare industry suppresses benefits of CO2

Bombarded by the incessant fear-mongering of the global warming industry, many people now see carbon dioxide (CO2) as evil incarnate – the bane of civilization and source of an ever-growing list of planetary problems – from erupting volcanoes and tectonic earthquakes to shrinking sheep and reduced circumcision rates.

The climate experts, joined by their lazy and interminably gullible allies in the mainstream media, have managed through guile and deception to orchestrate a successful fear campaign against a trace atmospheric gas that is essential to all life on earth. (Kirk Myers, Examiner)

 

Predictions Of Global Mean Temperatures & IPCC Projections

Guest post by Girma Orssengo, B. Tech, MASc, PhD

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that human emission of CO2 causes catastrophic global warming. When such extraordinary claim is made, every one with background in science has to look at the data and verify whether the claim is justified or not. In this article, a mathematical model was developed that agrees with observed Global Mean Temperature Anomaly (GMTA), and its prediction shows global cooling by about 0.42 deg C until 2030. Also, comparison of observed increase in human emission of CO2 with increase in GMTA during the 20th century shows no relationship between the two. As a result, the claim by the IPCC of climate catastrophe is not supported by the data.

Fossil fuels allowed man to live his life as a proud human, but the IPCC asserts its use causes catastrophic global warming. Fortunately, the global warming claim by the IPCC that “For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenario” [1] is not supported by observations as shown in Figure 1, which shows a plateau for the global mean temperature trend for the last decade.

Figure 1. Observed temperatures are less than all IPCC projections. The observed temperatures are from the Climate Research Unit of the Hadley Center [2 .]

Figure 1 also shows that the observed temperatures are even less than the IPCC projections for emission held constant at the 2000 level.

As a result, the statement we often hear from authorities like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that “climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists” [3] is incorrect. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Climate change: Not necessarily a threat but insurers can’t just muddle through

The US National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) executed a U-turn at the end of last month by voting to water down plans that insurers should be required to respond publicly to a survey on the risks they face from climate change. (Financial Times)

Actually Chucky, the threat is from climate change hysteria. As long as there is no "climate change" legislation everyone will come out of this farce just fine.

 

Gerald North: The Non-Alarmist Alarmist? (A challenge to Texas A&M’s noted climatologist to explain himself on his recent move to Dessler-Left alarmism)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
April 25, 2010

[Editor note: This is Part V of a series of posts on the political activism of climate scientists at Texas A&M.]

“I really enjoyed the ‘fact’ that I saved you from being a ‘climate alarmist’. Frankly, your descriptions of my colleague Andrew Dessler are outrageous. You seem to forget that he spent several hours tutoring you and your student from [Kinkaid] on climate change during a university holiday. As I said to Steve McIntyre after spending hours trying to help him, then being mocked in his blog, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’. I am afraid to say anything more to you via email.”

- Gerald North to Rob Bradley, April 17, 2010 (cc Eric Berger, William Dawson, Andrew Dessler)

Dear Jerry:

I asked for substantive feedback from you to my post(s) and instead got a sarcastic, emotional response. You are clearly annoyed, but open debate about contentious public public policy issues should not be compromised by personal relationships or ‘favors’. And there is nothing wrong about a ‘challenge culture’ and mid-course corrections, either. We are talking about climate science, after all.

I am going to elaborate as best I can and bring in some more of your own quotations for the record.

[North as My Enron Consultant]

Jerry: you are a very interesting and important figure in the climate-change debate–and one whose views future historians of science should note.

Back in 1998, I picked you out of many candidates as a corporate consultant because you seemed to be more open to finding the middle than many of your colleagues. Thinking that Enron was progressive on the climate issue (and they unfortunately were–Ken Lay saw many rent-seeking opportunities with CO2 pricing), you said yes.

“In talking over consulting with ENRON with many friends, I decided to do it, only because of the open-minded position ENRON seems to be taking. I decided that I might even have an influence on what course ENRON eventually takes. I am not concerned with one ideological position or another—just the truth. If ENRON makes use of the truth to make a profit, good show. If ENRON wants to twist the truth to the detriment of everyone else, I will drop out—tarnished but wiser.”

- Gerald North (Texas A&M) to Rob Bradley (Enron), March 25, 1998

I think you provide an excellent ‘case study’ to understand:

1) how the climate alarm got out of control, and

2) how/why a good many in your profession got off scientific track (as evidenced by Climategate and the growing recognition of problems with the IPCC reports).

My Major Point: You Have ‘Gone Political’ and ‘Gone Left’ Post-Climategate Despite Your Skepticism About Climate Alarmism–and Climategate Itself

I have a treasure trove of emails from you that are fair and insightful, in retrospect. (And you have stated that you write your emails as if they would be made public–nothing to fear from your own views.) Some of them are very critical of scientists–skeptics and alarmists. Your criticisms of the skeptics are public (I can provide citations); your more ‘private’ views against alarmism should be made public too. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Hockey Sticks and “Climategate”: a Death of Scientific Integrity

Dr. Martin Hertzberg of Copper Mountain, a retired research scientist and consultant in the causes and prevention of accidental fires and explosions, will present the above titled talk at this month’s meeting of the Café Scientifique. The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 27th at the Summit County Senior and Community Center, 151 Peak One Blvd, Frisco, Colorado. Dr. Hertzberg also served as a forecasting and research meteorologist while on active duty with the U. S. Navy. He has been studying the “global warming/climate change” issue for over twenty years and has published papers and articles on the subject. (Climate Realists)

 

'Too many sceptics in BBC's climate change reporting' says 'independent' 'expert'

At last we know what’s wrong with the BBC’s reporting on Climate Change. It gives too much space to sceptics, according to a woman called Fiona Fox who directs something called the Science Media Centre. (James Delingpole)

 

Most UK farmers say not feeling climate change

An increasing number of British farmers say they are unaffected by climate change, a survey found on Friday.

British public belief in climate change in general has sagged in the aftermath of disclosure of errors made by a U.N. climate panel report.

Some 62 percent of a poll of 414 farmers said they were unaffected by climate change, up from nearly 50 percent who said last year that they had not felt its effects.

"For farming there's been a very tough winter, a lot of snow, that may be part of it, and generally people seem bit more cynical and apathetic," said Madeleine Lewis, strategic adviser to the UK advisory group Forum for the Future.

Overall, farmers were much more likely to disagree than agree that climate change had become more relevant to them in the past year. Some said that the economic crisis had forced climate change down their priorities.

In addition, the number of respondents who expected climate change to impact them in the next 10 years was down, at 57 percent versus 63 percent last year.

Britain may be spared the more extreme consequences of climate change, as a rather cool, wet country where crop yields may benefit from slightly higher temperatures. (Reuters)

 

The Best Way To Make People Worry About Climate Change…

…is to provide them with a university education, adequate living quarters in urban settings, and $100,000 in “investable asset”:

Climate change topped the list of concerns by some two-thirds of Hong Kong residents polled as well as majorities of residents of London, Paris, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, according to the poll of 2,044 urban residents around the world…The survey was conducted online from February 17 to March 1 among respondents who had university or post-graduate educations, were ages 25 to 64 and had at least $100,000 of investable asset…

(well, obviously under those conditions it should make it easier to have a little fewer of other concerns such as paying the mortgage, getting dinner organized, staying ahead of the bills)

Can’t wait to see thousands of self-styled environmentalists worldwide lobby their democratic representatives to defend the planet from climate change through a “Global Get Well Schooled, Urbanite And Rich Initiative“!

Now, that’s a Climate Campaign I would like to see started…just let me know where I can cash my $100,000, please? (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Carbon trading's dubious salesmen: Goldstein

Today's question is this:

Would you buy a used carbon market from the following self-proclaimed "masters of the universe"?

That is, the same giant investment houses that just finished helping to crash the global economy by recklessly trading in risky subprime mortgage loans and other bizarre investment vehicles few people understood?

Would a glowing endorsement of a mandatory, North American cap-and-trade market in carbon dioxide emissions by, say, American International Group (AIG), recipients of $173 billion in bailout money from U.S. taxpayers, make you more or less well disposed to the idea?

How about praise for carbon trading from the folks at JP Morgan Chase & Co. ($25 billion in bailout money), Morgan Stanley ($10 billion) or Merrill Lynch ($10 billion)?

How about from Goldman Sachs, Wall Street's mightiest bank, recently accused of civil fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the sale of subprime mortgage securities? (The company denies the charges.)

How about a big cheer for carbon trading from its earliest corporate boosters -- the fraudsters at Enron -- who giddily predicted it would "do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries" and would be "good for Enron stock?"

Save for the now-defunct Enron, all the other big investment houses, some of which have paid back their bailout loans but not the unimaginable amounts of cash they cost the global economy, are enthusiastically gearing up for mandatory carbon trading.

Many are spending big money lobbying U.S. politicians to deliver it, complete with all the exotic investment opportunities it will provide.

That's because carbon trading -- cap-and-trade -- amounts to creating a new stock market out of, pardon the pun, thin air. (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)

 

Hello? Where were you? US research paper questions viability of carbon capture and storage

Document from Houston University claims governments overestimated CCS value

A proposed carbon capture and storage cluster at Kingsnorth in Kent. Photograph: EON

A new research paper from American academics is threatening to blow a hole in growing political support for carbon capture and storage as a weapon in the fight against global warming.

The document from Houston University claims that governments wanting to use CCS have overestimated its value and says it would take a reservoir the size of a small US state to hold the CO2 produced by one power station. (The Guardian)

We've been pointing this out for ages...

 

Professor Studies Arctic Climate Change

Next spring, James G. Anderson will embark on a “hunting expedition” to study greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic, using instruments developed in his lab to measure methane and carbon dioxide emissions of the melting ice cap.

Unlike past research aimed at discovering the effects of climate change on the Arctic ice cap, this project will turn the tables and study the effects the Arctic has on climate change.

Anderson, a professor of atmospheric chemistry, said his project will focus primarily on the amount of carbon that is emitted, the “hotspots” of emission, and the sources of this carbon.

He added that he will examine permafrost—permanently frozen ground—which has large amounts of greenhouse gases trapped inside. These gases, Anderson explained, have been frozen for millions of years within the ice cap, but are starting to escape due to climate change.

“If even a small fraction is released each year, it would surpass the amount of carbon released by humans,” wrote David S. Sayres, a research associate involved with the project, in an emailed statement.

This release could then affect the ability to reduce carbon emissions and climate change, according to Sayres. (Harvard Crimson)

Couple of points:
  1. If this gas has been trapped in permafrost for millions of years -- and didn't escape during the Holocene Climatic Optimum when conditions were significantly warmer -- why expect it to escape now?
  2. "If even a small fraction is released each year, it would surpass the amount of carbon released by humans" We aren't really big players in the carbon cycle game, are we.


During the climatic optimum many of the Earth's great ancient civilizations began and flourished. In Africa, the Nile River had three times its present volume, indicating a much larger tropical region. 6,000 years ago the Sahara was far more fertile than today and supported large herds of animals.

 

Scientist says Arctic getting colder

MOSCOW, April 23 -- A Russian scientist says the Arctic may be getting colder, not warmer, which would hamper the international race to discover new mineral fields.

An Arctic cold snap that began in 1998 could last for years, freezing the northern marine passage and making it impassable without icebreaking ships, said Oleg Pokrovsky of the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory. (UPI)

 

An oceanic 'fast-lane' for climate change

A deep-sea current moves millions of cubic metres of water northward every second.

Work in Japan and Australia has revealed that a deep-ocean current is carrying frigid water rapidly northward from Antarctica along the edge of a giant underwater plateau.

Other research teams had previously identified a deep current along the eastern edge of the Kerguelen Plateau, a more than 2,200-kilometre-long rise some 3,000 kilometres south-west of Australia. But estimates of its speed, taken as "snapshots" by instruments deployed from research vessels, had been "all over the place", says Steve Rintoul, a physical oceanographer at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart, Australia, and a co-author of the new study. (Nature News)

 

Partly right: Explosion in the Gulf

Nearly a dozen people are missing and presumed dead after the huge explosion aboard a deep-water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The accident provides further evidence that despite advances in technology, oil drilling poses big environmental and human risks.

The explosion occurred just weeks after President Obama decided to open parts of America’s coastal waters to exploratory drilling. This tragedy is not reason enough to reverse that decision. A balanced energy strategy will have to include the search for conventional fuels even as the country moves quickly to alternative energy sources. (NYT)

They were doing fine right up until the nonsense "country moves quickly to alternative energy sources" -- such lovely wishful thinking but the only serious source of alternate energy known is nuclear. The simple fact is we'll be using carbon-based fuels for many decades, possibly centuries to come.

 

Risky Business

Offshore drilling, particularly in deep water, makes the action available at Las Vegas casinos look almost tame. [Read more...] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

Oil company to store peat bog for 30 years

A moorland peatbog is to be dug up wholesale and put into storage for more than 30 years in an unprecedented measure to protect it from destruction. The peatbog on Shetland is in the way of a gas processing facility which is to be built as an extension to the Sullom Voe oil terminal on the island.

The oil company Total has agreed, as part of the deal to be allowed to build the £500m gas facility, to store the peat so that it can be returned at the end of the plant's operational life.

It's estimated that more than 260,000 cubic metres of peat – enough to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools – will have to be cut out and moved away to be piled up in "peat terraces" and covered with a layer of vegetation to protect them from drying out. (The Independent)

 

Don’t Let Nuclear Industry Get Hooked on Subsidies

Nuclear energy is a hot topic in Washington these days. An important question that has stirred debate is whether the federal government should back up loans to build new nuclear power plants. On Wednesday, the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the topic. Heritage Research Fellow for Nuclear Energy Policy, Jack Spencer along with three other panelists testified.

One member of the panel, Leslie Kass of the Nuclear Energy Institute, argued that loan guarantees were good for ratepayers, taxpayers, and the nuclear industry and should be pursued. She argued that the federal government already provides loan guarantees for all sorts of industries and gave shipbuilding, steelmaking, rural electrification, affordable housing, and critical transportation infrastructure construction as examples. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Energy Answer Not Blowin' In The Wind

The wind is notably capricious, varying in strength and direction in seemingly random ways. The output of wind turbines, which capture the energy of the wind and turn it into electrical power, also varies unpredictably. Leveling out these fluctuations is the biggest obstacle to wind power serving as an effective alternative to conventional power sources. A study, just published in PNAS Online, claims that wiring together offshore wind farms, from along the entire length of the US East Coast, could provide a steady power source for the area. This has led to proclamations by a number of green power advocates that America's energy problems can be solved by wind power. Unfortunately, steady to a scientist is not the same as steady to a power grid engineer, or consumers. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

 

Takeover Continues

Enacting Reform: Are the Democrats who want to place price controls on premiums trying to destroy the health insurance business? If we didn't know better, we'd say yes. And we do know better — don't we?

It was just a month ago that the Democrats passed and signed a radical overhaul of the country's health care sector. But 3,000 pages of new law apparently are not enough for lawmakers who don't read the bills they vote on.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, says there's "an enormous loophole" in her party's reform effort that must be closed. So she's introduced a bill that would give the secretary of health and human services the authority to review health plan premiums and block "any rate increase found to be unreasonable."

This, after the public was told many times over that the Democrats' health care legislation would bring down costs and rein in those troublesome health insurance companies that are making so much money.

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in economics to see where the Democrats are going with this. Their regulators will establish price controls, which will drive health plan providers out of business as the restrictions make it impossible or unreasonable for them to make profits.

To deal with the shortage of health plans, Democrats will then complete the government takeover of medicine by placing Washington in the position of being the sole provider of health care. (IBD)

 

The $3,700 Dime

Taxes: Candidate Obama repeatedly vowed that those earning under $250,000 "will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime." Will he veto the $3,700 tax hike Congress is considering for 30 million Americans?

'I can make a firm pledge," candidate Barack Obama told a New Hampshire audience about a year and a half ago. "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." (IBD)

 

Obama Calls for a VAT

President Obama has consistently ducked the question on whether he is considering a massive tax hike in the form of a value added tax (VAT) – until now. Yesterday in an interview with CNBC, the president made clear that he is open to a VAT – once he has seen the recommendations his Debt Commission makes.

The president’s comments spell out what has been obvious for months: the debt commission is a stalking horse for the VAT as the solution to close massive deficits today and in the future.

A VAT would be a massive tax hike that would transfer trillions of dollars each year from the wallets of every American to Washington. It would permanently slow economic growth and lower the standard of living for generations of Americans to come. It would also be a bottomless well for Congress to go back to each time it wants more of our money to pay for new spending programs. Once a VAT is in place turning back the growth of government will be next to impossible and the efforts of President Obama and his congressional allies to recast the nation into a full state of dependency on Washington will be complete. The stakes are that high.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Study launched on health impact from mobile phones

LONDON - A new decades-long study examining the link between the use of mobile phones and long-term health problems such as cancer and neurological diseases launched on Thursday across five European countries.

Organisers said the Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (COSMOS) would be the largest of its kind, examining more than 250,000 people aged 18 to 69 in Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

Professor Paul Elliott, the Principal Investigator at the Imperial College London on the British study, said previous research examining the health link had so far been reassuring but pointed out these had often only lasted around 10 years.

With many cancers taking longer to develop and mobile phones still being relatively new, Elliott said there was a need for a longer-term study.

"For the sake of current users and future generations this is the sensible thing to do," he told a press conference in London. "Research to date has necessarily mainly focussed on (mobile phone) use on the short term, less than 10 years.

"The COSMOS study will be looking at long-term use, 10, 20 or 30 years. And with long-term monitoring there will be time for diseases to develop." (Reuters)

 

Um... Kids' ER visits for asthma go up with air pollution

NEW YORK - As daily levels of ozone and pollutants from vehicle exhaust climb, so do children's emergency-room visits for asthma attacks, a new study shows.

It's well established that air pollution may worsen symptoms in people with asthma or other lung diseases, and children are thought to be particularly susceptible, due to their smaller airways, less developed immune systems and other factors.

For the new study, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta used detailed air-quality data from a larger project called the Study of Particles and Health in Atlanta, which has measured daily concentrations of various air pollutants around the metropolitan area since 1994.

Dr. Matthew J. Strickland and his colleagues looked at the relationship between those daily air-pollution fluctuations and the number of children seen at city ERs for asthma attacks.

Overall, the researchers documented 91,386 such visits among 5- to 17-year-olds between 1993 and 2006. On average, there were 20 visits per day during warmer months (May to October) and 23 per day during the rest of the year. (Reuters Health)

... kids' ER visits are actually lower on warm "polluted" days than they are during cooler weather. Their subtle effect could just as easily be due to the long-associated thunderstorms which are somewhat more likely on those hot days when ground-level ozone is also likely to be elevated. The ~13% reduction of warmer months compared with cooler months is greater than the alleged pollution-associated increase. What they seem to have observed is that kids' asthma ER visits are roughly 10-20% lower in warmer months, which is true enough.

 

Lead Poisoning, a Stubborn Nemesis

Lead poisoning among young children, which can cause learning and behavior problems, has decreased so sharply in recent decades that it is tempting to consider it a problem of the past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was so confident about the decline in childhood lead poisoning that it set a goal of 2010 for eliminating it.

But federal health officials now say eradication may still be years away because hazards remain in often poor urban pockets — mostly from old, badly maintained housing with lead-based paint. (NYT)

 

Pre-term babies face lifetime lung trouble: study

WASHINGTON - Children born extremely early -- at 25 weeks or before -- may risk a lifetime of lung problems, including asthma, British researchers reported on Thursday.

They found that extremely pre-term babies who lived to age 11 often had abnormal lung function and were twice as likely as children born at a full 39 or 40 weeks to be diagnosed with asthma. (Reuters)

 

Heavy girls less likely to develop breast cancer later on

NEW YORK - Women who were heavy as girls are at lower risk of developing breast cancer, new research confirms.

The role of body size in breast cancer risk changes throughout life, Dr. Jingmei Li of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, who helped conduct the study, told Reuters Health by email. High birthweight ups breast cancer risk, while being heavy in childhood and during puberty reduces risk; after menopause, a woman's risk rises with her body mass index or BMI -- a measure of weight in relation to height used to gauge whether person is overweight or obese. (Reuters Health)

 

At 40, Earth Day Is Now Big Business

So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.”

Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry. (NYT)

 

Earth Day Cold Turkey

What would it mean if every power plant burning coal, oil or natural gas shut down today and remained idle? The short answer is chaos and social collapse, but let's take a quick look at why. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)

 

Population, Consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Human Well-Being in the Age of Industrialization (Part I — Revisiting the Julian Simon-Paul Ehrlich Bet)

by Indur Goklany
April 22, 2010

Editor’s note: As the United States commemorates the 40th anniversary of Earth Day we can expect to hear various commentators bemoan the growth in population, consumption, and carbon emissions driven by fossil-fueled technologies. We will be told that this is unsustainable, that we are running out of resources, that prices are inevitably headed up, and, worse, that such consumption reduces both environmental and human well-being. In this worldview, industrialization and economic development are the inventions of the Devil; de-industrialization and de-development will be our savior.

In this series of posts, Indur M. Goklany will compare the above Neo-Malthusian view of industrialization, economic growth, and technological change against empirical data on human well-being from the age of industrialization. First, he will revisit the bet made in 1980 by Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich on the direction of commodity prices, and examine long-term trends in the prices and affordability of various commodities, specifically, metals and food, going back to at least 1900. Parts II and III will compare long-term trends in population, consumption, economic development, and carbon emissions against trends in human well-being for the world and the United States, respectively. Part IV will provide an explanation as to why the empirical data is at odds with the Neo-Malthusian worldview.

This series of posts draws liberally from: Goklany IM (2009), Have increases in population, affluence and technology worsened human and environmental well-being? Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 1, no.3.

Based on the run-up in global commodity prices over the last decade, some observers speculate that Julian Simon lucked out in winning his famous bet with Paul Ehrlich. Paul Kedrosky, for instance, notes that had the bet been made in subsequent years, Simon would, more likely than not, have lost. And, indeed, there is an element of truth to that, but that would not vitiate Simon’s larger point, namely, that human ingenuity left to itself would probably reduce the the price of goods and, more importantly, advance the state of humanity.

In my opinion, the direction of commodity prices in the bet itself served as a surrogate for the fundamental difference between the worldviews of the two protagonists, namely, whether human well-being would advance over time considering increases in population, and economic and technological development. In fact, some Neo-Malthusians opine that present day populations are already too large, while others of the same ilk believe that continued economic and technological development is unsustainable (see, e.g., here).

But before getting into the larger and more important issues, let me first address the bet itself. Recall that the bet was made in 1980, and the late 1970s and 1980 had seen a spectacular increase in commodity price following the second oil shock. But what goes up is also likely to come down. Statisticians call this the regression to the mean. And Simon, being an economist and an entrepreneur at heart, took a calculated risk and “gambled” on that.

And, indeed, commodity prices reverted to trend and prices turned down during the 1980s. So fortune favors the prepared, and Simon was the better prepared and, perhaps, the wiser of the two protagonists. But he was also lucky, because 10 years is but a brief moment in the context of history. The appropriate period to determine whether Simon or Ehrlich’s worldview is better aligned with historical reality is to look at the matter over many decades, if not generations. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Earth Day: An Assault on Man

In recent weeks while addressing Tea Party rallies here on the left coast, I ask the assembled patriots what appears to be an odd question: "Would all those from the former Soviet Union please raise your hands?"

A notable number of hands are always raised -- the San Francisco Bay Area is home to a diverse population. 

I then ask another curious question: "What does April 22 signify to you?"

Without exception, someone will shout with great displeasure, "Lenin's birth date!"

The crowd clearly sees that I'm on to something. I next ask the former Soviets, "And as a young child in school, who were you told is your grandfather?"

At this point several painfully respond, "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin!"

"And in the United States, do you know what we celebrate on April 22?" I ask. "Earth Day. Grandfather Lenin has been conjoined with Mother Earth -- and it's no coincidence."

In my new book Climategate (released today), I detail the doings of Earth Day's devious founders. It seems that this crafty crew were cut from cloth that resembles Marx and Lenin, as opposed to Madison and Jefferson.

In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WS) was Congress's leading environmentalist activist. Nelson was the mastermind behind those ridiculous teach-ins, which were in vogue in the late sixties and early seventies. During the teach-ins, mutinous school instructors would scrap the day's assigned curriculum, pressure their students to sit cross-legged on the floor, "rap" about how America is an imperialist nation, and discuss why communism really isn't such a bad form of government -- it just needs to be implemented properly.

Nelson's teach-in efforts were aided by a young man named Denis Hayes. Hayes was student body president while an undergrad at Stanford, and well known for organizing anti-Vietnam war protests. Later, while pursuing a masters degree in public policy at Harvard, Hayes heard about Senator Nelson's teach-in concept and eventually helped Nelson institute the practice nationwide. Denis Hayes would also conspire with the senator to found Earth Day.

Rounding out the troika was Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford. In 1968 Ehrlich authored the Malthusian missive, The Population Bomb, in which he infamously spouted wild allegations which included equating the earth's supposed surplus of people with a cancer that needs to be eradicated: "A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. ... We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions." (Brian Sussman, American Thinker)

 

Morning Bell: Economic Freedom Will Save the Earth

The New York City sightseeing company Gray Line is promoting an “Earth Week” package of day trips that includes visits to “green spots” like the botanical gardens and flower shopping at Chelsea Market. The fact that these tours will be taken on buses running on fossil fuels does not sit well with the first Earth Day national coordinator Denis Hayes who tells The New York Times what he thinks of such green consumerism: “This ridiculous perverted marketing has cheapened the concept of what is really green. It is tragic.”

The left in this country has always considered it “tragic” when people make money in this country, and the plight of the earth is just one of many justifications they have used over the years to demonize free markets. Back in the 70s, President Barack Obama’s Director for Science and Technology Policy John Holdren even came up with a formula to measure capitalism’s evil impact on the environment: I=PAT, which means that environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied by technology. Thus according to the left, protecting the planet requires fewer people, less wealth and simpler technology. But this is just flat wrong. In fact, studies clearly show that important indicators of environmental quality actually improve as incomes and levels of consumption go up.

But this begs the question: what are the best policies that promote economic growth? Economic freedom. New research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows — over the last 40 years — a strong connection between the worldwide march toward greater economic freedom and the massive reduction in poverty. And our own Index of Economic Freedom demonstrates empirically that today’s successful economies are not necessarily geographically large or richly blessed with natural resources. Instead, the proven path to stimulating economic growth is to advance economic freedom by promoting policies that generate a virtuous cycle of innovation, vibrant economic expansion, and more opportunities for people.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Empty skies proved that airports cause pollution, say researchers

Scientists have used the no-flying period caused by the ash cloud to show for the first time that airports are themselves significant causes of pollution. Although long suspected, the fact that mass take-offs and landings are large pollution sources could never be proved before, because aircraft pollution could not be measured as separate from the pollution caused by vehicles operating near by.

But an analysis of the first three days of the unprecedented closure of UK airspace, at Heathrow and Gatwick, shows that there is a definite air pollution caused by air traffic in the vicinity of airport hubs.

Pollution near both airports dropped significantly during the first three days of the shutdown. During last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, levels of two major pollutants, NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and NOx (the generic term for oxides of nitrogen, taken together) fell virtually to zero. (The Independent)

And their point is... ?

 

Plan B: CO2 emissions causing ocean acidification to progress at unprecedented rate

WASHINGTON -- The changing chemistry of the world's oceans is a growing global problem, says the summary of a congressionally requested study by the National Research Council, which adds that unless man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are substantially curbed, or atmospheric CO2 is controlled by some other means, the ocean will continue to become more acidic. The long-term consequences of ocean acidification on marine life are unknown, but many ecosystem changes are expected to result. The federal government's National Ocean Acidification Program, currently in development, is a positive move toward coordinating efforts to understand and respond to the problem, said the study committee.

The ocean absorbs approximately a third of man-made CO2 emissions, including those from fossil-fuel use, cement production, and deforestation, the summary says. The CO2 taken up by the ocean decreases the pH of the water and leads to a combination of chemical changes collectively known as ocean acidification. (National Academy of Sciences)

Gorebull warbling is failing, bring out the next assault on affordable energy.

"Giving society cheap, abundant energy ... would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun." -- Paul Ehrlich, ``An Ecologist's Perspective on Nuclear Power'', May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

 

and, predictably: Sigourney Weaver urges action to protect oceans

WASHINGTON — Proponents of climate change legislation usually invoke the need to reduce global warming, but actress Sigourney Weaver is coming to the defense of something that's often out of sight — oceans.

"One secret the oceans have kept very well is their sensitivity to carbon dioxide pollution," Weaver said at a Senate hearing Thursday, as she urged lawmakers to pass climate legislation that would limit carbon emissions. (AP)

Coordinated? Nah...

 

John Stossel and the Media’s “Statist Syndrome”

When he first began his career as a crusading consumer journalist in the 1970s, John Stossel believed fervently that higher taxes and greater government involvement in the marketplace were integral checks against corporate greed and malfeasance. With an irreverent, intelligent and skeptical tone that riled corporations – but resonated with viewers – Stossel’s career flourished, leading him to the pinnacle of his profession at ABC News.

But then Stossel experienced a metamorphosis in his thinking. After observing the chronic, costly failure of so many of the numerous big government solutions that he and his media colleagues repeatedly prescribed for society’s ills, Stossel reexamined his fundamental beliefs.

“I started out by viewing the marketplace as a cruel place, where you need intervention by government and lawyers to protect people,” Stossel explained shortly after undergoing his transformation. “But after watching the regulators work, I have come to believe that markets are magical and the best protectors of the consumer.” (Howard Rich, Townhall)

 

Alas, poor Britain: Guardian's climate debate shows green politics has grown up

Greg Clark, Ed Miliband, Simon Hughes could all have been fronting a Friends of the Earth campaign from a few years ago (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

 

Africa making "dramatic" headway against malaria

JOHANNESBURG - Africa is making dramatic progress in tackling malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that has killed a million people a year on the continent and stunted economic growth, a top expert said on Thursday.

Infection rates in Zambia, for instance, more than halved from 2001 to 2008 due to widespread distribution of mosquito nets, targeted spraying of insecticides and better and cheaper diagnosis and treatment, said Rob Newman, director of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Malaria Programme.

Zambia's success augurs well for similar programmes in their relative infancy in much larger countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and the one with the heaviest malaria case-load, he said.

"Where we are in Africa today compared to even a few years ago is dramatic," Newman told Reuters from WHO headquarters in Geneva. "The steepness of the decline surprises even me, and I've been doing this for a very long time. (Reuters)

 

Global biofuel drive raises risk of eviction for African farmers

African farmers risk being forced from their lands by investors or government projects as global demand for biofuels encourages changes in crop cultivation.

Research from the University of Edinburgh has found that livelihoods may be put at risk if African farmland is turned over to growing crops for biofuel.

With growing pressure to find alternatives to oil, global biofuel production trebled between 2003 and 2007 and is forecast to double again by next year. In Africa, countries including Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have enacted pro-biofuel national strategies.

Dr Tom Molony, who contributed to the research, said that the allocation of land for biofuel production by government projects or wealthy investors could mean that the rural poor would be forced off their land. (University of Edinburgh)

 

Atrazine Saves the Soil, Promotes Responsible Land Stewardship

Earth Day is a good time to recognize the vital role the herbicide atrazine places in protecting the environment and promoting responsible land stewardship, according to Syngenta.

As people around the world recognize Earth Day, Syngenta notes that it’s also a good time to recognize the vital role the herbicide atrazine plays in protecting the environment and promoting responsible land stewardship. Besides helping to effectively and affordably control a broad spectrum of weeds, atrazine is essential to conservation tillage and no-till systems in agriculture that can reduce soil erosion by up to 90 percent, when compared to intensive tillage. 

When using atrazine products, farmers in the United States are turning more to conservation tillage and no-till systems. In 2008, atrazine was applied to more than 60 percent of conservation tillage and no-till corn acres, according to the Conservation Tillage Information Center. (PRWEB)

 

UC Riverside entomologists say biocontrol of insect pest in the Galapagos Islands is a major success

Team led by Mark Hoddle measured the impact of biocontrol on the cottony cushion scale

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin, have a unique biota now highly threatened by invasive species because of increased tourism and population growth. Indeed, alien or exotic insects today constitute 23 percent of the Galapagos insect fauna. One of these insect invaders is the cottony cushion scale, a sap sucking bug native to Australia.

Capable of infesting many woody ornamentals and crops, the cottony cushion scale decreases the vitality of its host by sucking phloem sap from the leaves, twigs, branches, and trunk. But natural enemies, such as the lady bug beetle, Rodolia cardinalis, can bring the cottony cushion scale under control in a short time – a form of pest suppression called biocontrol.

In fall 2009, entomologist Mark Hoddle, the director of the Center for Invasive Species at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues visited the Galapagos Islands to assess the impact and safety of the lady bug beetle that had been released in 2002 to suppress the cottony cushion scale.

"Populations of cottony cushion scale in 2002 were so high and spread across so many islands that several endemic and native plant populations were thought to be going into decline because of heavy infestations," said Hoddle, also a biocontrol specialist in the Department of Entomology.

Combating the cottony cushion scale was a joint effort between the Charles Darwin Research Foundation and the Galapagos Islands National Park Service, which neighbors the foundation on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos. (University of California - Riverside)

 

 

Developing a theme? Climate scientist sues newspaper for 'poisoning' global warming debate

Climate modeller Andrew Weaver launches libel action in Canada for publishing 'grossly irresponsible falsehoods'

One of the world's leading climate scientists has launched a libel lawsuit against a Canadian newspaper for publishing articles that he says "poison" the debate on global warming.

In a case with potentially huge consequences for online publishers, lawyers acting for Andrew Weaver, a climate modeller at the University of Victoria, Canada, have demanded the National Post removes the articles not only from its own websites, but also from the numerous blogs and sites where they were reposted.

Weaver says the articles, published at the height of several recent controversies over the reliability of climate science in recent months, contain "grossly irresponsible falsehoods". He said he filed the suit after the newspaper refused to retract the articles.

Weaver said: "If I sit back and do nothing to clear my name, these libels will stay on the internet forever. They'll poison the factual record, misleading people who are looking for reliable scientific information about global warming."

The four articles, published from December to February, claimed that Weaver cherrypicked data to support his climate research, and that he tried to blame the "evil fossil fuel" industry for break-ins at his office in 2008 to divert attention from reported mistakes in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on which he was lead author.

The lawsuit also highlights several claims in the articles that attempt to question or undermine the scientific consensus on climate change, including that annual global mean temperatures have stopped increasing in the last decade and that climate models are "falling apart". (The Guardian)

 

Dr Fred Singer calls for investigation of Jones data 1979-1997

Fred has just circulated this email of a shortly to be released Science Editorial

SCIENCE EDITORIAL #13-2010 (April 24, 2010)
By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Let’s keep our eyes on the ball.

We need to trace the path taken by Phil Jones (and by Jim Hansen of NASA-GISS and by NOAA-NCDC) in distilling the raw thermometer readings from thousands of stations into a single number — the magical “global mean surface temperature” We need to document the process of how they selected stations. And we need to understand the kinds of corrections and adjustments they made.

The crucial period is 1979 to 1997 – the era of weather satellite data, which can provide an independent cross check. It is also the period during which the surface temperatures seemed to show a sustained rise – the “blade” of the infamous “hockeystick” graph.

In parallel, we need to examine the available proxy data for the same period. I predict they will not duplicate the claimed temperature rise of the surface

Doing all this is not a small job – it will take two teams of skilled and dedicated people. But it must be done to achieve closure — and we will learn what’s behind “hiding the decline” and “Mike [Mann]’s Nature trick.”

This will be done — if necessary, at the direction of the US Congress, provided the Nov 2010 elections produce a change in control. It’s probably the best investment the government can make in climate research. Trillions of dollars are at stake here.

I agree Fred. I have been trying to get attention on these critical issues. A great start for people is to read the Dr Fred Wood 1988 critique of Jones et al 1986 – it was a pity he concentrated on the USA and not the USSR.
People must not confuse the Jones and GISS data. Anybody serious about tracing ing “..the path taken by Phil Jones..” should be familiar with the two DoE documentation books – TR022 and TR027, linked at my pages.

Thanks to those who have emailed wondering at the lack of posts for over six weeks. I have just been very busy on other projects – and hey – ClimateGate has rolled on so well. (Warwick Hughes)

 

As we have been pointing out for years... Challenge to IPCC's Bangladesh climate predictions

DHAKA — Scientists in Bangladesh posed a fresh challenge to the UN's top climate change panel Thursday, saying its doomsday forecasts for the country in the body's landmark 2007 report were overblown.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), already under fire for errors in the 2007 report, had said a one-metre (three-foot) rise in sea levels would flood 17 percent of Bangladesh and create 20 million refugees by 2050.

The claim helped create a widespread consensus that the low-lying country was on the "front line" of climate change, but a new study argues the IPCC ignored the role sediment plays in countering sea level rises.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri defended his organisation's Bangladesh predictions Thursday, warning that "on the basis of one study one cannot jump to conclusions."

"The IPCC looks at a range of publications before we take a balanced view on what's likely to happen," he told AFP by telephone.

But IPCC's prediction did not take into account the one billion tonnes of sediment carried by Himalayan rivers into Bangladesh every year, which are crucial in countering rises in sea levels, the study funded by the Asian Development Bank said.

"Sediments have been shaping Bangladesh's coast for thousands of years," said Maminul Haque Sarker, director of the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), who led research for the study.

Previous "studies on the effects of climate change in Bangladesh, including those quoted by the IPCC, did not consider the role of sediment in the growth and adjustment process of the country's coast and rivers to the sea level rise," he told AFP.

Even if sea levels rise a maximum one metre in line with the IPCC's 2007 predictions, the new study indicates most of Bangladesh's coastline will remain intact, said Sarker.

"Based on the findings of the study, it appears that most of Bangladesh's coastline, notably the Meghna estuary, which is one of the largest in the world, would rise at the same pace as the sea level growth," he said.

"The study shows that the inundation and flooding pattern of Bangladesh will change due to the sea level rise, but it will be less than what has been predicted," by the IPCC and others, he said. (AFP)

... and AFP has previously run such reports:

Bangladesh gaining land, not losing: scientists

DHAKA, July 30 (AFP) Jul 30, 2008

New data shows that Bangladesh's landmass is increasing, contradicting forecasts that the South Asian nation will be under the waves by the end of the century, experts say.

Scientists from the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) have studied 32 years of satellite images and say Bangladesh's landmass has increased by 20 square kilometres (eight square miles) annually.

Maminul Haque Sarker, head of the department at the government-owned centre that looks at boundary changes, told AFP sediment which travelled down the big Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra -- had caused the landmass to increase.

The rivers, which meet in the centre of Bangladesh, carry more than a billion tonnes of sediment every year and most of it comes to rest on the southern coastline of the country in the Bay of Bengal where new territory is forming, he said in an interview on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for Pachauri and the IPCC, people are now beginning to take notice.

 

Dr. Pachauri, Call Your Office

A week ago, I announced the results of a citizen's audit of the climate bible - the 2007 report written by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

While the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, has insisted for years that the climate bible is based solely on source material published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, our audit found this not to be the case.

Of the 18,531 references cited by the report, a full 30 percent (5,587) were not peer-reviewed. Almost one third. Among the documents on which this supposedly gold standard report bases its arguments are press releases, discussion papers, student theses, news clippings, and advocacy material produced by green groups.

I issued a media release regarding our findings on April 14th and, within hours, our results were disseminated via some of the largest and most influential websites in the climate change blogosphere.

On April 17th, our audit was mentioned by a columnist in Britain's Telegraph newspaper. On April 19th, US-based FOX News posted an article about our audit on its website. It contained this paragraph:

The U.N. is not commenting in depth on the audit, but it has acknowledged its existence. Isabel Garcia-Gill, a spokeswoman for the IPCC in Geneva, told FoxNews.com that the U.N. knows of what she terms the "Laframboise report." She declined to answer further questions, and she asked that queries be sent by e-mail; she did not respond to such e-mails.
It is therefore distressing to read, in an essay published yesterday (April 20th) on Yale university's Environment 360 blog, that Pachauri continues to misrepresent the peer-review issue. He writes:
By the time it was completed, AR4 cited approximately 18,000 peer-reviewed publications.
Uh, sorry. Someone at head office clearly forgot to tell Pachauri that the numbers are now in and that no one believes a word he says. Three different citizen auditors sorted and counted the list of references at the end of each of the 44 chapters in AR4. On those occasions in which their totals diverged slightly, we incorporated the number most favourable to the IPCC in our calculations. (No Consensus)

 

Global warming: Examiner exclusive interview with Richard Tol: IPCC was 'captured'

Richard Tol writes of the IPCC being captured by political activists and how that colored the IPCC report AR4 in 2007. He also characterises the Oxburgh report on Climategate as 'harsh criticism', saying the report faulted their performance on their mission critical duties. As Professor Tol participated in the IPCC process since 1995, his criticism of the IPCC's internal processes and procedures should be take seriously. He has worked within the system he is criticizing. (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

 

Climategate Investigation Only Fuels Controversy

Climate Science Exposed

If the University of East Anglia report set up to investigate the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) was meant to put the Climategate controversy to rest in time for Earth Day, it failed spectacularly.

The panel was led by Ernest Oxburg, who happens to be the honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association.  Carbon capture and storage is an industry that definitely wouldn’t suffer should CO2 limits be imposed.  Also, Oxburg’s involvement with the wind-energy industry raises further conflict of interest questions.  With this in mind, the lack of depth into which the investigation went and the complete acquittal the panel gave the CRU, is not at all surprising. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Media Reality Check: 20 Years of Advocacy, Not Journalism, On Global Warming

By Rich Noyes (Bio | Archive)

For more than two decades, the so-called mainstream media have preached the dangers of manmade global warming, insisting American businesses and consumers must make massive economic sacrifices to ward off a global climate catastrophe. Not even last November’s exposure of e-mails from leading scientists on the alarmist side of the debate — showing them conniving to fudge or suppress data, discredit critics and distort the peer review process — has caused journalists to finally take a skeptical approach to radical environmentalists’ doomsaying. (NewsBusters)

 

Is it a full moon? 'Avatar' Director James Cameron: Climate Change as Great as Any Threat Since World War II

Academy Award-winning Director James Cameron said that climate change is “as great as the threat” the United States faced in World War II. His comments were made during a panel discussion about environmental policy on Capitol Hill with columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times, actress Sigourney Weaver, and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. 

“I spoke to leaders today that said we can’t use the term climate change,” Cameron said on Apr. 15. “It’s death. It’ll kill the bill. It’ll be still-born, strangle it in its crib by calling it, associating it with climate change. I say, ‘We have to wake up. We have to wake up and call it what it is.’”

He continued: “We’re facing a threat that is as great as the threat that we as a nation faced in World War II. But that was a very, very defined evil and there was a starting gun with Pearl Harbor, and there was no argument but what did we do? Like the Apollo program, we mobilized on a national scale, and we need that greatest generation again. We need a greater generation.” (CNSNews.com)

 

PIK with their wild assertions again: Copenhagen emissions targets so weak that the world is ‘in peril’

The national pledges on cutting emissions made under the Copenhagen Accord are so weak that they have left the world “in dire peril” from rising temperatures, according to a leading scientific research institute.

Political leaders, including Gordon Brown, exaggerated the significance of the accord by claiming that it would limit the increase in temperature to 2C, the study found.

The “unambitious” emissions cuts by 2020 agreed under the accord meant that the actual increase would exceed 3C, which would trigger regular heatwaves across Europe similar to the one in 2003 that killed 30,000 people.

In an analysis published by the journal Nature, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that the 76 countries that had made pledges under the accord had put off making difficult decisions and were “betting on extreme reduction rates” in emissions after 2020. (The Times)

 

Lead Economist for State Analysis Linked to Pro-Climate Law Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO -- The chief economist behind a recent state-sponsored report that found California's climate law would do little to upset the state economy is on the board of directors of a nonprofit group that has transferred money to a political campaign to defend the measure from those who want it suspended.

Larry Goulder, a professor at Stanford University, was the lead economist in an analysis released last month by the California Air Resources Board that said the law, A.B. 32, would barely affect employment once implemented in 2012. The updated report was the second stab at an impartial economic analysis by state advisers after a previous study was dismissed by critics as too optimistic (ClimateWire, March 25).

Goulder is also on the board of directors at the Energy Foundation, a group based here that funds clean energy projects in the United States and China with big-money donations from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others. (ClimateWire)

 

Will Obama’s Goldman Sachs Attack Expose Al Gore? Or Other Dems?

The SEC civil charges against Goldman Sachs challenge a firm with ties to many Democrats, including Al Gore and the entire carbon trading establishment.

April 22, 2010 - by Richard Pollock

Whether Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs has committed a crime remains to be seen, but the investigation may well uncover the environmental lobby and its public figurehead. For nearly a decade, Goldman Sachs has been a quiet but major investor in cap and trade. And Goldman’s main investment partner has been Al Gore.

About a decade ago, Goldman executives recognized that personal fortunes could be made with the invention of a carbon trading system through the passage of a U.S. cap-and-trade bill. This area was well suited to Goldman Sachs, the architects behind the complex world of futures trading and exotic derivatives.

Goldman joined Al Gore in 2004 and capitalized his investment company, Generation Investment Management. Strangely for a man who was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Gore decided to register his company in London — not the United States.

In November 2004, Gore unveiled GIM. Standing at his side was David Blood, the CEO of Goldman Asset Management. Blood was to become his co-founder (the new company was quickly nicknamed “Blood & Gore”). It was established with the initial capital of $206 million, much of it from Blood clients at Goldman Sachs.

Gore also turned to Goldman Sachs guru (and later Bush Treasury Secretary) Henry Paulson to help him establish GIM. At the time, Paulson himself was an eco-warrior of sorts, serving as chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy.

Today, seven of Gore’s GIM chief partners are from Goldman Sachs. The company is now valued at $2.2 billion. (PJM)

 

Derivatives Bill Calls For U.S. Carbon Market Study

A tough new proposal to regulate U.S. markets calls for top regulators and government officials to conduct a study on transparency in emerging U.S. carbon markets as part of the financial reform package.

The heads of the Treasury Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other U.S. agencies would be required to study oversight of existing and prospective carbon markets, according to the proposal, part of a bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee this week.

The goal of the study is "to ensure an efficient, secure, and transparent carbon market, including oversight of spot markets and derivative markets," the bill said. (Reuters)

 

Jackson Riles Business, Lawmakers With Carbon Rules

From Texas lawmakers to top coal mining executives, a wide array of business and political interests would like to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ambitious and solo plan to tackle climate change.

But standing in the way is an energetic former chemical engineer who has vowed to press ahead with a raft of changes that only Congress or the courts can block.

The first African-American to head EPA, Lisa Jackson is now the poster woman for 21st century environmentalism and standing firm against critics who say her agenda is too radical for an economy emerging from a steep recession.

"I'm sick of the same old tired arguments," Jackson said in an interview with Reuters at her Washington office. "I don't buy into this idea that we can't have economic progress...and we can't have a strong environment. I believe it's a false choice." (Reuters)

Actually Lisa, you need economic progress to afford a nice environment -- it is  a necessary precondition. Oh, and reducing an environmental resource like atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a very environmentally friendly act. Idiot!

 

Yeah? Good man! Senator George Voinovich Launches Assault Against U.S. Actions on Climate Change

Washington, D.C. -- On the eve of Earth Day, Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) is proposing an amendment that, if incorporated into the Senate's forthcoming climate and energy bill, will halt attempts -- be it by cities, states, or federal agencies -- to address and curb climate change. (Media-Newswire.com)

The Voinovich Proposal (.pdf)

 

Sen. Voinovich Throws Curveball at Senators' Plan to Limit GHG Regs in Climate Bill

Architects of the Senate climate bill yesterday confirmed plans to limit state and federal climate change programs but signaled that a sweeping measure from Sen. George Voinovich goes further than they plan to.

"The regulatory system set up in our bill would pre-empt the state governments and the federal government, including the power that EPA has certified by the court on greenhouse gases," said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who will roll out draft climate legislation Monday with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

"We are definitely looking at saying that if our bill passes, it would be the law of the land to provide predictability," Lieberman added. ( ClimateWire)

 

Congress may push immigration over climate bill

Democratic leaders in the Congress may try to win passage of contentious immigration reform legislation this year in a move that could further harm prospects for a climate-change bill, congressional aides said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

 

Senators Struggling Over Climate Compromise

U.S. senators writing a massive climate-change bill struggled on Thursday over how to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the transportation sector, Senator Lindsey Graham said, adding that he did not yet know whether a measure would be ready by Monday.

"The transportation sector is a problem," Graham told reporters. "We're just dealing with that."

Graham, a Republican, has been collaborating with Democratic Senator John Kerry and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman on a bill they hope to sketch out on Monday, but which will face an uphill fight this year.

Asked whether the trio will be able to meet that deadline, Graham responded, "I don't know yet." (Reuters)

 

Uh... who cares? Greenpeace won't fight U.S. climate bill

Greenpeace considers the climate change bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate a "baby step" that will not deliver needed change, but it will not campaign against it, the group's top executive said on Thursday. (Reuters)

 

Global Climate Deal Best Option, But Road Rough: U.N.

The head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) maintained a global climate treaty was better than a range of small-scale agreements, but said it was unlikely a deal to combat global warming would be reached this year. (Reuters)

 

EU Climate Policy Must Not Harm Steelmakers: Lobby

The European Union's carbon emissions trading regulations must not have a negative impact on steelmakers who are already facing higher prices for raw materials, the European steel lobby said on Thursday.

"The Commission must ensure that implementation of the EU emissions trading directive does not increase costs for the most CO2 efficient steelmakers," the European steelmakers association Eurofer said in a statement.

It said best performing steelmakers should receive 100 percent free emissions allocations to stay competitive. (Reuters)

 

The Dangers of Climate Paternalism

There are many clear examples of climate paternalism valuing “being green” over human life. Senators John Kerry, Patrick Leahy and Rep Barney Frank wanted the World Bank to turn down a loan for a coal-fired plant in South Africa, telling World Bank President Robert Zoellick, “We cannot ignore the reality that our planet is hurtling toward potentially catastrophic climate change.” South Africa’s Finance Minister points out the new plant is “necessary to sustain the growth rates [the country needs] to create jobs.” The Obama Administration ultimately abstained on the vote.

The Kerry-Leahy-Frank approach is just one of many clear examples of climate paternalism valuing “being green” over human life. Environmental activists lobby for government policies and fail to take into account the unintended consequences that lead to economic and environmentally destructive outcomes and worse, the loss of human life. One of the worst examples is the DDT ban.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, April 22nd 2010

It’s Earth Day. What better time to gather around the snark and sing koombaya as we throw hippie dreams of global domination and a future free of personal hygiene onto the bonfire of the realities. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Al Gore film sparks controversy in NZ

Politicians have been asked to consider whether New Zealand's students are protected from political indoctrination in schools after the showing of Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth prompted a petition to Parliament.

The petition of former ACT MP Muriel Newman asked that New Zealand school children be protected from political indoctrination by inserting into the Education Act provisions similar to those in the British act. (NZPA)

 

700 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of "Man-Made" Global Warming

The following papers support skepticism of "man-made" global warming or the environmental or economic effects of. Addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers are not included in the peer-reviewed paper count. There are many more listings than just the 700 papers. The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific position to any of the authors. This list will be updated and corrected as necessary. (Popular Technology)

 

Where There's Smoke ...

TAU says lightning can show how pollution alters thunderstorm intensity

Native Americans used smoke signals to indicate danger, and a white plume is sent up by the Vatican when a new Pope is chosen. Now, a new research project by Tel Aviv University researchers and their colleagues shows that where there's "smoke" there may be significant consequences for local weather patterns, rainfall and thunderstorms.

In a new study, Prof. Colin Price, head of Tel Aviv University's Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science, researched data on lightning patterns in the Amazon to show how clouds are affected by particulate matter emitted by the fires used for slash-and-burn foresting practices. His findings, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, could be used by climate change researchers trying to understand the impact of pollution on global weather patterns.

Along with colleagues at the Weizmann Institute and the Open University in Israel, Prof. Price demonstrated how pollution's effects on cloud development could negatively impact our environment. While low levels of particulate matter actually help the development of thunderstorms, the reverse is true once a certain concentration is reached — the particles then inhibit the formation of clouds and thunderstorms.

"The clouds just dry up," he says. (AFTAU)

 

The Significance of the E-Mail Interchange with Kevin Trenberth and Josh Willis

On Friday of last week, and Monday and Tuesday of this week, I presented the following posts:

Further Feedback From Kevin Trenberth And Feedback From Josh Willis On The UCAR Press Release

Comments On Two Papers By Kevin Trenberth On The Global Climate Energy Budget

Is There “Missing” Heat In The Climate System? My Comments On This NCAR Press Release

My son had the post

The Missing Heat

I want to summarize today what are the main conclusions from this exchange of perspectives:

  • First, when colleagues who differ can interact in a constructive manner, we all benefit by an improved understanding of the science issues and the way forward to resolve remaining uncertainties.
  • In terms of climate science, a very substantive conclusion from this interchange of perspectives is that we do not need to continue to use the global average surface temperature trend (with its unresolved biases and uncertainties) to diagnose global warming. The trends in the upper ocean heat content, which has been accurately measured since at least 2005, and will for the foreseeable future, should be adopted as the primary metric to monitor global warming.

This second finding does not mean continued analyses of surface temperatures and their anomalies are not needed [they certainly are for length of growing season, heating degree days, etc], but for the specific metric of global warming (and cooling), it is an inadequate metric compared with ocean heat content changes.

We need near-real time plots of the ocean heat content changes over time, such as given in the figure in

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

Four-year rate of the global upper 700 m of ocean heat changes in Joules at monthly time intervals. One standard error value is also shown. (Figure courtesy of Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

It will be illuminating and informative to see how NCDC (Tom Karl), GISS (Jim Hansen), and CRU (Phil Jones)  respond to this recognition that it is time to move past the surface temperature trend as the “gold standard” of global warming. (Climate Science)

 

Oil Import Make Believe

Posted by Jerry Taylor

A conversation with documentarian Robert Stone regarding Earth Day is featured today in The New York Times’s “Dot Earth” online column.  In the course of his conversation with the Times’s Andrew Revkin, Mr. Stone — who is quite alarmed about our reliance on foreign oil — asks:  “How many Americans know that we send about $800 billion to the Middle East every year for oil?”

Hopefully, not many. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. spent $95.4 billion on crude oil imports from OPEC sources in 2009.  But not all OPEC members are from the Middle East.  That $95.4 billion includes dollars spent on oil originating from Algeria ($6.3 billion), Angola ($9 billion), Ecuador ($3.4 billion), Nigeria ($17.7 billion), and Venezuela ($23.4 billion) – none of which are in the Middle East.  Subtract out that oil and we arrive at $35.6 billion spent on Middle Eastern crude oil (a figure rounded from the original nominal counts.  I have used the customs value – that is, the estimated value — of the oil being imported rather than the figures that include additional costs for insurance and transportation because money being spent on insurance and shipping goes to third parties that are not for the most part located in the Middle East.  But if one wants to use those slightly higher figures, it won’t change the numbers very much at all).

For what it’s worth, the total amount of dollars Americans sent abroad for crude oil from all sources was $188.5 billion last year.

Even if the figure were $800 billion, so what?  No one is forcing refineries to buy crude oil from foreign suppliers.  They presumably believe that the oil at issue is more valuable than the money that must be offered to secure said oil and that oil from other sources is more expensive than oil from the Middle East. Hence, they buy. This is by definition a wealth creating transaction for American business enterprises. Foreign trade, Mr. Stone, is a good thing.

The implicit claim, of course, is that there are negative externalities associated with foreign oil consumption. This, however, is faith masquerading as fact (an argument also well made by Cato adjunct scholar Richard Gordon).

Regardless, Mr. Stone overstates the alleged problem by orders of magnitude. (Cato at liberty)

 

This Earth Day, Thank Big Oil

What about the benefits of oil? (And check out PJTV: Earth Day at 40: Has it Become a Pro-Nature Movement or an Anti-Industrial Religion?)
April 22, 2010
- by Alex Epstein

This Earth Day, take a moment to thank the Greens’ biggest punching bag: Big Oil.

Most of us think of oil simply as the stuff that puts gasoline in our car. But oil, thanks to the ingenuity of the oil industry, does so much more. For one, it’s the building block for thousands of petroleum products — everything from Blu-Ray discs to asphalt to stitches to lipstick. And it provides the safest, most powerful, most convenient fuel, not only for automobiles but for the freighters, jets, trucks, and industrial machinery that power our global economy. (PJM)

 

Doubt cast over power plant's future

The future of one of north-east England's largest industrial plants, on which thousands of jobs depend, was thrown into uncertainty yesterday following a European court of justice decision.

The court, sitting in Luxembourg, ruled that the UK government has failed to fulfil its obligations to enforce the large combustion plants directive on the Lynemouth power plant at the Alcan smelter site in Northumberland. The ruling, against which there is no right of appeal, means adaptations costing at least £200m will have to be made to the coal-fired plant.

The Alcan complex in south-east Northumberland, an area hard hit by the loss of traditional heavy industry, employs 650 people directly and indirectly supports 3,500 jobs. Since its owner, Rio Tinto Alcan, operates globally, the Northumberland plant will have to fight its case for investment against other locations worldwide.

Yesterday Rio Tinto Alcan insisted it had demonstrated "to everyone's satisfaction" that local air quality meets UK and European standards. Expressing disappointment with the verdict, which follows nearly a decade of talks, it said it would examine with the UK government the judgment's details and options for further improvement. Ministers said they accepted the court's ruling. (Financial Times)

 

May Your Earth Day Glow Brightly

callaway-nuclear2

According to Earth Day founder, the late-Senator Gaylord Nelson, the commemoration rose out of “concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes and air.” These are important concerns, indeed. In fact, conserving the nation’s environmental beauty and natural resources is something that most America’s can agree on. Perhaps that is why there is growing public and political support for nuclear power.

More than any other source of energy, nuclear technology makes the production of massive amounts of reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly power possible. Of course the notion of “environmentally friendly” can be subjective. But based on Senator Nelson’s concerns, nuclear seems to fit the bill better than anything.

Conserving land. A traditional nuclear power plant takes up a few hundred acres. And the power produced there is often enough to keep the lights on for millions of people. Wind and solar on the other hand can take thousands or tens of thousands of acres to produce the same amounts of energy. New reactor technologies could be even less land intensive.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

The Cost of Al Gore’s Renewable Energy Plan

Earth Day is a great day for politicians to push their clean energy agenda and President Barack Obama made this clear when he reiterated in his Earth Day video message that we need to transition to a clean energy economy. Politicians say that we should use the earth’s renewable resources, most notably the wind and the sun, to power our country. Some Members of Congress are even pushing for a federal mandate that requires a predetermined percentage of our nation’s electricity come from certain energy sources. The champion of ideas, as always, is Al Gore, who believes we can supply all our energy with renewable energy. But the reality is if we pursued Al Gore’s renewable energy dream, it would be American electricity consumers’ worst nightmare.

Former vice president Al Gore has a man-on-the-moon type mission for America’s energy future. In July of 2008 he called for the United States to commit to having 100 percent renewable energy power our nation – in just 10 years. That means all of the country’s electricity would be supplied by renewable energy by 2018. (Excluding hydro, renewables generated 3 percent in 2008) In his speech Gore said: Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Wind farm planning applications ‘dealt with speedily in Britain’

Wind farms are much easier to build in Britain than in most of the rest of Europe, according to a study that contradicts claims by the turbine industry that the planning system is too slow and needs to be reformed. (The Times)

 

Spain Renewables Industry Fears Subsidy Cuts

Spain's renewable energy industry joined forces on Thursday to ask the government to clarify whether it plans to retroactively cut subsidies, as market-moving media reports have suggested. (Reuters)

 

German Coalition Agrees On Solar Power Cuts: Sources

Germany's ruling coalition will only make slight changes to planned reductions in solar power incentives, sources told Reuters late Thursday, with the brunt of the cuts to remain unchanged.

The sources said parliamentary experts in Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right administration agreed that so-called feed-in tariffs for new rooftop solar installations will be cut by 16 percent from July as planned.

Most open-field installations will be cut by 15 percent, with support for farmland solar systems to be scrapped completely, the sources said. (Reuters)

 

 

For visiting watermelons on dearth day, here's Father Earth, the Marxist Bolshevik Socialist honored this day:

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (born Vladimir Ulyanov, 1870-1924) was the leading figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. When the Russian Socialist Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) split into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks at the turn of the twentieth century, Lenin became leader of the Bolshevik faction. He went on to direct the Bolsheviks during the October Revolution in St. Petersburg (or Petrograd, later renamed Leningrad in Lenin's honor). After his death in Gorki, Russia, USSR, in January of 1924, he was succeeded by Joseph Stalin.

 

Earth Day: Lenin's 140th birthday

Today, on April 22nd, the posthumous children of Vladimir Lenin celebrate their great holiday, the so-called Earth Day.

Vladimir Lenin was born in Simbirsk (later Ulyanovsk) on April 22nd, 1870 - or April 10th, according to the Old System. The first Earth Day was celebrated exactly on Lenin's 100th birthday, on April 22nd, 1970.

Lenin's mother, Maria Blank, was a schoolmistress. If you think that this is already pretty close to physics, you should notice that Lenin's father, Ilya Ulyanov, was actually a physics instructor!

Much like his posthumous children, the environmentalists, he was obsessed with the writings of Marx. And he promoted them to a pragmatic realistic version, Marxism-Leninism. It was so realistic that it managed to cripple Russia, surrounding nations, and most of Central and Eastern Europe for much of the 20th century.

So congratulations to all the people who celebrate on April 22nd. And please, notice that you have already vastly exceeded the tolerable level of murders and economic and moral devastation that can be forgiven to one such a movement. So if you want to keep the whole planet red or green or whatever color you choose, you will really have to look for a different planet, Planet B, where you may try to realize your pathological desires.

On this planet, there's no longer any room for you, environmentalists and communists. Go away.

And that's the memo. (The Reference Frame)

 

Julian Morris: A skeptical look at Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, participants at the first National Environmental Teach-in listened to sermons about the dangers of increasing human numbers, nuclear Armageddon, pesticides, garbage and various other alleged perils. Although many of these fears had been brewing for years, it was the genius of the organizers of Earth Day to bring them all together under one apocalyptic umbrella. (Providence Journal)

 

Earth Day: Humanity — Earth’s best friend

Behind Earth Day lies the view that humans are alien to nature

By Pierre Desrochers

There is a tendency in the environmental movement to present the actions of human beings as fundamentally alien to nature and thus harmful to it. A radical fringe among ecologists holds that the very existence of humans, which happen to be a species resulting from natural evolution, is about as beneficial to Mother Nature as a cancer.

This view of nature, a deep background feature behind the creation of Earth Day, is not new. The idea that Nature is in fragile balance and under constant threat from human greed goes back much further than is generally believed. 

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

A Response to the President Obama’s Earth Day Message

For Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, President Obama and the White House released a video praising Americans for our environmental awareness, and urging us to get personally involved with improving our local environments. The president’s message of individual responsibility is commendable but his message that we’ll spend and regulate our way to a clean energy economy is troubling.

“It’s clear change won’t come from Washington alone,” the president said in his message. The reality is that most productive change comes from outside Washington. The government is good at obstructing that progress or creating regulations that lag behind the improvements made organically. For instance, President Obama praised the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act but air and water quality were improving before the passage of these bills. While the right government regulations certainly play a role, often they are prohibitively expensive and even counterproductive. Take the Endangered Species Act, for instance, which creates perverse incentives for landowners to destroy their land if endangered species become an economic liability. Jonathan Adler, law professor at Case Western, explains,

“Landowners have been known to destroy or degrade potential habitat on their land preemptively in order to prevent the imposition of the act’s requirements. It is not illegal to modify land that might become endangered species habitat some day in the future, nor are landowners required to take affirmative steps to maintain endangered species habitat beyond refraining from actions that “harm” endangered species.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Earth Day 40

Commentary by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels

Isn’t it fitting that Earth Day, April 22, comes a mere week after the government rakes in all your money? That’s especially true this year, as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is readying a bipartisan effort to pick your pocket with a new energy tax to fight dreaded global warming.

In the last year we have seen Climategate, Copenhagen, EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide endangers human health and welfare, and the improbably large number of errors and gaffs found in the latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climategate clearly shows a pervasive attempt to paint, in the words of one of its tree ring experts, Keith Briffa, a “nice, tidy story” about global warming. In the same emails, Phil Jones, Briffa’s boss, wishes for global warming to resume so that he can be proven right. Some objectivity.


But, for all the claims of bias, no one has quantitatively analyzed recent news. In particular, this applies to the errors and misstatements recently uncovered in the last compendium of the IPCC. Is there indeed a pervasive pattern of bias in the organization that claims to represent “the consensus of scientists”? This is certainly comprised of a much larger set of individuals than were found in Climategate. (WCR)

 

Myths About Capitalism

I won 19 Emmy Awards by reporting a myth: that business constantly rips us off -- that capitalism is mostly cruel and unfair.

I know that's a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of "The 5 Big Lies About American Business" by Michael Medved.

I invite him on [today]'s Fox Business Network show to talk about that.

"You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action." (John Stossel, Townhall)

 

Will They Take 'No' As Answer To VAT?

Taxation: Ask almost anyone — economists, politicians, entrepreneurs, average Americans — and they'll tell you a value-added tax is a bad idea. So why does the White House continue to consider it?

After hearing VAT opponents smeared as anti-government radicals and worse, we decided to poll Americans on the issue. What our IBD/TIPP poll found was surprising: Not only is the VAT unpopular, but it's unpopular across the board, regardless of political affiliation. (IBD)

 

The Excellent Powder

DDT was the most important life-saving chemical of the past century and, until a better chemical comes along, it will be one of the most important of the first few decades of this century too.

Winston Churchill was the first national leader to applaud the insecticide DDT. Sixty-six years ago, when prime minister of Britain, he praised the “excellent powder,” which was preventing thousands of allied troops, refugees, and other victims of war from dying of typhus, yellow fever, and malaria. For the next 20 years, DDT became seen as the world’s most successful public health insecticide, saving millions of lives from insect‐borne diseases. It helped eradicate lethal diseases from dozens of countries, including the United States and, by the 1970s, all of Europe.

But one book, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, changed DDT from global savior to global pariah. Published in 1962, its influence was gradual but irrevocable. Carson made emotional claims of great harm to wildlife and human health, but these were easy to test, and most proved false. The persistence of DDT, which made it so valuable as a long-lasting insecticide, meant that it did bio-accumulate up the food chain; as a precaution, it was banned for widespread agricultural use in most countries. Yet despite decades of use in disease prevention, with hundreds of millions being exposed to moderate levels of the chemical, no one has been able to show human harm from it. Claims of DDT’s harm to human health fail the most basic epidemiological criteria required to prove cause-and-effect relationships. Indeed, after thousands of studies on its effects, DDT remains the world’s most misunderstood chemical.

Despite decades of DDT use in disease prevention, with hundreds of millions being exposed to moderate levels of the chemical, no one has been able to show human harm from it.

As the recent revelations about climate science attest, once the preferred political decision has been reached, the science supporting this conclusion is funded and promoted, leading to a reinforced policy position. But eventually truth will win out and when people understand how policy decisions have become corrupted, uncertainty and outrage remain. In many respects the misuse of scientific evidence on DDT is far worse than the recent revelations of Climategate. (Roger Bate, American Magazine)

 

Reason.tv: Demonizing DDT—Challenging a scare campaign that has cost millions of lives

April 21, 2010

In The Excellent Powder: DDT's Political and Scientific History, Richard Tren and Donald Roberts argue that the infamous insecticide is the world's greatest public-health success stories, saving millions of lives by preventing insect-borne disease. Unfortunately for those in areas still infested with mosquitoes and other flying bugs, DDT is also the world's most-misunderstood substance, the target of a decades-long scientifically ignorant and ideologically motivated campaign that has vastly limited its use and applications.

From Rachel Carson in the 1960s to contemporary critics, DDT has been the object of what Roberts, a professor of tropical public health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, calls "scare campaigns" that link DDT to "theoretical harms to wildlife and human life that simply don't exist."

Dubbed "the excellent powder" by Winston Churchill for its life-saving qualities, DDT has the potential to transform the developing world from a malarial hell into something else again. Yet as Tren, the winner of the 2009 Julian L. Simon Award, warns, under current international conventions, global DDT production is scheduled to be halted in 2017, thereby consigning much of the world to less-effective and more-expensive alternatives that will consign millions of poor people to living hell.

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down with Tren and Roberts, who are part of Africa Fighting Malaria, to talk about how DDT got such a bad rap and what can be done to set the record straight.

Approximately 9.15 minutes. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Dan Hayes; edited by Hayes and Josh Swain.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable iPod, HD, and audio versions of all our videos. And subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

 

New Book: Fighting the Diseases of Poverty

Edited by Philip Stevens
Order a copy from Transaction publishers

Click here for the full text pdf (1,613 kb)

Introduction (pdf: 73 kb)
Philip Stevens

Chapter 1: Wealth, health and the cycle of progress (pdf: 216 kb)
Indur Goklany
Human beings are currently healthier and living longer than any other point in history. This is due to the "mutually reinforcing, co-evolving forces of economic growth, technological change and free trade."

Chapter 2: South Africa's healthcare under threat (pdf: 107 kb)
Johan Biermann
South Africa is part of a global trend to centralise and increase the role of government in healthcare provision. Recent reforms in the country have failed to take into account the many shortcomings of 'socialised' systems like Britain's NHS, and will emasculate the world-class private sector while failing to improve provision for the poor.

Chapter 3: Corruption in public health (pdf: 373 kb)
Maureen Lewis
Donors and recipient governments have historically responded to healthcare funding needs without properly considering effectiveness and outcomes. As a result, corruption in health bureaucracies in less developed countries has largely gone addressed, severely blunting the effectiveness of donor funding. Health-related MDGs will be very difficult to meet unless the institutional factors that incentivise corruption are addressed.

Chapter 4: Diseases of Poverty and the 10/90 gap (pdf: 85 kb)
Philip Stevens
Activists claim that global pharmaceutical R&D is more concerned with developing lifestyle drugs for western markets than it is for developing drugs for the diseases of poverty. They therefore claim that market driven R&D is contributing to a health crisis in less developed countries. An analysis of WHO/UN data shows this presumption to be highly misleading, in large part because the disease burden of less developed countries increasingly resembles that of their wealthier peers. The real problem in these countries is distributing basic, cheap off-patent medicines to those in need.

Chapter 5: Increasing access to medicines (pdf: 144 kb)
Prof Khalil Ahmed, Franklin Cudjoe, Eustace Davie, Dr John Kilama, Prof Marín Krause, Andrés Mejia, Barun Mitra, Nonoy Oplas, Martín Simonetta, Philip Stevens, Jose Luis Tapia, Margaret Tse, Jasson Urbach
Access to medicines in less developed countries is hindered by a series of self-generated policy failures including: weak healthcare infrastructure, regulatory environments that are hostile to health insurance markets and other risk-pooling mechanisms, taxes, tariffs and price controls on medicines. Intellectual property is rarely a barrier to access to medicines. Rather, it a vital incentive for the development of new drugs for the diseases of poverty.

Chapter 6: Cost effective means of fighting the diseases of poverty (pdf: 83 kb)
Prof Khalil Ahmed, Franklin Cudjoe, Eustace Davie, Dr John Kilama, Prof Marín Krause, Andrés Mejia, Barun Mitra, Nonoy Oplas, Martín Simonetta, Philip Stevens, Jose Luis Tapia, Margaret Tse, Jasson Urbach
Many UN sponsored global disease programmes, including those for malaria and HIV/AIDS, have been expensive failures. This is frequently because planners in Geneva often have little idea of the reality faced by people on the ground, and are sometimes pressured into making questionable strategic decisions by outside political and NGO pressure. With HIV/AIDS, expensive and difficult treatment programmes have been prioritised over prevention, despite the lack of workable health infrastructure. With malaria, political pressures lead to the neglect of DDT for vector control, despite its demonstrable success in reducing prevalence. As a result, expensive and grandiose UN programmes have failed. Meanwhile, political activism is hindering the uptake of genetically-modified crops which could address many of the health problems associated with malnutrition.

Chapter 7: Counterfeit medicines in Less Developed Countries: problems and solutions (pdf: 76 kb)
Julian Morris & Philip Stevens
Counterfeit medicines are an increasing health problem in less developed countries, where the majority of the global supply is manufactured. These manufacturers thrive in countries in which there is a weak rule of law, the legal system is corrupt, and trade marks and other forms of intellectual property are not respected or enforced. Reform of these areas is imperative.

Chapter 8: The value of vaccination (pdf: 99 kb)
David Bloom, David Canning and Mark Weston
Vaccination programmes have led to the virtual eradication of preventable childhood diseases in wealthy countries. However, 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year in less developed countries. Donors have not given sufficient resources to these programmes because they have looked at the narrow benefits of averted medical costs, instead of looking at the broader economic benefits of a healthier and therefore more productive population. As a result, donor support for vaccination has stalled since the 1970s and 1980s as other health problems have become more politically pressing.

Chapter 9: The World Health Organisation: a time for reconstitution (pdf: 101 kb)
Richard Wagner
An examination of the WHO's budget for 2006-7 reveals less than half is allocated to communicable diseases, and the majority is spent on issues that are of little concern to the poor such as road safety and obesity. These 'politically correct' activities are seemingly intended to satisfy the political demands of the WHO's funders - predominantly wealthy countries - and to ensure a steady flow of funds to sustain its own bureaucracy. Meanwhile, far too much of its budget is spent on public relations and bureaucratic self-promotion.

Notes (pdf: 57 kb)

Sources (pdf: 95 kb) (Campaign for Fighting Diseases)

 

Urgency needed in pandemic preparation: U.S. official

HANOI - The task of preparing for flu pandemics remains urgent, and the world must guard against complacency in the wake of the H1N1 outbreak, which appears less deadly than a potential bird flu pandemic, a U.S. health official said.

Participants in a ministerial conference on influenza in Hanoi, "felt the need to re-commit" to the effort, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

 

Did WHO Knowingly Hype Swine Flu?

The so-called "pandemic" didn't quite match up to the "best-case scenarios" of "global excess deaths in the range of 2 million to 7.4 million.

Having spread H1N1 swine flu hysteria for nearly a year, the World Health Organization’s "swine flu czar," Keiji Fukuda, last week finally "fessed up" to agency wrongdoing. But it’s like listening to Enron admitting to a tabulation error. "I think we did not convey the uncertainty" about the risks of the flu strain, he said.

Sorry, but this was no poor communications problem. Indeed, earlier this year Wolfgang Wodarg, an epidemiologist with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, accused the WHO of creating a "false pandemic" that’s "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."

At the least, by portraying as a raging razorback what proved to be more of a pathetic piglet, the WHO needlessly scared the public, wasted vast billions of dollars, destroyed the value of the term "flu pandemic" and perhaps left the organization’s reputation "tarnished" and "irreparably damaged," as one authority put it. ( Michael Fumento, AOL News)

 

Recriminations erupt in ash-fueled aviation crisis

AMSTERDAM — Airlines toted up losses topping $2 billion and struggled to get hundreds of thousands of travelers back home Wednesday after a week of crippled air travel, as questions and recriminations erupted over Europe's chaotic response to the volcanic ash cloud.

Civil aviation authorities defended their decisions to ground fleets and close the skies — and later to reopen them — against heated charges by airline chiefs that the decisions were based on flawed data or unsubstantiated fears. (AP)

 

Oh... Dual studies vilify sugar and salt in U.S. diet

WASHINGTON - Sugar and salt are damaging the health of Americans by raising blood pressure and cholesterol -- and regulation may be the only way to help, researchers agree.

Two reports published on Tuesday take aim at the much-loved ingredients and add to a growing body of scientific opinion that Americans won't be able to eat more healthily without help from the food industry.

Americans have been eating more and more sugar and salt in recent decades and most of it is not sprinkled on food. It is in the burgers, sodas and processed foods that are hastily gobbled by adults and children alike, the reports show.

Education efforts to help Americans cut down on salt have not worked and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should start regulating the industry to help remove it from food, a panel at the Institute of Medicine said.

Regulators and the food industry agree that Americans cannot give up salt cold-turkey and will have to be gradually weaned off it. Sodium adds flavor and texture to food to make it palatable and can extend its shelf life. (Reuters)

 

Researchers find ethnicity key to accurate obesity measurements

The current National Institutes of Health body mass index cutoff values for obesity are too high for many reproductive-age women in the U.S. and should be adjusted to account for ethnic differences in body composition to produce proper diagnosis of obesity, according to new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

 

Can Sesame Street Help Us Fight Obesity?

What happens when you put a picture of a Sesame Street character on vegetables? Something like this:

Findings from Sesame Workshop's initial "Elmo/ Broccoli" study indicated that intake of a particular food increased if it carried a sticker of a Sesame Street character. For example, in the control group (no characters on either food) 78 percent of children participating in the study chose a chocolate bar over broccoli, whereas 22 percent chose the broccoli. However, when an Elmo sticker was placed on the broccoli and an unknown character was placed on the chocolate bar, 50 percent chose the chocolate bar and 50 percent chose the broccoli. Such outcomes suggest that the Sesame Street characters could play a strong role in increasing the appeal of healthy foods.

(The Atlantic)

Maybe... might also be that broccoli could destroy Elmo's popularity since kids soon figure out what they do and don't like.

 

Animal feed and automobiles make the San Joaquin Valley a smog hotspot

A new study identifies cattle feed as a possible culprit in the long-standing mystery of why California's San Joaquin Valley — a moderately-populated agricultural region — has higher levels of ozone (one of the main ingredients in smog) than many densely-populated cities. The report, which explains how fermented cattle feed works with automotive exhausts in forming ozone, is in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Michael Kleeman and colleagues note that high ozone levels in the San Joaquin Valley, which produces 10 percent of America's food, have puzzled scientists for years. Motor vehicles are the major source of smog elsewhere, but the Valley has fewer motor vehicles compared to big urban areas with similar levels of ozone. Suspicion thus fell on farming activities, and the new study investigated the role of fermented livestock feed.

The paper documents emissions of reactive organic gases, which react with combustion emissions and sunlight to form smog, from seven different animal feeds. It shows how fermented feed like silage appears to be the largest man-made source of these organic gases that contribute to ozone formation in the Valley even more than automobiles. The until-now-unrecognized animal-feed factor may account for the failure of traditional vehicle smog control regulations in the Valley, they note. (American Chemical Society)

Tell me again why we must blindly follow Californian vehicle emissions regulations?

 

How road hogs became the scourge of the autobahn

It may seem logical to swerve out of the way when faced with a wild boar on the road, but the Teutonic equivalent of the RAC, Germany's ADAC automobile club, thinks otherwise.

The motoring group has advised German drivers to plough straight into the animal, if necessary, when confronted by one on the road. It also produced graphic pictures to show the outcome.

Crashing into boars was infinitely better than trying to swerve out of their way because of the risk of running into an oncoming vehicle, the ADAC said yesterday.

"If a wild animal appears suddenly, apply the brakes as hard as possible, keep a tight grip on the steering wheel and stay in lane. In the worst case scenario a collision with the animal has to be accepted."

Photographs taken during a 50mph ADAC "test" collision, involving a life-sized dummy model boar and two piglets, showed that the entire front of the VW car used was wrecked.

"A collision with wild boar need not be life-threatening. The front of the vehicle was damaged but the passenger cell remained stable," the ADAC said.

The controlled test was the organisation's latest response to the growing number of accidents involving wild animals on Germany's roads. A total of 27 peopled were killed and more than 3,000 injured last year, not counting the tens of thousands of animals killed.

The rise in animal-related accidents has been blamed in particular on an explosion in Germany's wild boar population which is estimated to have increased at least six-fold over the past three years to reach a population of 2.5 million (one for every 32 Germans). (The Independent)

 

Water, fair and foul

Tel Aviv University demonstrates that UV light can zap unwanted "life" in drinking water and save taxpayer dollars

Does your drinking water smell foul, or are you worried that chemicals might be damaging your family's health? Water treatment facilities currently use chlorine that produces carcinogenic by-products to keep your tapwater clean, but Tel Aviv University scientists have determined that ultra-violet (UV) light might be a better solution.

Dr. Hadas Mamane of Tel Aviv University's Porter School of Environmental Science and Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Eliora Ron of TAU's George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and their doctoral student Anat Lakretz of TAU's School of Mechanical Engineering have recently determined the optimal UV wavelength for keeping water clean of microorganisms. Their approach could be used by water treatment plants as well as large-scale desalination facilities to destroy health-threatening microorganisms and make these facilities more efficient. (American Friends of Tel Aviv University)

 

Belo Monte dam approval provokes 'bloodshed' threats from Amazon Indians

Brazil has given the go-ahead for one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams to be built in the Amazon rainforest, sparking immediate protests and threats of violence. (TDT)

 

 

Second Mann spoof video removed

Somebody just can’t handle satire.

PRESS RELEASE
Wednesday, April 21st 2010
CONTACT
Jeff Davis
No Cap and Trade Coalition
612-605-3303 Ext. 702
Jeff.davis@mnmajority.org

Video Spoofing Michael Mann Removed by YouTube – Bogus Reason Given

St. Paul — At a Washington DC press conference yesterday, the No Cap and Trade Coalition announced a new video spoofing prominent ‘climategate’ scientist, Dr. Michael Mann and his infamous ‘hockey stick chart’ showing rapidly increasing global temperatures in recent decades. The video was posted on YouTube until Wednesday afternoon, when the Google-owned video site removed the video, citing non-existent copyright claims by Jib Jab as the reason. The video was produced in response to a cease and desist demand from Michael Mann’s attorney over an older video produced by Minnesotans for Global Warming. The original Hide the Decline video they created used some Jib Jab-provided animation, under their general license and with their expressed written consent, but the new video, recently removed by YouTube contains no such content. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

No problem, you can see it on our main page, along with the first version.

 

Climate Experts Square Off Over Video

Experts on opposing sides of the global-warming debate are now squaring off against each other over a satirical Internet video.

On one side is Dr. Michael Mann, professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, who has been ensnared in the Climategate scandal. He is threatening to sue Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) after the group produced a satirical video called “Hide the Decline,” which features Mann’s face and makes fun of his scientific findings, and accuses him of covering up evidence of an apparent decline in temperatures over the past decade.

On the other side is Dr. Patrick Michaels, a contributing author and reviewer on the U.N.’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a well-known skeptic of global-warming alarmism. At a National Press Club press conference Tuesday, Michaels criticized Mann for having “very, very, very thin skin.”

The notion that a professor would file a lawsuit over a satirical video “is just quite shocking,” said Dr. Michaels. (Matt Hadro, Human Events)

Hmm... "However, Dr. Michaels pointed out that Dr. Mann did not manipulate the data, as the video seemed to assert, but used techniques that were conducive to the conclusions he drew.

“Mike did not fudge data,” Dr. Michaels said. “He used a technique that, because of the mean period that was referenced to, was likely to give the result that it gave.” Dr. Mann simply “analyzed [the data] in an interesting way,” Dr. Michaels said.
"

I think Pat is being polite to the point of disingenuousness. Perhaps he is not aware of Mann's "CENSORED" data directory and it's ramifications? Repeated from yesterday:

The man most responsible for unearthing Mann's apparent malfeasance would be Steve McIntyre, so let us repost one of his brief and damning reconstructions in all its elegant succinctness:

The 5 Censored PCs

When one contrasts the extraordinary MBH claims of robustness of their reconstruction with the admitted non-robustness of this reconstruction to the PC4 of the North American tree ring network, it is interesting to examine the first 5 PC series in the CENSORED file at Mann’s FTP site. These are plotted in the following figure.

First 5 PCs from Mann's CENSORED Directory

These PC series have been calculated from the 50 non-bristlecone pine series and obviously there is no 20th century hockey stick shaped series among them. These PC series have presumably been calculated with Mann’s flawed PC method, but even this method could not mine a hockey stick shape without the bristlecones. This shows about as vividly as one could imagine that the hockey stick is made out of bristlecone pine. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, February 4, 2005)

Mann hid conflicting series in the "Back to 1400 CENSORED" directory and used only patently unsuitable bristlecone pines to create his desired illusion and this is not seen as "fudging data"? Really?

Well I'll come right out and say it: Mann's "nature trick" and "hiding the decline" are data fudges and his careful selection of tree ring series and use of a hockey stick shape selecting algorithm show he fabricated the hockey stick chart. He has personally materially benefited from that fabrication. How is that not fraud?

Now, Mikey, your correspondence from "Fred Smiff, Lawyer" or whoever can be e-mailed to me at editor at junkscience dot com. Oh, and see if you can find one that can tell the difference between "cached" and "cashed" this time, your last one seemed to have something of a Freudian slip there.

 

Mann sues: Minnesotans say “Go ahead. Make my day”

A joint post with Baa Humbug

It’s all about audacity.

Michael Mann’s contribution to modern science may one day be remembered as the guy who made it statistically possible to get  a thousand year temperature graph using any local telephone directory as a data source. (Who needs tree-rings?)

If you were a guy who’d been caught producing scientific work so inept that people could pour in random data and get the same “curve”, then you might take a satirical video on the chin (or crawl into a hole). But if you’re Michael Mann, and you also used the wrong proxy, you hid your data, used graphs upside down, and invented deceptive “tricks” to hide declines, then you might call your lawyers.

The Minnestoans for Global Warming (M4GW) made the hilariously popular Hide The Decline video, which has now been removed from YouTube. Mann claims they defamed him “by leaving viewers with the incorrect impression that he falsified data to generate desired results in connection with his research activities”. The Minnesotans said “please do”, and responded undaunted by producing a new version (see below). More » (Jo Nova)

 

Climate Science In Denial

Global warming alarmists have been discredited, but you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric this Earth Day.

By RICHARD S. LINDZEN

In mid-November of 2009 there appeared a file on the Internet containing thousands of emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain. How this file got into the public domain is still uncertain, but the emails, whose authenticity is no longer in question, provided a view into the world of climate research that was revealing and even startling.

In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation. The Climatic Research Unit is hardly an obscure outpost; it supplies many of the authors for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the emails showed ample collusion with other prominent researchers in the United States and elsewhere.

One might have thought the revelations would discredit the allegedly settled science underlying currently proposed global warming policy, and, indeed, the revelations may have played some role in the failure of last December’s Copenhagen climate conference to agree on new carbon emissions limits. But with the political momentum behind policy proposals and billions in research funding at stake, the impact of the emails appears to have been small.

The general approach of the official scientific community (at least in the United States and the United Kingdom) has been to see whether people will bother to look at the files in detail (for the most part they have not), and to wait until time diffuses the initial impressions in order to reassert the original message of a climate catastrophe that must be fought with a huge measure of carbon control.

This reassertion, however, continues to be suffused by illogic, nastiness and outright dishonesty. There were, of course, the inevitable investigations of individuals like Penn State University’s Michael Mann (who manipulated data to create the famous “hockey stick” climate graph) and Phil Jones (director of the CRU). The investigations were brief, thoroughly lacking in depth, and conducted, for the most part, by individuals already publicly committed to the popular view of climate alarm. The results were whitewashes that are quite incredible given the actual data.

In addition, numerous professional societies, including the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Natural Science Collections Alliance, most of which have no expertise whatever in climate, endorse essentially the following opinion: That the climate is warming, the warming is due to man’s emissions of carbon dioxide, and continued emissions will lead to catastrophe.

We may reasonably wonder why they feel compelled to endorse this view. The IPCC’s position in its Summary for Policymakers from their Fourth Assessment (2007) is weaker, and simply points out that most warming of the past 50 years or so is due to man’s emissions. It is sometimes claimed that the IPCC is 90% confident of this claim, but there is no known statistical basis for this claim—it’s purely subjective. The IPCC also claims that observations of globally averaged temperature anomaly are also consistent with computer model predictions of warming.

There are, however, some things left unmentioned about the IPCC claims. For example, the observations are consistent with models only if emissions include arbitrary amounts of reflecting aerosols particles (arising, for example, from industrial sulfates) which are used to cancel much of the warming predicted by the models. The observations themselves, without such adjustments, are consistent with there being sufficiently little warming as to not constitute a problem worth worrying very much about.

In addition, the IPCC assumed that computer models accurately included any alternative sources of warming—most notably, the natural, unforced variability associated with phenomena like El Nino, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc. Yet the relative absence of statistically significant warming for over a decade shows clearly that this assumption was wrong. Of course, none of this matters any longer to those replacing reason with assertions of authority.

Consider a letter of April 9 to the Financial Times by the presidents of the U.S. National Academy of Science and the Royal Society (Ralph Cicerone and Martin Rees, respectively). It acknowledges that climategate has contributed to a reduced concern among the public, as has unusually cold weather. But Messrs. Cicerone and Rees insist that nothing has happened to alter the rather extreme statement that climate is changing and it is due to human action. They then throw in a very peculiar statement (referring to warming), almost in passing: “Uncertainties in the future rate of this rise, stemming largely from the ‘feedback’ effects on water vapour and clouds, are topics of current research.”

Who would guess, from this statement, that the feedback effects are the crucial question? Without these positive feedbacks assumed by computer modelers, there would be no significant problem, and the various catastrophes that depend on numerous factors would no longer be related to anthropogenic global warming.

That is to say, the issue relevant to policy is far from settled. Nonetheless, the letter concludes: “Our academies will provide the scientific backdrop for the political and business leaders who must create effective policies to steer the world toward a low-carbon economy.” In other words, the answer is settled even if the science is not.

In France, several distinguished scientists have recently published books criticizing the alarmist focus on carbon emissions. The gist of all the books was the scientific standards for establishing the alarmist concern were low, and the language, in some instances, was intemperate. In response, a letter signed by 489 French climate scientists was addressed to “the highest French scientific bodies: the Ministry of Research, National Center for Scientific Research, and Academy of Sciences” appealing to them to defend climate science against the attacks. There appeared to be no recognition that calling on the funding agencies to take sides in a scientific argument is hardly conducive to free exchange.

The controversy was, and continues to be, covered extensively by the French press. In many respects, the French situation is better than in the U.S., insofar as the “highest scientific bodies” have not officially taken public stances—yet.

Despite all this, it does appear that the public at large is becoming increasingly aware that something other than science is going on with regard to climate change, and that the proposed policies are likely to cause severe problems for the world economy. Climategate may thus have had an effect after all.

But it is unwise to assume that those who have carved out agendas to exploit the issue will simply let go without a battle. One can only hope that the climate alarmists will lose so that we can go back to dealing with real science and real environmental problems such as assuring clean air and water. The latter should be an appropriate goal for Earth Day. (Wall Street Journal)

Mr. Lindzen is professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

119 ‘Useless’ Oak Tree Ring Chronologies Used by Mann et al 2008

Douglas Keenan has finally succeeded in his quest via the FOI Act for Irish Oak tree ring data collected by Mike Baillie of Queen’s University, Belfast. (Details on Keenan’s website here.)

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit fame observes in his blog post Mann of Oak :

Responses to the decision from Baillie, Rob Wilson and Phil Willis are as interesting as the decision. Baillie and Wilson argued that oak chronologies were “virtually useless” as temperature proxies and “dangerous” in a temperature reconstruction. Nonetheless, as I report below, no fewer than 119 oak chronologies (including 3 Baillie chronologies) were used in Mann et al 2008 without any complaint by Wilson or other specialists. CA readers will also be interested in Baillie’s 2005 response to a Climate Audit post urging climate scientists to update the proxies.

Oak as a Temperature Proxy
The scientist who had been withholding the data, Michael Baillie, ridiculed the idea that his Irish oak data was relevant to temperature reconstructions, saying that it would be “dangerous” to use this data for reconstructing temperature. Hannah Devlin of The Times:

However, the lead scientist involved, Michael Bailee, said that the oak ring data requested was not relevant to temperature reconstruction records.

Although ancient oaks could give an indication of one-off dramatic climatic events, such as droughts, they were not useful as a temperature proxy because they were highly sensitive to water availability as well as past temperatures, he added.

“It’s been dressed up as though we are suppressing climate data, but we have never produced climate records from our tree rings,” Professor Bailee said.

“In my view it would be dangerous to try and make interpretations about the temperature from this data.”

Baillie made a similar statement to the Guardian:

“Keenan is the only person in the world claiming that our oak-ring patterns are temperature records,” Baillie told the Guardian.

Rob Wilson agreed with Baillie on this point, telling the Times that “oaks were virtually useless as a temperature proxy”.

Mann et al 2008
Notwithstanding the considered opinion of Baillie and Wilson that oaks are “virtually useless as a temperature proxy” and “dangerous” to use in a temperature reconstruction, no fewer than 119 oak chronologies were used in Mann et al 2008.

Among Mann’s oak chronologies were three Baillie chronologies: brit008 – Lockwood; brit042 – Shanes Castle, Northern Ireland; brit044 – Castle Coole, Northern Ireland. (Climate Research News)

 

Special Report: Networks Hide the Decline in Credibility of Climate Change Science

ABC, CBS and NBC ignore ClimateGate scandal and still advance left-wing global warming agenda.

By Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media Institute
4/21/2010 7:21:27 PM

Read the Executive Summary

It’s been a rough five months for the credibility of many of the “leading” climate scientists.

First, the ClimateGate e-mails appeared to show unethical or illegal behavior of high profile scientists and a potential conspiracy to distort science for political gain. These weren’t just a few renegade scientists; in the following months, damning information came to light about the world’s leading climate alarmists and their work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Stern Report, the U.S. National Climate Data Center and even NASA.

Even with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day coming up on April 22, Americans are skeptical about the threat of climate change. A March 2010 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans think the threat of global warming is “generally exaggerated.” That’s the highest in 13 years, according to Gallup.

The public’s receding fear of climate change may be related to the series of scandals and admissions that have been uncovered since Nov. 20 when e-mails from University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were leaked. Those e-mails provided “ammunition” to climate skeptics about the authenticity and ethics surrounding the CRU’s work on global warming science.

The networks news media were unshaken by the apparent bad behavior on the part of the very climate scientists and organizations whose claims they had pushed for years. Less than 10 percent of stories mentioning global warming or climate change since Nov. 20, 2009, referenced any of the climate science scandals. (Business & Media Institute)

 

Confirmed! Global warming is 'settled' – as a scam

'Climategate' author unveils evidence of 'every deception imaginable'

Posted: April 20, 2010
9:18 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Al Gore's insistence that global warming is "settled science" has been used to defend claims humanity is on the edge of destroying the world. Now author Brian Sussman, whose book "Climategate" is being released Thursday – Earth Day – agrees it's "settled," as a scam.

Sussman unveils in his book evidence that the move to restrict carbon-dioxide emissions, tax a multitude of energy programs and create a "Big Brother" that would limit household energy use, among other programs, is a move to give government unlimited control over people.

National Public Radio reported in 2007 how Gore took his "climate-change crusade" to Congress and said the science on the issue was "settled." Then in 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide and other emissions are endangering the future of the world.

Be the first to see the full documentation of how your life could be changed by climate-related laws, taxes and regulations, in "Climategate"

Sussman's book, the newest title by WND Books, has been charting for several weeks already among Amazon's top 10 preordered titles. It warns that believing global warming is "settled science" is a danger itself.

He writes that the now-notorious intercepted e-mails that reveal leading global-warming supporters exchanging plans to squelch critics and falsify data are just the tip of the iceberg. (WND)

 

White House Reviews EPA Rule On Industrial Carbon

The White House is reviewing an Environmental Protection Agency rule on which factories and power plants will be subject to greenhouse gas regulations, according to the Office of Management and Budget website.

The measure, known as the "tailoring rule," would set emissions thresholds for big emitters of gases blamed for warming the planet. Regulated polluters could include coal-fired power plants and heavy energy users such as cement, glass and steel makers.

The fact that the White House is reviewing the rule means it could be sent back to the EPA and finalized soon. In an interview with Reuters last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency may not issue the rules until May. (Reuters)

 

States Fear Devil In Details Of U.S. Climate Bill

California and other states with aggressive environmental agendas said on Wednesday they fear a federal climate bill may unacceptably weaken their power, in a new sign of uncertainty over compromise legislation being crafted by U.S. Senator John Kerry and his allies. (Reuters)

 

The Senate’s Bait-and-Switch on Cap-and-Trade

Speaking to Politico, John Kerry told them it was up to Harry Reid to pass Cap-and-Trade

In the end, it will be Sen. Reid’s responsibility, as majority leader, to put the pieces together as he did on health care and to decide how the Senate is going to proceed.

In other words, the Senate plans to force sweeping, expensive, job-destroying changes to America’s energy policy in much the same way they forced ObamaCare upon unwilling Americans.  Next week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plan to unveil their plan aimed at combating global warming, an issue that Americans rank as the country’s least pressing priority.  With gas prices already surpassing $3 per gallon in some locations, Americans will have little appetite for another energy tax proposal. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Just gets worse and worse... Obama Open to Trade Protections in Senate Climate Bill, Adviser Says

A top White House adviser confirmed today that President Obama is open to helping energy-intensive industries cope with the costs of climate legislation, including use of controversial border tariffs he had previously warned could spark a global trade war.

Energy and climate adviser Carol Browner said the administration recognizes Congress' interest in using trade language as it works on climate legislation that addresses concerns from some of the country's industries that are most vulnerable to cheap foreign imports, including steel, cement, glass, pulp and paper.

"There's going to have to be mechanisms that recognize they compete in a global market," Browner said during an event hosted by National Journal. "I think it's fair to say a final bill will be very mindful of the needs of these particular sectors of the economy." (Greenwire)

 

Big Business Support For Climate Bill Elusive

U.S. senators crafting a compromise climate change bill have held months of meetings with oil, coal and manufacturing interests, but so far have failed to gain the ironclad words of support many think will be necessary for passing legislation. (Reuters)

 

The LA Times Gets Scooped on Climate (Because It Wasn’t Looking for the Scoop)

by William Yeatman
21 April 2010 @ 5:47 pm

I’ve blogged before on the LA Times’s one sided coverage of AB 32, California’s first-in-the-nation climate change mitigation law. In a nutshell, the LA Times is a big cheerleader for the legislation, with a record of publishing favorable stories and ignoring negative ones.

Case in point: Today, the Times ran an opinion piece, “A Green Jobs Generator,” by two economists who claim that their economic analysis of AB 32 is being distorted by opponents of the legislation. The LA Times allowed them the space to set the record straight, and thus its editorial page again reassured readers that “doing something” about climate change will be easy because it will reduce energy costs and create “green jobs.”  Of course, this is baloney-in fact,…

Read the full story

 

Protesters Disrupt Congressional Hearing

The 111th Congress hit a new low last week—one that should make us all wonder exactly where the federal government is headed.

Four coal industry CEOs voluntarily showed up to testify before Rep. Ed Markey’s House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. They graciously accepted Chairman Markey’s invitation despite the fact that the eponymous Waxman-Markey bill, which passed the House last June, is aimed at putting the coal industry out of business. You might think that this civil gesture on the part of the CEOs would have earned some level of respect from Chairman Markey. But you’d be wrong. 

As one CEO testified from his seat at the witness table, several protesters wearing masks suddenly appeared at the table. They placed chunks of coal on the table where the CEOs sat and then stood in the area between the CEOs and Chairman Markey chanting “Coal is dirty.” 

You might think that Chairman Markey moved quickly and forcibly to protect the witnesses and reassert control over the hearing. But again you’d be wrong. This scene went on for 9 minutes. (Steven Milloy, Human Events)

 

Climate sceptics smell victory in parliament

The parliamentary committee meeting called to discuss errors in the UN climate report has left climate change sceptics feeling vindicated, writes the Financieele Dagblad on Tuesday. 

‘The panel on climate change is irrelevant’. ‘This organisation has put us on the wrong track.’ Scientists Arthur Rörsch (formerly at TNO) and Bas van Geel (University of Amsterdam) could not help but look slightly smug on hearing these words.

Experts on either side of the climate change debate answered the committee’s questions yesterday about their experiences with the UN climate panel (IPCC) and its modus operandus. (Dutch News)

 

China-Led Bloc To Consider Kyoto Climate Pact Future

A bloc of the world's fastest growing carbon emitters, seen as key to a global deal on climate change, appears for the first time willing to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol to get the United States on board.

Kyoto binds about 40 rich nations to cut emissions by 2008-12 and developing countries want a tougher second commitment period. That demand is opposed by many developed nations that want to jettison Kyoto to include emerging markets like India and China.

Next week's meeting of the environment ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China - the so-called BASIC nations - will look at ways to bridge a trust deficit with rich nations, according to its agenda, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

 

All this in a fantasy world: NIH-led interagency group identifies research needs to study climate change and human health impacts

A report released today by a federal working group highlights 11 key categories of diseases and other health consequences that are occurring or will occur due to climate change. The report, A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change, provides a starting point for coordination of federal research to better understand climate's impact on human health. The recommendations of the working group include research to identify who will be most vulnerable, and what efforts will be most beneficial. (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

What a waste of time and effort this all is. The world has an equal chance of warming or cooling in the next year and that is always the case.

 

Cold Weather? Warm Weather? It’s All Part of Global Warming

Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” Whether he would like it or not, sounds like he could be a poster boy for the climate alarmists who state that ‘weather is not the same as climate change and single events are not the same as trends.

Yet those who preach this gospel are quite selective in choosing when and how to use it. Earlier this year two climate alarmist journalists reminded the British public that their cold snap does not prove climate science wrong by using the above highlighted homily. Yet as Frank Furedi points out, “A few years ago when the temperature was relatively high and there was little rainfall across southeast England, weather forecasters and campaigning journalists ignored the distinction between climate and weather and insisted it was all a symptom of global warming. Indeed, an unexpected rise in temperature is presented as yet more evidence of the disaster to come.” (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Of course... Bolivia's Morales slams capitalist debt to global warming

Bolivian President Evo Morales opened a "people's conference" on climate change on Tuesday with an attack on capitalism's debt to global warming, before participants booed a UN envoy.

Environmental activists, indigenous leaders and Hollywood celebrities were scheduled to take part in the three-day summit focusing on the world's poorest, which they say were largely ignored at official United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen last December.

"Either capitalism dies, or it will be Mother Earth," leftist Morales said to a crowd of some 20,000 people.

"We're here because industrialized countries have not honored their promises." (Jakarta Globe)

 

Greenie extortion wins again: Dismissed employee wins £100,000 'green' settlement

A worker who was preparing to sue his employer for discriminating against his environmental views has agreed a settlement of almost £100,000. Tim Nicholson, 42, was made redundant in July 2008 from his £77,000-a-year post as head of sustainability with Grainger, the UK's biggest residential landlord.

He alleged that his redundancy was a direct result of his opinions about the dangers of climate change, which put him at odds with other senior executives within the firm, and was preparing to sue. Last year, a judge, in a landmark decision, ruled that his belief in climate change was legally akin to a religious belief and should be protected from discrimination.

Mr Nicholson, who worked in the firm's office in Putney, south-west London, demanded £756,615 in compensation, primarily for loss of earnings and pension rights. He said executives had failed to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Nicholson's solicitor, Shah Qureshi, issued an agreed statement from the parties that said: "Grainger plc and Tim Nicholson are pleased to confirm that the tribunal proceedings between the two parties have been resolved amicably. Grainger denied that Mr Nicholson's views were the reason why he was made redundant and cited 'operational needs'." (The Independent)

 

Oh dear... Obama's green agenda under attack from group linked to chemical industry

Connection to Solvay chemicals suggests opposition to action on global warming is spreading from 'big oil' to 'big chemical'

A secretive group linked to a leading European chemical company has joined the campaign to defeat Barack Obama's green agenda, taking the fight beyond the traditional players – the big oil and coal firms – the Guardian has learned.

The previously unknown Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc (CRR) is at the forefront of a strategy to strip the Obama administration of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions should Congress fail to act on climate change.

The group, which refuses to disclose its complete membership and which does not have a website, has joined more than a dozen states and a host of industry groups in 17 legal challenges to the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The connection to the chemical firm Solvay suggests opposition to action on global warming, once spearheaded by big oil, is spreading to other industries that will also be affected by proposals to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. (The Guardian)

And finally, the US Supreme Court actually said the EPA could regulate CO2 if it were really a danger. The EPA's absurd endangerment finding is an attempt to justify this extraordinary regulatory overreach.

 

Global Warming, Facts vs. Faith, One Astronaut's Views

Written by Walter Cunningham

There is a war going on between those who believe that human activities are responsible for global warming and those who don’t. Contrary to the way the debate is often framed by the media, those who believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) do not hold the high ground, scientifically. Their critics do.

Read more... [Global Warming, Facts vs. Faith, One Astronaut's Views] (SPPI)

 

Medieval Warm Period as Warm as Today and Global

Understanding how the climate has changed in the past is essential if we are to put today’s warm climate into its proper perspective. There is a key question in the post-hockey stick era, and that is how warm was the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago and how warm was the Roman Warm Period of a thousand years before that.

Some scientists have looked at the data for the MWP and whilst conceding that it was warm they have doubted its extent, suggesting that it was confined to Europe. This was despite the fact that there are very few temperature proxies outside Europe for the period. (David Whitehouse, GWPF)

 

Get digging

The European Geophysical Union is going to be discussing paleoclimate at its annual meeting at the start of next month. The papers to be presented look pretty interesting.

Do have a look through and let us know if there is anything exciting in there. I just peeked at Ljungqvist et al which looks at the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age to see if they were really localised, as is argued by those on the other side of this debate. While the paper only looks at Northern Hemisphere proxies, the authors seem to have reached a rather different conclusion.

We find evidence of a widespread medieval warming culminating in the 10–11th centuries, followed by a gradual cooling into the 17th century, succeeded by a warming from the 18th century that accelerated in the 20th century. Our result also indicate that the warmth in the 10th and 11th centuries was as uniform as in the 20th century. However, with a resolution of only 100 years it is not possible to assess whether any decade in the past was as warm as any in the late 20th or early 21st century.

(Bishop Hill)

 

Yes, the Ocean Has Warmed; No, It's Not 'Global Warming'

Written by Dr. Robert E. Stevenson

Contrary to recent press reports that the oceans hold the still-undetected global atmospheric warming predicted by climate models, ocean warming occurs in 100-year cycles, independent of both radiative and human influences.

Read more... [Yes, the Ocean Has Warmed; No, It's Not 'Global Warming'] (SPPI)

 

Some Comments on Earth’s “Missing Energy”

A recent short article by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo discussed the fact that our satellites that monitor (1) the total amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth, and (2) the total infrared (IR) energy given off by the Earth, have suggested that these flows of energy in and out of the Earth’s climate system have been increasingly out of balance in the last 10 years, with an increase in absorbed energy by as much as 1 Watt per sq. meter.

Even though this 1 Watt per sq. meter is small compared to the average flows of energy — which are estimated to be somewhere around 235 to 240 Watts per sq. meter — it represents a substantial heating effect.

The problem is that the oceans have not been warming in response to this imbalance. Trenberth and Fasullo seem to lean toward the possibility that this heat is “missing” somewhere, maybe temporarily trapped in the deep ocean. Roger Pielke, Sr., has voiced his opinion that the heat could not have magically avoided the ocean temperature sensors, both in space and floating around the world’s oceans, which monitor ocean surface and upper layer temperatures.

Since I’ve received a number of requests to give my opinion, I decided I would weigh in on the subject. While I agree that there is a mystery here, there are a few points and opinions I’d like to share.

1) THE MISSING ENERGY IS IN THE SOLAR, NOT THE INFRARED

Trenberth and Fasullo don’t highlight the fact that the “missing” energy is not in the infrared, which is where manmade global warming allegedly originates, but in the reflected solar component. The infrared component has essentially no trend between March 2000 and December 2007 (the last CERES Earth radiation budget data I have analyzed).

This suggests a small decrease in low or mid-level cloud cover, letting more sunlight in. The fact that the extra energy is not showing up as a temperature increase in the ocean makes me suspect the measurements themselves. If there is a problem with the Earth radiation budget measurements, then obviously there is no missing energy.

2) MAYBE THE DISCREPANCY WAS ACTUALLY BEFORE 2000
Trenberth and Fasullo correctly point out that the absolute accuracy of these radiation budget instruments is not good enough to measure very small radiation imbalances…just the CHANGE in that imbalance over time. Well then maybe it was the period BEFORE 2000 where there was an imbalance, with extra energy being lost by the Earth, but no cooling, and NOW the solar and infrared flows are once again in balance. Just a thought.

3) OCEAN TEMPERATURES ARE MUCH EASIER TO MEASURE THAN THE EARTH’S RADIATION BUDGET
Trenberth and Fasullo briefly acknowledge that there might be measurement errors involved here, and I would argue that this is much more likely in the Earth radiation budget measurements than in the ocean temperature measurements. The amount of solar energy the Earth absorbs is particularly difficult to measure because a monitoring satellite is only a single point in space, whereas the total amount of sunlight being reflected off clouds goes in all different directions.

Because of this complication, many detailed calculations must be made by the dataset developers to estimate the energy flows at all angles, based upon years of accumulated statistics with radiation budget instruments that measure some of the clouds at different angles. I think the dataset developers are doing the best they can with the available information, but what we are asking the data to reveal to us is a very small signal.

4) “YOU’VE LOST ANOTHER SUBMARINE”?
We have already been dealing with some missing global warming in the last 10 to 30 years, since 95% of the climate models suggest our carbon dioxide emissions should have caused more global warming than what has been observed — and that is due to an infrared effect. Now, we are told that there is missing SOLAR energy, too?

This reminds me of the 1990 movie, The Hunt for Red October. After an entire movie dealing with a missing experimental Soviet submarine, the end of the movie shows the Soviet Ambassador asking the U.S. to help find…what!?…ANOTHER missing submarine? It was a funny line.

I’m sorry, but at some point we need to ask whether all of this missing warming and energy are missing because they really do not exist. This is Roger Pielke, Sr.’s opinion, and at this point it is mine as well. Only time will tell. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Industrialized Nations' CO2 Falls 2.2 Pct In 2008

Industrialized nations' greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.2 percent in 2008, the steepest decline since the break-up of the Soviet Union as economies slowed, a Reuters compilation showed Wednesday.

Emissions are likely to have fallen more sharply in 2009 due to recession that analysts said was a bigger brake than government policies meant to shift from use of fossil fuels toward cleaner energies such as wind or solar power. (Reuters)

 

Stealing Gaia's food, again... Canada rolls out carbon dioxide capture unit

Canada's natural resources ministry on Monday launched the first mobile carbon dioxide capture and compressor unit to measure and analyze power plants' emissions.

The CanCO2's tangled metal pipes and gauges tucked inside a semi-trailer can remove pollutants from a sampling of fossil fuel-fired plants' emissions while purifying and compressing carbon dioxide for transport, storage or use.

The data generated in field tests may then be used to scale up the technology.

"The science is ready to roll out but we have to demonstrate it to bolster confidence in it before industry invests heavily in it," Kourosh Zanganeh, leader of the ministry's Zero-Emission Technologies Group, told AFP.

 

Gosh! It's more complicated than dumb models predict? Topography of mountains could complicate rates of global warming

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study concludes that the future effects of global warming could be significantly changed over very small distances by local air movements in complex or mountainous terrain - perhaps doubling or even tripling the temperature increases in some situations.

In an article to be published in the International Journal of Climatology, researchers from Oregon State University used the unique historical data provided by Oregon's H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest to study potential variations in temperature caused by steep hills and valleys.

Based on a regional temperature increase of about 5 degrees projected for western Oregon by 2100, the study concluded that some locations, such as mountain ridge tops, could actually increase as much as 14 degrees at some times, while cold air pools in the valleys below them with temperature increases similar to the regional average.

"Even if the predictions for average temperature changes are accurate, there's been very little work done on what that may mean in specific locations and situations," said Chris Daly, an OSU professor of geosciences, director of OSU's PRISM Climate Group and expert on the effects of elevation and topography on localized climatic effects.

"We are finding that there's a potential here for tremendous disparities in local effects that we need to learn more about," Daly said. "Some locations may get much warmer than the average while others nearby are affected less, with associated impacts on their ecology, the plant and animals species that live there." (Oregon State University)

Meanwhile these guys trust those same dumb models' "predictions" of warming in the first place...

 

Newsletter: NZCLIMATE TRUTH NO 244 by Vincent Gray

Wednesday, April 21st 2010, 5:42 AM EDT

THE FLAT EARTH

All of the computer models of the climate have adopted the flat earth theory of the earth's energy, as portrayed in Kiehl J. T. and K. E. Trenberth 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bull. Am. Met. Soc. 78 197-208.

Image Attachment

The attached graph is in all of the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change, and it is fundamental to all their activities.

It assumes that the earth can be considered to be flat, that the sun shines all day and all night with equal intensity, and that the temperature of the earth's surface is constant.

All the quantities on the graph are given as correct to the nearer Watt per square meter, but the figures in the paper are shown to possess very high inaccuracy which can never be measured, but always has to be "qualitatively estimated".On this occasion it was possible to stretch these inaccuracies to the level needed to provide a "balanced" energy budget. The total energy entering is made equal to the energy leaving. In this way it is now possible to calculate the effect of additional greenhouse gases. If it was not "balanced" and the "balance" varied it would be impossible to calculate.what are the effects of additional greenhouse gases.

There has now been a change of heart, in the following paper

Trenberth, K E, J T Fassulo, and J T Kiehl. 2009 Earth's Global Energy Budget. Bull Am. Met. Soc. 90 311-323.

This paper does a complete reassessment of the figures in the first paper. Its amended version as a mean between March 2000 and May 2004 is attached.
Image Attachment

The earth is now thoroughly flattened, as if it had been run over by a cosmic steamroller. Most of the figures have changed. Those for input and output of radiation are now apparently correct to one place of decimals. The rest of them are in trouble. The paper is full of discussions on how they could increase the "qualitative estimates" of uncertainty that might be attached to them, but this time they have found it impossible to extend their estimating ability sufficiently. So this time it is "unbalanced" to the extent of a warming of 0.9 Watts per square meter a year for the period 2000 to 2004.

Unfortunately there is no doubt that the earth's temperature cooled over this period. This paper is therefore firm proof that the original concepts behind the models are wrong.

It ought to be obvious. The earth does actually rotate. The sun does not shine at night. The temperature is not constant. Every part of the earth has a different energy input from its output.

There is a correct mathematical treatment. It would involve the division of the earth's surface into a large number of tiny increments, and the energy input and output calculated for each one, using the changes in all the factors involved. There would then have to be a gigantic integration of all these results to give a complete energy budget for the earth. Only when this is done and repeated over a long period will it be possible to find the influence of increases in greenhouse gases.

The data do not exist for such an exercise and probably never will.

Until then we will have to settle for the methods that have been developed by meteorologists over the past two centuries and hope that these can be extended over time to provide us with a means for assessing the effects of additional greenhouse gases on the climate.

The currently promoted greenhouse theory is dead and its consequences have to be removed at once.

Cheers

Vincent Gray

Wellington

"To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact" -- Charles Darwin (via Climate Realists)

 

Fossil-fuel subsidies hurting global environment, security

Analysis: Most fuel subsidies are complete waste of money, or worse

A comprehensive assessment of global fossil-fuel subsidies has found that governments are spending $500 billion annually on policies that undermine energy security and worsen the environment.

The study, titled "The Politics of Fossil-Fuel Subsidies" by David Victor, a professor of political science with UC San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), was one of five released April 22 by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

GSI's goal is to reform, reduce and ultimately eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies, which are highest in Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, India and Venezuela. The reform effort received a boost September 2009 when President Obama and other world leaders met in Pittsburgh, Pa., for the Group of 20 Summit. They agreed in a non-binding resolution to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies, but the measure didn't attempt to resolve difficult political issues such as how governments would actually achieve a phaseout. Victor's study addresses the political challenges. (University of California - San Diego)

 

Oh my God! He's a Gaia tinkerbell! What Climate Science?

Here is a thought experiment:

Can you imagine any discoveries or conclusions in climate science would indicate that accelerated decarbonization of the global economy does not make sense?

Answer: No

Accelerating decarbonization of the global economy makes good sense independent of the conclusions reached in climate science. That said, the fact that humans influence the climate system in ways that are understood and not understood gives us another reason to consider whether accelerated decarbonization of the global economy might be a good idea. And for some people the science may indeed be a sufficient justification. But there is no reason why it has to be for everyone.

But just for fun, lets imagine that we learn that all of climate science is a hoax or a fraud (it is not), would that mean that we would no longer need to discuss a need to diversify energy supply, reduce energy costs and expand energy access? No.

The insensitivity of the importance of climate science to decarbonization is the main reason why waging a political war over climate science is wrongheaded. Whether you win or lose that debate it really doesn't ever touch the main policy issues. Sure it generates lots of heat, and may serve other aims, but in the end, it doesn't matter much for the implementation of policies focused on accelerating decarbonization of the economy. (Roger Pielke Jr)

Decarbonization of the energy supply at any pace makes no sense whatsoever. Think about it. Atmospheric carbon is an asset, a biological resource where greater concentrations reduce drought sensitivity, increase crop yields and spare wildlife habitat from going under the plow to increase food production to feed a growing number of people.

Carbon dense fuels are necessary to bring cheap energy to people who have no access to electricity at all and help them industrialize out of abject poverty. Roger's bizarre blasé, "it'll be good for Gaia & stuff to trash cheap power" represents the very worst of ivory tower disconnection from the real world. He seemed alright but in fact he's a bloody idiot. How disappointing.

There is no science that would justify decarbonization of the energy supply, which is why misanthropists have to invent crises like gorebull warbling. There is no excuse for attacking carbon dense energy.

 

Oil sands in a water fight

Facing North American Free Trade Agreement challenge and tighter use limits

What they belch into the atmosphere by way of greenhouse gases is certainly a flashpoint for Alberta oil sands operations.

Just as critical is what they allegedly leak into water sources and how much access they have to fresh water supplies.

It is estimated the industry uses 12 barrels of water to extract one barrel of bitumen, of which about 70 percent is recycled at the plants, but about one-third ends up in the toxic tailings ponds at some of the largest sites.

Just as important in a drought-prone province is whether the largest oil sands mining operations, run by Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy, Shell Canada and Canadian Natural Resources, should be forced to reduce their licensed take from the Athabasca River, the major waterway in northeastern Alberta.

Both the Canadian and Alberta governments are coming under pressure to ensure there is no contamination of water supplies by oil sands operators and to lower the operators’ water consumption. (GoO)

 

Coal is still a vital energy source for developing nations

It is unrealistic to expect South Africa, a nation rich in coal, to turn to more costly fuels

Your report about Britain's indecision in the runup to last week's World Bank vote over a loan for a cleaner coal plant in South Africa did not highlight the vital importance of coal for developing nations, many of whom enjoy vast reserves (UK dilemma over massive coal-fired power station, 2 April).

Britain should have supported the loan to South Africa of £2.4bn to build the Medupi plant, one of the largest and most efficient coal-fired power stations in the world. Instead it abstained, although the vote was carried.

Your report stated: "A coalition of more than 100 grassroots organisations, including churches, community groups and conservationists condemned the loan." But it is not realistic to encourage South Africa, a fast-developing nation rich in low-sulphur coal reserves, to turn to more expensive non-indigenous fuels for future power generation. Abandoning fossil fuels could mean the diversion of funds for basic infrastructure development and delay the urgent construction of more energy-generating capacity.

You quoted the Department for International Development, which was then dithering over the vote: "We haven't made the decision yet. It's very difficult." This hardly reflects the claim on the DfID website that "economic growth is the single most powerful way of pulling people out of poverty". Indeed it is, and economic growth needs abundant and cheap energy at the point of delivery. (Tony Lodge, The Guardian)

 

Environmentalists To Target RBS Over Investments

Part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland is to be the target of a mass protest by thousands of environmentalists over its involvement in financing fossil fuel companies, a campaign group said Thursday. (Reuters)

 

Once-Hidden EU Report Reveals Damage From Biodiesel

Biofuels such as biodiesel from soy beans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol, according to an EU document released under freedom of information laws.

The European Union has set itself a goal of obtaining 10 percent of its road fuels from renewable sources, mostly biofuels, by the end of this decade, but it is now worrying about the unintended environmental impacts.

Four major studies are under way.

Chief among those fears is that biofuel production soaks up grain from global commodity markets, forcing up food prices and encouraging farmers to clear tropical forests in the quest for new land.

Burning forests releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide and often cancels out many of the climate benefits sought from biofuels.

Biodiesel from North American soybeans has an indirect carbon footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule -- four times higher than standard diesel -- said the EU document, an annex that was controversially stripped from a report published in December.

Editing the report caused one of the consultancies, Fraunhofer of Germany, to disown it partly in a disclaimer.

But it has now been made public after Reuters used freedom of information laws to gain a copy. (Reuters)

 

Keep Yucca Mountain on the Table

Nevada’s attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto penned an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun over the weekend, calling the geologic repository Yucca Mountain “unworkable” as a long-term solution to store our nation’s nuclear waste. She claims the administration has scientific and technological reasons to permanently shut down Yucca. But instead supporting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s responsibility to determine if that’s the case, she focuses on questionable arguments to instill fear in Nevadans.

The first claim is that Yucca is unstable, a hotbed for seismic activity that could disrupt the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel. But the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) concludes upon careful study that “Experience with earthquakes throughout the world has shown that underground structures can withstand the ground motion generated by earthquakes. And, in actual tests at the Nevada Test Site, mine tunnels have withstood ground motion from underground nuclear explosions that are greater than any ground motion anticipated at or near Yucca Mountain. Repository facilities at the surface also can be designed to safely withstand earthquake effects. Information from historical and contemporary earthquake catalogues from the Southern Great Basin Seismic Network was used to analyze the potential for earthquakes at Yucca Mountain. It also appears that the potential for earthquake damage to an underground repository is very slight.”

Many of her other arguments are not specific to Yucca Mountain but questions about the containers and drip shields used to further bolster safety. Such man-made devices will likely be necessary for any geologic repository and are not a result of what Mastro calls Yucca’s “fundamental inadequacies.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

 

Peter Foster: Earth Day’s kick in the ash

Conceived in counter-culture hysteria, Earth Day has evolved as a focal point for ideological opposition to industrialized society 

By Peter Foster

If one believed in cosmic irony, then the ongoing 40th of that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano might be taken as a message from Earth to those who will tomorrow celebrate the fortieth “Earth Day.” Although humans may stand in awe of the home planet, the home planet has absolutely zero concern for them. Meanwhile the disruptions in travel and trade caused by the vast cloud of volcanic ash give a tiny glimpse of the kind of world that environmental radicals praise: clear, blue, air traffic-free skies above, frustrated and deprived people below.

Earth Day, while masquerading as all about positive ecological values, was conceived in hysteria and has evolved as a focal point for ideological opposition to industrial society and the benefits it brings to ordinary people. (National Post)

 

Volcano ash: Threat of second volcano Katla '10 times the strength'

A second volcano in Iceland could erupt with 10 times the force of Eyjafyoll if history repeats itself, scientists have warned. 

Katla erupts approximately every 60 years but has not done so since 1918, when it was 10 times as powerful greater than the ongoing activity in Eyjafyoll. 

Assistant professors Andy Hooper and Joris Melkert, from the University of Delft in the Netherlands, said the ongoing activity could cause trouble for months. 

“If Katla were to erupt, the potential for travel chaos and economic damage would be much greater than has occurred in the last few days,” they said. 

“A new volcanic dust cloud potentially heading towards the United Kingdom underlines the very real danger that Eyjafyoll could potentially sputter on for months or even more than a year. 

“Even in the scenario that Katla doesn’t erupt, disruption could be continuous for many months to come from Eyjafyoll.” (TDT)

 

Breaching the barricades of bureaucracy

When I started writing this piece, just after 9pm yesterday, it was in the knowledge that 22 British Airways long-haul jets were converging on the UK, an air fleet which the airline's chief executive, Willie Walsh, had virtually made clear were going to land, come what may.

Faced with such pressure, the CAA chairwoman Dame Deirdre Hutton, buckled. Alongside transport minister Lord Adonis, they stood in front of the TV cameras, admitting that the rule book had been rewritten and that, despite the lingering presence of the ash cloud, unrestricted operations were to recommence at ten that evening.

For the first time with any clarity, we then heard from the mouths of the officials the words "risk assessment" and "dust concentrations", plus news that the engine manufacturers had backed off from their stance of "zero tolerance" for ash ingestion and redefined acceptable limits.

Yet it was on Sunday last, the words written on the Saturday, that I was pointing out that the then current safety guidelines for dealing with volcano eruptions made no distinction at all between major or relatively modest eruptions.

Nor, I wrote, did they take into account the dilution effect as the cloud spreads from the original point. The only reference was to generic dust clouds, without any attempt to carry out a risk assessment. Furthermore, it was evident from those very guidelines that the model used was the largest and most dangerous of Icelandic volcanoes, the Katla volcano – way more serious than the relatively modest eruption we are currently experiencing. (EU Referendum)

 

Hook, line and sinker

One of the truly frustrating things about writing this blog is to spend the time and effort carefully researching a story, only then to have the MSM doing the same story and getting it egregiously wrong – but getting all the attention and comment.

So it is with The Daily Telegraph this morning, with its print edition splashing the headline pictured, the story replicated on-line, completely falling for the commission spin on the failings of the Met Office in triggering the no-fly restrictions in response to the Icelandic volcano eruption.

Part of me – the unrealistic, hopeless optimist – says, surely people will read my blog and see that their story is crap. But the weary realist tells me that the MSM will prevail, crap and all. The error is already multiplying and soon will become a fixed part of the narrative. That is the way the world works.

And this is not just a rant – if there is to be any accountability, getting it right is important. Pointing the finger at the Met Office for its role in the closure of British and European airspace is completely to miss the point. Far be it for me to defend the Met Office, but the use of models in this context is entirely appropriate.

Where the fault lies is in developing a contingency plan which uses the forecast model to define the exclusion zone, without a requirement for refining a limited projection with real world data acquired from other sources, including and especially sampling from suitably equipped aircraft. (EU Referendum)

 

New Dependence On Government Resurrects Welfare As We Knew It

The news that the United States has become a two-class society — i.e., half of Americans pay federal income taxes and half don't — has bounced around the media and shocked Americans. Most people had no knowledge of this appalling economic fact.

Even worse is the reality that 40% of Americans receive federal government handouts of cash and valuable benefits. Those handouts are financed by the people who do pay federal income taxes.

Those handouts create a tremendous bloc of people who depend on the government for their living expenses. The Tax Foundation reports that 20% of Americans now get 75% of their income from the federal government and another 20% get 45% of their income from the government.

President Obama's stimulus law will add nearly $800 billion in new means-tested welfare spending over the next decade. That means about $22,500 for every poor person in the United States, which will cost over $10,000 for each family that pays federal income taxes. (Phyllis Schlafly, IBD)

 

Linking Voting Rights With Taxes Paid

According to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., research organization, nearly half of U.S. households will pay no federal income taxes for 2009. That's up from the Tax Foundation's 2006 estimate that 41% of the American population, or 121 million Americans, were completely outside the federal income tax system.

These Americans pay no federal income tax either because their incomes are too low or they have higher income but credits, deductions and exemptions that relieve them of tax liability.

This lack of income tax liability stands in stark contrast to the top 10% of earners, those households earning an average of $366,400 in 2006, who paid about 73% of federal income taxes. The top 25% paid 86%. The bottom 50% of taxpayers paid less than 4% of federal income taxes collected.

Let's not dwell on the fairness of such an arrangement for financing the activities of the federal government. Instead, let's ask what kind of incentives and results such an arrangement produces and ask ourselves whether these results are good for our country. That's a question to be asked whether or not one has federal income tax liabilities. (Walter Williams, IBD)

 

Government Force Can't Solve Every Ill

When I first began to study the history of slavery around the world, many years ago, one of the oddities that puzzled me was the practice of paying certain slaves, which existed in ancient Rome and in America's antebellum South, among other places.

In both places, slave owners or their overseers whipped slaves to force them to work, and in neither place was whipping a slave literally to death likely to bring any serious consequences.

There could hardly be a greater power of one human being over another than the arbitrary power of life and death. Why then was it necessary to pay certain slaves? At the very least, it suggested that there were limits to what could be accomplished by power. (Thomas Sowell, IBD)

 

 

Unending Bailouts

Financial Overhaul: As the Senate prepares to act on reform, Democrats are inviting Republicans to make the effort "bipartisan." But this bill is so bad, the GOP would be wise to say "no thanks" and filibuster instead.

GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky suggested last weekend that, given the financial reform bill's obvious drawbacks, it might be good to start over to win bipartisan support.

But Democrats are no more willing to compromise than they were on health reform. They think they can jam Sen. Chris Dodd's "finance reform" down Americans' throats and are counting on their fear of crisis and disillusionment with the financial system to get the measure passed.

"Every day we don't act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place, with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities," President Obama says. "And if we don't change what led to the crisis, we'll doom ourselves to repeat it."

He's right — which is why the Dodd bill, which keeps the status quo, should be filibustered or killed outright. (IBD)

 

Why Does Soros Bite Hand That Feeds Him?

Politics: Financier George Soros is at it again, issuing dire warnings for markets and raising doubts about capitalism itself. A closer look at what he's really up to tells a different story.

The self-described "stateless statesman" last week opined that markets could be derailed again over "bubbles" if governments don't tighten the noose of regulation even more. "Unless we learn the lessons that markets are inherently unstable and that stability needs to (be) the objective of public policy, we are facing a yet larger bubble," the billionaire speculator told an Economist conference in London, according to Reuters.

In other words, moral hazard arising from bailouts is bad, but it's markets, not governments, that can't quit writing checks, that are to blame. If all this really were the case, the solution would be to get rid of markets.

Soros gets a lot of attention from these doom-and-gloom statements largely because of his reputation as a successful investor. If he wasn't the 34th richest man on earth, with a $14 billion fortune, according to Forbes, his views would probably draw little attention.

Yet few in his rarified league draw the kind of attention he does, possibly because no one else seems so diametrically opposed to the very markets that fuel his fortune. Examples abound.

Last fall, Soros ostentatiously announced a $1 billion fund for alternative energy investments, plus a separate project to finance a think tank called the Global Climate Initiative. Supposedly, this was a signal to the rest of us that alternative energy was here. But to date, the fund has made few such investments. Instead, Soros has done what serious-minded investors do — invest in companies that drill for oil.

His top holdings include Petrobras of Brazil, Hess, Suncor and some coal companies.

Soros is free to invest as he pleases, of course. But there seems to be a disconnect with what he says and what he knows will make money. We await the day he talks up the importance of drilling the same way he touts pie-in-the-sky alternative energy. (IBD)

 

U.S. doctors, minorities still wary of shots: official

WASHINGTON - Doctors and minorities still have a dangerous mistrust of vaccines that became painfully clear during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Monday.

But she said the United States had "unprecedented" levels of flu vaccination for the past season and pointed to nearly $500 million in government funding to improve decades-old influenza vaccine technology.

"We shouldn't have to convince health providers that vaccines are safe and that they work. But, despite the fact that we had more health providers than ever getting vaccinated last year, there was still a sizable number who did not," Sebelius told a meeting of vaccine experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In an average year, fewer than 40 percent of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers get flu vaccines. "Tell them to get vaccinated," Sebelius urged her audience.

Even though 90 million doses of influenza vaccine had been administered of the 162 million doses shipped across the country, minorities often got left out, Sebelius said. "Too many people in these communities still don't believe that vaccines are safe, or even that they work," she said.

"But with so many African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and others experiencing rising rates of chronic disease, not getting vaccinated is many times more dangerous than even the perceived threat of the vaccine."

The CDC estimates that H1N1 has killed 12,000 Americans and put more than 265,000 in hospital. People with chronic diseases such as asthma or diabetes, pregnant women and children were at highest risk. (Reuters)

 

EFSA sees risks to children from lead in food

MILAN - Lead present in food can pose a risk to brain development for children, while risks for most adults are low to negligible, the European Union food safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

An expert panel on contaminants, which assessed current levels of exposure to lead through food and other sources at the request of the European Commission, could not set a firm level above which lead in food could trigger health problems, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a report.

Human exposure to lead, an environmental contaminant which occurs naturally and through human activities such as mining, smelting and battery manufacturing, can occur through food, air, water, soil and dust, EFSA said.

"There is considerable evidence demonstrating that the developing brain is more vulnerable to the neurotoxicity of lead than the mature brain," EFSA's scientific opinion said, referring to lead in food.

"In children, an elevated blood lead level is inversely associated with a reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) score and reduced cognitive functions up to at least seven years of age," EFSA said.

Based on a review of the available data, EFSA's panel considered the existing Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) was no longer appropriate.

But a new guidance level could not be established because there was no clear threshold below which the panel was confident that adverse effects would not occur, EFSA said.

"This firm level is not possible to set at the moment ... It is based on very conservative calculations," an EFSA spokesman said. (Reuters)

 

Still fashionable, still unsupported by empirical data: U.S. FDA should regulate salt, panel says

CHICAGO - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should regulate the amount of salt added to foods to help Americans cut their high sodium intake, which can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure and strokes, an influential federal panel said on Tuesday.

The Institute of Medicine said this was needed because Americans get most of their salt from processed and restaurant food, and merely telling them to eat less salt has not worked.

Meghan Scott, a spokeswoman for the FDA, which sponsored the IOM report, said the agency has not yet decided whether to regulate salt in U.S. foods. "We are not right now working on regulations," she said, but the agency is considering the panel's recommendations. (Reuters)

 

Mythical hazard repackaged as "public health crisis": Lawmakers urge FDA to move swiftly to limit amount of salt in foods

Two members of Congress urged the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to move quickly to limit the amount of salt in processed foods, calling the matter a "public health crisis" that demanded a swift response from government. 

"I understand they want to do in a phased kind of a deal, but I don't want it to be too long," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, who plans to hold hearings on the matter. "This is crying out for change that's long overdue." 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) agreed, saying in a conference call with Harkin and reporters: "I don't want this to take 10 years. I don't want this to go on and on and on. . . . This is a public health crisis." (Washington Post)

 

Changing old habits could save big on drug costs

CHICAGO - Making simple changes like getting people to take their medicines exactly as directed or to refill their prescriptions on time could save employers and their workers as much as $163 billion a year in healthcare costs, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc identified various behaviors including brand loyalty, procrastinating on refills and occasional forgetfulness, that increase treatment costs.

"This is the first time we've looked at the behavioral factors that are driving spending," chief scientist Bob Nease commented about Express Scripts' annual drug trends report.

The cost of these behaviors is a staggering $1 out of every $5 spent on prescription drugs, which account for 10 percent of the $2.3 trillion Americans spend on healthcare each year.

"When you slice it that way, you get this eye-popping figure of $163 billion," Nease said in a telephone interview. (Reuters)

 

Ri-ight...  Higher amounts of added sugars increase heart disease risk factors

ATLANTA – Added sugars in processed foods and beverages may increase cardiovascular disease risk factors, according to a study by Emory University researchers.

The study, published in the April 20, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed U.S. government nutritional data and blood lipid levels in more than 6,000 adult men and women between 1999 and 2006. The study subjects were divided into five groups according to the amount of added sugar and caloric sweeteners they consumed daily. 

Researchers found that people who consumed more added sugar were more likely to have higher cardiovascular disease risk factors, including higher triglyceride levels and higher ratios of triglycerides to HDL-C, or good cholesterol.

"Just like eating a high-fat diet can increase your levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol, eating sugar can also affect those same lipids," says study co-author Miriam Vos, MD, MSPH, assistant professor of pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine. (Emory University)

We have no evidence whatsoever that cholesterol levels are in any way causal in the case of adverse cardiac events, although they might be an associated marker (or not). Now added sugars are "at fault" for high lipid levels observed in people who eat more... What do you suppose are the chances people with high lipid levels eat more and are therefore exposed to more added sugars? If conclusion leaping was an Olympic sport then research would be positively replete with gold medals.

 

Startling observation of the day... Parents' obesity, especially mom's, tied to kids' risk

NEW YORK - Having two obese parents may substantially raise a child's risk of becoming obese, with mom's weight playing a particularly important role, a new study suggests.

UK researchers found that among more than 7,000 2- to 15-year-olds in a national study, those who had two obese parents were 12 times more likely to be obese than children with two normal-weight parents. That was with factors such as socioeconomics -- gauged by parents' jobs -- and ethnicity taken into account.

Mothers' weight showed a particularly strong association with children's weight, the study found. (Reuters Health)

 

Hmm... Military Comes Down Hard On School Lunches

A group of retired military officers is placing a new label on school cafeteria lunches, saying the food is a serious threat to national security. 

The reference is not geared toward what’s in that mystery meat either. 

The officers are saying that school lunches have contributed to the overweight issues in America’s youth and most kids become so obese that they cannot meet physical fitness standards for the military, which puts recruitment in jeopardy. 

The report released on Tuesday states that 27 percent -- more than 9 million -- of all young adults aged 17 to 24 are too overweight to join the military. The retired personnel are now advocating for the passage of a nutrition bill that would force the nation’s schools to offer healthier lunches. 

The officers group, Mission: Readiness, appeared on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (redOrbit) | Report says school food making kids unfit to serve (AP)

I know! This is a cunning plot by junkfood purveyors to have Democrats force schools to carry candy, crisps and sugary drinks! Knowing how Lefties so loathe the military and a decent defense posture this is a subliminal ploy to get them to sabotage military recruitment under the banner of personal choice and freedom of diet! Oh those devious junkfooders... I just hope "big tobacco" isn't taking notes or we'll soon have the DNC demanding students get smoke breaks as well!

 

Quick! Grab your woohhoo hat! Processed meat linked to higher ovarian cancer risk

NEW YORK - Women who eat a lot of processed meats, such as salami and hot dogs, are at a higher risk of ovarian cancer, according to a new Australian study.

At the same time, those who eat a lot of fish have a lower risk of the deadly tumors, Dr. Penny M. Webb of Gynaecological Cancers Group at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues found.

In their report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the team also found no link between red meat and the cancer, and just a slightly lower risk among women who consumed large amounts of poultry.

"This suggests that by following common dietary guidelines to reduce the intake of processed meats and increase the intake of poultry and fish, women may also reduce their risk of ovarian cancer," Webb and colleagues write. (Reuters Health)

Assuming women live to 75, what is their expected ovarian cancer risk? About 1:100. And with the varied diets "studied"? About the same.

 

Adequate nutrition counts? Imagine... In poor countries, taller moms' kids are healthier

NEW YORK - In developing countries, taller moms tend to give birth to healthier kids who are less likely to die in infancy, be underweight or have stunted growth, a new study finds. At the same time, good nutrition in adolescence and delaying marriage and childbirth appear to lead to taller adults.

"This is the first time we're seeing an effect of the mother's health -- as captured through her attained height -- being transferred well into the childhood of her offspring," study author Dr. S. V. Subramanian of the Harvard School of Public Health told Reuters Health. (Reuters Health)

 

What? Does the weather cause northerners to get more prostate cancer?

Cold, dry weather has been linked to an increased incidence of prostate cancer. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access International Journal of Health Geographics suggest that meteorological effects on persistent organic pollutants, such as some pesticides and industrial by-products, may be to blame.

Sophie St-Hilaire worked with a team of researchers from Idaho State University, USA, to study the correlation between various weather parameters and the incidence of prostate cancer at the County-level across the US. She said, "We found that colder weather, and low rainfall, were strongly correlated with prostate cancer. Although we can't say exactly why this correlation exists, the trends are consistent with what we would expect given the effects of climate on the deposition, absorption, and degradation of persistent organic pollutants including pesticides". (BioMed Central)

It's also consistent with lack of vitamin from low sunlight exposure, which is associated with various human cancers.

 

Should you use aspirin for a migraine?

NEW YORK - A single dose of aspirin can bring at least temporary pain relief to about half of people with migraines, a new research review suggests.

Research shows that about half of people with migraines opt to use over-the-counter pain relievers only, with aspirin being a common choice. But it has not been clear exactly how well aspirin performs, or where it fits into the migraine treatment arsenal.

In the new review, UK researchers analyzed 13 clinical trials in which patients were randomly assigned to treat their migraine attacks with either a single dose of 900 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) of aspirin or a comparison treatment -- either a placebo or an active drug, usually the prescription migraine drug sumatriptan.

Overall, the review found, 52 percent of aspirin users got at least some pain relief within two hours -- meaning their pain was reduced from moderate to severe to "no worse than mild." That compared with 32 percent of those using a placebo.

Similarly, one-quarter of aspirin users were pain-free within two hours, versus 11 percent of placebo users.

Aspirin also appeared to reduce some of the other symptoms that can come with migraine attacks, including nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. But a combination of aspirin and the anti-nausea medication metoclopramide - marketed as Reglan - worked even better, the researchers report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (Reuters Health)

 

Volcanic ash poses little health threat so far: WHO

GENEVA - Ash particles from Iceland's still-erupting volcano remain high in the atmosphere and do not pose a health risk so far to people in Europe, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Toning down its guidance from Friday, when it said the ash cloud that has grounded flights could be "very dangerous" for those with asthma and respiratory problems, the WHO said there was no cause for public health alarm so far.

"There are no effects on health at the moment, except in the vicinity of the volcano in Iceland," Carlos Dora of the public health and environment division told a news briefing.

Icelanders living near the volcano should stay indoors or wear face masks and goggles to protect themselves against coarse particles that can irritate the lungs and eyes, Dora said. (Reuters)

 

The War on Cigarettes

Add another chapter to the long and voluminous history of government’s failed “Vice Wars.” Just like Prohibition and the so-called “War on Drugs,” the ongoing cigarette crackdown in both the United States and Canada has not only failed to achieve its objective, but it is creating bureaucracies that threaten liberty and prosperity as well as spawning a violent subculture that puts lives at risk on both sides of the border.

And the more this “sin” tax is raised, the more lucrative profits from contraband cigarettes become – adding fuel to an already-volatile conflagration.

Did we really expect government to do anything differently, though? After all, we’re dealing with a government culture that continues to operate under the fatally-flawed assumption that anything can be solved simply by borrowing and spending more tax dollars. In fact, in today’s world unsustainable borrowing and spending itself can be solved by – you guessed it – additional borrowing and spending, all in the name of “economic development.” Is it at all surprising, then, to discover that our politicians are resorting to the same failed “solutions” of the past in prosecuting their war on cigarette smoking? (William Wilson, Townhall)

 

The EPA Monster

Among the legacies of Richard M. Nixon, famed for the Watergate scandal that forced his resignation, it should be noted that he created the Environmental Protection Agency. There was no vote in Congress. He did it with an executive order. Today the EPA has an annual budget of $9 billion and some 18,000 employees.

Not satisfied with the authorized powers given it to ensure clean air and water, the EPA has never ceased to seek expanded powers, culminating soon with a battle over whether it can regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) as a “pollutant.” Labeled a “greenhouse gas”, in the eyes of the EPA it is an “endangerment” to the health of humanity in general and Americans in particular. (Alan Caruba, Warning Signs)

 

Hops Helps Reduce Ammonia Produced by Cattle

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS ) scientist may have found a way to cut the amount of ammonia produced by cattle. To do it, he's using a key ingredient of the brewer's art: hops.

Cattle, deer, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals depend on a slew of naturally occurring bacteria to aid digestion of grass and other fibrous plants in the first of their four stomach chambers, known as the rumen.

The problem, according to ARS microbiologist Michael Flythe, comes from one group of bacteria, known as hyper-ammonia-producing bacteria, or HABs. While other bacteria are helping their bovine hosts convert plant fibers to cud, HABs are breaking down amino acids, a chemical process that produces ammonia and robs the animals of the amino acids they need to build muscle tissue, according to Flythe, who works at the ARS Forage Animal Production Research Unit (FAPRU) in Lexington, Ky.

To make up for lost amino acids, cattle growers have to add expensive and inefficient high-protein supplements to their animals' feed.

According to Flythe, hops can reduce HAB populations. Hops, a natural preservative, were originally added to beer to limit bacterial growth. (USDA)

 

With Flights Grounded, Kenya’s Produce Wilts

NAIROBI, Kenya — When Kenneth Maundu, general manager for Sunripe produce exporters, first heard about a volcano erupting in Iceland, he was excited. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow, a volcano,’ ” he said.

And then reality hit him in the face like a hurled tomato.

Because Kenya’s gourmet vegetable and cut-flower industry exports mainly to Europe, and because the cloud of volcanic ash has grounded flights to much of northern Europe since Thursday, its horticultural business has been waylaid as never before.

On Monday, Mr. Maundu stared at the towering wreckage: eight-feet-tall heaps of perfectly good carrots, onions, baby sweet corn and deliciously green sugar snap peas being dumped into the back of a pickup truck.

“Cow food,” he said, shaking his head. “That’s about all we can do with it now.”

If farmers in Africa’s Great Rift Valley ever doubted that they were intricately tied into the global economy, they know now that they are. Because of a volcanic eruption more than 5,000 miles away, Kenyan horticulture, which as the top foreign exchange earner is a critical piece of the national economy, is losing $3 million a day and shedding jobs.

The pickers are not picking. The washers are not washing. Temporary workers have been told to go home because refrigerated warehouses at the airport are stuffed with ripening fruit, vegetables and flowers, and there is no room for more until planes can take away the produce. Already, millions of roses, lilies and carnations have wilted.

“Volcano, volcano, volcano,” grumbled Ronald Osotsi, whose $90-a-month job scrubbing baby courgettes, which are zucchinis, and French beans is now endangered. “That’s all anyone is talking about.” He sat on a log outside a vegetable processing plant in Nairobi, next to other glum-faced workers eating a cheap lunch of fried bread and beans.

Election-driven riots, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and stunningly bad harvests have all left their mark on Kenya’s agriculture industry, which is based in the Rift Valley, Kenya’s breadbasket and the cradle of mankind.

But industry insiders say they have never suffered like this.

“It’s a terrible nightmare,” said Stephen Mbithi, the chief executive officer of the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya. He rattled off some figures: Two million pounds of fresh produce is normally shipped out of Kenya every night. Eighty-two percent of that goes to Europe, and more than a third goes solely to Britain, whose airports have been among those shut down by the volcano’s eruption. Five thousand Kenyan field hands have been laid off in the past few days, and others may be jobless soon. The only way to alleviate this would be to restore the air bridge to Europe, which would necessitate the equivalent of 10 Boeing 747s of cargo space — per night. (NYT)

 

Losing the organic debate

Churchville, VA—I lost a debate on organic food last week—to the city of New York 

Intelligence Squared, a philanthropic foundation, which brings Oxford-style debating to American issues, invited me to be part of a debate on whether the organic food movement is a scam. The invitation was a big deal, with the audio carried nationwide by National Public Radio and the TV shown repeatedly on Bloomberg TV.

Each of us six debaters got seven minutes to present our best arguments. ( Dennis Avery, CFP)

 

Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

Posted by Roger Pilon

Opposition is building to the proposed D.C. Voting Rights Act because it also restricts D.C.’s draconian gun-control laws. Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, and Billie Day, president of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, said today that “asking citizens to sacrifice their safety in order to have representation in Congress is unacceptable.”

And on NPR’s Morning Edition today, we heard the thoughts of D.C. councilwoman Mary Cheh, my con law professor: “I would rather wait to eternity before I bow down to the gun lobby and say ‘The only way I’m gonna get this is if we give up the right to protect ourselves.’”

The District’s gun laws protect us? By keeping guns out of the hands of criminals? (Cato at liberty)

 

 

Climategate Figure Threatens Lawsuit Over Satirical YouTube Video 'Hide the Decline' - No Cap-and-Trade Coalition Says 'Bring It On.'

WASHINGTON, April 20 -- Penn State University's Michael Mann, one of the central figures in the Climategate scandal, has threatened legal action against Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) over the group's popular satirical YouTube video "Hide the Decline." The No Cap-and-Trade Coalition, a group that includes M4GW, responded today at an event at the National Press Club, releasing Mann's threatening letter and an updated version of the "Hide the Decline" video.

"We understand why Michael Mann is eager to silence public discussion of the hockey stick scandal," said Jeff Davis of No Cap-and-Trade, "but truth is an absolute defense." (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

 

The Threat:

 

No Cap And Trade Coalition Unveils "Hide The Decline II"

The No Cap and Trade Coalition is now hosting a new version of the 'Hide the Decline' video. (M4GW)

There seems to be a little internet contention over whether Mann can be demonstrated as "fudging the numbers" (and specifically with regard to the "hockey stick").

Perhaps some people are not aware of Mann's "CENSORED" data directory and it's ramifications?

The man most responsible for unearthing Mann's apparent malfeasance would be Steve McIntyre, so let us repost one of his brief and damning reconstructions in all its elegant succinctness:

The 5 Censored PCs

When one contrasts the extraordinary MBH claims of robustness of their reconstruction with the admitted non-robustness of this reconstruction to the PC4 of the North American tree ring network, it is interesting to examine the first 5 PC series in the CENSORED file at Mann’s FTP site. These are plotted in the following figure.

First 5 PCs from Mann's CENSORED Directory

These PC series have been calculated from the 50 non-bristlecone pine series and obviously there is no 20th century hockey stick shaped series among them. These PC series have presumably been calculated with Mann’s flawed PC method, but even this method could not mine a hockey stick shape without the bristlecones. This shows about as vividly as one could imagine that the hockey stick is made out of bristlecone pine. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, February 4, 2005)

Mann hid conflicting series in the "Back to 1400 CENSORED" directory and used only patently unsuitable bristlecone pines to create his desired illusion and this is not seen as "fudging data"? Really?

 

Mann Threatens Lawsuit Against Video Exposing His Hockey Stick

I'm no lawyer, but believe that for a libel or slander lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendants knew what they said was false, and that truth is an absolute defense. Thus, if Michael Mann is foolish enough to proceed in his threatened lawsuit against Minnesotans 4 Global Warming for their Hide the Decline parody video, he will:

  1. Need to prove that Phil Jones email to Mann about Mike [Mann's] Nature Trick to "hide the decline" doesn't really refer to Mann "hiding the decline" in the tree ring data, which show decreasing temperatures after 1960.
  2. Need to prove that Mann's email to Phil Jones on June 4, 2003, stating "it would be nice to try to "contain" the putative "MWP" [Medieval Warming Period], even if we don't yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back” does not show scientific malfeasance.
  3. Need to prove that Mann's hockey stick isn't one of the the most thoroughly debunked scientific papers of the 20th century
  4. Need to prove that Mann himself has not repeatedly deliberately distorted highly critical reviews of his work
  5. Need to prove that it is ok for Mann to continue to flip temperature proxies upside down even in his latest papers, even though this egregious error has already been pointed out to him in the past and which he still refuses to acknowledge.

and so on...ad nauseum. (Hockey Schtick)

 

Mann's PR firm is certainly trying to earn their money: World-Renowned Experts and Heroes of the Environmental Movement Coming to Pittsburgh; Dr. Robert Bullard and Dr. Michael Mann Featured Speakers at PennFuture’s Global Warming Conference on May 2

Dr. Robert Bullard, often called the “Father of Environmental Justice,” Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University; and Dr. Michael Mann, climate change expert and a lead author of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient (along with former Vice President Al Gore and other IPCC scientists) are featured speakers at PennFuture’s upcoming conference on global warming set for Pittsburgh on May 2, 2010. The conference, “Creating a Climate for Justice” will be held at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday, May 2, 2010 from 1:30 to 6:15 p.m. 

Other speakers include Jan Jarrett, president and CEO of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture); John Hanger, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; local green business leaders; and experts on proposed federal and state legislation on global warming. Local sustainable businesses and organizations will provide information on sustainable foods; renewable energy including solar, wind, geothermal, energy efficiency, and biodiesel; green building materials; and more. (BUSINESS WIRE)

I'm guessing Fenton Communications is handling Mann since would be energy controllers suffered the Climategate debacle, can anyone confirm for sure? Wonder who is footing the bill?

Parenthetically, in case a few people still don't know, the IPCC as an organization shared the 2007 NPP with Ozone Al, not individual contributors/reviewers. Mann is most definitely not a " Nobel Peace Prize recipient". Nice try though.

 

What's the cost if Congress fails?

If Congress fails, America wins. CFACT's response to Connie Hedegaard the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action.

Commisioner Hedegaard posed this question: "While some argue that the U.S. cannot afford climate and energy legislation, my question is: Can the U.S. afford not to have ambitious legislation that paves the way for a more energy-efficient future? We all know that we are in for a future where energy and resources will be still more expensive, and the companies and nations that are the most energy-efficient will prosper the most."

CFACT Executive Director, Craig Rucker responded to her question. (CFACT)

 

Rightly: Senate Republicans Move to Bar NEPA Analysis of Climate Change Impacts

Republican senators introduced legislation today that would block White House efforts to require federal agencies to consider climate change in environmental analyses of proposed projects.

The bill says the National Environmental Policy Act should not be used to document, predict or mitigate the climate effects of specific federal actions. Under the measure, NEPA reviews could not consider the greenhouse gas emissions of a proposed federal project nor climate change effects as related to the proposal's design, environmental impacts, or mitigation or adaptation measures. (Greenwire)

 

Just Say No to a Gasoline Tax Hike

by Jerry Taylor
April 20, 2010

Word on the political street is that a 15 cent increase in the federal gasoline tax may well be included in the final draft of a bill being prepared by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and John Kerry (D-MA) to address global warming.   Shell, British Petroleum, and ConocoPhillips – are said to support the tax because it’s a less costly intervention in the transportation fuel market (for them anyway) than alternative interventions that might otherwise find their way into this prospective legislation.  Shell et al. may be right about that, but be that as it may, this would still constitute lousy public policy.  A gasoline tax hike ought to be resisted.

Higher Taxes Will Not Alter Climate Under Anyone’s Math

The proposed gasoline tax increase will have no significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.  That’s because the demand curve for gasoline is rather inelastic.  Hence, a 15 cent increase in gasoline prices – presuming that the entirety of the tax is passed on to consumers, which may not prove to be the case – would not discourage very much fuel consumption at all. 

While I don’t have any calculations at hand to translate the likely amount of reduced oil consumption into a percentage reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions (although that would be a fine project to undertake if this idea ever finds its way into the bill), the figure is certainly below 1 percent.  How much cooler would the planet be given that emissions decline over the next 50, 100, and 150 years?  That figure would certainly be too small to even measure.

Regardless, the uninternalized “negative externality” associated with the impact of gasoline consumption on the climate is likely to be rather small in monetary terms.  After a review of the pertinent economic literature by economist Ian Parrry, Mr. Parry concluded that a gallon of gasoline likely does about 5 cents worth of damage to the environment via its impact on the global climate, assuming that the conventional narrative about anthropogenic climate change is correct.  Accordingly, a 15 cent increase in the gasoline tax to address climate impacts would likely do more economic harm than good even if you believe the scientific arguments forwarded by the IPCC. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

US carbon cap could dismantle refining, chemical sectors - witness

WASHINGTON--Emissions mandates on US industry before carbon capture and storage (CCS) is broadly available would force dismantling of much of the nation’s power, refining and chemicals production capacity, a Senate witness said on Tuesday.

Kurt House, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that it would be mathematically impossible for the US to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and continue to use its abundant coal and natural gas resources without wide-scale commercial deployment of carbon capture and sequestration systems.

House, who holds a doctorate in geoscience from Harvard University and specialises in carbon dioxide (CO2) and chemical processes, noted that existing US industrial infrastructure most responsible for CO2 emissions - power stations, refiners and chemical plants - represented an installed capital investment of more than $1,000bn (€740bn).

“It is arithmetically impossible to make stated cuts in our CO2 emissions without either dismantling the majority of that installed capital or by doing CCS,” House said.

House was testifying about legislation before the Senate Energy Committee designed to clarify ownership, liabilities and other issues confronting the goal of making massive underground injections of carbon dioxide captured from various industrial processes.

Separately, the US Senate is expected to begin consideration next week of a new climate bill that reportedly calls for a reduction of US emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to a level 17% below the nation’s 2005 output by 2020.

“But without the large-scale deployment of CCS,” said House, “it is arithmetically impossible for us to use those reserves [of coal and natural gas] for productive purposes, while simultaneously making significant cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions.” (ICIS news)

But, as we all know, CCS is completely pointless and prohibitively expensive.

 

The Department of Defense Should Assess the Security Risks of Climate Change Policies

by Marlo Lewis, Jr. 
April 20, 2010

The Pentagon is perhaps the most influential lobby on Capitol Hill and has the respect of many on the center-right who hold the likes of Greenpeace, Al Gore, and the United Nations in low regard. What’s more, if “even the generals are worried” and climate change is officially deemed a national security threat, then proponents of cap-and-trade get to wave the flag and depict their opponents as venal, partisan, or unpatriotic. So it’s not surprising that global warming activists for years have sought to institutionalize climate change concerns in Department of Defense (DOD) intelligence assessments, program planning, and budgeting. 

They have made some headway, though the Department is still far from a hotbed of climate alarm. DOD’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report (QDR) calls climate change a “key issue” that will play a “significant role in shaping the future security environment.” On the other hand, at a recent briefing on the QDR at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a top-ranking DOD official pointedly declined to define climate change as a “national security threat,” calling it instead an “instability accelerant”—a factor that could exacerbate conditions conducive to conflict within and among nations. Angst, hyperbole, and cheerleading for cap-and-trade were conspicuously absent. Nonetheless, the Wilson Center briefing lacked balance. Panelists discussed the security risks associated with climate change while seeming completely oblivious to the potential of various climate change policies to damage U.S. security interests. Similarly, the QDR says nothing about the security risks of climate policies. 

This paper aims to inject some badly needed balance into discussions of climate change and national security. First, it takes a skeptical look at the claim that climate is an important “threat multiplier” or, as the QDR puts it, an “accelerant of instability and conflict.” Second, it outlines several ways in which climate policies can adversely affect U.S. national security. (CEI) | Marlo Lewis - Security Risks of Climate Change Policies.pdf

 

Hey, even they call it a "regime": The Global Climate Change Regime

This page is part of the multimedia Global Governance Monitor from the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

  1. Scope of the Challenge
  2. Strengths and Weaknesses
  3. U.S. Climate Change Policy Issues
  4. Recent Developments
  5. Options for Strengthening the Climate Change Regime

(Council on foreign Relations)

But what do you expect from a global governance program?

 

Exactly what no one needs, especially not Gaia: Attractive Nuisance: Should Judges Help Tackle Climate Change?

If Congress and the president fail to tackle global warming, can courts step in? Can federal judges allow people struggling with the losses of global warming to sue polluters directly?

The idea may at first seem crazy. In a legal world obsessed with claims of judicial activism, the image of a judge taking on a global problem like climate change seems like the punch line to a bad joke at an Exxon board meeting.

But, it turns out there is a long and proud history of judges addressing pollution in the absence of environmental regulation. For much of the last century — long before Congress acted — federal courts allowed plaintiffs to seek injunctions to stop all kinds of pollution. Successful suits prevented an ore smelter from releasing deadly atmospheric arsenic over the homes and families of Utah, the City of Chicago from draining its sewage into St. Louis drinking supply and New York City from dumping its garbage into the Atlantic, where it washed up on the beaches of the New Jersey Shore. Today, states and environmentalists are turning to these and other historic precedents to make the case that climate change, too, belongs in the courts — when the other branches of government refuse to act.

The current battle began in 2004, the midpoint of the Bush presidency. A coalition of states and private land trusts, led by the State of Connecticut, that were frustrated with Washington’s failure to introduce legislation or regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions sued several of the nation’s largest electric utilities in Connecticut v. American Electric Power. The coalition alleged that the companies’ greenhouse-gas emissions amounted to a “public nuisance” in the form of global warming. (Wired Science)

 

Major Economies Focus On Finance At Climate Meeting

Representatives from the world's biggest polluters sought to make progress on short-term financing to help developing countries adapt to global warming at a meeting hosted by the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama's top climate negotiator said.

The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate included presentations by the United States and other developed countries on what they would do to make good on financing outlined in the Copenhagen Accord resulting from last year's U.N. climate meeting in Denmark.

"There is an appreciation by everybody in the room it is important to make good on that commitment," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said of the two-day meeting that ended Monday. (Reuters)

 

The Coming Tide of Global Climate Lawsuits

The Prunerov power station is the Czech Republic’s biggest polluter: Its Its 900-foot-high smokestack pushes a plume of white smoke high above the flat, featureless fields of northern Bohemia. Prunerov reliably wins a place on lists of Europe’s dirtiest power plants, emitting 11.1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. So when CEZ Group, the state-controlled utility, proposed an overhaul to extend the facility’s life for another quarter of a century, protests flared — including one from a place about as far from the sooty industrial region as you can get, a place of tropical temperatures and turquoise seas with not a smokestack in sight. This January, the Federated States of Micronesia, some 8,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean, lodged a legal challenge to the Prunerov plant on the grounds that its chronic pollution threatens the island nation’s existence. (Wired Science)

 

Tuvalu vs. ExxonMobil

For environmentalists, the story of Tuvalu is well known. A tiny smattering of islands somewhere between Australia and Hawaii, Tuvalu totals ten square miles and has about 12 thousand people. Because Tuvalu's low-lying islands are so susceptible to the slightest change in sea level, the gradual rise of the oceans caused by global warming has become an existential threat. As a result, Tuvalu has been championed by environmentalists as a symbol of climate change's threat. 

That threat, of course, is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. While oil companies like ExxonMobil may only be directly responsible for a small fraction of those emissions, such companies have become to some activists a symbol of climate change's causes. This all leads Mother Jones' Rachel Morris to ask, could Tuvalu sue ExxonMobil? (Atlantic Wire)

 

Yet another supermodel involved in scandal

So it turns out that the devastating grounding of air traffic was all based on the output of a computer model; not any old computer model, but one from the now notorious Met Office. It is eight years since we listed some of the factors that make computer models dangerous tools, yet reckless reliance on them has since increased dramatically. Politicians and bureaucrats addicted to the precautionary principle would do well to apply it to this costly field of activity. It is reasonably safe to assume that all large computer models are wrong and that very large models are very wrong. It would be purging for there to be a few court cases about the staggering losses that occurred in this case, even though they are dwarfed by the costs incurred through the unthinking reliance on climate models.

Incidentally, on a personal note, this year your bending author “celebrates” 50 years of involvement in digital computer modelling (preceded by an abortive flirtation with analogue computers) having started on the first computer delivered in the UK for research purposes (a Ferranti Pegasus). Enough’s enough! (Number Watch)

 

The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists

Today (April 20) is the official release date of my new book entitled: “The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists“, published by Encounter Books.

About one-half of Blunder is a non-technical description of our new peer reviewed and soon-to-be-published research which supports the opinion that a majority of Americans already hold: that warming in recent decades is mostly due to a natural cycle in the climate system — not to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning.

Believe it or not, this potential natural explanation for recent warming has never been seriously researched by climate scientists. The main reason they have ignored this possibility is that they cannot think of what might have caused it.

You see, climate researchers are rather myopic. They think that the only way for global-average temperatures to change is for the climate system to be forced ‘externally’…by a change in the output of the sun, or by a large volcanic eruption. These are events which occur external to the normal, internal operation of the climate system.

But what they have ignored is the potential for the climate system to cause its own climate change. Climate change is simply what the system does, owing to its complex, dynamic, chaotic internal behavior.

As I travel around the country, I find that the public instinctively understands the possibility that there are natural climate cycles. Unfortunately, it is the climate “experts” who have difficulty grasping the concept. This is why I am taking my case to the public in this book. The climate research community long ago took the wrong fork in the road, and I am afraid that it might be too late for them to turn back.

NATURE’S SUNSHADE: CLOUDS
The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.

How could the experts have missed such a simple explanation? Because they have convinced themselves that only a temperature change can cause a cloud cover change, and not the other way around. The issue is one of causation. They have not accounted for cloud changes causing temperature changes.

The experts have simply mixed up cause and effect when observing how clouds and temperature vary. The book reveals a simple way to determine the direction of causation from satellite observations of global average temperature and cloud variations. And that new tool should fundamentally change how we view the climate system.

Blunder also addresses a second major mistake that results from ignoring the effect of natural cloud variations on temperature: it results in the illusion that the climate system is very sensitive. The experts claim that, since our climate system is very sensitive, then our carbon dioxide emissions are all that is needed to explain global warming. There is no need to look for alternative explanations.

But I show that the experts have merely reasoned themselves in a circle on this subject. When properly interpreted, our satellite observations actually reveal that the system is quite IN-sensitive. And an insensitive climate system means that nature does not really care whether you travel by jet, or how many hamburgers or steaks you eat.

CARBON DIOXIDE: FRIEND OR FOE?
The supposed explanation that global warming is due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from our burning of fossil fuels turns out to be based upon little more than circumstantial evidence. It is partly a symptom of our rather primitive understanding of how the climate system works.

And I predict that the proposed cure for global warming – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – will someday seem as outdated as using leeches to cure human illnesses.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that scientific knowledge is continually changing, it is increasingly apparent that the politicians are not going to let little things like facts get in their way. For instance, a new draft climate change report was released by the U.S. yesterday (April 19) which, in part, says: “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced … Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.”

You see, the legislative train left the station many years ago, and no amount of new science will slow it down as it accelerates toward its final destination: forcibly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But in Blunder I address what other scientists should have the courage to admit: that maybe putting more CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing. Given that it is necessary for life on Earth, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is surprisingly small. We already know that nature is gobbling up 50% of what humanity produces, no matter how fast we produce it. So, it is only logical to address the possibility that nature — that life on Earth — has actually been starved for carbon dioxide.

This should give you some idea of the major themes of my new book. I am under no illusion that the book will settle the scientific debate over global warming.

To the contrary — I am hoping the debate will finally begin. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

From everyone's favorite railway engineer: Despite Attacks from Critics, Climate Science Will Prevail

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges it has been a rough few months for his organization. But, he argues, no amount of obfuscation and attacks by conspiracy theorists will alter the basic facts — global warming is real and intensifying. (Rajendra K. Pachauri, e360)

Well gosh Raj, fact is we've always been trying to get some science into the act -- it's just that science really craps all over your claims about catastrophic global warming... Oh, and about that "gold standard" report: 

 

Last in Class: Critics Give U.N. Climate Researchers an 'F'

A group of 40 auditors from across the globe have released a shocking report card that flunks the U.N.'s landmark climate-change research report. 

It may be time for the United Nations' climate-studies scientists to go back to school.

A group of 40 auditors -- including scientists and public policy experts from across the globe -- have released a shocking report card on the U.N.'s landmark climate-change research report. 

And they gave 21 of the report's 44 chapters a grade of "F."

The team, recruited by the climate-change skeptics behind the website NoConsensus.org, found that 5,600 of the 18,500 sources in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Nobel Prize-winning 2007 report were not peer reviewed.

"We've been told this report is the gold standard," said Canadian global-warming skeptic Donna Laframboise, who runs the NoConsensus.org site and who organized the online effort to examine the U.N.'s references in the report, commonly known as the AR4. 

The cover of the IPCC's fourth assessment report to the U.N., "Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report," more frequently referred to as AR4.

"We've been told it's 100 percent peer-reviewed science. But thousands of sources cited by this report have been nowhere near a scientific journal."

Based on the grading system used in American schools, 21 chapters in the IPCC report received an F for citing peer-reviewed sources less than 60 percent of the time. Four chapters received a D, and six received a C. 

The report also got eight A's and five B's from the auditors, who included Bob Ashworth, a member of the American Geophysical Union, and Dr. Darko Butina, a director of Chemomine Consultancy Ltd.

According to Lafromboise, much of the scientific research published by the U.N. cited press releases, newspaper and magazine clippings, student theses, newsletters, discussion papers, and literature published by green advocacy groups. Such material is often called "gray literature," she said, and it stands in stark contrast to the U.N.'s claims about the study's sources.

In June 2008, Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC's chairman, said: "People can have confidence in the IPCC's conclusions, given that it is all on the basis of peer-reviewed literature.

"We don't pick up a newspaper article and, based on that, come up with our findings," he told a group at the Commonwealth Club. ( Gene J. Koprowski, FOXNews.com)

 

A Green-inspired whitewash: Goldstein

To absolutely no one’s surprise, global warmists keep insisting Climategate isn’t a scandal

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May complained on her blog last week that the Canadian media have not been reporting that two inquiries in the U.K. into Climategate have exonerated the academic institution and scientists at the centre of the storm.

This is too funny, because the only reason most Canadian media haven’t reported on this supposed ending of what May derisively refers to as the “so-called” Climategate scandal, is most of them never reported on Climategate to begin with.

Even if they did, having drunk deeply of the Kyoto Kool-Aid long ago, it was to haughtily pronounce from the very start that Climategate was a mere tempest in a teapot.

In other words: “Nothing to see here folks, let’s all just move along.” (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)

 

Robbert Dijkgraaf: ClimateGate unrelated to IPCC

NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands has printed an interview with Robbert Dijkgraaf, the main reviewer of the IPCC panel who was invited by a letter from Pachauri and Ban Ki-Moon to look at the functioning of the IPCC:

IPCC reviewer: 'Every good scientist is a sceptic by nature' (interview)
Dijkgraaf says many idealistic things about the scientists' duty to be skeptics; general observations about the complexity of the information flows in the modern society; the co-existence of science and politics; the inability of politicians and laymen to understand the margins of errors and probabilities; and so on.

I think that Robbert shows that he is wise and knows a lot, although some kind of separation from the real world is still penetrating his answers. However, I completely share Steve McIntyre's surprise - if I avoid the word "shock" for a while - caused by the following comment of Robbert about the ClimateGate:

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

This just in from another creator of fantasy worlds: ‘Avatar' Director Laments That 'Climate Deniers' Have the 'Public Ear'

Academy Award-winning Director James Cameron said the "climate deniers" who have the "public ear" are engaging in “fear mongering” and will have to answer to the next generation for the “very bleak world” they are “essentially creating.”

In an exclusive interview, CNSNews.com asked Cameron about his remarks concerning conservative critics of his popular movie “Avatar” and whether he could provide some more perspective.

Cameron said those critics were “people ranting away, lost in their bubbles of reality, steeped in their own hatred, their own fear and hatred.”

Cameron told CNSNews.com last week, “I stand by that” and further said: “I think there’s a lot of demagoguery in this country. I think there’s a lot of fear mongering, and I think it’s done us a huge disservice over the last few years, and I think it’s really starting to hurt us right now. (CNSNews.com)

 

Back to the '50s, almost? Spring comes 10 days earlier in changed U.S. climate

Spring comes about 10 days earlier in the United States than it did two decades ago, a consequence of climate change that favors invasive species over indigenous ones, scientists said on Tuesday.

The phenomenon known as "spring creep" has put various species of U.S. wildlife out of balance with their traditional habitats, from the rabbit-like American pika in the West to the roses and lilies in New England, the environmental experts said in a telephone news briefing. (Reuters)

"In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950" -- Newsweek, April 28, 1975.

 

Dairy Sector Adds 4 Percent To Man-Made Emissions: FAO

The dairy sector accounts for 4 percent of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report.

The dairy sector emitted 1.969 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2007, of which 1.328 billion tonnes were due to dairy production and 151 million tonnes to meat from culled dairy animals, the FAO said.

Global milk production, processing and transportation accounted for 2.7 percent of the world man made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the FAO said. (Reuters)

 

Comments On Two Papers By Kevin Trenberth On The Global Climate Energy Budget

Kevin Trenberth (and Josh Willis) should be commended for providing us an open discussion of the issue of the energy budget of the climate system, as I posted yesterday with their permission; 

Further Feedback From Kevin Trenberth And Feedback From Josh Willis On The UCAR Press Release

We need more such collegiality. 

Today, I want to discuss two papers by Kevin. These are 

Trenberth, K. E., and J. T. Fasullo, 2010: Tracking Earth’s energy. Science, 328, 316-317 

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. 

Since Kevin Trenberth is an internationally respected climate scientist, his views on this issue are worth discussing further. 

First, in terms of agreement, his goal of attempting to quantify the individual contributions to the climate system energy budget in terms of fluxes (watts per meter squared) is very much-needed.   I support Kevin on this effort. His various versions of Figure 2 in Trenberth (2009)  have been one of the most cited in global climate science.  

There are substantive issues with this figure, however, which include 

  • the uncertainties in the observational accuracy of each flux (in +/- Watts per meter squared) is not included.
  • the figure represents a long term average of these fluxes, but in the actual climate system these fluxes are never in equilibrium as solar irradiance varies through the year (e.g. see our paper for the resulting effect on the global average tropospheric temperatures as a function of the time of year).
  • the figure provides a global average of the fluxes, but in the actual climate system, these fluxes are spatially variable (e.g. see). 
  • the radiative imbalance is only about 0.26% of the global average incoming solar radiation and only about 0.31% of the global average outgoing long wave radiation so it is quite a challenge to diagnose a change in the resulting radiative imbalance (which is about 0.9 Watts per meter squared from Kevin’s paper).

The results of these complexities is that a global average, long-term mean of the fluxes (while valuable as a starting schematic) can obscure how the climate actually works. 

Figure 4 in his 2009 paper continues to focus on a global average, long-term mean perspective.  While here the uncertainty is included, the temporal variation with a year (even in the long-term multi-year average) in the radiative forcings and feedbacks is not included. 

As a result of these uncertainties, I recommend we start from the bottom row in Kevin’s figure 4. This is the total net imbalance which is given as about 0.9 Watts per meter squared (0.4 to 1.4 Watts per meter squared).  This is where Trenberth and Fasullo conclude in their 2010 paper that there is missing heat 

We have a way to estimate this imbalance independent of summing the climate forcings and feedbacks in figure 4. Despite Kevin’s 2009 conclusion that

“Many analyses before about 2008 of ocean heat content are now obsolete” 

as is discussed in yesterday’s post, all of the ocean analyses are in close agreement since 2005 and are concluded to be robust.  The net radiative imbalance (the bottom row in Kevin’s figure 4) is actually very close to zero over this time period.

In Table 1 of the 2009 paper, Kevin lists the column in the extreme right as the “Residual”.  This is the “missing heat” that he reports on in his Science Perspective. However, the analysis of the change in ocean heat content by Josh Willis and others shows that these is little if any unsampled heat in the climate system, at least since 2005 to last summer.  

My recommendations to resolve this disagreement with Kevin are as follows: 

  • start from the known radiative imbalance as documented by the ocean measurements (with estimates included, as Kevin has presented, for the other components of the climate system), and seek to diagnose the different contributions to the imbalance from each of the components in figure 2 in Trenberth (2009).  This approach starts from the imbalance, rather than seeking to determine the radiative imbalance (i.e. the residual) as a summation of a set of uncertain climate forcings and feedbacks.
  • in performing this analysis, the fluxes within the annual cycle also need to be presented (e.g. on a multi–year monthly average basis). This will permit a demonstrati0n as to whether we adequately understand the energy budget on this time scale. Since the annual average results from a summation through the 12 month annual cycle,  this will provide an improved opportunity to assess the extent we really understand this aspect of the climate system.
  • the spatial distribution of the fluxes on this time scale need to also assessed.

Finally, I am pleased that the Trenberth and Fasullo (2010) paper presented their figure with the “missing heat”. It is this heat that I presented as a test of the IPCC models in my post 

Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions 

[see also my paper Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55]. 

Apparently, unless the “missing heat” can be found, the conclusion would be that, at least for this relatively short time period, the models are not accurately replicating changes over time  in the energy budget of the real world climate system. Also, in order for the IPCC models to come back into conformity with the real world, they must have a substantially above average radiative imbalance in the next few years. (Climate Science)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 16: 21 April 2010

4th International Conference on Climate Change:
The Fourth International Conference on Climate Change will be held in Chicago, Illinois on May 16-18, 2010 at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile Hotel, 540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. It will call attention to new scientific research on the causes and consequences of climate change, and to economic analysis of the cost and effectiveness of proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To register for the event, or for information about the program, speakers, co-sponsors, and more, click here.

Editorial:
Will Global Warming Reduce Crop Yields?: Climate alarmists keep inventing ever worsening scenarios, as corrupted "peer review" and unwarranted publication run rampant in journals sympathetic to their cause.

Subject Index Summary:
Health Effects (Temperature -- Cardiovascular): What gives the human heart more problems: temperatures at the high end of our experience or the low end?

Journal Reviews:
A New Analysis of the Urban Heat Island Effect: A different way of defining the phenomenon makes it more amenable to assessment via remote sensing and comparative analysis among cities located within different biomes.

The Medieval Warm Period in Greenland: How did its warmth compare with that of the present?

Health Effects of Seasonal Cold in Arctic Regions: Is it as significant as it is in warmer regions?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on the Productivity of Two CAM Plants: Are they as great as the responses that have been observed in C3 plants?

Butterfly Responses to 35 Years of Regional Warming and Land Use Change in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California: Which of the two types of change was the more powerful in terms of eliciting butterfly responses? ... and what were the responses?

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Salt Marsh Sedge (Li et al., 2010), Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Li et al., 2010), Sydney Blue Gum Tree (Ghannoum et al., 2010), and White Birch (Ambebe and Dang, 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 820 individual scientists from 487 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lake WB02, Northern Victoria Island, Nanavut, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)

 

Amazing Amazon Analysis

If you really want to hit a home run with a global warming story, manage to link climate change to the beloved rainforest of the Amazon. The rainforest there is considered by many to be the “lungs of the planet,” the rainforest surely contains a cure for any ailment imaginable, all species in the place are critical to the existence of life on the Earth, and the people of the Amazon are surely the most knowledgeable group on the planet regarding how to care for Mother Earth. 

The global warming alarmists have taken full advantage of the Amazon and they are very quick to suggest that the Amazon ecosystem is extremely sensitive to climate change. Furthermore, not only can climate change impact the Amazon, but global climate itself is strongly linked to the state of the Amazon rainforest.

But, as usual, there is more to this story than meets to eye (or, rather, the press). (WCR)

 

Is Dave Matthews' carbon offsets provider really carbon neutral?

Celebrities like Dave Matthews have used carbon offset provider NativeEnergy to help them be carbon neutral. But there's great debate about whether the company's method of selling offsets that have yet to happen. (CSM)

 

IDB promises 3 billion USD annually to finance renewable energy

The Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, announced Friday its intention to increase its financing for renewable energy and climate-related projects to 3 billion US dollars a year by 2012. (MercoPress)

 

Race for Arctic Energy Riches Heats Up

When Vladimir Putin calls for international dialogue and personally attends the resulting conference, you know Russia means business. Whether the intention is that the international cards are dealt fairly or the flim flam of talking shop PR diplomacy, is hard to say. But, the whimsically titled “The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue” conference on the future of the Arctic’s oil and gas riches represents new Cold War intrigue writ large. [Read More] (Peter C. Glover, Energy Tribune)

 

Another Blow to Coal: Colorado Pushes Utilities To Natural Gas

Wow, the outlook for the U.S. coal industry is getting dimmer by the day. If greater government scrutiny on coal mining safety wasn’t enough, now an effort to force utilities to switch their coal-fired power plants to natural gas is gaining momentum.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter yesterday signed a new clean-air bill that will require Xcel Energy to cut nitrous oxide emissions by up to 80 percent from several aging coal-fired plants by the end of 2017. And the utility has to give natural gas first consideration when it looks at how to reduce emissions from those plants.

The bill is a win for Xcel because the utility will be allowed to enter into long-term contracts to lock in lower natural gas prices and protect it from volatility in the market. Of course, that means if natural gas prices suddenly drop, customers will still be paying that “locked in” amount. Environmentalists are happy since coal-fired power plants produce more greenhouse gas emissions than ones that use natural gas. And of course, the natural gas industry is pleased.

Which leaves coal the odd man out. Not to mention a little poorer. The coal industry spent an estimated $2 million lobbying against the bill. And then there’s the loss of coal mining, railroad and utility jobs expected from the bill’s passage. Less demand for coal, less demand for coal miners or the rails that transport the fuel source. And natural gas power plants are more efficient and are less labor intensive than coal plants. (bnet)

 

Councillors vote to oppose power station plans

Councillors in East Lothian have voted to oppose controversial plans to upgrade Cockenzie power station in principle.

The council's environment director Pete Collins had recommended that councillors should approve the plans. 

Scottish Power wants to convert Cockenzie from a coal to a gas fired power station. 

A motion to oppose the plans was passed by 12 votes to six at Tuesday evening's meeting in Port Seton. 

The councillors' findings will now be passed onto Scottish ministers, who will make the final decision on whether the plans get the go-ahead. (BBC)

 

 

Volcanic Ash Research Shows How Plumes End up in the Jet Stream

New techniques under development could provide better tracking of volcanic plumes

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A University at Buffalo volcanologist, an expert in volcanic ash cloud transport, published a paper recently showing how the jet stream – the area in the atmosphere that pilots prefer to fly in – also seems to be the area most likely to be impacted by plumes from volcanic ash.

"That's a problem," says Marcus I. Bursik, PhD, one of the foremost experts on volcanic plumes and their effect on aviation safety, "because modern transcontinental and transoceanic air routes are configured to take advantage of the jet stream's power, saving both time and fuel.

"The interaction of the jet stream and the plume is likely a factor here," says Bursik, professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. "Basically, planes have to fly around the plume or just stop flying, as they have, as the result of this eruption in Iceland."

In some cases, if the plume can be tracked well enough with satellites, pilots can steer around the plume, he notes, but that didn't work in this case because the ash drifted right over Britain. (University at Buffalo)

 

Eruption surge sends new ash cloud towards Britain

LATEST: The eruption of a volcano in Iceland strengthened on Monday, sending a new ash cloud towards Britain, the country’s air authorities said.

‘‘The volcano eruption in Iceland has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK,’’ said the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which manages British airspace.

‘‘Latest information from the Met Office (weather forecasting service) shows that the situation is worsening in some areas,’’ said NATS in a statement.

It added that Scottish airports should still be open from 7am on Tuesday (1600 AEST), as had been announced earlier in the day, but the situation for Northern Irish airports was uncertain.

More airspace over England may become available from 1pm on Tuesday (2200 AEST) although not as far south as the main London airports, said NATS.

But it added that ‘‘the situation is likely to change overnight.’’

News of the latest cloud comes as European governments started opening the continent’s airspace to new flights, giving hope to hundreds of thousands of passengers around the world trapped as volcanic ash in the atmosphere grounded airlines.

The huge cloud of ash that has blanketed Europe forced the cancellation of another 20,000 flights on Monday and Britain and other governments sent navy ships and deployed other measures to rescue stranded passengers.

But under relentless pressure from airlines facing a new billion dollar-plus bill, EU transport ministers agreed to ease restrictions from Tuesday. (AFP)

 

This shutdown is about more than volcanic ash

The flight ban is a product of officialdom’s apocalyptic thinking, where they always imagine that the worst-case scenario will come true. (Frank Furedi, sp!ked)

 

Another swine flu

The health-and-safety Armageddon I long expected has arrived, writes Simon Jenkins. It is another "swine flu", he says.

It was bad enough to have an idiot with a shoe bomb stirring equally idiot regulators to enforce billions of pounds of cost and inconvenience on air travellers in the cause of "it might happen again". Now we have a volcano and a bit of dust. It is another swine flu.

The truth is that putting large, heavy bits of metal into the air is just too much for the psyche of modern regulators. They panic. The slightest risk cannot be taken or someone might blame the regulators, whose job is not to assess risk but avert it.

Even an airline company, with everything to lose, is not allowed to assess its own risk. Many more will die on roads and elsewhere because of the anarchy the air controllers have unleashed on Europe, but that is not their business. They don't care.

Sterling stuff ... the nannies are taking a beating! (EU Referendum)

 

Air ban led by flawed computer models

Flawed computer models may have exaggerated the effects of an Icelandic volcano eruption that has grounded tens of thousands of flights, stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers and cost businesses hundreds of millions of euros.

The computer models that guided decisions to impose a no-fly zone across most of Europe in recent days are based on incomplete science and limited data, according to European officials. As a result, they may have over-stated the risks to the public, needlessly grounding flights and damaging businesses.

“It is a black box in certain areas,” Matthias Ruete, the EU’s director-general for mobility and transport, said on Monday, noting that many of the assumptions in the computer models were not backed by scientific evidence.

European authorities were not sure about scientific questions, such as what concentration of ash was hazardous for jet engines, or at what rate ash fell from the sky, Mr Ruete said. “It’s one of the elements where, as far as I know, we’re not quite clear about it,” he admitted.

He also noted that early results of the 40-odd test flights conducted over the weekend by European airlines, such as KLM and Air France, suggested that the risk was less than the computer models had indicated.

The acknowledgement that the computer models were flawed is likely to provide ammunition for critics who believe that authorities have shown excessive caution. The closure of much of the airspace over Europe over the past five days is estimated to have cost airlines a total of $200m a day in lost revenue.

Mr Ruete’s comments highlight the lack of technical expertise that has hamstrung European policymakers as they try to manage the consequences from a rare act of nature. Mr Ruete compared the scenario with his work in the 1980s trying to assess health risks after the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

He also urged European officials to consider adopting US aviation standards.

“If you take the situation across the Atlantic, there the advice would probably be: don’t fly over the volcano. Otherwise, it is up to you to take the precautions necessary,” Mr Ruete said.

While the US system leaves air carriers with the responsibility to determine whether or not it is safe to fly “the American model is not a model of less safety”, he said. “You just need to look at the statistics to see that.” (Financial Times)

 

Passing the buck

The cracks have started to show in the official edifice, with a senior EU commission apparatichik declaring that the flight restrictions in response to the Icelandic volcano were "excessive".

Thus, Bruno Waterfield told us, Matthias Ruete, the commission's director general of transport, thought that the no-fly zone should be restricted to "several dozen kilometres" around Iceland, and the Met Office science should be re-evaluated.

"The science behind the model we are running at the moment is based on certain assumptions where we do not have clear scientific evidence," said Ruete. "We don't even know what density the cloud should be in order to affect jet engines. We have a model that runs on mathematical projections. It is probability rather than actual things happening."

We also learn from Mr Ruete that the commission was "forced" yesterday to intervene with national authorities to "unblock the mess" and to allow airlines to fly test flights to check the Met Office data.

"In a case where, we do not have the data it is a tremendous and terrible responsibility for the authorities to say, 'oh well go on up'. That is why test flights are so important to have some kind of empirical evidence to help us move on from the mathematical model," he said.

However, as Bruno notes, the very fact that the flight restrictions exist is because of the European system, where national and European authorities are compelled to act on Met Office's advice, even if it is limited to mathematical modelling. This is the effect of the EU's Single European Sky which turns ICAO "guidelines" into mandatory requirements, through a multilateral agreement on co-operation of air traffic management.

The problems arises through the guidelines which, during a volcano eruption, effectively turn "the forecast furthest extent of the ash cloud" into the exclusion zone, without reference to particle density or character.

By this means, we end up with a technician in the Met Office running a computer model, the output of which closes down UK civil aviation and much of Europe. But the system exists only because the EU has agreed it, and imposes it on the national operators – with the agreement of their national governments.

Faced with the consequences of this, though, the commission is now telling us, rather late in the day, that it will "support" an option restricting the flight ban to the immediate vicinity of Iceland. With that, we get the news that EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas (pictured) will allow the UK progressively to remove no-fly restrictions from tomorrow morning, allowing air traffic to resume.

This also allows the EU quietly to slide out of its responsibility for the shambles and, with the focus firmly on the national authorities, the media allows the "elephant in the room" to slumber on undisturbed.

All is then left is for the British government to make the "meaningless gesture" of calling in the Royal Navy to help clear the backlog, while the political parties compete to gain such advantage as they can from the misery suffered by so many people. (EU Referendum)

 

Volcanic ash cloud: Met Office blamed for unnecessary six-day closure

The Met Office has been blamed for triggering the “unnecessary” six-day closure of British airspace which has cost airlines, passengers and the economy more than £1.5 billion.

The government agency was accused of using a scientific model based on “probability” rather than fact to forecast the spread of the volcanic ash cloud that made Europe a no-fly zone and ruined the plans of more than 2.5 million travellers in and out of Britain.

A senior European official said there was no clear scientific evidence behind the model, which air traffic control services used to justify the unprecedented shutdown.

Eleven major British airlines joined forces last night to publicly criticise Nats, the air traffic control centre, over the way it interpreted the Met Office’s “very limited empirical data”.

Legal experts suggested passengers and airlines may be able to sue the Government for more than £1?billion in compensation. Flights in and out of Britain are scheduled to resume today for the first time in almost a week after Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said there had been a “dramatic decrease” in the volcano’s activity. (TDT)

 

Ash Cloud – Expect Major Measurement News On Tuesday

Can’t reveal much now but well-respected international air measurement organizations have been busy measuring up the volcanic material above the European skies, on Monday (finally). This means that we can expect for early Tuesday major news about where there are actual problems for flying.

This may or may not have anything to do with the newly-found courage by UE Transport Ministers, finally seeing the light in managing the volcanic ash risk, instead of cowering in panic. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Precautionary principle and flight bans

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption (I want to make you sure that your humble correspondent can copy-and-paste the word, too!) has led to a flight ban over much of Europe that has been obeyed for several days. Some countries such as Czechia re-opened their airspaces today.



The weather and the visibility during the weekend were just great and it looked kind of absurd that the flights were banned. But was it really absurd?

The airlines have been losing approximately $200 million per day. That's a lot but it's not an infinite amount of money. A part of this loss was happily earned and therefore "compensated" by the railways that have seen a visible increase in the demand for their services. ;-) After all, Czech President Klaus (and the prime minister and Prague's Catholic Archbishop) had to take a train to Lech Kaczynski's funeral, too.

Nevertheless, this financial loss of the airlines - which has already exceeded the impact of flight bans after the 2001 terrorist attacks - is by far the most significant consequence of the recent average volcano eruption. I can assure you that the changes of CO2 or the temperature are negligible in comparison. By the way, the E-word volcano started to produce less ash and more lava which is good. As soon as all the debt of Iceland is forgiven, the Icelanders will turn the volcano off.

The airlines such as Air France, British Airways, KLM, and Lufthansa have performed their own tests - they have sent several aircraft directly through the ash clouds - and they have found no measurable impact on the aircrafts and engines whatsoever. It is not shocking that they're urging everyone to lift the ban and the EU officials could actually agree.

However, it's also true that NATO claims that the ash clouds recently damaged the motors of several F-16 fighters, a statement I can't independently confirm and that can be specific to F-16 whose speed can reach 1.6 Mach (multiples of speed of sound) i.e. 2,000 km/h.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Volcanic Debacle, Failed Models, And Mean “Greens”

Sounds like anthropogenic global warming, doesn’t it? The danger exists, but it is being senselessly exaggerated.

What if behind the decision to stop flights on a continental scale were the failure of a whole way of thinking public policy in Europe, with an asinine fixation on using computer models?

What if the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about millions dying of swine flu or maybe not, and the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about volcanic cloud making airplanes drop from the sky like flies or maybe not…what if people finally opened their eyes about the extreme limitations of computer modeling?

Who knows. Meanwhile, let me state clearly that I am fully aware of the potential risks for an airplane flying in the wrong conditions and at the wrong time through a cloud of volcanic origin. But there are enough indications to doubt the necessity of a reaction even remotely like the irrational panic that is causing the closure of European air spaces. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Happy Lenin's Birthday, er, Earth Day

Failed warnings of doom do not deter new ones

THURSDAY is Lenin's Birthday. It will be celebrated around the world as Earth Day, a holiday begun by Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to keep anti-capitalist sentiment going after the Vietnam War ended.

Ten years ago, on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine recycled some quotes from that first Earth Day.

"I'm scared," Paul Ehrlich wrote in the 1970 Earth Day issue of Look. "I have a 14-year-old daughter whom I love very much. I know a lot of young people, and their world is being destroyed.

"My world is being destroyed. I'm 37 and I'd kind of like to live to be 67 in a reasonably pleasant world, and not die in some kind of holocaust in the next decade."

Lord willing and the creek doesn't rise, Ehrlich will turn 78 next month.

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something," ecologist Kenneth Watt said at Swarthmore College in 1970.

Well, we must have done something right. We're still here.

Maybe it was the leisure suits that saved us. That makes about as much sense as anything else.

"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation," wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner for a 1970 Earth Day issue of "Environment," a scientific journal.

He did not put an end date to his prediction. But Ehrlich did.

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," Ehrlich said in 1970.

"The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years."

Ehrlich was an optimist compared to Denis Hayes, an aide to Nelson, the chief organizer for the first Earth Day.

"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation," Hayes said. (Don Surber, Daily Mail)

 

Cassandra, the Ignored Prophet of Doom, Is a Woman for Our Times

In “Treme,” HBO’s new series about New Orleans, a college professor played by John Goodman railed against the needless tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The storm was a natural disaster, he says, but the flooding that followed was a man-made catastrophe, decades in the making. Many people knew about the threat, but no one did anything about it.

Mr. Goodman’s blustery tirade about warnings not heeded channeled a national anger that extends well beyond Katrina. We are living in an age of Cassandra, in which experts and ordinary people are regularly grabbing the appropriate authorities by the lapels and warning them of impending disasters — almost invariably to no avail. (Adam Cohen, NYT)

Actually Adam, the answer is both simple and obvious: greenies and chemophobes cry wolf on a daily basis and the media are only too happy to trumpet their nonsense -- people are pretty much warning-deaf. If we cut the crap and only issued warnings about real threats then we might actually heed such warnings and respond to them. The immediate cessation of public funding for and recognition of all eco, conservation, green, "save the [whatever]" hand waver groups would be a heck of a start -- doing the same with [fill in the disease or issue] groups would be the next useful move and once we have toned down the misanthropes we just might get somewhere. Of course we'll need to remove all "eco" laws and standing of alleged "stakeholder" groups. Then, and only then might we recover to a workable society and begin to deal with things of real importance. Until then the wackos, lawyers and activist judiciary have got us pretty much screwed.

 

Side Effects: The Doctor Is NOT In

Doctors are becoming increasingly demoralized. And no wonder!  They are losing control over their professional independence and the Washington lobbyists they hire to represent them are collaborators with an increasingly hostile Washington political establishment. While the President repeatedly told Americans that his health agenda would not interfere with their relationship with their doctors, the reality of Obamacare is that government will have an enormous impact on the way physicians practice medicine.  There is the very real prospect of many doctors simply giving up or refusing to practice under the government’s avalanche of new rules and regulations.

Arizona dermatologist Joseph M. Scherzer M.D. reports in the Daily Caller that he plans to do just that.  He cites the impossibility of complying with Medicare’s bureaucratic guidelines and paperwork. The fine for failure to comply used to be $10,000. Under Obamacare, it’s now $50,000. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

The Obama Budget Plan: Taxes and Rationing

Bad News

Suddenly, the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders seem to want health-care news stories to fall off of the front page.

This week, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman abruptly cancelled a high-profile hearing he had called just days earlier to berate corporate CEOs who dared to tell their investors that the health-care bill would raise their costs. It seems to have dawned on Congressman Waxman and his staff that his transparent effort to intimidate anyone who tells the truth about the legislation could actually backfire on him and turn into a PR disaster.

The Democratic contention that the bill actually lowers costs for American business is not supported by any rigorous analysis that would justify use in auditable corporate accounting methods. The Business Roundtable study that many Obamacare advocates like to cite as proof of the bill’s savings provides no such proof at all. The prediction of cost savings in the study, from the mostly minor provisions in the legislation aimed at “delivery system reform,” are highly speculative at best. Indeed, the study itself notes the potential for much higher costs and cites many cost-cutting provisions that are not in the new health law. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Tax Hikes Wrong Route to Take for Deficit Reduction Commission

Entitlements Will Consume All Tax Revenues by 2052

Earlier this year, after Congress passed an increase in the debt ceiling, was deliberating over a trillion plus health care package, and the President’s Budget promised new record deficits, the American people started to see a worrisome trend that pushed fiscal responsibility to the forefront of the public’s priorities.  President Obama responded by creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan commission tasked with submitting a solution to the nation’s fiscal woes by the end of the year. Problem solved, right? Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Oh my... EPA Contest Seeks Videos Promoting Government Regulations

President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging the public to create video advertisements that explain why federal regulations are "important to everyone."

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations. The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length.

In the current contest, each video must include the slogan “Let your voice be heard,” and it must direct viewers to the government’s regulatory website www.Regulations.gov. The winning video will then be used by the entire federal government to promote the regulatory process and enhance the public’s participation in it.

The EPA is managing the contest, part of the government’s eRulemaking program, on behalf of the entire government.

As explained in the EPA press release announcing the contest, the purpose of the videos will be to remind the public that federal regulation touches “almost every aspect” of their lives and to promote how important those regulations are. (CNSNews.com)

Does this mean they don't know what good they are either and are looking for someone to tell them?

 

Hmm... Gore takes cash for water campaign from chemical firm

Environmentalists condemn former vice-president for letting controversial company fund Life Earth

Al Gore, the self-styled squeakiest-clean and deepest-green politician in American history, has some explaining to do this weekend. His environmental organisation has taken money to raise awareness about the need for clean water from a controversial chemicals company. (The Independent)

Full of the usual "bad chemicals", "bad companies" pap, all couched in an odd "bad mercenary Gore" swat. Did they just figure that part out? Hello? Guys, Albert's in it for the money. That clear it up any for you?

 

Idiotic mimicry of the EU's REACH disaster: Industry Must Prove Safety Under Proposed Safe Chemicals Act

WASHINGTON, DC, April 15, 2010 - Legislation to require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, which puts the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe in order stay on the market, was introduced in both houses of Congress today.

Introducing his new bill, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, called the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 now in force, "an antiquated law that in its current state, leaves Americans at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals." (ENS)

This does nothing more than burden industry and kill lots of test animals in pointless LD50 tests. Foolish and irresponsible.

 

Lung cancer screening often yields false positives

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Imaging tests used to screen symptom-free people for lung cancer often find suspicious growths that turn out to not be cancer, according to a U.S. government study published Monday.

Researchers say the findings point to a significant downside of using the tests -- chest X-rays or spiral CT scans -- to try to detect lung cancer early.

In recent years, CT scans, in particular, have been promoted by some hospitals and advocacy groups for lung cancer screening, even though studies have not yet shown whether such screening saves lives.

"The most important thing right now is to try to figure out if this lowers death rates," Dr. Jennifer M. Croswell, the lead researcher on the new study, told Reuters Health.

 

Hmm... Can you become addicted to tanning beds?

NEW YORK - If you're someone who lies in a tanning bed too much, you may be likely to suffer from addictive behavior often seen with substance abuse, as well as anxiety, according to a new study. (Reuters Health)

 

Day care sends sick kids home unnecessarily: study

NEW YORK - Child care centers are too prone to send toddlers home for mild illnesses, doctors say.

In a new survey of centers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, directors said they would exclude kids more than half the time for minor ailments such as pink eye, ringworm or mild fever.

This is medically unnecessary and runs counter to long-standing professional guidelines, the researchers say.

By the time kids have symptoms, they've already been contagious, and "they've already done the damage," Dr. Andrew N. Hashikawa of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee told Reuters Health. "It doesn't do any good to send these kids home." (Reuters Health)

 

Tobacco 'candy' could poison kids: study

NEW YORK - Thousands of young children are accidentally poisoned by tobacco products each year in the U.S., and new dissolvable tobacco products that resemble candy might pose an additional risk, according to researchers.

In a study of reports to U.S. poison control centers between 2006 and 2008, investigators found that 13,705 children younger than 6 were accidentally poisoned by tobacco products. Cigarettes were the most common culprit, followed by smokeless tobacco products, and more than 70 percent of the victims were infants younger than one year.

The findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.

In a baby or small child, even a small amount of nicotine, as little as 1 milligram, can cause nausea and vomiting. Larger doses could lead to weakness, convulsions or potentially fatal respiratory arrest. (Reuters Health)

 

Gene linked to obesity and higher Alzheimer's risk

CHICAGO - A variant of an obesity gene carried by more than a third of the U.S. population also reduces brain volume, raising carriers' risk of Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

People with a specific variant of the fat mass and obesity gene, or FTO gene, have brain deficits that could make them more vulnerable to the mind-robbing disease.

"The basic result is that this very prevalent gene not only adds an inch to your waistline, but makes your brain look 16 years older," said Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the University of California Los Angeles, who worked on the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brains generally shrink with age. (Reuters)

 

Ban on commercial whaling to be overturned

COMMERCIAL whaling is set to return after almost 25 years as Japan moves to overturn a worldwide ban.

Conservationists say that lifting the current moratorium will threaten the long-term survival of whale populations and would be a highly symbolic defeat for preservation.

They warn it could “open the floodgates” to far bigger slaughter in the future.

At present whaling is carried out mainly by Japan, Iceland and Norway.

The three nations have killed 35,000 whales since the ban was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the killings have been justified as being for “scientific research.”

Under the deal being considered by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), hunting would be legally recognised and there are fears that other countries could take part.

Britain’s opposition to whaling may count for nothing because Denmark is likely to back the change. This failure to reach a European Union consensus will rule out any veto by the remaining 24 member states. (The Times)

 

Britain accused of killing whales with support for hunt ban

American officials are counting on Britain to end its opposition to a controversial plan to save thousands of whales over the next ten years by allowing commercial whaling but with tighter international controls.

The plan aims to cut the number of whales killed by Japan, Norway and Iceland by 5,000 over the course of a decade, but it would shelve the goal of an outright ban on commercial whaling – a compromise that none of the three major British parties has so far been willing to endorse.

Negotiators working on the plan at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) have told The Times that British support is vital if the rest of the 25-member EU bloc on the commission is to be persuaded to back it. The idea of explicitly allowing whaling nations to continue to hunt has led to a bitter dispute on the fate of the IWC and the whales themselves, with the US and Britain so far on opposing sides.

The draft plan already has the support of some but not all anti-whaling nations, including the US. “We believe that the current system is not working,” Monica Medina, the US commissioner to the IWC, said in an interview. “We want to conserve whales, and we hope that other governments feel the same way.” (The Times)

 

 

Michael Mann: Defamed or defined by “Hide the decline”? (alternate .pdf print version)

Compiled by JunkScience.com

Introduction

Soon after the Climategate scandal broke in November 2009, Minnesotans for Global Warming (M4GW) produced and posted on YouTube a video satire, entitled “Hide the decline.” The video parodies an excerpt from the Climategate e-mails in which the University of East Anglia’s Phil Jones states,

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd (sic) from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

The “Mike” referred to by Phil Jones is Penn State University’s Michael Mann who is credited with developing the so-called “hockey stick” graph which purports to represent mean global temperature changes over the past one millennium. The hockey stick graph has been both central to the debate over manmade global warming and controversial. While the hockey stick was featured prominently in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report (TAR, 2001), it was largely omitted from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007).

Sung to the tune of “Draggin’ the line” (by Tommy James and the Shondells), the lyrics to “Hide the decline” are as follows:

Makin’ up data the old hard way,
Fudgin’ the numbers day by day,
Ignoring the snow and the cold and a downward line
Hide the decline (hide the decline).

Michael Mann thinks he so smart,
Totally inventing the hockey stick chart,
Ignoring the snow and the cold and a downward line,
Hide the decline (hide the decline).

Cli-mate-gate, I think you have sealed your fate,
I hope you do a lot of time
Cuz what you did was such a crime
Hide the decline (hide the decline).

The tree ring data was very thin,
You should of chopped more trees instead of hugging them,
Ignoring the snow and the cold and a downward line,
Hide the decline (hide the decline).

Cli-mate-gate, I think you have sealed your fate,
I hope you do a lot of time
Cuz what you did was such a crime
Hide the decline (hide the decline).

In a letter to M4GW from an attorney, Mann claims that “Hide the decline” defames him. This analysis considers whether Mann’s assertion is true. (Compiled by JunkScience.com)

 

This is weird: Oxburgh addendum

The Oxburgh panel have appended a short addendum to their report:

Addendum to report, 19 April 2010
For the avoidance of misunderstanding in the light of various press stories, it is important to be clear that the neither the panel report nor the press briefing intended to imply that any research group in the field of climate change had been deliberately misleading in any of their analyses or intentionally exaggerated their findings. Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods.

(Bishop Hill)

Why would we need a science appraisal panel to tell us that we need to "use the best possible methods"? They did say (Dendroclimatology, item 3):

Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not have been the best for the purpose.

Did Mann, Bradley and Hughes take this as an accusation? And why would the Oxburgh panel suddenly feel the need for this addendum? Maybe someone is getting "lawyer happy". Don't know who that could be but M4GW did get a letter from Mann's mouthpiece...

 

There He Goes Again: Mann Claims His Hockey Stick was Given “Clean Bill of Health”

Source: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/04/there-he-goes-again-mann-claims-his.html

Spinmeister Michael Mann is quoted in this article from the Telegraph yesterday as follows:

Prof Hand (Head of the UK Royal Statistical Society) praised the blogger Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit for uncovering the fact that inappropriate methods were used which could produce misleading results. ”The Mann 1998 hockey stick paper used a particular technique that exaggerated the hockey stick effect,” he said.

Prof Mann, who is Professor of Earth System Science at the Pennsylvania State University, said the statistics used in his graph were correct. ”I would note that our ‘98 article was reviewed by the US National Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific authority in the United States, and given a clean bill of health,” he said. “In fact, the statistician on the panel, Peter Bloomfield, a member of the Royal Statistical Society, came to the opposite conclusion of Prof Hand.”

Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI Blog)

 

Sigh... I really hate these propaganda exercises: U.S. Unveils Climate Report In Runup To Senate Bill

The United States released a new draft report on climate change on Monday, one week before the expected unveiling of a compromise U.S. Senate bill that aims to curb heat-trapping greenhouse emissions.

The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: "Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced ... Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases." (Reuters)

 

Inhofe sees only 26 votes for climate bill

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Senate’s leading climate skeptic, said Thursday that upcoming climate change legislation has so little political traction that it would only garner 26 Senate votes.

“I know we can beat it,” Inhofe said on the Fox Business Network, later adding, “I can assure you, I don't think they have more than 25 votes on the Democrats' side, and if you throw Lindsey Graham [R] in there, that would be 26 votes.”

South Carolina’s Graham — along with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — intend to roll out broad climate and energy legislation on April 26. (E2 Wire)

 

A Seasoned Veteran's View of the IPCC

Economist Richard Tol has prepared a statement for a committee of the Dutch parliament examining climate-related controversies this week. I discovered it on the Dutch website Climategate.nl and Tol has kindly provided an English translation. (No Consensus)

 

Jobs for the (climate) boys


So that's where your charitable donations go! (EU Referendum)

 

Oh boy... Scientists call for research on climate link to geological hazards

Experts say suggestions that climate change could trigger more volcanoes and earthquakes are speculative, but there is enough evidence to take the threat seriously (The Guardian)

We can't even make a serious case for global warming, far less speculative consequences of any which might occur.

 

Eye-roller du jour: Frogs threatened by climate change

Frogs could be decimated by climate change as they are unable to adapt quickly enough, according to a study.

Scientists looked at records of frogspawn over the last decade recorded by thousands of people in Britain, including viewers of BBC's Springwatch.

The record of 50,000 sightings of frogspawn showed that the amphibians lay their eggs earlier as the temperature warms. Frogs in the south often spawn more than a week earlier to make sure their young have the best chance.

But this sensitivity to the local environment makes frogs particularly vulnerable to climate change. Even modest predictions for Britain, that will see temperatures rise by around 2C (3.6F) over the next 50 years, will be too much for the frogs to cope with. (Louise gray, TDT)

Even if Britain were to warm (dubious but never mind), would that decimate amphibians? Doubtful in the extreme, after all, there were amphibians along the Thames when the local climate was tropical and frogs had to give way to hippopotamuses, so in fact they have survived major cooling and intervening glaciations. A warmer Britain, should it occur, would be a kinder, gentler and more food rich host for tadpoles and froglets, happily growing fat to be food for other critters.

 

Missing Heat Hides From Climate Scientists

Climate scientists have decided that as much as half of the heat energy, believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, is hiding somewhere it can not be found. By measuring the radiative energy input at the top of Earth's atmosphere, scientists have a pretty good idea of how much energy is entering the planetary environment—the problem is figuring out where it goes. The most likely place is in the deep ocean, whose waters form a huge potential storage place for heat. Because energy is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean, this heat can resurface at a later time to affect weather and climate on a global scale. It has been suggest that last year’s rapidly occurring El Niño may be one way the “missing” solar energy has reappeared—the implication being more sudden El Niño events may be on the way.

Oceans contain around 80% of the climate system's total energy, so ocean heat is a good measure of what is happening with Earth's climate. According to a Perspectives article in the April 16, 2010, issue of Science, “Tracking Earth's Energy,” science has been unable to to properly track energy within Earth's environmental system. Kevin E. Trenberth and John T. Fasullo , both scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this “missing” heat. They fear that it may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system. “The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” says Trenberth, the lead author. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

As noted on the NCAR site, a Science Perspectives piece is not formally peer-reviewed, but is reviewed by editors of the journal. Science reportedly invited Trenberth to submit the article after an editor heard him discuss the research at a scientific conference. Trenberth and his co-author, Fasullo, focused on what they call a central mystery of climate change. Why, since 2003, have scientists been unable to determine where much heat energy Earth receives from the Sun is going. According to the NCAR site:

Satellite measurements indicate that the amount of greenhouse-trapped solar energy has risen over recent years while the increase in heat measured in the top 3,000 feet of the ocean has stalled. Although it is difficult to quantify the amount of solar energy with precision, Trenberth and Fasullo estimate that, based on satellite data, the amount of energy build-up appears to be about 1.0 watts per square meter or higher, while ocean instruments indicate a build-up of about 0.5 watts per square meter. That means about half the total amount of heat is unaccounted for.

Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions on Earth that are not adequately measured. One such place is the deepest parts of the oceans. Compounding the problem, Earth’s surface temperatures have largely leveled off in recent years. This inability to properly track energy has implications for understanding the way climate works and most definitely on predicting future climate. Obviously, if scientists are at a loss to identify the hiding place of the missing heat climate modelers are unable to include its possible future effects in their programs. With as much as half of the suspected heat energy buildup gone missing, it must be asked how well science understands Earth's climate.


Where does the energy go?

El Niño, periodic events in which the upper ocean waters across much of the tropical Pacific Ocean become significantly warmer, are seen by many as a mechanism for dumping heat, stored in the ocean, back into space. Trenberth and Fasullo explain the relationship between the ENSO, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, and delayed release of ocean stored energy this way:

To understand how energy is taken up and later released by the climate system, consider the natural variability from El Niño Southern Oscillation. The cold sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific present in normal or La Niña conditions create conditions favorable for fewer clouds and more sunshine and a build-up of heat in the ocean as a precursor of El Niño. The spread of warm waters across the Pacific, together with changing winds, in turn promotes evaporative cooling of the ocean, moistening the atmosphere and fueling tropical storms and convection over and around the anomalously warm waters. The changed atmospheric heating alters the jet streams and storm tracks and controls weather patterns for the duration of the El Niño event. The loss of heat can in turn lead to La Niña.

A strong La Niña event in 2007–2008 extended into the 2008–2009 northern winter, causing cooler than normal weather across much of the Northern Hemisphere. By June 2009, the situation had reversed as the next, comparatively moderate El Niño emerged. Multiple storms barreled into Southern California in January 2010, consistent with expectations from the El Niño. These storms also caused significant snowfall and precipitation across the American Southwest, South and up the Eastern Seaboard.

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding ocean temperatures these days. Recently, new estimates of the past temperatures have been published. On in particular, that shows a sudden jump in the 2002-2003 time, prompted Real Climate to post a plot of ocean heat content. This is a contradiction of a 2009 paper by Craig Loehle in Energy & Environment that found global ocean cooling since 2003. The linear component of the model used showed a trend of -0.35 (±0.2) x 1022 Joules per year, shown in the plot below.


The Loehle study showed an unambiguous cooling trend.

“The model, fit to the smoothed data, gave an excellent fit (r = 0.922, R2 = 0.85) and showed clearly that there is an annual periodicity in the data, probably due to the north-south asymmetry in ocean area and the effect of orbital variations over the year,” the study states. The Loehle study was based on ocean heat content anomaly (OHCA) data compiled by Josh Willis et al. Indeed, it was the 2008 paper “Assessing the Globally Averaged Sea Level Budget on Seasonal and Interannual Time Scales,” by Willis, Chambers and Nerem, that prompted this comment by Roger Pielke Sr.:

Global warming, as diagnosed by upper ocean heat content has not been occurring since 2004. It is impossible to know if this lack of warming will continue but these observations are inconsistent with the predictions of long-term global climate predictions, such as reported in the 2007 IPCC report.

Since then, the debate over ocean heat and ocean levels has raged. Claims and counter claims, studies finding warming and studies finding cooling. Now it looks like the warming proponents are throwing in the towel on surface temperature increase (this is the temperature trend, not normal, cyclic variability). In a reply to questions from Dr. Pielke, Dr. Willis said:

There is still a good deal of uncertainty in observational estimates of ocean heat content during the 1990s and into the early part of the 2000s. This is because of known biases in the XBT data set, which are the dominant source of ocean temperature data up until 2003 or 2004. Numerous authors have attempted to correct these biases, but substantial difference remain in the “corrected” data. As a result, the period from 1993 to 2003 still has uncertainties that are probably larger than the natural or anthropogenic signals in ocean heat content that happen over a period of 1 to 3 years. However, the decadal trend of 10 to 15 years seems to be large enough to see despite the uncertainties.

So, despite the confusion caused by changing from XBT (Expendable Bathythermograph) measurements to measurements by the Argos satellite-based location and data collection system, it still looks like the upper portions of the ocean are cooling. Such data discontinuities when changing sensor types or measurement methods is not new, the same type of flap erupted over radiosonde data a decade ago. Even so, the debate about the missing ocean heat is far from over.

The new claim is the missing heat, that climate change supporters so desperately want to find, has gone deep. Dr Pielke has exchanged a series of comments with Dr. Trenberth over his recent paper on the Climate Science website:

Trenberth’s [and co-author, NCAR scientist John Fasullo], however, are grasping for an explanation other than the actual real world implication of the absence of this heat.

  • First, if the heat was being sequestered deeper in the ocean (lower than about 700m), than we would have seen it transit through the upper ocean where the data coverage has been good since at least 2005. The other reservoirs where heat could be stored are closely monitored as well (e.g. continental ice) as well as being relatively small in comparison with the ocean.
  • Second, the melting of glaciers and continental ice can be only a very small component of the heat change (e.g. see Table 1 in Levitus et al 2001 “Anthropogenic warming of Earth’s climate system”. Science).

Thus, a large amount heat (measured as Joules) does not appear to be stored anywhere; it just is not there.

“I do not agree with your comments. We are well aware that there are well over a dozen estimates of ocean heat content and they are all different yet based on the same data,” said Dr. Trenberth in reply. “There are clearly problems in the analysis phase and I don’t believe any are correct.” Clear admission that climate scientists are groping in the dark here.

“I do not see how such large amounts of heat could have transited to depths below 700m since 2005 without being detected.,” responded Pielke, adding in a conciliatory way: “I am very supportive, however, of your recognition that it is heat in Joules that we should be monitoring as a primary metric to monitor global warming. Our research has shown significant biases in the use of the global average surface temperature for this purpose.”

Research done over the last several years has found that the return currents of the meridional overturning current (MOC) do not behave as previously thought (see “Conveyor Belt Model Broken”). More recently, it has been shown that the great ocean conveyor belt varies in ways unpredicted and previously unsuspected (see “Ocean Conveyor Belt Confounds Climate Science”). During the first 1-year period since new deep sea sensors became operational (measurements from March 2004 through March 2005) the strength of the MOC varied by more than a factor of 8. It still remains unclear how much the meridional overturning circulation varies from year to year, but the old model was clearly wrong.


New sensors reveal unsuspected behavior. Source CSIRO.

Now, the ocean is suspected of harboring hidden heat that scientists claim has gone missing. Some claim the heat is not there, while others, like Trenberth and Fasullo, fear that the missing heat will “come back to haunt us.” One thing is certain—those old claims of “settled science” and a “consensus among the world's scientists” seem to have come back to haunt their originators. The overstatements made by the IPCC and its supporters in the past stand revealed for the empty lies they always were.

Trenberth and Fasullo state that it is imperative to get better measurements of the energy flowing through Earth’s climate system. Improved analysis of energy in the atmosphere and oceans might help researchers better understand and possibly even predict unusual weather patterns, such as the unexpectedly cold weather across much of the United States, Europe, and Asia over the past winter. But for now, no scientist can claim that we truly understand what is going on in Earth's oceans—and that means climate science cannot claim to understand what is going to happen to Earth's climate.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

Icelandic Volcano: A Precursor of Global Cooling?

The global warming enthusiasts are convinced that as humans inject more and more carbon dioxide into the air we will warm the atmosphere beyond recognition. But nature may be set to crush all of that talk. [Read More] (Art Horn, Energy Tribune)

 

<chuckle> Volcano emitting 150-300,000 tonnes of CO2 daily: experts

Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano is emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day, a figure placing it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium European economy, experts said on Monday.

Assuming the composition of gas to be the same as in an earlier eruption on an adjacent volcano, "the CO2 flux of Eyjafjoell would be 150,000 tonnes per day," Colin Macpherson, an Earth scientist at Britain's University of Durham, said in an email.

Patrick Allard of the Paris Institute for Global Physics (IPGP) gave what he described as a "top-range" estimate of 300,000 tonnes per day.

Both insisted that these were only approximate estimates.

Extrapolated over a year, the emissions would place the volcano 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis, according to a database at the World Resources Institute (WRI), which tracks environment and sustainable development.

A 47th ranking would place it above Austria, Belarus, Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland, according to this list, which relates to 2005.

Experts stressed that the volcano contributed just a tiny amount -- less than a third of one percentage point -- of global emissions of greenhouse gases.

Total emissions by six heat-trapping gases in 2005 were more than 36 thousand million tonnes (36 gigatonnes) as measured in CO2, according to the WRI index.

"It's not of any significance compared to the anthropogenic [manmade] budget," said Kjetil Toerseth, director of regional and global pollution at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

Specialists cautioned those who believe the eruption is good for climate change as carbon-emitting jetliners are unable to take to the skies.

According to the European Environment Agency (EAA), daily emissions from the aviation sector in the 27 nations of the European Union are around 440,000 tonnes per day.

Not all of this is saved because of the volcanic eruption, said the sources.

Firstly, some airports in southern Europe have remained open for traffic.

In addition, carbon is emitted when passengers stranded by air travel use the train, bus, car or ferry as an alternative.

And many flights in, to and from Europe are merely being deferred until the crisis is over.

"Whether the emissions occur now or three weeks from now does not change things fundamentally," said Herve Le Treut, a French climatologist.

"Another point is that these emissions are of long duration. CO2 is dangerous because it stays in the atmosphere for about a hundred years. Its short-term effect is not the big problem." (AFP)

Good thing atmospheric carbon dioxide is irrelevant then, isn't it?

 

No, Dr Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson writes for Quadrant and I respond .

This is a copy. It begs the question. Dr Glikson, is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University. He’s paid to give us both sides of the story.

No, Dr Glikson

by Joanne Nova

April 19, 2010

Dr Andrew Glikson says the right motherhood lines [see: Case for Climate Change]: he talks about empirical evidence, and wants evidence based policies. All this is good, yet he sidesteps the main point — what exactly is the evidence for the theory of man-made global warming? It’s the only point that matters, yet when he presents evidence it’s either not empirical, not up to date, or not relevant. Why?

By hitting all the right key phrases a reader might accidentally think that Glikson is presenting key evidence and good reasoning. Take this for example: Glikson fears we’re turning away from evidence-based policies. (Me too!) But to complete the sentence he lists all the committees who predict bad weather 90 years from now. It makes for good PR, but is not scientific evidence.

Committee reports count as “evidence” in a court of law, but in science, certificates, declarations, contracts, commission hearings, or 3000 page reports don’t mean anything. Clouds don’t give a toss about what committees predict.

Irrelevant and incorrect

Arctic ice and sea levels are at least empirical evidence, but in this case, they’re irrelevant.

They don’t tell us anything about what caused the warming. Almost any cause of warming would melt sea ice. Then there’s the problem that global sea ice is looking fairly robust. The Arctic has shrunk some, but the Antarctic has grown. Each year millions of square kilometres of ice melt on each half of the globe, and each year they also refreeze. Peak global sea ice is roughly the same now as it was in 1979.[i] And far from being “worse than expected,” Arctic sea ice in 2010 is breaking records—still growing until the end of March.[ii]

Rising sea-levels are similar—they’re evidence of warming, but not evidence that carbon caused the warming. And as far as the “it’s worse than we thought” theme goes: where is the scary surprising uptick? If anything, instead of an upcurve, the graph has slightly flattened off. The trend is utterly predictable, except that it might be rising less fast than the predictions.

Any careful scientist ought to be very qualified in using statements implying “accelerating trends”. Unfounded claims about the need to rush in and sign the dotted line are like a sales pitch: Hurry, last chance! Don’t wait for more evidence…

More » (Jo Nova)

 

Further Feedback From Kevin Trenberth And Feedback From Josh Willis On The UCAR Press Release

I posted last Friday

Is There “Missing” Heat In The Climate System? My Comments On This NCAR Press Release

along with several e-mail exchanges with Kevin Trenberth. I have repeated this set of exchanges here, as well as new ones from an invitation to Josh Willis for his comments. The e-mails (presented with their permissions) are ordered from first to most recent [with spelling typos corrected]. I want to thank both Kevin and Josh for a constructive discussion which I look forward to continuing.  This discussion can only further inform us of the issues associated with accurately monitoring the climate system. (Climate Science)

 

France Seeks Tighter Regulation Of CO2 Market

A French government report on Monday urged tighter regulation of the fast-growing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions trading market, which has suffered from exploitation of legal loopholes and illegal sales practices.

France's finance ministry commissioned Michel Prada, former head of the country's AMF stock market watchdog, to publish a report on the CO2 emissions market.

Prada's report said there should be stricter fines against those who abuse the CO2 market or commit fraud in the sector. His report also advocated harmonizing laws across Europe for the carbon industry. (Reuters)

Um, guys? Hot air trading is fraud by definition.

 

Spain Coal Plans To Halt Imports, Lift Power Costs

Spanish government plans to force utilities to burn domestic coal further slash coal imports in what has been a key European market and help cap coal prices, utilities, producers and analysts said.

Spain imported over 18 million tonnes of steam coal in 2009 but imports could fall to only a few million tonnes this year due to strong hydro availability and the forced use of domestic fuel, utilities said.

"I think the decree is the final blow (for imports)," said Amrita Sen, an analyst for Barclays Capital in London, noting that coal faced increasing competition from wind and hydropower.

"We expect Spanish coal imports to fall by as much as 3.7 million tonnes in 2010, especially given the healthy domestic stockpiles."

Spain has been one of the strongest markets for coal exports from South Africa, Colombia, the U.S. and Russia for many years. The fall in demand across Europe has forced exporters to divert substantial tonnage to Asia and led to an unprecedented price distortion.

The delivered cost of coal shipped to Europe should reflect the price at the port of loading plus the freight cost but at present the delivered Europe price of around $77.00 a tonne is $10.00 lower than the price at South Africa's Richards Bay port.

"This decree will make the situation even worse. You could see zero imports for some time," one utility source said.

Spanish coal cannot compete with imports and has a low energy content, but the government says it is the only fuel the country can produce domestically in significant quantities and needs support to guarantee energy supplies. (Reuters)

 

It's back to the bowser in the race to the future

THE federal government has ruled out offering incentives for electric cars, preferring to support existing oil-based technology.

Consumer subsidies such as those offered by overseas governments are crucial to ensuring Australian buyers can access the limited supply of electric cars, car companies say.

The first production electric car, Mitsubishi's i-MiEV, which will arrive at the end of the year, is understood to cost about $70,000.

The federal government instead believes the future of the car industry lies in the development of existing technology across petrol, diesel and LPG engines.

''It's not our intention to run programs to support any particular form of technology,'' Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Kim Carr said.

''Over the next decade, the most rapid and cost-effective way of improving fuel economy and building more environmentally effective cars is to adapt technologies that are being deployed now.''

The government will spend $1.3 billion over the next 10 years to increase production of cleaner, more efficient vehicles. But the money is going to manufacturers, such as Toyota, for the development of the hybrid Camry, rather than consumers in the form of rebates or tax incentives. (SMH)

Corporate welfare? Why is any taxpayer money being wasted on this at all? At least they seem to have realized we simply do not have the generating capacity to support and electric car fleet, which is a marginal improvement.

 

The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part III)

by Jon Boone
April 19, 2010

Editor note: In Part I and Part II, Jon Boone set the stage for a final analysis of the Sierra Club’s current position in support of wind power. This conclusion to the series provides a discussion on the science, realities, and the unintended consequences that may be the result of current environmental movement thinking, which it typifies.

 Birkenstock Tales

MBA types who wouldn’t know a bat from a bowtie now run the national Sierra Club. Their interest is in gaining membership and revenue. In a critique aptly entitled, Torquemada in Birkenstocks, Jeff St. Clair said this about Carl Pope: “[He] has never had much of a reputation as an environmental activist. He’s a wheeler-dealer, who keeps the Club’s policies in lockstep with its big funders and political patrons. Where Dave Brower scaled mountains, nearly all of Pope’s climbing has been up organizational ladders.”

Environmental organizations that support wind technology by pretending that the ends justify the means, by falsely assuming that wind can do anything meaningful to alter our existing energy profile, are largely responsible for the depredations unloosed by the wind industry.  Their imprimatur gives the industry a legitimacy it does not deserve. This “legitimacy” welcomes the industry’s trade association to a place at the government table, which then compels politicians to bestow upon the wind lobby political favors, given the political penchant for compromise. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Offshore Drilling Realities…And What About Offshore Wind?

The drill, baby, drill crowd was quick to discover that the President’s offshore drilling announcement does very little to increase access to domestic supplies and in fact puts 13 billion barrels of oil and 49 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off limits, respectively. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been much more supportive of offshore wind energy, but should he be? A new Institute for Energy Research video compares a natural gas platform to an offshore wind platform and in terms of surface area and cost, natural gas wins out.

That’s not to say the government should favor offshore drilling of oil and natural gas at the expense of offshore wind projects or any other energy source. Instead of completely closing the books or causing unnecessary delays, the government should allow industry to pursue these opportunities.

Continue reading... (The Reference Frame)

 

 

The Greens' Ground Zero

A rural Republican is targeted by the environmental left.
 
To accurately gauge the level of desperation in the environmental community at any given moment, simply murmur the words "Richard Pombo." Then step back and watch the slurs roll.

Ground zero in the nation's environmental fight has already been established in California's 19th district, where Mr. Pombo—a Republican who narrowly lost his House seat in 2006—is again running in the Central Valley. It's only April, but the green shock troops are again waging an all-out smear campaign to defeat him, this time with an assist from one of his Republican primary competitors. It's a vivid example of the stakes for the green agenda in this year's midterm elections.

Regulatory wins aside, it's been a bleak 15 months for the environmental left. President Obama's election was supposed to bring a climate-control regime that would finally give greens the tools to dismantle our industrial society. Instead, scandal has left climate science in tatters. The recession has sent the majority scurrying away from a comprehensive cap-and-tax bill. Some Democrats are embracing legislation to curtail the EPA's planned carbon regulations.

Their campaign in the balance, enviros shudder at Mr. Pombo back in Washington. For 14 years—four heading the House Resources committee—the rancher was the GOP's sturdiest voice on private property rights, energy exploration and environmental reform. Even as the Bush administration ducked the fight, Mr. Pombo pushed for drilling and for the modernization of failed laws like the Endangered Species Act. Greens decreed him Public Enemy No. 1.

In 2006 they launched the most coordinated, expensive attack in their political history. The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, the Sierra Club, the League for Conservation Voters, and CREW (a George-Soros-funded front that masquerades as a public "watchdog") spent $2 million-plus on vicious ads, mailers and door-to-door campaigning. Helped by a Democratic gerrymander that pushed Mr. Pombo's 11th district into liberal San Francisco suburbs, Democrat Jerry McNerney won. The effort was a warning to other Republicans—and it worked. Aside from oil drilling, the GOP has largely skirted green issues, for fear—as members put it—of being "Pombo-ed."

Now Mr. Pombo is back, running in retiring Rep. George Radanovich's neighboring 19th district, nearly overlapping his original seat. Should Republicans regain the majority, Mr. Pombo could be right back at Resources, the fate of greens' climate agenda in his hands. (Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ)

 

"No take" conservationists not good for wildlife: Britain's wildlife - birds, mammals and insects under threat

It has been called the "Domesday book of British wildlife" - a new publication, compiled by 40 of Britain's leading scientists, provides a complete picture of the state of the country's wild animals and plants.

...

Sir David Attenborough says in the book's foreword: "This book... gives us a benchmark. It is invaluable now and in the future it will be irreplaceable."

The book highlights the importance of field sports to the wellbeing of wildlife. Robin Sharp, Chair Emeritus of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, says that "field sports ... have been almost universally good for the hunted species and the non-hunted, non-predators that thrive in the same habitat".

Prof Sharp praises foxhunting and reveals that 86 per cent of woodland managed for hunting had vegetation cover – important for other species – compared with just 64 per cent in unmanaged woodland.

Managed areas also had an average of four more plant species, greater plant diversity and more butterfly species than unmanaged areas.

Prof Sharp also reports on a study of three areas in central England which found that all owners of land used for hunting and shooting had planted new woodland, compared with only 30 per cent of landowners who did not host hunts or shoots.

"This suggests that those who hunt and / or shoot provide significant conservation benefits," he said.

Prof Sharp calls on hunters and shooters to make more effort to explain the benefits of their activities to conservationists, policy-makers and the public.

"Overwhelmingly the target species for field sports have fared well over the last century ... More game-keeping, game crops and habitat management would undoubtedly achieve even more." (TDT)

 

Using the Holocaust to silence debate

The campaign to make ‘ecocide’ a crime sums up the opportunism and censoriousness of the green lobby.

Under normal circumstances, someone who started a campaign called Trees Have Rights Too in order to convince the United Nations to adopt a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights, based on the idea that ‘we are all one, life is sacred and love is all’, might reasonably be suspected of being an LSD-tripping hippy.

But it seems that we don’t live in normal times. Because Polly Higgins, an environmentalist barrister and the initiator of the Planetary Rights campaign, was not only included in The Ecologist’s 2009 list of Top 10 Visionaries, but in 2008 she was even invited to address the United Nations. When Higgins launched a campaign last Friday to have ‘ecocide’, the destruction of the natural world, recognised as an international crime, some commentators argued that this confirmed her brilliance and heroism. (Nathalie Rothschild, spiked)

 

Eradicating diseases a waste of money, claims Kiwi scientist Michael Gavin

ERADICATING smallpox was one of mankind's greatest accomplishments but a New Zealand researcher says trying to wipe out diseases for good is a waste of money.

Dr Michael Gavin, a biologist at Victoria University, Wellington, says reducing the prevalence of diseases in the countries and regions most affected by them is a far more effective than trying to eradicate them altogether, which is extremely difficult and costs billions of dollars.

And new research shows the number of disease-causing pathogens in a region can be predicted just by knowing its climate, the diversity of birds and mammals found there, and whether it has a large human population and ineffective disease control efforts.

Climate played a role in determining how many different kinds of diseases there were, but not how many people would suffer from them.

Because disease was not restricted by political boundaries and local epidemics could rapidly transform into global pandemics, reducing prevalence in one part of the world also benefited people everywhere, according to Dr Gavin, who has studied geographic patterns of human infectious disease. (AAP)

 

The sins of the father and mother

Tuesday’s Panorama used highly dubious science to accuse working-class parents of making their kids sick.

‘These children should not be suffering from these problems and they should not be here at this hospital. People are starting to say maybe this is a generation where children will be dying before their parents.’ Dr Steve Ryan’s soundbite, advertising Tuesday’s edition of the BBC current affairs programme Panorama, was trailed so heavily that it was hard for British TV viewers to avoid it.

The message of the programme was clear: people in Britain - and especially working-class families in Liverpool - are causing pain and suffering to their children, and may even be signing their death warrants. In truth, it is this endless diet of bullshit programmes about our children’s health that is really bad news. (Rob Lyons, spiked)

 

Taste for low-calorie alternatives may wane: study

NEW YORK - The more people eat "diet" versions of richer foods, the less they may actually like what they are tasting, a small study suggests.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that familiarity can breed dislike when it comes to reduced-calorie foods. They may also offer some insight into the common dilemma of "yo-yo" dieting, the researchers say. (Reuters Health)

 

Cows on Drugs

NOW that Congress has pushed through its complicated legislation to reform the health insurance system, it could take one more simple step to protect the health of all Americans. This one wouldn’t raise any taxes or make any further changes to our health insurance system, so it could be quickly passed by Congress with an outpouring of bipartisan support. Or could it?

More than 30 years ago, when I was commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, we proposed eliminating the use of penicillin and two other antibiotics to promote growth in animals raised for food. When agribusiness interests persuaded Congress not to approve that regulation, we saw firsthand how strong politics can trump wise policy and good science.

Even back then, this nontherapeutic use of antibiotics was being linked to the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect humans. To the leading microbiologists on the F.D.A.’s advisory committee, it was clearly a very bad idea to fatten animals with the same antibiotics used to treat people. But the American Meat Institute and its lobbyists in Washington blocked the F.D.A. proposal. (NYT)

Actually using the same classes of antibiotics as are human-required for non-therapeutic agricultural use is not the best idea in captivity but the bigger problem, certainly the most significant one, is human prescribing. People get the sniffles, go to the doctor and expect to be treated. Really bad idea to give them prophylactic antibiotics for the usually phantom "secondary infections". Note that city effluent flushes significant quantities of human-used antibiotics into the environment constantly so it is always inevitable that resistance will occur in the wild and spread.

Antibiotics are very useful in agriculture and most assuredly should not be banned (and Kennedy would have done much for his argument by avoiding all mention of such gibbering nitwits as the Union of Concerned Scientists -- anyone who cares to give 'em a few bucks can be a "concerned scientist" -- even my dog was one, although he's no longer financial).

We must constantly develop new anti biological weapons because bacterial generations can be as short as 15 minutes, meaning they evolve defenses in warp drive. The ubiquity of human antibiotic usage means bacteria are going to be exposed in short order, whether we use antibiotics in agriculture or not. Resistance is inevitable so we just have to keep developing new means of controlling pathogens.

 

The joys of the anti-chemical crowd... Look back in Ongar

The dead hand of the EU has struck again, this time affecting Anglian Willow Services, based in King Street, High Ongar.

It has been producing wood for cricket bats since the late 1700s, but now faces closure following the introduction of a Directive enforced on the UK in March, which bans use of the insecticide, methyl bromide.

The chemical, which has been banned "because of its effect on the environment", is necessary for the treatment of willow before it can be exported to India and made into cricket bats.

The ban threatens the £3m-a-year Essex-based world cricket bat industry, as well as putting the future of the Watling family business in jeopardy. Val Watling, company secretary for Anglian Willow Services, says: "I am horrified by the whole thing. It's not just going to affect us, it will mean closure for any of the businesses that are involved in the exportation of willow for cricket bats."

Both Anglian Willow Services and JS Wright, of Great Leighs, were lulled by promises that an alternative to methyl bromide treatment would precede the ban - but it did not.

Val's son Geoff Watling, who is a director of the family business, said: "They say a form of heat treatment can be used but that actually splits willow so we are basically left with nothing.

"The Indian Government cannot allow our willow to be imported without a treatment certificate. On that basis I give our industry 12 weeks to survive. We alone have 1,400 prepared trees ready to go and Wrights, who are responsible for up to 80 per cent of the UK supply, have 20 times that amount," he says.

"The current rules of cricket demand bats are made of willow. Without quality East Anglian willow the worldwide game supply of test standard and 20-20 bats could dry up within two years."

Perhaps though, they could use hockey sticks ... of which East Anglia University seems to have a plentiful supply. But what will poor Rajendra do? (EU Referendum)

The excuse for attacking and banning such a wonderfully useful pesticide is "ozone depletion" and the Montreal Protocol, that absurd trial run for Kyoto. In reality it is an attack on agriculture and trade by misanthropic greenies and gaia cranks.

 

EPA Seeks To Cut Mercury From Gold Production

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed rules to cut mercury air emissions from U.S. gold ore processing and production facilities.

The proposal would affect about 20 facilities in the United States that extract gold ore, the EPA said. Mercury can damage children's developing brains and nervous systems.

The agency's proposal would slash annual mercury emissions to about 1,390 pounds a year - a 73 percent reduction from 2007 levels. The federal policy will build on reductions from Nevada's program for controlling mercury emissions from precious metal mining.

Gold ore processing and production are the sixth largest source of U.S. mercury air emissions.

The EPA will take public comment on the proposal for 30 days. (Reuters)

Interesting extension, the anti mercury-emission hysteria is actually founded in the campaign to shutdown cheap and reliable coal-fired electricity generation.

 

The true nature of sceptics

Unafraid, questioning minds are central to the pursuit of truth and democracy

AT Easter, the official Greenpeace website carried a blog written by Gene Hashmi, communications director of its affiliate in India. Hashmi pointed his finger at sceptics who fuelled "spurious debates around false solutions" and concluded with the not too subtle threat: "We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many but you be few."

Welcome to a world where the term sceptic has acquired the meaning usually associated with a Dark Age heresy.

Fearing a backlash to a statement that most normal readers would interpret as an incitement to violence, Greenpeace pulled the blog from its site.

It defensively justified its act of self-censorship on the ground that it was very "easy to misconstrue" the statement.

However, the usage of a highly charged, intemperate rhetoric has become the hallmark of the present crusade against scepticism. Some contend that the arguments of climate change sceptics bear an uncanny resemblance to the statements made by pro-slavery reactionaries in the 19th century and by Holocaust deniers. More imaginative environmental activists have proposed the establishment of Nuremberg-style trials for climate change sceptics.

It is truly astonishing that in an era that claims to uphold the pursuit of knowledge, freedom of speech and scientific inquiry, the term sceptic often conveys connotations of immoral and corrupt behaviour. Yet today the practice of stigmatising scepticism is not confined to a small minority of dogmatic true believers. It is quite common for scientists, policy-makers and campaigners to denounce those who do not share their beliefs as vile and contemptible sceptics.

Self-help guru Deepak Chopra writes of the "perils of scepticism". John Houghton, former head of the British Meteorological Office, warns of a "dangerous mood of scepticism". Economist Jeffrey Sachs has condemned climate sceptics as "recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain".

So typically in the debate on climate change, sceptics are characterised as dishonest, malevolent, greedy and corrupt.

"Environmental scepticism is a blunt weapon wielded by desperate and self-interested apologists to perpetuate an archaic system predicated on the destruction of the Earth and her communities," New Zealand academic William Hipwell wrote. (Frank Furedi, The Australian)

 

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Practitioners in informal science settings--museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens--are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and what they can do to ensure that people of all ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, have a positive learning experience.

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments, is designed to make that task easier. Based on the National Research Council study, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, this book is a tool that provides case studies, illustrative examples, and probing questions for practitioners. In short, this book makes valuable research accessible to those working in informal science: educators, museum professionals, university faculty, youth leaders, media specialists, publishers, broadcast journalists, and many others. (NAP)

 

If VAT, Ditch the Income Tax

WASHINGTON -- When liberals advocate a value-added tax, conservatives should respond: Taxing consumption has merits, so we will consider it -- after the 16th Amendment is repealed.

A VAT will be rationalized as necessary to restore fiscal equilibrium. But without ending the income tax, a VAT would be just a gargantuan instrument for further subjugating Americans to government. (George Will, Townhall)

 

Video of the Week: Three Reasons Why Public Sector Unions are Killing the Economy

The folks over at Reason.tv have produced a great video explaining how public sector unions are stifling economic recovery. It notes that unionized workers already made more than their private sector counterparts before the recession and that the pay gap has only grown since then.

Government jobs don’t create wealth because all the money they spend comes from tax dollars that are taken from another part of the economy. Government union jobs are not a net gain like a private sector jobs are.

With the Obama Administration hiring more and more government workers and making it more and more difficult for private sector companies to survive, it could be a long time before our nation’s unemployment rate returns to normal

California is an example of what not to do. Unions (because of the laws they worked to pass) have put California on the edge of bankruptcy and turned their bonds into junk bonds. The LA Times reported: Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Gaia the polluter: Eruption may hurt people with breathing problems

GENEVA - The Icelandic volcanic eruption that has paralysed air traffic in much of Europe could also harm people with breathing problems, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The United Nations health agency has not yet ascertained the heath risks from this specific eruption, but once the clouds settle they could be dangerous, spokesman Daniel Epstein said.

"Any particulate matter that is deposited, breathed into the lungs is dangerous to people so we are concerned about that but we don't have details yet," he told a briefing.

The WHO drew up health guidelines in 2005 on particles emitted from eruptions, Epstein said. (Reuters)

 

Uh-oh... Met Office Atmospheric Models Cause International Chaos – Why Am I Not Surprised?

The old computational forecasting wizards at the Met Office are behind the decision of closing so much of Europe’s airspace.

Of course they are.

(yes, it’s “well-proven” models, no direct measurement, the works!)

From the Herald Sun:

German airlines Lufthansa and Air Berlin said the decision to close much of Europe’s airspace was not based on proper testing. They said that their aircraft showed no signs of damage after flying without passengers.

The decision to close the airspace was made exclusively as a result of data from a computer simulation at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London,” Air Berlin chief executive Joachim Hunold said.

The “Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London”? Here it is, at the Met Office:

When a volcano in its area of responsibility erupts, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), based at the Met Office, runs the NAME atmospheric dispersion model. This, and similar models, are well proven and we can use them to predict the spread of pollutants following a chemical or nuclear leak or even the spread of airborne diseases. In this case we use the dispersion model to forecast the spread of volcanic ash plumes.

The London VAAC forecaster provides the location, start time, release height and the top and bottom of the plume (if known) and the model is run. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Output from this model is in a map-based graphical format, and can detail expected ash concentrations over a large region. The forecaster uses this detail to prepare the volcanic ash advisory message with the expected positions of the ash plume for up to 24 hours ahead.

The Advisory message is then used by aviation authorities to decide whether airspace needs to be closed to prevent aircraft encountering volcanic ash.

Note how the Met Office washes its hands from any decision, and yet in all those years with NAME, it has apparently decided not to complement the model results with in-situ measurements. A “revolutionary” idea brought forward at present by Lufthansa itself…

Not one single weather balloon has been sent up to measure how much volcanic ash is in the air.” Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walter added. ”The flight ban, made on the basis just of computer calculations, is resulting in billion-high losses for the economy [...] In future we demand that reliable measurements are presented before a flying ban is imposed.”

(Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Not our own masters

My article in the Mail on Sunday seems to have evoked a substantial number of hostile and some abusive comments.

Right now, though, my view that the complete closure of UK (and European) airspace might have been an over-reaction seems to be gaining some support, with reports such as this in the Los Angeles Times and Flight International, the latter talking of a "backlash".

It seems also that UK airline pilots are questioning the ban, with their union BALPA seeking clarification on whether the UK air navigation service NATS and the country's meteorological office have consulted with other authorities experienced in ash-cloud analysis.

"Pilots will want to know on what basis the decision to re-open is being taken," says BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan, adding that the union needs to understand the specific criteria involved and whether the safety assessment is founded on computer models or flight-testing.

This is something of a loaded statement, as all the indications are that assessments are made primarily on the basis of computer models. They are run by the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, part of the Met Office – the very same that brought us computer modelled global warming. (EU Referendum)

 

Hope after British Airways completes 'perfect' volcano test flight

THERE was some hope for stranded passengers today after British Airways completed a 'perfect' test flight.

Several other European carriers have also launched test flights to challenge warnings that the ash cloud spreading from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano would destroy jet engines. Air France and KLM reported no problems so far.

The tests come after a group of the continent's 36 major carriers called on governments for an "immediate reassessment" of the flight restrictions, saying they were having a "devastating impact" on the industry, and questioning whether they were proportionate.

"Airlines must be able to fly where it is safe to fly and make decisions accordingly. It is what our passengers demand of us," the Association of European Airlines said. (news.com.au)

 

Airlines urge end of travel ban as test flights land safely

EUROPEAN airlines last night conducted test flights without encountering problems through the volcanic ash that has paralysed air travel, as they pressed for airspace to reopen and criticised the grounding of jets.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa and Air Berlin of Germany staged test flights and Air France planned to send a jet up last night over the country's southeast.

But authorities extended airspace restrictions in 30 countries across Europe, and said there was no end in sight to the plume spewing out of a volcano in Iceland, which they insist is dangerous. (The Australian)

 

Explorers census hard-to-see sea life: microbes, tiny animals key to Earth's food, carbon systems

Microbial mat the size of Greece found on oxygen-starved South American seafloor

Ocean explorers are puzzling out Nature's purpose behind an astonishing variety of tiny ocean creatures like microbes and zooplankton animals - each perhaps a ticket-holder in life's lottery, awaiting conditions that will allow it to prosper and dominate.

The inventory and study of the hardest-to-see sea species -- tiny microbes, zooplankton, larvae and burrowers in the sea bed, which together underpin almost all other life on Earth -- is the focus of four of 14 field projects of the Census of Marine Life.

 

Israel Aims To Reverse Sea Of Galilee Fish Decline

Israel hopes to fill the Sea of Galilee with a great multitude of fishes.

Responding to a decline in the number of fish in the Biblical lake -- where the Gospels say Jesus miraculously produced huge catches for his disciples' nets -- Israel has banned fishermen from trawling the waters for two years.

"This stems from a desire to maintain an ecological balance, preserve water quality and revive fishing which has nearly died out in the Kinneret," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, using the Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee, said on Sunday.

Announcing details of the moratorium, Netanyahu told his cabinet that fishermen would receive government compensation and the Sea of Galilee would be restocked with fish brought from the outside.

"It's a matter of concern for me because I used to fish there: the fish was excellent and it's important to us to continue to enjoy excellent fish and water from the Kinneret," he said, in broadcast remarks, about Israel's biggest reservoir. (Reuters)

 

The Gun Lobby’s Colony

Cravenness and horse trading are too often the political reality in Washington, but a deal now in the works is particularly cruel.

Congress is poised, finally, to give the tax-paying citizens of the District of Columbia what they have been so long and so unfairly denied: a representative with the power to vote. But the gun lobby has extracted too high a price: the scuttling of vital local gun controls intended to keep the capital city’s residents safe.

The district’s — nonvoting — representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has reluctantly accepted this extortion. “The strength of gun forces in Congress has grown, not diminished,” she declared in explaining why she felt forced to abandon her long fight for a measure free of gun lobby abuses. She estimates that her cause and the Democratic majority may only be weakened in the next election. And she feels the gun lobby is powerful enough to oppress the district with a stand-alone measure. (NYT)

Not sure what The Crone is whining about, sounds like the district is getting a good deal.

 

 

Congress worked out health care. Is climate change next?

Six weeks ago, it looked as if there was no chance that Congress would approve climate change legislation this year.

The bill that had passed the House was so long, so complicated, so punitive to the coal-dependent Midwest economy, involved so many political compromises and so much money to be redistributed by the federal government, that it became the whipping boy of choice for conservative politicians and commentators.

Passage of health-care legislation, however, may have changed all that. (Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post)

 

Climate Bill Seen Raising Gasoline Prices

Point Carbon, a market analysis firm, estimated on Thursday U.S. gasoline prices would rise an average of 27 cents per gallon from 2013 to 2020 if expected U.S. climate legislation led by Senator John Kerry becomes law.

U.S. carbon prices should average about $31 a tonne from 2013 to 2020, said Point Carbon, which projected it would take a couple of years to set up a system should a law be passed. The 27-cent per gallon rise would have been an 11 percent rise on the average 2009 gasoline price of $2.35 per gallon.

A compromise climate bill being drafted by Kerry, a Democrat, and Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, an independent, will be unveiled on April 26, according to a source.

Point Carbon said the expected bill has a slim chance of passing Congress amid opposition from lawmakers in coal and oil states. (Reuters)

 

Canada waits for US to move on cap-and-trade plan

Canada will not act this year on a cap-and-trade system to control climate change because the government does not expect the U.S. to pass emissions-control legislation this year, Canada's environment minister said Thursday.

Jim Prentice said Canada is committed to harmonizing its climate change initiatives with the United States so that it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions without damaging its trade relations with its southern neighbor. (Associated Press)

 

New strategy for Senate's climate bill leaves out global warming

Global warming policy is no longer driving comprehensive climate legislation as it did last year with the House's Waxman-Markey bill. The new message, considered to resonate better with the public and be more agreeable among legislators, has this three-pronged goal: energy independence, job creation, and cleaner air.

The Senate's version is expected to be released later this month, several days after April 22, so as not to coincide with Earth Day. A major reason is "we don't want to send a mixed message," according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) yesterday in the National Journal. (JoAnn Blake, Examiner)

 

Medvedev threatens Russian withdrawal from Kyoto agreement

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday the country will pull out of the Kyoto environmental agreement if a compromise cannot be found concerning the reduction of carbon emissions.

"All countries, including developed and developing economies, should reach an agreement, or, if we do not agree on this [the common terms of carbon emissions reduction], Russia will not prolong its participation in the Kyoto agreement - you cannot have it both ways," the president said. (Climate Realists)

 

Italian Senate Calls For Re-Assessment Of Climate Policy, IPCC Science

The Italian Senate stands for climate realism. A motion passed on last Wednesday commits the Italian government to promote a sound discussion on climate policies with the European Union and the United Nations, with particular regard to the major changes that have occurred after the economic recession, the Climategate scandal, and the failure to reach a global deal in Copenhagen. In fact, the Senate asks both that the current commitments under the EU climate and energy package are re-negotiated, and that an independent investigation is started on the IPCC process. (Carlo Stagnaro, Istituto Bruno Leoni, via GWPF)

 

Carbon Dioxide at $1,000 per Tonne in NSW

For a hint at why a current approaches to mitigation face difficult challenges, consider this real world example of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the government of New South Wales, Australia:

THE NSW government spent $104,000 from its Climate Change Fund to save a single tonne of carbon dioxide - worth about $35 under international carbon prices - the fund's annual report shows.

The money, to renovate a building at Sylvania Public School so it used less electricity, was spent on one in a series of projects that appear not to match the Climate Change Fund's main objective: cutting carbon emissions.

More than half the 26 public projects funded in the 2008-09 financial year valued carbon at more than $1000 a tonne, almost 30 times its estimated market value, although many of the projects did fulfil requirements to save large amounts of water.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change and Water says the spending is worthwhile, even though it is not always the most efficient way to slash emissions, because it helps educate about saving energy.

Other projects paid for by the fund, which is sustained by a levy on energy and water bills, included a $20,000 grant to Dungog Shire Council to put a solar heater on its swimming pool, saving one tonne of carbon dioxide. Manly Council was also granted $154,000 to install energy-saving floodlights at Manly Oval, saving 17 tonnes of carbon dioxide and allowing the council to ''educate a segment of the market that does not normally respond to energy-saving messages''.

The fund supported 299 projects and a residential rebate program, saving $100 million on water and energy bills, 731,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and 17 million litres of water, the department said.

A spokeswoman said the fund was saving money in schools and clubs and demonstrating what can be achieved through improved efficiency and new technology.

But the NSW opposition said the annual report showed taxpayer funds were being used inefficiently. "The [fund] exists to tackle climate change, and you don't do that by spending 5000 times more than you have to save a single tonne of carbon dioxide,'' one MP, Michael Richardson, said.

The department said its Renewable Energy Development Program was the best performer, spending $6.63 for each tonne of carbon. The $700 million fund was set up in July 2007.

The project that worked best is focused on stimulating innovation in renewable energy technology using public funds. The ones that performed the worst were focused on efficiency gains and energy consumption reduction (which some people call conservation). The programs focused on conservation probably could not be justified except for their co-benefits, such as related to water savings.

The annual report referred to in the article above can be downloaded here in PDF.

There are important lessons here about the effectiveness of public investments in innovation and the limits of efforts to promote efficiencies. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Climategate: a scandal that won’t go away

From Macbeth to Watergate, it’s not the act that leads to nemesis, but the attempts to 'trammel up the consequence’ , writes Christopher Booker.

If you were faced with by far the biggest bill of your life, would you not want to be confident that there was a very good reason why you should pay it? That is why we need to know just how far we can trust the science behind the official view that the world is threatened with catastrophe by global warming – because the measures proposed by our politicians to avert this supposed disaster threaten to transform our way of life out of recognition and to land us with easily the biggest bill in history. (The Climate Change Act alone, says the Government, will cost us all £18 billion every year until 2050.)

Yet in recent months, as we know, the official science on which all this rests has taken quite a hammering. Confronted with all those scandals surrounding the “Climategate” emails and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the political and academic establishments have responded with a series of inquiries and statements designed to show that the methods used to construct the official scientific case are wholly sound. But as was illustrated last week by two very different reports, these efforts to hold the line are themselves so demonstrably flawed that they are in danger of backfiring, leaving the science more questionable than ever. (Christopher Booker, TDT)

 

Judy Curry on the Oxburgh Report and IPCC

[UPDATE #2: Judy Curry opines in the comments at Real Climate, and gets the Real Climate treatment for her troubles.]

[UPDATE: Keith Kloor is all over this, and has reaction at Real Climate to Curry's comments. Check it out
here.]

From the comments. here are some interesting and provocative comments from Judy Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech.

The primary frustration with these investigations is that they are dancing around the principal issue that people care about: the IPCC and its implications for policy. Focusing only on CRU activities (which was the charge of the Oxbourgh panel) is of interest mainly to UEA and possibly the politics of UK research funding (it will be interesting to see if the U.S. DOE sends any more $$ to CRU). Given their selection of CRU research publications to investigate (see Bishop Hill), the Oxbourgh investigation has little credibility in my opinion. However, I still think it unlikely that actual scientific malfeasance is present in any of these papers: there is no malfeasance associated with sloppy record keeping, making shaky assumptions, and using inappropriate statistical methods in a published scientific journal article.

The corruptions of the IPCC process, and the question of corruption (or at least inappropriate torquing) of the actual science by the IPCC process, is the key issue. The assessment process should filter out erroneous papers and provide a broader assessment of uncertainty; instead, we have seen evidence of IPCC lead authors pushing their own research results and writing papers to support an established narrative. I don't see much hope for improving the IPCC process under its current leadership.

The historical temperature record and the paleoclimate record over the last millennium are important in many many aspects of climate research and in the communication of climate change to the public; both of these data sets are at the heart of the CRU email controversy. In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science. Once "best" methods have been developed and assessed for assembling such a dataset including uncertainty estimates, a paleoclimate reconstruction should be attempted (regional, hemispheric, and possibly global) with the appropriate uncertainty estimates. The public has lost confidence in the data sets produced by CRU, NASA, Penn State, etc. While such an independent effort may confirm the previous analysies, it is very likely that improvements will be made and more credible uncertainty estimates can be determined. And the possibility remains that there are significant problems with these datasets; this simply needs to be sorted out. Unfortunately, the who and how of actually sorting all this out is not obvious. Some efforts are underway in the blogosphere to examine the historical land surface data (e.g. such as GHCN), but even the GHCN data base has numerous inadequacies. Addressing the issues associated with the historical and paleo temperature records should be paramount.

(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

University told to hand over tree ring data - April 15, 2010

pine tree.jpgThe UK’s information watchdog has told a university it has to release the tree ring data at the centre of a long running freedom of information fight.

Douglas Keenan, an independent researcher, has been attempting to get Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to give him data including the width of rings and the location of trees used by its climate researchers (see: Keenan’s website). The university refused and Keenan appealed to the Information Commissioner (see: Climate researcher vs FOI, part two, Nature).

Now the Commissioner has ruled that all the grounds cited by the university for withholding the data are not valid. “The Commissioner requires QUB to disclose the withheld information ... within 35 calendar days of the date of this Notice.” it says in a ruling dated 29 March (pdf).

The ruling also states that there were “a number of procedural breaches” in the handling of Keenan’s request.

“This has taken three years, but it is worth it,” said Keenan in an email. “It is an important victory for FoI [Freedom of Information] on research data. Also, for global warming studies, the data is extremely valuable for reconstructing temperatures over past millennia

“The University has received the Information Commissioner’s Decision Notice on this matter and is considering its position,” QUB said in a statement.

Image: photo by Steve & Jemma Copley via Flickr under creative commons. (Nature Blog)

 

Police quiz climate change sceptics

Police investigating the alleged theft of e-mails behind the recent “Climategate” uproar have been telephoning climate change sceptics to question them about their political and scientific beliefs.

The Norfolk Constabulary was called in by the University of East Anglia after thousands of its climate scientists’ confidential e-mails were published online last November. The documents appeared to show the scientists concealing information and manipulating data to fit their theories, although two independent inquiries have cleared the university of wrongdoing.

The Financial Times has learnt that everybody who made a request to the university’s climate research unit under Freedom of Information rules ahead of the alleged hacking is being approached by officers searching for the culprits.

In a letter to the FT, Sebastian Nokes, a businessman and climate change sceptic, said he was interviewed at length by a detective, who “wanted to know what computer I used, my internet service provider, and also to which political parties I have belonged, what I feel about climate change and what my qualifications in climate science are. He questioned me at length about my political and scientific opinions”.

Mr Nokes said he had sent an FOI request to the university’s climate unit asking whether scientists had received training in the disclosure rules and asking for copies of any e-mails in which they suggested ducking their obligations to disclose data. (James Boxell and Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

 

<guffaw!> Feel free to doubt climate change: just don't deny it

After months of controversy, the University of East Anglia climate unit was exonerated last week over the leaked emails affair. Science Editor Robin McKie says there are lessons to be learned – but those who call themselves sceptics must address their own intellectual dishonesty ( Robin McKie, The Observer)

Poor Robbie hasn't gotten any better, we see. Curiously my e-mails never seem to get through to Robin so if anyone is on chatting terms perhaps you might enquire if he ever managed to find out how we know whether the planet is warmer or cooler than might be expected when we have no determination of precise planetary albedo. We actually need that to perform the calculations required. The reasons are laid out here if you are uncertain.

In truth Robbie hasn't responded to my e-mails since I made fun of him for not being able to tell the difference between greenhouse effect and a volcano erupting under an ice sheet causing accelerated glacial melt. I've removed the broken links (meaning almost all) from this blast from the past -- JunkScience.com October 22-23, 2000:

Junkscience.com special award:

A very well deserved "Big J" junk science reporting award goes to The Observer's 'science editor' Robin McKie for:

"Now Europe's biggest glacier falls to global warming" - "Europe's biggest glacier is about to disintegrate. The mighty Breidamerkurjökull in southern Iceland is breaking apart and will slide into the north Atlantic in the next few years. Researchers' discovery of the imminent destruction of this gigantic river of ice demonstrates starkly that global warming is now making a serious impact on the northern hemisphere, threatening to melt ice caps and raise sea levels round the world."

Now this is truly alarming. If Europe's biggest glacier shows signs of imminent collapse, surely that proves the enhanced greenhouse effect is real and that the planet is undergoing catastrophic warming. Uh... just where is Breidamerkurjökull? In fact, it is the largest outlet glacier that drains Vatnajökull on the south-eastern part of the ice cap.

Any scientist worthy of their parchment and any science editor naturally checks local temperature trends to verify local warming - in this case most particularly summer warming because that's when we anticipate ice melt. From our previously referenced regional map we note Höfn is adjacent and has a half-century temperature record available graphically here. Oops - no apparent warming over 50 years.

Hmm... the Vatnajökull ice cap has been in the news several times over the last five years or so - why was that... time for a quick Google search. Oh! More than 1,000 references, mostly about the subglacial volcanic eruptions of 1995, 1996 and 1998. Nice pictures of the collapsing ice sheet as it's melted from below by geothermal activity and of the ash discolouration of the previously white ice cap (meaning that it is less able to reflect solar energy and thus more likely to suffer some surface melting).

So... no apparent trend in local surface temperature, recorded subglacial volcanic activity and "the imminent destruction of this gigantic river of ice demonstrates starkly that global warming is now making a serious impact on the northern hemisphere, threatening to melt ice caps and raise sea levels round the world." Quod erat demonstrandum enhanced greenhouse causes volcanic activity?

Congratulations Robin McKie, verily you are a truly deserving winner of the "Big J" award of the moment for junk science reporting. A very special mention also for The Observer for publishing your baseless regurgitation of misanthropist media releases rather than insisting you actually did your job and some simple homework. A great team effort.

Volcanic activity demonstrates anthropogenic warming... Sheeeesh!

John L Daly (Still Waiting For Greenhouse) has assembled a nice little pictorial essay on the topic. Be sure to check out 'The Greening of the American West' at the top of John's "Stop Press" section.

Oh Robbie, you really haven't improved at all, have you?

 

Help to fight against climate skeptics

Honorary president George Monbiot and his equally green colleagues at CampaignCC.ORG, Campaign against Climate Change, are already tired of the denialist propaganda. So they ask you to register your e-mail at the following page,

Skeptic Alerts (read it!)
and you will be receiving one e-mail a day with a list of new websites, resources, and articles where you - together with thousands of alarmists who are also going to be subscribed - should politely explain that the world is just going to fry and there is a scientific consensus that the Earth will evaporate soon and the SUVs are to blame. You should also bully the awful deniers and explain that they're funded by the fossil fuel companies.

Another task of yours is to spam all the websites you will receive every day with pre-collected links to RealClimate.ORG, David Suzuki, John Cook, Grist, DeSmogBlog, Nude Socialist, Zero Carbon Britain, Kyoto 2, and others. ;-)

Or you can contribute whatever comments you find more sensible. George Monbiot et al. assume that whoever gets to the page "Skeptics Alerts" above is a godless spamming machine or a mindless chicken little zombie who will obey every weird order of George Monbiot, the honorary president. Let's help him to verify his bold hypothesis! If you're George Monbiot and you want to thank me for spreading the awareness, I can just tell you: you're welcome! :-)

Alternatively, you don't have to give them your e-mail: you may watch the feed they'll be receiving at this URL (also in web form).

Thanks to Joanne Nova

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Really? Iceland volcano cuts carbon emissions as thousands of flights grounded

THE GROUNDING of 63,000 flights over the past four days has saved 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, more than the annual emissions of many developing countries. ( Ben Webster, The Times)

So, every passenger booked decided to cancel their trip? What about those who sought alternatives, like hiring a car, taking busses, trains, ferries or whatever alternative they could find to wherever they needed to be? Don't those emissions count? Incidentally, air travel is relatively low in the per person travel emissions stakes.

No matter, much of the emission plume from the eruption is water, the most prolific greenhouse gas of all. It could also be 5% or even more carbon dioxide, too. Realistically then, is the volcano actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Not likely.

 

<chuckle> Ice cap thaw may awaken Icelandic volcanoes

OSLO – A thaw of Iceland's ice caps in coming decades caused by climate change may trigger more volcanic eruptions by removing a vast weight and freeing magma from deep below ground, scientists said on Friday.

They said there was no sign that the current eruption from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier that has paralysed flights over northern Europe was linked to global warming. The glacier is too small and light to affect local geology.

"Our work suggests that eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades," said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a vulcanologist at the University of Iceland. (Reuters)

This may have escaped their notice but ice caps have been thawing for oh, about 20,000 years now, since the last great glacial retreat began. Isostatic rebound has been going on for nearly as long. Despite all the fashionable arm waving and cries of "global warming" we have no data suggesting any greater rate of thaw now than has been ongoing for thousands of years. Volcanic activity has actually been relatively low over the last few decades so an increase in activity would still only represent a return to the statistical norm.

 

Aspects of Eyjafjallajökull volcano

This article is mainly a thread to discuss various aspects of the volcano that erupted beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland - which I will call the E-word glacier for obvious reasons.

Global warming has evaporated the glacier ;-) so thousands of tons of ash are flying above Europe. Yes, of course: volcano eruptions are caused by climate change, much like everything else.



Even if global warming were causing eruptions ;-), it's irrelevant now because there's been no warming in Iceland since 1941.

You should ignore the data from 1947 (incorrectly lowered average) and 1948 (completely absent) - the downward peak - because the daily data from April 1947 through December 1948 are unavailable.

Mathematica command used to produce the graph above:

DateListPlot[WeatherData["Reykjavik", "MeanTemperature", {{1900, 1, 1}, {2009, 12, 31}, "Year"}], Joined -> True]
If you don't believe global warming, the only alternative is that Iceland is trying to punish Europe for its cheeky attempts to get Iceland's debt - and it is revenging for the reductions of its rating. :-)

OK, fine: the eruption could also have something to do with geology because the interior of the Earth is very hot, several million degrees :-).

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Reply to: “Ice cap thaw may awaken Icelandic volcanoes”

Guest post by Steven Goddard

Smoke from a subglacial volcanic eruption rises above the Vatnajökull ice cap (photo by Oddur Sigurdsson) Image via Ben Orlove, UC Davis, click for his page.

Scientific American has reported that global warming may cause an increase in volcanic eruptions, due to increased magma formation at lower pressures as glaciers melt.

This caught my attention because I used to work as a volcano researcher and igneous petrologist.

That report said that about 10 percent of Iceland’s biggest ice cap, Vatnajokull, has melted since 1890 and the land nearby was rising about 25 millimetres (0.98 inch) a year, bringing shifts in geological stresses.

They estimated that the thaw had led to the formation of 1.4 cubic km (0.3 cubic mile) of magma deep below ground over the past century.

At high pressures such as under an ice cap, they reckon that rocks cannot expand to turn into liquid magma even if they are hot enough. “As the ice melts the rock can melt because the pressure decreases,” she said. Sigmundsson said that monitoring of the Vatnajokull volcano since 2008 suggested that the 2008 estimate for magma generation was “probably a minimum estimate. It can be somewhat larger.”

Interesting theory, but does it work quantitatively?  Magmas, as with most solids, do show a direct relationship between the melting point and pressure. As the pressure increases, so does the melting point.  (Ice is a noticeable exception to this, and shows an  inverse relationship.  The reason that people can ice skate is because the pressure under the blade creates a thin later of melted ice which lubricates the surface.

Below is a phase diagram of a basaltic magma similar to that found in Iceland, showing the relationship between temperature and pressure.  The melting temperature does decrease at lower pressures.  From 100 km depth to 0 km the melting point drops about 300°C.  That is about 3°C / km.  Ice is about one third as dense as basaltic magma, so the loss of 1 km of ice lowers the melting point by about 1C, or less than 0.1%. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Volcanoes Cause Climate Change

Guest post by Steven Goddard

Scientific American recently reported on the dodgy concept that climate change causes volcanoes, when in fact it is quite the opposite.

Wikipedia : An early 19th-century illustration of Krakatoa

In 1883, Krakatoa produced massive amounts of ash during an eruption estimated to the equivalent of 200 megatons – or 13 times larger than the Hydrogen Bomb detonated at Bikini Island.  Average global temperatures dropped by about 1.2°C during the following year as a result of  ash blocking the sun.

File:Sunda strait map v3.png

It has been hypothesized by a volcanologist at Los Alamos, that the Dark Ages were triggered by agricultural collapse following the 535AD eruption of Krakatoa. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Figures... Why cleaner air could speed global warming

Aerosol pollution, which is now on the downswing, has helped keep the planet cool by blocking sunlight. Tackling another pollutant, soot, might buy Earth some time.

You're likely to hear a chorus of dire warnings as we approach Earth Day, but there's a serious shortage few pundits are talking about: air pollution. That's right, the world is running short on air pollution, and if we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industrial smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound. 

Cleaner air, one of the signature achievements of the U.S. environmental movement, is certainly worth celebrating. Scientists estimate that the U.S. Clean Air Act has cut a major air pollutant called sulfate aerosols, for example, by 30% to 50% since the 1980s, helping greatly reduce cases of asthma and other respiratory problems. ( Eli Kintisch, LA Times)

Actually Eli, this time enviros are not to blame (unusual but true). Cleaner air (and water...) is not really a "signature achievement of the U.S. (or any other) environmental movement -- they are Johnny-come-latelies, simply hopping on the bandwagon and claiming credit (told you they were basically politicians). Technological improvement, efficiency and wealth generation drive cleaner industry and environmental improvement and whining, obstructive enviros slow the process. Industrial cleanup was long underway before and huge improvements already made before Ehrlich-inspired neo-Malthusian pacifists formed clubs seeking a green peace and long before the declaration of "earth day".

There are many things we can blame enviros for but improving standards of living, longer life spans, better health, increasing wealth and a nicer environment are certainly not among them.

 

The Fog of Climate ‘Science’

San Francisco Fog

In 2009, environmentalists were sure global warming was the reason California’s Bay Area fog was increasing.  Now they’re saying global warming is making the fog go away—indicating that the science may not be as “settled” as some seem to think.

Gateway Pundit
noted that in 2009, The San Francisco Chronicle claimed that “The Bay Area just had its foggiest May in 50 years. And thanks to global warming, it’s about to get even foggier.”  Yet, in 2010, The Telegraph has asserted that “the sight of Golden Gate Bridge towering above the fog will become increasing [sic] rare as climate change warms San Francisco bay.”

The first article was written in May of 2009; the second, February of 2010.  When scientists start trying to explain how global warming is affecting our everyday life, their findings conflict drastically.  Both papers and claims are under a year old.  Which one do we trust? Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

SPPI Monthly CO2 Report: February 2010

The authoritative Monthly CO2 Report for February 2010 reports on the attempts of the US Administration to legislate – via Congress, via the EPA, and via the UN – to stifle and destroy forever the freedom for which the Founding Fathers so valiantly strove. Editorial Comment: Page 3.

FEATURED: The Himalayan glaciers are doing just fine. Professor Cliff Ollier sends us a special report. Pages 4-9.

IPCC assumes CO2 concentration will reach 836 ppmv by 2100, but, for nine years, CO2 concentration has headed straight for only 570 ppmv by 2100. This factor alone almost halves all of the IPCC’s temperature projections. Pages 10-12.

Since 1980 global temperature has risen at only 2.5 °F (1.4 °C)/century, not 7 F° (3.9 C°) as IPCC predicts. Pages 13-15.

Sea level rose just 8 inches in the 20th century, and has been rising since 1993 at a very modest 1 ft/century. Page 16.

Arctic sea-ice extent is at a 10-year record for the time of year. In the Antarctic, sea ice extent reached a record high in 2007. Global sea ice extent shows little trend for 30 years. Pages 17-21.

Hurricane and tropical-cyclone activity is almost at its lowest since satellite measurement began. Pages 22-24.

Sunspot activity is back to normal: but, looking back it was a long – and cool – solar minimum. Pages 25-26.

The (very few) benefits and the (very large) costs of the Waxman/Markey Bill are illustrated at Pages 27-30.

Aswan damnation: This month’s Science Focus looks at how the Aswan High Dam is causing Sahelian drought. Page 31.

As always, there’s our “global warming” ready reckoner, and our monthly selection of scientific papers. Pages 32-37.

The medieval warm period was real, global, and warmer than the present, as our global map shows. Page 38.

And finally ... our very own Climate Codswallopometer: a Very Important Graph. Page 39.

For the Full Report in PDF Form, please click here. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

 

GISS & METAR – dial “M” for missing minus signs: it’s worse than we thought

Here’s a story about how one missing letter, an M, can wreck a whole month’s worth of climate data. It is one of the longest posts ever made on WUWT, I spent almost my entire Saturday on it. I think it might also be one of the most important because it demonstrates a serious weakness in surface data reporting.

In my last post, we talked about the  a curious temperature anomaly that Jean S. found in the March GISS data and posted at Climate Audit:

http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ghcn_giss_hr2sst_250km_anom03_2010_2010_1971_2000.gif?w=520&h=307&h=307

The anomaly over Finland has an interesting signature to it, and the correction that GISS posted on their website confirms something I’ve been looking at for a few months.

The data shown between 4/13 and 4/15 were based on data downloaded on 4/12 and included some station reports from Finland in which the minus sign may have been dropped.

With some work I started back in late December and through January, and with GISS putting stamp of approval on “missing minus signs” I can now demonstrate that missing minus signs aren’t just an odd event, they happen with regularity, and the effect is quite pronounced when it does happen. This goes to the very heart of data gathering integrity and is rooted in simple human error. The fault lies not with GISS (though now they need a new quality control feature) but mostly with NOAA/NCDC who manages the GHCN and who also needs better quality control. The error originates at the airport, likely with a guy sitting in the control tower. Readers who are pilots will understand this when they see what I’m talking about.

I’ve seen this error happen all over the world. Please read on and be patient, there is a lot of minutiae that must be discussed to properly frame the issue. I have to start at the very bottom of the climate data food-chain and work upwards. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Oh dear... Ocean salinities show an intensified water cycle

Evidence that the world's water cycle has already intensified is contained in new research to be published in the American Journal of Climate.

The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.

The study, co-authored by CSIRO scientists Paul Durack and Dr Susan Wijffels, shows the surface ocean beneath rainfall-dominated regions has freshened, whereas ocean regions dominated by evaporation are saltier. The paper also confirms that surface warming of the world’s oceans over the past 50 years has penetrated into the oceans’ interior changing deep-ocean salinity patterns.

"This is further confirmation from the global ocean that the Earth’s water cycle has accelerated," says Mr Durack – a PhD student at the joint CSIRO/University of Tasmania, Quantitative Marine Science program. (Press Release)

And these new observations are being compared against... ? No comparable prior dataset eh? Basically guesstimation, you say? Right...

 

Come Rain or Come Shine

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

One of the claimed dangers of a few degrees warming of the Earth is increasing drought. Drought is a very difficult thing to fight, because it is hard to manufacture water. So this is a frightening possibility.

I have long claimed that “a warmer world is a wetter world”. I have said this without any actual data, based solely on the following logic.:

Increased temperature —> increased evaporation —> increased precipitation.

Today I graphed the numbers for the US precipitation. I used the USHCN state-by-state precipitation database, which also includes area-averaged values for regions of the US, and for the US itself.

First, here is the change in precipitation in the US since 1895:

Figure 1. Annual precipitation in the US. PHOTO SOURCE

Since the both the US and the globe have warmed since 1895 it seems that a warmer US is a wetter US. However, precipitation is spotty and unevenly distributed. One area can be very wet while a nearby area is dry, so what about the precipitation in each of the states?

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

PowerPoint slides from Dr. Willie Soon’s Congressional staff briefing held in DC on April 13, 2010

PowerPoint slides from Dr. Willie Soon’s Congressional staff briefing held in DC on April 13, 2010.

The paper upon which the briefing was based can be found here:  http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/carbon_myopia.html

Abstract:

In 2007 the Supreme Court commented that “greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of air pollutant.” In this presentation, Dr. Soon will discuss why atmospheric CO2 is not an “air pollutant”. Three points of discussion will be:

(1) CO2 is not an air pollutant,

(2) Ocean acidification claims are exaggerated,

(3) The magical CO2 control knob idea “to save the world” is essentially dead.

Read more... (Dr. Willie Soon, SPPI)

 

Is There “Missing” Heat In The Climate System? My Comments On This NCAR Press Release

UPDATE (April 16 2010) WITH RESPONSE BY KEVIN TRENBERTH PRESENTED WITH HIS PERMISSION

Dear Roger
I do not agree with your comments. We are well aware that there are well over a dozen estimates of ocean heat content and they are all different yet based on the same data. There are clearly problems in the analysis phase and I don’t believe any are correct. There is a nice analysis of ocean heat content down to 2000 m by von Schuckmann, K., F. Gaillard, and P.-Y. Le Traon 2009: Global hydrographic variability patterns during 2003–2008, /J. Geophys. Res.,/ *114*, C09007, doi:10.1029/2008JC005237. but even those estimates are likely conservative. The deep ocean is not
well monitored and nor is the Arctic below sea ice. That said, there is a paper in press (embargoed) that performs an error analysis of ocean heat content.

Our article highlights the discrepancies that should be resolved with better data and analysis, and improved observations must play a key role.

Kevin

MY REPLY

Hi Kevin

Thank you for your response. I am aware of the debate on the quality of the ocean data, and have blogged on the von Schuckman et al paper. Since 2005, however, the data from 700m to the surface seems robust spatially (except under the arctic sea ice as you note). An example of the coming to agreement among the studies is Figure 2 in

Leuliette, E. W., and L. Miller (2009), Closing the sea level rise budget with altimetry, Argo, and GRACE, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L04608, doi:10.1029/2008GL036010.

We both agree on the need for further data and better analyses. I have posted on this issue; e.g. see

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/comment-from-josh-willis-on-the-upper-ocean-heat-content data-posted-on-real-climate/

However, I do not see how such large amounts of heat could have transited to depths below 700m since 2005 without being detected.

I am very supportive, however, of your recognition that it is heat in Joules that we should be monitoring as a primary metric to monitor global warming. Our research has shown significant biases in the use of the global average surface temperature for this purpose; e.g.

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. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114,
D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/r-345.pdf

Would you permit me to post your reply below along with my response on my weblog.

Best Regards

Roger

KEVIN’S FURTHER REPLY

Roger you may post my comments. The V.s paper shows quite a lot of heat below 700 m.
Kevin

MY FURTHER RESPONSE

Hi Kevin

 Thanks! On the V.s et al paper, lets assume their values since 2005 deeper than 700m are correct [which I question since I agree with you on the data quality and coverage at the deeper depths]. However, if they are correct, how much of this heat explains the “missing” heat?

 It would be useful (actually quite so) if you would provide what is the missing heat in Joules.

Roger

END OF UPDATE

There was a remarkable press release 0n April 15 from the NCAR/UCAR Media Relations titled

“Missing” heat may affect future climate change

The article starts with the text

BOULDER—Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a “Perspectives” article in this week’s issue of Science. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this “missing” heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system.

“The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

Excerpts from the press release reads

“Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or, more likely, large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions that are not adequately measured, such as the deepest parts of the oceans. Compounding the problem, Earth’s surface temperatures have largely leveled off in recent years. Yet melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, along with rising sea levels, indicate that heat is continuing to have profound effects on the planet.”

“A percentage of the missing heat could be illusory, the result of imprecise measurements by satellites and surface sensors or incorrect processing of data from those sensors, the authors say. Until 2003, the measured heat increase was consistent with computer model expectations. But a new set of ocean monitors since then has shown a steady decrease in the rate of oceanic heating, even as the satellite-measured imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy continues to grow.”

Some of the missing heat appears to be going into the observed melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as Arctic sea ice, the authors say.

Much of the missing heat may be in the ocean. Some heat increase can be detected between depths of 3,000 and 6,500 feet (about 1,000 to 2,000 meters), but more heat may be deeper still beyond the reach of ocean sensors.”

Trenberth’s [and co-author, NCAR scientist John Fasullo], however, are grasping for an explanation other than the actual real world implication of the absence of this heat.

  • First, if the heat was being sequestered deeper in the ocean (lower than about 700m), than we would have seen it transit through the upper ocean where the data coverage has been good since at least 2005. The other reservoirs where heat could be stored are closely monitored as well (e.g. continental ice) as well as being relatively small in comparison with the ocean.
  • Second, the melting of glaciers and continental ice can be only a very small component of the heat change (e.g. see Table 1 in Levitus et al 2001 “Anthropogenic warming of Earth’s climate system”.  Science).

Thus, a large amount heat (measured as Joules) does not appear to be stored anywhere; it just is not there. 

There is no “heat in the pipeline” [or "unrealized heat"] as I have discussed most recently in my post

Continued Misconception Of The Concept of Heating In The Pipeline In The Paper Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009 Titled “Global Sea Level Linked To Global Temperature”

Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo are not recognizing that the diagnosis of upper ocean heat content changes (with it large mass) makes in an effective integrator of long term radiative imbalances of the climate system as I discussed in my papers 
 
Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.
http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-334.pdf

and
 
Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335.
http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-247.pdf.

The assessment of ocean heat storage changes in Joules is a much more robust methodology to assess global warming than the use of small changes in the satellite diagnosis of radiative forcing from the satellites which have uncertainties of at least the same order.  Trenberth and Fasullo need to look more critically at the satellite data as well as propose how heat in Joules could be transported deep into the ocean without being seen. 

I am contacting Kevin to see if he would respond to my comments on this news article (and his Science perspective) in a guest post on my weblog. (Climate Science)

 

Correction to UAH v5.3 Global Gridpoint Temperature Dataset

The grid-based monthly anomaly satellite temperature files mounted on our server prior to 14 April 2010 were affected by an error in our recent merging of NOAA-18 into the data stream. This was corrected on 13 April and uploaded on 14 April.

The affected files are:

tXXmonamg.YYYY_5.3 where XX is lt, mt and ls, and YYYY is year.

uahncdc.XX where XX is lt, mt and ls.

We are sorry for this problem and thank alert users around the world for spotting the error (which showed up as a step-jump in the difference between land and ocean temperature anomalies) with NOAA-18 in 2005 so quickly (e.g. Alessandro Patrignani and Javier Arroyo) (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Norway Cuts Lofoten Oil View, Boosting Greens

Norway on Friday slashed about a third off its oil and gas resource estimate for the waters off the Lofoten and Vesteraalen islands, bolstering those who oppose opening up the pristine Arctic region for drilling.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, a government agency tasked with developing the country's offshore oil and gas riches, said the Arctic island waters could hold around 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

This estimate comes after seismic studies of the waters and compares to a previous one of about 2 billion barrels. Norway's government is due to decide on Lofoten drilling in late 2010. (Reuters)

 

PetroChina On the Prowl

China’s biggest corporation snapping up global oil and gas assets [Read More] (Xina Xie and Michael Economides, Energy Tribune)

 

Europe Energy Production Evades Ash Cloud Impact

European oil, gas and electricity production is unlikely to suffer under the volcanic ash cloud looming over much of northern Europe, industry sources said on Friday.

A huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano caused air travel chaos across Europe early on Friday, grounding commercial passenger jets and preventing staff-change helicopters from reaching oil and gas fields in the North Sea for a second day.

Helicopter flights to and from rigs in the Norwegian Sea, which lies to the north of the North Sea and largely above the area worst affected by the ash cloud, resumed on Friday, Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil said, adding that flights might be possible to fields further south on Saturday, depending on the weather.

Oil and gas field representatives said flight bans would not have any impact on operations, other than to force workers offshore to stay at work for longer until the cloud passes and relief workers can replace them, unless the volcanic ash cloud were to clog European airspace for a long time.

"The impact on North Sea operations is minimal," a spokeswoman for Oil & Gas UK, the representative body for Britain's offshore oil and gas industry said. (Reuters)

 

U.S. Coal Industry Fights Climate Legislation at Congressional Hearing

Under the shadow of the West Virginia coal mine disaster earlier this month, a congressional hearing Wednesday on the future of coal in a “new energy age” seemed at times like a dialogue of the deaf.

Four representatives of the coal industry appeared Wednesday before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in an atmosphere frosty enough to lower global temperatures itself.

Committee chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass) castigated the industry representatives for resisting measures to reduce carbon emissions and compared them to auto executives who ignored the need for change until it was too late.

Markey, who is co-author of a bill passed by the House to limit greenhouse gas emissions, urged the coal industry to get on board with the efforts to fight global warming.

“Today, with the future of the coal industry in your hands, I challenge you to join us in charting a new path forward to prevent a perilous outcome for your industry and for the planet,” Markey said in his opening remarks. “I ask that you cease efforts to deny the science of global warming and stop spending millions of dollars in misleading the public as to the true science behind climate change.”

Markey noted that the House bill offers billions of dollars in aid to help the industry develop clean coal technology.

Despite his pleas, Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association, accused Congress and regulators of conducting a “war on coal” by imposing tougher limits on carbon emissions. He criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s “endangerment finding” about carbon dioxide emissions, which enable the regulator to take action without legislation. (Oil Price)

 

More American Energy Will Produce Lower Prices, More American Jobs

Families and small businesses across the nation face soaring costs of living, a struggling economy, and, as expected, rising gasoline prices as we head into the summer months. What is the Obama Administration’s solution? Make matters worse by putting the vast majority of America's offshore oil and natural gas resources off limits and doubling down on its “cap-and-trade” national energy tax that will destroy jobs and increase energy prices further. (John Boehner, Townhall)

 

Energy prices to triple, says Origin chief

ELECTRICITY prices across Australia were likely to triple over the next 10 years, Origin Energy chief executive Grant King warned yesterday.

Mr King told the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia in Sydney that a combination of the federal government's mandatory renewable-energy targets, energy policy uncertainty, higher electricity transmission and distribution costs, and higher fuel costs would drive the increase. (Glenda Korporaal, The Australian)

 

The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part I)

by Jon Boone
April 17, 2010

Editor note: In this three part series, Jon Boone traces the history of the Sierra Club from its inception in 1892 to today and comments on its evolution as an environmental body. Given this organization’s prominence in environmental thinking today, this is an important and informative essay on the merits, possible motivations and effects of such movements. Part II will focus on the realities of today’s “Gush for wind” initiatives and its influence on Sierra Club beliefs. Part III concludes with a discussion on the science being used to promote its policies and the unintended consequences that may result.

“A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he’s talking about.” 
~ Miguel de Unamuno

In the Beginning

By the dawn of the twentieth century, European sensibilities and burgeoning technologies, filtered through the American experience, had brought a close to the vast North American frontier. A centuries-long march to the beat of seemingly inexhaustible abundance was replaced by a dawning recognition of limitation, of natural resources ravaged and lost. Passenger pigeons, once the most common bird in colonial America with numbers in the billions, had become extinct, along with several other species. Many more were on the edge of extinction. The bodies of millions of native songbirds dangled around fashionable ladies’ millinery. Miners even used birds to assess air quality in coal shafts.

Habitat for much of our native flora and fauna had also been transformed or eliminated. Most of the Eastern hardwood forests had been timbered while millions of acres of wetlands had been built over, such as the sweeping Klamath marshes in Oregon. Industrial development, including incipient factory farming practices, had already altered much of the natural agricultural landscape. Coal, steel and railroads combined to forge giant cities like Chicago out of virtual wilderness in only a few decades. Electricity, refrigeration technology, and the internal combustion engine would soon conspire to bring new settlement in places so environmentally sensitive that most wildlife could not survive the intrusion.

John Muir’s new Sierra Club, founded in 1892 “to make the mountains glad,” was, from its beginning, caught between the growing power and expansive ambitions of the United States and its ongoing paradoxical relationship with nature, torn as it continues to be between celebrating the natural world and ruthlessly subduing it. Muir, the Club’s first president, understood the concern that drives much of contemporary environmentalism: Wherever human beings are, there’s much less of everything else. And he vowed to protect the remaining wilderness. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part II)

by Jon Boone
April 18, 2010

Editor note: In Part I, Jon Boone traced the history of the Sierra Club from its inception in 1892 to today and commented on its evolution as an environmental body. Part II focuses on the realities of today’s wind power initiatives and its influence on Sierra Club beliefs. Part III concludes with a discussion on the science being used to promote its policies and the unintended consequences that may result.

Between the Gush for Wind and the Hard Place of Reality

The physical nature and enormous size of industrial wind projects has caused a lot of blowback. Between Maryland and West Virginia, for example, there is potential for around 2000 wind turbines, each nearly 500-feet tall; they would be placed atop 400 miles of the Allegheny Mountain ridges. About 20 acres of forest must be cut to support each turbine—4-6 acres to accommodate the free flow of the wind per turbine; one or more large staging areas for each wind project; access road construction; and a variety of substations and transmission lines. Cumulatively, about 40,000 acres of woodlands would be transformed into an industrial energy plant far larger than any conventional facility. Most of this montane terrain contains rare habitat and many vulnerable wildlife species.

How can such a looming industrial presence be reconciled with the goals of maintaining choice natural habitat while reducing the impact of human activity? For the Sierra Club, the answer is: The use of siting guidelines and wildlife assessment studies that would restrict limited liability wind companies from placing their huge machinery in the most sensitive places and away from rare and threatened species of plants and animals. If the war on carbon is to be won, and if skyscraper-sized wind turbines are part of the price for winning that war, then accommodation must be made. In the words of one wind developer, “some will have to sacrifice if we’re to have the clean, green energy from the wind” replacing coal and putting a stop to mountaintop removal coal extraction practices.

More than a few Sierra Club members and local chapters have resisted the national organization’s encyclicals on wind precisely because such hulking intrusion seems inimical to environmental common sense. The chair of the Maryland Chapter’s Conservation Committee, one of the nation’s leading naturalists, resigned in large part because of this concern. In response to such dissidents, the Club’s national leadership insists that it, and not its member chapters, be the final arbiter of what wind projects meet its standards: “It is important for the Club to speak with a unified, clear voice in its reaction to wind energy projects. It will not be good for the Club if one chapter is focusing totally on concerns about impacts on birds while the chapter in the next state is urging the public to support wind projects as a crucial element in reversing the impacts of global warming.” The organization enforces its authority under threat of expulsion, as was the case when its executive chairman, Carl Pope, in the wake of another controversy, excommunicated the entire Florida 35,000-memmber chapter for four years.

To “manage the negative environmental impacts of wind,” the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the American Bird Conservancy, Greenpeace, and the Audubon Society all recommend guidelines that, if followed, provide wind projects with their environmental seal of approval. Even on public lands. And with no evident sense of irony for the Sierra Club—since this is a policy taken from Gifford Pinchot’s playbook. John Muir is likely turning in his grave. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Lack Of Ships May Hinder UK Wind Power Targets: EON

Lack of investment in the vessels used to build offshore wind farms could hinder Britain's ambitions to shift to renewable energy, the head of E.ON UK's Robin Rigg wind project told Reuters at the operations center in Workington, northwest England.

Britain aims to install 32 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2020, enough to meet a quarter of the country's electricity needs, and although there has been investment in turbines factories and ports, a lack of vessels could curtail targets. (Reuters)

 

Gambling Australia’s Future on Sunbeams and Sea Breezes

The Carbon Sense Coalition has produced a submission to the Australian Government Enquiry into “The Enhanced Renewable Energy Target Scheme”, April 2010.

From the submission:

“The total justification for this massive upheaval of Australia’s industry and economy is the contention that man’s production of the colourless harmless gas, carbon dioxide, is likely to cause dangerous global warming. But never has the government conducted an open public enquiry to test the truth of this statement. Instead they have relied on an increasingly discredited political body, the UN’s IPCC, or on their own paid employees (who have learned the dangers of contradicting the message of powerful politicians.)”

Read the full submission: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/renewable-energy-targets.pdf [PDF, 83KB] (Carbon Sense Coalition)

 

 

'OK, Where Is Armageddon?' President Asks

"I'm not exaggerating," said President Obama. "Leaders of the Republican Party ... called the passage of (the health care reform bill) 'Armageddon.' Armageddon! 'End of freedom as we know it.'

"So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling or some cracks opening up in the earth. Turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall."

Post-ObamaCare the sun indeed rose in the east and Denny's stayed open. Therefore, ObamaCare opponents engaged in baseless fear-mongering. This is an interesting definition of success: Government tax-spend-spread-the-wealth works — if, come morning, our cars start.

The corrosion caused by the relentless expansion of the welfare state doesn't work that way. The costs are harder to see, the damage more difficult to discern — especially by a commentariat that doesn't know Milton Friedman from Milton Berle. (Larry Elder, IBD)

 

Side Effects: Get Ready to Wait for Your Health Care

Patience will be more than a virtue, under Obamacare.  It’ll be a necessity.  A recent article from ABC News outlines why Americans can expect longer and longer waits before they see a doctor.

One reason is that there just won’t be enough doctors to get the job done.  ABC reports that 10 years from now, the United States will short 85,000 primary care and high-demand specialty physicians.  Says Dr. Kevin Pho, an internal medicine physician in New Hampshire, “I don’t think we have the primary care capacity to meet the influx of 35 million newly insured.”

Expansion of health insurance coverage does not automatically translate into immediate access to care. When Massachusetts enacted its comprehensive statewide health reform in 2006, it dramatically reduced the number of uninsured and uncompensated care in Massachusetts hospitals, but the state was not ready to absorb the pent-up demand for primary care physicians. The result:  Since 2006, wait times have increased greatly. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

McCain Throws Down the VAT Gauntlet

Senator John McCain

The capstone of President Obama’s the “Glut the Beast” strategy is to maneuver the country into accepting a massive new Value-Added Tax (VAT).  This as yet unannounced policy has been lurking in dark policy corners for months, with no word from the President.  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has decided not to wait on Obama’s pleasure, and so has offered an amendment in the form of a Sense of the Senate Resolution to the bill pending on the floor of the Senate to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits.  The McCain resolution reads simply:

It is the sense of the Senate that the Value Added Tax increase will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America’s economic recovery.

When they called the roll on the McCain amendment, 84 Senators stood with America’s families and Senator McCain against the VAT, while 13 made clear their intentions to soak the American taxpayer with a devastating new tax.   This vote was strikingly reminiscent of the 1995 Senate vote that sent the Kyoto Protocol on global warming to its well-deserved grave. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Europe’s Record Shows VAT is No Solution to Debt

The United States is on an unsustainable financial course, and everyone seems to know it.  As Heritage highlighted in our recently published 2010 Budget Chart Book, if nothing is done, federal obligations will reach heights that even enormous tax increases will be unable to reverse.  In 2010, the federal budget deficit will be 11 percent of GDP, and the federal debt is on course to continue to skyrocket.   Interest payments on the debt in one month alone in 2009 exceeded yearly expenditures on several federal departments, including the Department of Labor and the Department of Agriculture.  And President Obama’s deficit will only magnify the impending crisis, creating an estimated budget deficit at the unprecedented level of 7.8 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke echoed these concerns in a testimony yesterday before the Joint Economic Committee.  Bernanke predicted that under current law, excluding improbable assumptions it makes about federal activity in years to come, the federal debt would reach 100 percent of GDP by the end of 2020.

Reining in the federal government’s irresponsible spending is imperative not only to the stability and success of the United States, but also to the future of its economic prosperity.  Said Bernanke, “maintaining the confidence of the public and financial markets requires that policymakers move decisively to set the federal budget on a trajectory toward sustainable fiscal balance. A credible plan for fiscal sustainability could yield substantial near-term benefits in terms of lower long-term interest rates and increased consumer and business confidence.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

H1N1 swine flu still around, US CDC says

WASHINGTON - H1N1 swine flu continues to cause epidemics, especially in the southeast of the United States, U.S. federal researchers reported on Thursday.

Americans who have not been vaccinated should still try to get the shot or nasal spray, the team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC's weekly surveillance report on influenza mirrors the World Health Organization's warning that the pandemic continues, although at low levels.

As long as the virus is being passed among people, it could change and re-emerge at any time, infectious disease specialists say. (Reuters)

 

Swine flu can damage kidneys, doctors find

WASHINGTON - Patients who became severely ill with H1N1 swine flu last year often developed kidney failure, which worsened their illness and raised costs, Canadian researchers reported on Wednesday.

Doctors should be on the lookout for kidney damage in patients who are hospitalized with the virus, they told a meeting of the National Kidney Foundation.

"It's concerning that so many people got some form of kidney injury, although it was reversible in the majority of them," Dr. Manish Sood of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg said in a statement. (Reuters)

 

US system for testing cancer drugs in crisis-report

CHICAGO - The system for conducting cancer clinical trials in the United States is "at a breaking point" and needs a major overhaul, a panel of experts said on Thursday.

The Institute of Medicine panel said inefficient management, complicated government oversight and inadequate funding hamper the ability of the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program to design and run studies that answer important questions about new therapies.

"Cooperative group studies have steadily improved the care of cancer patients for more than 50 years, but the program is at a breaking point," John Mendelsohn, president of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who chaired the panel, said in a statement. (Reuters)

 

Study doubts role for virus in multiple sclerosis

NEW YORK - Although studies have found a link between infection with the Epstein-Barr virus and a heightened risk of multiple sclerosis, new findings cast doubt on the theory that the virus helps cause the disease.

In an analysis of spinal fluid and autopsied brain tissue from people with MS, researchers found little evidence of Epstein-Barr genetic material in the samples.

That absence, the researchers say, indicates that the virus is not directly involved in the MS disease process, as a number of other investigators propose. (Reuters Health)

 

Chocolate May Be Good Medicine For Liver Patients

Cocoa-rich dark chocolate could be prescribed for people with liver cirrhosis in future, following the latest research to show potential health benefits of chocolate.

Spanish researchers said Thursday that eating dark chocolate capped the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture.

Antioxidants called flavanols found in cocoa are believed to be the reason why chocolate is good for blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen. (Reuters)

 

Congress takes another stride toward public access to research

Federal Research Public Access Act introduced in the House of Representatives

Washington, DC – Fueling the growing momentum toward openness, transparency, and accessibility to publicly funded information, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010 (FRPAA) has been introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and a bi-partisan host of co-sponsors. The proposed bill would build on the success of the first U.S. mandate for public access to the published results of publicly funded research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and require federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Free and open access to scientific literature and data are the underpinnings of discovery in the digital age," said Stephen Friend MD PhD, President and Co-Founder of Sage Bionetworks. "Full collaboration among researchers is essential, and we have the power now to communicate, collaborate, and innovate in ways that were previously unimaginable. I applaud the sponsors of the Federal Research Public Access Act for their commitment to ensuring the kind of access scientists need to make progress on improved disease treatments and diagnostics in the digital world." (SPARC)

 

Scientists say seismic surge is only a media theme

Seismologists claim attention has been drawn to quakes recently because of their 'unusual severity and unfortunate geography'

In Haiti, 230,000 people were estimated to have died in January's earthquake. Nearly 90,000 were killed in Sichuan in 2008. And now at least 400 people are feared lost in China's Qinghai province. It might appear quakes are happening more frequently, but media attention, rather than a surge in seismic activity, could be the reason.

Richard Luckett, a seismologist with the British Geological Survey, said earthquakes as large as the one that struck Qinghai happen somewhere in the world every few weeks. "This is definitely not a spike," Luckett says. Attention has instead been drawn to quakes recently by their "unusual severity and unfortunate geography".

The earthquake that hit Chile in February was the fifth biggest ever recorded, with a magnitude of 8.8, and the biggest since the quake that triggered the 2004 tsunami. The Haiti earthquake occurred a few miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince. "Both of those were very unusual, because of the size of the one in Chile, and the closeness to the capital city in Haiti," Luckett said. "I think the press has tuned in as a result. But statistically there is nothing unusual going on." (The Guardian)

 

"Well duh!" of the moment; Tobacco tax rise could drive people to black market

A $6.50 RISE in the tobacco tax being considered by the Rudd Government could drive smokers to the blackmarket and deprive the Government of tax revenue, convenience stores warned.

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores said the market for illegal cigarettes had already doubled to 12 per cent of cigarettes sold, bleeding the Government of $600 million a year in tax revenue.

That would only increase if the tobacco tax rose to help pay for the Rudd Government's $14 billion health reforms, the association said.

Association director Sheryle Moon said the $6.50 rise would lift the price of a pack of 30 cigarettes to $20, making blackmarket cigarettes even more attractive.

"A pack of counterfeit cigarettes can be bought for $7 or less," she said. "When cigarettes become more expensive consumers simply look for cheaper alternatives."

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report put illegal sales at 12 per cent of the market with a huge growth in branded counterfeit cigarettes coming into Australia from Asia.

Ms Moon said these counterfeit cigarettes carried none of the mandatory health warnings required on Australian cigarettes.

While she said tax and price rises were an effective means of getting many people to quit their tobacco habit "there comes a point where you get dysfunctional returns".

"Because if you've gone too far there are incentives for people to go to an area that is unregulated." (Daily Telegraph)

Funny how meddling politicians manage to create so many societal problems. Punitive taxes encourage illegal activity and bans create crimes. Prohibition in the U.S. is an oft-used example but it is far more widespread than that. Take Freon smuggling, for example, a "crime" created by the absurd "ozone depletion" scare and reactionary Montreal Protocol. Punitive taxes on tobacco products has already seen a rise in counterfeit products and smuggling, with organized crime profiting around the world and yet politicians are always ready to compound the error.

 

U.S. sees big drop in six food poisoning bugs

WASHINGTON - Cases of six common food poisoning agents have dropped sharply since the U.S. government started to monitor them closely in the 1990s, officials reported on Thursday.

While incidence of the most feared infections are down, notably Salmonella and E. coli 0157, infections from raw shellfish have become more common, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC estimates 76 million people in the United States get sick every year from foodborne illnesses and 5,000 people die from them. It set up the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or Foodnet, to track specific cases. (Reuters)

 

As Pharmaceutical Use Soars, Drugs Taint Water and Wildlife

With nearly $800 billion in drugs sold worldwide, pharmaceuticals are increasingly being released into the environment. The “green pharmacy” movement seeks to reduce the ecological impact of these drugs, which have caused mass bird die-offs and spawned antibiotic-resistant pathogens. (Sonia Shah, e360)

Flushed pharmaceuticals can be a problem and we do need improvements in effluent treatment around the world.

 

South Asia Monsoon Seen Normal: Weather Official

Monsoon rains in south Asia are expected to be normal this year, helped by weakening El Nino weather phenomenon, a senior Indian weather official said on Thursday.

"El Nino conditions have started weakening and we expect the south Asia summer monsoon to be within the normal range," A.K. Srivastava, director of the Indian Meteorological Department, told reporters on the sidelines of South Asia Climate Outlook Forum.

Last month, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the El Nino had peaked, but was expected to influence climate patterns up to mid-year before dying out.

India's annual June-September monsoon rains, which delivers 75-90 percent of total rainfall, were the weakest in 37 years in 2009, ravaging rice and oilseed crops.

Lower output hit food supplies in the domestic market and triggered a sharp rise in prices. The food price index rose an annual 17.22 percent in the 12 months to early April. (Reuters)

We'll see, although, in truth, we aren't too good when it comes to predicting events like Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall.

 

South Africa Looks To Sea To Meet Growing Water Demand

South Africa will increasingly use desalinated seawater to meet growing demand for drinking water in coastal towns facing the worst drought in 150 years, the country's water minister said Thursday.

South Africa is a water-scarce country with an average rainfall of 450 millimeters -- compared to a world average of 860 mm -- and conditions are expected to worsen as a result of global climate warming. (Reuters)

Should not make any plans based on "global warming" guesstimates since we really have no idea what will happen next year, let alone 100 years hence, which climate models pretend to do.

 

Brazil Amazon Dam Creates Headache For Lula

Brazil's plan to build the world's third-largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon is drawing scathing criticism from a rare combination of investors and environmentalists, creating a potential political headache for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula vigorously insists the Belo Monte dam, which may cost as much as $17 billion, will bring jobs to poor communities in the Amazon rain forest and ensure electricity supplies for one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

But activists and indigenous groups, including Hollywood director James Cameron, say the dam will destroy parts of the Amazon and displace up to 20,000 people, while financial analysts call the project a politically driven money-loser. (Reuters)

 

Demystifying yield fluctuations for greenhouse tomatoes

Model based on solar radiation accurately predicts yields

KAGAWA, JAPAN—Growing tomatoes is not always easy. In many parts of the world summers are too hot to grow tomatoes in greenhouses, even those with intricate cooling systems. In cooler climates where tomatoes are grown year-round in production greenhouses, yield fluctuations are still challenging for producers who need to fulfill orders and predict labor costs. Finding accurate methods for predicting greenhouse tomato yields is at the forefront of growers' concerns.

A new research study may take the speculation out of yield predictions and offer help for tomato producers. Tadahisa Higashide, a scientist at Japan's National Agricultural and Food Research Organization, published the study in a recent issue of HortScience. The research indicated that fluctuations in fruit number and yield under greenhouse conditions could be predicted on the basis of fluctuations in solar radiation. (American Society for Horticultural Science)

 

 

Senate Climate Bill To Be Unveiled April 26

A long-awaited compromise bill to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming will be unveiled by a group of senators on April 26, sources said on Thursday.

The legislative language to be sketched out in 11 days, according to government and environmental sources, is being drafted by Democratic Senator John Kerry, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Backers of the environmental bill hope the unveiling will pave the way for the full Senate to debate and pass a measure in June or July if the compromise attracts enough support from a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats. (Reuters)

 

Squeaky Clean

Three weeks after empaneling a distinguished committee to look into issues related to the release of the CRU emails at the request of the University of East Anglia, Lord Oxburgh has issued a final statement reporting their conclusions. According to the LA Times, on the BBC he summarized what they found as follows:

The fact is we found them [CRU] absolutely squeaky clean.
Of the criticisms of CRU raised by climate skeptics?
just plain nasty and ill-informed
(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Lawrence Solomon: The Non-Inquiry of Climategate

Climate-change partisans find mere sins of omission

By Lawrence Solomon

To allay public concern over Climategate — the unauthorized release of some 3000 documents from the computers of the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University — the university established two independent inquiries to attend to the widespread view that science had been corrupted through the distortion and destruction of data, through cover-ups, and through the perversion of the peer review process.

The first of these inquiries has neatly dismissed all concerns of impropriety through the oversight of its chair, Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool, a man of impeccable credentials in the climate change field. Lord Oxburgh is chair of the multinational Falck Renewables, a European leader with major windfarms in the U.K., France, Spain and Italy, and he’s chair of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, a lobby group which argues that carbon capture could become a $-trillion industry by 2050.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Whitewashing is quick work!

Hard on the heels of the report of the one-day British Parliamentary inquiry into the Climategate scandal comes the report of the grandly-named International Science Assessment Panel set up by the University of East Anglia (UEA). Surprise, surprise, it finds nothing wrong except a few lapses in concentration caused by all the hard work climate scientists are doing to save the planet. Unfortunately for the alarmist cheerleaders who will treat these reports as complete exoneration, they suffer from exactly the same problems as the scientific reports Climategate centered around. They are sloppy and incomplete while pretending to be the comprehensive answer. As such, they damage the authority of science just as much as Climategate itself. (Iain Murray, Daily Caller)

 

CRU Who? Or…Can The IPCC Survive The Oxburgh Review?

Forget Phil Jones and the CRU…for all intents and purposes, Lord Oxburgh’s “International Panel” has hit the IPCC itself with quite a broadside.

This is what the friendly Panel has just deemed necessary to write about the IPCC (my emphasis):

Recent public discussion of climate change and summaries and popularizations of the work of CRU and others often contain oversimplifications that omit serious discussion of uncertainties emphasized by the original authors. For example, CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined

And here’s what the IPCC says about the IPCC (my emphasis again):

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

Clearly, it has now been established beyond all doubt that the IPCC has been a failure regarding the provision of “a clear scientific view” on the “peer-reviewed papers” by CRU researchers. Those papers said one thing, the IPCC another.

With Climate Change too serious an issue to be left in oversimplifying hands,  the Fifth Assessment Report is unlikely to be any good unless substantial organizational changes are implemented in the IPCC. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Peter Foster: Climategate whitewash

CRU scientists who removed caveats from IPCC reports are praised for warning of uncertainties in their published work

By Peter Foster

Climategate scientists cleared of wrongdoing” read the headline in yesterday’s Post. Who expected anything else? The two self-inquiries launched by the University of East Anglia into its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were always destined to produce whitewashes, as did a recent UK parliamentary inquiry, and as will an “independent” review by the UN.

The first of the UEA reports, from a committee headed by ardent warmist and anti-carbon profiteer Lord Oxburgh, appeared this week. As Lawrence Solomon points out elsewhere on this page, the choice of Lord Oxburgh indicated that the fix was always in for an inquiry which fails to address, let alone probe, most of the major issues. And yet there is a mountain of condemnation-by-faint-exoneration between the lines of the report’s ridiculously slim five pages.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Climate-Gate Gets A Whitewash

Global Warming: The first probe into the integrity of the science being conducted at the Climatic Research Unit is in and nothing's changed. Those who created and perpetuated this sham are not called into account.

It was quite obvious, judging by the communications between climate researchers, that there was something wrong with the scientific process at the University of East Anglia's CRU. (IBD)

 

It's alright, Fiona still turns it into a global warming puff piece: Global warming graph attacked by study

A key piece of evidence in climate change science was slammed as “exaggerated” on Wednesday by the UK’s leading statistician, in a vindication of claims that global warming sceptics have been making for years.

Professor David Hand, president of the Royal Statistical Society, said that a graph shaped like an ice hockey stick that has been used to represent the recent rise in global temperatures had been compiled using “inappropriate” methods. (Fiona Harvey, Financial Ties)

 

Another university in deep water

Doug Keenan has won his long battle to force Queen's University Belfast to release their tree ring data to him. Another long story of university academics blocking legitimate requests and flouting the law, apparently with impunity.

Full story here. (Bishop Hill)

 

Oh, this is so sad... Earth's Missing Heat Could Haunt Us Later: Report

The rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means far more energy is coming into Earth's climate system than is going out, but half of that energy is missing and could eventually reappear as another sign of climate change, scientists said on Thursday.

In stable climate times, the amount of heat coming into Earth's system is equal to the amount leaving it, but these are not stable times, said John Fasullo of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, a co-author of the report in the journal Science.

The gap between what's entering the climate system and what's leaving is about 37 times the heat energy produced by all human activities, from driving cars and running power plants to burning wood.

Half of that gap is unaccounted for, Fasullo and his co-author Kevin Trenberth reported. It hasn't left the climate system but it hasn't been detected with satellites, ocean sensors or other technology.

It might lurk in deep ocean waters in areas sensors don't reach. Some of it could be the result of imprecise measurement or processing of satellite or sensor data. But the greenhouse-caused heat gap is definitely there, the authors said.

"The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later," Trenberth said. "It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate."

By pumping climate-warming greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, humans have caused this imbalance, and "it is this imbalance that produces 'global warming,'" the authors wrote. (Reuters) | 'Missing' heat may affect future climate change (NSF) | 'Missing' heat may affect future climate change (NCAR/UCAR)

On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:

Hi Tom
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
Kevin [My emphasis]

Seems very explicit, doesn't he? What possible context could change its meaning? Note, too, the recent date, long after the frequently cited Kiehl & Trenberth (1997) and subsequent revision (2008). This from the guy who claims we have a net surface absorption of 0.9 W/m2.

Trenberth privately admits we have no idea how energy moves through the system and that we are nowhere near balancing the energy budget but publicly claims to be able to identify discrepancies of less than 1 W/m2 and that "heat" is somehow maliciously hiding "somewhere" preparing to spring out and ambush humanity at the least convenient moment.

It's very sad...

 

Krugman Paints False Picture of Consensus Alarmism

by Robert Murphy
April 16, 2010

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote a lengthy article, “Building a Green Economy,” in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Krugman is an able writer.  He laid out the textbook arguments on climate change from the problem-and-act perspective, and his fact-of-the-matter tone and apparent expertise no doubt misled many readers.

Although he technically said nothing demonstrably false, Krugman gives the impression that there is widespread consensus that drastic action is needed to avert catastrophic climate change. This is simply not true, and all we have to do is actually read the consensus reports to see that Krugman is misleading his readers.

Krugman’s Summary of the Climate Science

After giving a good summary of the standard issues in the economics of climate change, Krugman pauses to comment on what the natural scientists (as opposed to the economists) have to say on the subject:

This is an article on climate economics, not climate science. But before we get to the economics, it’s worth establishing three things about the state of the scientific debate.

The first is that the planet is indeed warming. [I]f you look at the evidence the right way ­— taking averages over periods long enough to smooth out the fluctuations — the upward trend is unmistakable: each successive decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the one before.

Second, climate models predicted this well in advance, even getting the magnitude of the temperature rise roughly right. While it’s relatively easy to cook up an analysis that matches known data, it is much harder to create a model that accurately forecasts the future. So the fact that climate modelers more than 20 years ago successfully predicted the subsequent global warming gives them enormous credibility. [Krugman page 3, emphasis added.]

Now Krugman’s summary above is either accurate or not, depending on how much error we will tolerate in the predictions. But fair enough, we’ll agree with Krugman that climate models 20 years ago predicted higher average global temperatures, and that’s indeed what we’ve experienced. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Moralizing Twaddle: James Hansen’s Vision of Presidential Greatness

by Marlo Lewis
April 15, 2010

Last week in the Huffington Post, climatologist Dr. James Hansen made an impassioned plea to President Obama to ditch cap-and-trade and instead advocate a plan to tax carbon-based fuels with 100% of the revenues returned to households. This was not the first time. Hansen made the same pitch back in December 2008 in a letter to President-elect Obama. President Obama did not heed Hansen’s advice, keeping his wagon hitched to cap-and-trade, the policy darling of Big Green, U.S. CAP, and congressional leaders. But with cap-and-trade bogged down on Capitol Hill, Hansen argues, his plan gives Obama “a second chance on the predominant moral issue of this century.”

Hansen made the case for “tax-and-dividend” in testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee on February 25, 2009. I commented on Hansen’s testimony a week later on MasterResource. Substantively, there’s nothing new in Hansen’s Huff Post column, but rhetorically there is one modification. He now calls his proposal a “fee” rather than a tax. Despite Hansen’s earlier criticism of cap-and-trade as a hidden and thus dishonest tax, and his call for a “transparent” approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he now avoids the “T” word as assiduously as any shifty cap-and-trader.

Today’s column offers a running commentary on Hansen’s Huff Post piece. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Comments On The Peer-Review Journal Publication Process And Recommendations For Improvement

In the February 2010 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, there is an informative well-written article by

Schultz, David M., 2010: Rejection Rates for Journals Publishing in the Atmospheric Sciences. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 231–243.

The inappropriate experience with the publication process that Ross McKitrick has informed us about – see [and which I have also experienced] makes reading this article by David Schultz very informative.

Among his findings is the unique role of the magazines Nature and Science in terms of their rejection rate. Nature’s rejection rate is listed as 91%. While this is inevitable given the limited number of paper that they can publish, but it also means they are a narrow gatekeeper with an enormous opportunity to control what is considered (by them) to be of importance in science. (Climate Science)

 

Stalagmite reveals carbon footprint of early Native Americans

Study finds new evidence of pre-colonial land use patterns

ATHENS, Ohio (April 15, 2010) – A new study led by Ohio University scientists suggests that early Native Americans left a bigger carbon footprint than previously thought, providing more evidence that humans impacted global climate long before the modern industrial era.

Chemical analysis of a stalagmite found in the mountainous Buckeye Creek basin of West Virginia suggests that native people contributed a significant level of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through land use practices. The early Native Americans burned trees to actively manage the forests to yield the nuts and fruit that were a large part of their diets.

“They had achieved a pretty sophisticated level of living that I don’t think people have fully appreciated,” said Gregory Springer, an associate professor of geological sciences at Ohio University and lead author of the study, which was published a recent issue of the journal The Holocene. “They were very advanced, and they knew how to get the most out of the forests and landscapes they lived in. This was all across North America, not just a few locations.” (Ohio University)

 

Now where'd I leave my woohoo hat? EPA Finalizes the 2008 National U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the15th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory report, which shows a drop in overall emissions of 2.9 percent from 2007 to 2008. The downward trend is attributed to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions associated with fuel and electricity consumption.

Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2008 were equivalent to 6,957 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. Though overall emissions dropped in 2008, emissions are still 13.5 percent higher than they were in 1990. (EPA)

 

Wishful thinking or just trying to relieve the gullible of a last few dollars? Carbon Market To Thrive Despite Political Failings: EU

The global carbon market will still have enough momentum to survive even if the international community fails to come up with a new deal to combat greenhouse gas emissions, a European policy coordinator said on Thursday.

Jurgen Lefevere told a conference in Beijing the European Union was pushing forward with plans for an international carbon trading platform that could exist independently of any new global climate accord.

"Even after the failure of Copenhagen, the EU is moving ahead in building an international carbon market," said Lefevere, the European Commission's policy coordinator for international climate change negotiations. (Reuters)

 

Looking for a larger piece of the action: Indonesia To Revise Forest CO2 Revenue Rules: Official

Indonesia will rewrite rules on how developers of forest preservation projects that earn valuable carbon credits must share their profits with the government and local communities, a finance ministry official said on Thursday.

Under a U.N.-backed scheme called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), developing countries can be paid not to chop down trees, which absorb planet-warming carbon dioxide as they grow.

Large-scale efforts to curb or halt deforestation have the potential to slow the pace of climate change. (Reuters)

Actually there is not the slightest ecological benefit in trying to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide. It's a scam from start to finish.

 

Greenhouse gases explain only 5-10 per cent from global warming

The following article is from a leading Finnish Newspaper and was sent to me via the contact area. I had to use the Google Translate process as my Finnish is not that good. To show this to you I have had to put the article through as an image, rather then type it. Will this story break to the world press, we will have to see. (Climate Realists)

 

Oil crunch by 2012, say military experts

RISING oil prices pose a grave threat to global economic recovery, according to some economists.

Thus it was sobering this week to read that the US military has warned the world faces a "severe energy crunch" and looming oil shortages.

According to a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, "a severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity".

The report says the central problem for the coming decade "will not be a lack of petroleum reserves, but rather a shortage of drilling platforms, engineers and refining capacity".

And it warns: "Even were a concerted effort begun today to repair that shortage, it would be 10 years before production could catch up with expected demand." ( Courier-Mail)

 

Obama administration will 'hold South Africa to account for Eskom plant CO2'

Climate chief Jonathan Pershing defends abstention on World Bank loan for controversial power station while holding country to account for carbon emissions (Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian)

 

Oil Sands and a Price on Carbon

Last summer I noted that the Obama Administration gave the go-ahead for the building of a new pipeline to bring petroleum from Canadian oil sands to the United States. I am sure that I wasn't alone in wondering why they would do this at the same time that they were pushing to create a cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon. I got the answer in today's FT in an article on investors who are seeking to increase disclosure from BP on tar sand development.

It turns out that development of Canadian oil sands in insensitive to the price ceiling that was being discussed under the Waxman-Markey bill. From the FT (emphasis added):

At the heart of BP's resistance to its dissident shareholders' resolution on oil sands is a point of principle: managers should be free to manage.

Yet it is also engaged in a vigorous debate over the details.

The resolution, backed by investors including Co-operative Asset Management of the UK, and Calpers and Calstrs, the California state pension funds, is on the face of it quite uncontroversial.

A Greenpeace-backed attempt last year to use a shareholder vote to force Statoil, Norway's state-controlled oil company, to pull out of Canada's oil sands was unsuccessful.

The resolutions proposed this year for BP and Royal Dutch Shell, backed by FairPensions, a British campaign group, are less ambitious.

They simply demand that the companies commission reports setting out the assumptions they make when deciding on oil sands investments, including factors such as oil prices, the cost of greenhouse gas emissions, and "legal and reputational risks arising from local environmental damage and impairment of traditional livelihoods".

The reports would be presented to the companies' annual general meetings next year. That might not sound like a lot to ask, especially as BP has already released much of the information.

It has made clear it uses an oil price range of $60-$90 per barrel, and an assumed carbon price of $40 per tonne of CO 2 when appraising projects.

The proposed project assumes a carbon price much higher than the ceiling that Waxman-Markey would have established. The then leads to a question: If cap and trade, as proposed, would not halt oil sands development due to simple economics then how exactly would it compel innovation in the renewable energy sector?

Anyone looking for BP's presentation on the oil sands project can find it here in PDF. Kate Mackenzie at the FT Energy Source has more here. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

US support opens door for nuclear waste invention

AN Australian invention that allows nuclear waste to be stored within a synthetic rock-like substance could be on the verge of hitting paydirt after more than 30 years in the making.

The breakthrough came recently with the decision by America's powerful Department of Energy to use a technology known as hot isostatic pressing (HIP) for the multibillion-dollar clean-up of a nuclear re-processing facility in Idaho.

The department plans to use the technology to treat and remove about 4400 cubic metres of high-level waste calcine.

The move puts the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO, in a position to win a big slice of the clean-up dollars with its HIP technology.

Described as a ''game-changer'' by ANSTO's chief executive, Adi Paterson, the development dovetails with this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington where 47 nations agreed to work together to better secure nuclear materials worldwide.

Their collaboration includes plans to lock down plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and reduce waste where possible.

ANSTO's technology, which can be used for a range of nuclear waste types, is branded Synroc, because its synthetic qualities mimic the geology of rocks that have existed for millions of years. (SMH)

 

 

The Great Tax Disconnection In Washington

It's April 15th, that dreaded day when it comes time to pay the tax man.

As nagging as the pinch may feel this year, the sad reality is that it's bound to grow far worse in the future — that is, of course, unless Washington moves to repair the deteriorating fiscal health of our country by reining in its out-of-control spending habits.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, debt held by the public under the Obama administration would grow from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008 to a stratospheric $20.3 trillion in 2020, or from 40% of the economy to 90%, respectively.

Also, annual interest on the debt would more than quadruple over the next 10 years, rising from $187 billion last year to $916 billion in 2020. By 2018, interest will eat up $2 billion per day.

With our debt ballooning to unsustainable levels, it's time for Washington to stop pretending there won't be severe consequences for our expansion of government spending programs.

Such a weighty debt load over time makes huge, growth-killing tax increases inevitable. The majority party has already made clear that it will raise taxes on income, capital gains and dividends. (Rep Eric Cantor, IBD)

 

Not One Dime?

Taxation: Candidate Barack Obama said that President Obama wouldn't raise taxes by a "single dime" on families earning less than $250,000 a year. Unless he meant $250 a year, he was being less than candid.

By February, the president had backed off his claim, saying he was "agnostic" about hiking taxes on households with less than $250,000 in yearly income. But it's a good bet he was a believer all along. The evidence is all over Washington on Tax Day 2010.

Let's start with Dave Camp, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. His staff compiled a list of Democratic tax hikes that now totals "$670 billion and counting." Of that sum, $316 billion will come from 14 tax hikes on families who earn less than Obama's $250,000 threshold.

The largest increases will be used to fund the national health care program that the public has been told will cut the federal deficit. Nearly $66 billion will go toward another medical care scheme, the Children's Health Insurance Program, which was reauthorized last year. (IBD)

 

Lower and Simplify Taxes!

It's that joyous time of year: income tax time. So I spend time with my accountant. I don't want to see him, but I must. I could not do what he's doing. The tax code has grown so complex that today most Americans hire someone to do their taxes. (John Stossel, Townhall)

 

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day: They Should Know Better

We were disturbed to learn that health care workers shunned the swine flu vaccine in droves. Their training and skills will be essential if there is a dangerous flu outbreak. They, of all people, should know how important it is for them to get vaccinated — and that the risk of serious side effects is negligible.

The good news from a survey of health care workers conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the RAND Corporation is that 62 percent of them had received a vaccine to protect themselves against the standard seasonal flu by mid-January, a much higher percentage than in any previous season. By contrast, only 37 percent of the health care workers had received a vaccine against swine flu.

Although they were designated a high-priority group to get swine flu vaccine, many health workers remained indifferent or hostile. Luckily, the swine flu outbreak turned out to be comparatively mild — but there are no guarantees for the next time.

Medical personnel need to get vaccinated for two reasons beyond protecting themselves and their families. If they become ill, they will be unable to work at a time when their institutions most need them. And those who have direct contact with patients especially need immunization lest they spread illness and death among already vulnerable sick people. The reasons most frequently cited for ducking either vaccine were “I don’t need it” and “I may experience side effects.” Only 17 percent blamed difficulties in getting the late-arriving swine flu vaccine. (NYT)

A rare occurrence these days, The Crone has got one right.

 

Pandemic still threat to young, expert says

GENEVA - The H1N1 flu pandemic is as severe as influenza pandemics in 1957 and 1968 and remains a threat, especially to healthy young adults, a leading health expert said on Wednesday.

John Mackenzie, the Australian who heads the World Health Organisation's independent but secretive Emergency Committee, also said he was not aware of any of its 15 members being approached by drug companies seeking to influence their decision-making.

"This is just as severe as we saw in 1957 and 1968, with one major difference. We are not seeing deaths in the elderly but we are seeing them in a more important group of the population, healthy young adults," Mackenzie said in a rare presentation.

"It is much more severe than people tend to talk about," he told a three-day meeting called to review the way the WHO handled the pandemic. (Reuters)

 

Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe

For the first time in decades, researchers are reporting a significant drop worldwide in the number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth, to about 342,900 in 2008 from 526,300 in 1980.

The findings, published in the medical journal The Lancet, challenge the prevailing view of maternal mortality as an intractable problem that has defied every effort to solve it.

“The overall message, for the first time in a generation, is one of persistent and welcome progress,” the journal’s editor, Dr. Richard Horton, wrote in a comment accompanying the article, published online on Monday.

The study cited a number of reasons for the improvement: lower pregnancy rates in some countries; higher income, which improves nutrition and access to health care; more education for women; and the increasing availability of “skilled attendants” — people with some medical training — to help women give birth. Improvements in large countries like India and China helped to drive down the overall death rates.

But some advocates for women’s health tried to pressure The Lancet into delaying publication of the new findings, fearing that good news would detract from the urgency of their cause, Dr. Horton said in a telephone interview.

“I think this is one of those instances when science and advocacy can conflict,” he said. (NYT)

Oddly enough Dick Horton is one that we have previously taken to task for positions of advocacy rather than science.

 

Late pregnancy multivitamins linked to prematurity

NEW YORK - For a woman eating a healthy diet, multivitamin supplements during late pregnancy could do more harm than good, a new study suggests.

British researchers found that a woman's risk of delivering prematurely tripled if she continued taking the prenatal pills into her third trimester.

"These supplements are available over-the-counter in the United Kingdom and frequently promoted as being beneficial for mums-to-be," Dr. Nigel Simpson of the University of Leeds in the U.K., and one of the authors of the study, told Reuters Health by email.

However, some weaknesses in the study may stand in the way of translating the finding into practice, Dr. James Mills, of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development told Reuters Health.

While some studies in developing countries have found prenatal supplements to be beneficial, whether or not it also is in developed countries-where most women are presumably already well-nourished-has not been thoroughly studied. (Reuters Health)

 

Excess pregnancy pounds tied to extra fat in kids

NEW YORK - Perhaps not surprisingly, children whose mothers gained too much weight during pregnancy tend to have more body fat than those whose moms stayed within the recommended weight-gain range, a new study finds.

The findings support the latest pregnancy weight-gain recommendations from the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM), according to senior researcher Dr. Sian Robinson, a nutritionist with the MRC Epidemiology Research Centre in Southampton: 25-35 pounds for normal-weight women, 15-25 pounds for overweight women, and 28-40 pounds for underweight women.

UK researchers found that among 948 children followed to age 6, those whose mothers gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy had a greater amount of body fat, on average. (Reuters Health)

 

Paradox in India as mass obesity joins malnutrition as a killer

NEW DELHI: India's economic boom is changing the way its people die. Diseases linked to affluence, especially heart problems, are overtaking poverty-related illnesses such as tuberculosis and diarrhoea as the biggest killers.

As these middle-class ''lifestyle'' diseases grab public attention, aid workers and child health advocates fear they could distract from efforts to eradicate easily preventable diseases that mostly affect the poor. (SMH)

 

Companies Get Sold On Green, Consumers Wary

U.S. corporations looking to slash costs during the recession found some savings in environmentally conscious business practices, but a higher price tag on green products is a barrier to many consumers. (Reuters)

Businesses undertake efficiency measures simply as good business practice, not because some dill decides they are "green" and consumers rightly demand the best product at the cheapest price. What's with all the mystical mumbo jumbo?

 

Special Report: Are Regulators Dropping The Ball On Biocrops?

Robert Kremer, a U.S. government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the United States retain its title as breadbasket of the world.

Kremer's lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8 billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co.. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.

But recent findings by Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto's products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of U.S. farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.

Kremer, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

"This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem," said Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.

Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds. (Reuters)

 

Gene Engineered Crops Profit Farmers: Report

Genetically engineered crops are profitable for farmers and may help protect people and the environment from an overload of pesticides, a panel of experts reported on Tuesday.

But there is a risk that weeds are developing resistance to Roundup, a weedkiller that is used to treat fields planted with certain genetically modified crops, the researchers said.

And genetic engineering is not being exploited enough, given its potential benefits, the National Research Council panel concluded.

"We do see good, hard evidence that weed resistance is growing to glyphosate. That needs serious attention," said David Ervin of Portland State University in Oregon, who chaired the panel.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto's widely used Roundup herbicide. The weedkiller is considered safer for people than other pesticides. "It in general replaces more toxic chemicals," Ervin, a professor of environmental studies, said in a telephone interview.

Monsanto also has genetically engineered a range of crops to resist its effects.

That means farmers can use more Roundup without fear of damaging their crops. But the practice may have allowed weeds to develop their own natural resistance, the expert committee found.

Nine weed species in the United States have developed resistance to glyphosate since the introduction of genetically engineered crops, compared with seven in areas where genetically modified crops are not used, the report found.

But in general the use of gene-engineered crops is beneficial, the experts found. (Reuters)

 

 

White House hints that it is gearing up for climate bill fight

Top advisor says it is "imperative" for the US to tackle climate change and address reliance on foreign oil. From BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network

 

Hmm... CLIMATE: Reid set to take command of cap-and-trade bill

Darren Samuelsohn, E&E reporter

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is about to take over as stage manager in the uphill push to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

Next week, Reid will be handed the reins of the bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions while expanding domestic oil, gas and nuclear power production. His challenge could not be tougher. Along with the climate measure, he must juggle a packed Senate agenda that includes Wall Street reform, a Supreme Court nomination and more economic recovery plans. Reid is also facing perhaps the toughest re-election campaign of his career this fall.

"I'm going to do everything I can," Reid said yesterday.

In an effort to keep the bill in Reid's hands, the sponsors -- Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) won't officially introduce the bill in the Senate when they unveil it to the public next week.

"If we introduce it, it'll get referred to committees," Lieberman said. "We want him to be able to work with it and bring it out onto the floor as a leader whenever he's ready." (E&E News)

And what does this mean, exactly? That Reid and coconspirators will craft the bill behind closed doors? That we'll have to vote for and approve the bill to find out what's in it? Certainly appears to be shaping up as another Obamacare maneuver, doesn't it? Even if they don't do it now, watch for them to crash it through in the "no consequence"* lame duck session between losing their big majorities in November and the physical transfer of seats in January.

* By "no consequence" I mean for those who have already lost their seats and are looking for a real job -- current indications are there'll be plenty of them.

 

Senate Road for 'Energy Only' Bill Isn't as Easy as Some Would Hope

Looming just behind the climate change negotiators laboring in Senate conference rooms is "Plan B" -- an "energy only" bill that is smaller in scope and enjoys bipartisan support.

There is a committee-passed bill (S. 1462 (pdf)) waiting in the wings that has more offshore drilling for Republicans and more renewable energy requirements for Democrats.

But the bipartisan support enjoyed by the energy-only bill is countered by its bipartisan opposition, and it is hard to add up the needed 60 votes to move controversial legislation in the Senate. So, the balancing act for the scaled-down bill could be every bit as tricky as finding a "grand bargain" to pass a climate bill.

One leading industry analyst says without a strict limit on greenhouse gas emissions, the bill collapses.

"You won't get a bill without a carbon cap. You can't buy off enough liberals to pass it," said Kevin Book managing director of Washington-based consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners. (Greenwire)

 

EPA Tailoring Rule May Slip To May

U.S. Energy Protection Agency may not issue rules determining which factories and power plants are subject to carbon regulations until May, the head of the agency said on Wednesday.

The agency had hoped to release its so-called tailoring rule by the end of April, but EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said the regulations could easily slip to May.

"We don't have a court deadline so my attitude is always we want to get it right," Jackson told Reuters in an interview. "April or May is still our target." (Reuters)

She wants to "get it right"? Fine, shut down the EPA then and all will be well.

 

President Klaus vetoes a cap-and-trade bill

If you think that the Czech Republic is protected against all the AGW insanities - and they're not allowed to enter our territory - you're unfortunately wrong.

Two weeks ago, the Czech Parliament has copied an EU bill that wants to define the rules how to trade with the carbon indulgences, especially when it comes to the airlines.



Well, we still have a president who can veto such things.

That's why the airlines don't have to buy the carbon indulgences so far. However, the veto is pretty likely to be overruled by an "enhanced majority" of deputies in the Parliament who are afraid that they will be spanked by their EU masters and mistresses.

In many similar situations, the Czech constitution only allows Klaus to be a "delayer".

President has vetoed an amendment to a bill about the conditions of trading with greenhouse gas permits

Translated from Czech: LM

On April 14th, 2010, the president of the republic, Václav Klaus, sent a letter to the chairman of the lower chamber of the Czech Parliament, Mr Miloslav Vlček, in which he clarifies the reasons why he returned the bill about the conditions of trading with the greenhouse gas permits:

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Recession Exposes the Failings of the EU’s Carbon Reduction Strategy

The European Union’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters banked over 11 percent of the carbon dioxide credits they got for free in 2009 under the world’s biggest cap and trade market, which compounded with other failings, is giving ammunition to critics of the block’s climate change strategy. [Read More] (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

 

ClimateGate Whitewash

There is now a desperate effort afoot by assorted climate alarmists to explain away the revelations of the incriminating e-mails leaked last year from the University of East Anglia (UEA). A concerted whitewash campaign is in full swing to save the IPCC and its questionable conclusion that the warming of the last thirty years is anthropogenic. But ongoing investigations so far have avoided the real issue, namely whether the reported warming is genuine or a manufactured result by scientists in England and the United States who manipulated temperature data.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has repeatedly characterized anthropogenic global warming (AGW) as a "hoax" -- and he may soon be vindicated. Certainly, the remedies invoked to "fight" AGW are a cruel hoax -- mainly a tax burden on low-income households who will pay more for electricity, food, transportation, and other necessities of life. (S. Fred Singer, American Thinker)

 

Another Unsatisfactory Rushed Job

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:13 Dr. Benny Peiser

The Global Warming Policy Foundation regrets that the Oxburgh Panel has been rushed and therefore extremely superficial. The body of the report is hardly five pages long. The Panel should have taken more time to arrive at more balanced and more trustworthy conclusions as there was no need to rush the inquiry.

The Panel worked by interviewing and questioning staff members of CRU, but failed to interview critical researchers who have been working in the same field for many years. The Panel even ignored, as it admits, to properly review their written evidence.

We welcome the acknowledgement by the Panel that the Urban Heat Island effect on surface temperature records in and around large cities is important but poorly understood. We also welcome the admission that the IPCC ignored the expressions of uncertainty in CRU papers.

We also note, in the context of the long-term temperature record, its comment that "the potential for misleading results arising from selection bias is very great in this area. It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work."

In general, the report is being politely kind to CRU, but in essence rather critical of the disorganised and amateurish use of statistics. It is hardly an endorsement of the quality of the research being carried out at what is supposed to be the world's leading unit which has received so much government funding.

Given the huge economic and social implications, one would expect that an independent audit would be more rigorous and more even-handed than the Oxburgh panel. (GWPF)

 

Live debate: can we trust the outcome of the climategate inquiry? 3pm Thursday April 15

Presumably, since that's in WEDT, that would be 10:00 am US Eastern Daylight Saving Time (14:00 GMT) on April 15 (The Times)

 

Climategate: The Official Whitewash Continues

The international panel charged with looking into the East Anglia email controversy has issued a report that fails the smell test at every level.

The University of East Anglia’s carefully selected “International Panel” released their report on the ClimateGate scientific fraud scandal today. At eight pages, it’s not even a thorough whitewash. They don’t even make a minimal effort to rebut the obvious appearance of widespread data manipulation, suppression of dissenting research through improper means, and intentional avoidance of complying with Freedom of Information requests. (Myron Ebell, PJM)

 

'Climategate scientists should be immediately beatified in preparation for full sainthood by 2011′ says latest official enquiry

Go on then. Have a guess what the latest official Climategate enquiry - headed by the rigorous, utterly unbiased, totally impartial, and fanatically unpartisan Lord Oxburgh – has decided.

Yes, that’s right. They’re all totally innocent!

“We found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention,” concludes the report, confirming what many of us have long suspected: if only Professor St Phil Jones had had proper media training in how to lie properly, lose data, and delete emails after FOI requests without being caught, none of this unspeakableness would have happened. (James Delingpole)

 

Climategate: CRU whiter than – er – whitewash, as world laughs at AGW scam apologists

Well, we all knew it would be a second whitewash of CRU and its climate alarmist pseudo-data; but even the most hard-headed sceptics among us probably thought that Lord Oxburgh’s inquiry would be a tad more sophisticated in its brushwork, that it would make some effort to persuade rather than patronise, that its bland conclusions would be a little less blatant and in-your-face.

Not so. If you want incontrovertible evidence that it is business as usual for the arrogant academic establishment, today has provided it. In the popular jargon, they still don’t get it. They imagine the AGW scam will go on forever, along with all the other lies with which the political class deluges the public. This effort is too sloppy really to merit the term whitewash: the sceptical graffiti are still clearly visible through the transparent white coating. (Gerald Warner, TDT)

 

Even Louise can't make it all OK: 'Climategate' scientists criticised for not using best statistical tools

Climate change scientists at the centre of an ongoing row over man-made global warming have been criticised for being "naive" and "disorganised". (Louise Gray, TDT)

 

'Hockey stick' graph was exaggerated

The 'hockey stick' that became emblematic of the threat posed by climate change exaggerated the rise in temperature because it was created using 'inappropriate' methods, according to the head of the Royal Statistical Society. (Louise Gray, TDT)

 

Oxburgh’s Trick to Hide the Trick

The Oxburgh report ” is a flimsy and embarrassing 5-pages.

They did not interview me (nor, to my knowledge, any other CRU critics or targets). The committee was announced on March 22 and their “report” is dated April 12 – three weeks end to end – less time than even the Parliamentary Committee. They took no evidence. Their list of references is 11 CRU papers, five on tree rings, six on CRUTEM. Notably missing from the “sample” are their 1000-year reconstructions: Jones et al 1998, Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, etc.)

They did not discuss specifically discuss or report on any of the incidents of arbitrary adjustment (“bodging”), cherry picking and deletion of adverse data, mentioned in my submissions to the Science and Technology Committee and the Muir Russell Committee. I’ll report on these issues later in the day as they’ll take a little time to review. First, let’s observe Oxburgh’s trick to hide the “trick”.

Long before Climategate, Climate Audit readers knew that you had to watch the pea under the thimble whenever you’re dealing with the Team. This is true with Oxburgh of Globe International as well.

Oxburgh of Globe International alludes to the “trick ... to hide the decline” in veiled terms as follows:

CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined.

Without specifically mentioning the famous “trick …to hide the decline”, Oxburgh subsumes the “trick” as “regrettable” “neglect” by “IPCC and others”.

But watch the pea under Oxburgh’s thimble.

The Oxburgh Report regrettably neglected to highlight the fact that CRU scientists Briffa and Jones, together with Michael Mann, were the IPCC authors responsible for this “regrettabl