Archives - August 2008

August 29, 2008

Debunking Democrats on Drilling - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last Tuesday dismissively referred to pro-oil-drilling demonstrators chanting “Drill here! Drill now!” as the “2-cents-in-10-years-crowd.” She may have to revise her insult strategy, since it seems that some mere pro-drilling posturing by President Bush has already helped reduce the price of gas. (Steven Milloy,

Congressional Performance: Congressional Approval Ratings Tie Record Low - The majority party may be celebrating in Denver this week, but the percentage of voters who give the Democratic-dominated Congress good or excellent ratings has once again fallen to single digits.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just nine percent (9%) of Likely Voters give Congress positive ratings, while 51% say it's doing a poor job.

Congressional ratings first hit nine percent (9%) back at the beginning of July, marking the lowest ratings recorded by Rasmussen Reports. Ratings hit the same low two weeks later. Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of this year.

Indicative of the low opinion most voters have of Congress were the findings in another survey earlier this week of members of the leadership's own party. Just 37% of Democrats say they have a favorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while 51% have an unfavorable view of her. One-quarter (25%) of Democrats rate their view of the San Francisco Democrat as Very Favorable, but 14% see her in a Very Unfavorable light.

The news is even worse for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is viewed favorably by 22% of Democrats and unfavorably by 41%. Six percent (6%) of Democrats have a Very Favorable view of the Nevada senator, but 8% regard him Very Unfavorably. (Rasmussen Reports)

CongressNow: Dingell to Take On Global Warming - At an age when most people would be well-ensconced in retirement, Dingell is running for re-election and writing the global warming bill, a draft of which could be unveiled next month.

The climate bill he’s writing would likely seek to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050, which would require deep reductions across virtually the entire U.S. economy. The cuts would come from a previously untested national cap-and-trade program, under which the government would set annual emission levels of greenhouse gases and issue pollution permits that could be traded or sold by companies to meet the limits. The cap would be tightened over time.

“I’ve been trying to warn everybody there’s going to be a huge cost increase, and I’ve gotten a rich flow of denunciation for that,” he said. “Let’s be honest, cap-and-trade is going to result in a very significant increase in energy prices.” (Roll Call)

And it's all pain for absolutely no gain yet still many people are devoted to this hysteria. why?

Next items a pair. Please secure liquids & breakables prior to proceeding. The Hope clip is a local favorite.

Gore hailed, warns against McCain, climate change - DENVER -- Al Gore, who lost the 2000 election but has become a world leader on the environment, was embraced at the Democratic Party's convention on Thursday as a comeback hero -- with a warning against John McCain and climate change. (Reuters)

Remember what we said about zombies - “Zombie attacks to increase due to global warming” rang the headline on this blog seven moons ago. So said eminent zombiologist and scientist Dr Harrister, BS, MS, PhD, OMGWAG.

Who would have guessed that Bob Hope was ahead of us all? (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Can Carbon Dioxide Be Turned to Concrete? - Engineers are constantly coming up with new ways to dispose of greenhouse gases. The latest idea is to hide carbon dioxide exhaust in cement. The method could revolutionize one of the most carbon-intensive industries in the world. (Der Spiegel)

If it's an economical way of making cement, great, if it's all about carbon constraint then forget it.

Scientists envision trees – real or fake – extracting excess CO² from air - The poet Joyce Kilmer was right: “Only God can make a tree.”

Klaus Lackner just wants to make it better.

Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University in New York, doesn't actually want to make trees. Rather, he wants to build devices that mimic one of the things real trees do: extract carbon dioxide (CO² ) from air. (Union-Tribune)

Another one who's forgotten that atmospheric carbon dioxide is essential and that more is good for life on Earth.

Industry groups file lawsuit over polar bear rule - Five industry groups have sued the Interior Department over a rule to protect the polar bear that they say unfairly singles out business operations in Alaska for their contribution to global warming.

Groups representing the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries asked a federal judge Wednesday to ensure that laws designed to protect the bear, which was recently designated a threatened species, are not used to block projects that release heat-trapping gases in the state.

The American Petroleum Institute was joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Iron and Steel Institute in the lawsuit, which explicitly challenges three words - except in Alaska - that appear in a 62-page rule issued in May. (Associated Press)

Canada wants more study on polar bear protection - INUVIK, Northwest Territories - Canada, criticized by environmentalists for not adequately protecting polar bears from the effects of climate change, said on Thursday it will take more time study its next step.

A scientific panel on Thursday released detailed findings of an April review that classified the bear population as a "special concern," but not endangered or threatened with extinction.

The government has created a national round table to consult with a variety of groups, including residents of the Arctic, on how best to protect the bears, Environment Minister John Baird said. (Reuters)

D'oh! Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice Verges on New Record Low - BOULDER, Colorado, August 28, 2008 - Evidence that Earth's climate continues to heat up comes this week in the form of satellite data that shows the extent of Arctic sea ice this year has shrunk below the 2005 minimum to stand as the second-smallest since observations from space began 30 years ago.

Last summer, the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to more than 30 percent below average, its smallest extent in the satellite record.

Each year, the Arctic Ocean experiences the formation and then melting of vast amounts of ice that floats on the sea surface. An area of ice the size of Europe melts away every summer reaching a minimum in September.

Because the extent of ice cover is usually at its lowest about mid-September, this year's minimum could still fall to set another record low, American and European scientists say.  This year the sea ice is melting more quickly than it did in 2005, say scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder. "The most recent ice retreat reflects melting in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast and the East Siberian Seas off the coast of eastern Russia," they said in a statement Tuesday. (ENS)

Uh, fellas... last year saw much of the heavy ice blow out of the Arctic (something which may occur every few decades but we'll need to be watching for many more decades to figure that out) and most of the thinner, first season ice was expected to melt this year -- it'll take several years for remnant ice to build up thicker multiyear blocks again. Why the press releases for a perfectly ordinary, expected result?

Good luck with that: Northeast and Northwest Passages Both Free of Ice - For the first time ever, both the Northwest and the Northeast Passages are free of ice. Shipping companies have been waiting for this moment for years, but they will have to wait a little while longer before they can make use of the Arctic shortcut. (Der Spiegel)

Poles Apart - Climate is always changing, and the physical and biological effects of climate change are always immensely complex, both regional and locally. There is no simple set of linear responses to world average climate change, whether ‘cooling’ or ‘warming’. Moreover, what are deemed to be physical and ecological responses to average change more often than not turn out to be the product of highly-localised or regional causes, some of which may have nothing to do with world average changes. (Global Warming Politics)

Climate change increases risk of frost damage - Climate change means increasing average temperatures, but climate models also predict an increase in the spread of temperature values – the statistical variance. A new model looking at the likelihood of frost damage to spring flowers shows that greater temperature variance could increase the risk of frost damage as much as rising average temperatures decrease it. The work shows that scientists studying the effects of climate change on vegetation need to take the full statistical features of the temperature change into account. (ERL)

Is Global Warming on the Wane? - Some scientists believe that an extreme cooling episode, potentially a mini-ice age, is imminent. Others think that it may already be under way. (Joseph D'Aleo, The 2009 Old Farmer's Almanac)

Is Earth Still Recovering from the “Little Ice Age?” - (.pdf) An almost linear global temperature increase of about 0.5C/100 years (~1F/100 years) seems to have started at least one hundred years before 1946, when manmade CO2 in the atmosphere began to increase rapidly. This value of 0.5C/100 years may be compared with what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists consider to be the manmade greenhouse effect of 0.6C/100 years. This 100-year long linear warming trend is likely to be a natural change. (Syun-Ichi Akasofu, International Arctic Research Center)

Climate models get down to earth - To date, climate models have focused on the transfer of heat to and between the oceans, atmosphere and glaciers. Now researchers from Canada and Spain have estimated the potential for heat storage in the Earth’s soil, by simulating a deep bottom boundary to the model. (ERL)

Scare tactics make me sick - I STAGGERED into my local hospital's emergency department last Thursday and found out just how sick the global warming alarmists really are. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

K.Rudd's worsening nightmare: Carbon spike hits Kyoto gas pledge - Australia's fossil fuel emissions are growing more than four times faster than figures quoted by the Federal Government, placing Australia's Kyoto target at risk.

Figures published online yesterday by one of the world's top authorities on greenhouse emissions shows Australia's total fossil fuel emissions jumped by 8.3 per cent from 93 million tonnes in 2004 to just over 100 million tonnes in 2005.

This includes a 12 per cent rise in carbon dioxide emissions from cement manufacture and from aviation and shipping.

These figures, calculated by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre in the United States, conflict with Federal Government claims that national fossil fuel emissions rose by only 2 per cent over the same period.

Australia has committed to meeting a target of 108 per cent of its 1990 emissions levels about 599 million tonnes annually by 2012.

But the centre's figures suggest this cannot be achieved.

They also question the accuracy of data used by the Rudd Government to shape its response to the challenges of climate change. (Canberra Times)

Watching it unravel: Rich or Poor? New Faultline in UN Climate Talks - ACCRA - Rich countries are pushing developing nations with the strongest economies to do far more to combat climate change, opening a faultline between rich and poor in UN talks on global warming.

The European Union, for instance, says that some developing nations such as Singapore, Argentina and some OPEC states have grown richer than some developed nations which have to shoulder the burden of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)

Figures: Africa climate conference delegates not offsetting flights - More than 1,700 delegates at two conferences on global warming being held in Kenya and Ghana have largely failed to carbon-offset their travel to the meetings, The Telegraph has learned.

Some 140 participants have flown from as far as Japan to Nairobi for a forum of scientists and African and European MPs to discuss the devastating impact of climate change on the world's poorest people.

But few have opted to pay for the greenhouse gases that their travel to Nairobi produced, which totals 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide for each return flight from Japan, for example.

That is almost nine times the per capita CO2 output for the average Kenyan. (Daily Telegraph)

Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises - The climate record for the past 100,000 years clearly indicates that the climate system has undergone periodic and often extreme shifts, sometimes in as little as a decade or less. The causes of abrupt climate changes have not been clearly established, but the triggering of events is likely to be the result of multiple natural processes.

Abrupt climate changes of the magnitude seen in the past would have far-reaching implications for human society and ecosystems, including major impacts on energy consumption and water supply demands. Could such a change happen again? Are human activities exacerbating the likelihood of abrupt climate change? What are the potential societal consequences of such a change?

Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises looks at the current scientific evidence and theoretical understanding to describe what is currently known about abrupt climate change, including patterns and magnitudes, mechanisms, and probability of occurrence. It identifies critical knowledge gaps concerning the potential for future abrupt changes, including those aspects of change most important to society and economies, and outlines a research strategy to close those gaps.

Based on the best and most current research available, this book surveys the history of climate change and makes a series of specific recommendations for the future. (NAP)

Experimental Link Found Between Sun and Climate - Evidence that solar variations impact both temperature and rainfall.

The exact causes of climate change remain a mystery to science. Many researchers link recent global warming to changes in the sun. Others remain skeptical, claiming that the sun varies only very slowly, over periods of millions of years. They say that no hard evidence exists for a solar effect on recent climate changes.

Now, new research may have provided just that evidence, with data demonstrating that solar variations have had major effects on the earth's climate as recent as 2,000 years ago. The research, conducted by a team of scientists from the Universities of Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas at Arlington, confirms that, during periods when the earth received less solar radiation, the Atlantic Ocean cooled, rainfall levels dropped, and North America experienced periods of intense drought. Some droughts lasted as long as a century. (Daily Tech)

Oh boy... 7 Years to Climate Midnight - The world may have only seven years to start reducing the annual buildup in greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise threatens global catastrophe within several decades. That means that between Inauguration Day in January 2009 and 2015, either John McCain or Barack Obama will face the most momentous political challenge of all time.

Reflecting a consensus of hundreds of scientists around the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has affirmed that greenhouse gas emissions are raising the Earth's temperature. The Earth is on a trajectory to warm more than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit by around mid-century. Exceeding that threshold could trigger a series of phenomena: Arable land will turn into desert, higher sea levels will flood coastal areas, and changes in the convection of the oceans will alter currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that determine regional weather patterns.

Manhattan and Florida would be under water, while Nevada would have no water at all. Some Russians quip that they would welcome a more temperate climate, but they would probably be sorry to lose St. Petersburg. Countries such as Bangladesh and Mali do not have the resources to mitigate or even to adapt to the impact of climate change; millions would flee coastal flooding and the desertification of farmlands, creating instant "climate refugees." (Carlos Pascual and Strobe Talbott, Washington Post)

About the only thing they are getting closer to getting right is toning down the consensus claims (gone are the alleged claims of a cast of thousands, now "hundreds"). Still not right though -- the consensus documents are strictly the line-approved work of representatives of signatory governments, not Working Groups I, II or III.

Well, that seals it then... Climate change hints as swifts appear in no hurry to depart - THE SWIFT, which is traditionally the last migratory bird to arrive in Ireland for the breeding season and the first to leave, is still being seen along the south coast. According to Oran O'Sullivan of Birdwatch Ireland, the swift, which is often mistaken as a large swallow, should have departed for warmer climes much earlier in August. "However, we are receiving reports that there are many birds still here, even though we would have expected them to have left by now," he said. (Irish Times)

Britain pays £19.6bn too much in green taxes - New research from The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) has revealed that green taxes are far higher than is necessary to offset the cost of UK carbon emissions. UN IPCC figures on the UK's carbon footprint indicate British taxpayers pay £19.6 billion a year more than is necessary, whilst even the British Government's own estimates indicate that we are paying £7.9 billion too much - money that taxpayers feeling the pinch of the credit crunch can ill afford. (TaxPayers' Alliance) | Response from the Government and Friends of the Earth

EU lawmakers urge caution on bloc's carbon curbs - BRUSSELS, Aug 28 - The European Union's response to global warming could be watered down to cut the impact on heavy industry and ensure the bloc takes a cautious approach to tougher goals, a document seen by Reuters shows.

The moves aimed at protecting EU industry from overseas competitors have alarmed environmentalists, who accuse lawmakers of already weakening curbs on emissions from cars and aviation. (Reuters)

EU should allow more carbon offsetting: lawmakers - BRUSSELS - The European Union should allow industry to offset a quarter of the cuts in greenhouse gases they have to make under emissions caps from 2013-20, EU lawmakers say in draft proposals seen by Reuters on Thursday.

If enacted under an EU Parliament vote expected in coming months, and agreed by member states, the proposals by the EU parliament industry committee would allow more offsetting compared with the EU executive Commission's proposals in January.

That would be good news for EU industry, by cutting the cost of meeting emissions caps, and for carbon traders in a rapidly expanding, $64 billion market in emissions permits and offsets. (Reuters)

Irish CO2 emissions rose 4.6% last year, expert calculates - CARBON EMISSIONS increased by almost 5 per cent in 2007, according to projections by a leading authority on the economics of climate change.

While official figures for 2007 will not become available until the end of the year, analysis by Prof Richard Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimates that emissions will increase by 4.6 per cent in 2007 compared to 2006.

Dr Tol's projections are based on mathematical modelling he has developed.

If this turns out to be the case, it will have implications for the commitment in the Programme for Government to reduce greenhouse emissions by 3 per cent each year during the lifetime of the coalition - a key concession won by the Greens during the Government negotiations. (Irish Times)

Putting the carbon genie back in its bottle - Ambitious Government targets for emissions reduction are useless without "big ticket" policies, writes Harry McGee (Irish Times)

Business asks Australia to ease carbon trade - CANBERRA, Aug 29 - Environment groups demanded on Friday that Australia ignore the "greenhouse mafia" as major energy and mining companies met the government to demand greater compensation for a coming emissions trading regime.

The government is planning to introduce one of the world's biggest carbon trading schemes by 2010 that will force companies to buy permits to cover their emissions, putting a market price on carbon that will encourage firms to clean up their pollution.

Big business told the government this month the scheme could be a "company killer", driving big emitters offshore or out of business. (Reuters)

But who is the "greenhouse mafia"? As far as I can tell it's the AGW brigade. Anyway, we are in agreement that enterprises should not receive taxpayer funds as partial compensation for enterprise-killing ETS -- the ETS should never occur to start with.

Detecting Urbanization Effects on Surface and Subsurface Thermal Environment - A Case Study of Osaka by Huang et al. 2008 - We would like to thank Tobias Rothenberger for alerting us to this paper! Huang S, Taniguchi M, Yamano M, Wang CH, 2008: Detecting urbanization effects on surface and subsurface thermal environment - A case study of Osaka. Sci Total Environ, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.04.019

The abstract reads “Tremendous efforts have been devoted to improve our understanding of the anthropogenic effects on the atmospheric temperature change. In comparison, little has been done in the study of the human impacts on the subsurface thermal environment. The objective of this study is to analyze surface air temperature records and borehole subsurface temperature records for a better understanding of the urban heat island effects across the ground surface. The annual surface air temperature time series from six meteorological stations and six deep borehole temperature profiles of high qualities show that Osaka has been undergoing excess warming since late 19th century. The mean warming rate in Osaka surface air temperature is about 2.0 °C/100a over the period from 1883 to 2006, at least half of which can be attributed to the urban heat island effects. However, this surface air temperature warming is not as strong as the ground warming recorded in the subsurface temperature profiles. The surface temperature anomaly from the Osaka meteorological record can only account for part of the temperature anomaly recorded in the borehole temperature profiles. Surface air temperature is conventionally measured around1.5 m above the ground; whereas borehole temperatures are measured from rocks in the subsurface. Heat conduction in the subsurface is much less efficient than the heat convection of the air above the ground surface. Therefore, the anthropogenic thermal impacts on the subsurface can be more persistent and profound than the impacts on the atmosphere. This study suggests that the surface air temperature records alone might underestimate the full extent of urban heat island effects on the subsurface environment.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Alaska Governor Signs Natgas Pipeline License Bill - ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday signed a bill giving the state authority to award TransCanada Corp a license to build and operate a multibillion-dollar pipeline to ship natural gas from the North Slope. (Reuters)

California Moves on Bill to Curb Sprawl and Emissions - SAN FRANCISCO — California, known for its far-ranging suburbs and jam-packed traffic, is close to adopting a law intended to slow the increase in emissions of heat-trapping gases by encouraging housing close to job sites, rail lines and bus stops to shorten the time people spend in their cars.

The measure, which the State Assembly passed on Monday and awaits final approval by the Senate, would be the nation’s most comprehensive effort to reduce sprawl. It would loosely tie tens of billions of dollars in state and federal transportation subsidies to cities’ and counties’ compliance with efforts to slow the inexorable increase in driving. The goal is to encourage housing near current development and to reduce commutes to work. (New York Times)

Europeans Back Tough Car Emission Targets - Poll - BRUSSELS - A majority of Europeans back planned legislation to enforce big cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from new cars, a public opinion poll in the European Union's five biggest countries showed on Thursday. (Reuters)

Dominic Lawson: Don't believe obesity figures – they're spun for a purpose - You can run, but you can't hide: a wave of contagious obesity is, apparently, sweeping the country from top to (ever-expanding) bottom. Yesterday's Guardian declared that "Obesity epidemic spreads to new areas in the south", while simultaneously pointing out that "the worst obesity hotspot is Shetland". Meanwhile the Financial Times warned, rather in the style of a Meteorological Office alert, of "a belt of obesity stretching across Wales, the north Midlands and northern England".

Yes, it's still August, and even the more unsensationalist newspapers are prepared to swallow whole the sort of statistical surveys which would normally end up impaled on the news editor's spike. For both of these stories - and many others, along exactly the same lines – are a regurgitation of a report from an organisation called Dr Foster Research. What some of these supposedly terrifying reports fail to tell us is who paid for this research. It was funded by Roche, the pharmaceutical company which developed the anti-obesity drug Xenical. (The Independent)

A quick tidbit - News reported today that the Canadian Medical Association closed its 141st annual meeting, formally adopting a major anti-obesity resolution.

The CMA has partnered with the Canadian Obesity Network to provide the clinical care guidances and models for obesity prevention and management for the provincial/territorial medical communities. According to CON’s press release: (Junkfood Science)

Two-egg diet cracks cholesterol issue -- Research published in The European Journal of Nutrition this week has finally cracked the myths surrounding eggs and cholesterol. The new study showed that people who ate two eggs per day, while on a calorie-restricted diet, not only lost weight but also reduced their blood cholesterol levels. (

Water disinfection products no harm to pregnancy - NEW YORK - Drinking water that contains disinfection by-products at regulatory cut-off levels does not appear to raise a pregnant woman's risk of delivering a small baby or delivering prematurely, new research shows.

Previous studies that have suggested adverse pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to drinking water disinfection by-products "are limited by poor exposure assessment," the researchers note in the journal Epidemiology. (Reuters Health)

Homeopathy degree suspended after wave of criticism - The degree at the University of Central Lancashire has been put on hold after "relentless attacks from the anti-homeopathy league" (The Guardian)

Bloody idiots should never have offered such nonsense to begin with.

Death knell sounded for 'burbs - AUSTRALIA'S big cities are being urged to ban outer suburban housing estates to cut urban sprawl and be more like London and Rome.

The nation's peak architectural body wants Australian cities to focus on boosting their inner and middle suburbs' density rather than release land in outer areas, to become more sustainable. (Herald Sun) | Estate ban would be end of fair go

We'd tell 'em to go to Hell but it sounds like they are intent on building it. Come to Queensland, we've still got more than half a million square miles awaiting development

Defining more money than sense? Reds and whites with a bit of green - The dilemmas of an eco-minded oenophile (Vanessa Farquharson, National Post)

Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health - A range of natural earth materials, like arsenic or fluoride, have long been linked to significant human health effects. Improved understanding of the pervasive and complex interactions between earth materials and human health will require creative collaborations between earth scientists and public health professionals. At the request of the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this National Research Council book assesses the current state of knowledge at the interface between the earth sciences and public health disciplines. The book identifies high-priority areas for collaborative research, including understanding the transport and bioavailability of potentially hazardous earth materials, using risk-based scenarios to mitigate the public health effects of natural hazards under current and future climate regimes, and understanding the health risks that result from disturbance of earth systems. Geospatial information - geological maps for earth scientists and epidemiological data for public health professionals - is identified as one of the essential integrative tools that is fundamental to the activities of both communities. The book also calls for increased data sharing between agencies to promote interdisciplinary research without compromising privacy. (NAP)

Origin and Evolution of Earth: Research Questions for a Changing Planet - Questions about the origin and nature of Earth and the life on it have long preoccupied human thought and the scientific endeavor. Deciphering the planet's history and processes could improve the ability to predict catastrophes like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to manage Earth's resources, and to anticipate changes in climate and geologic processes. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Geological Survey, the National Research Council assembled a committee to propose and explore grand questions in geological and planetary science. This book captures, in a series of questions, the essential scientific challenges that constitute the frontier of Earth science at the start of the 21st century. (NAP)

Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises - Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. Using sound methods for estimating population numbers and characteristics is important for both industrialized and developing nations. Ensuring that the data are geographically referenced for projection onto maps is essential. However, good data alone are insufficient. Adequate staff training and strong organizational and political desire to maintain and use the information are also required. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises, reviews the main methods and tools for making estimates of subnational populations and makes several recommendations to improve the collection and the use of population data for emergency response and development. (NAP)

Too good to waste? - Reports that sludge from sewage plants is routinely used to fertilise edible crops have caused outrage. Is this simply a prudent use of so-called 'biosolids' or a grave threat to our health? Rose George investigates (The Guardian)

Researchers provide solution to world's worst mass poisoning case - A solution to the world's worst case of ongoing mass poisoning, linked to rising cancer rates in Southern Asia, has been developed by researchers from Queen's University Belfast.

Currently over 70 million people in Eastern India and Bangladesh, experience involuntary arsenic exposure from consuming water and rice; the main staple food in the region. This includes farmers who have to use contaminated groundwater from minor irrigation schemes.

It is estimated that for every random sample of 100 people in the Bengal Delta, at least one person will be near death as a result of arsenic poisoning, while five in 100 will be experiencing other symptoms.

Now, researchers at the Belfast-based University have created new low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to millions of people in South Asia currently exposed to high levels of the poison in groundwater.

Leading an international team, Queen's researchers have developed a trial plant in Kasimpore, near Calcutta, which offers chemical-free groundwater treatment technology to rural communities for all their drinking and farming needs. (Queen's University Belfast)

August 28, 2008

Oreskes is still at it: Why climate-change denial persists - NEARLY ONE THIRD of Americans still believe there is no solid scientific evidence for climate change. And half of those believe that scientists are still debating the issue.

This confusion, according to a US historian, is no accident and comes is a direct result of campaigning by special interest groups to confuse the public and sow doubts about the reality of changing climate. The nature of this campaign will be revealed in a public lecture in Dublin next week by Prof Naomi Oreskes, history professor at the University of California, San Diego. (Irish Times)

Wonder how she figures belief in gorebull warming is something other than the result of campaigning by special interest groups? She must so think to frame her statements this way.

Too stupid for words: Xcel to Disclose Global Warming Risks - ALBANY — One of the country’s largest builders of coal-fired power plants will give investors detailed warnings about the risks that global warming poses to its business under a deal with New York’s attorney general.

The agreement Wednesday between the attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, and the company, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, is the first of its kind in the country. It could open a broad new front in efforts by environmental groups to pressure the energy industry into reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. (New York Times)

Zero. Next question?

Analysis of the Report, “Kansas: Assessing the Costs of Climate Change" - We’ve attempted to document the numerous weaknesses and shortcomings in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report on Kansas. While there are certain aspects that to the layman may appear intrinsically scientific and of interest, its analysis and conclusions are unconvincing and unsupportable. Worse, they encourage public policy responses already doing harm, not good. Given its many problems, it is amazing the report is taken seriously at all. Shoddy science and a failure of the media and policy community to demand higher standards is not the best recipe for helping science contribute effectively to energy policy. Those who perpetuate such claims represented in this and similar reports are either ill-informed or dishonest. ( SPPI)

Why is Greenland covered in ice? - There have been many reports in the media about the effects of global warming on the Greenland ice-sheet, but there is still great uncertainty as to why there is an ice-sheet there at all.

Reporting today (28 August) in the journal Nature, scientists at the University of Bristol and the University of Leeds show that only changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide are able to explain the transition from the mostly ice-free Greenland of three million years ago, to the ice-covered Greenland of today. (University of Bristol)

Ya gots to admire these model freaks. No idea either of magnitude nor multitude of natural forcings so fudge with CO2 -- then use said kludge boxes to 'prove' massive warming potential of the initial fudge. What would they do without virtual worlds they can make behave according to their fantastic rules? In the real world there is zero evidence changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are capable of driving any change in global climate or major glaciations at all.

Arctic Sea ice in the News (.pdf) - You knew it was coming. The alarmists and media have been frustrated in their efforts to report global warming evidence as nature has refused to cooperate. (Icecap)

An Integrated Approach To Environmental Asessements By Stohlgren et al. - Climate Science has been encouraging the adoption of a vulnerability perspective as a much more effective method to reduce risk to climate and other environmental and social issues than provided by a reliance on downscaling from multi-decadal global model predictions; e.g. see

Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2004: Discussion Forum: A broader perspective on climate change is needed. IGBP Newsletter, 59, 16-19.

Pielke Sr., R.A., J.O. Adegoke, T.N. Chase, C.H. Marshall, T. Matsui, and D. Niyogi, 2007: A new paradigm for assessing the role of agriculture in the climate system and in climate change. Agric. Forest Meteor., Special Issue, 132, 234-254.

There is an effective and very important publication by T. Stohlgren, C. Jarnevich and S. Kumar entitled “Forest legacies, climate change, altered disturbance regimes, invasive species and water” which provides more substance to this approach. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

More on That NOAA "Report" - I see the Washington Post has a story today headlined "Scientists Report Further Shrinking of Arctic Ice," which notes that, um, there are about 400,000 square miles more Arctic ice today than a year ago.

So, obviously some spinning is in order, and WaPo is up to the task. They couch this the same way the press have been treating the recent, ongoing cooling trend: compare things today to a historical average, and then our temperatures are no longer dropping but "above the long-term average." So even though Arctic ice is gaining mass over last year, the fact that it is below the long-term average means that it is on the verge of disappearing. Funny how one year, five years, and so on are very, very meaningful when warm, dry, or not so icy, but long-term averages are the only useful metric when nature doesn't behave as the political agenda would prefer. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

An academic's duty is to truth, not trends - Gary Yohe says I am a global warming naysayer – but just because a political movement has clarity, doesn't mean it's smart (Bjorn Lomborg, The Guardian)

Households paying £800 too much in green taxes, says report - Households are paying hundreds of pounds more in "green taxes" than is justified by the environmental cost of their carbon emissions, a new study claims today.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has calculated that every household in the UK is paying as much as £800 a year more in environmental taxes than is necessary.

Its analysis claims the Treasury made £20 billion in "excess" revenue from environmental taxes last year - from supposedly "green" levies on motoring, energy bills and waste disposal.

The report is the latest attack on the Government's use of green taxes and will strengthen suspicions that ministers are using the environment as a cover for revenue-raising measures. (Daily Telegraph)

Blind faith: Emission cuts: showing the world it can be done - Last week the Business Council of Australia (BCA) released a report titled Modelling Success. Although this report was generally well received, and well received by the Government, it was regrettably seen in some quarters as big business yet again being negative and failing to assist Australia to address the challenge of climate change.

We don't see ourselves as qualified to have an independent view of the science of climate change one way or another. It is rightly the prerogative of government to determine this based on the weight of scientific evidence. It is their view that the weight of scientific evidence says that global warming is a problem, a global problem which Australia must take its part in addressing. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Actually the government has no function beyond working to ensure the best outcome for its masters, the citizens of Australia and so must not leap blindly into an ETS which can never advantage said citizens.

Australia's Rudd Says Open to Negotiate Carbon Plan - CANBERRA - The Australian government would be open to negotiations with big business over plans for carbon trading, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Wednesday, after industry complaints about government proposals.

But Rudd warned business that carbon trading, needed to help Australia cut its greenhouse gas emissions, could not be done without some cost on industry. (Reuters)

Guess what? It's something that shouldn't be done at all, at any price.

Climate change legislation set to pass into law - New Zealand First has announced it will support Labour's flagship emissions trading scheme, meaning the major climate change legislation will pass into law. (New Zealand Herald)

Damn! Now Australia will have to bail out our obligatory 8th State from an even deeper hole.

Global Warming Every 1,500 Years–what It Means For Engineering - Hysteria over global warming has gripped the affluent countries of the world.

-Climate modelers claim the earth’s temperature could be boosted an astounding 11 degrees C by the additional CO2 being released into the atmosphere as humans burn fossil fuels.

-Dozens of major governments have signed the Kyoto Protocol, which essentially promises their countries will give up all “non-renewable” energy sources— virtually all energy sources except solar and wind.

-U.S. farmers are cheerfully sharpening their chain saws to clear more forest and plant more corn for “renewable” ethanol even though the ethanol produces only 50 gallons worth of gasoline per acre, against an annual U.S. gasoline demand of more than 134 billion gallons.

-A Kansas utility has been denied a permit for a new coal-fired power plant by the State Department of Health and Environment, which says it would add too much CO2 to the air. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Quick! Eat more beef! 'The Cow Is a Climate Bomb' - Whether cattle are reared organically or with conventional farming methods, the end effect is bad for the environment, according to a new German consumer report. The agricultural lobby, however, is preventing politicians from tackling this massive source of greenhouse gas emissions.

For most people, it's the very picture of rural bliss, of a life in tune with nature and the wholesome world of farming: the happy cow standing on a lush meadow, calmly chewing its cud, a calf at its side.

But for Thilo Bode, the sight of this gentle-eyed creature is everything but reassuring. Bode, the head of German consumer protection organization Foodwatch, warns: "The cow is a climate bomb." (Der Spiegel)

Help survey a weather station this Labor Day weekend - As many of you know, I also operate with the goal of completing the survey of all 1221 USHCN climate stations of record in the continental United States. Doing so, we’ve uncovered some very interesting siting and quality control anomalies such as the one below: (Watts Up With That?)

Trying for an Ig Nobel? Global Warming Creates Crabgrass Menace - This UC Irvine study with heat lamps on grass plots seems to be almost at a science fair level. Here’s the relevant quotes from the abstract and conclusion: (Watts Up With That?)

Drama, not doomsday - A forthcoming environmental apocalypse portrayed in a new television series should be treated as fiction, writes Matthew Warren (The Australian)

Climate inactivism - Quick Quiz: what do you call an exceptionally nervous busybody who perpetually overestimates risk and on whose lips are forever the phrase, “Something must be done!”

Answer: That person is an activist—activism is a manner of life which nowadays can even be proclaimed a profession.

What, then, do we call somebody who rationally attempts to quantify risk and who soberly (on most days of the week) weighs his options and sometimes proposes that the best course of action is no action at all?

That person is an inactivist.

Isn’t that a great name? I love it! But I didn’t think of it. Frank Bi, who runs a site called The Journal of Inactivism, did. (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Poor Nations Need US$130 Bln a Year On Climate - WWF - ACCRA - Rich nations will need to provide about US$130 billion a year by 2030 to help developing countries cope with climate change, or about five times current flows, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

I'd be a lot more tolerant of WWF if they did something useful, preferably something useful for wildlife.

Online game to foster awareness on warming among kids - SYDNEY: Computer animation students have designed an online game to help children understand ways they can reduce their impact on climate change.

Programme coordinator of multimedia at Swinburne University of Technology, Peter Ciszewski, said the University's student designers have incorporated educative elements into animation and game play techniques to produce the game. (IANS)

Disney's New Hannah Montana Album Features 'Global Warming Anthem' - Teen pop star sings 'Wake Up America,' warns the 'earth is calling out,' but admits she doesn't know 'what all this means.' (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Even "Green" Energy Needs Lower Oil Price - LONDON/LOS ANGELES - As a lengthening economic slowdown bites, the antidote for the renewable energy sector may come as a surprise -- a lower oil price. (Reuters)

Game, Set, Match: It’s Natural Gas By Default - If the last decade of the 20th century saw a “dash to gas,” then the first decade of this century is seeing the U.S. gas industry “power walk” in the same direction. Fueled by cheap prices, lower investment costs, and the fuel’s lower emissions, the late 1990s saw a surge in the construction of natural gas fired power plants. Almost 90 percent of the U.S. power generation capacity that has been added since 1998 is natural gasfired. Already, some areas use natural gas to generate a large portion of their electricity – nearly 50 percent of the power in California and Texas, and 40 percent in Florida. Natural gas also is becoming a much larger part of U.S. electricity generation, rising 34 percent between 2002 and 2007. Today, a second natural gas renaissance is being predicted. And unlike the 90s, this expansion will occur in an era of sustained high natural gas prices. (Terence Thorn, Energy Tribune)

Woodside Says Aussie CO2 Plan Threatens LNG Project - PERTH - Woodside Petroleum Ltd on Wednesday said Australia's planned national emissions trading scheme lacked "fiscal certainty" and warned that it could jeopardise a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the western coast. (Reuters)

Oil, Gas Seismic Work Not Affecting Gulf Sperm Whales, Study Shows - Noise can be irritating and possibly harmful for everything from mice to humans – and maybe even 60-foot whales in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The bottom line is that airgun noise from seismic surveys that are thousands of yards distant does not drive away sperm whales living in the Gulf," Biggs explains. (ScienceDaily)

Pay Me: Will Congress Extend Wind, Solar Tax Breaks? - For all the speeches in Denver touting clean energy as the key to saving America’s economy and the future of the planet, there’s still one unmoveable object standing in the way: Congress. Despite more than a half-dozen efforts, Congress has yet to renew the clean-energy tax credits which make or break the industry.

Those credits have never lapsed, but they expire at the end of this year. Earlier in the year, renewable-energy types were pretty sanguine about the prospects of renewal. Now, panic is setting in—it seems like Congress and clean energy are playing a high-stakes game of chicken, with just three months left to swerve. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

DNC: Greening is Believing - Led by the governor of the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate, Democrats spent Tuesday night describing a socialist green paradise where government decrees energy markets and creates “5 million new jobs.”

“We just ask you to believe,” said Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Energy Federico Peña — echoing Peter Pan’s primer on flying, the line that best summed up the evening. (Though a close Number Two was Peña’s revelation that America is addicted to oil, begging his stunned question: “How did this happen?!” He then explained it was a result of the last eight years of Bush & Big Oil — as if the U.S. ran on hydrogen in the good ol’ days when he was the Energy Secretary.

At a breakfast talk, Michigan’s deeply unpopular governor Jennifer Granholm explained that she was chosen to moderate Tuesday night’s energy panel from the convention stage because of the Wolverine State’s efforts in renewable power. The idea that windmills will rescue one of America’s great manufacturing states is absurd on its face, but she persisted in spinning a fairy tale that Michigan is perfectly positioned to take advantage of alternative energy manufacturing because of the “Five Ws” (I’m not making this up) in abundance in the state: “Wind, water, waste, workforce and wood.”

Manufacturers must be howling at that one — at least the ones who haven’t already fled for cheaper, right-to-work states. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

D'oh! Ministers back away from windfall tax on energy companies as pressure grows to help poor families - The government last night appeared to be backing away from calls to impose a windfall tax on energy companies amid concern the cost would merely be passed on to consumers. Electricity companies warned yesterday that a "legalised raid" on their profits would drive investors away and would "end up on the customers' bills". (The Guardian)

No more cheap energy, warns cabinet minister John Hutton - The era of cheap energy is over, a senior cabinet minister warns. John Hutton, the Business Secretary, admits households will struggle to pay their heating bills this winter due to rising costs. But he effectively rules out imposing a windfall tax on energy firms because it would only lead to higher charges for customers. And he warns that Russian aggression in Georgia has cast doubt over Britain's future energy supplies. (Daily Telegraph)

Keeping the lights on - The vociferous band of Labour MPs pressing for a windfall tax on energy companies in this autumn's economic revival package are given short shrift today by John Hutton, the Business Secretary. (Daily Telegraph)

CEZ to Build Biggest Onshore Wind Park in Europe - PRAGUE - Czech power group CEZ plans to build a 1.1 billion euro (US$1.62 billion) wind park in Romania, the largest of its kind in Europe, in a move to offset emissions from dirtier coal-fired power plants. CEZ said the two-stage, 600 megawatt project would be built 17 km (10 miles) from the Black Sea shore, north of the port of Constanta, and would be around twice the size of the next biggest onshore wind farm in Europe. (Reuters)

Tequila sunset: The ethanol boom - Mexico without tequila? It seems a far-fetched notion but the country's farmers are shunning the famous agave plant because of poor prices and switching to profitable crops. (The Independent)

Areva faces 50 pct cost rise for Finnish nuclear reactor: report - French nuclear group Areva is facing a 50 percent rise to the cost of building the world's first next-generation pressurised water reactor in Finland, the business daily Les Echos reported Thursday. (AFP)

Whether brown or red, algae can produce plenty of green fuel - Having studied the physiology of algae for more than 30 years, Rose Ann Cattolico is convinced the plant life found in oceans and ponds can be a major source of environmentally friendly fuels for everything from cars and lawn mowers to jet airplanes. (University of Washington)

New steam technology to turn car engine's waste heat into power - Steam power may have an old-fashioned image, but British engineers think it can improve the efficiency of the internal combustion engine (The Guardian)

Lettuce Rejoice - These are salad days for the Food and Drug Administration, which announced last Friday that it will let food producers irradiate fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce to kill e-coli and salmonella. The decision wasn't early or broad enough to avert this summer's food scare, but it's a step in the right direction for consumers and producers who want reasonable options to ensure the produce they're taking home is safe.

Under the new regime, the leafy greens can be zapped before they are sent to market to ensure they aren't carrying bacteria that have been the source of major food scares in recent years. The method can prevent repeats of many of the major U.S. E. coli outbreaks in the past two decades in foods ranging from spinach to onions to alfalfa sprouts and jalapenos.

If it sounds like good news, not everyone was celebrating at Naderite groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which sees irradiation as a threat to regulatory oversight on issues like farm cleanliness. In response to the FDA decision, CSPI insisted that irradiation was not a "silver bullet" and "may not be the futuristic cure-all the agency is looking for." They're the moderates. During the tomato scare, a group called Food and Water Watch warned that "irradiating vegetables is impractical and dangerous" and "only serves the food industry's ever-growing appetite to cut costs and increase profits."

This is the same crowd that presumably thinks you can hire enough inspectors to look at every tomato. In the reality of a global marketplace, contamination can be almost impossible to track. On-farm inspections and other regulations have nothing on a distribution network that offers multiple opportunities for contamination at every stop along the food chain, from washing, to packing, to salsa-making. (Wall Street Journal)

JFS Special: Eleven things you may not know about food irradiation - On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration published its final rule which will permit fresh and bagged iceberg lettuce and spinach to be irradiated to help protect consumers from the disease-causing bacteria behind the most common causes of foodborne illnesses, Salmonella and Escherichia coli 0157:H7. Food irradiation enables these susceptible vegetables to be safer to eat, while retain their nutrient value and slow spoilage, according to the FDA. While this was greeted as good news by most medical professionals and food scientists, almost immediately a flurry of fears and old myths resurfaced that had, or so most toxicologists thought, been put to rest more than a decade ago. (Junkfood Science)

Ayurvedic medicine: Toxic metals in remedies for sale on internet - One fifth of Indian herbal medicines available over the internet contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, according to researchers who analysed 193 products obtained online. The scientists called for tighter regulation of so-called Ayurvedic medicines. (The Guardian)

No excuses for being fat, say Tories - Overweight people were told today there are "no excuses" for being obese as the Conservative party launches a new "responsibility" deal on public health.

The shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, used a speech to the thinktank Reform, entitled No Excuses, No Nannying, to set out proposals on how the government and business can work together to address problems caused by poor diet, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise.

"Tell people that biology and the environment cause obesity and they are offered the one thing we have to avoid: an excuse," he said. (The Guardian)

Asteroid wrap could save the world - AN Australian researcher has won an international prize for her plan to wrap a giant asteroid with reflective sheeting to stop it colliding with the earth and destroying all life. (Daily Telegraph)

Major shock, money does buy impoverished people happiness: Against all the odds, the world is becoming a happier place - Over the past 25 years, economic growth in developing countries has translated into big increases in happiness, but people in richer countries have seen much more modest improvements. (The Guardian)

Despite Press Claims To Contrary, Corporations Do Pay Their Taxes - By most accounts, 2005 was a good year for the U.S. economy. The nation added more than 2 million jobs and the unemployment rate averaged less than 5%. Gross domestic product grew robustly, and corporate profits soared nearly 18%.

But few people, including many in the media who report on the economy, understand what happened below the surface to produce those surprisingly good results. (IBD)

Challenging environmentalists - Václav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, chaffed for many years under the thumb of Soviet totalitarianism. In his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? he argues there is a new mantra menacing the West – that environmentalism has become a significant threat to human liberty and progress.

Environmentalism, Klaus warns, is “an anti-human ideology,” which “sees the fundamental cause of the world’s problems in the very expansion of homo sapiens.” For radical environmentalists, human prosperity is undesirable because it alters the Earth’s landscape from its natural state. So they try to limit and ultimately arrest the engine of progress – economic freedom – through the regulatory state.

The most dangerous manifestation of environmentalism, notes Klaus, is global warming alarmism. Global climate changes have occurred without human intervention. Volcanoes, comets and the sun have changed the climate drastically over the planet’s history. Only 11,000 years ago a sheet of ice miles thick covered much of Canada. (William Yeatman, Networked Government)

Wildlife at risk as farmers plough up set-aside land - Farmers who are determined to cash in on rising crop prices have ploughed up more than 200,000 hectares of land that had been set aside to curb overproduction. Official estimates suggest that an area the size of Nottinghamshire has been taken over for farming and conservationists now fear that lucrative cereal crops are pushing out wildlife. (The Times)

Feeding people trumps 'leave it for critters'? Go figure... Actually, unless Sol decides to awake from his current lethargy feeding people is going to accelerate up the priorities list, leaving critter considerations lost in the rear-view. Nature nuts should be hoping for all the global warming they can get.

Wet summer means farmer's wheat crops rot in the fields - Dilemma: headlines claim farmers are on a roll and land prices are skyrocketing, but the farming press broods over broke farmers being driven from the land. Wheat is uncut, threatening to go black, and it costs a packet to grow.

Farming is weather management, or, strange thought, farming is a passive activity. Weather determines all.

You cannot crop your wheat if the field is so wet your combine harvester gets stuck, or if the corn ears are sodden. If wheat goes mouldy the cheap option is to plough it back in.

Whilst late 2007 wheat prices rose to a profitable £190 a ton, they have dropped by two thirds today. (Daily Telegraph)

Almost Half of Australia Untouched by Humans: Study - CANBERRA - More than 40 percent of Australia, an area the size of India, remains untouched by humans, making the country as critical to the world's environment as the Amazon rainforests, a study said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Give us time & we'll turn the wastelands into productive areas -- we just haven't got around to the big empty yet.

Environment: Turkish PM attacks 'idle' green groups - Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known to prize his reputation for plain speaking, yesterday lambasted environmentalists as "idle", saying they "prance around" while doing nothing to protect nature.

The diatribe was triggered by a spate of protests against government plans for more than 40 hydroelectric dams, the decision to build nuclear power stations, and fish farms which are said to be polluting beaches on Turkey's Aegean coast. (The Guardian)

Why we need GM trees - It may not be what some people want to hear but genetically modified trees should now be allowed in our forests.

If it doesn't happen then in the future most wood will come from the Third World, devastating the timber industries of the UK and Europe.

That's the view, at least, of scientists working in the field.

Once UK scientists were in the vanguard of research into GM trees.

They were the first to grow elm that could resist Dutch elm disease.

And they've proved that genetically altering poplars could both produce better paper and help the environment.

But while the UK Government and eco activists have stopped all GM field trials - there have only ever been five - other countries are pouring massive amounts of money into research. (Daily Telegraph)

August 27, 2008

Uh... Clinton to world leaders: America will get back in game on climate change - Democracy's future depends on elected officials finding "new ways to prove that democracy can deliver," and America will lead by showing how pollution-reduction targets can be met, former President Bill Clinton said today. (Denver Post)

... Slick Willy never even pretended to try to get into the game and subjected the Kyoto Protocol to a 'back-pocket veto' (never presented it to the Senate for ratification, which the Byrd-Hagel (Senate Resolution 98) precluded from ratification in the form Ozone Al signed anyway):

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--

(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would--

(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or

(B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and

(2) any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement.

This is interesting: Alpine melt reveals ancient life - Melting alpine glaciers are revealing fascinating clues to Neolithic life in the high mountains.

And, as a conference of archaeologists and climatologists meeting in the Swiss capital Berne has been discussing, the finds are also providing key indicators to climate change. (BBC News)

They are recovering artifacts from many periods spanning the last 7,000 years, all from about the same alpine glacial retreat point. This suggests Earth has been about the same temperature many times over the last seven millennia (nothing for SUV-haters there) but not significantly exceeded it (otherwise leather artifacts, even if lost above current glacial melt points, would have been exposed and decayed long ago). If it is true that current temperatures have maxed out then there is only one way for change to go -- and that is a major worry because humans and the biosphere generally do not fare so well when global temperatures fall.

Chilling News: “Sunspots May Vanish by 2015” - We have observed spectroscopic changes in temperature sensitive molecular lines, in the magnetic splitting of an Fe I line, and in the continuum brightness of over 1000 sunspot umbrae from 1990-2005. All three measurements show consistent trends in which the darkest parts of the sunspot umbra have become warmer (45K per year) and their magnetic field strengths have decreased (77 Gauss per year), independently of the normal 11-year sunspot cycle. A linear extrapolation of these trends suggests that few sunspots will be visible after 2015. (William Livingston and Matthew Penn, National Solar Observatory)

Adapting to Climate Change: Can We Do It Again? - Dangerous climate change will not be prevented by reduced emissions. The damage is already done. For many vulnerable societies, the priority must be adaptation. (Allianz)

Stupid question, we have no choice but not because we use fossil fuels and return carbon to the atmosphere (they are right that climate change, dangerous or otherwise, will not be prevented by reduced emissions).

New Report Calls into Question ‘Man-Made’ Climate Change – New scientific evidence suggests there is a stronger link between solar activity and climate trends on Earth than there is with greenhouse gases, Fred Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist, told

The new data call into question whether scientific evidence shows that global warming is a man-made phenomenon and suggests that natural forces, as opposed to human activity, may drive global climate change.

Singer is one of many scientists who say recent scientific observations have determined that “solar variability” – or fluctuations in the sun’s radiation – directly affects climate change on Earth.

“In the broad sense, the Earth’s climate is determined by solar radiation,” Singer said. “If the radiation changes, so will the general climate.” (

Crucial to keep open mind in a climate of change - Climate change has been the most important and complex issue on my plate in 15 years as a science and technology correspondent for The Canberra Times. So an appropriate topic for a farewell commentary for this newspaper is an emerging scientific debate with the potential to complicate the already difficult relationship between scientists and politicians on this issue.

The effect of the sun's activity on global temperatures has loomed large in arguments from climate change sceptics over the years. Several Russian scientists have argued that the current period of global warming is entirely due to a cycle of increased solar activity.

NSW Treasurer Michael Costa is understood to be among a small group of Australian politicians and other opinion-shapers to embrace this notion.

It is wise to be sceptical of many Russian scientists and all politicians, so I have given this ''solar forcing'' explanation of global warming little credence until I attended a forum at the Academy of Science earlier this year and heard it from a scientist of undoubted integrity and expertise in this area. A former head of CSIRO's division of space science, Dr Ken McCracken was awarded the Australia Prize the precursor of the Prime Minister's Science Prize in 1995. Now in his 80s, officially retired and raising cattle in the ACT hinterland, he is still very active in his research field of solar physics. (Canberra Times)

UN seeks media partnership on climate change - LAGOS, Aug. 25 -- Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Monday in Accra solicited media understanding in educating the populace about climate change.

According to a live web cast monitored, Boer sought the support while opening a media training workshop for journalists covering the UNFCCC sponsored Accra Climate Change Talk.

He said as many as 250 million Africans would be exposed to increased water stress as a result of impact of climate change adding that rainfall has decreased by over 20 percent in the last 30 years.

"This calls for a sustained enlightenment campaign which the media plays a central role," he said.

According to him, with adequate information the populace would support initiatives aimed to cushion the impact of climate change as well as demand positive action from their leaders. (Xinhua)

People successfully resisted the last 2 decades indoctrination and now they are beginning to worry about getting cold. I don't think more media bullshit will cut it.

Seeking to use religion to further their propaganda: Workshop: Religion in Dangerous Environmental and Climate Change, Trondheim, 9-11 October 2008 - A transdisciplinary workshop in Trondheim (Norway), 9−11 October 2008

Arranged by the “European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment” and the “Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research”, and hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS). (Miljøhistorie i Norge)

GOP platform may have global warming plank -- The Republican platform may include a first-ever plank on global warming, an examination of a draft document indicated.

"Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the Earth," The Hill reported the draft document as saying. "While the scope and long term consequences of this warming effect are the subject of ongoing research, we believe the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today." (UPI)

The Narrow Perspective On Climate Science Being Communicated To Physics Teachers - Students who are being taught climate science are being indoctrinated into a narrow viewpoint of climate science [thanks to Ben Herman and Phil Krider for alerting us to this article]. The article below published by the American Association of Physics Teachers documents this bias. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Minnesota Climate Change - Summary for Policy Makers: In May of 2007, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the “Next Generation Energy Act of 2007” which includes targets for statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Act requires Minnesotans to reduce emissions to a level of 15% below 2005 levels by 2015, to a level at least 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and to a level at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. To help advise him on how these restrictive goals could be reached, the Governor established the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group to develop a Climate Change Mitigation Action Plan to:

• Review and approval of a current and comprehensive inventory and forecast of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Minnesota from 1990 to 2020.

• Development and recommendation of a comprehensive set of specific policy recommendations and associated analyses to reduce GHG emissions and enhance energy and economic policy in Minnesota by 2020 and beyond.

• Development and recommendation of a set of statewide GHG reduction goals and targets for implementation of these actions (SPPI)

Africa Has "Golden Opportunity" on Climate - UN - ACCRA - Africa has a "golden opportunity" in UN climate talks to ensure that the world's poorest continent gets help to cope with global warming, the head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat said on Tuesday.

Yvo de Boer said Africa was still lagging in attracting investments in green technology to help slow rising greenhouse gases and in getting help to adapt to the effects of droughts, floods, rising seas and less predictable rains. (Reuters)

Actually not. It's all the absurd AGW distraction which is hampering African investment and development.

Dumb and dumber: Labour wins crucial vote on emissions trading plan - Labour is still waiting for New Zealand First to confirm its support for its flagship emissions trading scheme, but yesterday it won the crucial votes of the Greens. (New Zealand Herald)

Eye-roller: Sea buries a Ghanan village, and more may follow - TOTOPE, Ghana — The old shore road to Totope is now under the sea, and when developers began carving out another one, it was washed away so often they abandoned it. Now the road to this village is just a track across the sand.

On this southern coast of Ghana, the Atlantic Ocean is rising. Every few years, residents of a string of villages leave their homes and build new ones farther back, abandoning them to the encroaching sand and water.

"When I was young, you had to climb a coconut tree to see the sea," said Alex Horgah, a 57-year-old fisherman, sitting under a thatch shelter. The old men of the village say every year the shore advances a few yards.

Totope has no place left to run: It is squeezed between the ocean and the Songho Lagoon, and the villagers say that in a few years they will have to leave.

Coastal erosion in West Africa has many causes, from wind-driven wave energy pounding the shore to the construction of dams. The amount of beach disappearing every year varies along the coastline and from country to country.

But if predictions of the impact of climate change run true, this could be a preview for many coastal areas. (AP)

But this is coastal erosion, not 'sea level rise' and is temperature independent. Dopey buggers...

Cetacean obesity problem solved? Whales lose blubber due to climate change - Whales are losing weight because of climate change, according to Japanese scientists. (Daily Telegraph)

Noctilucent clouds and the Earth’s interface with space - This story about noctilucent clouds on NASA’s Science website made me think about a few things.

What I wonder is this: could noctilucent clouds be a proxy for cosmic ray interactions? While there are a lot of high energy galactic cosmic rays (GCR’s), there are GCR”s that are coming in at low energies as well. The lower the energy, the higher in the atmosphere would be their primary target area. The lower the energy, the more the earth’s magnetic field is deflecting them, redirecting then towards the magnetic poles like the protons of the solar wind (which have much lower energies). (Watts Up With That?)

PM takes business on board over emissions trading scheme - CONTROVERSIAL elements of the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme could be changed after fierce criticism that a "flawed" compensation plan for trade-exposed industries would drive billions of dollars of investment offshore.

Sources said the Government appeared to be "getting the message" after the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia, as well as representatives of the liquefied natural gas, petrol refining, pulp and paper, cement and aluminium industries expressed grave concerns about the compensation model outlined in the emissions trading green paper. (The Australian)

Too early to close emissions debate - Economics, like science, thrives on rational debate

WHEN it comes to constructing something as complicated as an emissions trading scheme, the master carpenter's rule applies: measure twice, cut once. Mistakes are serious. A green paper is not chiselled in tablets of stone carried down from Mount Sinai, even if it does concern what some are presuming to call the great moral issue of our time. The emissions trading discussion document released by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong last month was a framework for debate, not a new belief test on man-made global warming.

That is why the Government is listening carefully to the Business Council of Australia and others from the corporate sector who argue that the ETS model proposed in the green paper is flawed and that its settings need careful calibration. The BCA, The Minerals Council of Australia, liquefied natural gas exporters and others agree that the ETS will not work in its present form. The arbitrary cut-off points that will separate compensated industries from non-compensated industries will have a perverse effect. There will be disincentives for growth and, in the absence of an international agreement, more compensation will be needed. The signs are that the Government is paying attention and is prepared to at least consider other ways to protect emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries. (The Australian)

In California... - According to the Los Angeles Times, California’s Legislature is on the verge of adopting SB 375, the nation's first law to control planet-warming gases by curbing sprawl. The legislation would offer incentives to steer public funds away from sprawled development. The state spends about $20 billion a year on transportation, and under the new law, projects that meet climate goals would get priority. The bill is expected to pass the Assembly today and the Senate on Friday. (Cooler Heads Digest)

Poor misguided kids: Teen launches climate change nonprofit - A 17-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., girl has launched what she hopes will become a nationwide youth movement focused on global warming.

About 80 teenagers gathered at Stanford University for a three-day conference Aug. 15-17 that marked the kickoff of Inconvenient Youth, a campaign founded by senior Mary Doerr. Each is being trained to lead presentations on climate change based loosely on the one given by Al Gore in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” (Palo Alto Daily News)

12 Facts about Global Climate Change That You Won’t Read in the Popular Press (Joseph D’Aleo, Energy Tribune)

From CO2 Science this week:

Nonsensical Noise or Solar Signal?: The search for a sun-climate linkage continues apace.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 585 individual scientists from 347 separate research institutions in 38 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Northern Icelandic Coast. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Monoterpenes: How are plant emissions of these biogenic trace gases affected by rising air temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations? ... and why do we care?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Bromelid, Oilseed Rape, Potato, and Radish.

Journal Reviews:
Low-Lying Reef Islands and the Threat of Sea Level Rise: Just how bad has the situation become?

Hail in China: 1960-2005: How much worse has this extreme weather phenomenon become as a result of the planet's "unprecedented" global warming?

Prior Warm Periods at Austria's Lake Oberer Landschitzsee: When did they occur? ... and how did their warmth compare with that of the Current Warm Period?

Forest Responses to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Are there differences among boreal, temperate and tropical locations?

Isoprene Emissions from Trembling Aspen Leaves: How are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... and why is the phenomenon important?

Orland, CATemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Orland, CA. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Orland's mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.10 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (

Climate change brings higher risks of flooding to area - Each year, Dayton has a 1 percent chance of having a 100-year flood. But if local annual rainfall increases 15 percent to 20 percent by the year 2100 as some climate models predict, the probability of such a flood could rise to 3 percent to 4 percent each year. (Springfield News-Sun)

I'm surprised they didn't say : 300%-400% increase in 100-year floods... (yes, they would then be 33- or 25-year floods)

Canada to Expand Energy, Mineral Mapping of Arctic - OTTAWA - Canada plans to boost its spending on mapping Arctic energy and mineral resources, in order to encourage development and defend Canadian sovereignty in the far North. (Reuters)

US drillers to get $1bn court award - A US federal appeals court ruled yesterday that 11 oil and gas companies should receive more than $1bn awarded to them in 2006 after the government effectively changed the terms of leases to drill off the California coast.

The US Court of Appeals was upholding a 2006 ruling that the government had breached the leases when changes in federal law materially interfered with the companies' efforts to develop the oil and gas reserves off California.

The case points to the difficulties US oil and gas companies have developing oil and gas resources in the US.

Even when acreage is legally open to production, restrictive regulations about how properties can be developed have made it impossible for companies to follow through.

The US government had estimated the area contained more than 1bn barrels of oil equivalent.

Politicians have been critical of the industry for pushing for Senator John McCain's proposal to open up protected areas off the coast of Florida, saying they have yet to develop all the property currently open to production.

The industry can point to this case as a good example of why not all leased properties in the US are under development. (Financial Times)

California County’s Resolve Against Drilling Fades - Santa Barbara County became a symbol of the national environmental movement’s passionate opposition to offshore oil drilling when an oil spill devastated its coastline in 1969. On Tuesday, it became a symbol of the changing national mood as its board of supervisors debated whether to welcome new wells along California’s shores.

The supervisors voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday to end the county’s opposition to offshore drilling, although the vote will have no practical impact on state or federal policies.

But the speed with which opinions have changed in Santa Barbara County as gasoline prices have climbed has been astonishing. The vote there reinforces, at the local level, a shift evident in national polls and in the delicate willingness of Democratic leaders like Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive presidential nominee, and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, to open the door to limited coastal drilling.

Three weeks ago, the Public Policy Institute of California released a poll showing that 51 percent of Californians now approve of offshore drilling, a 10-point increase in a single year. “I don’t think any of us expected to see the day when there’d be more than 50 percent support for oil drilling,” said Mark Baldassare, the institute’s research director. (New York Times)

Speaker Pelosi's Unnatural Gaffe - The speaker of the House touts natural gas as an "alternative fuel like wind." Could it be that this time she's put her money where her mouth is? (IBD)

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits - When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not. (New York Times)

Russia Bears Down on European Energy - This is, needless to say, a terrible situation to be in. When environmentalism gets its way, Putin gets his. If Putin’s energy weapon is to be neutralized, Western European governments need to face down the environmental lobbies in their countries, and allow digging for coal and new nuclear build. Political calculus, however, suggests otherwise. And Putin knows this. (Iain Murray, CEI)

Russia shuts out West's supermajors - As Calgary-based junior oil and gas companies successfully make their respective marks beyond Canadian borders, largely by flying under the radar screen and looking for niche plays, the big energy companies are grappling with a different set of challenges.

In the 1970s, the supermajors based in the West controlled more than half of the world's production. Today that number has dwindled to about 13 per cent.

The reason is largely due to geopolitics and, to a lesser degree, technological limitations. It's certainly not because the world is running out of oil. A more accurate way of defining the current situation is that the world is dealing with geopolitical peak oil, not absolute peak oil. (Calgary Herald)

Car Makers Lag EU's CO2 Vision, Japan Worst - Study - BRUSSELS - Car makers are not doing enough to meet the European Union's proposed targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, with several Japanese car brands facing the biggest challenge to make the grade, a report said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

If I read the situation correctly the Japanese have figured out should the EU actually be stupid enough to follow through with their proposed emission strategies very few Europeans will be able to afford a car, so there's little point in wasting fortunes developing cars no Europeans will be able to afford and no other countries will want at a price which is profitable.

Scrapping Fuel Subsidies Can Help Climate - UN Study  - ACCRA - Abolishing subsidies on fossil fuels could cut world greenhouse gas emissions by up to 6 percent and also nudge up world economic growth, a UN report showed on Tuesday.

No, it can't, since no amount of carbon constraint will measurably affect the climate. Heck, even staunch AGW hysterics admit that.

Could US$100 Oil Turn Dumps Into Plastic Mines? - LONDON - Sparked by surging oil, a dramatic rise in the value of old plastic is encouraging waste companies across the world to dig for buried riches in rotting rubbish dumps. (Reuters)

Latest stupidity from animal lib front group 'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine': New attack ad on TV, but this one targets hot dogs - A new TV commercial shows kids eating hot dogs in a school cafeteria and one little boy's haunting lament: "I was dumbfounded when the doctor told me I have late-stage colon cancer." It's a startling revelation in an ad that vilifies one of America's most beloved, if maligned, foods, while stoking fears about a dreaded disease.

But the boy doesn't have cancer. Neither do two other kids in the ad who claim to be afflicted. The commercial's pro-vegetarian sponsors say it's a dramatization that highlights research linking processed meats, including hot dogs, with higher odds of getting colon cancer. (AP)

Humans are more important than animals - When it comes to using animals in research, the only moral judgement should be: does it benefit humankind? (Stuart Derbyshire, sp!ked)

From Bangkok to the Beltway - The debate over patent breaking in Thailand comes to Capitol Hill.

Earlier this month, 50 Democratic congressmen unexpectedly bucked their House leadership and harshly criticized the Thai government’s repeated violation of U.S. drug patents through compulsory licensing. “We believe that strong intellectual property protections are critical…to ensure that investments continue to be made…in all areas of scientific discovery that serve to improve our lives,” the congressmen, led by Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), wrote in a July 31 letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Susan Schwab. The U.S. government must “continue to stress that such licenses not be issued lightly,” the congressmen urged Schwab. (Roger Bate and Karen Porter, The American)

It bears repeating - As children head back to school, this important information bears repeating. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced that there’s been more cases of measles in our country during the last six months than at any time since 1996. (Junkfood Science)

Update: More than a little plan — the trial balloon is off and flying - The decision of the state of Alabama to penalize employees with unacceptable health risk indices or who refuse screening, wasn’t simply a little news story. They never are. More than 500 news outlets across the country and around the world — from Germany, Ireland, Australia and even Bulgaria — have already picked up the story, as well as health industry publications. The plan is quickly becoming a blueprint. (Junkfood Science)

Ghana Elephants Show UN Deforestation Headache - AFIASO, Ghana - Rising elephant numbers in a protected forest park in Ghana are angering farmers whose crops are being raided in an unwanted side-effect of a plan to slow deforestation. (Reuters)

Protection Zones Not Helping Reefs, Study Finds - LONDON - Conservation zones in the Indian Ocean set up to protect fish stocks are not preventing coral reefs from collapsing due to warmer temperatures or helping to speed their recovery, researchers reported on Wednesday. (Reuters)

People-exclusion doesn't make reefs magically bloom into some dipstick's vision of how they 'should be'? Imagine that...

More wild claims from Stanton Glantz: California stop-smoking campaign saved $86 billion - CHICAGO - California's large-scale tobacco control campaign has saved $86 billion in health care costs in its first 15 years, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

The $86 billion reduction in health costs, based on 2004 dollars, represents about a 50-fold return on the $1.8 billion California spent on the program, they said.

"The benefits of the program accrued very quickly and are very large," Stanton Glantz, director of the University of California San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in a statement. (Reuters)

Just when you thought they couldn't get crazier: Reusable Toilet Paper? - ‘Family Cloth” or ‘Family Wipes’ urged as eco-friendly replacement for toilet paper – Yahoo Answers & Green websites tout new eco-friendly alternative!

Excerpt: The purpose of the family cloth is to reduce the waste created by toilet paper. The environmentally unfriendly aspects of toilet paper happen before it arrives at your home. Trees are destroyed for the necessary pulp and large amounts of chemicals are used to turn the wood pulp into the soft, fluffy, white tissues we like to use. In addition, those darn packages of t.p. are big and a lot of fuel is burned getting them to their destination. These concerns are causing people to ditch their toilet paper and use a family cloth instead. Eco-friendly families usually start out trying different cloths. Old t-shirts are the most popular source for family cloth pieces. Using them for a family cloth prevents them from becoming yet another piece of landfill. Cotton t-shirt material is soft and very absorbent. They also receive high ratings from female users because they don't leave any of that annoying tissue dust after usage. For those unfamiliar with the family cloth, the name is somewhat misleading. No one seems to be certain where the term originated but is not an accurate title. Family members do not share a single cloth for their bathroom wiping needs. Each family has their own method, but most often a stack of clean cloth strips are left near the toilet in the bathroom. After use the family cloth is placed in a bucket. Every few days the contents are washed.

How to Store Used ‘Family Wipes’

Excerpt: Some families find it easiest to put a small wet bag in their bathroom - either just laying on the floor near the toilet, or hanging from a nearby doorknob, cabinet knob, or hook. One friend actually hangs her bag from the toilet paper holder. My family keeps a small version of a diaper pail in the bathroom just for wipes. It's a 2-gallon stainless steel garbage bag with a step-pedal to open the lid. Wally loves depositing his wipes in there after we're done cleaning him up!

How to Wash Soiled ‘Family Wipes’

Excerpt: If you have kids in diapers, wash with the diapers. If you don't have kids in diapers, I recommend washing wipes separately from the rest of your laundry. Wash in hot, dry in the dryer. You may add whatever laundry additives you desire - chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, tea tree oil, lavender oil, stain remover, whatever.

How to Use Cloth Wipes (Family Wipes, Toilet Wipes) (Sold on – “Supporting a natural lifestyle”

Excerpt: OK, this is not nearly as gross as you might be imagining. Give it a try, you'll see what I mean! But, really, you might be wondering, how do I use these? Using cloth wipes for urine-only visits to the bathroom is so simple it's hardly worth mentioning. Go, wipe, and then toss the wipe into whatever container you prefer. Using cloth wipes for other toilet visits is not any more difficult, but there is a certain ick factor involved. Consider how much waste you're willing to leave on your children's diapers or wipes when you toss them in the pail. Use the same standards for yourself. Shake, scrape, swish, or squirt off anything you don't want in your laundry, and then toss the wipe into the pail or container. (Personally speaking, we just wipe and toss in the pail.)

The Latest "Green" Craze: Reusable Toilet Paper?! - How to Purchase ‘Family (or Toilet) Wipes

Excerpt: Family Wipes: $11 per dozen basic, $16 per dozen premium  - "Alright," you say, "You've convinced me about cloth diapers, and I understand using cloth gift bags and napkins. But toilet paper??" For some people, making the switch to cloth toilet wipes is a huge leap, that's true. But it doesn't need to be! Using cloth toilet wipes actually has many advantages. For one, it's a lot more comfortable and soft on your most delicate body parts. It's also more economical, uses less paper, and saves you those late-night trips to the store. And cloth wipes can be used wet without any of the sopping disintegration that regular toilet paper is prone to. For a discussion of the practical aspects of using cloth toilet wipes, please check out our page detailing How to Use Cloth Wipes.

Background on environmentalist’s war on toilet paper

Excerpt: Ready to Rethink Toilet Paper for Earth Day?
Forests Being 'Slaughtered for Toilet Paper,' Actress Declares

Flashback: NYC Environmentalists Eliminate Toilet Paper in Effort to Save the Planet
Introduction of the Flush Toilet Deplored at Earth Summit
Dry Toilet Conference Declared a Success by Organizers
Diaperless Babies Seen As Earth-Friendly Solution
Flush Toilets Called "Environmental Disaster"
Philadelphia Plumbers Union Pipes Up About Waterless Urinals
Ready to Rethink Toilet Paper for Earth Day?

Rush_Limbaugh (via Marc Morano)

Desalination: A National Perspective - There has been an exponential increase in desalination capacity both globally and nationally since 1960, fueled in part by growing concern for local water scarcity and made possible to a great extent by a major federal investment for desalination research and development. Traditional sources of supply are increasingly expensive, unavailable, or controversial, but desalination technology offers the potential to substantially reduce water scarcity by converting the almost inexhaustible supply of seawater and the apparently vast quantities of brackish groundwater into new sources of freshwater.

Desalination assesses the state of the art in relevant desalination technologies, and factors such as cost and implementation challenges. It also describes reasonable long-term goals for advancing desalination technology, posits recommendations for action and research, estimates the funding necessary to support the proposed research agenda, and identifies appropriate roles for governmental and nongovernmental entities. (NAP)

Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making - Advocates of public participation believe it improves environmental assessment and decision making; detractors criticize it as ineffective and inefficient. The term public participation, as used in this book, includes organized processes adopted by elected officials, government agencies, or other public- or private-sector organizations to engage the public in environmental assessment, planning, decision making, management, monitoring, and evaluation. These processes supplement traditional forms of public participation (voting, forming interest groups, demonstrating, lobbying) by directly involving the public in executive functions that, when they are conducted in government, are traditionally delegated to administrative agencies. The goal of participation is to improve the quality, legitimacy, and capacity of environmental assessments and decisions.

This book, from the National Research Council s Panel on Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, assesses whether, and under what conditions, public participation achieves the outcomes desired. Claims from all sides are considered and evaluated as a central point of the study, in order to provide an overall assessment of the merits and failings of participation. The book also offers guidance to practitioners and identifies directions for further research. (NAP)

August 26, 2008

What do the states get out of professional stupidity? 12 States Sue EPA Over Refinery Carbon Emissions - NEW YORK - New York and 11 other states are suing federal environmental regulators over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries, the New York attorney general's office said on Monday.

The suit, led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, charges that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.

"The EPA's refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration's do-nothing policy on global warming," Cuomo said in a release. "Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York's environment, health, and economy." (Reuters)

A Carbon Education - Nancy Pelosi recently diluted her opposition to offshore drilling, but we're beginning to wonder if the House Speaker even knows why she opposed increasing domestic energy supplies in the first place.

Ms. Pelosi appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," where Tom Brokaw gently pointed out that the various Democratic alternative energy ambitions are "not going to happen overnight." Replied Ms. Pelosi: "You can have a transition with natural gas. That, that is cheap, abundant and clean compared to fossil fuels." Later, she again said that "I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels," and that wind, solar, biofuels and "a focus on natural gas, these are the real alternatives." (Wall Street Journal)

Impact of fed decision on water district unclear - LUBBOCK, Texas — The U.S. Department of Justice is blocking changes to Texas law that helped create a Panhandle water district dominated by employees of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, a newspaper reports.

The changes approved last session in the state House and Senate allowed property owners in a freshwater district, even if they don't live there, to serve on the board. Previous law required board supervisors be registered, resident voters.

That change allowed three Pickens employees to serve as supervisors of a Roberts County Fresh Water Supply District, which was created over land owned by Pickens, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports in its Saturday editions.

The decision by the Justice Department appears to make the three supervisors ineligible, though state officials said the impact to the present board wasn't clear.

Jay Rosser, spokesman for Pickens Mesa Water, said that the district could find new, eligible supervisors, if necessary.

"That's certainly an option, and it would be a relatively easy fix," Rosser said. "The important thing is that it did nothing to challenge the creation or existence of that district." (Associated Press)

Pickens Gives New Meaning to 'Self-Government'

Another one flogging a disaster story: From climate change to nuclear war - ELEANOR HALL: The prospect of global wars driven by climate change is not something often discussed publicly by our political leaders.

But according to one of America's top military analysts, governments in the US and UK are already being briefed by their own military strategists about how to prepare for a world of mass famine, floods of refugees and even nuclear conflicts over resources.

Gwynne Dyer is a military analyst and author who served in three navies and has held academic posts at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and at Oxford and he says there is a sense of suppressed panic from the scientists and military leaders he spoke to for his latest book, "Climate Wars".

Gwynne Dyer is in Australia this week and he spoke to me from Perth earlier today. (The World Today, Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Hurricanes and the Northeast - Since 1995, the Atlantic has become twice as active on average as the prior 25 years, similar to the period from 1930s to 1960s. This is due to a shift to the “warm” mode of the multi-decadal scale oscillation in the Atlantic Ocean Most of the storms making landfall during the past 12 years have impacted the Mid-Atlantic region, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. However, though not yet realized, history tells us that the risk has also increased for more populated areas to the north New York City/(Long Island and New England). (Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, Fellow of the AMS)

New US President Seen Struggling on Climate - ACCRA - The next US president will find it hard to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 enough to satisfy many of America's allies, the chief US climate negotiator said on Monday.

"It's going to be a heavy lift ... It takes time in our system" to change course, Harlan Watson told Reuters on the sidelines of 160-nation talks in Ghana working on a new United Nations climate treaty by the end of 2009.

And an economic slowdown, rising US population and time needed, for instance, to shift away from high-polluting coal-fired power plants would made it tough to act more swiftly, whoever succeeds President George W. Bush in January 2009.

"Anything that raises the price of electricity is going to be a political problem," Watson said. (Reuters)

This is especially true since people's immediate problem is affordable home heating in the heavily populated temperate regions and there being no reason to believe winter will be a mild one. That and carbon dioxide not really being an atmospheric pollutant at all makes this a virtually impossible sell.

German Business Attacks Ministry's Plan for Green Tax System - German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to cut taxes for green consumer products and environmentally-friendly corporate investments in a tax overhaul aimed at cutting CO2 emissions. But Germany's business lobby is against the plan. (Der Spiegel)

A warming theory that has melted away - Oliver Tickell defends against my critique his visions of 4C leading to a catastrophic future. Two casual observations lend themselves readily. First, Tickell has entirely abstained from defending his claim for human extinction from 4C. Thanks. Second, I was clearly wrong when I said that Tickell's claim for 70-80 metres of sea level rise had maxed out campaigners' scare potential because that means all ice is melted. Showing an amazing ability to raise the stakes none the less, Tickell now talks about sea level going 100m higher.

The UN climate panel (IPCC) says that 4C will lead to a rise a hundredth of that figure; but Tickell simply claims such moderate projections are "dangerously misplaced". All I can see is that such facts are terribly inconvenient. (Björn Lomborg, The Guardian)

Warming could cost less than emissions cuts - THE climate change debate is exiting its phony phase. The political debate confronts Ross Garnaut's diabolical dilemma for a carbon-intensive growth economy such as Australia's: that delivering big cuts in carbon emissions to insure against the costs of a warmer planet requires sacrifice from people who vote governments in and out of office. (The Australian)

Job loss hot issue in climate policy - A PHENOMENON of the increasingly tense debate on the Rudd Government's carbon policies is the unwillingness of the protagonists to quantify the risk for Australian workers.

The headline-grabbing Business Council statement on companies endangered by the proposed approach does not do so. Nor have its previous statements on the issue.

Rudd Government ministers, not surprisingly, do not do so, although their frequent assurances that the policies will be economically responsible are a dog-whistle attempt to signal to workers (voters) that their interests are in mind.

No trade union statement, even those expressing concern, does so.

Not even leading federal Opposition spokesmen, Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt, attempt to quantify how many jobs might be in the firing line.

The environmental activists, who have been quick to rail against the BCA and other critics of carbon charges, naturally never mention this point, although they will try to claim job opportunities for their radical programs.

The Greens are in the van of trying to paint over the economic threats by claiming that lost jobs in energy-intensive industry will be replaced in "clean" businesses. They bolster this by pointing to the high voter concern about global warming and support for programs that will deliver abatement.

However, recent polling by Essential Media Communications showing that 72 per cent of the people it interviewed supported the introduction of emissions trading also showed that half of those polled admit they do not know what it is. (Keith Orchison, The Australian)

Carbon tax will not be introduced in Budget - NO carbon tax will be imposed in the forthcoming Budget, despite worsening emissions rates in this country and a promise to introduce the measure in the Programme for Government. The Green Party is privately conceding that the measure is off the table for the December Budget -- the second year in a row that consumers will escape. (Independent Ireland)

Climate Similar to the 1800s Within the Next 15 Years: First Stage of Global Cooling During 2008/09 - In the peer reviewed book “Global Warming—Global Cooling, Natural Cause Found”, meteorologist and climate researcher David Dilley utilizes nearly a half million years of data linking long term gravitational cycles of the moon explain the recent global warming, rises in carbon dioxide levels, and for 2200 global warming cycles during the past half million years. (David Dilley, Icecap)

Another frost advisory before Labor Day - More anecdotal colder than normal weather keeps piling up. This time it’s in Southern Oregon and Northeastern California. Clearly we are having some far earlier than normal frosts and freezes in the USA, and the situation seems to be mirrored in colder than normal weather in parts of UK and Europe as well.

Note that this frost advisory has no connection to the weather pattern that caused frost and freeze in Minnesota and Wisconsin last night, it is a different frontal system. (Watts Up With That?)

Hmm... would be leaf peepers might want to keep an eye here since old Ma Nature is not one to worry about the calendar.

Gibbering Jimmy rants again: Coal plant moves state in wrong direction - The Earth is close to passing climate tipping points. Greenhouse gases released in burning fossil fuels are nearing a level that will set in motion dangerous effects, many irreversible, including extermination of countless species, ice sheet disintegration and sea-level rise, and intensified regional climate extremes. (The State)

Mother of all hotties goes cold on lovers (Tim Blair, Daily Telegraph)

Reply By Josh Willis To Climate Science Questions Of August 19 2008 - Josh Willis graciously has answered the questions that were asked in the Climate Science weblog of August 19 2008. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Stupidly Norway Eyes Eco Investment Role for Wealth Fund - STAVANGER, Norway - Oil-rich Norway is pushing ahead with plans to use part of its US$400 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest in renewable energy development, a deputy finance minister said on Monday.

The idea to divide the wealth fund, officially named the Government Pension Fund -- Global, and siphon off part of it to invest in environmental projects has been criticised by Norway's central bank, which runs the fund for the government. (Reuters)

And so right that their Central Bank should criticize sabotage of the people's pension fund.

Swiss to Vote on SUV Ban - ZURICH - Swiss campaigners launched a bid on Monday to ban off-roaders, SUVs and gas-guzzling executive and sports cars, winning enough support for a referendum. The Young Green party said on Monday in a statement, it had turned in 120,000 verified signatures gathered in support of a referendum, to be held within 18 months. (Reuters)

Case of the warm and fuzzy - WHEN Nicholas Stern released his influential British government report on the economics of climate change in October 2006, it said that the east coast of Australia had suffered declining rainfall. In the same year, the Howard government pledged an additional $500 million to stop the trend of rising salinity in the Murray River.

Three claims have been repeated so often they are accepted as fact: global temperatures are rising, we have less rainfall and so water is becoming scarce, and salinity in the Murray River is rising.

Of course there is the old adage: lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. But we can keep it simple and just consider data from observations of the real world and from the most reputable institution since records began for the particular issue in which we are interested. It is important to not confuse real-world data (also known as observational data) with output from computer models because computer models generate scenarios that may or may not come true.

Observational data on rainfall for the entire east coast of Australia is available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology with yearly averages for all the sites back to 1900.

But, contrary to the Stern report, this chart does not show declining rainfall; rather, it indicates that rainfall was very low in the early 1900s, that there were some very wet years in the late '50s and early '70s, and overall the trend is one of a slight increase in rainfall during the past 107 years.

Stern got it wrong, perhaps because he was confusing output from computer models with the real-world data. There are a lot of computer models that foretell dire environmental catastrophe that may not eventuate. (Jennifer Marohasy, The Australian)

Based on PlayStation® climatology: Climate change threatens South Asia food supplies - DHAKA, Bangladesh—Melting Himalayan glaciers, rising sea levels and depleting fresh water sources as a result of global climate change are posing grave threats to food production and economic development in the populous South Asia region, experts said Monday. (Associated Press)

Even The Mere Threat Of Drilling Will Bring Down The Price Of Oil - One of the most contentious issues of late has been the question of whether increased drilling for oil would reduce the price of oil today.

Certainly increased drilling will not bring an immediate increase in the supply of oil. But many people, even so-called experts, believe that the effect on the pump price would not be felt until the oil is actually at the pump, possibly years later.

In fact, the price will fall well before the first hole is drilled. Even the possibility of increased drilling will bring down the price of oil. It already has. (Don M. Chance, IBD)

The Week In Washington, D. C. (from New Mexico) - Visiting New Mexico this week, I haven't found much interest in the global warming debate, but it is having an impact on local issues. The Navajo Nation has finally gained permitting approval for a huge new coal-fired power plant. The plant would be sited next to a coal mine on the Navajo Reservation in northwest New Mexico . (By the way, New Mexico has a lot of coal reserves in the northwest corner, much of it under Navajo land. Coal provides the State with most of its electricity.) The electricity produced would be exported over the grid to population centers in the Southwest.

Naturally, environmental pressure groups have not given up. They are challenging the regulatory approval in court. One of the grounds is that the regulators did not take into account the carbon dioxide emissions that the plant would produce and its contribution to global warming. I don't think they can win in federal court under current laws, but they must hope that if they can delay the project a couple of years, then Congress might pass cap-and-trade legislation that would make coal plants uneconomic.

I don't know whether any utility companies have expressed interest in buying electricity from the Navajos' new plant, but it seems likely that indirectly the plant will help California reach its emissions reduction targets. California imports more and more of its electricity from nearby States, but its new global warming law prohibits importing electricity produced by burning coal. This new plant would allow utilities in Arizona or Nevada to sell their low-emissions electricity to California and then replace it with cheaper coal power from the Navajo plant. Sounds like a win-win to me. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Gordon Brown faces high-level revolt over windfall tax - A stark warning that Britain’s worsening economy will cause “difficult social issues” heaped fresh pressure on Gordon Brown yesterday, as more members of his Government broke ranks to demand a windfall tax. (The Times)

It's Unwise To Tax 'Well-Earned' Profits - There are certain laws you can break without serious repercussions, but the laws of economics are far less forgiving. And history shows that we will all pay a hefty fine if lawmakers choose to enact a "windfall" profits tax as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has just proposed and Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama supports. (Margo Thorning, IBD)

Oil, gas firms step up lobbying effort aimed at Tory government - OTTAWA - The Canadian corporate giants dominating Alberta oil sands extraction and refining lobbied the federal government intensively this summer, federal records show. The campaign began shortly after Liberal Leader Stephane Dion unveiled his plan for $15 billion worth of new taxes on carbon emissions and continued through July. (Canadian Press)

Wind Turbines Give Bats the "Bends," Study Finds - Wind turbines can kill bats without touching them by causing a bends-like condition due to rapidly dropping air pressure, new research suggests.

Scientists aren't sure why, but bats are attracted to the turbines, which often stand 300 feet (90 meters) high and sport 200-foot (60-meter) blades.

The mammals' curiosity can result in lethal blows by the rotors, which spin at a rate of about 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour.

But scientist Erin Baerwald and colleagues report that only about half of the bat corpses they found near Alberta, Canada, turbine bases showed any physical evidence of being hit by a blade.

A surprising 90 percent showed signs of internal hemorrhaging—evidence of a drop in air pressure near the blades that causes fatal damage to the bats' lungs. (National Geographic News)

Wind Power Worries - Last year, Business Week noted “The Dangers of Wind Power”: “After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting.” (Drew Thornley, Planet Gore)

Air Storage Is Explored for Energy - When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg dreamed out loud last week about a New York skyline filled with wind turbines, one of the most serious issues raised by the naysayers was that the wind does not always blow when you need it.

But a New Jersey company plans to announce on Tuesday that it is working on a solution to this perennial problem with wind power: using wind turbines to produce compressed air that can be stored underground or in tanks and released later to power generators during peak hours. (New York Times)

'No We Can't — Yet' - It's no longer so cool to be openly anti-nuke. Now the naysaying has to be subtle — like Barack Obama holding out for "clean and safe" power and saying no to reprocessing.

If you really want to know what a politician thinks about nuclear power, you can't just ask a simple question like, "Are you for it?" Only the hard-core greenies not running for office will give you a flat "no." There's just too much working in favor of a nuclear renaissance these days. (IBD)

Spain Nuclear Plants Halted, Watchdog Calls Meeting - MADRID - Spain's nuclear watchdog on Monday called for a meeting of plant operators following the second unscheduled disconnection of a reactor in as many days. (Reuters)

ETS to make coal plant 'white elephant' - THE proposed federal emissions trading scheme would turn a $750 million Chinese-backed Victorian power station into a taxpayer-funded white elephant, according to legal advice. (The Australian)

Air Force to re-evaluate fuel project at Malmstrom - BILLINGS - A coal-to-liquids project proposed for Malmstrom Air Force Base is under review by the acting secretary of the Air Force, as the agency evaluates the future of its alternative fuels program.

In January, the Air Force invited companies to finance and build a plant at the Great Falls base that would convert coal into 25,000 barrels daily of jet fuel, diesel and other products.

The Air Force wants to power half of its domestic fleet with such synthetic fuels by 2016, under a program begun under former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne. (Associated Press)

UK 'should end biofuel subsidies' - The government should stop funding biofuels and use the money to halt the destruction of rainforests and peatland instead, a think tank has said. Policy Exchange said the switch would have a bigger impact on climate change because trees and peatland remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The government currently spends £550m annually on biofuel subsidies. (BBC)

Hybrid batteries spark waste fears - AUSTRALIA has no ability to environmentally dispose of the batteries from the Toyota Camry hybrids whose production has been championed by Kevin Rudd. (The Australian)

Burning incense linked to respiratory cancers - NEW YORK - Burning incense may create a sweet scent, but regularly inhaling the smoke could put people at risk of cancers of the respiratory tract, researchers reported Monday.

In a study of more than 61,000 ethnic Chinese living in Singapore who were followed for up to 12 years, the investigators found a link between heavy incense use and various respiratory cancers.

The findings are published in the medical journal Cancer. (Reuters Health)

Taking a step back and thinking about the real story - Compulsory medication and monitoring of diets and lifestyles by the State is now a reality for workers in Alabama who are older or have certain genetic physical characteristics. (Junkfood Science)

'Seeding' Sales and Science - Marketing-driven clinical trials intend to increase sales and profits—but also yield enormous benefits for patients. (John E. Calfee, The American)

U.S. considers protecting vast swaths of Pacific - WASHINGTON - Vast swaths of U.S. Pacific Ocean waters could be protected as marine sanctuaries or monuments, the White House said on Monday, drawing praise from environmental groups.

President George W. Bush started the process by directing the U.S. secretaries of the Interior, Defense and Commerce departments to assess whether certain locations in the Pacific should be designated as marine protected areas, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

The areas being considered for protection in the new plan are a group of islands and atolls in the remote central Pacific, including the Rose Atoll near American Samoa, and some of the waters around the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific. (Reuters)

Environmentalists feed people to dragons - Komodo dragons have been eating a lot of people in Indonesia lately and the locals blame environmentalists, as reported by Yaroslav Trofimov at the Wall Street Journal (a subscription is required; or borrow or buy today’s paper).

Apparently, in Indonesia, people used to hunt deer and leave portions of successful hunts to the komodo dragons. They also used to tie up goats as sacrifices. All of this pleased the dragons, which left the humans alone.

Then entered the Environmentalists from the Nature Conservancy, who sought and were awarded a ban on deer hunting. They also had dogs declared an “alien species”, thus outlawing them. Naturally, being sympathetic souls, they also got a ban on goat offerings. The reason they did all this, according to Widodo Ramono, the policy director of the environmentalist organization, was because he feared the komodo was becoming “domesticated.”

But, even though all the people in this group were no doubt armed with many letters after their names, each with multiple “studies” in hand, they forgot that the dragons had to eat. (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Submerged Ghana Forest May Point to Timber Bonanza - ACCRA - Logging of a Ghanaian forest submerged 40 years ago by a hydroelectric dam could point to an underwater timber bonanza worth billions of dollars in tropical countries, a senior Ghanaian official said on Monday.

Exploiting submerged rot-resistant hardwoods such as ebony, wawa or odum trees in Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in Africa, can also slow deforestation on land and curb emissions of greenhouse gases linked to burning of forests. (Reuters)

Food prices to remain high despite worldwide record wheat crop, say analysts - TORONTO - Groups such as the Canadian Wheat Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are predicting a record wheat crop worldwide this year, but warning prices will remain high.

Statistics Canada and the Canadian Wheat Board have estimated the country's wheat crop this year at between 22.1 million tonnes and 22.5 million tonnes, up from 18.4 million tonnes in 2007.

In the United States the USDA has forecast a corn crop of 12.29 billion bushels, the second largest on record. But it says, despite the near-record crops, farm-gate prices for this year's corn, wheat and soybeans, while lower than earlier forecasts, will still set records. (Canadian Press)

Researchers develop drought-tolerant corn - At the end of the day, drought tolerance in corn has to equate to good yields and good quality, not just good looks, said a Texas AgriLife Research scientist. (Texas A&M University)

August 25, 2008

Little Rhetoric Riding Hood - Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should be not Joe Biden but Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need to fulfill its fairy-tale promises. (George F. Will, Washington Post)

Joe Biden and global warming - ... When it comes to climate change, Biden seems to be just another mad man: Face global warming or global conflict (2-page interview). As a presidential candidate, he said that global warming will destroy the U.S. military. He is the "best one" to solve the "energy crisis" and wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 while raising the mandatory percentage of alternative energies to 20%, among many other mad things. (The Reference Frame)

Wonder if this is where 'Junkscience Joe' Biden gets his information? Renewables must be centre-stage in fight against climate change - IF YOU think about some depressing facts – that you can’t afford to pay your electricity bill this month, there’s an ongoing war devastating Iraq, and the ice caps are rapidly melting – you’ll find they all have something in common: they’ve all been caused by our addiction to fossil fuels. This dependence, while causing pain now, threatens nothing less than the future destruction of our civilisation through global warming. (An Phoblacht)

Did you know Joe throws in every nonsense hot button in the intro to his 'environment' page?

"We should not have to worry when grandfathers take their grandkids to a favorite fishing hole the streams are contaminated with dioxin; or when students turn on a faucet at school, they swallow arsenic; or that acid rain is showering us – especially when corporate responsibility could prevent it." – Senator Joe Biden

As scientists and readers of know, dioxin is essentially a non-issue -- in massive doses it can cause chloracne in people. Remember this?

Environmentalists save Ukranian presidential candidate? Someone apparently tried to poison Ukranian presidential candiate Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin. But why would anyone use dioxin as a poison? A heavy dose of dioxin may gradually cause a very bad case of chloracne, a condition which is transient. If it's true that someone tried to poison Yushchenko with dioxin, then it must be assumed that the miscreant had been duped by environmentalist propaganda, which claims either that dioxin is "the most toxic manmade substance" or "one of most toxic substances known to man." Either way, such propaganda is demonstrably wrong. Dioxin, in fact, is not terribly toxic to humans -- remember the lesson that taught Ben & Jerry's! Environmentalists have always been lousy scientists -- Yushchenko is living proof.

The arsenic beat up was pretty funny really, in sufficient dose arsenic is poisonous and sustained dosing at high but sub-toxic levels can certainly damage health (arsenic poisoning is a serious issue in Bangladesh, where natural water supplies are loaded with arsenic by natural run-off from the Himalayas) but the levels squabbled about in American drinking water standards were merely the difference between "really safe" and "really, really safe". What hand-wringers either don't know or conveniently omit to mention is that there are more (natural) toxins in an organic fruit bowl than in all the water you can drink in a day and that is of no consequence to people -- we, like all herbivores, have evolved mechanisms to deal with the defensive toxins produced by food plants. In the same way we can deal with the low amounts of arsenic naturally present in many water sources (arsenic is actually an essential trace nutrient).

And the acid rain thing? Silly from the get-go:

British acid rain helps our trees, says Norway - British acid rain is good for Norway's trees, says a Norwegian scientific study. It wipes out damage caused by pollution from local industry and has helped the country's forests spread by a quarter in recent decades. The report, by the state-run Norwegian forestry research institute, says that acid rain has been unfairly demonised. Svein Solberg, of the institute, said: "After 15 years' research, it is now clear to us that, as far as forests are concerned, our fear of acid rain was totally unfounded. "What we have found is that Norwegian forests have had a growth rate of some 25 per cent over the past 15 years and that acid rain is the reason." (Daily Telegraph)

And, in case you worry about gorebull warming, 'acid rain' is a good guy there, too:

Chinese acid rain may combat greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies, new Open University research shows - As the world’s attention focuses on Beijing and China for the Olympic Games, criticism of the pollution levels around the city continues.

Now, new research, led by Dr Vincent Gauci of The Open University, indicates that related atmospheric pollution may have a beneficial side-effect – in combating methane emissions from rice, of which China is the world’s biggest producer.

Dr Gauci says: "We found that acid rain rates of sulfate pollution can reduce rice paddy emissions of methane - a gas that is 21 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

"It happens during the stage of the lifecycle when the rice plant is producing grain. This period is normally associated with around half of all methane emissions from rice and we found that simulated acid rain pollution reduced this emission by 25 per cent.

"We had similar results when exposing natural wetlands to simulated acid rain but this could be more important since natural wetlands are mostly located far from major pollution sources, whereas for rice agriculture, the methane source and the largest source of acid rain are both in the same region - Asia, says Dr Gauci.

"We need to do further research but it looks like there could be a combination of processes at work. One line of investigation we’d like to confirm is that the sulfate component of acid rain may actually boost rice yields. This might, paradoxically, have the effect of reducing a source of food for the methane producing microorganisms that live in the soil.
(Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences)

Biden on Climate Change (.pdf, 23.3 KB) shows 'Junkscience Joe' to be an early gorebull warming hysteric and that he has learned nothing in the last couple of decades.

The 'consensus' and the 'unaware': Experts sound global warming alarm at U.S. Senate session in R.I. - NARRAGANSETT — Global warming isn't just about polar bears.

Witnesses testifying Thursday at a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said effects of the controversial environmental phenomenon are being felt right now in Rhode Island and particularly in Narragansett Bay. According to those witnesses, the effects could have dire implications.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who chaired the hearing, warned that information questioning the existence of global warming or its connection to human activity “is part of an effort to fool people.” That effort entails labeling those who buy into global warming as “eccentric scientists or wacky environmentalists,” Whitehouse said.

Under the committee's rules, only invited individuals are allowed to speak, with no input from the public. When Whitehouse was asked after the session why no skeptics were invited to testify, the senator said he is not aware of any “climate change deniers” in Rhode Island. (Woonsocket Call) [em added]

All Senator Whitehouse had to do was consult any of the dozens of scientific skeptics from Rhode Island who signed the Oregon Petition expressing dissent on man-made climate fears.  See R.I. Scientists here. -- h/t Marc Morano

From our indefatigable correspondent, Dennis A.:

The latest talk about settled science (CCSP USP), prompted me to dig this piece out:

Stabilising climate to avoid dangerous climate change — a summary of relevant research at the Hadley Centre, January 2005

  • What constitutes ‘dangerous’ climate change, in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, remains open to debate. (my emphases) 
  • Once we decide what degree of (for example) temperature rise the world can tolerate, we then have to estimate what greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere should be limited to, and how quickly they should be allowed to change.  (how would they  know?)
  • These are very uncertain because we do not know exactly how the climate system responds to greenhouse gases. (They never tell that to the media)
  • The next stage is to calculate what emissions of greenhouse gases would be allowable, in order to keep below the limit of greenhouse gas concentrations. This is even more uncertain, thanks to our imperfect understanding of the carbon cycle (and chemical cycles) and how this feeds back into the climate system. (Great model outputs from incomplete and imperfect data...)

This is just three and a half years ago, and of course the science was settled.

Way back in 1997, Bob Watson  (now Tyndall Strategy Director and Chief Scientific Advisor to DEFRA), was saying the same thing at Kyoto.

"...the only news reports that appeared in the local press had to do with statements issued by Robert Watson, newly elected President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Waston was asked in a press briefing about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN that man-induced global warming is real and promises cataclysmic consequences.

Watson responded by denigrating all dissenting scientists as pawns of the fossil fuel industry. "The science is settled" he said, and "we're not going to reopen it here." (Dennis A.)

IPCC Author Selection Process Plagued by Bias, Cronyism: Study
Written By: James M. Taylor
Published In: Environment & Climate News
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

The selection of authors for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose 2007 assessment report is often referred to as the definitive consensus regarding climate science, has been riddled with bias and cronyism, falling far short of the broad scientific consensus by which IPCC describes itself, reports a new study by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

"The IPCC is a single-interest organization, whose charter directs it to assume that there is a human influence on climate, rather than to consider whether the influence may be negligible," lead author John McLean, an Australian researcher, observes in the study.

The study documents that instead of seeking input from a wide array of scientists representing a broad swath of the scientific community, IPCC's climate science assessment is dominated by a small clique of alarmists who frequently work closely with each other outside the IPCC process.

At Conference on the Risks to Earth, Few Are Optimistic - The goal of the conference is to foster “a science without secrets and without borders,” mixing disciplines and cultures, in the hopes of propelling breakthroughs. (New York Times)

Only Andy would expect optimism at a gathering of professional pessimists.

Geoengineering Madness - “When in doubt do nowt” was how I heard it growing up in rural England. Nowt is dialect for nought. J Whyte-Melville expressed it formally in 1874 as, “When in doubt what to do, he is a wise man who does nothing.”

But the degree of certainty promoted by the IPCC and adherents to the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory has effectively cancelled doubt.

As a result things are being said and actions taken even by supposedly wise men that only underline the dangers inherent in lack of understanding. Often these actions contradict the arguments on which they are based.

Irony heaps on irony in the climate debate as we are led down the path of certainty about the problem and the cause. We now have people who blame humans for causing global warming and climate change taking deliberate action to cause cooling and counteract climate change. So, the solution to human interference is more human interference. Sadly, this assumes that you know what you’re doing that the problem is correctly identified and you’re prepared to accept the responsibility and deal with the outcome of your actions. (Tim Ball, CFP)

How not to measure temperature, part 69 - Two weeks ago I posted about a story from the Orange County Register titled Urbanization Raises The Heat in Orange County. It was front page news that day, on Friday, August 8th. (Watts Up with That?)

Cryosphere Today Makes Changes - Improves product, drops Gore comment - In the thread where we have examined the visual discrepancies in sea ice report that concerned a number of people, William Chapman of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign joined in the discussion today. Mr. Chapman is the man responsible for maintaining the popular Cryosphere Today website, which shows sea ice extent data and visuals for both the Arctic and Antarctic. I asked him a some questions about the website and he graciously responded within the hour. (Watts Up With That?)

Seth Boringtheme is at it again: At top of Greenland, new worrisome cracks in ice - WASHINGTON — In northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming, new satellite images show a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a major glacier, scientists said Thursday.

And that's led the university professor who spotted the wounds in the massive Petermann glacier to predict disintegration of a major portion of the Northern Hemisphere's largest floating glacier within the year.

If it does worsen and other northern Greenland glaciers melt faster, then it could speed up sea level rise, already increasing because of melt in southern Greenland. (AP)

Although he did eventually manage: "University of Colorado professor Konrad Steffen, who returned from Greenland Wednesday and has studied the Petermann glacier in the past, said that what Box saw is not too different from what he saw in the 1990s: "The crack is not alarming... I would say it is normal.""

This is interesting: Argentina: drought has killed 700.000 cattle and delayed sowing - A severe drought in central north Argentine provinces has caused the death of 700.00 livestock, hampered milk production and delayed sowing wheat and sunflower in other regions of the country, according to farmers’ organisations leaders. (Mercopress)

The most severe southern South American drought in years and not a single mention of gorebull warming.

Geoffrey Lawrence: NH climate task force would trample individual rights - Residents of New Hampshire could soon have their ability to choose how they live, how they travel and what they buy taken away from them.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is currently considering a large basket of costly new taxes, subsidies and regulations designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. They include statewide restrictions on zoning, housing development, energy use, industrial processes and transportation. (Union Leader)

The World's Leading Climate Scientists, in Their Own Words
Author: Review by Jay Lehr, Ph.D.
Published by: The Heartland Institute
Published in: Environment & Climate News
Publication date: September 2008

The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud
By Lawrence Solomon
Richard Vigilante Books, 2008, 240 pages
$27.95, ISBN 978-0980076318

Editor's note: The July issue of Environment & Climate News published H. Sterling Burnett's review of the groundbreaking new book The Deniers. The book is so important, and so universally acclaimed, that we believe it merits additional analysis. The following review, by Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr, Ph.D., provides further insights to supplement Dr. Burnett's analysis of the book.

Get your copy and help at the same time.

D'oh! Red faces at department's green HQ - The headquarters of the government department responsible for slashing buildings' carbon emissions has emerged as among the least energy-efficient. (The Guardian)

Flat heads after flat screens: Flat-Screen TV Gases May be Added to Climate Fight - ACCRA - New greenhouse gases emitted in making flat-screen televisions or some refrigerants might be capped under a planned UN treaty to combat global warming, delegates at UN talks in Ghana said on Friday. (Reuters)

Butterflies at lowest level due to wet summer - Butterfly numbers may be at their lowest ever summer level. A wet and miserable summer with very little sunshine has dashed hopes of a recovery following a wash-out breeding season last year. (Daily Telegraph)

RSPB to protect nature reserve by surrendering marshland to the sea - The RSPB is to sacrifice part of Titchwell Marsh, on the north Norfolk coast, to protect its freshwater marshes and reedbeds, which are at risk of being being destroyed by the erosion of sea defences and rising sea levels. The charity said that climate change was one of the reasons for going ahead with the scheme. (The Times)

Modeling the Effects of Historical Vegetation Change on Near-Surface Atmosphere in the Northern Chihuahuan Desert by Beltran-Przekurat et al. - The published version of our paper Beltrán-Przekurat, A., R.A. Pielke Sr., D.P.C. Peters, K.A. Snyder, and A. Rango, 2008: Modelling the effects of historical vegetation change on near surface atmosphere in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. J. Arid Environments, 72:10, 1897-1910, doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2008.05.012 has appeared. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Can a dose of recession solve climate change? (Larry Elliott, The Guardian)

An the answer is: absolutely not, all it can do is increase human suffering and probably pollution levels but it cannot adjust the global climate. Stupid proposition altogether.

Where The Global Warming Hoax Was Born (.pdf) - This story has been on the record for some time, but has just come to our notice. It all started with Margaret Mead, in 1975, calling for a "Law of the Atmosphere". (NZ Climate Science)

Politics and policy on climate change don't mix - You can't blame politicians for being wary about levelling with the voters. From Norman Tebbit's exhortation to the unemployed in Thatcher's Britain to get on their bikes to Malcolm Fraser's observation that life wasn't meant to be easy, unpalatable truths don't go down so well.

And that was in the class-bound politics of the 1970s.

Now, in the era of post-materialism, the politician's tendency to avoid being the bearer of bad tidings has become more pronounced.

Labor is still basking in the glow of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and burnishing its environmental credentials while pushing ahead with the task of introducing emissions trading in 2010.

But there is a growing disconnect between the politics and the policy of climate change.

The Rudd Government is eschewing telling Mr and Mrs North Ryde what saving the planet will mean for them.

Emissions trading will reach into every nook and cranny of the economy, changing the prices of all manner of goods and services with flow-on effects for incomes and jobs.

Yet so far this has been largely a business story as industry groups have highlighted the economic impact of the design choices cabinet is pondering. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Rudd thrown an emissions time bomb - AUSTRALIA'S business leaders have thrown a political time bomb into the Rudd Government's lap. Business rejection of the Government's emissions trading system model has lethal consequences. It signals that Australia is moving into dangerous territory for individual corporates, the economy and investor confidence. The analysis unveiled yesterday by the Business Council of Australia says the Government's ETS green paper "leaves too much scope for uncertainty for business to continue to invest in existing and new facilities". This warning constitutes a degree of commercial threat dangerous for any government to ignore. (The Australian)

Storm warning - BUSINESS has put the Rudd Government on notice: it needs to revise its emissions trading strategy to avert a crisis for corporate balance sheets and the nation's economic health. Climate change, the dream political issue for Kevin Rudd at the 2007 election, has been transformed into a political and policy nightmare.

Make no mistake, the Rudd Government is now trapped by its pledge to proceed with an emissions trading scheme by 2010, before most of the rest of the world and, in particular, ahead of most of our trading partners. It faces a dilemma with no escape: it must either alienate the green lobby and climate-change believers to whom it has pandered, or proceed without sufficient support from corporate Australia in the teeth of warnings about corporate financial risk.

The second option is unthinkable. The entire point of emissions trading is not to combat greenhouse gases, it is to establish a reduction trajectory at minimum harm to Australia's economy and competitiveness.

This duality is the key to success. Any Australian climate-change policy that seriously damaged our economy would be seen as a global and domestic failure, not a success. (The Australian)

Climate response must protect jobs: Getting too far ahead on an ETS is bad economic policy - IT is neither desirable nor remotely feasible, Ross Garnaut wrote in his interim report in June, "to seek to lower the climate change risk by substantially slowing the rise in living standards anywhere, least of all in developing countries." As Professor Garnaut noted, Australians would not accept such an approach. This is why the Business Council of Australia's "real world" analysis of the economic consequences of the Rudd Government's proposed emissions trading scheme is so effective and devastating. (The Australian)

Oh... Michael McCarthy: A simple plan to save the world - The world has often been changed by a piece of technology that appeared obscure to the generation in whose time it was invented. What are those things called? Stirrups? And you do what, you put your feet in them? But then you can... swing your sword a lot harder... and not fall off? Oh I see.

Nobody had heard of the nuclear chain reaction when Leo Szilard, the Hungarian-American physicist who had worked out how to trigger it, wrote to the American President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1939, warning of its potential consequences (and because nobody had heard of Leo Szilard, he got Albert Einstein to co-sign his letter).

Eventually, the letter landed on Roosevelt's desk, and so began the process of America acquiring the atom bomb before the Germans or the Japanese could build one for themselves. But the concept remained entirely obscure, until it burst upon the world at Hiroshima six years later. If you'd mentioned nuclear fission in the mean time among the general public, you'd have been met with blank looks. Nobody knew what it was. And so it is today with carbon capture and storage. (The Independent)

There is no gain in throwing away 30-40% of energy generation capturing, compressing, transporting and injecting carbon dioxide. It is in fact criminally denying the biosphere a valuable and scarce resource.

Rise in landslides linked to climate change - IRELAND AND much of northern Europe is seeing an increasing number of landslides, coinciding with more extreme weather patterns, according to the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). (Irish Times)

As it happens we did a scatter plot of temperature versus precipitation for Armagh Observatory a few years back, which conclusively shows these to be independent variables. Overall trends are slightly warmer and wetter since the end of the Little Ice Age but years are frequently cold and wet or cold and dry or they are warm and wet or warm and dry (both the wettest and driest years were similar temperatures while the warmest and coldest years had similar precipitation). We have no doubt more landslides are observed nor that there is a great deal more infrastructure vulnerable to said slides but the lack of correlation between temperature and precipitation fails to support the contention of more extreme weather patterns.

Those concerned 'global warming' is increasing storminess might like to access The Storminess Record From Armagh Observatory, Northern Ireland, 1796-2002 (here for the .pdf version). For the impatient, here are their conclusions:

Very significant variations in storminess have been recorded over the last 200 years for Armagh observatory despite the sheltered inland nature of the site. This includes evidence for increased storminess at the end of the Little Ice Age. However, there is no evidence of increased storminess over the last 30 years. When similar records from other Irish stations are examined, there is some evidence of a possible northwards movement of the storm tracks that have affected the island of Ireland over the last 30 years.

No Trend in Drought or Floods - It is often said by warming alarmists that a) global warming will increase both extremes of droughts and floods and b) that we already see these conditions accelerating (ie with California droughts and this year's midwestern floods). (Climate Skeptic)

Look at this rubbish: New UN-backed reports warns of costs of inaction on climate change – Government leaders must take urgent action to ensure that weather-related hazards, which are becoming more intense and frequent due to climate change, do not lead to a corresponding rise in disasters, a new United Nations-backed report released today said. (UN News)

Who says extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and/or intense?

Here's a career believer: Climate change is real, compelling and urgent - Björn Lomborg has been a persistent global warming naysayer and his claims misrepresent my findings (Gary Yohe, The Guardian)

Upper Wisconsin and Minnesota Forecast: Frost and Freeze Before Labor Day - We’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence of a cooler than usual summer in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This one caught my eye though, because I can’t ever recall of hearing a freeze warning being issued for this region before Labor Day. (Watts Up With That?)

Could get worse... or better, depending: Global Warming Could Hurt Ski Resort Values - Study - CHICAGO - Global warming could be the next factor to affect property values, at least in areas near ski resorts, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. (Reuters)

Awful August has delayed this year's harvest but global warming is not to blame - Atrocious weather has seriously delayed the harvest this year – by now oil seed rape, barley and oats should already have been gathered.

The delay could mean either a loss in yield or drop in quality, with a subsequent fall in income for farmers for the second year running.

But this is not a symptom of so-called ‘global warming’. (Daily Mail)

True, in fact we are not even sure the world is warming.

Weather Icon - “Warming Has Stalled” - John Kettley is one of the UK’s iconic weathermen - he has even featured in a UK pop song which reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart. Kettley used to work for the Met Office, but he is now famous as BBC Radio 5 Live’s “intrepid weatherman”, appearing mainly on ‘Breakfast’ between 6 and 9 am.

He is also an intrepid Yorkshireman, having been born in Todmorden in West Yorkshire, and, like all Yorkshiremen, he likes to tell it as it is, which is precisely what he has done today with respect to Britain’s lousy summer weather [‘Awful August has delayed this year’s harvest but global warming is not to blame’, Daily Mail, August 24]: (Global Warming Politics)

No, you are not all going to die from warming - I doubt any shire in Australia has tried as hard as Mornington Peninsula’s to terrify ratepayers about global warming. The shire has even sent all residents a booklet, Climate change: What we are doing about it (no link), that warns that many of them could die from global warming over the next few decades: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Polar bears found swimming far from land - EDMONTON --Nine polar bears found swimming 20 to 100 kilometres off the northwest coast of Alaska last week represent another sign that the rapid retreat of ice in the Arctic is forcing bears to make dangerous, long-distance swims to get to land or ice, scientists and environmentalists say. (Canwest News Service)

Obvious question: how often have such surveys been undertaken in the past?

Climate conference sees progress on plan - ACCRA, Ghana - Delegates at a key UN climate conference made headway yesterday on a plan to encourage developing countries to regulate carbon emissions by focusing on their largest industries.

The emerging plan sidesteps objections from countries like India and China, which refuse to accept national targets for the overall emission of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

How to get developing countries to commit to reducing pollution levels has deeply divided countries seeking to craft a new climate change agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The meeting of 1,600 delegates and environmentalists from 160 countries was the third conference this year working on the accord, due to be adopted in Copenhagen in December 2009. (Associated Press)

UN Climate Talks Split Over Deforestation Funds - ACCRA - A 160-nation UN climate conference in Ghana split on Friday over ways to pay poor countries to slow deforestation, blamed for producing up to 20 percent of the greenhouse gases caused by human activities. (Reuters)

They didn't know these schemes are all scams? Schemes to offset carbon 'overpriced and unfair' - Britain's booming carbon offset industry is riddled with inconsistencies and clashes of interest that have caused a "crisis of legitimacy" which threatens to dissuade consumers from contributing to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, leading academics claim today.

The rapid growth in the offsetting market, which last year more than doubled it global income to in excess of £165m from individuals and companies paying to reduce the impact of activities such as flying, has produced an unregulated and at times overpriced industry. There are wide disparities in the way the amount of carbon dioxide produced is calculated and the charge demanded from consumers. (The Independent)

T. Boone Pickens wants your water - Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens is about to make a killing by selling water he doesn’t own. As he does it, it will be praised as a planet-friendly wind project. After he pulls it off, the media will deride it as craven capitalism. In truth, it is one the most audacious examples of politics for profit, showing how big government helps the biggest business steal from the rest of us. The plotline behind Pickens’ water-and-wind scheme is almost too rich to believe. If it were a movie script, reviewers would dismiss it as over-the-top. (Timothy P. Carney, Examiner)

Pickens Gives New Meaning to 'Self-Government'; Is T. Boone Pickens 'Swiftboating' America?

California County Weighs Push for Offshore Drilling - SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Almost 40 years ago, a major oil spill off the coast here helped launch the environmental movement. Now, some in this wealthy seaside community are trying to sway the energy debate again -- this time in favor of offshore drilling.

On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors will decide whether to urge California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "consider a change in policy that would allow expanded oil exploration and extraction in our county." Supporters and opponents expect the board to approve the measure on a 3-2 vote.

The county board doesn't have jurisdiction over offshore drilling, which is banned by the state and federal governments. But the vote could have a symbolic impact at a time when offshore drilling is gaining favor because of high gasoline prices. (Wall Street Journal)

Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas - New technology is pushing down prices and reversing conventional wisdom that U.S. fields were in decline. (New York Times)

Critics: Canada's oil boom an environmental bust - Extracting oil from Canada's open-pit mines poses unacceptable risks to the region's rivers and forests, critics of the projects say. (Associated Press)

Mean Green - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to be increasingly frustrated with environmental groups that insist he not move towards a compromise on offshore drilling for oil and gas. Their opposition has left Democratic incumbents enduring an uncomfortable August recess at town-hall meetings where public sentiment clearly favors drilling.

Mr. Reid is trying to negotiate a compromise solution with the "Gang of Ten," a bipartisan group of senators who want to attach highly limited offshore drilling to a grab-bag of funding for alternative energy sources.

But Mr. Reid is also frustrated by the roadblocks environmental groups are putting up against so-called clean energy. No permits for solar energy projects on federal land have been issued since 2005, partly because of opposition from environmentalists. The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have sued to block various "clean" energy projects on the grounds they might kill birds (windmills), erode animal habitat (solar power) or block scenic views (geothermal transmission lines). (Wall Street Journal)

World Bank increases fossil-fuel funding despite pledge - Once the new Tata Ultra Mega power plant in western India is fired up in 2012 and fully operational, it will become one of the world's 50 largest greenhouse-gas emitters. And the World Bank is helping make it possible.

A year after World Bank President Robert Zoellick pledged to "significantly step up our assistance" in fighting climate change, the development institution is increasing its financing of fossil-fuel projects around the globe. (Bloomberg News)

Actually there's no conflict in so doing. People's best defense against a hostile environment (which includes climate) is development, itself dependent on reliable, affordable power. While power generation has nothing to do with climate or weather events it most assuredly assists people in making their immediate environment more benign. More power to the bank and more (electric) power to the people.

Venezuela supports production oil cut if prices continue to fall - Venezuela will sponsor an oil production cut at the next OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting in September if prices continue to fall, cautioned Energy minister Rafael Ramírez in Caracas.

Crude prices have fallen more than 30 US dollars since their peak of 148 US dollars per barrel earlier this year on worries that a slowdown in the US and EU economies could reduce global energy demand.

“If there is a continued decline in the price we should evaluate a production cut and that is the position we will take to the meeting” said Ramírez.

“What we cannot permit is a collapse in the price of oil.”

He said OPEC should avoid allowing undue increases in oil inventory levels and described current levels as “good.” (Mercopress)

China's first commercial nuclear power plant installed - HANGZHOU, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) Workers on Friday hoisted a 335-tonne steam generator into place over the underground workshop of the Qinshan nuclear power complex, the first commercial nuclear power facility in China. (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX)

Nuclear waste containers likely to fail, warns 'devastating' report - Environment Agency reveals thousands of holders do not meet basic specifications for storage and disposal (The Independent)

UK risks climate leadership over dirty coal, say US groups - The British government risks scuppering a global deal to cut emissions if it presses ahead with a new generation of dirty coal power, says a powerful coalition of US scientists and environmentalists. (The Guardian)

Vinyl Window Shades Are Not Going To Make You Fat - Increasingly, environmental journalism is taking on the color of naivety. Take this entry in Plenty Magazine’s “Your Daily Green Bit,” written by Jessica A. Knoblauch, which focuses on the risks of phthalates in vinyl window shades: (Trevor Butterworth, Stats)

Measles Returns - There has been an upsurge of measles cases in the United States, mostly because of parents’ misguided fears of vaccinations. The number is still relatively small — but climbing. In the first seven months of this year, 131 cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than during the same period in any year since 1996. No deaths were reported, but at least 15 patients were hospitalized.

Most people have forgotten, but measles was once an uncontrolled scourge that infected three million to four million Americans annually. Victims typically suffered a rash, fever and diarrhea, but severe cases could lead to pneumonia or encephalitis. In bad epidemic years, some 48,000 Americans were hospitalized, 1,000 more were chronically disabled, and 400 to 500 died.
Israel, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Britain are reporting sizable outbreaks of measles among populations that have refused vaccination. Although vaccination rates remain high in this country, some experts fear that they may be starting to drop. Because it is so contagious, measles is one of the first diseases to reappear when immunization coverage declines. If confidence in all vaccines were to drop precipitously, many diseases would re-emerge and cause far more harm than could possibly result from vaccination. (New York Times)

Trial Bar Tales - A man who blamed his compulsive gambling and the losses he incurred on a prescription drug was awarded nearly $8.2 million by a jury. It's a good bet that his jackpot comes at the expense of others. (IBD)

Is bariatric surgery really a cure for sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is one of the criteria used to support the ‘medical necessity’ of bariatric surgeries. To qualify for insurance coverage by many major insurers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and, for many years, to have surgery covered through Medicare disability, even those with moderate obesity (BMI≥35) could be a candidate if their surgeon said they had a “serious obesity-related morbidity, such as obstructive sleep apnea.”

Is bariatric surgery actually an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and can OSA even really be attributed to obesity? (Junkfood Science)

Bariatric surgery for babies - Here’s a well-done website that everyone who cares about the growing epidemic of fat babies should check out: Please give careful consideration to its arguments and supportive evidence before deciding if surgery is right for your baby. To see if your baby qualifies, Dr. Jeffery describes his revolutionary new diagnostic technology: (Junkfood Science)

The Cancer Personality Myth - Blame and guilt are the most tragic and hurtful results of today’s popular beliefs in mind-body wellness. No matter how many times research has shown that a “cancer personality” is a myth, the belief persists that a negative outlook, depression, anger, stress or fatigue can increase our risks for cancers... and that a positive mental outlook will keep us well. (Junkfood Science)

Robotic Perfection — Free people are imperfect - Author Kathleen Parker observes that having China host the Olympics may have been a wise decision for unexpected reasons. She reminds us to remember the lessons of history. This is a profound article warning where we could be being led in the name of perfect health and bodies, and in the war on obesity.

I don’t want to spoil it by excerpting, as her entire article is important reading. Writing in the Star Express, she begins: “Even as China's opening ceremonies for the Olympics inspired awe, there was something repellent in the exactitude of such mass perfection...” (Junkfood Science)

Greenpeace dumps boulders in North Sea to prevent trawling - Greenpeace has sailed into a mini-storm of annoyed marine biologists after dropping massive granite boulders into the North Sea in an attempt to disrupt fishing. Last week the ship the Beluga II began dropping the first of 150 granite rocks weighing 2 to 3 tonnes onto the seabed.

Unsurprisingly fishermen were not happy and more surprisingly some marine biologists have joined them in condemning the group. Conservationist Mark Powell was one of the first to tackle the issue of what has become known as “eco-sabotage”.

“I don't like eco-sabotage, it tends to polarize issues and turn off people who might otherwise support conservation. I doubt this action will be effective in stopping fishing, and if it does work it is equivalent to taking the law into one's own hands, which is a very slippery slope leading towards very bad things”, warned Powell. (Mercopress)

BAE drops plans to make 'green bullets' - Britain's biggest arms manufacturer has abandoned plans to produce 'green bullets' two years after promising major investment in ecologically sound weaponry. British Aerospace had wanted to produce bullets tipped with tungsten instead of lead but sources say that higher production costs made the venture unprofitable. (The Observer)

Devils Hole Pupfish, Saved by Court in ’76, Is at Brink in ’08 - AMARGOSA VALLEY, Nev. — No doubt, it’s hard to be a fish in a desert. But, to the dismay and bafflement of scientists, the Devils Hole pupfish, a quick-darting iridescent blue minnow, are veering toward extinction. (New York Times)

'Saved' in '76? No, merely used as another tool of the misanthropists then. Granted this obscure niche-dweller is on the edge (such is the nature of niche-dwellers) but whether people can or should do anything about it is another matter entirely.

Food, Fuel and Water Crises Converging - STOCKHOLM, Aug 22 - A spectre is haunting the cities and villages of most developing nations, warns a senior official of a World Bank-affiliated organisation.

"It's the spectre of a food, fuel and water crisis," says Lars Thunell, executive vice president of the Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group.

"I believe we are at a tipping point," he said, because the scarcity of water poses a threat to the food supply just when the agricultural sector is stepping up production in response to riots over food prices, growing hunger, and rising malnutrition. (IPS)

Charles's fantasy farming won't feed Africa's poor - A return to organic peasantry will feed only affluent angst. To take on global hunger, genetic modification is crucial. (Paul Collier, The Guardian)

Biggest Desalination Plant in W.Hemisphere Gets OK - LOS ANGELES - Plans for the biggest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere received final California state approval on Friday, clearing the way for construction to start next year and for the plant to open north of San Diego in 2011. (Reuters)

August 22, 2008

The Real Population Bomb - It’s been 40 years since Stanford University population biologist Paul Ehrlich warned of imminent global catastrophe in his book The Population Bomb. As it turns out, the book was aptly, though ironically, named. (Steven Milloy,

Intel Moves to Free Gadgets of Their Recharging Cords - SAN FRANCISCO — Intel has made progress in a technology that could lead to the wireless recharging of gadgets and the end of the power-cord spaghetti behind electronic devices.

It says it has increased the efficiency of a technique for wirelessly powering consumer gadgets and computers, a development that could allow a person to simply place a device on a desktop countertop to power it. It could bring the consumer electronics industry a step closer to a world without wires. (New York Times)

I'm thinking imminent howls from the tinfoil underwear crowd... Some people have long been convinced that electrickery stuff is dangerous and have blamed EMFs for childhood leukemia, fertility problems, lung cancer, sleep disorders... in fact you name a morbidity and it is likely someone has blamed EMFs for it. Cordless gadgets are handy and deliver safety benefits but these guys are going to have to market carefully and be prepared for loony lawsuits from the metallic millinery brigade.

Again with the wrong analogy: Insurance for our planet - Spending money now to slow global warming can ensure that ruinous catastrophe never happens (Oliver Tickell, The Guardian)

The cost of implementing carbon constraints is literally $trillions, agreed? Now, the cost of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is simply hysteria and fraud perpetrated by carbon scammers -- there is no known physical problem but there are obvious benefits for the biosphere. Would you pay premiums for an insurance policy which offered no return, no positive outcome whatsoever but guaranteed to reduce your (and everyone else's) standard of living? That is the policy offered by warmers and at huge premium rates. Even if CO2 could do trillions of dollars damage there would still be no advantage in making people less affluent and less able to protect themselves from worsening conditions so attempting to address the phantom menace will always be all pain for no gain. Some insurance policy...

Speaking of carbon scams: Carbon funds slow frenetic growth - The credit crunch, uncertainty over the future of UN carbon offset markets and the upcoming US election have combined to slow growth in carbon funds in 2008, according to Environmental Finance magazine. Despite the slowing, however, the explosion of carbon markets underway in recent years still sees carbon funds growing 63 per cent so far this year. (Carbon Positive)

Can this be right? Californians Wary Of Costs Of Going Green – Survey - LOS ANGELES - Most Californians won't support the state's ambitious efforts to fight global warming if they lead to sharply higher energy costs, according to a survey commissioned by a pro-business group released Thursday.

Sixty-three percent of 1,000 registered California voters surveyed this month said they supported the goal of cutting greenhouse gases, but that support fell to 47 percent when the question included the likelihood of higher energy costs.

"This is an example of when you add the potential costs of the potential solutions, voters are going to back off from their support of ideals," said Alex Evans, president of EMC Research, which conducted the survey.

About 80 percent of the respondents said they had not heard about California's landmark legislation passed in 2006 and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that mandates a cut of global warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020. (Reuters)

Four-fifths of Californians are unaware Arnie and the Dipsticks signed them up for big energy price rises?

More On Cognitive Dissonance - Throughout history, many competing cults have attempted to predict dire catastrophes for the Earth. With respect to these cults, the key psychological and sociological question is: “What happens when the predictions fail?” Following on from yesterday’s post [see: ‘Cognitive Dissonance’, August 19], in which I analysed the growing gap between a hot media obsessed with ‘global warming’ disasters and a world in which the climate is currently cooling, I thought it might be helpful to explore the phenomenon of ‘cognitive dissonance’ further. (Global Warming Politics)

Suicides increase due to reading atrocious global warming research papers - I had the knife at my throat after reading a paper by Preti, Lentini, and Maugeri in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2007 (102), pp 19-25; thanks to Marc Morano for the link to World Climate Report where this work was originally reported). The study had me so depressed that I seriously thought of ending it all. (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Climate Change In Yosemite? - YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK -- Scientists predict that climate change will mean more rainfall and less snow in Yosemite in the next 50 years. If that happens, they say, one of the nation's premier outdoor destinations could experience problems -- including severe floods in winter and spring, plus dry wells in the summer. (McClatchy)

All this panic and 'research' spawned by the fantasy output of PlayStation® climatology...

India’s future climate: No cause for alarm - The most recent climate change documents of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations Body of scientists) project increasing frequency of extreme weather events like droughts/floods, heat waves, escalating sea level rise etc. as the earth's surface continues to warm due to increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) resulting from world-wide human activity.

This article summarises the present state of the global warming and climate change science and concludes that for India as a whole, climate change impacts in future would be minimal and can be sustained with suitable adaptation strategy. The article further suggests (as an adaptation strategy) more efforts to be directed towards development of operationally useful technique for seasonal prediction of monsoon rainfall which is the most important climate event for the country as a whole. (Dr Madhav L Khandekar, Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies)

Melting Arctic Ocean opens new shipping frontier - BARROW, Alaska — Rapidly melting ice on Alaska's Arctic is opening up a new navigable ocean in the extreme north, allowing oil tankers, fishing vessels and even cruise ships to venture into a realm once trolled mostly by indigenous hunters.

The Coast Guard expects so much traffic that it opened two temporary stations on the nation's northernmost waters, anticipating the day when an ocean the size of the contiguous United States could be ice-free for most of the summer.

"We have to prepare for the world coming to the Arctic," said Rear Adm. Gene Brooks, commander of the Coast Guard's Alaska district. (Associated Press)

A lot of people getting very excited and likely bound for disappointment -- we have zero reason to believe there has been or soon will be any significant changes in the Arctic or that Arctic ice will disappear. The Sun has been ominously quiet which suggests that Arctic conditions will get more severe, not less so.

The world can feed its people, but developing countries will need help - Mankind will continue to be fed and fuelled through the age of climate change if we make the right choices, writes Patrick Cunningham (Irish Times)

Well yes, likely this is true -- provided we are prepared for cooling as well as a possible warming. After all, while warming is good for the biosphere cooling is not and it makes feeding the population much harder.

Australian Space Weather Agency Pushes Solar Cycle 24 Ahead 6 months - IPS announced today (IPS is the Australian Space Weather Agency) , that it has changed its forecast for Solar Cycle 24, pushing it’s start into the future by six months.

The announcement came on the IPS web page, today, on the day that two small cycle 23 sunspots have started to appear near the solar equator. Many had expected more cycle 24 spots to be visible by now, but the sun remains quiet, and has been producing more cycle 23 spots than cycle 24 spots so far since the first cycle 24 spot was seen on January 4th, 2008 (Watts Up With That?)

Scientists disagree over lack of sunspots - The current cycle of the sun is taking a long time to start, triggering different explanations, writes Mark Lawson.

Despite being dismissed by a number of scientists as of little consequence to the present discussion of climate change, the issue of the sun's activity - or apparent lack of it - has been the subject of considerable debate in recent months. Scientists who concern themselves with the fledgling subject of space weather (changes in the sun's emissions) have been wondering where all the sunspots have gone, when they might come back and what effect this will have on climate. (AFR via CO2sceptics)

New clues to air circulation in the atmosphere - Air circulates above the Earth in four distinct cells, with two either side of the equator, says new research. The new observational study describes how air rises and falls in the atmosphere above the Earth's surface, creating the world's weather.

This process of atmospheric circulation creates weather patterns and influences the climate of the planet. It is important to understand these processes in order to predict weather events, and to improve and test climate models.

Previous theories have claimed that there are just two large circular systems of air in the atmosphere, one either side of the equator. These theories suggested that air rises at the equator and then travels towards either the north or south polar regions, where it falls. (Imperial College London)

Just two cells? Hmm... northern & southern Hadley, Ferrel and Polar Cells always seemed like more than 2 cells to me... Perhaps they mean a previously unrecognized region of ascending moist air, which would be significant (and make the models even worse in their misrepresentation of the atmosphere). I need to check their paper in Science for more detail.

Everything Settled (Except the Bill) - Here we go again with the “settled science” doubletalk.

The science of AGW is settled . . . unless, that is, you suggest that the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for climate-related research might be used in more productive ways (say, by letting taxpayers keep it). Then the story becomes: no…no, we desperately need billions more to look into the grave uncertainties. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Still trying to figure out the carbon cycle: Tropical rivers enhance carbon sequestration - Surface plumes transport fresh water discharged by large rivers, such as the Amazon, hundreds to thousand of kilometres away from the coast. The nutrients carried by the plumes contribute to enhanced primary production in the ocean, which ultimately leads to carbon sequestration.

Until now, scientists have been unsure as to exactly how productive river plumes were because they contain very low concentrations of nitrate – an essential nutrient for most phytoplankton. But according to new sampling experiments in the Northwestern Tropical Atlantic, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria play a crucial role in enhancing the productivity of large tropical river plumes. The result could have implications for carbon sinks associated with river plumes around the world, making it important for regional carbon budgets. (PNAS)

The real Ice Age of the Amazon rainforest - We do not yet fully understand the rainforest's glacial past – but we may soon be dealing with the legacy of the warmer future (Richard Hamblyn, Times Literary Supplement)

Europe's Leading Industrials Will Discuss the Threat of Carbon Leakage at `Energy Intensive Industries and Climate Change' in Brussels, Belgium, 25 - 27 November 2008 - LONDON, August 21 -- Integer, a leading business consultancy in the area of global emissions regulations, today announced its latest conference targeted at Europe's energy intensive Industries and EU Policy makers. 'Energy Intensive Industries and Climate Change' will be held in Brussels on 25-27 November. The aim of this independent conference is to provide energy intensive industries with exclusive insight into how other sectors are demonstrating their exposure to external competition at this time of regulatory uncertainty. As energy intensive industries express concern about how the new EU climate change and energy proposals will impact on their competitiveness, the conference will host high level discussions on minimizing carbon leakage of European industry. (PRNewswire)

Adjusting for climate change a shared task - Climate change is something we're going to have to learn to live with and adapt to.

No matter what shape Australia's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme finally takes or what emission targets are agreed internationally, our climate will keep changing well beyond the end of my lifetime. (Canberra Times)

The above statements by Andrew Ash are perfectly true. Sadly, after such a factual start Ash goes postal, blathering about AGW, enhanced greenhouse and computer-generated disaster fantasies. It's what CSIRO pays him to do, I guess.

Position vacant: Climate System Modeller - In order to answer key questions of Earth system dynamics under global change, we develop a new Earth system model of intermediate complexity (including atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, land and ocean biosphere, continental ice sheets and ice shelves, and biogeochemical cycles) as well as a global model of changing land use (including biophysical growth potential and agro-economics).

... It is expected that all senior scientists contribute actively to the acquisition of additional research funds for their group. (

So, this active contribution, that would mean churning out a stream of scare stories for media and politicians then?

Forecasting based on climate change is delusional - The main role of media nowadays is to market scares which cause us to worry for a while and then move on to a different problem. If society is not consumed with fear about being wiped out by some new disease, it is fretting about nuclear Armageddon, a meltdown in house prices or, as in recent weeks, the climate apocalypse.

This process has little about it that one could call rational. Very often, the scare rapidly evaporates without trace, leaving behind a total information vacuum and no sense of closure. (John Waters, Irish Times)

As climate talks resume; India accuses UN of bias - NEW DELHI: With the next round of international climate change negotiations set to start from Thursday in Accra, Ghana, enough signals have emerged that the talks may not make any substantial headway.

But it could see sparks fly with India out to stub any attempts by Japan, EU and US to firm up an agenda against it and China. Speaking to TOI , Yvoe De Boer, the man in the hot seat as the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said, "It would be difficult to discuss national targets (for GHG gas reductions) before the next US administration is in place." (Times of India)

Warming threatens crucial Himalayan water resources, forum told - Climate change poses a serious threat to essential water resources in the Himalayan region putting the livelihoods of 1.3 billion people at risk, experts said Thursday.

The mountainous region, home to the world's largest glaciers and permafrost area outside the polar regions, has seen rapid glacial melting and dramatic changes in rainfall, experts at the World Water Week conference in Stockholm said.

"Himalayan glaciers are retreating more rapidly than anywhere else in the world," said Mats Eriksson, programme manager for water and hazard management at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. (AFP)

Well, it for sure isn't temperature, since the air temperature is below freezing so best guess at the moment would be reduced precipitation, perhaps due to changes in the monsoon induced by the Asian Brown Cloud? Urgent development and provision of affordable baseload power would seem to be the cure.

This statement we can endorse: 'Clock ticking' on global warming: UN climate chief - Time is running out in the fight against global warming, the UN's top climate change official warned as a new round of UN talks got started here Thursday. (AFP)

The clock is certainly running out on the gorebull warming scare and scammers are going to need a new scheme to defraud the populace as the world continues to behave in manners not modeled.

A 1,000-year, Annually-Resolved Record of Hurricane Activity From Boston, Massachusetts by Besonen et al. - There is a new paper which uses paelo-data to extend the record of hurricane activity back before the historical record. The paper is Besonen, M. R., R. S. Bradley, M. Mudelsee, M. B. Abbott, and P. Francus (2008), A 1,000-year, annually-resolved record of hurricane activity from Boston, Massachusetts,Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L14705, doi:10.1029/2008GL033950. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

SOUTH AFRICA: Measuring the Carbon Footprint of Fruit and Wine - CAPE TOWN, Aug 21 - In an effort to stay competitive in a global market where increasing demands are made by consumers for 'green' products, South African fruit and wine farmers have launched an initiative to determine the environmental impact of their industries. The research could challenge the idea that exported products from the developing world have a higher environmental cost.

Consumers around the world are becoming more aware of how their choices affect climate change, and there is often a perception that food products that have travelled vast distances have a higher impact on the environment than locally produced foods because of the fuel spent in transporting them.

But transport emissions and 'air miles' are only part of the picture, say researchers, and it is important to look at the overall impact the product has on the environment through its entire life cycle. It is this impact that has become known as the carbon footprint. (IPS)

ANALYSIS-US Climate Exchange Farm Deals Raise Questions - NEW YORK/LONDON - The largest US greenhouse gas emissions market has paid farmers millions of dollars in the name of fighting climate change, but the money may have done little, if anything, to slow global warming. (Reuters)

Voters Want Everything on Energy - WASHINGTON -- Voters are crying out for more solar and wind energy -- but that doesn't mean they are opposed to drilling for more oil at the same time, according to a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll.

The poll's findings suggest any political advantage Democrats or Republicans hope to get from the national debate over energy policy will depend on how skillfully they package their positions. Democrats have opposed expanded offshore drilling and stressed alternatives to oil. Republicans have called for expanding oil exploration to areas currently off limits. Leaders in both parties have begun scrambling for ground somewhere in the middle, where a big chunk of voters appear to stand. (Wall Street Journal)

All the Oil We Need - WHILE oil prices have declined somewhat of late, the volatility of the market and the political and religious unrest in major oil-producing countries has Americans worrying more than ever about energy security. But they have little to fear — contrary to common understanding, there are robust stockpiles of oil around the globe that could see us through any foreseeable calamities on the world market. (New York Times)

Drillers face tighter safety, water rules - The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Wednesday adopted new rules tightening safety and drinking water protections at drilling sites. In two days of deliberations, the commission provisionally passed 50 new rules to help manage Colorado's natural-gas drilling boom. "We are trying to balance development of oil and gas with better protections of health and environment," said David Neslin, the commission's acting director. Industry groups, such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Petroleum Association, remain opposed to the rules. "As we have said before, as proposed, these rules are unnecessary, costly, foster business uncertainty and go well beyond the intent of the Colorado General Assembly," according to a statement by Meg Collins, president of the oil and gas association. (Denver Post)

Defund Enemies By Drilling For Energy - Russia's invasion of neighboring Georgia has revealed the West's major weakness: Our dependence on questionable governments around the world for oil, the very lifeblood of our prosperity. So what do we do?

Rather than shrugging, as Congress' defeatist Democrats would have us do, or groveling, as much of Western Europe seems content to do, America should seize its energy future now — by opening drilling not just in a few selected areas off our coasts, but everywhere there might be oil.

Offshore, onshore, in the Arctic, in the Caribbean, in the oil-rich waters off California, deep in the mountain shale deposits of the Far West — wherever oil is, we should be getting it out. (IBD)

Petroleum gives Putin the power - Perhaps money can't buy love, but it can certainly purchase power. So as oil prices have been rising, the major oil-producing nations have been gaining clout.

Petroleum is no ordinary source of wealth. It is -- or has become -- a strategic resource: People in the West can no longer do without it. A sudden restriction in the supply would produce wrenching changes in our way of life. Lacking fuel, our military would cease to function. In the midst of a global conflict against militant Islamist regimes and movements, that's a problem.

Russia holds the world's largest natural gas reserves and the eighth largest oil reserves -- energy on which Western Europe has come to depend. Russian strongman Vladimir Putin appears to have thought long and hard about how to exploit these facts. (Scripps Howard News Service)

Merkel Taking Lead Role In Shaping Europe's Line - BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is emerging as a pivotal player in reshaping the West's relations with Moscow.

In the wake of Russia's military intervention in Georgia, Ms. Merkel's skeptical view of Russian foreign policy is gaining ascendancy over other German policy makers' longstanding hopes for a special relationship with Moscow. That is creating in European capitals a new critical mass that views Russia as a problem rather than a partner.

For years, the EU has been split among founding members such as Germany, France and Italy, which were reluctant to offend Russia, and new entrants from Central and Eastern Europe, which saw Russia as a threat.

Big questions remain over what Germany and Europe can do to tame a Russia emboldened by its oil and natural-gas riches and determined to regain some of the geopolitical influence it lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Wall Street Journal)

Buffett, Gates, Mutant Fish Frame Oil Sands Debate - CALGARY - In the high-stakes battle between the oil industry and environmentalists over the image of Canada's oil sands, it appears a pair of multibillionaires beats a two-mouthed fish. (Reuters)

Millions face more misery as gas and electricity bills soar by 29% - Millions of households face yet more financial misery after two power companies yesterday revealed price rises of up to 29 per cent. Scottish & Southern Energy - which has 8.8million customers - is raising the cost of gas by 29.2 per cent and electricity by 19.2 per cent from Monday. And the 5.5million homes signed up to E.On will see their gas bills go up 26 per cent and electricity prices by 16 per cent from today. (Daily Mail)

Good thing the LibDems won't get a say: Clegg reveals his grand vision on renewable energy - Nick Clegg will today unveil plans to make Britain an exporter of green energy by 2050, as he called for a programme "on the scale of the Apollo moon landings" to transform Britain's dependence on foreign oil, gas and coal supplies.

In an interview with The Independent, the Liberal Democrat leader demanded the scrapping of new nuclear and coal-fired power stations, instead proposing the establishment of a renewables delivery authority to oversee a massive expansion of wind, solar and wave energy, funded by guaranteed premium prices for green energy. (The Independent)

Air Travel Carbon Offsetting Too Crude - Critics - LONDON - Air travellers may be fooling themselves with a feel-good green glow from offsetting their carbon emissions, according to critics of the system. (Reuters)

May be?

9/11 collapse mystery solved: scientists - US investigators say they have solved a mystery of the September 11, 2001 attacks: the collapse of World Trade Centre building 7, a source of long-running conspiracy theories. (The Age) | NIST WTC 7 Investigation Finds Building Fires Caused Collapse

Better insulation? Like asbestos, perhaps?

U.S. measles cases at highest point since 1996 - NEW YORK - From January to July 2008, a total of 131 measles cases were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest number seen during the same 7-month period since 1996. Nearly half of the cases involved patients who were not vaccinated because of their parents' philosophical or religious beliefs. (Reuters Health)

Fat Chance - A ban on new fast-food restaurants in south Los Angeles doesn’t address the real causes of obesity.

At a time when public officials across America are finding creative ways to combat the “obesity epidemic,” the Los Angeles City Council has decided to try a radical approach: it is seeking to regulate the number of fast-food restaurants in the mainly low-income neighborhoods of south Los Angeles through zoning controls. Permits for fast-food restaurants will not be issued in a 32-square-mile section of the city. Though the ban is only effective for one year, it is renewable for two six-month increments—and its sponsors are hoping to make it permanent. Other cities, New York in particular, are considering whether to adopt similar regulations.

The fast-food ban has been promoted as an economic development plan designed to bring more dining options to the community, such as sit-down restaurants and supermarkets. Its supporters cite the high obesity rates in south Los Angeles. (Approximately 30 percent of south L.A. residents are obese, in comparison to 21 percent in the rest of L.A. County and 25.6 percent nationwide.) They believe the fast-food ban will help reduce obesity and also save taxpayer money, since obesity places enormous costs on the California state Medicare system.

However, critics compare it to a mandate that everyone eat salads and lose weight. Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and William Saletan of Slate have examined the racial and socioeconomic implications. As Bader points out, many civil rights groups that support the fast-food ban were outraged when a Domino’s Pizza franchise refused to deliver to certain neighborhoods. Saletan criticizes the City Council for “depicting poor people…as less capable of free choice.” Others complain that the ban defies economics. Both fast-food and sit-down restaurants are being asked to ignore their own economic interests. As the California Restaurant Association notes, if the south L.A. market demanded sit-down restaurants, they would already be there. (Sara Wexler, The American)

Myth propagation: Obesity gobbles up $58bn a year - THE fat epidemic is costing Australia $58 billion a year - almost three times more than previously estimated, a new report says. Access Economics has recalculated the burden of obesity on the nation based on shocking new statistics showing one in four adults is obese. The new report, released at a government forum in Tasmania today, shows the full cost to be $58 billion, far exceeding the $21 billion bill estimated in 2006. (AAP)

Killer carbs -- Monash scientist finds the key to overeating as we age - A Monash University scientist has discovered key appetite control cells in the human brain degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight-gain as we grow older. (Monash University)

JFS Special: Health marketing from the CDC - Our government’s National Center for Health Marketing hosted its second National Conference on Health Communication, Media and Marketing* this past week in Atlanta, Georgia. The most interesting and helpful aspects of this conference are the history of this relatively new agency, which is behind our government’s preventive health messages, and the sponsor of this conference, which reveals the level of credibility behind so much public health information. (Junkfood Science)

Changing of the guard — bringing timely food for thought - Both the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Canadian Medical Association held nothing back when they spoke at their annual meeting in Montreal this week. The passionate messages they delivered on behalf of doctors from across Canada brought some startling realities to what’s been happening behind the scenes in healthcare. Their experiences and statistics could be important for the United States, too, but mainstream media here has been nearly silent on this information. (Junkfood Science)

Getting In Our Heads - The power of persuasion. Psychologists say they have it and aim to use it to persuade us that we need to be more sensitive to protecting the Earth.

But that's putting it mildly. If we were looser with our words, we'd say the 148,000-member American Psychological Association plans to condition the public so that, in the words of Douglas Vakoch, clinical psychologist at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, today's "increased environmental concern" won't "become just another fashionable trend."

Among the agenda items from the group's meeting last week in Boston, USA Today reported, were stepped-up "efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet."

"We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do," association president and Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin told the newspaper. "We know what messages will work and what will not."

To that end, USA Today says, APA leaders want to launch a "national initiative specifically targeting behavior changes, including developing media messages that will help people reduce their carbon footprint and pay more attention to ways they can conserve. They want to work with other organizations and enlist congressional support to help fund the effort."

Rather than bully, browbeat and brainwash, the group would be of better service if it tried to determine why so many Americans have bought into the global warming nonsense. But then, falling for hip fads is likely just human nature, especially in rich nations that can afford such indulgences. (IBD)

There’s another word for ‘water neutrality’: death - The demand that we should be ‘water wise’ shines a light on what lies behind the politics of environmentalism: shame at our existence. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

The green threat to reason - Ian Plimer, warming sceptic and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne, fears for reason: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Eco-police find new target: Oreos - What do Oreo cookies made by Nabisco, Cheez-It crackers from Kellogg's or General Mills' Fiber One Chewy Bars have to do with global warming and the destruction of tropical rainforests? A lot, say environmental activists.

The link between the supermarket shelf, climate change and shrinking rainforests is palm oil, a controversial ingredient that may now be the most widely-traded vegetable oil in the world.

Here's the problem: Demand for palm oil, which is found in soaps and cosmetics as well as food, has more than doubled in the last decade as worldwide food consumption has soared. Farmers, in turn, are expanding their plantations, burning forests in Indonesia and Malaysia, where nearly all of the palm oil imported to the United States originates. Deforestation is the primary reason that Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions are the third-highest in the world. (Fortune)

August 21, 2008

Skeptics win one! NOAA/NCDC to pull the CCSP report - Regular readers may recall on August 1st a posting where I stated my views on the NCDC report being produced by Dr.’s Karl and Peterson of NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) called Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. They also had a little help from Susan Hassol, writer of the HBO Special Too Hot Not to Handle, produced by none other than Laurie David. That explains the “emotionally based graphics” in a science document. (Watts Up with That?)

NOAA's Crock - The NOAA/Climate Change Science Program “Unified Synthesis Product,” which I previously noted, and upon which EPA has indicated it intends to rely to support its GHG regulations, has had its plug pulled — for now. Here’s how and why. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Bloggers post Health Canada climate change report on the web - Upset about the Conservative government's decision not to post on the Internet a major report warning about the health effects of climate change in Canada, bloggers have taken upon themselves to make it widely available. (Marianne White, Canwest News Service)

Hmm... the question is why would you want to choke the net with fanciful nonsense like that?

Dem's Platform Includes Slush Fund For Soros - The Democratic Party platform is like a bag of pork rinds. You never know what high-fat liberal government morsel you're gonna get.

Buried in the 94-page document is a noble-sounding proposal to create a "Social Investment Fund Network." The program would provide federal money to "social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations (that) are assisting schools, lifting families out of poverty, filling health care gaps and inspiring others to lead change in their own communities."

The Democratic Party promises to "support these results-oriented innovators" by creating an office to "coordinate government and nonprofit efforts" and then showering "a series of grants" on the chosen groups "to replicate these programs nationwide."

This brainchild of Barack Obama would serve as a permanent, taxpayer-backed pipeline to Democratic partisan outfits masquerading as public-interest do-gooders. This George Soros Slush Fund would be political payback in spades. (Michelle Malkin, IBD)

He supports ads in the US to block drilling, meanwhile... Soros Hedge Fund Bought Petrobras Stake Worth $811 Million - Billionaire investor George Soros bought an $811 million stake in Petroleo Brasileiro SA in the second quarter, making the Brazilian state-controlled oil company his investment fund's largest holding.

As of June 30, the stake in Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer is known, made up 22 percent of the $3.68 billion of stocks and American depositary receipts held by Soros Fund Management LLC, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Petrobras has since slumped 28 percent. (Bloomberg)

Saboteurs gaining ground: Group says investor support for climate change resolutions is on the rise - CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Support for climate-change proposals may be growing among investors in big U.S. companies.

Shareholder resolutions related to climate change more than doubled over the past five years, according to statistics gathered by a coalition of public interest groups, environmental organizations and pension funds. Moreover, the coalition, Boston-based Ceres, says support for those measures averaged more than 23 percent in 2008, a new high. (Associated Press)

II: Green Activists: Thank Heaven for $4 Gas - Green shareholder activists wrangling to get big corporates to clean up their act are celebrating their best year ever. The big reason: high energy prices. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

More pleas for global governance: The Climate of Climate Change - CAMBRIDGE – While George W. Bush has begun to acknowledge the risks of global climate change, his administration failed to lead on the issue for eight years. That may change after the 2008 American election. Both presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, promise to take climate change more seriously.

Emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that accumulates in the atmosphere and is a major cause of rising temperatures, is a byproduct of a wide range of normal economic activities. And, because CO2 emissions are what economists call a “negative externality” – emitters do not bear the full cost of the damage that they cause – there is little incentive to reduce them. (Joseph S. Nye, Real Clear World)

Wrong on just about every count. About the only thing of which atmospheric carbon dioxide can fairly be accused is flourishing life on Earth. Those liberating previously sequestered carbon, hitherto lost to the biosphere, are providing a service by helping to feed humanity and preserve wild space at the same time (which would otherwise go under the plow in an attempt to feed people). Liberators receive no payment for this service, it is merely a helpful byproduct.

Joseph then goes on to allude to smoking (funny how AGW freaks have a fetish with tobacco) and health care costs but he has that bass-ackwards, too. The simple, blunt truth of the matter is that when smokers do fall ill at end of life then they do not linger and their relatively rapid mortality saves buckets on health care costs. If I recall correctly Philip Morris took some stick in Europe for highlighting studies demonstrating exactly that but it is true that smokers are not a financial burden on health care.

It seems Joseph is actually in a real clueless world and he has no idea what he is talking about.

Protection racket: Scientists urge US to protect economy from climate - NEW YORK, Aug 20 - Eight scientific organizations urged the next U.S. president to help protect the country from climate change by pushing for increased funding for research and forecasting, saying about $2 trillion of U.S. economic output could be hurt by storms, floods and droughts.

"We don't think we have the right kind of tools to help decision makers plan for the future," Jack Fellows, the vice president for corporate affairs of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of 71 universities, told reporters in a teleconference on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Circulation and Land Surface Influences on Convection in the Midwest U.S. “Corn Belt” during the Summers of 1999 and 2000 Parts I and II by Carleton et al. 2008 - Two significant papers have appeared which provide additional demonstration of the role of landscape as a first order climate forcing. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

This Year So Far Coolest For at Least 5 Years - WMO - LONDON - The first half of 2008 was the coolest for at least five years, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday.

The whole year will almost certainly be cooler than recent years, although temperatures remain above the historical average.

Global temperatures vary annually according to natural cycles. For example, they are driven by shifting ocean currents, and dips do not undermine the case that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing long-term global warming, climate scientists say. (Reuters)

True, the AGW case has already been severely undermined by the failure of the southern hemisphere to demonstrate any warming, that of the northern hemisphere is not much to write home about either. In fact we expect to see the anthropogenic enhanced greenhouse signature in the 3-decade global mid-troposphere record but do not.

Brrr! Farmers' Almanac says cold winter ahead - Households worried about the high cost of keeping warm this winter will draw little comfort from the Farmers' Almanac, which predicts below-average temperatures for most of the U.S.

"Numb's the word," says the 192-year-old publication, which claims an accuracy rate of 80 to 85 percent for its forecasts that are prepared two years in advance.

The almanac's 2009 edition, which goes on sale Tuesday, says at least two-thirds of the country can expect colder than average temperatures, with only the Far West and Southeast in line for near-normal readings.

"This is going to be catastrophic for millions of people," said almanac editor Peter Geiger, noting that the frigid forecast combined with high prices for heating fuel is sure to compound problems households will face in keeping warm. (Associated Press)

Consistent With Chronicles: A New Record - As we’ve documented here on many occasions, some climate scientists like to assert that recent observations of weather and short-term climate are “consistent with” predictions from climate models (see also this essay). (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Why sceptical scientists do it tougher - Another scientist tackles the global warming orthodoxy - but not before he’s had to clamber over some interesting barriers: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Oslo 2008, 33rd IGC: geologists are skeptical (The Reference Frame)

Aerosols Impact On Australia's Climate - CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research scientist, Dr Leon Rotstayn, says the influence aerosols have on climate is still one of the 'great unknowns' in climate science.

"We recently identified that the extensive pollution haze emanating from Asia may be re-shaping rainfall patterns and monsoonal winds in northern Australia. Establishing the impacts of aerosols across the rest of the country presents a new research challenge," Dr Rotstayn says.

He was speaking on the eve of 'Something in the Air', an international workshop organised by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology through the Australian Climate Change Science Program and that has attracted 60 participants. At the centre of workshop discussions on August 18 and 19 will be a just-published review in the International Journal of Climatology of how aerosols could be influencing climate in Australia. (SPX)

Conversation at Cato Unbound - Lead Essay: Keeping Our Cool: What to Do about Global Warming by Jim Manzi

Reaction Essays:

» A Small Cost Will Avoid a Catastrophe by Joseph Romm

» Reducing Vulnerability to Climate-Sensitive Risks is the Best Insurance Policy by Indur Goklany

» The New Climate Center: How Technology Could Create a Political Breakthrough by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

Backwards to the Future - Oxfam was once a charity set up to provide famine relief. It was hard to criticise without looking a bit mean. It is now a gigantic international NGO which influences the direction of policy towards and within the developing world. Like many other organisations, it has found a new way of arming itself by capturing anxieties about climate change. Where once there were ambitions for people in the third world to enjoy Western standards of living, now the voice of the voiceless instead celebrates the primitive lifestyles that the worlds poorest people suffer. (Climate Resistance)

Center for Climate Strategies in Black & White - I've reported repeatedly how the Center for Climate Strategies, which has been hired in many states to manage greenhouse gas reduction commissions created by governors, claims they are objective consultants and have no environmental advocacy interests. However, the Form 990 tax returns for their parent organization (Enterprising Environmental Solutions, Inc.) tell a different story, as I've also reported.

Well, it's one thing to tell an audience something is so; it's even better when you can show them. (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

No? Duh! Carbon plan 'would close businesses' - THE Business Council of Australia warns of company closures and huge profit downgrades if the Rudd Government goes ahead with its planned carbon emission trading scheme. (AAP)

Eye-roller: New US president will help climate change fight: Australian PM - WELLINGTON - The next US president will provide fresh impetus to the fight against global warming, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday.

Both candidates for the November US election, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, had advised him that they would take action on climate change, Rudd told a conference in Auckland. (AFP)

UN Climate Talks Seek Quicker Pace, Plug 2050 Gaps - OSLO - More than 150 nations meet in Ghana from Thursday trying to speed up sluggish talks on a new climate treaty and plug big gaps in a "vision" of leading industrial nations of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Reuters)

Oh... Devastating climate change not some far-off spectre - THEY SAY the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. We can now add a third item to that list: climate change. (Irish Times)

Yes, climate change is inevitable -- always. That, however, has next to nothing to do with carbon dioxide since there has been far more greenhouse warming potential from available greenhouse gases since before Man discovered how to utilize fire:

"Partly because the infrared absorption bands of the various components of the atmosphere overlap, the contributions from individual absorbers do not add linearly. Clouds trap only 14 percent of the radiation with all other major species present, but would trap 50 percent if all other absorbers were removed (Table D2 and Figure D1). Carbon dioxide adds 12 percent to radiation trapping, which is less than the contribution from either water vapor or clouds. By itself, however, carbon dioxide is capable of trapping three times as much radiation as it actually does in the Earth's atmosphere." (V. Ramanathan and J.A. Coakley, Jr., “Climate Modeling Through Radiative-Convective Models,” Review of Geophysics and Space Physics 16 (1978):465.)

Freidenreich and colleagues have reported the overlap of carbon dioxide and water absorption bands in the infrared region. "Given the present composition of the atmosphere, the contribution to the total heating rate in the troposphere is around 5 percent from carbon dioxide and around 95 percent from water vapor. In the stratosphere, the contribution is about 80 percent from carbon dioxide and about 20 percent from water vapor." (S.M. Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264)

Earth's net greenhouse effect and mean surface temperature is not now and has not ever been limited by the availability of greenhouse gases while Earth has had an atmosphere.

South Pacific Leaders Warned on Economy, Climate - ALOFI, Niue - South Pacific leaders opened their annual summit in Niue on Tuesday with a warning that climate change was causing havoc to island states and that their struggling economies were continuing to falter. (Reuters)

Yes, the coconut economies are broken but that has nothing to do with 'climate change'.

Too funny: Many think it's too late for climate, survey finds - Ten per cent of New Zealanders believe it is too late to do anything about climate change, a new survey reveals. The figure has alarmed campaigners trying to spread the message that everyone can do their bit for the environment. (New Zealand Herald)

Climate cranks have been screaming 'crisis' and now they are upset some people believe them :)

Study: People rank global warming lower than local environmental issues - The US public, while aware of the deteriorating global environment, is concerned predominantly with local and national environmental issues, according to results from a recent survey. 'The survey's core result is that people care about their communities and express the desire to see government action taken toward local and national issues,' said David Konisky, a policy research scholar with the Institute of Public Policy and assistant professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, who conducted the study. 'People are hesitant to support efforts concerning global issues even though they believe that environmental quality is poorer at the global level than at the local and national level. This is surprising given the media attention that global warming has recently received and reflects the division of opinion about the severity of climate change.' (Environmental News Network)

Who says the global environment is deteriorating? And why would this result be surprising given the absurd hysteria of the media with regard to gorebull warming? ('Jackass' might have an audience but that doesn't make all viewers stupid and TV journalist credibility ratings have long been somewhere south of used car salesmen.)

News Good Enough to Bury - I got an e-mail the other day from a friend at the New America Foundation, a Washington public policy institute, inviting me to participate in a panel on “whether the media can handle good news — whether it’s on Iraq” or whatever.

I accepted, although there’s not much to discuss: the news media are lousy at good news (a virtual oxymoron).

In my lifetime, conditions have grown immeasurably better, freer and more prosperous for a majority of humanity, yet hand-wringing about the miserable remains the reflex mode for most coverage of planet earth. (Roger Cohen, New York Times)

Gorebull warming intolerant of other beliefs: Taiwan invokes greener 'Ghost Month' amid global warming - "Ghost Month" in Taiwan draws out devotees who prepare food offerings, burn incense sticks and ritual paper money, and set off firecrackers to honour their ancestors as well as wandering spirits.

According to folk tales, the gate of hell opens annually during this time -- the seventh month on the lunar calendar which this year falls in August, letting its dwellers come to the human world to feast.

But as concerns about the environment and global warming grow, authorities and religious groups are calling for a change to the old ways of worshipping.

"We can't ban a folk belief but we hope to change how it is practised to ease pollution and eventually to phase the habit out," said Hui-chuan, an official of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). (AFP)

The Idiocy of Energy Independence - It's amazing how ideas with no merit become popular merely because they sound good.

Most every politician and pundit says "energy independence" is a great idea. Presidents have promised it for 35 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were self-sufficient, protected from high prices, supply disruptions and political machinations?

The hitch is that even if the United States were energy independent, it would be protected from none of those things. To think otherwise is to misunderstand basic economics and the global marketplace. (John Stossel, Real Clear Politics)

Oil Companies Take a Punt on Offshore Ireland - DUBLIN - Oil and gas companies are stepping up exploration efforts off Ireland's coast, lured by an attractive tax regime and higher energy prices. (Reuters)

Iceland to Offer Offshore Oil and Gas Licenses - OSLO - With resource nationalism rising as fast as oil prices, Iceland is looking to provide international oil companies something they increasingly lack -- access to new areas potentially rich with oil and gas. (Reuters)

The Nancy Pelosi of Kansas - Detroit — Meet the Nancy Pelosi of the Great Plains.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, who remains on Barack Obama’s vice-presidential short list, was in Detroit on Tuesday to launch a woman-voter-outreach program for Barack Obama’s campaign. “I think many people in Michigan and Kansas and across the country really don’t know much about John McCain’s policies and how he has voted the last 25 years,” Sebelius said.

But Michiganders — and the country — may not be ready to embrace Sebelius’ radical green resume either.

Sebelius has spearheaded Kansas efforts to ban new coal plants, becoming the first state to reject new energy generation on health (read global warming) grounds. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

Gas hydrate in Asia, elsewhere: World's next great energy source? - Ice that burns? It sounds like a magician's trick. So do some of the exotic names given to gas hydrate -- "flammable sorbet", "crystal gas" and "burning ice". But recent scientific surveys and test drilling in Asia and elsewhere have proven that this substance exists in massive, potentially recoverable quantities and that it could be an important commercial energy source for the future. (Michael Richardson, Jakarta Post)

Researchers Isolate Microorganisms That Convert Hydrocarbons to Natural Gas - When a group of University of Oklahoma researchers began studying the environmental fate of spilt petroleum, a problem that has plagued the energy industry for decades, they did not expect to eventually isolate a community of microorganisms capable of converting hydrocarbons into natural gas. (

Australian "Hot Rocks" Offer 26,000 Yrs of Power - SYDNEY - Barely one percent of Australia's untapped geothermal energy could produce 26,000 years worth of clean electricity, scientists said, as the government announced a a A$50 million (US$43 million) project to help develop the technology.

Australia is the world's biggest coal exporter with coal used to generate about 77 percent of its electricity. Its reliance on coal for generating electricity makes it the world's biggest per-person polluter, with five times more emissions per head than China.

Except atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource, not a pollutant.

Bloomberg Offers Windmill Power Plan - In a plan that would drastically remake New York City’s skyline and shores, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is seeking to put wind turbines on the city’s bridges and skyscrapers and in its waters as part of a wide-ranging push to develop renewable energy.

The plan, while still in its early stages, appears to be the boldest environmental proposal to date from the mayor, who has made energy efficiency a cornerstone of his administration.

Mr. Bloomberg said he would ask private companies and investors to study how windmills can be built across the city, with the aim of weaning it off the nation’s overtaxed power grid, which has produced several crippling blackouts in New York over the last decade. (New York Times)

The Windmills Of His Mind - The mayor of New York City would put wind turbines atop the Brooklyn Bridge under a plan announced Tuesday at a "clean energy summit." Will there be an ocean wind farm next to the Statue of Liberty? (IBD)

NYC Mayor Expands Windmill Proposal to Cover all City Residents (Sam Kazman, CEI)

A better way to make hydrogen from biofuels - Researchers here have found a way to convert ethanol and other biofuels into hydrogen very efficiently. A new catalyst makes hydrogen from ethanol with 90 percent yield, at a workable temperature, and using inexpensive ingredients. (Ohio State University)

Chicken-of-the-Sea Headed Back to Court Over Mercury Poisoning - Tired of preemption in the medical device context? Let’s try tuna.

Tri-Union Seafoods, maker of Chicken-of-the-Sea brand tuna, took a hit yesterday when the Third Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals revived a class action brought against it by consumers who say they were never warned that excessive consumption could lead to mercury poisoning. The appeals court found that a lower court improperly dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was pre-empted by FDA regulations. (Dan Slater, WSJ)

Any idiot that consumes canned tuna almost exclusively for 5 years has a lot more to worry about than mercury. If consumers are that stupid then no amount of 'warnings' are likely to do any good.

What are you really buying? - No matter where on the planet you’re shopping, or if you're shopping virtually on the internet, you’ll find supplements promising to help you lose weight. Since they’re sold as being all natural, herbal or even homeopathic, it’s tempting to trust that they’re safe. Over recent months, health departments around the world have been issuing warnings to consumers about increasing numbers of weight loss supplements being found to be adulterated with prescription medications and hormones that can result in serious health risks. (Junkfood Science)

Gluttony - not laziness - to blame for obesity - Greed - not sloth - might be responsible for the obesity epidemic, according to research showing that we're doing just as much physical activity as we were in the early 1980s. ( news service)

Bad Medicine - India is a center for drug counterfeiting—a deadly business that is spreading to the United States and Europe. (Roger Bate, The American)

Nobel savages - Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize winner in economics who doesn't like capitalism or markets very much. This does not make him that unusual. The very first economics Nobel, Jan Tinbergen, admitted without embarrassment that he had always seen his academic task as making the case for socialism. The roster of laureates is filled with skeptics about Adam Smith's invisible hand. Mr. Stiglitz has claimed, for example, that the hand "is invisible, at least in part, because it is not there."

Throughout the twentieth century, much of the economics profession drifted towards "Welfare Economics," which emphasized not how markets worked, but how they "failed." Their creed was that governments, guided by smart economists like themselves, might -- nay, had to -- prevent, or compensate for, market shortcomings. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Intensity of human environmental impact may lessen as incomes rise, analysis suggests - The richer you are, the more of the world’s resources you can afford to consume. But in many parts of the world, rising incomes are not having the proportionate effect on energy consumption, croplands and deforestation that one might expect, a new 25-year study shows. (

Ah... watermelons: Political activism in a changed world - Political activism involving criminal acts can lead, years later, to deep regrets for a politician. That's been made amply clear by the resignation of the Dutch GreenLeft MP Wijnand Duyvendak. But while the rebellious acts of one politician can lead to his downfall, others suffer no consequences, and in some cases even benefit from a turbulent past. (Radio Netherlands) | More

Way to go, Bob! San Francisco Ponders: Could Bike Lanes Cause Pollution? - SAN FRANCISCO -- New York is wooing cyclists with chartreuse bike lanes. Chicago is spending nearly $1 million for double-decker bicycle parking.

San Francisco can't even install new bike racks.

Blame Rob Anderson. At a time when most other cities are encouraging biking as green transport, the 65-year-old local gadfly has stymied cycling-support efforts here by arguing that urban bicycle boosting could actually be bad for the environment. That's put the brakes on everything from new bike lanes to bike racks while the city works on an environmental-impact report.

Cyclists say the irony is killing them -- literally. At least four bikers have died and hundreds more have been injured in San Francisco since mid-2006, when Mr. Anderson helped convince a judge to halt implementation of a massive pro-bike plan.(It's unclear whether the plan's execution could have prevented the accidents.) In the past year, bike advocates have demonstrated outside City Hall, pushed the city to challenge the plan's freeze in court and proposed putting the whole mess to local voters. Nothing worked.

Mr. Anderson disagrees. Cars always will vastly outnumber bikes, he reasons, so allotting more street space to cyclists could cause more traffic jams, more idling and more pollution. Mr. Anderson says the city has been blinded by political correctness. It's an "attempt by the anti-car fanatics to screw up our traffic on behalf of the bicycle fantasy," he wrote in his blog this month. (Wall Street Journal)

Trees kill odors and other emissions from poultry farms - Planting just three rows of trees around poultry farms can cut nuisance emissions of dust, ammonia, and odors from poultry houses and aid in reducing neighbor complaints, according to scientists from the University of Delaware.

Study: Organic food not more nutritional - London -- If you've ever found yourself in your local supermarket agonizing about whether the organic apples will be a more nutritional and greener choice than the cheaper non-organic ones, you're probably not alone. (CNN)

Surprisingly CNN features this study pointing out the lack of evidence for any advantage from the 'organic' gimmick.

Prince Charles Promotes World Hunger - CHURCHVILLE, VA—Prince Charles of England has come out again against the genetically modified foods that are a key hope for producing the extra food needed by our richer, more populous world in the decades just ahead. He must know that, thanks to science, world grain production tripled during his lifetime, from about 700 million tons per year to nearly 2,100 million tons. This achievement was certainly not due to his elitist organic farming, which continues to yield about half as much per acre as conventional farming. For fifty years, we’ve even bombarded seeds with radioactive isotopes to force useful new seed mutations! (Dennis T. Avery And Alex Avery, CGFI)

August 20, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance - I must ask a very serious and urgent question of our media. Why do you continue to talk glibly about current climate ‘warming’ when it is now widely acknowledged that there has been no ‘global warming’ for the last ten years, a cooling trend that many think may continue for at least another ten years? How can you talk of the climate ‘warming’ when, on the key measures, it isn’t? And now a leading Mexican scientist is even predicting that we may enter another ‘Little Ice Age’ - a ‘pequeña era de hielo’. (Global Warming Politics)

Global Warming Skeptics Prominently Featured At International Scientific Meeting - A major international scientific conference prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. The International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Oslo, Norway, from August 4-14.

[The conference was criticized by the activists at (who apparently are threatened by any challenges to their version of ‘consensus' on global warming science) for being too balanced and allowing skeptical scientists to have a forum. RealClimate's Rasmus E. Benestad lamented on August 19 that the actual scientific debate during the conference "seemed to be a step backwards towards confusion rather than a progress towards resolution." ] (Right Side News)

AMS Linking Weather Events to Climate Change - I find it odd that I get criticism when I talk about weather events and the oft repeated maxim “weather is not climate” yet here we have the premiere meteorological organization doing exactly the same thing - pointing out extreme weather events. Yet, they don’t even mention the word “weather” in the context of the graphic, preferring the more worrisome but less accurate label of “climate anomalies”. (Watts Up with That?)

It’s the policies, not the warming, that will kill us - One of the most powerful reasons to doubt man is heating the world to hell is the need of the prophets to exaggerate what’s actually happening. Take Henry Derwent, chief executive of the International Emissions Trading Association, writing today in The Age: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Global Warming Not Linked To Increased Hurricane Activity - Despite a number of conflicting research findings, the general consensus among weather and climate researchers is that global warming, whether natural or man-made, is unlikely to increase the frequency of hurricanes in the years to come.

In consensus statements found on the Web site of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists involved note that, “Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.”

Indeed, according to Stanley Goldenberg, meteorologist with the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA, based in Miami, “Numerous hurricane meteorologists agree that the historical data has not produced any evidence of changes [due to climate change] in the number or intensity of hurricanes, particularly in the Atlantic Basin, and even globally. (Insurance Tech Guru)

Very assertive... On Man, Nature & Air Pollution - About three decades ago, it was reported that a correlation existed between wet winters in San Francisco and episodes of air pollution the following summer. Wet winters, it was hypothesized, led to greater plant growth, with an associated rise in natural, or biogenic, emissions. These biogenic emissions, it was held, caused the increase in air pollution. This hypothesis generated many headlines and cartoons along the lines of "Forests unsafe to walk in!" and "Trees are the source of air pollution." The idea that natural emissions were at fault for air pollution flew in the face of abundant evidence that human activities, particularly fossil- fuel combustion, are the source of air pollution. (Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, Daedalus)

... and not entirely correct. To begin with particulates from ocean surf have much more to do with this than is immediately obvious and research is continuing, as they say. Moreover plants are a huge source of natural-origin VOCs. Also as yet unsatisfactorily explained is why smog levels rise at weekends when commuter traffic is so much reduced (there is some thought that local heat generated by all those internal combustion engines increases convective activity in the local atmosphere and removes some smog ingredients from the formation crucible). Further, while Rowland and Molina were indeed awarded a Noble Prize they were quite wrong in their ozone destruction theory (for those who lack access).

New climate record shows century-long droughts in eastern North America - ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 19, 2008) – A stalagmite in a West Virginia cave has yielded the most detailed geological record to date on climate cycles in eastern North America over the past 7,000 years. The new study confirms that during periods when Earth received less solar radiation, the Atlantic Ocean cooled, icebergs increased and precipitation fell, creating a series of century-long droughts.

A research team led by Ohio University geologist Gregory Springer examined the trace metal strontium and carbon and oxygen isotopes in the stalagmite, which preserved climate conditions averaged over periods as brief as a few years. The scientists found evidence of at least seven major drought periods during the Holocene era, according to an article published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“This really nails down the idea of solar influence on continental drought,” said Springer, an assistant professor of geological sciences.

Geologist Gerald Bond suggested that every 1,500 years, weak solar activity caused by fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic fields cools the North Atlantic Ocean and creates more icebergs and ice rafting, or the movement of sediment to ocean floors. Other scientists have sought more evidence of these so-called “Bond events” and have studied their possible impact on droughts and precipitation. But studies to date have been hampered by incomplete, less detailed records, Springer said. (Ohio University)

Drivel of the day: Australian expert says sea levels to rise four metres - An Australian climate change expert says the world's sea levels could rise by up to four meters this century.

The head of the climate change unit at the Australian National University and science adviser to the federal Government, Professor Will Steffen, says he believes the scientific community is underestimating the speed at which the climate is changing. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Warming Climate Threatens Alaska's Vast Forests - KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Alaska - Here in a 13,700-year-old peat bog, ecologist Ed Berg reaches into the moss and pulls out more evidence of the drastic changes afoot due to the Earth's warming climate.

Rooting through a handful of mossy duff, Berg, an ecologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, shows remains of shrubs and other plants taking hold over the last 30 years in a patch of ground that has long been too soggy for woody plants to grow.

In other words, the ground is drying out, and the peat bog is turning into forest. (Reuters)

Major 'oops!' Greenland ice core reveals history of pollution in the Arctic - Records taken from a Greenland ice core showed pollution from coal burning in North America and Europe that traveled through the atmosphere and deposited in the Arctic Region was [50%-80%] higher 100 years ago, confounding researcher expectations that pollution was at its peak in the 1960s and '70s. (National Science Foundation)

Comments On The Physics Today Article “Will Desperate Climates Call for Desperate Geoengineering Measures?” by Barbara Goss Levi - There is an article on geoengineering of the climate system; Levi, B. G., 2008: Will desperate climates call for desperate geoengineering measures? Earth scientists ponder the wisdom of large-scale efforts to counter global warming. Physics Today, 61:8, 26-28. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Josh Willis Reply To My Weblog Of August 14 2008 - Josh Willis graciously replied to the Climate Science weblog of August 14 2008 entitled “An Odd Weblog By Josh Willis” on the JPL weblog site (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Unstoppable Solar Cycles - This video sets aside doomsday alarmism and political axe-grinding to look at the science behind the history of climate change on earth. An examination of early Viking colonies on Greenland, wiped out by a period of global cooling, enables scientists to draw important conclusions about our current phase in the climate cycle. What we learn in this program is that earth's climate is always changing - from The Middle Ages and the "Little Ice Age" to the modern warming that has been going on since 1850 (well before human-generated CO2 began increasing in our atmosphere.

Dr. Willie Soon, an Astrophysicist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Dr. David Legates, a Climatologist from the Center from Climate Research at the University of Delaware provide an easy-to-follow review of current climate science, which suggests that the sun's irregular patterns and other natural forces are the major sources of climate change.

Mexican Scientist Warns of 60 - 80 Year ‘Little Ice Age’ - Look out High Priest Al Gore and all you unthinking drones of the MDI* but it seems that the earth may be entering a “little ice age” and it will be decreased solar activity that will be the cause. Or so says a Mexican scientist in a recent article on the website Milenio. (Stop the ACLU)

Dark green barbarians - WHEN we look around the world and find that prosperity is rising strongly in some countries but not in others, seekers of the secret formula for success ask why. Lots of temporary causes come into play: oil discoveries, tourism fads such as safari experiences and even countries setting themselves up as tax havens. But these passing influences don't really tell us what overall government policy approaches will give a country its best chance of success in the prosperity stakes.

Since about 1990 a new body of economic thinking has attributed rising prosperity to the development and application of new ideas. These new growth theorists point out that if the history of the human race were represented by the length of a football field, then living standards were basically unchanged for the entire length of the field other than the last 5cm before the far goal line. But over that last few centimetres, living standards have increased astronomically.

This period of rapidly improving living standards began with the Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th century. New ideas were encouraged and a critical mass of thinkers and inventors was achieved. Enlightenment thinkers repudiated the mysticism and superstition of pre-Enlightenment Europe, advocating instead personal freedom, open, competitive markets and scientific endeavour.

David Hume, one of the Enlightenment figures, and a close friend of Adam Smith, summed up with his statement that a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. Isaac Newton understood the cumulative power of ideas when he said: "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." James Watt's steam engine ushered in the Industrial Revolution and the rest, as they say, is history.

Deadly diseases were conquered and life expectancy increased. Yes it was a blood-stained 5cm, fouled by slavery, the exploitation of child labour, two world wars, state-sponsored mass starvation and genocide. Yet through the period living standards rose inexorably.

But now mysticism and superstition are making a comeback. Their revival began in the '80s with attacks on economic rationalism. Rational economic thinking was condemned in favour of economic irrationalism: ongoing protectionism, deficit financing by printing money, maintaining airlines and banks in public ownership and expanding the role of the state in the commercial world through clever devices such as WA Inc and the Tricontinental merchant bank. (Craig Emerson, )

The most interesting thing about this is that it comes from one of K.Rudd's ministers and he for sure isn't sold on the wisdom of emissions trading or the whole misanthropic green charade.

From CO2 Science this week:

Buying Ourselves Some Breathing Room: There are better ways of attempting to slow global warming than mandating immediate economy-harming reductions of CO2 emissions.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 579 individual scientists from 346 separate research institutions in 38 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Longxi Area of the Northeast Tibetan Plateau, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Drought (Asia): Climate alarmists are always claiming global warming produces more frequent and more severe droughts. Are they correct?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Oilseed Rape, Olive Tree, Rice, and Woodland Sage.

Journal Reviews:
Antarctic Sea Ice Extent and Area: 1979-2006: How have the trends of the two parameters changed since their prior evaluations for the period 1979-1998?

Superstorms of the South of France: What are they? ... and why are they so important?

Primary Production in the Southern Ocean: 1997-2006: How did it change over the period of study?

The Failing Frogs of Eastern Australia: What is causing their demise? ... and why?

Finland's Managed Boreal Forests: How would they fare in a future world that climate alarmists claim would spell disaster for most of the biosphere?

Ozark, ARTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Ozark, AR. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Ozark's mean annual temperature has cooled by 1.79 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (

Oh boy... Birds can't keep up with climate change -- study - PARIS -- The habitats of wild bird species are shifting in response to global warming, but not fast enough to keep pace with rising temperatures, according to a study released Wednesday.

Researchers in France also found that the delicate balance of wildlife in different ecosystems is changing up to eight times more quickly than previously suspected, with potentially severe consequences for some species. (Agence France-Presse)

... from '89 through '06? Now, if they were talking the difference in the mean of say 1901-'30 as opposed the mean '71-2000 then just maybe they might have smoothed out inter annual variation and found a trend, although it would still be somewhat tenuous. '89-'06... Sheesh!

It’sa Getting Warmer—I’ma Gonna Killa Myself - Our ongoing quest for researchers making bizarre connections between (fill in the blank) and global warming frequently takes us to far-flung recesses of the library (or, more likely, dusty corner cobwebs of the World Wide Web). For this installment, we have uncovered some novel “climatology” being practiced in the Journal of Affective Disorders, a psychology journal “…concerned with affective disorders in the widest sense: depression, mania, anxiety and panic.” In a 2007 paper, provocatively entitled “Global warming possibly linked to an enhanced risk of suicide: Data from Italy, 1974–2003,” authors Preti, Lentini, and Maugeri argue that “global warming” has raised male suicide rates throughout the Boot. (WCR)

Japan to label goods' carbon footprints: official - Japan is planning to label consumer goods to show their carbon footprints in a bid to raise public awareness about global warming, an official said Tuesday. (AFP)

Pelosi Spins and Smears on Drilling - One major problem with politics -- as we've all probably figured out by now -- is that politicians view every human challenge as political in nature, meaning, particularly these last few years. Objective No. 1 in the political trade is sticking to it The Other Party.

What else could explain Democratic obstinacy and obfuscation over offshore oil drilling? The national interest certainly couldn't explain it. (William Murchison, Real Clear Politics)

BOEHNER: Madam Speaker ... - The House Republicans' unprecedented nationwide gas-prices protest is now in its third full week. My Republican colleagues and I have vowed to continue the historic uprising - in Washington and in communities across the country - until the House returns to session for a vote on the American Energy Act, our "all of the above" plan to lower gas prices. Whether that means ending the protest tomorrow or next month is up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. While the speaker used a radio address last weekend to unveil yet another flawed plan that will do little to lower gas prices, she remained silent about bringing Congress back to Washington from its summer recess to deal with the No. 1 issue on the minds of the American people. (John Boehner, Washington Times)

A ‘Safety Valve’ for Biofuels - Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected a request from the State of Texas to reduce the amount of biofuels that must be blended into gasoline over the next year. By rejecting the waiver request, the EPA has missed a golden opportunity to alleviate high global food prices. (Ted Gayer, The American)

Let go of the past and allow offshore oil drilling (George Skelton, Capitol Journal)

Dumb as it gets: London, Ont., to ban bottled water on city premises despite beverage industry protests - TORONTO - City councillors in London, Ont., have voted to ban the sale of bottled water on city premises despite protests from the beverage industry. (CBC)

Let's see, being a good citizen you've taken public transport when heading somewhere in town. You get thirsty during your day of errands. Mindful of health messages you try to buy a bottle of water. Not permitted. So you and the kids will have to have juice or soda instead and to heck with the fat police. Mixed message much?

Sanitized for your protection - There’s a growing movement to persuade us that medical blogs need to be regulated for our safety and protection. A paper published in this month’s online edition of the Journal of Internal Medicine has been the source of recent news stories, stating that blogs written by medical professionals pose a threat to patient privacy. But the larger claim is that the information could threaten the integrity of the health field and that professional organizations need to set standards for what is appropriate tone and content. (Junkfood Science)

Setting sights on the world’s largest market - If you’ve been watching the Olympics from Beijing, you no doubt caught the opening, where a sea of some 14,000 dancers performed in perfect unison. Did you notice the epidemic of obese people?

No one else did, either. But this morning, the NBC Today Show reported that China is the fattest country in the world, second only to the United States.

According to NBC chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, nearly ten percent of Chinese children is obese. She said that as profits in China have gotten fatter, so have kids. Increased wealth and living standards, as prosperity brings the country out of poverty, has given China an obesity problem. She blamed the main cause for China’s weight problem on the popularity of American fast food, especially KFC. (Junkfood Science)

In the People's Republic of California: Who says we can drive less? - California is about to adopt the nation's first legislation to control planet-warming gases by curbing sprawl. The bill, SB 375, sponsored by incoming state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), is expected to go before the Assembly as early as Thursday, to the Senate on Friday and then on to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.

The controversial legislation had been blocked last year by the building industry and by organizations representing cities and counties. Developers feared their suburban projects would be delayed or halted. Local officials were wary of ceding zoning powers and transportation planning to the state.

But California's landmark global warming law, passed in 2006, requires the state's greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed to 1990 levels by 2020, amounting to a 30% cut over expected levels. To accomplish that, state officials say, fuel-efficient cars and factories won't be enough. Subdivisions, commercial centers and highways must be planned so that Californians can live and work closer together, reducing the amount they drive. "Our communities must change the way they grow," Steinberg said. (LA Times)

Here they come again: Global warming threatens small mammal, lawsuit charges - WASHINGTON - Compared to the polar bear, the American pika is downright tiny.

Weighing only 4 ounces to 6 ounces, this small, rabbitlike mammal with thick brown hair that lives on boulder-covered slopes near alpine meadows in Western mountain ranges, could represent the latest effort to use the Endangered Species Act to combat global warming.

Environmentalists filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. district court in Sacramento, Calif., to force the Bush administration to decide whether to list the pika for protection under the act. The lawsuit claims the animal is threatened by rising temperatures and says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dragged its feet for months on whether to list it. (McClatchy Newspapers)

Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity - Two species of giraffe, several rhinos and five elephant relatives, along with multitudes of rodents, bush pigs, horses, antelope and apes, once inhabited what is now northern Pakistan. But when climate shifted dramatically there some eight million years ago, precipitating a major change in vegetation, most species became locally extinct rather than adapting to the new ecosystem, an extensive, long-term study of mammal fossils spanning a five-million-year period reveals. (University of Michigan)

August 19, 2008

Sheesh! Study warns of U.S. immigrants' CO2 emissions - Immigrants, especially illegal ones, can't seem to catch a break these days.

They've been blamed for the demise of the nation's public education and health-care systems.

Now, in a new study by a Washington, D.C., think tank, they're accused of contributing to global warming.

High levels of immigration, both legal and illegal, significantly increase worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. The organization favors strict limits on immigration to the United States.

"The health of the planet is better if they remain in their home countries," said Steven Camarota, the center's director of research and co-author of the report.

On average, immigrants increase their carbon dioxide emissions fourfold by coming to America, the study says. (Redlands Daily Facts)

How dare people aspire to improved living standards! And to think how much better off we'll all be if they just know their place and remain in abject poverty so they don't use so much energy or emit so many greenhouse gases...

Leap of faith? Drier, warmer springs in US Southwest stem from human-caused changes in winds - Human-driven changes in the westerly winds are bringing hotter and drier springs to the American Southwest, according to new research from The University of Arizona in Tucson.

Since the 1970s the winter storm track in the western U.S. has been shifting north, particularly in the late winter. As a result, fewer winter storms bring rain and snow to Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado and western New Mexico.

"We used to have this season from October to April where we had a chance for a storm," said Stephanie A. McAfee. "Now it's from October to March."

The finding is the first to link the poleward movement of the westerly winds to the changes observed in the West's winter storm pattern. The change in the westerlies is driven by the atmospheric effects of global warming and the ozone hole combined. (University of Arizona)

There's been no real change in the so-called "ozone hole" since it was observed in the mid-1950s and choosing the late-1970s for beginning Pacific observations basically means "from the PDO shift of 1977" with its associated step warming. Storm tracks changed with the PDO phase? Go figure...

Anthropogenic global warming... Sheesh!

Too funny: Future impact of global warming is worse when grazing animals are considered, scientists suggest - The impact of global warming in the Arctic may differ from the predictions of computer models of the region, according to a pair of Penn State biologists. The team -- which includes Eric Post, a Penn State associate professor of biology, and Christian Pederson, a Penn State graduate student -- has shown that grazing animals will play a key role in reducing the anticipated expansion of shrub growth in the region, thus limiting their predicted and beneficial carbon-absorbing effect. The team's results will be published in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sometime between 18 and 22 August 2008. Most computer models indicate that shrubs will thrive and spread as a result of global warming. And because shrubs have an increased ability over grasses and other small plants to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, many scientists believe that shrubs will absorb some of this carbon dioxide and, thereby, lessen the impact of climate change. While Post and Pederson agree that global warming will promote the growth of shrubs, they argue that grazing by muskoxen and caribou will reduce the carbon-mitigating benefit of the plants. (Penn State University)

As I recall AGW advocates were concerned partial thaw would allow shrubs to grow on the tundra, so reducing albedo and slowing surface wind speed and thus permitting increasing soil surface temperatures, more thaw... This shrubbing of the tundra was supposed to be a warming feedback disaster (Serreze? Foley? Chapin? one or more of them published on this in the last few years -- shouldn't be too hard for readers to find if they're interested). Now critters are munching off the shrubbery and that's allegedly a warming problem because less carbon dioxide is being utilized in photosynthesis.

Maasai 'can fight climate change' - Africa should make more use of the skills of its nomadic peoples to help combat the challenges of climate change, the aid agency Oxfam says.

The Maasai tribe are renowned for their skills as herders and warriors. So, nomadic warrior herdsmen are a role model for Africa? You couldn't make this stuff up.

Another chuckle: Project Energy: Silenced NASA Scientist Talks - The NASA scientist who was silenced by the government for talking about global warming was in town recently at the Science Museum.

As part of Project Energy, Don Shelby talked with Jim Hansen, the long-time head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies who first warned people of climate change more than 25 years ago. They talked about politics versus science.

Shelby : Do you feel free to speak? Do you feel free to talk these days?

Hanson: Yeah, I certainly feel free just because it's received so much attention in my case that I can say what I want now. (WCCO)

Hanson may have singlehandedly displaced mother-in-law jokes about a mouthful of marbles and 12 feet of wet cement... certainly he has long been the most interviewed and outspoken astronomer on the planet and he has never been shy about making extreme claims over global climate.

Why? Government advances climate change plan due to floods - THE GOVERNMENT is to bring forward the publication of a climate-change adaptation strategy in the light of recent flooding in several parts of the State, Minister for the Environment John Gormley said yesterday.

Speaking following a visit to Carlow, the area worst affected by heavy rain over the weekend, Mr Gormley said he had asked his officials to complete the strategy by the new year, months ahead of schedule.

He said the severity of the weather and flooding of recent weeks had underlined the urgency of having the strategy in place as soon as possible.

"We are going to see more flash flooding and more storms. We need to plan accordingly," he told The Irish Times.

Gorebull warming summer drought? August set to be 'wettest in 100 years' - Britain is set for its wettest August for nearly 100 years, with the constant deluge of rain showing little sign of letting up, forecasters have warned. (Daily Telegraph)

Government wants post-Kyoto framework to oblige developing nations to cut CO2 - The government plans to propose in U.N. talks that developing countries be obliged to join their industrialized counterparts in cutting greenhouse gas emissions under a new international framework to combat global warming to come into force in 2013, according to government sources.

The government has submitted five documents related to the proposal to the secretariat of a special working panel meeting to be held in Accra beginning Thursday under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In the proposal to be presented at the meeting in Ghana's capital, Japan will demand developing countries make efforts or shoulder some of the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with their economic growth levels. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Shell get its knuckles rapped: Foster - This week, petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell had its knuckles rapped by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over claims that its Canadian oil sands operations were "sustainable." There is a certain rich irony in Shell being hoist by its own environmental petard. The company's former CEO, Sir Philip Watts, once claimed that Shell's commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility were what elevated it above its rivals. That was before he was thrown out of the company for cooking the books.

For years, Shell has been kowtowing to the environmental movement, and has featured a rogues' gallery of board members and executives who ranged between green radicalism and abject appeasement. Typically, as it groveled to defend itself in the ASA case, it quoted a report by the World Wildlife Fund, the very organization that had challenged its ad in the first place. One can't help conjuring up the image of a dog licking the hand of its vivisectionist. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Activist Mutual Fund Seeks Curbs on Corporate Global Warming Talk - The managers of a mutual fund that describes itself as “dedicated to providing both financial and pro-free enterprise ideological returns to investors” want the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to advise publicly traded companies against publishing what the managers describe as “potentially false and misleading” information on global warming. (

Re-enter the global governance brigade: In search of world justice - The burden of climate change solutions can only be equitably shared via an international court (Stephen Hockman, The Guardian)

CCSP Draft Report Comments as Submitted by Professor Ben Herman of the University of Arizona - Comments on the CCSP Report “Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States by Professor Ben Herman

The following are the comments I sent in concerning the recent CCSP draft report. I chose a few issues of the many that I considered required a response, but felt that others would pick up them. (Climate Science)

Rich urged to set deep climate cuts, without U.S. - OSLO (Reuters) - Rich nations should not wait for the election of a new U.S. president before making progress on agreeing ambitious 2020 greenhouse gas cuts, the chair of a U.N. committee said on Monday ahead of climate talks in Ghana.

Developed nations can work on details of a new climate pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol at August 21-27 talks in Accra despite uncertainty about U.S. policies, said Harald Dovland, a Norwegian official who chairs meetings among Kyoto backers.

"Many of the developed industrialized countries are not very keen on coming forward with strong commitments post-2012 without knowing what the U.S. is doing," he told Reuters.

The inconvenient lies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - My grandmother used to say, “Your sins will find you out.” It’s a variation on Sir Walter Scott’s comment, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” but far more direct to an impressionable grandson. World leaders consistently cite the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the basis for their policies on energy and environment. In response to my email on the subject John Baird, Canadian Minister of the Environment stated in part, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007, presents compelling scientific proof that the world’s climate has changed because of human action and industrial growth. With respect to the role of carbon dioxide in causing climate change, the Panel finds that carbon dioxide is “the most important” human-produced greenhouse gas. The Government of Canada accepts the Panel’s findings, and is moving forward to address climate change.” Most other governments take the same position, which is unfortunate because the IPCC position is based on an unproven theory tested with a computer model designed to prove the theory, but which consistently produces results that don’t match reality. Ironically, it is their definitive positions and statements that provide the evidence for their tangled web. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Advancing Hysteria by Editing Skeptical Views of Global Warming - Remember back in November when Nobel Laureate Al Gore actually told NBC's Meredith Vieira that trying to cover global warming from a fair and balanced perspective was wrong, and only climate alarmists should be given any attention in pieces concerning this controversial subject?

Well, a Stanford social psychologist has recently done a study of how people's opinions about global warming change if skeptical views are edited out of news stories, and the results, though not surprising, should scare the heck out of free thinkers around the country. (NewsBusters)

Climate change protesters face trial for obstructing train at Drax power station - Twenty-nine climate change protesters will face trial at crown court for demonstrating at the coal-fired powerhouse (The Guardian)

Hopefully serious action will be taken against them but we doubt it.

Do you suppose they believe any of this crap? Underground Polar Cities: Our Last Defence Against Global Warming? - Whether you believe in global warming or not, the world is changing. The areas around the equator are getting hotter, so much so that scientists believe within the next 5 to 8 years equatorial countries will be practically inhabitable by humans. On the other hand, rising temperatures are expected to make usually freezing environments quite a pleasant place to live, predicting a huge migration to more northerly regions.

One journalist/blogger, Dan Bloom, believes that we can take measures to safeguard against global warming by building Polar cities. Citing the work of chemist and inventor, James Lovelock (who first suggested moving to the Poles), Polar cities would provide alternative retreats when the central and middle regions of the Earth become overheated, hostile and less habitable. (Environmental Graffiti)

Watch the birdie: Seabird Endangers Emissions Reduction Target - Germany hopes that massive offshore wind parks can make a huge dent in the country's CO2 emissions. But a population of loons in the North Sea may spell the end of the plan. (Der Spiegel)

Large Atmospheric Sulfur Dioxide Experiment Now Underway in the Pacific - Last June, wired magazine wrote an in depth article that asked:

Can a Million Tons of Sulfur Dioxide Combat Climate Change?

The question arose from research from research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco, by Lowell Wood, a protégé of the brilliant and controversial hydrogen bomb inventor Edward Teller. The idea was simple: Inject sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to reflect a portion of the sun’s rays back into space, thus cooling the planet. It also seemed to be within the realm of possibility to some. (Watts Up With That?)

Boulder: Climate research center faces more money woes - More layoffs could be coming at the troubled National Center for Atmospheric Research (Associated Press)

Much as I think physical science is generally undervalued and underfunded I can't find any sympathy for a funding hog like 'climate science,' which has willfully and disgracefully transformed itself into the voodoo science of the age. While an extension of meteorology could and should have been of enormous value to humanity 'climate science' has generally opted to descend to a mere hysterical scare industry intent on harvesting the largess of public monies thrown at it by ignorant politicians. Certainly the days of blank checks are over and 'climate science' is going to have to get used to budgets more in line with its value. Whether it will survive as a discipline at all remains to be seen although how it might ever recover any credibility is unknown. A few more years of increasingly absurd and shrill claims of imminent disaster driven by an essential trace gas will see 'climate science' listed along with government mind control, contrails, black helicopters and captured alien spaceships.

Scrabbling for every nonsense claim: Climate change may raise blood risk - CLIMATE change could threaten the safety of blood used for life-saving transfusions, Australian experts have warned.

A report by West Australian researchers has raised concern that rising temperatures will increase the prevalence of viruses, like dengue and Ross River, already circulating in the northern regions of the country. (The Australian)

Stop making babies to reduce global warming - The other day, as a favor, I posted a scientific article from a friend of mine, Dr H. Harrister, PhD, who conclusively showed that fitter people have larger carbon footprints than do fatter people. You might remember Dr Harrister from his famous paper showing that zombie attacks will increase due to global warming.

Unfortunately, because of sloppiness on my part, several readers came to the conclusion that Dr Harrister, PhD’s paper was satire. That is to say, a joke. Far from it. That paper was just as rigorous and valid as the dozens that now appear monthly in scientific, peer-reviewed journals the world over. (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Urgent call for Rudd and Clarke on climate change action - Community leaders from the Pacific are urging Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand to take more proactive actions on climate change in the Pacific.

Over 100 representatives of non-government organisations from across the Asia-Pacific - including the main Pacific peak bodies and NGOs - have made an urgent call for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to do more to help the Pacific with climate change, in particular increased immigration and resettlement. (New Zealand Herald)

Socialist group call on the Antipode's two socialist nitwit leaders... has a kind of logic to it, I guess.

2007 Hurricane Forecasts Took Blow from Winds and Saharan Dry, Dusty Air - A new analysis of environmental conditions over the Atlantic Ocean shows that hot, dry air associated with dust outbreaks from the Sahara desert was a likely contributor to the quieter-than-expected 2007 hurricane season. (GSFC)

Scientist links sea methane to bacteria - A potential new source of methane -- a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide -- has been identified in ocean samples collected in Hawaii.

"It has to do with bacteria degrading," said David Karl, a University of Hawaii oceanographer and microbial biologist.

The discovery, which could have significant implications for global warming, was reported by Karl and his colleagues at the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education in a recent issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists have been tracking three major greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane -- Karl explained in an interview. He said methane was believed to form only in environments with no oxygen. But scientists could not explain why oxygen-rich ocean surface waters were supersaturated with methane. The high concentrations were out of balance with methane levels in the atmosphere, he said. (Star Bulletin)

Hot debate for warming priest (Andrew Bolt)

Climate debate: realist Monckton beats alarmist Littlemore (The Reference Frame)

"Oxygen Scarcity Threatens Humankind" - The scare: As the peer-reviewed literature is filled with a growing proportion of learned papers demolishing the imagined “consensus” that anthropogenic “global warming” will prove “catastrophic”, the less serious newspapers are looking for new scares to peddle to the feeble-minded. In mid-August 2008, The Guardian, Britain’s silliest newspaper, printed an article by Peter Tatchell suggesting that the world’s oxygen is running out because of humankind’s use of fossil fuels. Atmospheric oxygen trend from Cape Grim, Tasmania. Tatchell says: “Little or no attention is being paid to the long-term fall in oxygen concentrations and its knock-on effects. Compared to prehistoric times, the level of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere has declined by over a third and in polluted cities the decline may be more than 50%. … Much of this recent, accelerated change is down to human activity, notably the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels. … This change in the makeup of the air we breathe has potentially serious implications for our health. Indeed, it could ultimately threaten the survival of human life on earth. …” (SPPI)

Let's Drill Our Way To Lower Taxes - As the tide of public opinion seems to shift in favor of House Republicans' demand for a vote on domestic energy exploration, one supporting argument has yet to be discussed: drilling as a way to lower your taxes.

Opening our vast domestic resources, both on- and off-shore, to responsible oil and gas development would produce an influx of tax revenue from additional lease sales and royalties, as well as from income and excise taxes. These additional collections could be used, for example, to offset the alternative minimum tax (AMT). (Andrew Moylan, Wall Street Journal)

As Oil Giants Lose Influence, Supply Drops - Oil production has begun falling at all of the major Western oil companies, and they are finding it harder than ever to find new prospects even though they are awash in profits and eager to expand.

Part of the reason is political. From the Caspian Sea to South America, Western oil companies are being squeezed out of resource-rich provinces. They are being forced to renegotiate contracts on less-favorable terms and are fighting losing battles with assertive state-owned oil companies.

And much of their production is in mature regions that are declining, like the North Sea.

The reality, experts say, is that the oil giants that once dominated the global market have lost much of their influence — and with it, their ability to increase supplies. (New York Times)

Oil shale stuck between rock and wild place - GARFIELD COUNTY — The ramshackle collection of wellheads and electric cables hidden in a pine-covered draw west of Rifle doesn't look like much now, but until three years ago it was the home of the oil industry's equivalent of the Manhattan Project.

Over five years here, Shell Oil conducted a series of secretive experiments that have the potential to blow open the status quo of North American oil production, unlocking the vast reserves of oil shale that underlie Colorado's Western Slope.

Early attempts failed miserably. But beginning in 2002, Shell drilled a honeycombed series of wells, then lowered in giant heating elements, raising the temperature of the shale to 650 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 months. Out flowed an abundance of high-quality shale oil.

"It was our 'eureka' moment," said Tracy Boyd, a spokesman for Shell, smiling as he showed off the historic spot. "Now we know we have a technology that works." (Denver Post)

Now, if they use nukes to power the process they can even avoid the greenie whining over emissions from shale oil extraction, making shale one of the "cleanest" hydrocarbons :)

Europe's energy source lies in the shadow of Russia's anger - When Russian tanks poured into South Ossetia, it was the clearest turning point in Russia's relations with the West since the fall of the Berlin Wall: Russia not only managed to destabilise a pro-Western regime but, crucially, demonstrated to its neighbours how defenceless they are against incursions by its armed forces. (Alex Brett, The Observer)

Russia crushes Europe's energy strategy - ROME -- Russia's adventure in Georgia has been described as a "warlet," a contained firing spree that wound up and down within a week. But to Europe's energy markets, it was the equivalent of wide-scale carpet bombing. (Globe and Mail)

From Russia With Love: Could Georgia Fight Boost Global Energy Supply? - Could the Kremlin’s latest bid for energy dominance boomerang and finally wake up the West?

The prevailing wisdom says Russia’s military incursion into Georgia was really all about “energy imperialism.” The Kremlin doesn’t like any challenges to its energy hegemony, which Georgia’s part of the BTC pipeline clearly represents. And Russia’s strong response, the thinking goes, basically ends any Western hopes of getting other Central Asian countries to stand up to Moscow with pipeline projects of their own.

But could Russian tanks and gunships galvanize a serious Western plan for energy security in a way that cutting off winter gas supplies to Europe two years ago didn’t? (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Temperatures don’t rise, but green taxes do - No wonder the cash-hungry NSW Government loves the the Great Global Warming Scare. What a wonderful excuse to raise a lazy few hundred million with a new green tax. And so reader Ken picks up his power bill from Integral Energy to find he’s been made to donate to the Government’s new Climate Change Fund.

As Integral Energy explains: The NSW Government has recently introduced the Climate ChangeFund to promote initiatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support other energy saving initiatives across NSW. All electricity distributors are required to contribute to the fund. All the energy rates included in this Price Guide, (with the exception of Off Peak 1 and 2 and Big Blue,) include an amount for the recovery of Integral’s contribution to the Climate ChangeFund.

No change in the world’s temperature for a decade, but already the Government has changed the way it charges extra taxes. Great scam.

By the way, green preachers keep telling us global warming is an opportunity, not a cost. So why does everything to do with it come with big prices tags? (Andrew Bolt)

Ethanol still a lightning rod - LINCOLN — You might call it the two faces of ethanol.

For many in the Midwest, ethanol is the fair-haired boy, bringing promises of energy independence, reduced greenhouse gases and economic prosperity. A pro-ethanol conference last week in Omaha, for example, sounded at times like a revival meeting.

"We have fueled a revolution to make gasoline the alternative fuel," declared Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol.

Gov. Dave Heineman described ethanol as "the greatest economic development tool for rural Nebraska and rural America in 30 years."

"We are leading the way in reducing American reliance on foreign oil," he added.

But outside the Corn Belt, skeptics view corn-based ethanol as the ugly stepchild being foisted on them by farm states.

Many environmentalists, taxpayer advocates and others now see ethanol as a federally subsidized boondoggle that has increased world hunger and pollution. (Omaha World-Herald)

Dirty smoke from ships found to degrade air quality in coastal cities - Ah, nothing like breathing clean coastal air, right? Think again. Chemists at UC San Diego have measured for the first time the impact that dirty smoke from ships cruising at sea and generating electricity in port can have on the air quality of coastal cities. (University of California - San Diego)

No evidence MSG makes you fat - Another spurious correlation is already well on its way to becoming an urban legend as a cause of obesity. A new study in the current issue of the journal of the Obesity Society was reported as having shown for the first time that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is associated with overweight in Chinese adults. Incredibly, it would appear no one had read the study because its data actually revealed that glutamate had absolutely no relationship to their BMIs. (Junkfood Science)

Better to Be Fat and Fit Than Skinny and Unfit - Often, a visit to the doctor’s office starts with a weigh-in. But is a person’s weight really a reliable indicator of overall health?

Increasingly, medical research is showing that it isn’t. Despite concerns about an obesity epidemic, there is growing evidence that our obsession about weight as a primary measure of health may be misguided. (New York Times)

Air pollution deaths wildly exaggerated - The Canadian Medical Association grabbed headlines around the world this week by claiming that air pollution is killing citizens of Canada by the tens of thousands each year. Citing "staggering" new data, the association also predicted that such deaths will increase 83% in the next two decades. Fortunately, the CMA's research methods are fatally flawed and their alarming assertions largely meaningless.

According to association officials, the study was undertaken to "quantify the national health and economic impacts of air pollution." There's value indeed in providing policy makers with facts necessary to allocate resources wisely. However, the association has wildly exaggerated the health effects of air pollution and inflated its economic impacts.

The CMA findings are the result of a computer "model" originated by the Ontario Medical Association in 2000. Major revisions were made to apply the software to all 10 provinces and three territories in Canada. But the likelihood of error in computer modeling increases in proportion to the multitude and complexity of variables in the algorithms. In this instance, the variety and scope of confounding factors has been increased exponentially. (Diane Katz, Financial Post)

More imaginary bodies: Shipping pollution 'may cause 60,000 deaths a year' - Sea air in coastal cities, renowned for being bracing and healthy, is instead being heavily polluted by dirty smoke from ships a study has found. (Daily Telegraph)

Folly of surrendering Britain to the sea - Southwold always seemed an unlikely holiday destination for the Prime Minister: charming, upmarket, its development paternalistically guided by the Adnams brewery. The one thing he might have liked was the quiet. Except that, when Gordon Brown was there, calm was thrown to the blustery North Sea winds.

The burghers of this most easy-going of seaside towns actually mounted a demonstration. The subject that had got their blood up was coastal defence. (Daily Telegraph)

Whales, Dolphins, Sonar and the Courts - We were cheered to learn that the Navy and conservation groups have reached a court-approved settlement that allows the service ample opportunity to test its low-frequency sonar systems while protecting the habitats of marine life that can’t tolerate loud underwater sound. Sometimes compromise and good sense do prevail. So it is especially disturbing that the Bush administration is still trying to block the courts’ ability to mediate future agreements between the military and environmentalists. (New York Times)

No, what is disturbing is that any fool thinks enviros should get a say in anything at all.

Believing the vicious worst of America - A new website, AmericaInTheWorld, has commissioned a poll to check how ignorant the British are about America. Answer: Very. For instance:

A poll of nearly 2,000 Britons by YouGov/PHI found that 70 per cent of respondents incorrectly said it was true that the US had done a worse job than the European Union in reducing carbon emissions since 2000. More than 50 per cent presumed that polygamy was legal in the US, when it is illegal in all 50 states. . . .

The survey showed that a majority agreed with the false statement that since the Second World War the US had more often sided with non-Muslims when they had come into conflict with Muslims. In fact in 11 out of 12 major conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and secular forces, or Arabs and non-Arabs, the US has sided with the former group. Those conflicts included Turkey and Greece, Bosnia and Yugoslavia, and and Kosovo and Yugoslavia.

Asked if it was true that “from 1973 to 1990 the United States sold Saddam Hussein more than a quarter of his weapons,” 80 per cent of British respondents said yes. However the US sold just 0.46 per cent of Saddam’s arsenal to him, compared to Russia’s 57 per cent, France’s 13 per cent and China’s 12 per cent.

Note that the British tend to believe the the imaginary worst of the US. So AmericaInTheWorld, to be launched by British Conservative leader David Cameron, declares war:

America isn’t a perfect nation but it’s not had a fair press in recent times. is an attempt by a few London-based friends of America to make the case that the USA is a fundamentally good nation. We believe that a world without America would be considerably poorer, less healthy and more dangerous and we consequently reject American isolationism as much as we reject anti-Americanism.

It even has published a declaration you can sign. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Not-So-Special Interests Hold Parties Hostage - We take it for granted that a vote means a secret ballot, but it was not always that way. Moreover, it will not remain that way for workers who vote on whether or not they want a labor union, if legislation sponsored by congressional Democrats and endorsed by Sen. Barack Obama becomes law.

Before there were secret ballots, voters dared not express their true preferences if those who watched them vote could retaliate — whether by firing them, beating them up or in other ways.

Anyone who is serious about people being free to express themselves with their votes wants a secret ballot. (Thomas Sowell, IBD)

An Advocate for Science Diplomacy - Nina V. Fedoroff is science adviser to the secretary of state and contends that genetically modified foods help the environment. (New York Times)

August 18, 2008

Arctic ice refuses to melt as ordered - Just a few weeks ago, predictions of Arctic ice collapse were buzzing all over the internet. Some scientists were predicting that the "North Pole may be ice-free for first time this summer". Others predicted that the entire "polar ice cap would disappear this summer".

The Arctic melt season is nearly done for this year. The sun is now very low above the horizon and will set for the winter at the North Pole in five weeks. And none of these dire predictions have come to pass. Yet there is, however, something odd going on with the ice data. (Steven Goddard, The Register)

Hysteria fatigue? In Florida, Turning a Blind Eye to Hurricanes - MIAMI — The hurricanes are coming. Carlos Alvarez, mayor of Miami-Dade County, cannot say when or how severe they will be, but every public speech he gives now includes a warning. “Hurricanes are part of our lives,” he tells people, adding: “Every time you get groceries, add a few extra cans. Have some jugs to fill up with water.” For many, though, the message has yet to register. (New York Times)

I wonder how much of this apparent complacency is attributable to the media noise of AGW nutters crying wolf? People rapidly become conditioned to ignoring constant tales of impending doom and who would deny the media and their ubiquitous parade of green disaster merchants have been screaming "Wolf!" since the days of "Nuclear Winter" back in the '50s? Is it any wonder that despite the billions spent on indoctrination fewer than half of poll respondents believe gorebull warming will affect them personally? Now we have the dreadful situation where people are confusing legitimate concerns about inevitable storms with the absurd claims of "using energy means storms are gonna get us!".

Monckton vs. Littlemore Debate audio - The much anticipated radio debate between Christopher Walter (the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley), a global warming skeptic and Richard Littlemore, a global warming alarmist took place just a while ago on the Roy Green show on the Corus Network.

Despite the 24X7 saturation coverage of this issue by the media, mostly in scary, apocalyptic terms, there actually has been very little of a face to face debate between those who fervently believe in man-made climate change and those who are skeptical of it in one way or another.

An interesting discovery from the debate and post-debate conversation (in part 4) was that the moderator, Roy Green himself and some of the listeners who phoned in were more open minded about the issue than the highly-paid millionaire hacks of the mainstream media whose job it is to be objective.

Well worth a listen. (Liberty News Central)

Koutsoyiannis vs RealClimate.ORG - In this dose of peer-reviewed skeptical literature about the climate, we look to the Hydrological Science Journal. D. Koutsoyiannis, A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides wrote a text On the credibility of climate predictions (PDF).

They simply compared the local predictions for temperature and precipitation by many models with the real observations and found out that: ... The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

Gavin Schmidt decided to criticize paper: RealClimate.ORG

If he has an argument against the paper, I haven't found it. I agree with Schmidt's comment that it should have been expected that the models won't reproduce the local climate - even though our expectations could have very different reasons (my reason is that I simply know that the existing climate models don't properly deal with most of the essential climatological processes; I am not sure about Gavin's reasons). (The Reference Frame)

Warming warnings get overheated - Much of the global warming debate is perhaps best described as a constant outbidding by frantic campaigners, producing a barrage of ever-more scary scenarios in an attempt to get the public to accept their civilisation-changing proposals. Unfortunately, the general public – while concerned about the environment – is distinctly unwilling to support questionable solutions with costs running into tens of trillions of pounds. Predictably, this makes the campaigners reach for even more outlandish scares.

These alarmist predictions are becoming quite bizarre, and could be dismissed as sociological oddities, if it weren't for the fact that they get such big play in the media. Oliver Tickell, for instance, writes that a global warming causing a 4C temperature increase by the end of the century would be a "catastrophe" and the beginning of the "extinction" of the human race. This is simply silly. (Björn Lomborg, The Guardian)

Nutty story of the day #5, One more thing to worry about: The Oxygen Crisis! - FOREWORD: I had to chuckle at this. This is the sort of story I would expect in the supermarket tabloids next to a picture of Bat Boy. For the UK Guardian to say there is a “oxygen crisis”, is not only ignorant of the facts, but simple fear mongering riding on the coattails of the “CO2 crisis”. Read the article below, and then read the reasons why myself and others are saying this story is worry over nothing. (Watts Up With that?)

Beyond a passing mention on the 14th we did our best to ignore this stupidity but it does appear to be getting some attention after all.

Right... Return of the native oak helps birds to survive climate change - Garden birds are being protected from the effects of climate change by an alien tree, researchers have found.

Turkey oaks were introduced to Britain in the 18th century and have spread across the country, but unlike many invasive species they are thought to be benefiting the native wildlife. Researchers now believe that the species of oak, Quercus cerris, fits perfectly into the native ecosystem because it was a native tree until driven out by an ice age 120,000 years ago.

Dr Graham Stone, of the University of Edinburgh, believes that the tits are reverting to behaviour and a food source that was available to their ancestors more than 120,000 years ago.

“British birds will flock to trees with lots of galls on and harvest them because they are hungry,” he said after carrying out research with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. “As the Turkey oak reasserts itself in its ancient home, it is helping to alleviate some of the effects of the very modern problem of climate change.” (The Times)

... so, critters adapt to conditions of the time. Fair enough. So why do people keep crying "crisis" simply because we are apparently returning to conditions seen before, regardless of whether it was hundreds or hundreds of thousands of years ago?

Hadley Climate Center HadAT2 Data shows global cooling in the last year - Most often on this forum we have looked at either surface temperature data from surface observations or lower tropospheric temperature data derived from satellite sounders. Today I’d like to point out a short scale trend in global radiosonde data showing cooling in the last year, as well as examine the record back to 1958. (Watts Up With That?)

The CCSP: A New All-Time Low for NOAA - As Roger Pielke Sr. reported “This US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) report is Co-Chaired by Thomas R. Karl, Jerry Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson with the Senior Editor and Synthesis Team Coordinator Susan J. Hassol. These are the same individuals who have led past CCSP reports (e.g. see and see), with Tom Karl and Tom Peterson deliberately excluding scientific perspectives that differ from their viewpoints (i.e. see). Susan Hassol was writer of the HBO Special “Too Hot Not to Handle”. This HBO show clearly had a specific perspective on the climate change issue, and lacked a balanced perspective. The HBO Executive Producer was Ms. Laurie David. A clear real conflict of interest is obvious.” (Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, Fellow AMS)

Coming down to earth - He once flirted with scepticism, but the vocal scientist who this week became a top climate adviser to John Brumby is now one of the world's leading global warming experts.

A LONG time ago, for a brief period in 1987, David Karoly was a climate change sceptic. Like a handful of scientists and a truckload of columnists and MPs today, he doubted that climate change was man-made. Then he looked at the evidence.

"The first paper I ever gave on climate change was trying to disprove that increases in greenhouse gases could be causing these observed trends in temperature," says the Melbourne University federation fellow, who last year shared the Nobel peace prize. (The Age)

Well, no, he didn't "share the Nobel Peace Prize" -- that was shared between Al Gore and the IPCC (the organisation), not Al Gore and contributors and reviewers of IPCC documentation. It would be excessively cynical to wonder whether he meant physical or fiscal "evidence" so we'll let that pass with a note that everyone who examines the evidence and moves to a position of skepticism is accused on being bought by Big Carbon.

Doherty won’t water down his views - Potential U.S. Senate candidate Mike Doherty doesn’t sound like a typical New Jersey Republican.

Take, for instance, yesterday’s Assembly debate on Linda Stender’s global warming bill. While most Assembly Republicans who spoke up against the bill focused on what they considered its vague language, Mike Doherty went to the very heart of the issue, attacking the scientific foundation of global warming.

“One of the things that gets my goat…. are statements that I’ve heard that the debate is over,” said Doherty. “It’s my understanding that the earth has warmed up and cooled down hundreds of times.” (Politicker)

Teenagers Launch "Inconvenient Youth" Network to Fight Global Warming - MarketWatch - But Mary Doerr's dad John has a large FINANCIAL stake in global warming hysteria (Tom Nelson)

Uh-huh... Climate change investigation begins - A PARLIAMENTARY committee investigating the projected impact of climate change on Australia's coastal areas begins three days of public hearings in Darwin today.

The House of Representatives standing committee on climate change, water, environment and the arts will take evidence from local Aboriginal groups, Birds Australia and the surf lifesaving movement.

The inquiry, initiated by the Federal Government's climate change and environment ministers, is considering strategies to deal with climate change adaptation, especially in response to projected sea level rise caused by global warming. (The Australian)

Eye-roller: German Professor Says Wind Might Save Glaciers - A German geographer says wind screens could keep chilly breezes on top of Europe's glaciers -- and perhaps save them from melting. Glacier experts say he's wasting his time. An experiment in Switzerland could provide some answers. (Der Spiegel)

More wishful thinking from the disaster freaks: Report: Climate change to fuel wildfires in West - RENO, Nev. – Wildfires are projected to burn twice as much land across the West by late this century if the climate warms as expected, a conservation group said in a report. (Associated Press)

3 areas eyed for cuts in CO2 - At a key meeting in Africa next week, Japan will propose classifying industries and other activities into three sectors as part of international standards on reducing greenhouse gases, sources said.

As its first priority, Tokyo will propose setting a reduction target in one of the three sectors, which covers industries that spew out greenhouse gases. These include the steel and cement industries, the sources said.

The government will propose the adoption of so-called sectoral approaches in working-level talks under United Nations auspices that will be held in Ghana from Aug. 21. The meeting will discuss an international framework for greenhouse gas reductions following the 2012 expiry of the Kyoto Protocol, they said. (Asahi Shimbun)

Carbon sequestration frustration: Burying carbon dioxide from coal-fired plants could increase other pollutants - As pollution bad guys go, carbon dioxide may be the media darling, but trying to capture it and lock it away could allow other repeat offenders to go free.

Power plant emissions that cause acid rain, water pollution and destruction of the ozone layer may actually be made worse by capturing the CO2 and pumping it deep underground, a new study reported online and in an upcoming International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control suggests.

This increase of other emissions is largely because collecting and burying CO2 — a process called carbon sequestration — requires additional energy, new equipment and new chemical reactions at the plants. And using current technology, meeting all of these requirements releases extra pollutants.

“Other studies mostly just look at one aspect, the carbon capture,” says study coauthor Joris Koornneef, an environmental scientist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “This is a first step in trying to quantify the [environmental] trade-offs.”

Captured CO2 must be compressed to about 100 times atmospheric pressure (which takes energy), transported to a suitable underground reservoir (which takes energy) and pumped into the ground (which takes energy). A coal-fired power plant that sequesters its CO2 must burn about 30 percent more coal than conventional plants to cover these energy needs. And that extra coal must first be mined (which has environmental effects) and transported to the plant (which takes fuel) — the list goes on and on. (iNSnet Foundation)

Can’t brook Barry - Our friend Professor Barry Brook should be the best-informed man in Australia on global warming, given his impressive titles:

Professor Barry Brook holds the Foundation Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change and is Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide.

But each passing week brings more evidence that Barry is surprisingly cavalier with the evidence supporting his belief in a man-made apocalyptic warming, and is looking in ever-stranger places for confirmation of his faith. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

'Rudd’s carbon tax bad governance,' says Vic ag scientist - The Rudd government’s carbon pollution tax is based on non-scientific and theoretical computer modeling and does not make good governance at a time of rising inflation, global food shortages and increasing export uncompetitiveness due to rising cost and freight pressures.

That’s the view of agricultural scientist John Williams - a researcher, author and educator who is studying for a PhD at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Williams said there are ‘strong and powerful counter-arguments’ to the theories on global warming and carbon trading that are not being fully considered.

Drawing on a chorus of disbelief from a growing number of scientists, Mr Williams said “there is no proof that carbon dioxide is causing or precedes global warming”. (Stock & Land)

Rudd feels the heat on 60 Minutes - A turning point in the debate: 60 Minutes is suddenly not so sure man is heating the world to hell, after all. And it won’t have been reassured by Kevin Rudd’s shaky grasp of the evidence in spruiking his carbon tax: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Slower Economy Saps Climate Action; Oil a Prop - OSLO - An economic slowdown is sapping enthusiasm for a costly drive to fight climate change but persistently high oil prices are a lifeline for a "green revolution" of renewable energy technology, experts say. (Reuters)

Cold makes Polly worry about warming: Carbon credits tick all the boxes. What's the delay? - Awful August, the weather forecasters call this unseasonably cold, wet month, as holiday-makers huddle against intermittent monsoon downpours, reminded that global warming doesn't necessarily mean a Mediterranean Britain.

Every month, reports from climatologists deliver worse predictions of the speed and tipping points for irreversible climate change. A 4C temperature rise is the latest warning: it would bring unimaginable horror in its wake. The time to act gets shorter, but the political will to act lags ever further behind the science that tells politicians they must do so. Latest figures, including air travel, shipping and energy used in our goods manufactured abroad, show no cut in Britain but an 18% growth in emissions. (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

Debate still heating up on global warming - PHILADELPHIA - What you hear about global warming can vary as much as, well, the weather.

One day, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is quoted saying: "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late. The science is clear. The global-warming debate is over."

Another day, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says this: "Americans are coming to understand that global temperatures have actually cooled over the last 10 years and
are predicted to continue cooling over the next 10."

On another day, dozens of papers proclaim that the sun is at fault, since the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research demonstrated that the sun has burned brighter in the past 60 years than any time in the past 1,100 years, or 8,000 years, depending on the news source. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Guest Weblog By Dr. Andreas Sterl Of KNMI - Dr. Andreas Sterl graciously accepted my invitation to post a guest weblog in response to the Climate Science weblog on his paper (see). His reply and guest weblog are posted below, along with my response. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Continued Discussion with Andreas Sterl On The Climate Science Weblog Of July 17 2008 - Andraes Sterl and I continued our constructive discussions of the weblog of August 15 regarding his published paper that was originally weblogged on July 17 2008, and our-mail exchange (edited for clarity) is presented below. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Plea to Climate Lab for Social Science (and a Response) - [UPDATE 8/17: Kevin Trenberth, a veteran climatologist at NCAR, has responded to his friend Dr. Glantz below.]

Michael Glantz, the social scientist whose program was recently cut by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, is in Libya at the moment working with the meteorological service there on education programs for North Africa. Before he left, he sent me an open letter calling on the center and its main source of money, the National Science Foundation, to “tear down” the wall between physical science and the social sciences that could help insure that knowledge is applied productively outside the walls of supercomputer centers. The letter is posted below. (New York Times)

Comment Submitted To Dot Earth’s Weblog On The Letter By Michael H. Glantz Regarding NCAR/UCAR’s Decision To Deemphasize Social Sciences And Climate At NCAR - The conflict between a top-down global model (IPCC) perspective and a bottom-up resource vulnerability focus is clearly illustrated by the NCAR/UCAR priorities of Rick Anthes and Kevin Trenberth regarding the physical and social sciences. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Greenhouse cops needed on planetary beat - AFTER the release of the Rudd Government's green discussion paper on climate change last month, eyes are focused on how business and the community will be affected by the mitigation costs of climate change.

But there has been little attention given to climate change and its implications for Australian policing. As the principal domestic security actor in Australia, with 44,000 officers, the eight police forces that serve this country need to think harder about how climate change may affect their core business.

Most Australian senior police officers haven't considered climate change to have much relevance for their work. The notable exception is Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty, who suggested last September that climate change could eclipse terrorism as the security issue of the century.

Climate change could have wide-ranging implications and challenges for Australia's police. New legal regimes are required to manage carbon markets and these will require compliance and enforcement. (Anthony Bergin and Ross Allen, The Australian)

Back when I was a lad there used to be Radio and TV Licenses -- and compliance vans cruising the neighborhood scanning for the low power signal transmitted by active sets, along with enforcement officers to check users had current licenses. Word soon spread around the area that the Radio & TV van was snooping about and it was great sport to turn everything off (licensed or not) and race out into the front yard to wave at them as they passed, then dash back inside to turn everything on again to see how many times we could get them to drive around the block for another try (Dad used to go crook though, due to the failure rate of vacuum tubes being turned on and off like that and the chooks weren't too happy with us kids clambering on top of the chook shed to peer over the neighbors' fences to see which way the R&TV van turned). We no longer have such nonsense of course, the government found it cost far more to attempt to enforce than the revenue these licenses raised.

Now we've got these guys wanting to convert our police force to Keystone Carbon Cops...

Queenstown man turns up global warming - A Queenstown man is taking High Court action to prevent the Government enacting the controversial Emissions Trading Scheme.

Former property developer Basil Walker is seeking an injunction against all Labour Party MPs preventing the scheme being passed into law before this year's election.

Mr Walker said he was acting in the interests of the people of New Zealand.

"I've taken the action because someone had to. This Government is trying to force this on the people and someone had to stand up and say that there is no evidence to support it," he said yesterday. (Southland Times)

Thinking New Zealanders should stand up and give this guy a hand (and the reporter and her editors need to learn to spell).

A Push to Increase Icebreakers in the Arctic - A growing array of military leaders, Arctic experts and lawmakers say the United States is losing its ability to patrol and safeguard Arctic waters even as climate change and high energy prices have triggered a burst of shipping and oil and gas exploration in the thawing region.

The National Academy of Sciences, the Coast Guard and others have warned over the past several years that the United States’ two 30-year-old heavy icebreakers, the Polar Sea and Polar Star, and one smaller ice-breaking ship devoted mainly to science, the Healy, are grossly inadequate. Also, the Polar Star is out of service.

And this spring, the leaders of the Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Northern Command and Transportation Command strongly recommended in a letter that the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorse a push by the Coast Guard to increase the country’s ability to gain access to and control its Arctic waters. (New York Times)

That should really read "hopefully thawing region" at the end of the first sentence but, should the sun really remain as quiescent as currently threatened, then the US is really going to need more, bigger and more powerful ice breakers. Cooling is genuinely climate change worth worrying about.

Coastal towns doomed by rising sea - People living on some stretches of coastline will be forced to abandon their homes and move inland as sea levels rise, the new head of the Environment Agency has warned.

Lord Smith of Finsbury said plans need to be drawn up to evacuate people from large stretches which are threatened by erosion.

Work is already under way to identify parts of the south and east coast which are most threatened and Lord Smith said there would be hard decisions to be made about which areas to defend and which to allow the sea to reclaim. (Daily Telegraph)

Conditionally bending to the will of the people... House to Rethink Drilling, Pelosi Says - WASHINGTON — Dropping her opposition to a vote on coastal oil exploration, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday that the House would consider expanded offshore drilling as part of broad energy legislation when Congress returns next month.

In the weekly Democratic radio address, Ms. Pelosi criticized Republicans as focusing too narrowly on offshore drilling as a solution to high gasoline prices, but said she would bow to demands that the House revisit a drilling ban that has been imposed annually since the 1980s.

She said legislation being assembled by Democrats “will consider opening portions of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling, with appropriate safeguards, and without taxpayer subsidies to big oil.” (New York Times)

House GOP in no mood to compromise - Unlike some of their colleagues in the Senate, House Republicans have rejected a minimal effort to compromise offered by Nancy Pelosi on energy policy. After floating a proposal that would have allowed very limited drilling in exchange for windfall-profits taxes and depletion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Pelosi got the door slammed in her face by the GOP members participating in the House Oil Party this month. Their message — follow or get out of the way: (Ed Morrissey, Hot Air)

The Axis Of Oil - What do Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez and Islamic extremists have in common? They're funded by America's thirst for foreign oil. If drilling isn't a cure by itself, it's a start. (IBD)

Palin's Gas Pipeline Isn't Hot Air - As congressional Democrats dither on a vote for oil drilling, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has pushed through a gas pipeline project to bring new supply and price relief to the lower 48. (IBD)

France Reaffirms Its Faith in Future of Nuclear Power - FLAMANVILLE, France — It looks like an ordinary building site, but for the two massive, rounded concrete shells looming above the ocean, like dusty mushrooms.

Here on the Normandy coast, France is building its newest nuclear reactor, the first in 10 years, costing $5.1 billion. But already, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that France will build another like it.

Flamanville is a vivid example of the French choice for nuclear power, made in the late 1950s by Charles de Gaulle, intensified during the oil shocks of the 1970s and maintained despite the nightmarish nuclear accidents of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

Nuclear power provides 77 percent of France’s electricity, according to the government, and relatively few public doubts are expressed in a country with little coal, oil or natural gas.

With the wildly fluctuating cost of oil, anxiety over global warming from burning fossil fuels and new concerns about the impact of biofuels on the price of food for the poor, nuclear energy is getting a second look in countries like the United States and Britain. Even Germany, committed to phasing out nuclear power by 2021, is debating whether to change its mind.

France is way ahead. Électricité de France, or EDF, is in talks to buy British Energy, for about $24 billion, to renovate Britain’s nuclear plants and build new ones. The French have already contracted to build a third-generation European Pressurized Reactor of the Flamanville type — the world’s safest and most powerful — in Abu Dhabi and China. (New York Times)

Sun King: Solar Power’s Big Day - So solar’s going mainstream—sort of. Will the latest mega-deal be enough to save the industry’s bacon?

Pacific Gas & Electric, a California utility, announced a huge deal with a pair of solar power providers. The idea is to move solar panels off rooftops and build utility-scale solar plants—800 megawatts, to be exact. That’s almost as big as a coal-fired plant, if the sun shone all the time. But it’s a very big step for photovoltaic solar power, which has always been consigned to a niche role in the energy mix.

The question is: Will California’s big solar deal be enough to save the industry?

Congress just decided for the umpteenth time not to renew tax credits that are the lifeblood of the solar- and wind-power industries. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

US gets ready to blow its economy away - Visiting America last week to talk to audiences across the country about "global warming", I was struck by television commercials for the two presidential candidates.

Senators McCain and Obama were each shown in front of film of the same giant wind farm, to lay claim to virtually identical "green" credentials. Since America has already built five times as many wind turbines as Britain, covering thousands of square miles, I checked out how much electricity all those 10,000 turbines actually produce. The answer is around 4.5 gigawatts - not much more than a single large coal-fired power station.

After years when America was vilified for not taking "global warming' seriously, it was a shock to find how "environmentalism" is now threatening to transform what is still the largest and richest economy in the world. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Wind Jammers - In this year's great energy debate, Democrats describe a future when the U.S. finally embraces the anything-but-carbon avant-garde. It turns out, however, that when wind and solar power do start to come on line, they face a familiar obstacle: environmentalists and many Democrats.

To wit, the greens are blocking the very transmission network needed for renewable electricity to move throughout the economy. The best sites for wind and solar energy happen to be in the sticks -- in the desert Southwest where sunlight is most intense for longest, or the plains where the wind blows most often. To exploit this energy, utilities need to build transmission lines to connect their electricity to the places where consumers actually live. In addition to other technical problems, the transmission gap is a big reason wind only provides two-thirds of 1% of electricity generated in the U.S., and solar one-tenth of 1%.

Only last week, Duke Energy and American Electric Power announced a $1 billion joint venture to build a mere 240 miles of transmission line in Indiana necessary to accommodate new wind farms. Yet the utilities don't expect to be able to complete the lines for six long years -- until 2014, at the earliest, because of the time necessary to obtain regulatory approval and rights-of-way, plus the obligatory lawsuits.

In California, hundreds turned out at the end of July to protest a connection between the solar and geothermal fields of the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles and Orange County. The environmental class is likewise lobbying state commissioners to kill a 150-mile link between San Diego and solar panels because it would entail a 20-mile jaunt through Anza-Borrego state park. "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior," Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. "They say that we want renewable energy, but we don't want you to put it anywhere." (Wall Street Journal)

Turbine plant closure hits Salmond's green dreams - THE First Minister's plans for the nation to become the green capital of Europe were dealt a blow yesterday after a major wind turbine manufacturer announced plans to close its Scottish factory. Vestas, which has its headquarters in Denmark, said it would be starting talks with its 91 employees about the future of its site in Campbeltown, Argyll, because it does not make enough money. (The Scotsman)

Maryland to Join Others in Alternative Power Deal - OCEAN CITY, Md., Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Saturday that Maryland will join Montgomery County, the University of Maryland and other local governments in a long-term commitment to buy wind power and other renewable energy, as he laid out an aggressive plan to overhaul the state's electricity system.

O'Malley (D) said the boost to alternative power sources, the first deal of its kind in the nation, will be critical in preventing rolling blackouts Maryland could face as soon as 2011 if the state's thirst for power continues to outpace supply. But he put on notice the energy companies whose profits have soared as electricity bills increased under deregulation: Unless Maryland's still-regulated utilities add new supplies of power, his administration will order them to build new plants. (Washington Post)

Windmills split town and families - LOWVILLE, N.Y. - "Listen," John Yancey says, leaning against his truck in a field outside his home.

The rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of wind turbines echoes through the air. Sleek and white, their long propeller blades rotate in formation, like some otherworldly dance of spindly-armed aliens swaying across the land.

Yancey stares at them, his face contorted in anger and pain.

He knows the futuristic towers are pumping clean electricity into the grid, knows they have been largely embraced by his community.

But Yancey hates them.

He hates the sight and he hates the sound. He says they disrupt his sleep, invade his house, his consciousness. He can't stand the gigantic flickering shadows the blades cast at certain points in the day. (Associated Press)

In Rural New York, Windmills Can Bring Whiff of Corruption - BURKE, N.Y. — Everywhere that Janet and Ken Tacy looked, the wind companies had been there first.

Dozens of people in their small town had already signed lease options that would allow wind towers on their properties. Two Burke Town Board members had signed private leases even as they negotiated with the companies to establish a zoning law to permit the towers. A third board member, the Tacys said, bragged about the commissions he would earn by selling concrete to build tower bases. And, the Tacys said, when they showed up at a Town Board meeting to complain, they were told to get lost.

“There were a couple of times when they told us to just shut up,” recalled Mr. Tacy, sitting in his kitchen on a recent evening.

Lured by state subsidies and buoyed by high oil prices, the wind industry has arrived in force in upstate New York, promising to bring jobs, tax revenue and cutting-edge energy to the long-struggling region. But in town after town, some residents say, the companies have delivered something else: an epidemic of corruption and intimidation, as they rush to acquire enough land to make the wind farms a reality. (New York Times)

Wind Power: Just Can’t Get Enough - Here’s a scenario OPEC would kill for: Your product gets pricier and pricier, and yet demand grows relentlessly. That’s the rosy picture facing the world’s wind-turbine makers.

Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s biggest turbine maker, reported a big jump in profits today—and a $10 billion order book for more. With a global thirst for clean energy, some companies stand to clean up. Turbine prices have risen 74% in the last three years—and yet countries from the U.S. to China can’t get enough of them.

Wind may be free. But wind energy isn’t. Turbines are getting more expensive because everybody wants them, but the companies making the 8,000 components inside a wind turbine still can’t keep pace. That’s important, because unlike traditional power sources like coal or natural gas, most of the cost of wind energy is upfront—the turbines themselves. Vestas figures tight supplies and rising prices will continue “for some years.” (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Lighting up with cow-power - Power generated from cow dung has been identified as one way New Zealand could make billions from an emissions trading scheme.

The work of a Christchurch company in using biomass for electricity generation is offered as an example of a business opportunity in a report issued this morning as a curtain-raiser to a climate change conference in Auckland.

The 4th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference will be attended tomorrow morning by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand, Kevin Rudd and Helen Clark, who will give their views on climate change.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also agreed to participate in the conference by making a video address. (New Zealand Herald)

Bill Ralston: Power policies are full of gas - Imagine winning Lotto and swearing you will not touch it for at least 10 years, sticking the millions in cash under your mattress before trudging off to the bank to increase your mortgage so you can make ends meet.

Effectively that is what the Government has done with its 10-year ban on coal and gas-fuelled power stations. Coal is this country's biggest natural resource, yet we refuse to seriously exploit it. We have coal reserves that would last 1000 years, the second-largest stock in the world. (New Zealand Herald)

'Spy-in-the-sky' paves way for road pricing - Motorists are being warned they may face "pay as you drive" road taxes as ministers launch the first ever trials of a scheme that could see them charged for every mile they drive. (Daily Telegraph)

Compost bug offers hope for biofuel industry - A detritus-loving bug found in garden compost heaps has been genetically 'turbo-charged' to help it break down tough plant matter at speed, a process that could be about to transform the way the world makes biofuels. (The Guardian)

New science exams 'devalue the subject' - New science exams that require pupils to debate recycling, global warming and "keeping healthy", devalue the subject, teachers claim. (Daily Telegraph)

Of course they do. All environmental topics (anti-biotech, ideal global mean temperature, recycling...) are emotional "touchy-feelies" devoid of objective measures and thus rightly the realm of social workers, not scientists.

Wall Street Journal: Better than a statistics textbook. - On Thursday 14 August, the Wall Street Journal had two excellent articles, which expertly described the statistics and uncertainty of their topics. Several readers have wrote in asking for an analysis of these articles. (William M Briggs, Statistician)

FDA says chemical found in plastic bottles is safe - WASHINGTON — Despite ongoing safety concerns from parents, consumer groups and politicians, a chemical used in baby bottles, canned food and other items is not dangerous, federal regulators said Friday. (AP)

Newly detected air pollutant mimics damaging effects of cigarette smoke - A previously unrecognized group of air pollutants could have effects remarkably similar to harmful substances found in tobacco smoke, Louisiana scientists are reporting in a study scheduled for presentation today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Inhaling those pollutants exposes the average person up to 300 times more free radicals daily than from smoking one cigarette, they added. (American Chemical Society)

Breathing like smoking 300 cigarettes... 'nuff said.

Now, since lawyers just love extreme extrapolations and stupid studies lets just wait for Attorneys General to file against smokestack industry, vehicle manufacturers and, um, unnamed other parties for, what? The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was a couple of hundred billion dollars, wasn't it? So 300 x $200billion is... $60trillion. Sounds about right if said free radicals are supposed to be 300 times more damaging than smoking one cigarette. Of course, in light of this uh, new information the cigarette manufacturers ought to be able to get their money back for and on behalf of pension funds and other shareholders who were so obviously robbed. Naturally all the tobacco trials will need to be revisited and winning plaintiffs will have to return their judgments now we know they self-harmed doing all that breathing...

Hey, this not worrying about facts thing is really easy and much more fun. Given that it's so lucrative for tort lawyers and the watermelon brigade it's no wonder we are armpit deep in the mongrels.

Corn-Phone - Bioplastic, a material derived from corn that is used in a new Samsung “eco-phone,” requires special handling in recycling, which makes it energy inefficient. (New York Times)

C.S.Oy: Forensic science is badly in need of reform. Here are some suggestions. - Last week, the state of Mississippi terminated its 20-year relationship with medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne. Hayne has come under fire from fellow medical examiners, criminal justice groups like the Innocence Project, and one of the authors of this article for his impossible workload, sloppy procedures, and questionable court testimony. In the early 1990s, Hayne and his frequent collaborator, now-disgraced forensic odontologist Dr. Michael West, helped secure murder convictions for Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks, both later proven innocent through DNA testing. The two were released from prison earlier this year.

Mississippi is hardly alone when it comes to bad forensic science. (Radley Balko and Roger Koppl, Slate)

Missed this earlier: The truth about those little red lights: a tale of power and poppycock - Some of us are sure we saw or heard of a claim by the Chancellor, in April, that “up to 10 per cent of the electricity supply” is being wasted on electrical appliances left on “standby”. I thought I heard this on a BBC radio news report. A colleague on The Daily Telegraph thinks it must have been a press briefing that led him to report on April 20 that “the Chancellor will be addressing the UN on the need for international co-operation to protect the environment. He intends to highlight the ‘huge waste’ from consumer goods left on standby — about 10 per cent of the electricity supply”. (Matthew Parris, The Times)

JFS Special: A life worth living. A life worth saving. - When is a human life not worth saving? When healthcare resources are limited, who gets life saving drugs and medical care, and who should go without — and who decides? Should care be denied to those whose health problems are believed to be their own fault, who are too old or too fat, or whose quality of life is not worth the price of saving? (Junkfood Science)

Maybe, we’re overlooking a problem - Maybe one reason that public health policies so often completely disregard the scientific evidence — in fact, increasingly propose the opposite of sound medical research — is that medicine is being practiced without a license and politicians are playing scientists.

It has been argued that politicians don’t do science, and political science is not a hard science. But irrefutably, medical licenses are not required to practice politics or economics. So why are we listening to politicians and political analysts and letting them decide health care policies that affect all of us and our children, families, businesses and way of life?

This past week, obesity hysterics hit a new high. And not a single claim or health policy proposal was based on a lick of credible evidence. Each worked from the most biased of underlying assumptions. (Junkfood Science)

Lice and good health and other spurious correlations - This has been a week for spurious correlations in the news.

Computer databases have made generating spurious correlations great sport, but no matter how real the correlations are, that doesn’t mean the variables actually affect each other. But spinning tall tales to explain correlations as causations — like ice cream sales and drownings — has become such fun, the winners of Purdue University’s Spurious Correlations Contest continue to entertain us with their creativity. This week’s spurious correlations could have been contenders. (Junkfood Science)

Fat fight at children's hospital - A SYDNEY hospital has become possibly the first in the world to appoint a doctor dedicated to treating overweight children in an urgent attempt to tackle the nation's obesity epidemic.

The appointment, at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, comes as the number of overweight and obese children surges to more than 1.5 million and health systems struggle to deal with the fallout.

Demand for weight management services at the hospital has increased fivefold in the past three years, forcing staff to turn away many children and put scores more on waiting lists. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Not spinning it as a 'crisis'? That's new: Where are all the monarchs this year? - A cold spring held down the butterfly's numbers, but experts say don't worry, they rebound well. (Star Tribune)

"This is one of those species that deals with adversity quite well, and the population can rebound very quickly," said Taylor, a professor and insect ecologist at the University of Kansas. "I'm more concerned about what happens in Mexico this winter. If overwintering conditions are poor with a small population, it takes longer for the population to rebound."

Jellyfish invasion: Britain to fight them on the beaches - The growing threat from swarms of jellyfish around Britain's coast is to be investigated for the first time by British and Irish scientists. Using the latest technology, researchers are planning to tag jellyfish to explore their life cycles and movement in a project known as Ecojel. (The Independent)

Battling green noise - 'BEYOND Petroleum" is a strange slogan for a company that sells mostly petrol. Is BP really that embarrassed by the 3.8 million barrels of oil they produce every day for grateful motorists, and presumably even more grateful shareholders?

If the amount of effort the petrol retailer is going to to promote its coffee is anything to go by, then it appears so.

BP has recently switched its entire coffee supply to "fair trade". This switch has been matched by an ad campaign of billboards extolling fair trade's social and environmental benefits.

Surely in the history of retail this is the first time that an oil company's marketing department has decided to emphasise its petrol station coffee instead of its petrol. It's an interesting strategy — come for the lattes, stay for the fossil fuels.

But BP is hardly alone. Corporations across the world are trying to squeeze into green clothes. Green is the new black. Apparently, environmentalism sells.

Traditional eco-activists describe all of this in the most disparaging of terms — "green wash". But what did they expect? Years of environmental moralising has elevated eco-friendly products to the lofty status previously held by Chanel, Porsche and Rolex. (Chris Berg, The Age)

Baubles of the rich and shameless: Save the planet? Buy it - Millionaires are purchasing entire ecosystems around the world and turning them into conservation areas. Their goal? To stop environmental catastrophe. Jonathan Franklin reports with pictures by Morten Andersen (Daily Telegraph)

Their goal? To deny poor people access to natural resources.

Even capitalism’s fan club is losing faith - Why have free marketeers joined greens and ‘anti-capitalists’ in arguing that economic growth is a bad thing? (Daniel Ben-Ami, sp!ked)

The reference to the ‘overdeveloped part of the world’ is particularly telling. Buiter seems to think that a key problem is that the West is too wealthy rather than the developing world is too poor. In this respect, he sounds like many contemporary environmentalists.

Ag at large: Green aspirants may be too late - For those considering the green revolution and wondering about its future, it may be too late. One prominent authority believes green has gone, gone wild. M. David Stirling, vice president of the highly regarded Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento has just published a book titled "Green Gone Wild -- Elevating Nature Above Human Rights." In it he catalogs the unrestrained steps by hardcore environmentalists from Rachel Carson to present day power and property grabbers who operate through the implementation and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.

He chronicles the half-century worldwide influence of Carson's rage against the use of the mosquito-killing DDT as costing tens of millions of lives. Uncontrolled mosquito populations, especially in developing countries, have spread killer malarial plagues year after year since DDT was banned in 1972.

In what Stirling calls a display of classic hypocrisy, Carson's erroneous fear-mongering that DDT was causing human sickness and deaths led her radical followers to find ways to eliminate or curtail humans' activities they viewed as endangering an ever-expanding number of lesser species. He believes that today's greenies are on a rampage to confiscate millions of acres of private property they declare as habitat for an assortment of rats, snakes, crickets, birds, salamanders and other wildlife and plants. (Don Curlee, Hanford Sentinel)

Scores of Cities Using Untreated Wastewater - Study - STOCKHOLM - Cities in developing countries around the world are using untreated or partially treated wastewater for agriculture, posing serious health risks to urban consumers, a study released on Monday said. (Reuters)

Charles, a very modern Marie Antoinette - Prince Charles has his own Hameau de la Reine: Duchy Home Farm, which provides the organic ingredients for his Duchy Originals range of produce. Like Marie Antoinette, he sees the poor as happiest when they have their place in a natural order, with royalty at its head.

Last week, he surpassed the Bourbons. Marie Antoinette never said: 'Let them eat cake' to the poor of her day, but Prince Charles was adamant that today's poor should eat organic. Despite all I have read by him over the years, it was still a shock to listen to the recording of the interview he gave the Daily Telegraph. This raging man, who searched for apocalyptic predictions of catastrophe, was not a street preacher at Hyde Park Corner, but our next head of state. (Nick Cohen, The Observer)

Prince Charles wrong on GM, says minister - A senior minister has accused Prince Charles of "ignoring" the needs of starving people in the developing world by attacking genetically modified crops. (Daily Telegraph)

August 15, 2008

Nuclear’s Wake-Up Call - What did the nuclear power industry get for playing footsie with the Greens on global warming? A knife in the back, it looks like. The Greens are now saying that emission-free nuclear power may actually contribute to climate change.

After decades of having its growth entirely stymied by anti-nuclear environmentalists, the industry decided to help the Greens lobby for global warming regulation in hopes of easing opposition to the expansion of nuclear power. Companies like Exelon, FPL Group and NRG Energy, for example, helped the Greens form the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) -- a coalition of big businesses and Green groups that has been leading the charge on Capitol Hill for global warming regulation.

But as the saying goes, “when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas” -- a case in point is the proposed addition of a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in southern Maryland. (Steven Milloy,

Shell forced to pull 'misleading' ads promoting Canadian oilsands projects - A ruling by Britain's advertising regulator against oil giant Shell has prompted a new World Wildlife Fund campaign denouncing the petroleum company's "greenwash" tactics in promoting its Canadian oilsands projects.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority ruled Wednesday in favour of a complaint by the WWF's British arm that a newspaper ad in which Dutch-based Shell described its Alberta oilsands operations as "sustainable" was "misleading" and violated ad industry codes for "truthfulness," "substantiation" and "environmental claims."

Now, in its own advertising blitz, reminiscent of European environmentalist campaigns against the Canadian seal hunt, the WWF is trumpeting its victory over Shell on a central London digital billboard that condemns Canada's oilsands as an ecological disaster - just the latest international public relations challenge for an industry touted as this country's ticket to becoming a global energy superpower. (Canwest News Service)

Given that atmospheric carbon dioxide sustains the majority of life on Earth we suspect the ASA got it about as wrong as it possibly could with:

"Because 'sustainable' was an ambiguous term, and because we had not seen data that showed how Shell was effectively managing carbon emissions from its oilsands projects in order to limit climate change, we concluded that on this point, the ad was misleading," the regulator said in its written decision.

We grant 'sustainable' is a nonsense term but CO2 emissions are the very essence of sustaining the biosphere, so constraining them obviously has nothing to do with, in fact is the antithesis of, 'sustainability'.

Comments On “Mitigate and Adapt - But Don’t Forget the Science!” by Rick Anthes - The recent firings at NCAR in the area of social sciences (see) highlights a conflict between those who have concluded that a top-down global climate model perspective provides more useful information to policymakers than does a bottom-up resource-based vulnerability perspective. The bottom-up perspective, however, is more inclusive and useful to policy makers. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Study Improves Ability to Predict Aerosols' Effect on Cloud Cover - Using a novel theoretical approach, researchers from NASA and other institutions have identified the common thread that determines how aerosols from human activity, like the particles from burning of vegetation and forests, influence cloud cover and ultimately affect climate. The study improves researchers’ ability to predict whether aerosols will increase or decrease cloud cover. (NASA)

Virtually: Purdue Researcher Identifies Climate Change Hotspots - A study using one of the most complete climate modeling systems in the world points to southern California, northern Mexico and western Texas as climate change hotspots for the 21st century. (SPX)

Stone-age burial ground in 'green Sahara' - A US-led team of archaeologists said today they had discovered by chance what is believed to be the largest find of Stone Age-era remains ever uncovered in the Sahara Desert. (AFP)

This is the kind of thing that makes me marvel at the climate stasis crowd. There never has been a 'stable climate' and all evidence is that warmer and wetter is one heck of an advantage for life on Earth. If we could warm the planet then that would be great -- but we can't, so we'll just have to adapt to whatever we get, as always.

An Odd Weblog By Josh Willis - Josh Willis’s research is central to the issue of global warming, as it is the ocean heat content that needs to be monitored. Climate Science has weblogged on this quite a few times; e.g. see

Diagnosis Of Global Sea Level and Upper Ocean Heat Content On Seasonal To Interannual Timescales Paper Willis et al 2008 Published

Comparison of Model and Observations Of Upper Ocean Heat Content

New Information From Josh Willis On Upper Ocean Heat Content

A Short Explanation Of Why The Monitoring Of Global Average Ocean Heat Content Is The Appropriate Metric to Assess Global Warming

Can The IPCC Model Projections Of Global Warming Be Evaluated From Just Several Years Of Data?

Thus is quite surprising and puzzling that Josh ignores his data and focuses on the global surface temperature trends in his JPL weblog It’s a Sure Bet - by Josh Willis. He ignores the variety of major issues associated with this data set (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Couldn't resist: Coal in the crossfire - The nation's leading climate scientist had a pointed suggestion for policymakers interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions: no more coal plants.

"We need politicians with the guts to say that, but I don't see that," said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who was in town this week for a speech at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. They "say the right words and set goals to reduce emissions, but their actions prove they don't mean it."

Hansen, who first spoke about global warming to Congress 20 years ago, said he doesn't "give a lot of talks. I'm trying to maintain my credibility as a scientist."

Too late...

We Have Ways of Making You Walk - Recently, we have discussed how Green is the colour of reinventing yourself, to make your washed out perspective seem fresh and relevant to today’s world. Gay rights activist and Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, PeterTatchell, clothes himself in alarmist pseudo-science. Jean-Fancois Mouhot , reinvents history itself by rewriting slavery in order to be able to make a moral equivalence of contemporary lifestyles and slave-owning. ArthurScargill emerges from his tomb to make clean coal the answer to our climate problems. Oh, and Al Gore, who uses anxieties about global warming to make Kennedy-esque speeches.

Enter the psychologists. (Again). (Climate Resistance)

In the virtual realm: Climate Change Threatens One In Five Plant Species In Germany - One in five of Germany’s plant species could lose parts of its current range, a study by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the French Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine reveals.

Species distributions will be rearranged as a result of climate change; this could have a dramatic impact particularly on the vegetation in south-western and eastern Germany. The researchers have modelled and recorded how the ranges of a total of 845 European plant species will shift under three different future scenarios. (ScienceDaily)

So much certainty about the future yet we can't even agree about such a well-studied phenomenon as ENSO: La Niña: Bad science? - La Niña, the climate event caused by unusually cool waters in the eastern Pacific, has strengthened and, according to some scientists, has been responsible for many recent extreme weather events. With the latest data on the phenomenon due out on Wednesday, this latest episode may not have reached its peak. However, there is little consensus as to what can and cannot be attributed to La Niña, and scientists are divided as to whether or not La Niña may produce more extreme weather conditions in the future. (Oxford Analytica)

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Doherty: New Scientific Data Justifies Repealing Global Warming Response Act
Urges State To Hold Off On Damaging New Regulations As Climate Change Theories Clash

Responding to various new scientific reports questioning the concept of global warming, Assemblyman Michael Doherty today called on Governor Corzine to hold off on proposing any new regulations associated with the state’s Global Warming Response Act and urged the Legislature to repeal that act when it returns to legislative business after Labor Day. (Press Release)

Oh... Is global warming putting garden birds at risk by making them lay their eggs earlier? - Rising temperatures are making our best-loved birds lay their eggs earlier, say conservationists. This change could eventually threaten the survival of many garden species such as robins, chaffinches, swallows, blue tits and great tits. They are laying earlier, with some nests filling up with eggs almost ten days sooner than in the 1960s. It is thought the phenomenon is being driven by climate change, with the caterpillars needed to feed their chicks disappearing earlier in the year. So far, our garden birds have kept pace with the changes to the caterpillars' lifecycles, but in time they could be left behind. (Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail)

Birds are timing nesting to suit food availability (stupid things) and have successfully coordinated huge changes over the millennia but if food availability continues to change its calendar dates the birds might suddenly lose the adaptability that has served them so well throughout their evolution...

Norway Agrees US$60 Mln Carbon Capture Research - OSLO - Norwegian research groups and industrial company Aker ASA agreed on Thursday to invest 317 million Norwegian crowns (US$58.97 million) in a research project to capture greenhouse gases.

"The project is one of the biggest of its kind to date," a joint statement said of the eight-year Aker-led project, called SOLVit, which is meant to find cheaper ways to slow global warming by capturing gases from burning fossil fuels. (Reuters)

Oh boy... Spin science - Judging from the latest political campaign ads, energy policy will be a key campaign issue in this year's presidential campaign. And that's good. Voters need to study carefully the positions of the two major party candidates. So much of what determines our economic health and our foreign relationships is tied to how we power our country.

But beware: Even with the overwhelming evidence that global climate change is occurring, there are still some who try to cast doubt on what we now know to be true. Certain scientists have been trotted out by the political right, especially the broadcast blowhards on radio and television, to denigrate the painstaking, peer-reviewed science on man-made carbon emissions. Call them spin scientists. (

Wonder why these clowns view the word of Al as gospel, even though Don Alberto Gorleone is raking in the millions with his carbon protection racket, while those pointing out the flaws in the scare are paid hitters, 'spinning' the science?

No: Placing ideology ahead of science - President Bush has hundreds of environmental misdeeds to his discredit, but the latest should strike a chord with every American: He wants to weaken scientific review of construction projects that might threaten endangered wildlife or its habitat. These are the same reviews that helped the bald eagle, the majestic symbol of our nation, recover well enough to be removed from the threatened species list a year ago this month. (SouthCoast Today)

The bald eagle recovered because it was protected from being shot or killed with pole traps set around fish farms to stop them raiding the ponds -- nothing to do with "reviews of construction projects" at all. Contrary to popular myth old baldy was in precipitous population decline long before industrial agriculture, DDT use and WWII. These guys would like ideology placed before science while the Bush Administration is trying to slow that down.

Pacific Northwest Snowpack - The Real Story - A few years ago, several papers by scientists at the University of Washington (Mote, 2003; Mote, et al, 2004; Mote, et al, 2005) suggested that snowpack in the Pacific Northwest was declining due to global warming. The Mote papers included the statement: “A study of springtime mountain snowpack in the Pacific Northwest showed widespread declines in snowpack since 1950 at most locations with largest declines at lower elevations indicating temperature effects.” This author responded with an article discussing Northwest snow trends. (George Taylor, CCM)

Today's fruit loopery: Global Warming may put seafood off the menu - OYSTERS, lobsters, mussels, sea urchins and abalone could be wiped off the menu by global warming, an Australian scientist warned yesterday.

Jane Williamson, a Macquarie University marine ecologist, made the prediction after discovering that climate change is likely to take a dramatic toll on the ability of sperm from many marine creatures to swim to and fertilise eggs shed in the water.

Even if sperm can find and fertilise the eggs, the probability of their surviving long enough to grow into larvae is likely to plunge. (Brisbane Times)

& just how do critters manage in warm tropical seas? (No comments about better than Arctic waters, please)

Need more storms to facilitate mixing: Ocean dead zones free of oxygen double every decade - Dead zones that are free of oxygen have approximately doubled in number each decade since the 1960s, with many in the coastal waters around Britain.

Scientists warn today that they are now one of the most dire environmental problems of the 21st century.

The alarm about the number of "dead zones"- areas of seafloor that have so little oxygen they suffocate most marine life- is raised by a global study led by Prof Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. (Daily Telegraph)

U.S. on verge of grand-scale blackout - Five years after the worst blackout in North American history, the country’s largest utilities say the U.S. power system faces the prospect of even bigger and more damaging outages.

The specific flaws that led to 50 million people losing power in 2003 have largely been addressed, they say, but even bigger problems loom. Excess generating capacity in the system is shrinking, for example, and power-plant construction has slowed as costs to build and operate plants have soared.

At the same time, it is estimated that electricity use will increase 29 percent between 2006 to 2030 — much of it driven by residential growth, according to a government report issued in June. (Associated Press)

61% say Congress Should Vote on Offshore Drilling Right Now - Six out of 10 Americans (61%) say Congress should return to Washington immediately to vote on lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. But voters overwhelmingly expect Congress to adjourn this year without taking action.

Even more (67%) recognize that Republicans are the ones pushing for offshore drilling, and 77% say the issue is important to them in terms of how they will vote for Congress this November. Forty-five percent (45%) of voters say it is Very Important. Voters see a clear difference between the political parties on this issue as 61% perceive that congressional Democrats oppose offshore drilling.

While their leaders in Congress oppose a vote on drilling, half of Democratic voters(48%) think the Democratic-led Congress should return right away to deal with it. Just 40% of Nancy Pelosi's party disagree. Seventy eight percent (78%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters, by a two-to-one margin, believe Congress should return to vote immediately.

Overall, 30% of voters say Congress does not need to return right away.

In a separate survey released Monday, Rasmussen Reports found that 64% of Americans now support going ahead with offshore oil drilling. (Rasmussen Reports)

ABC's Gibson Attempts Guilt Trip on Exxon CEO - Maybe it was a stab by Charles Gibson to provide a national group therapy session for his 8 million viewers, but the ABC "World News" anchor aggressively questioned ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson on the August 14 broadcast for "obscene" profits and asked him to "justify" the company's success.

"As we said earlier, Rex Tillerson - who is the board chair and CEO of ExxonMobil, doesn't talk often to the press," Gibson said. "His company has reported remarkable profits in the first half of this year. The high price of gas brought ExxonMobil close to $22 billion in profit - in profit - for the first half of this year. I asked him how he justifies that amount, that some see as obscene."

But Tillerson explained to Gibson it was the nature of a large business that performs an incredible amount of transactions. (NewsBusters)

Executive Privilege - When capitalists fail to defend the system that's done more than any other to end human misery, they make a fatal mistake. That's why it's so encouraging to see Exxon Mobil's CEO stand up for his business. (IBD)

Probing Question: Is peak oil a myth? - Unprecedented summer gasoline prices are squeezing Americans' wallets and also expanding their vocabularies, as terms like "peak oil" gain common usage. (Penn State)

Families will not cope with new gas price hikes - Millions of families will be unable to cope with the price rises that gas companies have introduced this summer, according to a survey which makes clear that many are already struggling to pay soaring utility bills. More than a third of all households - 39 per cent, equating to 10 million households - said they were unable to afford paying a penny extra on their gas and electricity bills. (Daily Telegraph)

Hmm... Wind whips up health fears - Hundreds of giant turbines in the Oregon desert will bring power, but residents nearby raise concerns about health effects and an end to their quiet way of life (The Oregonian)

Noise can certainly affect people, low frequency noise has even by suggested for crowd riot control, so yes, there is biological plausibility. Probably worthy of further investigation at least.

Commentary: Energy policy deceptions - Australia Needs a New Energy Policy

We need a new energy policy that relegates to the dust bin all the eco-religious nonsense about the supposed harmful effects of "greenhouse gas emissions", in particular CO2. The well being of the biosphere and mankind is vitally dependent on atmospheric CO2. The further greening of our planet requires more atmospheric CO2, not less.

The populace and politicians are rightly confused at the inventive and lax meanings of chemical and geological terms used by global warmists to further their cause. Climate change has never been a problem with geologists but now it is something new and dangerous caused by man and should be stopped at all cost. Similarly, chemists are quite familiar with "carbon emissions" and now they too are dangerous and should be stopped or buried at great expense! (Allan Taylor, Helium)

Finnish Minister Calls for More Nuclear Power - HELSINKI - Finland should decide on building two more nuclear reactors by 2011, Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen said on Thursday, opening door for more nuclear construction in the Nordic country. (Reuters)

Germany Faces Shortage of Atomic Experts - If Germany shuts down all its atomic reactors by 2021, as the government currently plans, it will still need a fresh generation of nuclear scientists. A group of experts who have released a report on heightened nuclear risks in Germany warns against complacency. (Der Spiegel)

Just a reminder: European agency reaffirms existing BPA standards - Following a review of new data gathered in the midst of an ongoing controversy surrounding the substance, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) determined that existing standards for bisphenol A (BPA), which is a component of polycarbonate (PC), will keep consumers safe, including fetuses and newborns. The finding, which updated a 2006 EFSA statement on the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of BPA, was lauded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Arlington, VA), which said in a release the findings “reaffirmed the safety” of BPA in common consumer goods.

The key to upholding the current TDI of 0.05 mg/kg body weight, according to an EFSA statement, was the finding that humans rapidly metabolize and eliminate BPA, whereas rats do not. A series of studies on rats, which showed a correlation between introduction of BPA and hormonal problems, had led some businesses and governments to call for BPA bans. EFSA also stated that exposure risks to fetuses are also eliminated by the mother’s ability to metabolize the BPA rapidly. In addition, the study found that newborns themselves can metabolize and eliminate BPA at doses below 1 mg/kg of body weight per day, exceeding the levels set forth in the 2006 standard. (modern Plastics)

We've had a few people excited that silly Left-Coasters are worried about bisphenol A -- they shouldn't be, even über chemophobes, the EU, have finally realized while people may behave badly they are not really rats and in fact metabolize compounds differently. About the only thing you can be sure of with mad Left-Coast schemes like banning useful compounds -- they sure aren't right.

Skin creams cause tumors on mice, study shows - WASHINGTON - Certain commonly available skin creams may cause skin tumors, at least in mice, and experts should be checking to see if they might cause growths in people as well, researchers reported on Thursday.

They found several creams caused skin cancer in the specially bred mice, which had been pre-treated with ultraviolet radiation.

The cancers are not melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, they stressed in their report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, but another type called squamous cell carcinoma. Such tumors are slow growing, highly treatable and only fatal if patients fail to have them removed. (Reuters)

Big deal, the damn things are specially inbred to break out in cancers.

The sniffles did it? Craving fatty food? Blame it on childhood illness - Next time you tuck into that mid-morning bag of chips or that late-night doughnut, blame it on your childhood sniffles. New research suggests that a history of ear infections doubles the chance of obesity in later life.

Preliminary results from the University of Florida in Gainesville suggest that severe ear infections damage a nerve that transmits signals from the tongue to the brain, which then changes the patient's perception of taste so that they prefer fatty foods. ( news service)

School dinners debate: Junk food may harm toddlers' ability to learn - Children who are brought up on a diet of junk food at the age of three are more likely to make slow progress at school, educational researchers have discovered.

They found diet in the preschool years has more influence on a child's ability to learn than the quality of school dinners. (The Guardian)

Are There Still Tigers in TriBeCa? - An Online Essay by Philip Stott (Global Warming Politics)

GERMANY: Fleeing Famine, Bees Seek Asylum in Cities - BERLIN, Aug 14 - For German bees, the countryside is no longer what it used to be. They are fleeing insecticides and genetically modified crops to take refuge in cities.

On Jul. 15, six German apiarists moved their 30,000 bees into Munich city, some 500 km south of Berlin. They were trying to save their bees from genetically modified maize crops near their village Kaisheim, some 80 km from Munich.

"If our bees were to come in touch with the genetically modified maize, and the honey was contaminated with it, we would not be allowed to sell it," Karl Heinz Bablock, one of the six apiarists who resettled their beehives, told IPS. In Germany, genetically modified crops are legal, but their harvests are forbidden for human consumption.

Earlier this year, Bablock and several of his colleagues filed a protest against the GM crops before a tribunal in Augsburg, 60 km northwest of Munich. But the court ruled in May that because the crops were legal, it was the apiarists who should move their beehives somewhere else.

"It is well known that bees live 90 percent of their lives in a perimeter of three kilometres," Bablock said. "But bees can fly up to 10 kilometres without any problem. Now we are really happy that the city of Munich has granted our bees asylum." (IPS)

The bees were fine, it was the apiarists who fled, driven by greenie stupidity.

Plastics suspect in lobster illness - The search for what causes a debilitating shell disease affecting lobsters from Long Island Sound to Maine has led one Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) visiting scientist to suspect environmental alkyphenols, formed primarily by the breakdown of hard transparent plastics. (Marine Biological Laboratory)

Gang Green - Earlier this month, while visiting a friend in San Francisco, I almost spilled my latte in my lap when I read this on the front page of the Chronicle: "S.F. Mayor Proposes Fines for Unsorted Trash."

The story began: "Garbage collectors would inspect San Francisco residents' trash to make sure pizza crusts aren't mixed in with chip bags or wine bottles under a proposal by Mayor Gavin Newsom." Isn't that what homeless people do -- rooting around in other people's garbage? If Bay Area residents are caught failing to separate the plastic bottles from the newspapers, according to the newspaper story, they could face fines of up to $1,000.

"We don't want to fine people," the mayor is quoted saying reassuringly. "We want to change behavior." Translation: Do exactly as we say and no one gets hurt. And San Francisco considers itself one of the most progressive cities in America! (Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal)

August 14, 2008

Hmm... Psychologists determine what it means to think 'green' - Those who make human behavior their business aim to make living "green" your business.

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.

"We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do," says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. "We know what messages will work and what will not."

During a four-day meeting that begins today in Boston, an expected 16,000 attendees will hear presentations, including studies that explore how people experience the environment, their attitudes about climate change and what social barriers prevent conservation of resources. (Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY)

... I've often thought enviros I've run across have needed their heads read, seems quite a few have done so :) And here's a bunch of professional manipulators bragging they know how to push these gullible dills' buttons.

He's at it again: Climate at 'a critical point,' scientist says - The global warming debate, a top NASA scientist says, is over. Now, he adds, the issue has turned urgent.

"We have reached a critical point,'' NASA scientist James Hansen said Tuesday in an interview. "If we don't get on a different path within the next several years, then we're going to pass tipping points in the climate system with large consequences that will be felt especially by our children and grandchildren.''

The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Hansen was in St. Paul with Arctic explorer Will Steger to participate in several forums Monday at the Science Museum of Minnesota. He was one of the first scientists to issue warnings about global warming more than two decades ago.

Already, the Earth's surface temperature is 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Many climate scientists predict it will rise many more degrees in the next century, melting glaciers, raising sea levels and leading to other ecological changes.

Hansen said governments must put a moratorium on coal-fired power plants such as the proposed Big Stone II plant near Ortonville, Minn., until the huge amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emitted by them can be captured and sequestered. (Dennis Lien, Pioneer Press)

The Hockey Stick Debate as a Matter of Science Policy (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Spotless days: 400 and counting - As many of you know, the sun has been very quiet, especially in the last month. In a NASA news release article titled What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing) solar physicist David Hathaway goes on record as saying:

“It does seem like it’s taking a long time,” allows Hathaway, “but I think we’re just forgetting how long a solar minimum can last.”

No argument there. But it does seem to me that the purpose of Hathaway’s July 11th article was to smooth over the missed solar forecasts he’s made. (Watts Up With That?)

What! This model won't get any further funding, that's for sure: Climate change may boost Middle East rainfall - The prospect of climate change sparking food and water shortages in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new research by an Australian climate scientist suggesting that rainfall will be significantly higher in key parts of the region. (University of New South Wales)

Global Warming and Some Maths: A Note from William Kininmonth - A couple of weeks ago I became quite agitated after reading an article in The Australian’s Higher Education section by Roger Jones of CSIRO. Jones questioned the sceptics drawing attention to flaws in the computer models and then went on to explain what the models were supposed to do, not what they actually do! (Politics and Environment)

Sheesh! Green Party Candidate Outed - Peter Tatchell, militant gay rights activist from the 1980s is reinventing himself as a Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East. On commentissimplyabsurd, he writes today about a looming global oxygen shortage. (Climate Resistance)

Aerosol Light Scattering Effect on Terrestrial Plant Productivity and Energy Fluxes Over the Eastern United States by Matsui et al. 2008 - We have published a new study that documents the role of atmospheric aerosols on plant growth and heat and moisture fluxes [and, therefore, on the climate system]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Tricky gorebull warming... Decade has had fewest 90-degree days since 1930 - August is the wettest and often the muggiest month of the year. Yet, summer heat continues in short supply, continuing a trend that has dominated much of the 21st Century's opening decade. There have been only 162 days 90 degrees or warmer at Midway Airport over the period from 2000 to 2008. That's by far the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930.

This summer's highest reading to date has been just 91 degrees. That's unusual. Since 1928, only one year—2000—has failed to record a higher warm-season temperature by Aug. 13. (Tom Skilling, Chicago Tribune)

... cunningly trying to lull us into a false sense of security like this...

Partly right: Some urban spots noticeably hotter than others - As global warming threatens to raise temperatures around the world, a phenomenon known as urban heat islands might jack the mercury up even higher across Montreal and especially in the West Island.

Heat islands, or hot spots, are areas where the temperature is five to 10 degrees warmer because of sprawling asphalt and concrete buildings with dark, heat absorbent building materials. (The Gazette)

While satellite-mounted MSUs suggest there has been some trivial atmospheric warming over the last three decades we still don't know how much of the alleged warming in the near surface record is genuine, if any, and how much is simply UHIE contamination of the record.

How fortunate no one lives in these virtual realms: Scorching summer days to sizzle more by 2100 - OSLO - Dangerously hot days are set to become more scorching by 2100 because of climate change with the U.S. Midwest or the Mediterranean region sizzling well above 40 degrees Celsius (104F), Dutch scientists said on Wednesday.

They said the likely jump in temperatures on the hottest summer days would far outpace the average of year-round global warming this century projected by the U.N. Climate Panel. Heat waves can be a big threat to human health.

"The extremes warm faster than the averages," said Rob van Dorland, a spokesman for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute which wrote the study with scientists at Utrecht University.

If world temperatures rose on average by perhaps 3 Celsius (5.4F) by 2100, the temperature on the most sweltering day of the year could leap by up to 8 Celsius (14.4F), he said.

Computer projections indicated that temperatures would hit baking peaks above 50 Celsius (122.00F) in parts of Australia, India, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and equatorial and subtropical South America by the 2100. (Reuters)

Global warming could worsen allergies: report - NEW YORK - If your hayfever becomes worse than ever this fall, you might be able to blame global warming, a new research review suggests.

The report, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, details the evidence that global warming is placing asthma and allergy sufferers at risk of "worsening disease, more symptomatic days, and reduced quality of life."

The problem is that climate change affects air quality -- boosting both air pollution and pollen counts, according to the report authors, led by Dr. Katherine M. Shea of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Warmer temperatures mean longer pollen seasons, the researchers explain, while studies have shown that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air increase pollen concentrations. (Reuters Health)

Funny how they are eager to trumpet increased plant growth from this angle in a warmer, less CO2-starved world but omit mention of how the rest of the biosphere thrives too. From crops to forests to marine algae all are growing stronger and longer but the media has to find some suffering from all this bounty, so they report pollen allergy.

Global warming efforts will carry long-term public cost - Premier Gordon Campbell's ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were in a sense drawn out of thin air.

Rather than any serious analysis of what it would take to get there, the goal of a 33 per cent reduction from 2007 levels by 2020 was based on his determination of what we need to achieve if we want to play an effective role in limiting the potentially harmful effects of climate change.

We got our first look at the changes required with the carbon tax and other measures introduced earlier this year. (Vancouver Sun)

Is there a cold future just lying in wait for us? - Our own observatory at Armagh is one of the oldest in the world and has been observing solar cycles for more than 200 years.

What this work has shown is that, over all of this time, short and intense cycles coincide with global warmth and long and weak cycles coincide with cooling.

Most recently, this pattern continued in the 1980s and 1990s when cycles 21 and 22 were short (less than 10 years) and intense and it was notably hot. But all this now looks set to change.

Cycle 23, which hasn't finished yet, looks like it will be long (at least 12 to 13 years) and cycle 24, which has still to start, looks like it will be exceptionally weak.

Based on the past Armagh measurements, this suggests that over the next two decades, global temperatures may fall by about 2 degrees C — that is, to a level lower than any we have seen in the last 100 years. Of course, nothing in science is certain. Perhaps (though I doubt it) Armagh's old measurements are wrong or perhaps there are now other factors, such as CO2 emissions, which may change things somewhat.

However, temperatures have already fallen by about 0.5 degrees C over the past 12 months and, if this is only the start of it, it would be a serious concern.

Northern Ireland is not noted for extreme warmth at the best of times and has much more to fear from cold weather than it does from hot. We really need to be sure what is going to happen before spending too much money on combating global warming.

We may need all the money we can save just to help us keep warm.

David Watt
Essex (Belfast Telegraph)

Growing challenge to prevailing view on climate change - UNDER THE MICROSCOPE A small but growing view is that global warming is a natural process - nothing to do with human activity, writes Dr William Reville

GLOBAL warming/climate change is a very serious and important issue. It has been under scientific investigation since 1986 by the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC declares global warming is a fact and it is driven largely by emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities (IPCC Report 2007 - I have reported the IPCC reports uncritically in this column, but a growing number of scientists are now presenting evidence that contradicts the IPCC position and I will give you a flavour of their position in this article. (Irish Times)

Study: Immigration to U.S. Increases Global Greenhouse-Gas Emissions - WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 - The findings of a new study indicate that future levels of immigration will have a significant impact on efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions. Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions because it transfers population from lower-polluting parts of the world to the United States, which is a higher-polluting country.

The report, entitled "Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions," is available here and a video regarding the report is available here. (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

Good thing no one has reason to care about greenhouse gas emissions then, isn't it.

Because everyone needs a laugh: Extremely fit have larger carbon footprints than do couch potatoes: scientific study - The following is a scientific study: (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Can Obama End The “Age Of Oil?” - CHURCHVILLE, VA—Barack Obama says the U.S. must “end the age of oil in our time,” with “real results by the end of my first term in office.”

Duff Badgley, the Green candidate for governor in Washington State, goes only a bit further: he’d immediately convert the Boeing factory from building jetliners to making solar panels and wind turbines. He’d ration your carbon emissions, right down to your lawn mower. He’d outlaw single-occupancy vehicles, and spend carbon tax money to ensure there would be a bus you could ride—but rural dwellers would mostly have to walk.

Both Obama and Badgley would make perfect sense if the earth was suffering rapid global warming caused by human CO2 emissions. Fortunately, that isn’t happening. (Dennis t. Avery, CGFI)

Burning Cash: Coal-Friendly Banks Under Fire - At a time when everybody from power companies to automakers says they are trying to find ways to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, should the banks that finance them be held to the same standards?

Some banks in the U.S. are taking steps to watch where they put their money. Groups like Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley announced their new principles meant to steer them toward environmentally-friendly lending decisions. Others, like Bank of America, are taking a more skeptical look at financing coal projects by putting their own price-tag on carbon emissions even before Congress does.

Overseas, banks aren’t acting quite as green. That’s the verdict from a new report from a coalition of environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth, slamming companies like the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, and HSBC for pouring more than $30 billion into the coal industry in the last two years. The report warns green advances in U.S. lending practices could be undermined if capital is available elsewhere—a new form of “carbon leakage.” (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

The correct answer is for all banks to become more coal-friendly. Coal is likely to be the world's key power source for many decades, perhaps centuries to come.

The Great Energy Confusion - WASHINGTON -- Forget about a candid national conversation on energy. As John McCain and Barack Obama campaigned last week, that much seemed clear. To lower oil prices (which were already dropping), Obama proposed releasing 10 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is an atrocious idea. The SPR was intended as insurance against a catastrophic loss of oil from wars, embargoes, terrorism or natural disasters. It should not be manipulated cynically for political advantage. Earlier, McCain suggested suspending the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax; that was another bad and expedient idea.

No doubt Obama and McCain want to relieve Americans' discomfort at the pump. The trouble is that Americans should feel discomforted. We want a return to cheap, secure oil; we want painless pathways to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. These are fantasies; they should not be indulged.

In 2006, coal, oil and natural gas provided 85 percent of U.S. energy. In 2025, regardless of what we do, they will almost certainly remain the leading energy sources. We will still import huge volumes of oil and face global disruptions. And any serious effort to curb oil use and greenhouse gases will require high energy prices -- whether imposed by the market or taxes -- to induce conservation and conversion to nonfossil fuels. (Robert Samuelson, Real Clear Politics)

Actually there's no known benefit of reducing greenhouse gases, period. Additionally we face no urgent need to veer away from fossil fuel usage, although easy oil is being exhausted from a commercial standpoint. This means we should be accelerating coal to liquids, using coal and nuclear power generation rather than wasting readily utilized transportation and home heating fuels like natural gas and diesel in these facilities.

Left Coast lunacy: California to review global warming effects of highway - SACRAMENTO—State transportation officials say a Sacramento highway project is on hold so they can study its potential effect on global warming.

The Department of Transportation wants to add lanes to the congested Highway 50 corridor west of downtown Sacramento.

But a judge last month ruled the state had failed to analyze the greenhouse gas emissions that could be produced if the project goes forward.

The proposed lanes would be designated for car pools, buses and high-mileage vehicles during morning and afternoon commutes. Critics who favor public transit say the additional lanes could encourage more car use and pollution.

The delay means commuters along the Highway 50 corridor won't get additional lanes for at least another six years. (Associated Press)

Pelosi And The Big Wind Boone-Doggle - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently called congressional Republicans who want up-or-down drilling votes "handmaidens of the oil companies." Let's call Pelosi what she is: House girl of the Big Wind boondogglers.

Though she seemingly backtracked on labeling drilling a "hoax" this week, Pelosi refuses to consider GOP energy proposals that don't include massive government subsidies for so-called eco-alternatives that have never panned out.

Which brings us to the Speaker's 2007 financial disclosure form. Schedule III lists "Assets and Unearned Income" of between $100,001-$250,000 from Clean Energy Fuels Corp.-Public Common Stock.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CLNE) is a natural gas provider founded by T. Boone Pickens. Yep, that T. Boone Pickens — ex-oilman turned wind-power evangelist whose ads touting a national wind campaign are now as ubiquitous as Viagra promos. (Michelle Malkin, IBD)

Slim Pickens - Oil imports are destroying the U. S., say a rising tide of alarmists in the U. S., chief among them T. Boone Pickens, the legendary oil man turned wind power developer. "It is a clear and growing threat to our national security, and our national economy," he testified to the U. S. Senate. "It has to be stopped. We are on the verge of losing our Super Power status."

To hear it from Pickens, who is mounting a national ad campaign to promote his wind power investments, it's even worse than that -- the U. S. is aiding and abetting its enemies.

"We don't buy all of our oil from our enemies. We do have some friends -- Canada and a few others. But most of the money that the world pays for oil goes into the hands of countries that are not our reliable allies. And some of that money is used right back against us in the war on terror. And so, we are funding the people who are trying to wreak havoc on this country."

Pickens is outrageously misleading. True, the U. S. does import most of its oil, but barely -- only 56.5% of net U. S. oil needs are now met from exports according to the most recent figures from the U. S. Energy Information Administration, not the 70% that Pickens' ads claim. Moreover, this "oil dependency," as it's called, is diminishing, not increasing, as Pickens claims, and precious little of it comes from countries that can be thought of as enemies of the U. S. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

See The Wind Cries 'Bailout!'; Is T. Boone Pickens 'Swiftboating' America?; Pickens Gives New Meaning to 'Self-Government'

Austin Electricity Limits - Austin Energy (the city-owned electric utility in the Texas capital) and Nacogdoches Power, LLC, are hosting a town hall meeting in Austin tonight about their proposed biomass-power partnership. They propose a $2.3 billion, 20-year contract for power from wood waste. Austin Energy would be the sole buyer of power from the plant for the duration of the 20-year contract.

So Austin, always eager to lead the way in costly “green” ventures, is about to spend $2.3 billion on a 100-megawatt power plant that produces power from a fuel source that accounted for 0.95 percent of the total electricity generation in the U.S. in 2006. Not a surprising move, as the Austin Climate Protection Plan seeks to have 30 percent of the city’s power from renewable-energy sources by 2020.

But even local environmental groups are urging caution: (Drew Thornley, Planet Gore)

Yeah? Which ones? Pollution killing 21,000 Canadians this year: report - Air pollution this year will kill more than 20,000 Canadians, the Canadian Medical Association said Wednesday in a report.

The research on the human costs of pollution and pollution-related diseases estimated that around 21,000 people in Canada will die from breathing in toxic substances drifting in the air this year. (AFP)

Perhaps the CMA should read this:

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In fact, everyone should read it and then this wouldn't be such a problem: The media's addiction to controversy can seriously damage your health - Unfounded newspaper campaigns on MMR may have left fewer children vaccinated. And now a measles epidemic looms (Peter Wilby, The Guardian)

An interesting observation - Olympic diet - Michael Phelps has been amazing to watch. He’s already shattered five world records and won the most gold medals in modern Olympic history.

No one could argue that he is not physically fit. And he’s certainly not what anyone would call fat. In fact, he’s said he has always had trouble keeping weight on. Yet, he is being criticized for not eating the healthiest diet and accused that his physical feats are being achieved “in spite of eating a poor quality diet.” (Junkfood Science)

The evidence behind dietary and lifestyle interventions for type 2 diabetes - Dietary management is widely recommended for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetics. They are referred for disease case management, often mandated by insurers, to make sure they follow their prescribed diabetes diet. Given the potential serious outcomes of the disease and the widespread claims of a grave epidemic of type 2 diabetes, you might expect that the best diet* has been established. But there are many different ideas on the dietary and lifestyle interventions that people with type 2 diabetes should follow in order to reduce vascular complications and mortality. Which one(s) are supported by clinical evidence? (Junkfood Science)

Experts ponder the hazards of using technology to save the planet - Last year, a private company proposed "fertilizing" parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet.

This technology might be useful, even life-saving. But it would inevitably produce environmental effects impossible to predict and impossible to undo. So a growing number of experts say it is time for broad discussion of how and by whom it should be used, or if it should be tried at all.

Similar questions are being raised about nanotechnology, robotics and other powerful emerging technologies. There are even those who suggest humanity should collectively decide to turn away from some new technologies as inherently dangerous. (Cornelia Dean, IHT)

One thing we most assuredly do not want is anyone screwing around trying to cool the planet. Warm is good, cold is very, very bad.

Film of fishermen dumping catch causes uproar - A UK trawler filmed throwing five tonnes of fish overboard has caused outrage in Norway and among environmentalists (John Vidal, The Guardian)

But this is what the EU greenie-induced quota system forces them to do.

Rat snacks can solve world food price crisis: Indian official - Eating rats is the best way for rich and poor people to solve the global crisis of rising food prices, an Indian official said Wednesday as he unveiled his plan to put rodents on menus.

Regular rat snacks would translate into fewer rodents eating precious grain stocks -- 50 percent of which are lost in the northeastern state of Bihar every year to the animals, said Vijay Prakash, secretary of the state's welfare department.

"This will help in mitigating the global food crisis. We are sure that it will work wonders," Prakash told AFP. "It will save half our grain, and will also reduce villagers' dependence on food stock." (AFP)

Prince Charles accused by scientists of abusing his position over GM food comments - The Prince of Wales has been plunged into an extraordinary row with scientists after they accused him of seriously abusing his position over his comments on GM food.

Scientists reacted angrily to the warning from the Prince in his interview in the Daily Telegraph that GM crops risked causing the world's worse environmental disaster.

MPs accused him of being a "luddite" who risked inflicting starvation on millions of people in Africa. (Daily Telegraph)

Prince Charles - finally cracked - The sheer hysteria in Charles' voice during the interview (played this morning on Radio 4's Today Programme) suggests he may really be losing his grip on reality. It's worth noting that, his ancestor, George III's "madness" only started to manifest after the age of 50 and Charles is 59.

It is thought that George's porphyria (thought to be the inherited disease responsible) was only brought on by excessive use of arsenic in his "medicines". Porphyria can be masked by use of Beta-carotene and fish oil supplements, but set off by changes in the formulation and large doses of other vitamins.

I wonder if Charles has changed the large doses in his rigorous vitamin supplement regimen recently? Somebody should alert him to the fact that such a change can set off symptoms of porphyria (including "madness") - as can gall stones or excess alcohol consumption.

Today's Daily Telegraph carries an interview in which Prince Charles shows exactly how clinically insane he has become in his old age. (Bad Ecology)

Extinction most likely for rare trees in the Amazon rainforest - Common tree species in the Amazon will survive even grim scenarios of deforestation and road-building, but rare trees could suffer extinction rates of up to 50 percent, predict Smithsonian scientists and colleagues in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

So, rare niche-dwellers are more at risk of extinction than common, more adaptable ones? Don't know how they do it...

Amazon rainforest threatened by new wave of oil and gas exploration - With over 35 multinational companies racing to tap into oil and gas reserves situated in peak biodiversity spots, conservationists urge an environmental impact assessment (Ian Sample, The Guardian)

Of course they do.

New research suggests Burmese pythons will find little suitable habitat outside South Florida - Burmese Pythons – one of the largest snakes in the world – may have chosen Florida as a vacation destination, but are unlikely to expand further, according to a study released August 13 by researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY), published in the online, open access journal PLoS ONE. Although the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earlier this year released 'climate maps' indicating that the pythons could potentially inhabit up to thirty two states in the continental U.S., new research indicates that the snakes are unlikely to expand out of south Florida. (PLoS)

August 13, 2008

About time reality intruded: Florida board may reject State Farm rate increase - TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A State Farm rate increase appears in jeopardy after regulators grilled company officials for hours about a request to jack up rates in Florida by 47.1 percent.

Florida's insurance consumer advocate office told regulators that they should reject the increase because State Farm has not justified why such a large rate increase is needed. Gov. Charlie Crist also said he hopes that Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty kills the proposed rate increase.

"Enough is enough," said Crist. "I'm very pleased with Commissioner McCarty's work. I think he'll handle this case appropriately and I think you know what I mean by that — rejecting it, the increase."

State Farm defended the rate request, saying the money is needed to pay for future hurricanes and to make up for discounts they are handing out to customers who add hurricane shutters and make other home repairs. State Farm has roughly 1 million customers in the state. (Associated Press)

Al Gore's misstatements notwithstanding there is absolutely zero evidence of increasing frequency or severity of storms (which is different from the increased risk of placing assets in harm's way). Just because you are insuring more valuable assets does not mean rates must increase even though premiums rise according to the value of the risk insured.

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster - The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster, The Prince of Wales has warned.

In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone "seriously wrong".

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research.

He accused firms of conducting a "gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong".

"Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?". (Daily Telegraph)

The Prince of Wails: 'If that is the future, count me out' -- trust us Charlie, we'd love to do just that.

Review: Scared Senseless
By Ronald Bailey

Hyping Health Risks
By Geoffrey C. Kabat

Does the wearing of shoes with heels cause schizophrenia? That was the contention made in 2004 by a Swedish physician in Medical Hypotheses, a scientific journal that specializes in out-of-the-box thinking. "Heeled footwear," the physician observed, "began to be used more than 1,000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia." As heeled shoes sprinted across the world, he said, so did the incidence of the disease. He called for epidemiological studies to check his hypothesis.

It is possible that some epidemiologist somewhere is crunching heeled-shoe data and preparing a paper on the subject. And if such a paper appears, the media will treat it with sober regard -- assuming that it confirms the doctor's wild idea. A Nexis survey of newspaper headlines from the past week finds epidemiological studies playing a role in all sorts of claims: that sleep apnea increases the risk of early death; that thunderstorms provoke asthma attacks; that cellphones might cause cancer; that flu shots may not help the elderly; that consuming fruit drinks increases the risk of diabetes in women. Some of these reports may turn out to be important but most will amount to a kind of scientific noise, adding to our uneasy sense that, in the modern world, danger lurks on every side.

In "Hyping Health Risks," Geoffrey Kabat, an epidemiologist himself, shows how activists, regulators and scientists distort or magnify minuscule environmental risks. (Wall Street Journal)

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Sheesh! Prescriptions for Health, the Environmental Kind - In a bright studio at New York University, Natalie Jeremijenko welcomes visitors to her environmental health clinic. She wears a white lab coat with a rotated red cross on the pocket. A clipboard with intake forms hangs by the door.

Inside, circuit boards, respirators, light bulbs, bike helmets and books on green design clutter the high shelves. In front of a bamboo consultation desk sits a mock medicine cabinet, which turns out to be filled with power tools.

Dr. Jeremijenko, an Australian artist, designer and engineer, invites members of the public to the clinic to discuss personal environmental concerns like air and water quality. Sitting at the consultation desk, she also offers them concrete remedies or “prescriptions” for change, much as a medical clinic might offer prescriptions for drugs.

“It’s a widely familiar script,” said Dr. Jeremijenko, 41, who has a doctorate in engineering and is an assistant professor of visual art at N.Y.U. “People know how to ring up and make an appointment at their health clinic. But they don’t really know what to do about toxins in the air and global warming, right?

“So the whole thing is how do we translate the tremendous amount of anxiety and interest in addressing major environmental issues into something concrete that people can do whose effect is measurable and significant?” (Amanda Schaffer, New York Times)

Lookit Jimmy's put his name to now: Report Outlines Junk Mail’s Climate Impacts - ‘Junk mail effect’ equals emissions of 9 million cars, 7 US States combined; Nasa scientist and Gore advisor Hansen urges support for do not mail registry. (nutters' media release)

Print CEO Blog has discussed this issue before (I must admit I've never had my dinner interrupted by a piece of junk mail and I don't really see mail being the same issue as intrusive callers, either by phone of door knocking). As Joe Webb points out, unlike virtually costless electronic mail print mail volumes are declining and direct mailers simply cannot afford other than fairly targeted mailings. The only value I can see for the nutters in this "do not mail" registry is a bit more propaganda.

Propaganda alert: A flood of new climate science seeps into classrooms very slowly - While there has been a growing consensus among scientists about climate change and its global impacts and a great deal of new scientific work that attempts to describe it, science teachers have had to rely on brief and vague descriptions in textbooks for years. Now they are about to get more tools to improve climate literacy. But there are several reasons why they may not succeed in this effort. (Climatewire)

Joining a plethora of wild guesses: Human activity, El Nino warming West Antarctic: study - NEW YORK - Human activity and the El Nino weather pattern over the last century have warmed West Antarctica, part of the world's coldest continent, according to a study based on four years of collecting ice core data.

The West Antarctic warmed in response to higher temperatures in the tropical Pacific, which itself has been warming due to weather patterns like a major El Nino event from 1939 to 1942 and greenhouse emissions from cars and factories, according to the study.

"An increasingly large part of the signal is becoming due to human activity," said the study's lead author David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The study appeared on Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previous studies had showed the West Antarctic had cooled partly due to winds caused by depletion of the ozone layer. (Reuters)

The WAIS is cooling (but that is due to an ozone 'depletion' that is not known to be happening) while it is heating, firstly due to El Niño events of nearly 7 decades ago and then enhanced greenhouse. Well, the not happening ozone depletion must be winning because, despite the monster El Niño event of 1997/98, southern polar regions are cooling very slightly, at the trivial rate of -0.07 °C/decade (seven one-thousandths of one kelvin per year).

Less frantic write-up: Antarctic climate: Short-term spikes, long-term warming linked to tropical Pacific - Dramatic year-to-year temperature swings and a century-long warming trend across West Antarctica are linked to conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, according to a new analysis of ice cores conducted by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Washington (UW). The findings show the connection of the world's coldest continent to global warming, as well as to periodic events such as El Niño. (NCAR)

That poor virtual world... India to be 4 degrees hotter in 40 years - NEW DELHI: The effect of climate change on India could be far worse than previously estimated. Latest projections indicate that after 2050, temperatures would rise by 3-4 degrees over current levels and rainfall would become both heavier and less regular, posing a grave threat to agriculture.

These are part of the research conducted by scientists at Pune's Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, one of the key government institutions studying climate change in India. The findings are currently under review by a well-recognized scientific journal.

This provides another, more serious wake-up call for India's planners to look at adapting to the impending climatic changes. But as importantly, it demands that the developed countries reduce their emissions substantially before their accumulated emissions turn these projections into a reality for India and other developing countries. (Times of India)

Professor Examines the Effects of Climate Change on Civilizations - Global warming is currently one the world's most pressing issues, but the phenomenon of climate change is not specific to the 21st century. A new book by anthropologist Brian Fagan takes a look at the global effects of climate change that occurred during the Medieval Warm Period and examines how subtle shifts in the environment had far-reaching effects on human existence.

In "The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations" (Bloomsbury Press, 2008), Fagan, a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focuses on the period from the 10th to 15th centuries when the earth experienced a rise in average temperature that changed the climate worldwide.

Some civilizations, including those in Western Europe and the Norse and Inuit of the North Atlantic, flourished as long summers brought bountiful crops, population growth, and a burgeoning cultural scene, Fagan notes. However, other long-established societies, such as the Maya and Indians of the American southwest, collapsed from prolonged periods of drought. (University of California, Santa Barbara)

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Professor Fagan also features in Little Ice Age: Big Chill:

Scientists call it the Little Ice Age--but its impact was anything but small. From 1300 to 1850, a period of cataclysmic cold caused havoc. It froze Viking colonists in Greenland, accelerated the Black Death in Europe, decimated the Spanish Armada, and helped trigger the French Revolution. The Little Ice Age reshaped the world in ways that now seem the stuff of fantasy--New York Harbor froze and people walked from Manhattan to Staten Island, Eskimos sailed kayaks as far south as Scotland, and "the year without a summer" saw two feet of snow fell on New England one June and July.

Could another catastrophic cold snap strike in the 21st century? Leading climatologists offer the latest theories, and scholars and historians recreate the history that could be a glimpse of things to come. Face the cold, hard truth of the past--an era that may be a window to our future.

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Panel discusses preparedness of NYC's subways, bridges and buildings in face of climate change - NEW YORK - Flooded subways. Bridges deteriorating in the hot sun. Rising seas nipping at the edges of Manhattan.

Those scenarios are up for review by a panel of scientists, government officials and private sector representatives studying how the city's infrastructure will hold up to climate change.

The Climate Change Adaptation Task Force met Tuesday for the first time as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to address global warming in New York City, which already includes orders to switch the city's taxi fleet to hybrids by 2012 and to retrofit city buildings to meet greener standards. (Associated Press)

Aunty Must Avoid Preaching - ... More seriously, though, this risible bit of trumpery meshes all too closely with a worrying letter published in this week’s copy of the BBC’s staff newspaper, Ariel (August 5), where one reads [p. 11; not online]:

“The BBC has a key role in educating and informing people about the link between climate change and human activity. It is only when people realise the severity of the problem that they will be motivated to play their part in tackling it.”

Hm! No it doesn’t! The BBC has a role in critically reporting the immensely complex science, economics, and politics of climate change as they unfold.

The BBC is not a propaganda outlet for Green activists. (Global Warming Politics)

Bishop Hill: Caspar and the Jesus Paper - Reader Perry writes in reporting an interesting narrative of the Caspar Ammann affair at Bishop Hill's blog here. IT is a detailed narrative written in a lively style of a story that's been followed here for a few years and re-visited last week with the release of the Ammann SI.

The article is very flattering to the proprietor of this blog ; I appreciate the interest and the thought. Most readers of the blog will enjoy the story, I did. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

From CO2 Science this week:

Three Decades of Modeling Climate Sensitivity to CO2: How much progress has been made? ... and how much remains to be made?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 576 individual scientists from 345 separate research institutions in 38 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Eastern Gotland Basin, Central Baltic Sea. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Animals (Frogs): Is global warming to blame for the tough time they have been having around the world over the past few decades?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Dropwort, Fescue, Orchardgrass, and Scots Pine.

Journal Reviews:
Moulin Ruse: What's really happening to the Greenland Ice Sheet?

Southern Hemisphere Deglacial Warming and Atmospheric CO2 Increases: What did the latter have to do with the former?

The Holocene Climate of Central Iceland: What does it suggest about the current and the IPCC-predicted future climate there?

The Progressive Phosphorus Limitation Hypothesis: Just like the progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis, it too is being found to be of little merit.

Multiple Responses of Alfalfa to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: What are they? ... and are they beneficial or detrimental?

Thomasville, ALTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Thomasville, AL. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Thomasville's mean annual temperature has cooled by 1.63 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (

December 1986 - A guest post by John Goetz
Cross posted from Climate Audit

After I posted GISS Spackle and Caulk, a number of commenters marveled at the symmetry of the histogram (GISS temperature estimate minus actual temperature). Some were dismayed that there was not a clear warming bias in the plot. Others were giddy for the very same reason. A few noted (as I hoped) that the differences tended to be rather large, but most seemed content with the fact GISS could hit the side of a barn from five feet. (Watts Up With That?)

Research supports suggestions that global warming will do little to change hurricane activity - In a study published in the July 2008 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Drs. David S. Nolan and Eric D. Rappin from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science describe a new method for evaluating the frequency of hurricane formation in present and future tropical climates. While current thinking about changes in hurricane frequency comes mostly from computer simulations of global climate, the computer models used for these studies can only represent the coarsest features of hurricanes, thus casting doubt in their predictions of hurricane activity. (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)

Oh... Clash of the fiercest predators as shark eats polar bear - Global warming may not be the only threat to the polar bear. Scientists are puzzling over the discovery of the jawbone of a young polar bear in the stomach of a Greenland shark, a species that thrives in the cold waters of the far north.

The find suggests that the polar bear may have a serious challenger to its place at the top of the Arctic food chain. Until now, only killer whales were thought to offer a threat to Ursus maritimus as the Arctic's top predator. (The Independent)

These sharks scavenge, yeah? And young polar bears die for all sorts of reasons (not least of which is predation by older ears), with their bones/carcasses but rarely found because they end up... in the Arctic Ocean, no? Gosh, don't you just wonder how a polar bear bone ended up inside a Greenland shark?

Yet another sceptical scientist - Add another warming sceptic to the list - now so long that surely even the ABC must doubt the “consensus”. This time it’s Professor Bill Collins of James Cook University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Global Warming Science Moves On - On global warming, public policy is where the science was in 1998. Due to new evidence, science has since moved off in a different direction.

The UN science body on this matter, the IPCC, is a political body composed mainly of bureaucrats. So far it has resisted acknowledging the new evidence. But as Lord Keynes famously asked, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Four things have changed since 1998. (David Evans, Midweek Politics)

Major Contributors to Greenhouse Gases- It Isn’t Cars - “It’s a silent but deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector, yet politicians almost never discuss it, and environmental lobbyists and other green activist groups seem unaware of its existence,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Livestock are a leading source of greenhouse gases. Why isn’t anyone raising a stink.” (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

From the veggie patch: Cut energy use by eating better, study says - How much energy we use to produce food could be cut in half if Americans ate less and ate local foods, wolfed down less meat, dairy and junk food, and used more traditional farming methods, says a new Cornell study. (Cornell University)

'Snake Oil' - Debunking three 'truths' about offshore drilling (Washington Post)

Faulty Fuel Gauge - Government misinformation has repeatedly obstructed tax cuts by contending that the revenues aren't there to be mined. The same static government mind-set now falsely claims the oil isn't there to be drilled. (IBD)

64% Now Support Offshore Drilling; 42% See it as Best Way to Reduce Oil Prices - Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) support going ahead with offshore oil drilling, an issue that John McCain seized on in early June as a way to help lower gas prices and has since forced Barack Obama to at least partially agree with.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that over half (55%) agree with the Republican’s proposal to build more nuclear plants, although 32% disagree. (Rasmussen Reports)

Planet’s been saved already, Bachmann says - Continuing her push for a comprehensive energy plan that includes increased oil drilling, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., reminded Americans that the Democrats message to save the planet doesn’t add up. The world has been saved already, she says. (Emily Kaiser, The Big Question)

New Energy Reform Act of 2008 (PONZI SCHEME)

New Energy Reform Act of 2008
Roadmap to a(n) (in)Secure Energy Future
With Commentary By Bill Collier
The American Communicator
The act as described by Senator Conrad is below, I have added my comments and elucidations. The bottom line is simple: we are in an artificial energy crisis that is being caused almost exclusively by government regulations and laws that defy free market common sense and place a myth, global warming as anthropocentric, above the simple FACT that our economic prosperity relies on CHEAP ENERGY. It is the government’s artificial limits on energy production, which we now know is profit driven in its own way, that is the root cause of our ills.

As Ronald Reagan said so well, “the government is not the solution to our problems, the government IS the problem!” (Don't Go Movement)

Natural Gas Provides Solutions to High Gasoline Prices - Fellow Oklahoma native T. Boone Pickens is back in the news and hitting the airwaves with an energy idea that I believe is pure common sense.

Pickens believes, like I do, that as Americans continue to suffer from high gas prices, we need to take advantage of our abundant, domestic supply of natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. The promise of natural gas as a mainstream transportation fuel is achievable today -- not 15 or 20 years from now. From Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered cars, to semi-trucks running on liquefied natural gas (LNG), no other commercially viable fuel burns cleaner. (Sen. James Inhofe, Human Events)

LNG-powered vehicles are OK, I used to convert my cars to duel fuel in South Australia simply because LNG was cheap (subsidized, actually) and fairly readily available. You do get lower mileage from LNG (there's simply less energy by volume) but so long as the price difference is sufficient such that your savings while you have the vehicle are greater than the cost of conversion it's a good deal. Retaining dual fuel capability was desirable for me since I could simply flick the switch to more powerful gasoline driving when towing loads or otherwise requiring more grunt.

Satellite Transmission Of Energy For Electricity - A Preliminary Report On The Possibility Of Inadvertant Weather Modification - Quite a few years ago I participated in an assessment of the possible effects on weather of satellite transmission to Earth of energy in the microwave wavelengths in order to generate electric power. With the interest in new energy technologies, this information may be useful. The study found that inadvertent weather modification effects were not likely to be a serious problem (although, of course, this would need to be looked at further), except locally due to the replacement of existing landscape with rectennas. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

'We Live in an Era of High Energy Prices' - After rising for months, oil prices are now on the decline. SPIEGEL spoke with the head of the International Energy Agency about the future of oil prices, the growing importance of nuclear power and the quantity of oil left in the world (Der Spiegel)

Falling Oil: Whodunnit? - Is oil’s recent fall best explained by declining demand or the stage exit of those pesky speculators? Megan McCardle has an idea:

I think we can officially say there was a sizeable speculative premium in oil, given that major troubles in one of the world’s major oil-producing regions did little to halt its fall. On the other hand, if that speculative premium was $40–the mid-to-high range of analyst estimates–then we’re close to having wiped it out at this point. Don’t start pricing minivans just yet.

Does that mean falling demand, and a whole economy’s Twister-style effort to adapt to pricey oil, count for little in explaining the recent plunge? (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Russia's vast energy supplies worry US - WASHINGTON — The Cold War competition between the United States and Russia — played out in Europe with the threat of mutual nuclear destruction — ended with the collapse of the Soviet empire nearly two decades ago.

But the Russian bear has re-emerged from its cave with a new and powerful weapon — the West's dependence on Moscow's vast energy supplies.

The Russians now supply about 25 percent of the European Union's crude oil needs and half of its natural gas. (AP)

Is It Ethanol? Corn Harvest Up, Prices Too - Is Texas governor Rick Perry right to be wary about ethanol?

New figures released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture predict America’s second-biggest corn harvest ever in 2008—behind only last year’s record. And yet, prices for corn and other grains are expected to stay high.

One possible culprit? Biofuel. Ethanol’s share of the corn harvest, the USDA says, will jump 37% this year, and will now swallow fully one-third of the 12 billion-bushel U.S. corn haul.

Gov. Perry wants Washington to trim federal ethanol mandates because he says they raise prices for corn, which in turn hammer Texas industries like raising beef cattle and chickens. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says ethanol is a big part of energy security, and won’t give Texas a waiver. Ethanol and other biofuels have been in the eye of the hurricane in recent months for their role in rising prices, not to mention possible environmental side-effects. ( Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Food legislation taken from internet funnies - We’ve all giggled over those stupid product warning labels that seem written for people inconceivably dumb. We can only imagine the wild and crazy lawsuits behind them and the foolish predicaments people must have gotten themselves into. While they’re a source of endless internet jokes, when health officials use them as templates for food legislation to protect us from ourselves, they’re really taking this parental role thing too far. (Junkfood Science)

Lack of vitamin D link to pain in women - CHRONIC pain in women may be related to low levels of vitamin D, the nutrient made by the skin when exposed to sunlight.

Researchers who studied nearly 7000 British 45-year-olds found that almost 15 per cent of women with the lowest levels of the vitamin reported experiencing chronic pain - nearly twice the 8.2 per cent prevalence reported among women with higher readings.

However, vitamin D levels appeared to make no difference to the number of men who reported pain symptoms - leaving the study's authors perplexed as to whether lack of vitamin D in women was the cause.

The authors noted that a disease caused by extreme vitamin D deficiency, osteomalacia, was known to cause bone pain. (The Australian)

It could be that women experiencing less chronic pain are more likely to get out and get some sun exposure, thus boosting their vitamin D levels.

Et tu SciAm? Poisoned Pot Roast?: Plastic Storage Containers Also Contain Bisphenol A - Do chemicals leach out of plastic storage containers and water bottles into food and drink? (SciAm)

Obviously they have taken the wrong lesson from Hyping Health Risks -- get your copy here.

Los Angeles Stages a Fast Food Intervention - The yearlong moratorium on new fast food restaurants in Los Angeles raises questions about when eating stops being a personal choice and becomes a public health concern. (New York Times)

Never. That clear enough for you?

Why Safe Kids Are Becoming Fat Kids - Just when we thought playgrounds were accident-proof -- no more merry-go-rounds, high slides, jungle gyms, seesaws or pretty much anything that's fun -- it turns out that safety itself can be dangerous. A recent heat wave in New York exposed a new playground risk: The ubiquitous rubber safety matting gets hot, not as hot as McDonald's coffee, but hot enough to scald tender feet.

The outrage was immediate. "Playgrounds should be designed with canopies," one park- safety advocate declared. "How many burn cases will it take," Betsy Gotbaum, the city's public advocate asked, "before the city wakes up and acts?"

The headlong drive for safety has indeed created dangers, but not those identified by the safety zealots. Risk is important in child development. Allowing children to test their limits in unstructured play, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, "develop[s] their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength." Scrapes and bruises are how children learn their limits, and the need to take personal responsibility.

The harmful effects of our national safety obsession ripple outward into society. One in six children in America is obese, and many of them will face a lifetime of chronic illness. According to the Center for Disease Control, this problem would basically cure itself if children engaged in the informal outdoor activities that used to be normal. But how do we lure children off the sofa? One key attraction is risk.

Risk is fun, at least the moderate risks that were common in prior generations. An informal survey of children by the University of Toronto's Institute of Child Studies found that "merry-go-rounds . . . anecdotally the most hated piece of playground equipment in hospital emergency rooms -- topped the list of most desired bits of playground equipment." Those of us of a certain age can remember sprinting to get the contraption really moving. That was fun. And a lot of exercise. (Philip K. Howard, Wall Street Journal)

Um, no: Endangered Species: In More Danger - Environmentalism is synonymous with loss. We fret about the loss of the rainforest, the loss of the Arctic ice cap and, eventually, the loss of a livable planet to climate change. But while that decline is undeniable, it can sometimes obscure several decades of real environmental achievement, including the rehabilitation of scores of animals rescued from the brink of extinction. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — the 1973 law that requires the federal government to protect endangered species and plan for their recovery — iconic animals like the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon and the gray whale have rebounded to healthier numbers. It is one of the real success stories of the green movement. (Bryan Walsh, Time)

Actually Bryan, "environmentalism" is synonymous with misanthropy and other derangements. The fretting part is about right, enviros certainly fret a lot (although never about anything actually worthwhile and a problem). Whether the ESA has ever achieved anything beyond being the the most powerful weapon in the US obstructionists' arsenal is highly debatable but there is no critter that comes to mind that has actually been 'saved' or even really benefitted from it. All of us (bar perhaps the misanthropists) would be better off without the ESA and that goes for all critters in a wealthier world, too.

Scientist advocates unusual uses for trees - MERRICKVILLE, Ontario: Diana Beresford-Kroeger pointed to a towering wafer ash tree near her home. The tree is a chemical factory, she explained, and its products are part of a sophisticated survival strategy. The flowers contain terpene oils, which repel mammals that might feed on them. But the ash needs to attract pollinators, and so it has a powerful lactone fragrance that appeals to large butterflies and honeybees. The chemicals in the wafer ash, in turn, she said, provide chemical protection for the butterflies from birds, making them taste bitter.

Many similar unseen chemical relationships are going on in the world around us. "These are at the heart of connectivity in nature," she said.

Beresford-Kroeger, 63, is a native of Ireland who has bachelor's degrees in medical biochemistry and botany, and has worked as a Ph.D.-level researcher at the University of Ottawa school of medicine, where she published several papers on the chemistry of artificial blood. She calls herself a renegade scientist, however, because she tries to bring together aboriginal healing, Western medicine and botany to advocate an unusual role for trees.

She favors what she terms a bioplan, reforesting cities and rural areas with trees according to the medicinal, environmental, nutritional, pesticidal and herbicidal properties she claims for them, which she calls ecofunctions. (Jim Robbins, IHT)

Even better, we could isolate and synthesize the useful compounds and then utilize them as required rather than as some occasional accidental good fortune subject to the vagaries of weather and climate -- oh, wait... we already do that, which is why industry funds most research, isn't it. It is also why we specifically breed and engineer plants to make them even more useful.

Environmental watchdogs cry foul over tearless onion - Tearless onions are at the centre of the latest battle over genetic modification, as opponents try to stop an engineered vegetable trial going ahead.

A hearing was held in Christchurch yesterday, amid heavy security, to consider a bid by Crop and Food Research to carry out a 10-year, 2.5ha field trial of genetically modified onions, shallots, leek and garlic.

The vegetables have been altered to improve the likes of flavour, health benefits and pest resistance - and in the case of one line of onions promoted by Crop and Food, a variety that does not cause a person to cry while cutting into it. (New Zealand Herald)

Mutant plants can boost yields, resistance: IAEA conference - Against a backdrop of global food and energy crises, the UN atomic watchdog opened a four-day conference here Tuesday on ways of using radiation to improve crop yields and resistance.

The International Symposium on Induced Mutations in Plants, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), brings together some 600 plant scientists, researchers and breeders from around the world.

The 80-year old technique of induced mutation uses radiation to alter genetic material in crop plants to boost output and disease resistance. (AFP)

August 12, 2008

Here's a naive believer: Breaking the political logjam on climate change - Despite appearances, T. Boone Pickens has not become an instant environmentalist. But he has become an advocate of wind power, because he sees the country's dependence on imported petroleum as a security threat. As he puts it, "You don't have to attack the United States to put us on our back. You just cut 30 percent of the oil."

Pickens advocates replacing natural gas with wind power to generate electricity. In turn, that natural gas would fuel cars, buses and trucks, replacing gasoline, and reducing petroleum imports. Out of concern for national security, he has devised a strategy that is attractive to environmentalists. (Jay Mandle, SF Chronicle)

What's really happening: Nancy Pelosi Invests In Energy Scheme and Water Grab By T. Boone Pickens - Nancy Pelosi says that she is trying to save the planet and prevent global warming, but the reality is that, according to disclosure statements, in May 2007 she invested in T. Boone Picken’s clean energy fuels corp., CLNE, which is the sole sponsor of a proposal in California to funnel $5 billion in state funds and $5 billion in Federal funs to this corporation which will indirectly help them create a giant wind farm in the Texas panhandle.

An overlooked story in November of 2007 shows that the T. Boone Pickens plan involves the private control of water, which Pickens wants to be able to sell to big cities via giant water pipelines which will be built on land seized under eminent domain.

How did he do this? He did this by pushing through a “water district” which consists of only 8 acres of land and then applying eminent domain to expand that district and seize land from local ranchers which, in the end, puts vital water resources under his private control. (Don't Go)

See Pickens Gives New Meaning to 'Self-Government'

Crude Construction - When cocaine prices shot up last year, White House Drug Czar John Walters touted it as "the best evidence" that the War on Drugs was working.

So when gas prices were shooting up this year, we ought to have heard cheers from those who claim we're addicted to oil. They should have pointed to those record gas prices as a sign that we're winning the war on oil addiction. But instead of celebrating, they've been gnashing their teeth.

President Bush isn't leaping for joy, even though he gave the oil-addiction phrase its highest imprimatur when he used it in his 2006 State of the Union speech. The metaphor is now everywhere, from the lips of politicians to the covers of national magazines. Tom Friedman has a new documentary titled Addicted to Oil, and T. Boone Pickens uses the phrase to promote his windmill plan.

But unlike our Drug Czar's reaction to high cocaine prices, these people express very little actual joy over the high price of gas. Congress may have embraced the oil-addiction phrase, but when it recessed for the summer it was preoccupied with how to bring gas prices down.

Nor are too many environmentalists dancing in the streets over high gas prices. Al Gore's We Can Solve It campaign is running full-page ads about $5 a gallon gas, but those ads don't celebrate this prospect -- they bemoan it. (Sam Kazman, American Spectator)

Too Important to Be Left to Democracy - The global-warming hysterics increasingly advocate for the idea that their agenda is the perfect excuse to toss aside democracy and impose their desired economic restrictions through supranational bodies. Guardian columnist George "Drown the Airline Executives" Monbiot wrote last month in support of this thesis as set forth in a fellow alarmist’s new book. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Queensland has ways to indoctrinate its children - Thousands of scientists may doubt global warming is heating the world to hell, but not so the Queensland Studies Authority, which tells geography teachers to ram home the following “facts”: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Guest Weblog: A Comment On The Report “Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States” By Joseph D. Aleo - Climate Science encourages guest weblogs from climate scientists of all perspectives on the issue of climate variability and change. Today we are fortunate to have Joe D’Aleo, who is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, present one of his comment that he submitted to the CCSP Report “Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States“.  (Climate Science)

Solar radio waves could signal global cooling: Solomon - Those who view the Sun, and not CO2, as a driver of temperatures on Earth look to various measures of solar activity for explanations of climate change. For one such measure -- radio waves from the Sun, or solar flux – they look to Canada's Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in the Okanagan valley, near Penticton, British Columbia. What they find supports the view that another Little Ice Age could be coming. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

APS: Thought Free Zone (.pdf) - The American Physical Society ceased to be a scientific body and became a mere pressure-group when, in 2007, it adopted “National Policy 07.1” on climate change, reproduced in full below. The “policy” cites not a single scientific authority: it is a purely political manifesto whose tendentious conclusions are materially at odds with scientific theory and with observed reality. (Christopher Monckton)

It Don’t Add Up! - There’s been no net global warming in the 21st century. Although seldom reported by the mainstream media, it’s quite a story, because no climate model predicted it. (Marlo Lewis, Planet Gore)

Views On Climate Modeling Published In Ogmius - The Summer 2008 issue of the Newsletter of the Center for Science and Policy Research at the University of Colorado [Ormius] has a set of short articles by distinguished scientists with different viewpoints on the role of climate modeling as a component of climate policy. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Scientists debate whether we’re changing the climate - The global warming debate isn't likely to cool off anytime soon, with experts disagreeing about its causes, and even its existence. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Causal Linkage between Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming (Part 2): Still Searching for Evidence - On Sunday a colleague and I discussed the general issue of correlation versus causation in science. He suggested that 1. There must be a body of work establishing a causal link between anthropogenic carbon dioxide and warming, and also 2. Some work that quantifies the extent of the warming from the anthropogenic carbon dioxide. He assumed as much because our government, the Australian government, is planning major perturbation to our economic system on the basis that carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to dangerous global warming. He assumed that the Australian government would not undertake such an action lightly, indeed that such an action would be premised on good evidence establishing a proven causal link between anthropogenic carbon dioxide and global warming. I replied that I was not so sure.

He said he would do a search of the scientific literature on Monday. I said it would be interesting to compare what he turned up from this systematic search of library databases with a few random requests on the internet.

So, Sunday evening I posted a note at my blog, at John Quiggin’s blog and at a yahoo climate science group of mostly so-called climate change skeptics. (Politics and Environment)

A Critical Review of ‘Green Carbon: The Role of Natural Forests in Carbon Storage’ - Last week the Australian National University released a report** on “Green Carbon” claiming that un-logged native forests store three times more carbon than previously reported and this prompted a demand by The Wilderness Society for an urgent end to logging of the carbon dense native forests in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Alan Ashbarry, a Tasmanian with an interest in the social and economic benefit of value adding native forest timber from sustainable forestry and a member of Timber Communities Australia, has sent me his critique of the report. (

Stressed plants migrate up mountain - Study measures climb, while warming and or drought cited as factors

LOS ANGELES - Striking new research in the Southern California mountains suggests recent warming is behind a massive die-off and rapid migration to higher ground by nine different plants — from desert shrubs to white firs.

Within 30 years, most had moved to elevations 200 feet above their previous growth range. The findings provide a glimpse of what could happen to the world's vegetation as the Earth faces inevitable global warming.

Scientists have long warned that human-caused climate change threatens to turn plants into refugees as they migrate to higher, cooler spots to survive. The latest study is the first to physically measure changes in plants' locations in connection with regional warming — whether man-made or part of a normal cycle — over the past three decades. (Associated Press)

They mean tree lines might be indicative of temperatures? And the higher elevation (and higher latitude) 1,000-year-old tree stumps could indicate the Medieval Warm Period (formerly known as the Medieval Climatic Optimum) was actually warmer than contemporary temperatures? Well, who'd a thought...

North Pole could lose summer ice - While the summer of 2007 saw record low sea-ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean, a six-year study of the Arctic's sea ice has confirmed its ongoing, massive shrinking and drastic thinning. (University of Alberta)

NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face - NOTE: You may recall a story I posted some months ago titled: “NASA: It’s the wind” regarding Arctic wind circulation patterns and the way it drove sea ice further south into melt zones. Commenter Paul Marek brought this story to attention recently, and given the sea ice trend this summer, I thought it was worth bringing to light again. Then and now, “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming. ” Given our less than predicted catastrophic sea ice loss this year, coupled with this study, it looks like Arctic ice could be on the mend. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

New poll shows CO2 hysteria fading in the U.S. (Tom Nelson)

Only 25 Percent See Global Warming Threat - ABC poll finds few Americans see climate change as environment's biggest threat, more trust business than government to address problems. (Nathan Burchfiel, Business & Media Institute

Reduce carbon footprint or find more energy sources? Americans want to do both, poll finds - With gas prices topping $4 a gallon and the prospect of record-high heating costs this winter, Americans say they're driving less and cutting their electricity use to save money and improve the environment. (Stanford University)

Republicans Draw Bigger Numbers Than Pelosi's Book Sales - Republicans are extending their energy vote revolt to a second week this morning in the House of Representatives. Buttressed on Friday by burgeoning crowds attending the protest and glowing praise coming into their offices from voters across the country who are demanding relief from staggering gasoline prices, Republican leaders reiterated their demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi come off of her book tour to re-convene Congress and bring to a vote the comprehensive “drill and” bill that would authorize as a supply solution drilling into American energy resources. (Connie Hair, Human Events)

Where’s the Energy? Locked up, thanks to Speaker Pelosi. - We are the nation of Velcro, the light-bulb, the microwave, the Ford Model-T, and the Wright Brothers. We fought and defeated tyranny and fascism. We’ve walked on the moon. Where others see impossibility, our nation sees a challenge. Pessimism and hopelessness are not American characteristics. As the price of gas climbs higher and higher, doomsday scenarios are playing out in the media. Americans aren’t buying it, they’re demanding a solution. But our can-do nation is suffering at the hands of “can’t-do” congressional leadership. After months of prohibiting a vote on increased domestic oil production, House Democrats have gone on summer vacation — a luxury many Americans can no longer afford. (John Shadegg, NRO)

Don't Ask, Don't Drill - Barack Obama says tire inflation would replace all the new oil to be found offshore. How does he know, when he sponsors a bill forbidding us from even finding out how much is there? (IBD)

One Way To Get More Oil: Do Nothing - Politicians are rightfully concerned that Americans are fed up with skyrocketing energy costs, so they have been scrambling to appear as though they are doing something about it. But here's a news flash: If our elected representatives in Congress simply do nothing, three decades of failed anti-energy policies will disappear. A ban on drilling in America's outer continental shelf (OCS) is set to expire on Oct. 1. Congress can let the clock run out on this outdated energy blockade and take an important step in addressing America's long-term energy needs. Since 1982, Congress has prohibited energy production on America's OCS. (Thomas Pyle, IBD)

A big surprise on gas - You may not believe it, but fuel is more affordable than it was during the early '60s. (Indur M. Goklany and Jerry Taylor, LA Times)

Proposal to harness wind power off Mendocino coast worries fishing industry - Oil companies, some politicians and commuters paying $4 for a gallon of gas might look at California's coast and think of crude oil pooled below the seafloor.

The state's North Coast, however, holds promise of another energy bounty.

In less time than it would take to fire up new offshore oil drills, waters off our coast could host floating wind turbines and undulating buoys driven by waves, producing abundant electricity for a power-thirsty state. (Sacramento Bee)

You mean evidence is finally penetrating, even here: Fit and fat: US study shows it's possible - WASHINGTON, Aug 11 - It may be possible to be both fat and healthy, researchers reported on Monday, for at least half of overweight adults, and close to a third of obese men and women, have normal blood pressure, cholesterol and other measures of heart health.

And being lean does not necessarily protect people, either. Close to a quarter of normal-weight U.S. adults in one study had risk factors for heart disease or diabetes. (Reuters)

Caring for people's health - Weight bias has become so deeply ingrained in popular culture, that we often can’t even see it anymore. The belief that fat itself is unhealthy has been so heavily promoted, that when disparities in health outcomes are seen associated with the heaviest people, it’s automatically assumed that their fatness is the cause. (Junkfood Science)

Knock knock: Government health worker to put fat children on weight loss programs - When children are weighed when they go back to school as part of the national measuring program, the information isn’t going to just be sent home to parents in confidential reports. The identity of children whose BMIs classify them as ‘overweight’ is going to be turned over to national nurses who will conduct unannounced home visits to enroll them in weight loss programs. (Junkfood Science)

From the Nude Socialist: Saving species doesn't harm the world's poor - ONE of the most damning charges made against environmentalists is that they destroy the lives of poor people in rainforests and other wild areas by taking over their land in the name of conservation. Nonsense, says new research. ( news service)

Except they framed their 'research' wrongly. It is not a matter of how few people live in regions seized by enviros but the loss of resources and extraction access that is so harmful to the world's poorest peoples.

Afraid I missed this a week ago: Fischer: Outrage in Idaho: Feds send man to prison for protecting town from flooding - Lynn Moses will be locked up in federal prison next Wednesday. His crime? Protecting the city of Driggs, Idaho from flooding. (Stiff Right Jab)

We could wish... Bush could weaken Endangered Species Act - WASHINGTON -- Parts of the Endangered Species Act may soon be extinct.

The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants.

New regulations, which don't require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft first obtained by The Associated Press.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a "back door" to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. In May, the polar bear became the first species declared as threatened because of climate change. Warming temperatures are expected to melt the sea ice the bear depends on for survival.

The draft rules would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats. (Associated Press)

Not natural climate change but people: First Australians behind early extinctions - PREHISTORIC animals were hunted into extinction by the very first Australians and climate change would not have killed them, a group of prominent researchers claim. (Mark Schliebs,

Old Flimflam man still desperate to blame people for any and everything.

New report details historic mass extinction of amphibians - Amphibians, reigning survivors of past mass extinctions, are sending a clear, unequivocal signal that something is wrong, as their extinction rates rise to unprecedented levels, according to a paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Humans are exacerbating two key natural threats – climate change and a deadly disease that is jumping from one species to another. (San Francisco State University)

Brussels flies into row over pesticides - The European Commission has been accused of meddling with UK farming after it introduced plans that would lead already cash-strapped consumers to face further food price increases.

The proposals, agreed by EU farm ministers in June, will see 15pc of pesticides used by UK farmers phased out or banned across the continent.

A second reading of the proposal in the European Parliament in October could lead to a further 80pc of agrochemicals being struck off the list of safe products, according to the UK's Pesticides Safety Directorate.

The move could see crop yields of potatoes and other vegetables slump by as much as 60pc, hitting consumers' pockets as prices triple as a result. Cereals would also be affected, with the Home Grown Cereals Authority predicting a "very serious" loss in yields and a 50pc rise in the cost of crops. (Daily Telegraph)

Ball gazing... Brazilian agriculture faces huge losses from climate change - Global warming will cause heavy financial losses to Brazil's agricultural sector over the next decade, a government study said Monday.

The losses will grow to five billion dollars by 2020 and 14 billion by 2070, according to the joint study by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Center and the University of Campinas.

A team of 19 researchers evaluated the impact of rising temperatures on the cultivation of cotton, rice, black beans, coffee, sugar cane, sunflowers, cassava, corn and soybeans. (AFP)

August 11, 2008

Oh dear... Can't get There from Here-Is It Hot in Here? - On this page recently, James Mollison called global warming “very complicated” and expressed doubts that the problem is real.

Is it getting hot in here? Science has been working tirelessly to sort it all out. And by and large, Mollison is right. The idea of global warming is complicated and it’s not accurate to say a consensus exists. There are scientists on both side of the issue – some believe we have enough evidence already, while others want to wait for more study.

Count me among the former group. The earth is heating up and you can put the blame squarely on humankind. Here’s how scientists around the word have come to this conclusion:

1. Human beings make a lot of carbon dioxide. The smoggy skies above traffic-choked cities like LA, Denver, and Olympic host city Beijing are testament.

2. Carbon monoxide accumulates in the atmosphere to create the Greenhouse Effect. Scientists have taken simple measurements of CO2 and other pollutants over time, have shown levels to be rising and that they trap sunlight energy in the atmosphere.

3. The Greenhouse Effect results in higher air and ocean temperatures. Anyone who has gotten into a car on a sunny day understands this. ... (Jeffrey R. Parenti, Billerica Minuteman)

Unfortunately Jeffrey doesn't understand this. Yes, cars on sunny days act exactly like a greenhouse -- they interrupt convection so that the interior of the car continues to heat rather than rapidly dissipating that heat to the wider atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses categorically do not so behave and actually actively facilitate convection by absorbing infrared radiation and transferring some of the energy so acquired to surrounding molecules. Without getting too technical (and boring) we are sure most people have at least some idea about heated, expanded (less dense) air being displaced by cooler, more dense air (hot air rising, the reason hot air balloons work) and can see that preventing that convective transport is how greenhouses work and exactly wrong for so-called greenhouse gasses. Jeffrey needs to consult at least a grade-school science text or, preferably, our greenhouse explanation.

Another book flogger's fantastic tale: On a planet 4C hotter, all we can prepare for is extinction - There's no 'adaptation' to such steep warming. We must stop pandering to special interests, and try a new, post-Kyoto strategy

We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Gurdian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, "the end of living and the beginning of survival" for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.

The collapse of the polar ice caps would become inevitable, bringing long-term sea level rises of 70-80 metres. All the world's coastal plains would be lost, complete with ports, cities, transport and industrial infrastructure, and much of the world's most productive farmland. The world's geography would be transformed much as it was at the end of the last ice age, when sea levels rose by about 120 metres to create the Channel, the North Sea and Cardigan Bay out of dry land. Weather would become extreme and unpredictable, with more frequent and severe droughts, floods and hurricanes. The Earth's carrying capacity would be hugely reduced. Billions would undoubtedly die. (Oliver Tickell, The Guardian)

And similar fruit loops: The truth is, we're fighting for survival - Amid the trivial political squabbles, a stark truth lies hidden: humanity is staring global catastrophe in the face

Up to 4 billion people left without water. Up to 5 billion at risk of flooding. Half a billion left hungry as agricultural yields decline by 15-35% in Africa with entire swaths of the world ceasing food production altogether. More than 80 million exposed to malaria in Africa. The Amazon collapses and 50% of species go extinct. It's basically the end of the world. (Joss Garman, The Guardian)

Wicks: All is lost on global warming without clean coal - A dramatic warning that "all is lost on global warming" unless the world finds a new clean coal technology in the next few years has been made by the UK energy minister, Malcolm Wicks.

He insists in a Guardian interview that "the stakes are that high", as he seeks to justify pressing ahead with a new generation of coal-fired power stations starting at Kingsnorth in Kent, currently the site of a major protest. (Patrick Wintour, The Guardian)

'To greens, I was worse than a child abuser' - Martin Durkin's documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle', aired on Channel 4 last year, enraged the green lobby by claiming human activity wasn't behind global warming. Ofcom, the TV regulator, received 265 complaints and last month ruled that its writer and director lacked impartiality. However, Ofcom ceded that, despite "certain reservations", it did not believe audiences had been "materially misled". Writing for the first time since the documentary was screened, Durkin tells 'The Independent on Sunday' why he stands by his film in the face of continued criticism. (The Sindy)

Buy your copy through JunkScience or DemandDebate and help at the same time!

The Columbia Journalism Review's Division Over Dissent - Is global warming now beyond debate?

When does dissent become Untruth and lose the rights and respect due to "legitimate dissent"? Who decides—and how—what dissent deserves to be heard and what doesn't? When do journalists have to "protect" readers from Untruth masking itself as dissent or skepticism? (Ron Rosenbaum, Slate)

America's gas pains: Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain is in any hurry to ratify Kyoto - It's always amusing when Canadian politicians and pundits confidently predict what our American neighbours are about to do.

The current conventional wisdom from those who don't get out of Ottawa much is that the United States is poised to roar out of years of climate change denial under President George Bush, the moment Barack Obama or John McCain replaces him.

Indeed, our prognosticating eager-beavers inform us, the Americans are about to zoom light years ahead of us in the battle against global warming, and we'd better get on board if we don't want to choke on their coal dust, economically speaking.

Alas, where to begin? Okay, let's start here. (Lorrie Golodstein, Toronto Sun)

Interesting Weather Summary Of Past Olympic Games From The UK Met Office (Climate Science)

From the UK's Propaganda Media: Scotland 'can expect more floods' - More floods and landslides could hit areas of Scotland in the future, according to an environmental charity. WWF Scotland has analysed Met Office data and found that last month was almost 1.5C warmer than the long-term average. (BBC)

For those who might want to see what is really happening the appropriate data is available here.

Flimflam man is back: Words of warming - In this summer of 2008, it feels as if our future is crystallising before our eyes. Food shortages, the credit crisis, escalating oil prices, a melting Arctic ice cap and the failure of the Doha trade negotiations: one or all of these issues could be the harbingers of profound change for our global civilisation. And just 16 months from now, in December 2009 in Denmark, humanity will face what many argue is its toughest challenge ever: to agree the fundamentals of a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto protocol.

It all seems to have happened so quickly. Just two years ago we received warning of an imminent disaster - a climatic shift that "could easily be described as hell: so hot, so deadly that only a handful of the teeming billions now alive will survive". (Tim Flannery, The Guardian)

California eyes cattails to combat climate change - RIO VISTA, Calif. -- On one side of the gravel road are hundreds of acres of corn. On the other is a different crop that scientists hope will enable farmers to rebuild sinking islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, combat global warming and make a profit at the same time. (Associated Press)

Rebuilding soils? Great idea. Hitching their wagon to the great gorebull warming farce? Major mistake since the project will come crashing down with global reality.

Premature climate change ruling creates planning uncertainty - The decision by VCAT to quash a residential development at the coastal town of Toora, in Victoria's Gippsland region, because of the impact of climate change has far-reaching ramifications for coastal developments Australia-wide. (Jennifer Cunich, Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Australian Workers Union backs Liberals on emissions cap - THE nation's biggest blue-collar union has called on the Rudd Government to adopt a critical part of the Coalition's emissions trading policy to avoid losing billions of dollars in new investment.

Australian Workers Union head Paul Howes said the Government should allow its total cap on greenhouse emissions to expand to accommodate pollution from new state-of-the-art plants built by energy-hungry industries.

The Government's green paper proposes that existing emissions-intensive industries operating in the global marketplace, such as aluminium and cement, should receive free permits for a diminishing proportion of their greenhouse emissions, until their international competitors also faced a carbon tax.

But Mr Howes said this plan would "stymie investment in new plants" which would then be built overseas, meaning the environment would not benefit and the Australian economy would also lose. Mr Howes's comments echo industry concerns, with the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network saying that ignoring the Shergold model was a "fundamental mistake by the Rudd Government" which would mean LNG, aluminium and other industries would make new investments in other countries.

The LNG industry has argued that the Rudd proposal had a particularly perverse impact on its operations because it was a cleaner fossil fuel and its exports replaced far dirtier fuels in countries such as China. (The Australian)

Key degrees of difference - HAS global warming stopped? The question alone is enough to provoke scorn from the mainstream scientific community and from the Government, which says the earth has never been hotter. But tell that to a new army of sceptics who have mushroomed on internet blog sites and elsewhere in recent months to challenge some of the most basic assumptions and claims of climate change science.

Their claims are provocative and contentious but they are also attracting attention, so much so that mainstream scientists are being forced to respond. (The Australian)

Western Australia may get drier than first feared - Global warming could make WA even drier than experts had predicted, according to new climate research. The findings raise the prospect of worsening summer water shortages as subtropical regions become more parched.

Computer models have already forecast that global warming will make dry areas even drier, while increasing severe rainfall and flooding in already wet areas such as Australia’s tropical far north.

But the new research, based on satellite rainfall data over the past 21 years, suggest that this polarising trend is even more pronounced than models had foreseen. That is ominous news for southern WA, which has already seen rainfall declines of 20 per cent since the 1980s. (The West Australian)

And there we were, under the impression land clearing was affecting rainfall to an extent that gorebull warming effect, if any, is rendered insignificant. Parenthetically, the leading theory is that the darker colored bushland heats more than lighter colored farmland. The rising heat may carry both energy and water vapor into the upper atmosphere, where they can combine to form clouds. So clearing and cooling the farmland may have reduced rainfall by about 20% (not much of a case for gorebull warming drying south-western Western Australia).

Sensitivity of Summer Near-Surface Temperatures and Precipitation in the Eastern United States to Historical Land Cover Changes Since European Settlement by Strack et al. - Our new paper on the role of historical landscape change in the eastern portion of the United States has appeared. It uses the seminal data analysis by Lou Steyaert and Bob Knox that was weblogged on previously on Climate Science; see Documentation Of The Landscape Changes In the Eastern United States

The paper is Strack, J.E., R.A. Pielke Sr, L.T. Steyaert, and R.G. Knox, 2008: Sensitivity of summer near-surface temperatures and precipitation in the eastern United States to historical land cover changes since European settlement. Water Resources Research, accepted. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Climate change computer models are limited - Computer models that predict climate change have improved during the past decade, but they still have deficiencies such as predicting precipitation over specific regions, according to a report released recently by a unit of the Energy Department.

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s report, “Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations,” examined some computer models of the earth’s climate and their ability to simulate current climate change.

To assure that future climate projections are used appropriately, it's important to understand what current models are able to simulate effectively, the document said. (Doug Beizer, FCW)

Meltdown in the Arctic is Speeding Up - Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013.

Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska's Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic.

As a result, scientists say that the disappearance of sea ice at the North Pole could exceed last year's record loss. More than a million square kilometers melted over the summer of 2007 as global warming tightened its grip on the Arctic. But such destruction could now be matched, or even topped, this year.

'It is a neck-and-neck race between 2007 and this year over the issue of ice loss,' said Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. 'We thought Arctic ice cover might recover after last year's unprecedented melting - and indeed the picture didn't look too bad last month. Cover was significantly below normal, but at least it was up on last year.

'But the Beaufort Sea storms triggered steep ice losses and it now looks as if it will be a very close call indeed whether 2007 or 2008 is the worst year on record for ice cover over the Arctic. We will only find out when the cover reaches its minimum in mid-September.' (The Guardian)

The Really Inconvenient Truths
By Iain Murray
Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2008
323 pp., $27.95

In The Australian July 18, scientist David Evans – a self-described, former global warming alarmist who previously developed Australia’s carbon accounting model – admitted that evidence is shaky on how carbon affects global warming. In fact, Evans wrote, the current global warming trend actually ended in 2001. He cited ice core data from six previous global warming cycles over the last 500,000 years. The data revealed that temperatures rose 800 years before any significant increases occurred in atmospheric carbon levels. A former recipient of political support, generous funding and professional satisfaction for his advocacy of global-warming intervention, Evans essentially blew the whistle on what he now believes is a fraud perpetrated on the public by many of the world’s governments.

Similarly, in The Really Inconvenient Truths, author Iain Murray, a Competitive Enterprise Institute environmental analyst and senior fellow, critically examines many of the broad, environmental notions now accepted as fact. He explores how these false notions have led to questionable regulations and policies to “save” the environment which have actually endangered more species, caused more human fatalities and squandered more energy. He reveals how environmentalism, used as an anti-capitalism tool, has employed faulty data and politically engineered studies to restrict personal freedom, increase government control and spending, reduce or limit economic growth and curtail free enterprise. The liberal, environmental movement is thus masquerading as a benevolent protector of natural resources, Murray writes, with a quasi-religious moral superiority toward environmental sacred cows and view of man as a guilty interloper who disrupts nature. (Janet Levy,

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The price of focus group politics: Polls and surveys cost taxpayer £1m per week - Taxpayers are effectively spending more than £1million per week on Government focus groups, surveys and opinion polls. (Daily Telegraph)

Adapt And Live - Goodwife Stott is currently enjoying reading Francis Pryor’s excellent Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans (HarperCollins, 2003/2004). Unfortunately, she keeps disturbing my Sunday newspaper reveries by crying out: “The climate’s changed again, and he says very quickly too!” She then shoves the page before my eyes, eagerly pointing out phrases like “the climate is suddenly growing warmer”. Irritating as this is, I receive it with an indulgent smile, and as a welcome antidote to the nonsense in the newspapers, especially in the The Observer, which always seems to present climate change as something unique to our self-obsessed age. (Global Warming Politics)

Climate change: High street banks face consumer boycott over investment in coal projects - High street banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, face a consumer boycott if they continue to channel billions of pounds of new investment into coal projects, campaigning groups warned last night.

The warning came as 50 campaigners were arrested over the weekend at the climate camp set up to protest against building a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. Clashes with police occurred at E.ON's site near Hoo in Kent over the weekend as climate campers dug in for a week of protests. (Terry Macalister, The Guardian)

But will they notice if a couple of dole checks more or less flow through their smaller accounts? People need power, people need strong financial institutions and people will take their business to enterprises making a profit with their money...

The coalface of climate change - The banners and the tents were folded away yesterday and the marching drums fell silent. But the dismantling of the foot soldiers' camp did not quite signal the end of the battle of Kingsnorth. Throughout the last week 1,500 protesters have been stationed close to the Kent site where the energy giant E.ON is demanding permission to replace an old power station with a new one - the first new coal-fired station for a quarter of a century. The activists talked about closing down the old station, but their real aim was preventing its replacement. (The Guardian)

August 9, 2008 RESEARCH UPDATE:

As a follow-on to our paper "Potential Biases in Feedback Diagnosis from Observational Data: A Simple Model Description" which will appear in the November issue of Journal of Climate, we are now completing a new paper that analyzes 7 years of the latest and most accurate global satellite measurements.

In this paper we demonstrate that previous satellite-based estimates of climate sensitivity have been biased by natural cloud variations, which produce a distinctly different signature than the climate sensitivity signature that has been sought. This misinterpretation of cloud behavior is probably the reason why climate models that have been constructed using nature as a guide produce so much global warming.

We introduce a new method to diagnose the total radiative feedback parameter (the inverse of climate sensitivity). Called "local slopes analysis", this technique provides a much more accurate feedback estimate from the satellite data. We diagnose a value of 5 Watts per sq. meter per degree C from the 7 years of globally-averaged satellite data, which corresponds to very low climate sensitivity.

We applied the same technique to all 20 IPCC climate models and (as expected) they all exhibit much higher climate sensitivity (a much lower feedback number) than the satellite observations.

This evidence that previous satellite measurements have been seriously misinterpreted is as close to 'smoking gun' evidence as I have ever seen in global warming research. While it is based upon year-to-year natural climate variability, and so doesn't *prove* that the climate is just as insensitive to manmade greenhouse gas emissions, this objection can also be raised against climate models which are also necessarily based upon modelers' interpretations of short-term weather processes. (Roy Spencer,

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Carbon Dioxide and the Oceans (.pdf) - Should we try harder to understand the causes of natural climate change instead of assuming present climate change is man-made? In the past, sea temperatures were obtained from measurements by passing ships in the sea lanes of the world. It is only in the past three decades that more accurate data on sea surface temperatures has become available. The analysis of this recent data by the author shows that: ¢ the oceans regulate the composition of the atmosphere; the influence on climate of human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is negligible; and global climate change has natural causes. The oceans and the atmosphere are quite shallow in relation to the vast surface area of the oceans.

The interaction of the atmosphere and the oceans is essentially a phenomenon of the ocean surface. It would be expected that there would be almost a direct correlation between levels of CO2 in the air and the global mean sea surface temperatures, and that is the case. It is possible to plot an experience curve of the relationship between ocean temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels. In order to do so it is necessary to recognise that the oceans have a vast storage capacity for heat and dissolved gases, and that changes are slow. On the other hand, the atmosphere has a much more rapid response time. If we use a 12-month moving average of atmospheric CO2 and a 21-year moving average of the more accurate recent data on global average sea surface temperatures, a remarkably clear experience curve is obtained. The 12-month moving average of CO2 levels filters out the variations of the annual cycle and, in related analyses, provides a view of the influence of other natural events. The 21-year moving average of sea surface temperature covers the complete solar cycle, including the change in magnetic polarity of the sun, the El Nino and La Nina influences on global climate, and recognises the vast storage capacity of the oceans for CO2 and the slow response time of the oceans.

The chart shows that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global average sea surface temperatures are locked together. The correlation is so firm it is reasonable to include it as a condition in the computer simulations used to study climate change.

See larger image here

It is my view that the present fear of man-made climate change is quite mistaken. We should try harder to understand the real causes of natural climate change. (Dr. Lance Endersbee in Focus)

Global Warming, Global Myth - During the 20th century, the earth warmed 0.6 degree Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), but that warming has been wiped out in a single year with a drop of 0.63 degree C. (1.13 F.) in 2007. A single year does not constitute a trend reversal, but the magnitude of that temperature drop — equal to 100 years of warming — is noteworthy. Of course, it can also be argued that a mere 0.6 degree warming in a century is so tiny it should never have been considered a cause for alarm in the first place. But then how could the idea of global warming be sold to the public? In any case, global cooling has been evident for more than a single year. Global temperature has declined since 1998. Meanwhile, atmospheric carbon dioxide has gone in the other direction, increasing 15–20%. This divergence casts doubt on the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis, but that hasn't discouraged the global warming advocates. They have long been ignoring far greater evidence that the basic assumption of greenhouse warming from increases in carbon dioxide is false. (Edmund Contoski, Liberty)

Climate Change: Breaking the "Political Consensus": The Science of Climate Change: What does it Really Tell Us? - The purpose of this report is to examine the science behind climate change so as to better understand the issue at hand, and thus, to be able to make an informed decision on how to handle the issue. The primary aim here is to examine climate change from a perspective not often heard in media or government channels; that of climate change being a natural phenomenon, not the result of man-made carbon emissions. (Andrew G. Marshall, Global Research)

Global Warming Task Force: all cost, no benefit - Predictably, the climate scientists on the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board endorsed the recommendations of Gov. Jim Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force (“Making it happen,” July 29). But the Editorial Board — and the task force — left out important facts you should know: (Jim Ott, Journal Sentinel)

Cement from CO2: A Concrete Cure for Global Warming? - A new technique could turn cement from a source of climate changing greenhouse gases into a way to remove them from the air (David Biello, SciAm)

Not too bad, despite Biello's constant misreferences to atmospheric carbon dioxide as "pollution".

Oh... Violence to rise as city gets hotter - RISING temperatures are likely to bring increased levels of violence to Melbourne by 2010, and are highly likely to by 2030, a report being considered by the city council finds.

A climate change risk assessment says increased temperatures are expected to exacerbate the relationship between hot weather, violence and anti-social behaviour.

The report also warns of extreme weather events and rising sea levels. (The Age)

Energy Option Dems Rule Out: 'Do Everything' - Let's see: housing meltdown, credit crunch, oil shock not seen since the 1970s. The economy is slowing, unemployment growing and inflation increasing. It's the sixth year of a highly unpopular war and the president's approval rating is at 30%.

The Italian Communist Party could win this election. The American Democratic Party is trying its best to lose it.

Democrats have the advantage on just about every domestic issue from health care to education. However, Americans' greatest concern is the economy, and their greatest economic concern is energy (by a significant margin: 37% to 21% for inflation).

Yet Democrats have gratuitously forfeited the issue of increased drilling for domestic oil and gas. By an overwhelming ratio of 2-1, Americans want to lift the moratorium preventing drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, thus unlocking vast energy resources shut down for the last 27 years.

Democrats have been adamantly opposed. (Charles Krauthammer, IBD)

Republican Energy Fumble - Politics has its puzzling moments. John McCain and most of the GOP experienced one late last week. That was when five of their own set about dismantling the best issue Republicans have in the upcoming election. (Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal)

The Five Stooges - If you thought Republicans were no longer "The Stupid Party," then you haven't met the senators who may have just destroyed the GOP's biggest hope this election year: the drilling issue.

Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Thune of South Dakota — remember their names if things go badly for the GOP this November. (IBD)

Flush With Energy - America needs to learn from Denmark, which responded to the 1973 Arab oil embargo in such a way that today it is energy independent. (Thomas Friedman, New York Times)

How would that be, does he mean the aggressive exploitation of North Sea oil and gas? Nope, dopey socialist Friedman thinks it's because Danes tax themselves on fuel use (they also share in the national oil revenues) and they have windfarms. Of course, Denmark is also small and in close proximity to a lot of other countries' power grids so can shed unwanted wind Watts and immediately draw on other grids when in deficit, something the US would find difficult with only Canada and Mexico in proximity. He's partly right, although he denies so being -- the US does need to aggressively exploit its oil resources of all types.

Didn't believe us about green extortion? Jitters Drove Energy Deal: Nervous Analysts Urged Power Plant Settlement - Aug. 10--Fielding calls from folks on Wall Street isn't in the typical job description for someone working for a conservation group.

But the calls were about the costliest construction project in state history, the $2.3 billion We Energies power plant being built in Oak Creek.

Jittery stock analysts visited with representatives of Clean Wisconsin in Madison this spring, wanting to know whether its eight-year dispute over the building of a coal-fired generating plant could be resolved.

Those jitters were restraining the company's stock price and were a key driver behind the settlement reached between We Energies and environmental groups. A deal was reached just hours before utility executives were scheduled to field questions from analysts about the plant's status.

The settlement ended the last piece of litigation, which was being fought over the power plant's cooling system. It not only removed hurdles to the plant's opening, it also meant costly cooling towers wouldn't have to be built.

Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club, in turn, won utility company commitments on a couple of high-profile environmental issues -- the Great Lakes and global warming. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Natural-Gas Firms Seek Outlet for Growing Supplies - As major oil companies search for more oil to meet growing global demand, U.S. natural-gas companies face the opposite problem: what to do with all the gas they soon will be producing.

U.S. natural-gas production is soaring, thanks to high energy prices and new technologies that have unlocked reserves considered too difficult or expensive to tap in earlier eras. Production is up 8% this year, according to government data, and the growth is expected to continue as companies drill thousands of wells in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and look at massive new reserves in Appalachia and Canada. (Wall Street Journal)

Supply gap could mean oil hits $200 a barrel - Only a collapse in the global demand for oil can save economies from a supply crisis and crude prices reaching more than $200 a barrel, according to a report out today. Energy expert Paul Stevens says that governments and companies are investing too little to meet future needs and a "supply crunch" will hit within "five to 10 years." (Daily Telegraph)

But wait, there's more! The great oil bubble has burst - Bad news from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline - an installation that may not normally draw much of your attention, but which is a throbbing artery of global energy supply, carrying vital oil supplies from Central Asia towards a tanker terminal on the Turkish coast. On some remote, sun-baked plain of Anatolia, an explosion sparked a fire earlier this week, temporarily cutting the flow through the pipeline.

But guess what? Here's the good news: the oil price did not zoom upwards in response, not a blip, barely a flicker. Actually the price of a barrel of crude has been falling: from a peak of $145 in early July, it came down to $117 and was trading yesterday at $120. That's almost a 20 per cent drop in little more than three weeks.
A return to relatively normal oil prices would take the sting out of inflation

If the trend continues into September at anything like the same rate of descent, most of the inflationary spike of the past 12 months will miraculously have been sliced away. This is a dramatic reversal, and it is worth trying to work out why it is happening and what it means.

Just possibly, it means that what investors refer to in shorthand as the great "oil up" story has finally revealed itself not as the fundamental reflection of scarce supply that its adherents liked to claim, but as a simple, speculative bubble that was always going to burst. (Martin Vander Weyer, Daily Telegraph)

Virtually a monthly event: Petrobras announces new light oil discovery off Rio - Brazil's government managed oil and gas corporation Petrobras announced on Thursday a new discovery of light oil with an API grade of around 30 in the ultra deep Santos Basin off the Sao Paulo coast. (Mercopress)

South American countries have been announcing rather a lot of oil discoveries lately... must not have read about "peak oil".

Doesn't add up: Government approves two new wind farms - The Government has approved plans for two new wind farms which will provide enough electricity to power more than 200,000 homes.

Consent was granted for an onshore wind farm at Middlemoor near Alnwick, Northumberland, and the UK's fourth largest wind power development off the coast of Norfolk.

The 75MW onshore wind farm at Middlemoor - which was the subject of a public inquiry - will consist of 18 turbines, and will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 27,600 homes.

The 315MW offshore wind farm, Sheringham Shoal, will comprise of up to 108 turbines - enough to power the equivalent of around 178,000 homes. (Daily Telegraph)

If 75MW is supposed to be sufficient for 27,600 homes and 315MW is sufficient for 178,000 homes we presume Sheringham Shoal is servicing low power housing? Must be since it is rated at only 4.2 times the output but is supposed to power 6.4 times the number homes. At 6 times the number of turbines shouldn't that be nearer 450MW rather than 315MW (which would make the number of homes powered about right)? Or are onshore windfarms more productive? Whatever the case their numbers look off.

Switch to windpower could add £6 billion a year to fuel bills - The switch to windpower could see £6 billion a year added to the nation’s power bills by 2020 - equivalent to around £250 per household, the government’s own figures have revealed. The money would be used to support a system of lucrative subsidies to the power companies that build and operate wind turbines. (The Times)

Split Over the Atom - George Monbiot’s recent conversion to atomic energy, on the basis that ‘I have now reached the point at which I no longer care whether or not the answer is nuclear. Let it happen’, continues to generate fallout.

The latest is that Arthur Scargill, the man who led the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the 1980s against the Thatcher Government, has emerged from obscurity to argue the case for clean coal as the ’solution’ to climate problems, and that atomic energy is dirty and dangerous. (Climate Resistance)

Sorry Campers: Coal Is King - While watching the TV coverage of the bedraggled remnants [only a 1,000 souls] of the Kent ‘Climate Camp’ [see: ‘Carry On Camping’, August 5] occupying yet more police time and leave [‘Arrests in power station protest’, BBC Online England News, August 9], I noticed a tee-shirt bearing the somewhat optimistic words: ‘UK Leads, China Follows’. Sorry, mate, but there isn’t an Olympics on Mars chance of that happening. The UK is hardly at the world’s coal table, and nobody will even notice what we (or you) do in remote Kent. (Global Warming Politics)

How coal came back into fashion - The protest at Kingsnorth may appear to be a battle over a coal-fired power station in an obscure corner of Kent, but it represents part of the frontline in a global rush for coal.

There are now over 100 similar schemes in various stages of design, planning or construction around the world and foreign governments are watching closely to see what decision is taken in the UK. (Terry Macalister, The Guardian)

Mandates on the Use of Renewable Energy Would Have a Profound Impact on the Environment, but at What Cost? - Aug. 10--A crucial argument about the best way to combat global warming comes down to two alternatives that may seem deceptively simple:

Force utilities to make a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources, such as solar and wind.

Make utilities pay a stiff fine for the greenhouse gases they produce from coal and natural gas, then let the utilities figure out the most economical way of reducing their emissions.

How this plays out could mean a big hit to Floridians' wallets. (Miami Herald)

BRAZIL: Small Hydroelectric Dams Not So Green - RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 9 - The combined impacts of numerous small hydroelectric dams in one river basin can be at least as harmful as one large dam, warn experts, environmental activists and indigenous groups, who face a flood of new projects along the rivers of the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.

Hydraulic energy from small dams "is interesting because of its low environmental costs, but everything has its limits," says André Villas-Boas in reference to their proliferation along the tributaries of the Xingú River, in the Amazon. (Tierramérica)

Mercury in CFLs – special investigation - The Most Comprehensive Media Investigation Of CFL Lightbulbs Published To Date

A Labour and Green Party initiative to ban ordinary incandescent light bulbs if they win the election could cost ordinary households thousands of dollars and have major safety implications for children and pregnant women. IAN WISHART has the story about new energy efficient light bulbs that the Government has kept off the public radar. (Investigate Magazine)

Poison plus antidote - You recently published yet another report detailing the dangers of paracetamol (acetaminophen) when taken even slightly in excess (10 December, p 19). This occurs when the liver is overwhelmed and damaged, often irreparably.

What is frustrating is that this problem, and an answer, have been known for decades. If the patient receives medical treatment promptly, damage can be avoided by providing replacements for amino acids whose metabolism paracetamol damages.

Back in 1990, New Scientist reported on the formulation and marketing of a modified drug that contained both paracetamol and an antidote in the same tablet (28 July 1990, p 22).

Under the headline "Tragedy highlights case for new paracetamol drug", the article included these statements: "The death of a young man whose life could have been saved by an invention which the British Technology Group (BTG) has for five years been trying unsuccessfully to make available to the general public was shown in an ITV documentary last week...BTG have invented a form of paracetamol which contains an amino acid that acts as an antidote to paracetamol poisoning."

It is about time this was readily available around the world.

Danny Burstein, New York City, New York, US (New Scientist Print Edition)

'Imitative obesity'? Feeling fat? Careful - it could be catching - OBESITY could be contagious because most people feel good about themselves if they are about as heavy as the people around them, according to new research. This could explain the rapid rise in the prevalence of overweight around the world, the researchers say. That is, the norm that most people compare themselves to has become fatter and fatter, feeding a cycle of "imitative obesity". (Reuters)

L.A. may force restaurants to post calories on menus - LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles residents are notorious for worrying about their waistlines and if two Los Angeles County Supervisors have it their way, calorie counting while dining out in the city may get easier.

Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich will present a proposed ordinance to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors next week that would force fast-food chains and restaurants to display the number of calories alongside the price of items on their menus.

The proposed law is intended to decrease obesity among adults and children in America's second-largest city. (Reuters)

Killer cookies? - Since Australian officials implemented the traffic light system in school cafeterias last year and banned red-light foods like cookies and chips, kids are bringing the snacks in their lunch bags. It seems this is frustrating school officials, upset that they don’t have the power to confiscate foods they don’t believe are healthy for kids, when they’re brought from home and packed by their parents. A state school organization president accused parents of “killing their kids” with bad food. (Junkfood Science)

Missing evidence or... They really do just make stuff up! - Last week, fat women were being advised to exercise 55 minutes a day to lose weight and keep it off, even though the study being reported had found that no amount or intensity of exercise worked to maintain weight loss. Today, new public health guidelines have stepped it up, calling for 1 ½ hours a day of moderate-vigorous exercise, as well as two weight training sessions a week, for all overweight adults.

It’s all part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to eradicate obesity. According to NHS Health Scotland, the new health policy is based on guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine for weight loss and maintenance.

It would appear, however, that no one actually read the ACSM position paper because the expert authors could find no evidence to support recommendations of exercise for weight control. (Junkfood Science)

Lessons for the youngest school children — what can make you weak, diseased, fat, and deviant - Between February and May, 2001, an experiment was conducted on nineteen underprivileged minority teen boys incarcerated in a residential school by the Florida court system. They were made to participate in a psychological experiment and without the fully informed consent of their parents. The experiment was not conducted by a medical doctor, nor a licensed practitioner in child development or psychology. For three weeks, the boys were told they had been exposed to poisons and that was why they had aggressive and deviant behavior problems, and that invisible poisons had made them sick, fat, sluggish and dumb. (Junkfood Science)

I think, therefore I am: Part Four - Can one be said to be against discrimination and an advocate of discriminated peoples, while furthering the very stereotypes and prejudices behind their discrimination? During the Civil Rights Movement, the answer would have been obvious: of course not. Today, however, advocacy is used as a marketing tactic to promote products, services and various agendas by taking advantage of false stereotypes and prejudicial beliefs. (Junkfood Science)

Olympic athletes - This week, the New York Times posted the diverse body measurements, athletic accomplishments and calories consumed by some of the nation’s top Olympic athletes. Not that everyone is meant to be an athlete, but as Joy Nash noted, it was a fascinating look that dispelled a lot of preconceived beliefs about what athletic bodies look like and that fat people eat more than thin people. (Junkfood Science)

Too stupid for words: Calif. lawmakers weigh chemical ban in baby items - SACRAMENTO—Responding to growing consumer anxiety, California lawmakers are considering the first statewide restrictions on a chemical found in plastic baby bottles and infant formula cans.

The bill would require that all products or food containers designed for children 3 years and younger contain only trace amounts of the chemical, bisphenol A. (Associated Press)

Not even the EU chemophobes believe bisphenol A constitutes any form of problem in baby products or food containers, which says a great deal about the land of fruits and nuts.

Studying Great Salt Lake’s High Mercury Levels - GREAT SALT LAKE, Utah — The Great Salt Lake is so briny that swimmers bob in the water like corks. It is teeming with tiny shrimp that were sold for years in the back of comic books as magical “sea monkeys.” And, for reasons scientists cannot explain, it is laden with toxic mercury.

Exactly where the poison is coming from and how much danger it poses to the millions of migratory birds that feed on the Great Salt Lake are now under investigation. (Associated Press)

Actually they don't know whether that has been the case for thousands of years and I can't think of any reason to assume a highly mineralized remnant sea wouldn't have elevated mercury levels.

This may cause a few ripples: Hollywood Takes on the Left - David Zucker, the director who brought us 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun,' turns his sights on anti-Americanism. (Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly Standard)

You go, Boris! New mayor 'backtracking' on London's environmental progress - Boris Johnson is making long-term decisions that are in danger of making London less green, environmental and social campaigners say, as the new mayor reaches 100 days in office.

The mayor had pledged to make London the greenest city in the world before the elections but London is rapidly losing its reputation for being at the cutting edge of dealing with environmental and social problems, said Darren Johnson, London assembly member.

"Dumping the £25 emissions-based congestion charge, scrapping probably the biggest purchase order for zero-emission vehicles in the world and abandoning the 50% affordable housing target are all evidence of a major backtrack," he said.

On Thursday, the mayor cancelled the contracts for a fleet of hydrogen vans, cars and motorbikes.

"Boris is adopting or considering a number of policies that are likely to increase London's carbon footprint. These include endorsing a 50% increase in flights from London city airport and considering a new airport in the Thames estuary," said Friends of the Earth's London campaigns coordinator, Jenny Bates. (John Vidal and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian)

Uh-huh... Capitalism as a threat to the environment - "CONTEMPORARY capitalism and a habitable planet cannot coexist." So runs the editorial summary of a book by James Gustave Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. (Irish Times)

Speth is a creature of UNDP and NRDC who never found qualifications in (any) science necessary and whose particular thing is global environmental governance.

On the watermelon coast: UC San Diego Offers Cutting Edge Green Courses on Environment, Sustainability - San Diego, California - UC San Diego, a university striving to become one of the nation's greenest, this fall will emphasize greenness in classes and seminars from global warming and consumerism to alternative energy, all taught by some of the university's most distinguished faculty.

Among the classes is, "Global Citizens or Global Consumers? Linking your Conscience and your Wallet," taught by April Linton, Department of Sociology. The course covers the social and environmental impact of buying clothes and food, and it offers practical suggestions to students on how to be more green-conscious consumers.

UC San Diego is offering more than 80 green seminars, workshops and courses that cover sustainability issues this fall. Throughout the year nearly 200 courses are offered with sustainability related content and new green classes are being added each quarter. (Imperial Valley News)

Anti- Vs. Pro-Business Environments Separate Red States From The Black - Shortly after he was confirmed as governor of New York earlier this year, David Paterson told a group of business executives that when he received congratulations from old friends he hadn't heard from in years, he was surprised how many no longer lived in New York.

"All of them basically said the same thing," Paterson told the group. " 'Good luck in New York state, but we can't pay the taxes. The opportunities aren't there.' "

After that experience, Paterson presumably can understand the complaints of corporate executives recently surveyed by Development Counsellors International, which advises companies on where to locate their facilities.

More than four in 10 of them have ranked New York as the worst state to do business in — second only to California in unfavorable mentions.

The most common gripes included high taxes and anti-business regulations. Joining New York and California on the list of most unpopular states are New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.

The DCI study, coming as it did amid growing talk of state fiscal crises around the country, is particularly revealing. (Steven Malanga, IBD)

A Tall, Cool Drink of ... Sewage? - Before I left New York for California, where I planned to visit a water-recycling plant, I mopped my kitchen floor. Afterward, I emptied the bucket of dirty water into the toilet and watched as the foamy mess swirled away. This was one of life’s more mundane moments, to be sure. But with water infrastructure on my mind, I took an extra moment to contemplate my water’s journey through city pipes to the wastewater-treatment plant, which separates solids and dumps the disinfected liquids into the ocean.

A day after mopping, I gazed balefully at my hotel toilet in Santa Ana, Calif., and contemplated an entirely new cycle. When you flush in Santa Ana, the waste makes its way to the sewage-treatment plant nearby in Fountain Valley, then sluices not to the ocean but to a plant that superfilters the liquid until it is cleaner than rainwater. The “new” water is then pumped 13 miles north and discharged into a small lake, where it percolates into the earth. Local utilities pump water from this aquifer and deliver it to the sinks and showers of 2.3 million customers. It is now drinking water. If you like the idea, you call it indirect potable reuse. If the idea revolts you, you call it toilet to tap. (Eizabeth Royte, New York Times)

Lois is still at it: The lessons of Love Canal lost unless Superfund is fixed - Thirty years ago Thursday, President Jimmy Carter declared Love Canal a federal disaster area. The decision came after the discovery that the Niagara Falls neighborhood was built on top of 20,000 tons of toxic waste that had been dumped by a chemical company. (Daily News)

The only lesson is that Love Canal was and remains a farce while superfund has always been an expensive disaster. As an example of the hazards of pandering to noisy nitwits it is a classic.

Globalization Is Destroying the World's Oceans - The oceans are a primary source of food for mankind, and fishing provides 200 million people with income, as meager as it may be. But growing demand and the industrial-scale exploitation of the seas are destroying global fish populations. The European Union's quota system is partly to blame. (Der Spiegel)

Alabama prof works to raise plants' cold tolerance - MONTGOMERY, Ala. — David Francko has urged people for years to try to grow plants in seemingly unnatural climates, and now he has co-developed what he calls "the holy grail of horticulture" — a spray that could increase a plant's tolerance to cold by as much as 10 degrees.

Francko, a biology professor and dean of the University of Alabama Graduate School, said the spray can be used to lengthen the growing season into the fall, protect plants from a late spring freeze and is intended for use by both commercial growers and backyard gardeners. He hopes it will be commercially available by the end of the year.

"Cold is the thing that causes the most economic damage, not just for farmers and growers but also for the home landscape," he said. (Associated Press)

August 8, 2008

'Poisoned Profits': Recycled Junk Science - Former New York Times environmental reporter Phil Shabecoff is so green he even recycles debunked health scares. (Steven Milloy,

What Next for D.C.'s Gun Laws - The Supreme Court ruled in June that provisions of Washington, D.C.'s gun laws are unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the city has responded with new regulations that are a flagrant attempt to circumvent the court's decision. (Wall Street Journal)

Climate Change: When It Rains It Really Pours - Climate models have long predicted that global warming will increase the intensity of extreme precipitation events. A new study conducted at the University of Miami and the University of Reading (U.K.) provides the first observational evidence to confirm the link between a warmer climate and more powerful rainstorms. (ScienceDaily)

Well, they do appear to have associated heavier rains with El Niño events, at least regionally. Whether it necessarily follows that warmer equals heavier rainfall generally I am unconvinced. If I recall correctly it was during the Little Ice Age that Europe suffered a disastrous series of summers in which it just didn't stop raining -- in fact it poured continuous heavy rain causing crop failures and massive erosion, leading to famine and the starvation death and morbidity of more than a million people. I don't find their assertion compelling in the light of history.

Climate change: Doom versus gloom - The consequences of a global temperature rise of 4C are catastrophic: from drought, to heatwaves, to crop failure and disease.

As environment web editor, I think a lot about the risk of doom-mongering we run when reporting gloomy environmental news. But risk is in fact what this is all about: how lucky do we feel in gambling with the planet's future?

In our exclusive today, Bob Watson, one of the world's most eminent climate scientists, says that while we should aim to limit the rise in global temperature to 2C, we must prepare for a rise of 4C. That 4C is a global average, by the way, and higher latitudes will see higher rises. The reason we must hope for the best and prepare for the worst is that there is a chance that the worst will occur, and that chance is not insignificant. (The Guardian)

Watson has a long history of doom mongering and general enviro lunacy:

POLITICAL SCIENCE by Ronald Bailey, Published in Reason magazine, December 1993

Last spring physicist William Happer found out what happens to federal scientists who ask the wrong questions. He was fired.

Happer, director of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy for two years, was asked to leave at the end of May. Although he was a political appointee, he had expected to remain until his replacement was nominated, since the Clinton administration had asked him to stay on in January. But he was pushed out two months beforehand. "I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy," he says.

Happer's problems were all the worse because he had earlier tangled with America's ozone czar, Robert Watson. Watson was the chief scientist for NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program and served as the head of the Ozone Trends Panel.

He is also a favorite of Gore's. In his book, Gore praises Watson for his "steadfast work" on stratospheric ozone. And Watson has now reaped his reward: He has been nominated to become associate director of environment in the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy.

Happer recalls a run-in he had with Watson during a meeting last year of the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology, chaired by Allan Bromley, President Bush's science adviser.

Watson made a scary presentation to the council in which he warned that ozone depletion would lead to perilous ecological problems and increases in skin cancer. Watson suggested that an "ozone hole" could open up over Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush's vacation home.

At the meeting, Happer angrily protested Watson's "exaggerations." He pointed out that during the Antarctic ozone hole the amount of UV-B light reaching the surface is far less than that reaching the surface at the equator. Happer noted that the richest fishing area in the world, just off the coast of Ecuador, receives "a thousand times more UV-B radiation that do the oceans around Antarctica during the height of the 'ozone hole'. Yet many of the same species of phytoplankton thrive in both areas with little or no apparent damage."

Watson backed down from his most outrageous assertions. But this dispute earned Happer a powerful enemy.

Happer describes the officially accepted approach to climate policy this way: "When you ask this gang overseeing ozone depletion and global warming how much two plus two is, they first ask, 'Why do you want to know?' Then you say, 'Well, I'm interested in finding out what's happening to the ozone layer, and I thought the answer would help.' Then they say, 'Well, how much do you want it to be?'"

In the worst cases, science has been turned on its head. Instead of policy being guided by factual information, the facts are being forced to fit the policy requirements of certain politicians, bureaucrats, and activists.

"With regard to global climate issues, we are experiencing politically correct science," Happer says. "Many atmospheric scientists are afraid for their funding, which is why they don't challenge Al Gore and his colleagues. They have a pretty clear idea of what the answer they're supposed to get is. The attitude in the administration is, 'If you get a wrong result, we don't want to hear about it."

And this was in 1993.

Watson at Kyoto

...the only news reports that appeared in the local press had to do with statements issued by Robert Watson, newly elected President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Waston was asked in a press briefing about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN that man-induced global warming is real and promises cataclysmic consequences.

Watson responded by denigrating all dissenting scientists as pawns of the fossil fuel industry. "The science is settled" he said, and "we're not going to reopen it here."  (Sound familiar?)

With that, the issue of science was omitted from any discussion at the proceedings. The science, however, is drawing ever more serious challenges by a widening range of climate scientists. More than 110 of the world's leading climatologists and atmospheric scientists have now signed the "Leipzig Declaration" which says, essentially, that the uncertainties that abound in climate science do not justify policy actions proposed by the COP III.

Most of the major media, however, has conspired to ignore dissenting scientists. The Media Research Center conducted an analysis of major media news coverage of the global warming issue between January 1993 and October 1997. They found that of the 48 stories during the period, 39 simply assumed that the science supporting global warming claims was true. Only seven stories acknowledged that some scientists were skeptical, and in only two stories, were the arguments of dissenting scientists actually discussed.

Both ABC and CBS were identified as advocates of the global warming science with statements such as Peter Jennings' October 22, 1997 declaration that "...the overwhelming majority of scientist now agree [climate change] is being caused by man."

The media refuse to report statements such as that of Benjamin D. Santer, lead author of the IPCC Chapter on science. Science magazine quotes Santer as saying (May 16, 1997), "It's unfortunate that people read the media hype before they read the report.

"We say quite clearly that few scientists would say the attribution [of global warming to human causes] issue was a done deal."

At least six independent polls have now been conducted by reputable firms such as the Gallup organization, and others, in America and in Europe. Depending on how the questions are framed, as few as three percent of American climate scientists agree with the IPCC conclusions, according to a survey conducted by the Meteorologisches Institut der Universitat Hamburg, as published in the UN's own Climate Change Bulletin (Issue 14, Second Quarter, 1997). The most generous estimate of agreement registered by any of the polls was 19%.

That means that at least 81% of the scientists involved with climate reject the IPCC conclusion that "the balance of evidence suggests a human influence on global climate."

The media and the UN have conspired to orchestrate the most comprehensive propaganda campaign since Joseph Goebbels tried to prepare the world for Hitler's brand of global governance. In Japan, as was the case in Bonn and in Geneva throughout the year, CNN has become a 24-hour per day propaganda mill for the UN, using unconscionable scare-tactics in support of the Climate Change Treaty. Throughout the day and night, promotional spots for their "global warming" special fills the air waves, featuring hurricanes, floods, drought, storms, and all manner of other calamities.

and that was in 1997...

This is the UK  Chief Advisor on Environmental Policy, with direct input to government legislation. (Background research by Dennis Ambler)

Mark Looney agrees: Climate change catastrophe by degrees - Bob Watson rightly warns us to prepare for 4C global warming. To avoid that, we must make drastic CO2 cuts now (Mark Lynas, The Guardian)

Note the difference between the enviroloons preferred path and The Path to Prosperity - A new report confirms that low taxes, limited government, and flexible labor markets help to spur economic growth.

There are times when common sense is not so common. We may be in one of those times, which is why a new report on the power of economic freedom is so important.

Common sense tells us that low taxes, limited government, and flexible labor markets will help to spur economic growth. The Fraser Institute’s 2008 Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) report offers a striking, yet unsurprising, picture of the benefits that flow from such policies.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, Colorado, Georgia, Delaware, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Texas—states with consistently strong records of promoting economic freedom—had an average per capita GDP that was more than $4,300 above the U.S. average. Their total growth from 1981 to 2005 was nearly 20 percentage points higher than the U.S. average. (Amela Karabegovic and Alan W. Dowd, The American)

Mauna Loa to improve CO2 data reporting - Regular readers may recall our conversations this week on the hiccup in CO2 data from the Mauna Loa Observatory. I’m pleased to announce that I received this encouraging email today from Dr. Pieter Tans, who is responsible for the Mauna Loa CO2 data. The data reporting will improve.

—– Original Message —–
From: “Pieter Tans”
To: “Anthony Watts- TVWeather”
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: wrap up - again my thanks


I will start a change log with the next update, and the monthly file for
MLO that can be downloaded will have the number of days that went into
each month. I will also add a description of how we actually make and
quality-control these measurements because I found a lot of
misperception about that. These descriptions are in the scientific
literature but that’s too far removed from most people.


Let me be the first to publicly congratulate Dr. Tans on this. On behalf of myself and others that frequent here, we sincerely appreciate this improvement in data detail and reporting. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Guest Weblog by Bob Tisdale: Part 1 - The PDO is NOT a Simple Residual Like the AMO.

People understand the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). It's calculated very simply; subtract Global SST (sea surface temperature) anomalies from the North Atlantic SST anomalies. This simple process has been said to remove the global warming signal from the AMO. Many people believe the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is calculated using the same basic equation, but it's not. According to Nathan Mantua of JISAO, the details of how the PDO is calculated are found in this paper: ENSO-like Interdecadal Variability: 1900–93 (

Poland Seeks Help to Block EU Emissions Trading Scheme - Poland is on the hunt for allies to block an EU plan to auction off the right to emit carbon dioxide. Ex-Communist countries worry for their economies if they have to bid against the likes of France and Germany. (Der Spiegel)

Is Healthy Air Bad? - Why China's Olympic cleanup may be aggravating global warming. (Jamie Reno, Newsweek)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn feeds the darkest temptation - ALEXANDER Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning writer who died this week, spotted the danger back when it was called communism. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Invitation For Research Papers To A Special Issue Of The International Journal of Climatology - Dr. Paul A. Dirmeyer of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies in Calverton, Maryland sent out the following invitation. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Acid rain good again: Chinese acid rain may combat greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies, new Open University research shows - As the world’s attention focuses on Beijing and China for the Olympic Games, criticism of the pollution levels around the city continues. Now, new research, led by Dr Vincent Gauci of The Open University, indicates that related atmospheric pollution may have a beneficial side-effect – in combating methane emissions from rice, of which China is the world’s biggest producer. (ERW)

Forward step in forecasting global warming - Arizona State University researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding the effect on climate change of a key component of urban pollution. The discovery could lead to more accurate forecasting of possible global-warming activity, say Peter Crozier and James Anderson. (Arizona State University)

Relationship between Vegetation Biophysical Properties and Surface Temperature Using Multisensor Satellite Data by Hong et al. - There is a new very important paper that provides yet further documentation of the role of land surface processes within the climate system. It is Hong, S., V. Lakshmi, and E.E. Small, 2007: Relationship between Vegetation Biophysical Properties and Surface Temperature Using Multisensor Satellite Data. J. Climate, 20, 5593–5606. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Uh-huh... Pacific shellfish ready to invade Atlantic - As the Arctic Ocean warms this century, shellfish, snails and other animals from the Pacific Ocean will resume an invasion of the northern Atlantic that was interrupted by cooling conditions three million years ago, predict Geerat Vermeij, professor of geology at the University of California, Davis, and Peter Roopnarine at the California Academy of Sciences. (University of California - Davis)

... in fact they've "been ready" for some 3 million years (presumably since the "ancient ones" stopped using SUVs, learned the error of their ways and the Earth cooled -- Al's probably reading from ancient manuscripts, allowing him to warn us of our dangerous path).

Lorne Gunter: There are two sides to the climate story. You're getting one. - Record high temperatures on Baffin Island last month — it hit 27C on July 21 — have made the news around the world, as has the evacuation of 21 visitors from the island’s Auyuittuq National Park. Fear that melt water from the park’s glaciers might lead to flash flooding and landslides has been reported by everyone from AFP to the BBC as proof of the adverse side-effects of man-made climate change.

Meanwhile, it is barely reported outside Alaska that America’s northernmost state is having a record cool summer. (National Post)

Using every opportunity to recycle the myth: Sinking Pacific Nations Face Uncertain Games Future - SYDNEY - For a handful of South Pacific athletes it may be now or never to take part in the Olympics because rising seas levels are causing their tiny island nations to sink and maybe one day disappear. (Reuters)

Global warming expert says change starts with public, not government - BOULDER, COLORADO // Susan Solomon, a leader of the team that won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its work on climate change, says in the end it will be up to public opinion as well as governments to decide whether and how to take action to combat global warming.

Since winding up her cochairmanship of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Ms Solomon has had a chance to reflect away from the flurry of worldwide attention sparked by the group’s findings. (The National)

Huh, you'd think by now the likes of Solomon would be trying to hide their involvement with the IPCC and AR4.

Suddenly being green is not cool any more - Julie Burchill can't stand them. According to her new book, Not in my Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy, she thinks all environmentalists are po-faced, unsexy, public school alumni who drivel on about the end of the world because they don't want the working classes to have any fun, go on foreign holidays or buy cheap clothes.

Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, agrees. In an interview with Rachel Sylvester and me, he told us that the “nutbag ecologists” are the overindulged rich who have nothing better to do with their lives than talk about hot air and beans.

So the salad days are over; it's the end of the greens. Where only a year ago the smart new eco-warriors were revered, wormeries and unbleached cashmere jeans are now seen as a middle-class indulgence.

But the problem for the green lobby isn't that it has been overrun by “toffs”: it's the chilly economic climate that has frozen the shoots of environmentalism. Espousing the green life, with its misshapen vegetables and non-disposable nappies, is increasingly being seen as a luxury by everyone. (Alice Thomson, The Times)

Good thing GHGs aren't a problem then... Kangaroo farming would cut greenhouse gases: study - SYDNEY - Farming kangaroos instead of sheep and cattle in Australia could cut by almost a quarter the greenhouse gases produced by grazing livestock, which account for 11 percent of the nation's annual emissions, said a new study. (Reuters)

... because the damn things keep bouncing off the barbie.

Don’t put speed bumps in the Green Lane: New regulatory schemes touted by politicians will lead to more, not fewer, green-house gas emissions - There is no shortage of innovative ideas when it comes to doing something about reducing Canada’s carbon footprint. In addition to the federal government’s climate policy framework, five provinces have committed to implementing their own distinct policy approaches to tax or regulate emissions. Now, the Liberal party is proposing a carbon tax aimed at raising the price of fossil fuels. The idea behind a carbon tax is that higher fuel costs will lead industry and consumers to use less carbon-intensive sources of energy. But, in the rush to tax and regulate, are we not losing sight of our ultimate goal of reducing green-house gas (GHG) emissions? (Jayson Myers, Financial Post)

Global Warming or Global Governance? - If you were to ask ten people on the street if mankind’s activities are causing global warming, my guess is that a majority would say yes. In fact, a Gallup poll conducted July 23-26, 2007 found that 63% believed that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. But is this perception of global warming based on fact or just misguided opinion? (George Stamm, Epoch Times)

Could the Earth be cooling its heels? - One thing could quash the debate over “global warming” real quick — global cooling — and it could be on the way.

This brave, against-the-grain prognostication that the Earth’s average temperature could be actually starting to decrease comes from agricultural meteorologist Drew Lerner, who in circles of the global warming in-crowd is known as a “denier.”

Apparently this is because his opinion is based on a well-grounded theory that global warming and cooling are largely affected by factors such as solar radiation, Arctic winds, water vapor and the El Niño/La Niña phenomena, and less by the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Lerner’s opinion runs contrary to those of “alarmists” such as Al Gore — who blames man-made global warming for increased hurricane activity, rising sea levels and making him tell a fib about creating the Internet. (Farm Press)

Bricklin’s Beijing Brouhaha - In honour of the Beijing Olympics, I am devoting my next two columns this week to a pair of fierce competitors — one American, one Canadian — who, although somewhat past their athletic prime, feature prominently in current Chinese entanglements. Although very different people, their speciality is melding government and business, usually with disastrous results for taxpayers. I refer to that dynamic duo of Malcolm Bricklin and Maurice Strong. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Why solving global warming may not pay off - OTTAWA -- You have $75-billion (U.S.) to give away in the next five years. You are tempted to direct all of it to solar power research - to help avert the end of human existence - but you know that it would be prudent to do some cost-benefit analysis first. (You recall that, only a year ago, you would have been tempted to direct all of it to corn-based ethanol research.) You compile a master list of 30 humanitarian causes. You engage 50 top-notch scientists to prepare preliminary reports. You persuade eight illustrious economists, five of them Nobel laureates, to assess these reports, to calculate the economic return on investment in each of the causes and to prioritize them as best they can. You lock up the eminent economists in a conference room in Copenhagen for four days, letting them out only when they have reached a consensus.

This is the Copenhagen Consensus, the highly instructive project of Bjorn Lomborg, the controversial Danish statistician who drives many conventional environmentalists nuts with his ruthlessly rational search for the correct answer to the apparently simple but devilishly tough question: If you had $75-billion to do good in the world, what would you do with it and, more specifically, what would you do first, second, third, et cetera? (Globe and Mail)

Drill Like Texas - The invisible hand of the marketplace is alive and well in Texas. Over the past 12 months Texas has created 245,000 jobs. That accounts for more than half of the jobs created in America during that time.

Not coincidentally, Texas has the second lowest tax burden of the 50 states. Even conservative estimates have projected a $10 billion surplus for the next biennium. Texas also leads the nation in energy production — 30% of the natural gas and 20% of oil produced in America comes from Texas.

So what can the rest of the nation learn from Texas when it comes to energy, the economy, and the environment?

There is debate in Congress right now as to whether the Atlantic and Pacific Coastlines should be opened to offshore drilling. In Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, we have been producing millions of barrels of oil for years with no environmental consequences. Offshore drilling safety is so advanced that even during Hurricane Katrina not one drilling rig in the Gulf experienced a significant environmental event.

In 1989, Texas Parks and Wildlife collaborated with the oil and gas industry and the Federal government to create the "Rigs to Reefs" program. Under the program, an oil company converts a decommissioned oil rig into an underwater reef. The companies pay the entire cost of the conversion and even donate a portion of the money they save back to Texas.

Since the programs inception, and at no cost to the state, Texas has added more than 100 healthy, vibrant, and productive reefs to our coastline where before there was an underwater mud plain. Texas has chosen to work with the industry instead of against it, and as a result, the Texas coast is cleaner and more productive than ever. (New York Sun)

Gasoline costs, energy rivet candidates' attention - WASHINGTON --To understand why Barack Obama and John McCain are emphasizing solutions to the country's energy woes and have scrambled to change their positions, look no further than the voters' distress over $4-a-gallon gasoline and its wide ripple effect.

The presidential candidates' sparring over energy peaked this week as each sought to capitalize on a topic that touches every voter and provides a way to discuss the declining economy at home, national security threats abroad and the changing climate worldwide. (Associated Press)

Obama's unplugged energy policy - Given the continuing U.S. housing and financial crises, the presidential race is becoming more and more about the economy. However, neither housing nor finance is amenable to the kind of catchy, populist policy fixes required by campaign grandstanding. Energy, by contrast, is, and provides full scope — in the face of pain at the pump — for exploiting economic ignorance, historical amnesia and xenophobia. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

The Diesel Crunch: Why Diesel Prices Are Skyrocketing - Back in October 2005, I wrote an article for predicting that U.S. diesel prices would hit $4 or $5 per gallon within 18 months. I’m not recalling that story to brag. I rarely predict energy prices. And my estimate for when prices would hit $4 was a little premature. (It took about 30 months to break that barrier.) But it’s worth noting the factors I cited in that column, written shortly after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I wrote:

The coming diesel disaster will be caused by several other things that have nothing to do with the weather. Those factors include stringent new federal regulations on sulfur content in motor fuel, a global shortage of refining capacity, and soaring demand for diesel, both in the United States and around the globe. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

EPA Rejects Texas Request to Cut Ethanol Waiver - WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it denied a request by Texas to cut the federal ethanol mandate requiring 9 billion gallons of ethanol and other renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline this year. (Reuters)

Ethanol’s bad trip - Summer should offer a chance to forget the antics in our federal and provincial capitals, and some of the boondoggles that result. But some issues, such as government mandates to mix ethanol with gasoline, have a way of following you. For users of gasoline-powered engines, such as chainsaws, water pumps — and, most critically, boats — summer may bring ethanol-related problems closer than ever. (William Robson, Financial Post)

Energy Tribune Speaks with Gwyneth Cravens - Gwyneth Cravens is a New York-based journalist and author. She has published five novels and has written for publications such as The New Yorker, The Nation, Harper’s, and The New York Times. Her latest book, Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy, provides an in-depth look at the nuclear power industry, from uranium mining to nuclear waste storage. She exchanged e-mails with Robert Bryce in early June. (Energy Tribune)

Wisconsin Greens Drop Opposition to Coal Plant - LOS ANGELES - Environmentalists pulled opposition to an expansion of what will be the biggest coal-fired power plant in Wisconsin after gaining concessions from We Energies and two smaller utilities, environmental and utility officials said Wednesday. (Reuters)

Gazprom’s Energy Imperialism - An ogre of a giant looms to the east of Europe – occasionally in the shape of a country, other times in the shape of a company, the two often indistinguishable. Russia and Gazprom, Gazprom and Russia, are poised to devour the whole of Europe and its Asian neighbors. (Energy Tribune)

Britain Plans World's Biggest Tidal Power Station - Great Britain is mulling plans to build the world's largest tidal power station. Though the climate-friendly energy source is expected to provide 5 percent of the country's power, environmentalists oppose the project, which they say will destroy vital wildlife habitat. (Der Spiegel)

Plastic Bags and Black Lungs - In 2002, Bangladesh banned the use of plastic bags because they blocked drains and thus worsened floods. Other countries have imposed similar bans, primarily for environmental reasons. Now China has followed suit.

Since June, China has banned free plastic bags at shops and supermarkets, forcing consumers to pay for them. The government has outlawed the manufacture of ultra-thin bags (under 0.025 millimeters thick), as those bags cannot be re-used. Violators of the law will be fined.

According to official figures, China uses 37 million barrels of crude oil each year to produce the 3 billion plastic bags that its 1.3 billion people use each day. Clearly China has a huge demand for energy, and the expensive oil saved could be put to other uses. But that would result in even more emissions and greenhouse gas. (Energy Tribune)

No evidence to support 'organic is best' - New research in the latest issue of the Society of Chemical Industry's (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows there is no evidence to support the argument that organic food is better than food grown with the use of pesticides and chemicals. (Society of Chemical Industry)

Agresearch seeks new long term GE approvals - The Government's biggest science company, Agresearch, has asked regulators to approve a wide-ranging application to genetically engineer 18 different animals for commercial production of pharmaceuticals.

The pastoral science company would develop in the laboratory cell-lines including humans and monkeys, E coli and yeast.

Using these they would develop GE cows, buffalo, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, deer, and horses. (NZPA)

Aphids are sentinels of climate change - Aphids are emerging as sentinels of climate change, researchers at BBSRC-supported Rothamsted Research have shown. One of the UK's most damaging aphids - the peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae) - has been found to be flying two weeks earlier for every 1°C rise in mean temperature for January and February combined. (BBSRC)

Hmm... I wasn't aware the UK had had much of a summer for the last couple of years.

August 7, 2008

Enviromania - For years, hyperactive environmentalists have burned votive candles to the spirit in the sky, hoping she'd levitate energy prices high enough to make alternatives to oil economically feasible. That day has come. Result: The oil has hit the fan.

With gasoline over $4 and with life as they love it in the suburbs being shut down, did people call for the windmills? Nope. A heavy majority want to drill the bejeezus out of anywhere in America we can find familiar black slop.

No one has been hit harder by this unexpected truth than Nancy Pelosi and her green brigades.

Fearful of an up-or-down vote on drilling for oil in, of all places, our own country, the Pelosi House and Harry Reid's Senate shut down Congress. House Minority Leader John Boehner calls drilling the greatest issue Republicans have had in his political lifetime. A party flat on its back is ready to run on oil pumps.

Why stop there?

Republicans shouldn't settle for making the world safe for SUVs. What's going on here is about more than $4 gasoline.

When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats spent a week holding the people's chamber under house arrest, they made plain a political vulnerability beyond drilling. To achieve greenhouse gas goals in the out-years, they are willing to risk a slowdown now in the American economy. How else can you interpret what happened this week? These Democrats aren't environmentalists. They're enviromaniacs. (Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal)

The tyranny of the dimwitted - OTTAWA -- At a campaign stop during one of Democrat Adlai Stevenson's two unsuccessful presidential campaigns against Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, a supporter shouted: "Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you."

"That's not enough," the Princeton- and Harvard-educated intellectual shot back. "I need a majority."

Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University in Washington, cites this famous anecdote in The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, a brilliant and disturbing analysis of decision making by electorates that - he documents - are perversely ignorant and woefully misinformed. (Globe and Mail)

It's the NBA wot duz it: Reject basketball, end pollution - Our pre-eminent climate scientist, James Hansen, last month warned Congress of our "global-warming time bomb." "Transformational change ... in the next year" is required, he testified, or we face a coming climate "cataclysm."

What part of "cataclysm" do we not understand?

Those leaders who sell the lethal notion that we can "prosper" and avoid painful change with our climate crisis are false leaders. Reject them now.

Our governor must convene a climate emergency session of the Legislature now to enact emergency World War II type mobilization laws:

Divert Boeing from airplanes and war machinery to solar, wind and wave power equipment.

Vastly increase public transport system (low-income citizens ride free).

Outlaw single-occupancy vehicles, except where no public transport exists.

Impose corporate carbon taxes rising to $500 per ton by 2020. Assess progressive personal carbon taxes rising to $500 per ton by 2020; low-income residents exempted from tax.

Establish strict carbon caps for industry, regions and government. Outlaw carbon trading. Begin personal carbon rationing. Direct carbon tax funds to poor to offset high food, housing and transportation costs. Direct carbon tax funds to global rainforest protection and other global south recipients. (Duff Badgley is the Green Party candidate for governor. Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

I love it when these green lunatics start mouthing off :)

An important call for public comment on the NASA Climate Change Science Program - Foreword: For all of my readers, I can’t stress enough how important Dr. Herman’s message is. Please consider his requests for public comments. Something that most people don’t know is that you do not need to be a citizen of the USA to submit a comment. Time is of the essence, as comments close on August 14th, and there will not be another opportunity. For other bloggers and website operators, this post can be duplicated verbatim, and I encourage you to do so. Thank you for your consideration. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

A Request for Comments on the CCSP Report from Professor Ben Herman - I recently received a NASA Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) preliminary report that I imagine many of you have also received. For those who may not have received it, I’ve included a link at the end of this comment. NASA is asking for responses to this report for those who have comments, suggestions, etc that they would like to pass on to the CCSP committee. I have read through the report personally and feel there is much in the report that requires additional clarification. (Climate Science)

Don’t be so sure - A number of mixed items today, mostly with the theme that Experts are often too sure of themselves. (William M Briggs, Statistician)

Be Proud of Your Carbon Footprint - Inspired by the Carbon Sense Coalition's Dirck Hartmann, who argued here for using CO2 to fight world hunger, Green Cool Aid has developed a Carbon Calculator that translates tons of CO2 into increased vegetation density and reduction in world hunger and starvation. GCA finds the average CO2 footprint supports slightly over 10 days worth of food production (in terms of dry wheat).

Climate-Change Program to Aid Poor Nations Is Shut - The move, which officials say resulted from the shrinking of federal science budgets, is being denounced by many experts on environmental risk. (New York Times)

Gives new meaning to the term "carbon credits." (Edward John Craig, Planet Gore)

Name Al Gore’s hugetastic boat! - Barack Obama wants us all to turn down our thermostats, get rid of our SUVs, and monitor each other’s tire pressure to conserve energy and rescue the planet. How about going after the lavish consumption of his fellow purported eco-warriors?

Let’s start with Green Messiah Al Gore’s massive boat outside Nashville. It’s docked at Hurricane Marina on Center Hill Lake in Smithville, about an hour east of Nashville. (Michelle Malkin)

German City Wonders How Green Is Too Green - A German town’s decision to require solar-heating panels has thrown it into a vehement debate over the boundaries of ecological good citizenship. (New York Times)

UW study examines decline of snowpack - Despite previous studies suggesting a warmer climate is already taking a bite out of Washington's snowpack, there's no clear evidence that human-induced climate change has caused a drop in 20th century snow levels, according to a controversial new study by University of Washington scientists. (Warren Cornwall, Seattle Times)

Shrinking African lake imperils wildlife - Researchers trace the lake's decline to the late 1960s, when rainfall levels began to drop across the western Sahel, the semi-arid belt of land just south of the Sahara. Around the same time, the population of the lake region started a precipitous rise, doubling to 26 million from 1960 to 1990 and sharply increasing the demand for water among pastoralists and farmers. (McClatchy)

Hmm... laced through the article are allusions to global warming being a major part of the problem. Well, I looked at NCDC's GHCN-ERSST Data Set for the period 1940-1980, thinking this would reveal some dramatic period of global warming since it is being blamed for the shrinkage Lake Chad since the 1960s, with the below result:

RSS July Global Temperature Anomaly - up a bit - RSS (Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA) RSS Microwave Sounder Unit (MSU) lower troposphere global temperature anomaly data for July 2008 was published today and has moved a bit above the zero anomaly line, with a value of 0.147°C for a positive change (∆T) of 0.112°C globally from June 2008. (Watts Up with That?)

Watson, again: Climate change: Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist - The UK should take active steps to prepare for dangerous climate change of perhaps 4C according to one of the government's chief scientific advisers.

In policy areas such as flood protection, agriculture and coastal erosion Professor Bob Watson said the country should plan for the effects of a 4C global average rise on pre-industrial levels. The EU is committed to limiting emissions globally so that temperatures do not rise more than 2C.

"There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial," Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the Guardian. "But given this is an ambitious target, and we don't know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C." (The Guardian)

Global warming: Where is the heat and science? - What the mainstream media has been feeding our nation on the issue of global warming is more hype than heat and more scam than science. Thus, for a change, we shall look at the facts. (Gary S. Urich, Bolivar Herald-Free Press)

Have Desert Researchers Discovered a Hidden Loop in the Carbon Cycle? (.pdf) - URUMQI, CHINA--When Li Yan began measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) in western China's Gubantonggut Desert in 2005, he thought his equipment had malfunctioned. Li, plant ecophysiologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in Urumqi, discovered that his plot was soaking up CO2 at night. His team ruled out the sparse vegetation as the CO2 sink. Li came to a surprising conclusion: The alkaline soil of Gubantonggut is socking away large quantities of CO2 in an inorganic form. A CO2-gulping desert in a remote corner of China may not be an isolated phenomenon. Halfway around the world, researchers have found that Nevada's Mojave Desert, square meter for square meter, absorbs about the same amount of CO2 as some temperate forests. The two sets of findings suggest that deserts are unsung players in the global carbon cycle. "Deserts are a larger sink for carbon dioxide than had previously been assumed," says Lynn Fenstermaker, a remote sensing ecologist at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a coauthor of a paper on the Mojave findings published online last April in Global Change Biology.

The effect could be huge: About 35% of Earth's land surface, or 5.2 billion hectares, is desert and semiarid ecosystems. If the Mojave readings represent an average CO2 uptake, then deserts and semiarid regions may be absorbing up to 5.2 billion tons of carbon a year--roughly half the amount emitted globally by burning fossil fuels, says John "Jay" Arnone, an ecologist in DRI's Reno lab and a co-author of the Mojave paper. But others point out that CO2 fluxes are notoriously difficult to measure and that it is necessary to take readings in other arid and semiarid regions to determine whether the Mojave and Gubantonggut findings are representative or anomalous. (Richard Stone, Science 13 June 2008)

Global warming skeptic tells conservative students the problem is overrated - WASHINGTON—For many young voters, the environment is a hot-button issue in this year’s presidential election. But some think concern over global warming is overblown.

Self-proclaimed global warming skeptic Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist, drew applause Wednesday at the conservative Young America’s Foundation conference when he said the hype around the “green” movement is nearing the level of “a state-supported religion.”

Spencer, a climate researcher at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, said that although global warming is occurring, it’s not happening to the extent that many scientists have led the public to believe. Rising global temperatures will not have a significant negative impact on the planet, he said, because most warming has been the result of natural temperature fluctuations, not human causes like increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

“The climate system is relatively insensitive,” Spencer said. “That means that the CO2 we put in the atmosphere really doesn’t do much, maybe only one-tenth or two-tenths of a degree Celsius, which is basically trivial. Climate is going to change anyway, with or without us, so if we cause a little bit of climate change, so what?” (Medill Reports)

On The IPCC's Case For Anthropogenic Global Warming - I have been involved in climate change for nearly 30 years. In 1980, a few of us in the research organization of a large multinational energy corporation realized that the climate issue was likely to affect our future business environment. We subsequently started the only industrial research activity in the basic science of climate change. The move was justified by the fact that the best way to really understand a complex technical issue is to actually work in the area, interacting with other scientists. I have supervised climate scientists working in the area of climate change and have followed the area closely. Over the years our researchers have served as authors of key IPCC report chapters. I would like to share some perspectives with you. (Roger Cohen, SPPI)

Guest Weblog By Marcel Severijnen - Until recently I was head of the Environmental Monitoring Department of the Province of Limburg in the Netherlands. I’m not a climate scientist, but a researcher with a chemical analysis background, leading a team of technicians in providing environmental information for policymakers and regulatory enforcement inspectors. My interest in the discussion on climate change was low but has grown in recent years. I would like to split up my contribution in three parts. Firstly, in more general words, my view on the climate change discussion. Secondly my opinion and experience on the interaction between researchers and policymakers, and to conclude some remarks on my experience with results of modelling, more specificly air pollution modeling. (Climate Science)

Polar bear politics - The polar bear is likely content in a world not any larger than the ice it lives on and the seals it hunts, but the world is not content to leave the animal there.

Considered a cute poster-bear for global warming, annoying obstacle to oil development and valuable animal worth being protected, the polar bear is caught in a legal tug of war to decide its importance and ultimately its fate.

In the midst of the confusion, the state government of Alaska has made its intention to challenge the polar bear's recently acquired "threatened" listing very clear, though not necessarily its reasons for doing so. (CCW)

Icebreakers may vie in new cold war as as U.S., Russia both seek Arctic resources - WASHINGTON – A new cold war is breaking out in the race for Arctic oil, natural gas and minerals, and it involves front-line icebreakers. Russia has seven and the United States has three, if you count one that's laid up in Seattle and not seaworthy.

The competition is heating up because of global warming and high energy prices. They've made the Arctic coastline and seafloor, despite their harsh climate, one of the most appealing places in the world for energy exploration. Much the same goes for the gold, platinum, copper and other metals found in Arctic regions. (Sacramento Bee)

Hmm... with the sun ominously quiet we may need more icebreakers anyway, Arctic or no Arctic.

More green extortion, putting your power cost up: Wisconsin utilities settle environmental suit for $105M - MILWAUKEE—Two environmental groups have dropped their challenge of a Wisconsin power plant's water cooling system in exchange for the three owner utilities spending $105 million on Lake Michigan improvements, the parties said Wednesday.

The environmental groups, Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club, and the companies that own the Oak Creek plant -- We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, whose parent company is MGE Energy Inc., and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. -- called the settlement a victory. (Associated Press)

The Audacity of Wishful Thinking - In an off-the-teleprompter comment from Springfield, Missouri, the less-than-one-term Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, recently remarked that Americans could save as much fuel as might be obtained from offshore drilling merely by tuning up their cars and keeping tires properly inflated.

Since the MSM hasn't seen fit to accurately publicize this amazing insight, I must insist that the senator's complete Obama-fuels program be immediately broadcast to the nation. This bold nine-point initiative will make both oil imports and new domestic drilling completely unnecessary by the end of Barack's eight-to-ten-year presidency.

In addition to tune-ups and tire inflation, Senator Obama also proposes the following transformative energy measures: (Richard Kirk, American Spectator)

Say Watt, Senator? - Barack Obama wants a million electric cars on the road by 2015. Where's he going to plug them in? John McCain has the answer — a renewable energy source called nuclear power.(IBD)

Atomic Power Causes Cabinet Meltdown - Yet again, the issue of nuclear power has resulted in bickering within Germany's government in Berlin. Officially, the country is set to turn its back on nuclear power within 15 years. But Economics Minister Michael Glos wants the atomic phase-out to be phased out -- a proposal that has infuriated the country's environment minister. (Der Spiegel)

By George, He’s Got It - As readers of ‘Global Warming Politics’ will know, I am not always the most ardent supporter of leading Guardianista, George Monbiot, and it would be fair to admit that we disagree pretty passionately over ‘global warming’. Nevertheless, I harbour a sneaking respect for George, a respect that was greatly enhanced when watching Newsnight (August 5) yesterday evening. (Global Warming Politics)

My wife read this first and wondered how I would view it, considering Stotty and I are usually on the same page. In fact there's no contention at all -- Stotty has a sneaking respect for Monbiot's consistency and I view Moonbat as consistently a gibbering nitwit driven by the twin self-aggrandizing motivations of wanting to sell more books and despising people. So once again we are in agreement -- the raving Moonbat is entirely consistent.

Hypocritic Oaf - There was a lively little exchange on the Today programme this morning between class-warrior Julie Burchill and posh eco-activist George Monbiot. Burchill was there to promote her new book Not In My Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy, in which she accuses high-profile Green activists of being hypocritical, authoritarian elitists: (Climate Resistance)

Moonbat prefers being a privileged misanthropic prat: I'd rather be a hypocrite than a cynic like Julie Burchill - Give me a posh, preachy eco-activist over a narcissist without a moral compass any day (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Western Oil Shale Potential: 800 Billion Barrels of Recoverable Oil - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management today published proposed regulations to establish a commercial oil shale program that could result in the addition of up to 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from lands in the western United States.

In keeping with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the BLM is proposing regulations that would provide the critical “rules of the road” on which private investors will rely in determining whether to make future financial commitments to prospective oil shale projects.

“As Americans pay more than $4 for a gallon of gasoline and watch energy prices continue to climb higher and higher, we need to be doing more to develop our own energy here at home, through resources such as oil shale,” said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. “Instead, I find it ironic that we are asking countries halfway around the world to produce more for us.” (U.S. Department of the Interior)

They don't say? Urban wind turbines 'may be waste of time' - Putting up a small wind turbine on the roof of a suburban home may be a waste of time, according to a new report published by the Carbon Trust and the Met Office. (Daily Telegraph)

Biofuel debate faces showdown in USA - The moment of truth is at hand for US biofuels this week as environmental regulators prepare to rule on one state's request to halve the steep national target for blending ethanol into fuel. (The Guardian)

Parents warned over measles epidemic - A stark warning about the dangers of measles is to be sent to the parents of three million unvaccinated children to increase uptake of the MMR vaccination, the Government is announcing. (The Independent)

Weight report cards for school children — A namby pamby or fat-headed policy? - The proposals to eradicate fat children from the UK and U.S. that have been pouring from health officials have become so overridden by irrationality, that there’s no point in cataloguing them anymore. The lack of evidence for their necessity, the biological implausibilities of their solutions, and the body of evidence showing every one of them doesn’t work and puts all size children at risk for harm — is, or should be, known by medical and nutrition professionals who work with children. But these programs for compulsory “healthy eating” (as some define it) and exercise in children, BMI screenings, and “nutrition education” to teach weight management to little kids aren’t about facts or for their health. (Junkfood Science)

Japanese researchers find no support for healthy weight guidelines - The BMIs that have been deemed by the World Health Organization as ‘healthy’ among Asians actually put people at higher risks for premature death, found Japanese researchers. WHO recommends that Asians maintain lower BMIs than Western populations, less than 23 kg/m2. But national health statistics, from the NIPPON DATA80 Study of Japanese men and women followed for 19 years, found "no support that this is a healthy size for Asians." (Junkfood Science)

Drug Innovation Has Fallen Victim To Risk-Averse, Anti-Industry Gov't - As a wet-behind-the-ears medical intern, a colleague of mine once greeted a new patient with a breezy, "So what's your problem?" "Oh, just a touch of leukemia," the pallid fellow answered.

But that was in the mid-1950s, when there was no such thing as "a touch" of leukemia or any other cancer. We knew almost nothing about the disease — its cause, or how to prevent, treat or cure it — except that it was a death sentence and a gruesome end.

A half-century of new drugs has changed all that. Blood-related malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma now are among the most curable forms of cancer; no longer is the diagnosis a death sentence. (Henry I Miller, IBD)

They said it: PETA to DNC: If You Want to Go Green, Eat Like a Donkey - Group Urges Dems to Shrink Carbon Footprint by Serving Only Vegetarian Fare at Convention

Denver, Colo. -- If the Democrats want to live up to their claim that they are hosting the "greenest" political convention ever, they should start by putting some green on delegates' plates, says PETA. In a letter sent to Democratic National Convention (DNC) Host Committee CEO Mike Dino, the animal rights group urges the DNC to serve only vegetarian meals at the convention because, as PETA points out, eating meat is the number one cause of global warming. (Wacko release)

Eating Meat Is Worse Than Driving a Truck ... for the Climate - Only three years ago there was such a surplus of corn in the Midwest that it became a joke. Someone pasted the image of a skier into a photo of a mountainous pile of the stuff, labeled it " Ski Iowa," and e-mailed it around the Internet to hand everyone a laugh -- except the farmers, of course. At the time, turning all that unwanted corn into ethanol to replace gasoline seemed like a great idea.

But that was then. Today, corn ethanol has become the bad-boy alternative to petroleum, criticized for driving up food prices, destroying rain forests and worsening climate change. For good measure, the criticism is usually leveled at biofuels in general, even though the other category of biofuel -- biodiesel -- is not made from corn and has a much more beneficial climate-improving profile. For some environmentalists, the only acceptable green energy options are wind, solar and geothermal power. Former Vice President Al Gore recently challenged America to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels in ten years by shifting electricity production to those three ideal options. Along the way, he suggested assisting auto makers to build plug-in cars and phase out gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

However, even if this utopia can be achieved in a decade -- and I fervently hope that it can -- Americans are stuck with cars they wish they could plug in but can't. America and the world will need liquid fuels for a long time to come, and biofuels, including some corn ethanol made at the most efficient distilleries, offer a far better option than continued use of fossil fuels. (Frances Cerra Whittelsey, The Nation)

Uh-huh... you are charged with recklessly consuming a spare rib... Actually, ruminants are supposedly destroying the planet with their (perfectly natural) emissions, so shouldn't you save the planet, eat a cow?

Brazil Mulls Sugar Cane Limit to Protect Wetland - SAO PAULO - Brazil would restrict sugar cane planting in one of the world's largest wetland areas if the government approves a proposal to protect the Pantanal area's ecology, the Environment Ministry said Tuesday. (Reuters)

McCain Cuts Through The Farm Fertilizer - Some fear that opposing hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars for prosperous farmers jeopardizes John McCain's electoral chances. But voters know manure when they smell it. (IBD)

August 6, 2008

Comments On CCSP Report Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States By Roger A. Pielke Sr. - I have submitted two comments to the draft CCSP Report Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States. Comments are submitted to


The recommendation in this Comment is that the Draft CCSP Synthesis Report be rejected.

A new independent assessment Committee should be appointed in order to present policymakers with an accurate assessment of the diversity of scientifically supported conclusions regarding the role of humans within the climate system. This includes the evaluation of the vulnerabilities to important environmental and societal resources from natural and human-caused climate variability and change. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

CCSP Climate Impacts Report: A Perversion of Science - Luckily, the U.S. Climate Change Assessment Report just released by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is only a “draft” released for the purpose of gathering public comments. This means that the report’s authors still have time to get things in order before a “final” publication is released. The current contents read as if the CCSP authors set aside their list of sizable scientific credentials, and instead opted to write a fantasy piece on how they wished the state of climate science to be, rather than how it actually is.

As it now stands, the draft CCSP report is a gross perversion of science. (Chip Knappenberger, WCR)

Sloppy Work by the CCSP - The Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs); of the United States Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) are supposed to represent the absolute best reviews of the state of climate science from the world-leading United States research enterprise. With more than $30 billion invested in climate research over the past two decades, the SAPs represent the most important summary documents in U.S. climate science. The CCSP explains the significance of these reports:

These reports will provide current evaluations of the identified science foundation that can be used for informing public debate, policy development, and operational decisions, and for defining and setting the future direction and priorities of the program.

An unprecedented process of review was established to keep political appointees far from the reports. However, the significance of the effort and the rigorous review has not been sufficient to result in a quality synthesis report, which in its release for public comment is marred not only by incomplete analysis and selective presentation of science, but also, by plain old sloppiness. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

How many errors can there be in 23 seconds of an advertisement? - What follows is an expanded version of a complaint sent to the ACCC. (The ACCC complaint form limits the amount of text than can be entered.) (Carbon Sense Coalition)

More propaganda, this time to push up insurance rates: Flood game shows UK cities under water - The devastating effects of climate change are laid bare in an online simulation which shows gamers the impact of flooding on British cities., developed by London based computer game company PlayGen, and funded by Norwich Union, puts the player in charge of all flood policy decisions. (Daily Telegraph)

Paying the price for mislabeling an essential trace gas 'pollution': Energy: Drax profits halve as UK's largest source of CO2 pays price for soaring cost of carbon credits - Drax has seen its profits plunge by almost half as it pays the price for running the UK's biggest single carbon polluting power station in an era of rising CO2 prices.

Last year Drax, the owner of the 4,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant in North Yorkshire, which supplies about 7% of the country's electricity, spent £11m buying CO2 emission allowances to cover its carbon pollution.

But the company has already spent £107m this year under a second phase of the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) when its allocation was reduced. (The Guardian)

What was that about fuel poverty and its causes again?

Stupid woman... The Sting of Climate Crisis -- On Your Leg - Two days ago I heard a blood-curdling scream from my twelve-year-old who was swimming twenty feet away from me in a large salt water tidal pond. What could possibly have happened? Seconds before she was laughing and splashing with her friend. Now she was crying with a huge red welt on her leg. It was a nasty jellyfish sting.

Hundreds of red stinging jellyfish have just shown up around Martha's Vineyard and the Cape like never seen before. Today the swimmers stayed on shore, the waterskiers stayed home and everyone was discussing the jellyfish population explosion. Then the front page of Sunday's New York Times provided an explanation.

The jellyfish explosion is worldwide. Scientists blame a number of factors including overfishing, but most importantly a rise in seawater temperature caused by global warming. (Laurie David, Puffington)

... oceans haven't been warming, which rather puts the freeze on her preferred hysteria and no one really knows what cycles jellyfish populations undergo when major predator groups are heavily fished. Moreover, people have only been spending a lot of time swimming in the oceans in non-tropical island regions since WWII (lack of transport and leisure time kept the masses from such pastimes before then) so there's really no history to compare current swimmer and jellyfish contact levels.

Noted US Forecasters See 9 Hurricanes This Year - MIAMI - The noted Colorado State University hurricane research team on Tuesday raised its forecast for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, saying it now expects 17 tropical storms to form, with nine of them to strengthen into hurricanes.

The team formed by forecasting pioneer William Gray, whose long-range forecasts have been wrong for the past three years, in June predicted the six-month season that began on June 1 would produce 15 storms, of which eight would be hurricanes. (Reuters)

NASA data show some African drought linked to warmer Indian Ocean - A new study, co-funded by NASA, has identified a link between a warming Indian Ocean and less rainfall in eastern and southern Africa. Computer models and observations show a decline in rainfall, with implications for the region's food security. (GSFC)

Monitoring Upper Ocean Heat Content In Real Time - Climate Science has emphasized the need to monitor the accumulation of Joules in the ocean as the primary metric of global warming (e.g. see). The ECMWF website presents plots of temperature anomalies (from a 1981 to 2005 climatology) in the upper ocean for several slices through the ocean as well as presents spatial maps. While not in Joules, it provides an effective way to view in real time whether or not the ocean is accumulating heat.

Examples for the date July 2008 are presented below [current times can be obtained from the ECMWF website (see)].

The obvious message from these plots are that, at least for the data that they are presenting, heat is not accumulating significantly. Regions of warm anomalies are juxtaposed with regions of cool anomalies. If the IPCC models were correct, the positive temperature anomalies would be becoming larger over time. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Effects of Global Warming - Abstract: In a statistical re-analysis of the data from the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report, all climate models failed standard internal validation tests for regional droughted area in Australia over the last century. The most worrying failure was that simulations showed increases in droughted area over the last century in all regions, while the observed trends in drought decreased in five of the seven regions identified in the CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology report. Therefore there is no credible basis for the claims of increasing frequency of Exceptional Circumstances declarations made in the report. These results are consistent with other studies finding lack of adequate validation in global warming effects modeling, and lack of skill of climate models at the regional scale. (Niche Modeling)

The Green Hornet - Al Gore said the other day that "the future of human civilization" depends on giving up fossil fuels within a decade -- and was acclaimed as a prophet by the political class. Obviously boring reality doesn't count for much these days. Even so, when Barack Obama wheels out an energy agenda nearly as grandiose as Mr. Gore's, shouldn't it receive at least some media scrutiny?

On Monday, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. must "end the age of oil in our time," with "real results by the end of my first term in office." This, he said, will "take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy." Mark that one down as the understatement of the year. Maybe Mr. Obama really is the Green Hornet, or some other superhero of his current political myth. (Wall Street Journal)

OECD calls for Australia to lead on climate change - The OECD is calling on Australia to lead the way on climate change.

Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD, says because Australia is a big exporter of raw materials, including coal, it has a greater responsibility to set the example to other countries.

The OECD represents the 30 mostly wealthy nations who have embraced democracy and the market economy, with members including Australia, the US, Japan and the UK.

Mr Gurria says the world is watching the evolution of Australia's emissions trading scheme and this country's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will "absolutely" influence other governments to follow suit. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

No good waiting for us to crash and burn lads, K.Rudd will not attempt to implement any scheme that actually does anything, good or bad.

'No rush' for farming in emissions scheme - THE Rudd Government says it will not rush to include agriculture in its emissions scheme despite a report warning forest clearing poses a much bigger threat than previously thought. (The Australian)

As if they don't have troubles enough: South Africa's ambitious climate change strategy may include carbon tax - South Africa's government has set out an ambitious proposal to deal with climate change in the coming years, including slapping a possible carbon tax on carbon dioxide-spewing industries. (AFP)

From CO2 Science this week:

Is "The Science" Really Settled?: We consider this climate-alarmist claim with respect to the potential effects of global warming on hurricanes.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 570 individual scientists from 344 separate research institutions in 38 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lower Murray Lake, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Regional - Europe: Mediterranean): What can we learn about the Little Ice Age from paleoclimate studies conducted in the Mediterranean region of Europe? ... and what does that knowledge suggest about the nature of 20th-century global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Barley, European Ash, Olive Tree, and Orchardgrass.

Journal Reviews:
Surface Air Temperatures Over the Arctic Ocean: How well are they simulated by state-of-the-art climate models?

A Holocene History of Changes in Northern Russian Treelines: What does our knowledge of the past suggest about the present?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Fine-Root Ectomycorrhizas of Forest Trees: What are they? ... and why are they important?

Birds and Global Warming: Reed Warblers: How have they fared over the last three-plus decades of warming in their breeding range?

A C3 Crop (Rice) vs. a C4 Weed (Barnyardgrass): Which one will be benefited more in a high-CO2 world of the future?

Pine Bluffs, WYTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Pine Bluffs, WY. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Pine Bluffs' mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.81 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (

Environmental groups faltered this year - Former Vice President Al Gore may have made global warming a household term, but this year’s tactical mistakes by the green army may have set the cause back just when it seemed to be on the brink of a legislative breakthrough. While pushing for sharp emission reductions, a number of environmental groups failed to adapt their pitch to acknowledge rising energy costs, experts say, leaving voters to believe that saving the planet will mean unaffordable energy prices. (Politico)

Welcome To The World Of The Zealots! - "Global warming has now got to the stage where it is only maintained by media self-censorship. If the general public ever got to know of the scandals surrounding the collection and processing of data, or that there has been no detectable warming for the last decade, the whole movement would be dead in the water; but they don’t, so it isn’t. It has become the most powerful myth in human history, sending much of the world into a downward helix of economic decline. It is a tenuous hypothesis supported by ill-found computer models and data from botched measurement, dubiously processed." John Brignell - brilliant! A must-read! (via NZ climate Science)

Is Europe Leading or Losing on CO2 Emissions? - The continent's bureaucrats hope their counterparts in China, India, and the US will embrace carbon regulation next year in Copenhagen.

The bureaucrats that run the European Union's day-to-day business aren't known for taking risks. Yet back in 2005, when they devised the EU Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), these pencil pushers gambled that a cap-and-trade scheme would help cut the EU's carbon dioxide emissions. Now, three years on, the environmental benefits from the EU ETS remain unclear: The continent's CO2 output actually rose 1.1 percent last year.

Moreover, its impact on the European economy is far from clear. Optimists think Europe's early adoption of a cap-and-trade CO2 market will give local companies a competitive advantage when other regions of the world finally start trading carbon. Under the EU ETS, companies are given a set number of carbon allowances (the "cap" in cap and trade), which then can be bought and sold on the open market. In theory, this provides a financial incentive for firms to become more energy efficient, giving European businesses a head start in cutting overhead just as fuel costs begin to hit company profits.

This goal will be put to the test ahead of next year's U.N.-backed meeting in Copenhagen to negotiate a global agreement on climate change. For Europeans, the summit holds particular importance. The continent has banked its financial future—and moral authority—on creating a low-carbon economy. This gamble's efficacy now depends on the likes of China, India, and the U.S. deciding whether to embrace carbon trading. "Copenhagen will play a big part in showing that Europe's creation of a cap-and-trade carbon market will pay off," says Mark Spelman, global head of strategy at consultancy Accenture (ACN).

If, however, a global agreement for CO2 isn't reached, many energy-intensive industries reckon their European businesses will be the only one to shoulder the higher costs needed to cut emissions. The extra financial burden eventually could send European jobs overseas and increase costs there. (Business Week via Der Spiegel)

More Taxes Will Mean Less Oil - Democrats say there should be a limit to the profits oil companies can make. Should there also be a limit on the taxes government can take? Just who's the profiteer here? (IBD)

People Vs. Pelosi - In telling House Democrats it's OK to vote for drilling, Nancy Pelosi has conceded that on the biggest election issue she's out of step with the American people. Will Republicans seize this opportunity? (IBD)

Home Energy Prices Are Expected to Soar - In a season of roller-coaster energy costs, the drop in oil and natural gas prices in recent days was greeted as good news. But they remain so high that experts are predicting that heating bills this winter will far exceed those of last year. Even after a precipitous decline from its peak in early July, the price of natural gas is still 11 percent above where it was last winter. Heating oil is 36 percent higher, with the government projecting that the costs of both fuels will stay high. Electricity prices are also up moderately. Higher heating costs will hit particularly hard in the Northeast, where many people use heating oil. (New York Times)

Carry On Camping - There is something wryly amusing, and rather 1960s, about the raggle-taggle ‘Climate Camp’ currently protesting against the two new coal-fired power stations planned by E.ON for Kingsnorth in north Kent [see: ‘Coal Surfaces Again In The UK’, January 3]. Last year, the ‘Camp’ pitted its organic tent pegs against the might of Heathrow airport; this year’s jamboree seems a tad less ambitious, and, with between a mere 500 to a 1,000 souls, it is hardly Glastonbury. (Global Warming Politics)

Environment: Plans for Kingsnorth push ahead despite 'clean coal' talks - The energy company at the centre of a row over the proposed new Kingsnorth coal-fired power station is pushing ahead to finalise new building contracts, despite its insistence in public that it has put plans on hold until ministers complete a consultation on "clean coal" schemes, documents seen by the Guardian show. (The Guardian)

International Power Profit Growth Faces Slowdown in Australia - International Power Plc, the U.K. utility with power stations in 20 countries, may face slower profit growth from Australia, its third-biggest source of revenue.

Electricity prices in Australia fell in the year ended June 30 because of milder temperatures, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in an Aug. 4 report, citing data from the National Electricity Market. The start of carbon-dioxide emissions trading may add to costs and cut the value of the company's assets, Lakis Athanasiou, an analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd., said in a research note Aug. 1. (Bloomberg)

Update on My Light Rail Bet: The Energy Issue - I generally have a bet I make for new light (and heavy) commuter rail systems. I bet that for the amount the system cost to build, every single daily rider could have instead been given a Prius to drive for the same money; and, with the operating losses and/or subsidy the system requires each year, every one of those Prius drivers could be given enough gas to make their daily commute. And still have money left over. I have tested this bet for the systems in Los Angeles and Albuquerque.

Well, it turns out I left something out. Many people are interested in commuter rail because it is perceived to be greener, which nowadays generally means narrowly that it uses less energy and thus produces less CO2. But in fact, it may not. Blogger John Moore sent me a link to this article by Brad Templeton analyzing energy usage in various transportation modes. While a full train can be fairly efficient (just as a full SUV could be if 7 passengers were in it), cars and trains and busses are seldom full. When you look at their average load factors, trains are seldom better than cars: (Coyote Blog)

Bacteria were the real killers in 1918 flu pandemic - Medical and scientific experts now agree that bacteria, not influenza viruses, were the greatest cause of death during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Government efforts to gird for the next influenza pandemic – bird flu or otherwise – ought to take notice and stock up on antibiotics, says John Brundage, a medical microbiologist at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Brundage's team culled first-hand accounts, medical records and infection patterns from 1918 and 1919. Although a nasty strain of flu virus swept around the world, bacterial pneumonia that came on the heels of mostly mild cases of flu killed the majority of the 20 to 100 million victims of the so-called Spanish flu, they conclude.

"We agree completely that bacterial pneumonia played a major role in the mortality of the 1918 pandemic," says Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of another journal article out next month that comes to a similar conclusion. ( news service)

Bad idea of the moment: Treatment to cut cholesterol 'should begin in childhood' - Treatment to lower cholesterol should begin in childhood in order to maximise its efficacy at preventing heart disease, specialists say. (The Independent)

Obesity seen protective in cases of heart failure - NEW YORK - Overweight and obese patients with heart failure seem to have a lower risk of dying than their normal-weight counterparts, according to a review of published studies involving more than 28,000 heart failure patients who were followed for an average of nearly three years.

There is evidence, Dr. Antigone Oreopoulos told Reuters Health, that a normal body mass index (BMI) "is likely not the ideal BMI" in people with heart failure, which occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. (Reuters Health)

Obesity paradox — two for one - Paradox is a funny word to use in medical science. It means something true that defies intuition or contradicts what people believe to be correct. Concerning our bodies, one viewpoint dominates today: it’s better to be thin than fat. The scientific evidence that keeps showing the fallacies of this belief has been relegated to what’s euphemistically called, the obesity paradox. Changing beliefs, even in medical science, comes slowly.

Researchers, led by epidemiologist Antigone Oreopoulos, MSc, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton,* have been delving into the obesity paradox surrounding the most popularly believed risks associated with obesity: heart disease. Their study, examining mortality risks among heart failure patients associated with obesity, was published in the July issue of the American Heart Journal. This study followed an equally myth-busting one earlier this spring examining coronary artery bypass patients.

Both remind us, once again, that risk factors are not the same as actual risks, nor are they predictive of clinical outcomes. (Junkfood Science)

End of the Diet Wars? - After I published Gary Taubes’s view that a new diet study in Israel offered good news on saturated fat, Dean Ornish asked if Lab readers would like to hear another interpretation of that same study. I assured him we welcome debate here.

Dr. Ornish, the well-known diet expert, is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the author, most recently, of “The Spectrum.” He argues that new Israeli study supports an emerging consensus on what a good diet is — and it doesn’t exactly jibe with Mr. Taubes’s view. (Dr. Ornish also has some more general objections to Mr. Taubes’s arguments, and I’ll publish those objections in a later post.) Here is Dr. Ornish’s take on the Israeli study: (John Tierney, New York Times)

Babies a drag on the economy, report says - FORGET those plans to have a third child for the country because further increases in the birth rate could harm the economy, the nation's productivity watchdog has warned.

A major analysis of the nation's increasing fertility rate said it was at its highest level for 25 years - but the Productivity Commission yesterday warned further increases may aggravate rather than solve the problem of the ageing of the population. (Daily Telegraph)

As if any family fortunate enough to be raising a third child would give a damn what some Productivity Commission thinks...

No depth they won't plumb? Racy Greenpeace video aims to preserve forests - Environment lobby Greenpeace has released a racy video called "Forest Love," with fondling, moaning and gyrating trees to revitalise a campaign against illegal logging.

"Take pictures and/or videos of yourself and your friends spreading the love in a forest," it directs. These would be put together in a "collaborative video that we'll show the European Commission in September". (AFP)

August 5, 2008

Cap and Trade: Economic Suicide - There have been many texts and many analyses written about big governments, specifically the tyranny of big governments. Those who have studied them notice big governments such as those of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar, and others, have commonalities among them. “The Road to Serfdom” by Nobel winner Friedrich Hayek, for example, is a short and excellent analysis.

There are invariably major losses of personal freedoms, personal liberty, speech codes, loss of freedom of the press, to assemble, of religion, expression, confiscation of personal property, confiscation of wealth, wages, and overall government sponsored destitution. Most have led in their final stages to tyranny involving huge terror and police states, rendering its citizens broken, deprived, and destitute.

Recently Congress attempted to impose its big government hand into CO2 mitigation. Called the Climate Security Act (sponsored by senators Warner and Lieberman) it proposed, according to the Heritage Foundation analysis of the bill, many economy-killing features. The Act relies upon 3 dubious assumptions: The climate is warming, man-made CO2 is the cause, and it is always harmful. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

NCDC: Photoshopping the climate change report for better impact - Last week on Friday August 1st you may recall that I commented on the release of the Draft report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

In that post I mentioned that “The draft document reads more like a news article in many places than it does a scientific document, and unlike a scientific document, it has a number of what I would call “emotionally based graphics” in it that have nothing to do with the science.”

One of those graphics that tug at your heartstrings turns out to be a fabrication, pure and simple. (Watts Up With That?)

The undead returns: Chucky and the U.S. CCSP - Last year, I reported on the resurrection of Chucky, with even Mann’s PC1, repudiated by Wegman and the NAS Panel, being illustrated in IPCC AR4. Chucky is back with a vengeance in the U.S. CCSP report, entitled “Unified Synthesis Product Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research”, released in July 2008 for comment here , full report pdf here (33 MB); comment submission here. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Even worse, it's been resurrected in a form so bad we used it as an example of scale distortion back in 2004. Sheesh!

Industry Group Asks NOAA to Withdraw Major Climate Report - Five years after complaints about data quality quashed the first federal assessment of climate change in the United States, an industry group is resurrecting the tactic. On Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked the government to withdraw a major Climate Change Science Program report released in May. The group argued that the analysis violates a federal law that requires agencies to employ “sound science” because it relies on unpublished information.

Environmental groups blasted the move, calling it an attempt to cast doubt on climate science. But chamber officials maintained that the report includes references to unpublished federal climate studies which leave the public unable to determine whether its conclusions are valid. (Lauren Morello, ClimateWire, via Icecap)

More of the undead: Effects of climate change on Tuvalu - Australians are being urged to sit up and take notice of a Pacific nation on its doorstep that is literally sinking. Tiny Tuvalu, made up of nine low-lying reef islands and coral atolls and located 1,050 kilometres north of Fiji, is the nation hardest hit by rising tides and climate change. (AAP)

Ironically Tuvalu suffers most during cooling episodes simply because La Niña conditions deform the ocean surface in ways which increase apparent sea level around Tuvalu while the warming El Niño suppresses local sea level. Tuvalu does have problems aplenty due to holes dug to extract fill for WWII airstrips, surrounding reef coral extracted for building material leading to coastal erosion and subsidence due to excessive groundwater extraction but there is exactly zero evidence any of their problems stem from gorebull warming.

TRANSCRIPT: Coastal homes rejected over climate change fears - TONY EASTLEY: A Local Government in Victoria is concerned a landmark ruling on the dangers of rising sea levels will hit coastal property values. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled against the building of six coastal homes because of the threat of rising sea levels caused by climate change.

It's believed to be the first ruling of its kind. As Simon Lauder reports the decision could have implications for future development along coastlines and not just in Victoria. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Mauna Loa CO2 January to July trend goes negative first time in history - Back on April 6th of this year I made an observation about the trend in the CO2 data from the Mauna Loa Observatory dropping and possibly “leveling off”.

For that I was roundly criticized by those “in the know” and given the full Bulldog treatment.

Well, it’s happened again. With the release of the July data from Mauna Loa Observatory, a new twist has occurred; this time there’s been a first ever trend reversal of the monthly mean CO2 levels from January to July. (Watts Up With That?)

CO2 Down: I suspect calibration error (The Blackboard)

Lucia wisely suspects calibration error (always a fair assumption) but there are other possibilities, e.g.: ocean cooling with associated increased absorption; increased oil price denting consumption and hence emissions or perhaps a combination of those influences.

Update on above: One day later: Mauna Loa CO2 graph changes, data doesn’t - Approximately 24 hours after I published my story on the January to July trend reversal of CO2 at Mauna Loa, the monthly mean graph that is displayed on the NOAA web page for Mauna Loa Observatory has changed. I’ve setup a blink comparator to show what has occurred: (Watts Up With That?)

Carbon color prejudice: Virgin forests more efficient at storing carbon - SYDNEY, Australia — Untouched natural forests store three times more carbon dioxide than previously estimated and 60 per cent more than plantation forests, a new Australian study of "green carbon" and its role in climate change says.

Green carbon occurs in natural forests, brown carbon is found in industrialized forests or plantations, grey carbon in fossil fuels and blue carbon in oceans. (Reuters) [em added]

Lining up for our tax dollars: Trees to cut into emission targets - AUSTRALIA could achieve one-fifth of its greenhouse gas emission reductions with carbon stored in $12 billion worth of timber plantations by 2020 - provided current tax breaks for the forestry industry are retained.

In a new strategy document, the National Association of Forestry Industries says forestry could contribute even more if the Rudd Government extended forest plantation tax breaks and succeeded in persuading other countries that carbon stored in trees felled to make timber products should also count towards reduction targets. (The Australian)

Must be some sort of coordinated advocacy campaign: Convincing the climate-change skeptics - THE FEW climate-change "skeptics" with any sort of scientific credentials continue to receive attention in the media out of all proportion to their numbers, their qualifications, or the merit of their arguments. And this muddying of the waters of public discourse is being magnified by the parroting of these arguments by a larger population of amateur skeptics with no scientific credentials at all. (John P. Holdren, Boston Globe) | Frustrated alarmist John Holdren lashes out at climate realists (Tom Nelson)

Does this mean advocates can see their excuse for seizing control of the energy supply collapsing as the world begins to cool?

Wrong -> Immoral -> Illegal? - Says Paul Krugman, a writer for a local New York paper,

The only way we’re going to get action, I’d suggest, is if those who stand in the way of action come to be perceived as not just wrong but immoral.

He means “action” on man-made global warming. We’ll come back to his musing after a moment. (William M Briggs, Statistician)

Same old dream. UPDATE: Take McKnight, for example  (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Stormy Weather: Is Global Warming to Blame? - The sudden formation of tropical storm Edouard in the Gulf of Mexico has Texans on hurricane watch for the second time in a month—and raises talk again of the link between global warming and tropical storms.

Washington Post columnist Joel Acenbach predicted as much over the weekend, warning that the next big storm or natural disaster would be chalked up to global warming and climate change. Mr. Acenbach wasn’t denying global warming—despite a howl of outrage at his skepticism from parts of the blogosphere—but arguing against “weather alarmism.” (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Joel Achenbach on Weather Extremes - In today’s Washington Post Joel Achenbach has a smart and nuanced piece on weather extremes and climate change. The attribution of weather events and trends to particular causes is difficult and contested.

Equivocation isn’t a sign of cognitive weakness. Uncertainty is intrinsic to the scientific process, and sometimes you have to have the courage to stand up and say, “Maybe.”

For Achenbach’s efforts he gets called stupid and a tool of the “deniers”. Such complaints are ironic given that Achenbach explains how foolish it is to put too much weight on extreme events in arguments about climate change: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Alaska sues over listing polar bear as threatened - ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Monday, seeking to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Gov. Sarah Palin and other state officials fear a listing will cripple offshore oil and gas development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska's northern waters, which provide prime habitat for the only polar bears under U.S. jurisdiction.

"We believe that the Service's decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available," Palin said in announcing the lawsuit. (Associated Press)

Ecosystem Disturbance, Carbon, and Climate by Steve Running - An Independent Confirmation Of The Major Role Of Landscape Processes Within The Climate System - A new paper has appeared that further emphasizes the important role of land surface processes within the climate system. It is Running, S.W., 2008: Ecosystem Disturbance, Carbon, and Climate. Science, 1 August 2008, Vol. 321. no. 5889, pp. 652 - 653, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159607 (subscription required). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Influences of Specific Land Use/Land Cover Conversions on Climatological Normals of Near-Surface Temperature by Hale et al. 2008 - There is a new excellent paper on the role of landscape change on long-term temperature records. The paper is Hale, R. C., K. P. Gallo, and T. R. Loveland (2008), Influences of specific land use/land cover conversions on climatological normals of near-surface temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D14113, doi:10.1029/2007JD009548. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Change)

Change of tune: Great Lakes rising again; levels close to normal: Summer surprise comes after heavy rains, snow - After a parched summer last year that left docks stranded and boat propellers scraping sandy shallows, the Great Lakes are blissfully -- and surprisingly -- full again this year.

Heavy snow and rains since last winter have made the lakes rise. Scientists aren't sure whether this will last, but they're hopeful. The temperatures, moisture and ice cover next winter will be critical.

"If we get two more good, normal winters with normal precipitation, then we'd have a turnaround," said Cynthia Sellinger, deputy director of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Detroit Free Press)

Sellinger is cited in this Nude Socialist hand-wringer from a year ago: Global warming is shrinking the Great Lakes. -- h/t Matt K.

World close to tipping point, says acid rain scientist - THE scientist who coined the term acid rain says the world is close to a tipping point and Australia must show leadership in dealing with the problem. American scientist Professor Gene Likens, who in the early 1960s was among the first to link the increasing acidity in rain with the burning of fossil fuels, said Australia had to act now. "Does the climate change problem exist? Yes," Professor Likens said. (Courier-Mail)

He was wrong then, too: British acid rain helps our trees, says Norway - British acid rain is good for Norway's trees, says a Norwegian scientific study. It wipes out damage caused by pollution from local industry and has helped the country's forests spread by a quarter in recent decades. The report, by the state-run Norwegian forestry research institute, says that acid rain has been unfairly demonised. Svein Solberg, of the institute, said: "After 15 years' research, it is now clear to us that, as far as forests are concerned, our fear of acid rain was totally unfounded. "What we have found is that Norwegian forests have had a growth rate of some 25 per cent over the past 15 years and that acid rain is the reason." (Daily Telegraph) -- h/t John Ray

Lord Nelson and Captain Cook's shiplogs question climate change theories - The ships' logs of great maritime figures such as Lord Nelson and Captain Cook have cast new light on climate change by suggesting that global warming may not be an entirely man-made phenomenon. (Daily Telegraph)

Major eye-roller: Johann Hari: The WMD that really should be worrying us - If al-Qa'ida was unleashing this weather of mass destruction, we would do anything to stop them. (The Independent)

Review: Sizzle - One of the funniest details of Randy Olson's funny "Sizzle" is that a film designed to convince that global warming is a present danger may do precisely the opposite. Ingeniously blending elements of mockumentary and science film around a spoof of indie documaking, Olson finds he has a much tougher object to tackle this time than he did in his amusing pro-evolution film, "Flock of Dodos." Though a non-skeptic himself, Olson grants solid global-warming skeptics screen time, ironically turning the hot issue into a real debate. Micro-distribs take note; vid biz will draw greenies and naysayers alike. (Variety) [em added]

Deal lets Ontario join climate-change drive - TORONTO — Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty struck a bargain with the auto sector and leaders of a North American climate change initiative that paved the way for the province to join the group, sources say.

Mr. McGuinty assured auto industry officials last week that he won't adopt California's tough pollution standards for cars, even though Ontario has joined the Western Climate Initiative, a climate-change group led by that state, according to sources familiar with the talks. But in a letter dated July 17 asking to be included in the WCI, Mr. McGuinty praises the 10 provinces and states that are part of the coalition for adopting California's standards. (Globe and Mail)

Europe's sports car makers feel endangered - BRUSSELS - As Europe's giant car makers do battle with environmentalists and lawmakers over emissions curbs, makers of classic European sports cars like the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari F430 and Porsche 911 are struggling to be heard.

Environmentalists say today's supercars, with huge engines pumping out up to three times as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as the average vehicle, have no place in a world struggling to rein in climate change.

But Lamborghini and its rivals argue that theirs is a rare art that needs protecting, blending timeless European design elements with cutting-edge technologies that themselves can help save the planet. (Reuters)

Drivers face higher parking charges under controversial new car tax band linked to engine emissions - Motorists face a second onslaught from the planned changes to road tax under rules linking the cost of parking outside their home to engine emissions. Owners of many ordinary family cars face higher bills for annual residents permits, motoring organisations warned today. Several councils already charge more for vehicles depending on the amount of pollution they pump out, which have seen the price triple for some drivers. (Daily Mail)

The Energy Elephant Trumpets At Last - I hate to say “I told you so”, but I did. When asked by The Times to pen a comment on ‘My Big Issue’ before the 2005 General Election, I opted for UK energy policy, and this is what I wrote:

“Election Room 2005 is filled with elephants hidden behind the flimsiest of political camouflage. For me, the bull elephant is the need for a practical energy policy for Britain. (Global Warming Politics)

Drill Through The Floor - House Republicans recognize that drilling for our own oil has become the issue this election year. Will the rest of the party join their crusade and use it to win in November? (IBD)

No-Drill Stand Is A Dry Hole For Democrats - As John McCain and the GOP leaders nationalize the drill, drill, drill message, the Republican Party might conceivably be riding a summer political rally.

The question of offshore drilling, along with expanded domestic energy production, has suddenly become the biggest political and economic wedge issue of this election. Is there a Republican tsunami in the making?

According to the major polls, Sen. McCain has overcome a big deficit to pull even with Obama. Meanwhile, according to a Rasmussen survey, Democratic Party identification has slumped. (Lawrence Kudlow, IBD)

The Air Apparent - As he flip-flops on drilling, Barack Obama contends we can save as much oil by inflating our tires as may be found offshore. What's phase two of his energy plan? Borrowing Jimmy Carter's sweater? (IBD)

Coal's future is safe - but what about the climate? - LONDON - Does coal have a future? Climate change protesters and coal traders alike say it's a daft question, but agreement ends there.

For protesters, the shiny black lumps of fossilized wood and plants are contributing to drastic climate change. For traders, coal is an energy no-brainer which offers a ray of hope for 1.6 billion people living without electricity.

They're probably both right. (Reuters)

Global warming - myth, threat or opportunity - The most critical problem we now confront is not global warming or how to tax emissions, but providing enough affordable fuel to avoid severe recession before alternative energy can become reality. The Lucky Country faces a choice between disaster and a unique opportunity. (Walter Starck, Science Alert)

Norway Completes Seismic Scan in Pristine Arctic - OSLO - Norwegian energy authorities have completed a seismic survey of Arctic waters near the scenic Lofoten islands, which environmental groups say should be permanently out of bounds to oil and gas drilling. (Reuters)

Why you can never allow Greens onto positions of any responsibility: 'The Nuclear Industry Has Invented the Energy Shortfall' - Bärbel Höhn, 56, deputy leader of the German Green Party's parliamentary group, discusses her party's opposition to nuclear energy, the market power of the major energy companies, and why she rejects warnings of a shortfall in energy supplies. (Der Spiegel)

Sheesh! Dirty tactics to defend a dirty industry - Aggressive policing at this year's climate camp in Kingsnorth has exposed the UK authorities' contempt for peaceful protest (Caroline Lucas, The Guardian)

Speaking of gibbering moonbats... The stakes could not be higher. Everything hinges on stopping coal - The climate camp must succeed. In the absence of political backbone, our only hope is an avalanche of public revulsion (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Niger Begins Building Dam for Food, Electricity - NIAMEY - Niger began building its Kandadji dam at the weekend, launching a project expected to cost several hundred million dollars and boost power generation and farming in the landlocked African country. (Reuters)

Warning over second wave of CJD cases: Scientists say that threat of brain illness returning will persist for decades - Doctors and scientists have warned that a second wave of CJD cases could sweep Britain over the next two to three decades. The initial outbreak of the fatal brain illness peaked several years ago but could break out again, they argue. (The Observer)

Translation: grant money all gone, situation critical.

Don't dump cell phone, cancer experts say - People burned up the phone lines -- land lines, presumably -- after a prominent Pittsburgh cancer researcher warned of a possible cancer risk from cell phones. Most alarming was his warning that children are at greatest risk because their brains are growing and that they should use cell phones only in emergencies. But the warning was met with widespread skepticism among other cancer experts.

How should people react? "I don't think they should react at all. I think this is a warning that is totally unfounded. Quite frankly, I'm surprised the statement was made," said Dr. Jonas Sheehan, who treats brain cancer patients at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. (The Patriot-News)

Childcare before kindergarten may promote obesity - NEW YORK - Participation in a childcare program appears to increase the likelihood that a child will be obese when he or she shows up for the first day of kindergarten, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. (Reuters Health)

Marketing or research — what are doctors and nurses learning? - The commercial sponsorship of continuing medical education (CME) for our nation’s doctors, nurses and other medical professionals has caught the attention of mainstream media. Business Week reports that two medical industry giants, concerned about the appearance of conflicts of interest, have announced they would no longer fund CME courses or pay communication companies to produce CME courses. Well, sort of... (Junkfood Science)

Cancer data found to have been falsified - Cervical cancer cases in Maryland nearly doubled from 1998 to 2002, and melanoma cases increased 70%. A Department of Legislative Services audit for the state of Maryland uncovered an explanation for the staggering rise in cancers. Maryland Cancer Registry data had been deliberately falsified to indicate that thousands of people had cancers, who didn’t. The number of cancer cases in a state’s registry is used to determine how much grant money it is awarded for cancer prevention, education, screening and treatment programs. Cancer registries are also used by the CDC and epidemiologists to look for correlations between cancers and diet, lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors. (Junkfood Science)

Turn over your iPods, cell phones and flash drives - You didn’t want the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights, did you?

Jason Mick at Daily Tech and Judy Aron at Consent of the Governed write of a new government policy passed on July 16th that grants federal agents the power, without any suspicion of wrongdoing, to seize travelers’ information storage devices, including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes, as well as all papers and other written documentation. “After seizure, the materials may be taken off site. The contents of the laptops can then be shared with other agencies and/or private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons.” The policy was enacted for our protection, Judy explains.

The discussions on privacy rights and concerns over medical data are worth a read. (Junkfood Science)

Found: The hottest water on Earth - Even Jules Verne did not foresee this one. Deep down at the very bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, geochemist Andrea Koschinsky has found something truly extraordinary: "It's water," she says, "but not as we know it."

At over 3 kilometres beneath the surface, sitting atop what could be a huge bubble of magma, it's the hottest water ever found on Earth. The fluid is in a "supercritical" state that has never before been seen in nature. ( news service)

A 'Hidden Tax' Of Rules Hits Economy - President Bush's fiscal 2009 U.S. budget is the first to top $3 trillion. Federal spending has risen from 18% of GDP in 2000 to 21% today. The administration's spending explosion has been roundly criticized by both the right and the left.

What is less well documented are regulatory compliance costs — such as environmental, labor and energy efficiency mandates. As a result, too many remain unaware of the size and scope of regulation. Regulations are a "hidden tax" now estimated to cost business and consumers hundreds of billions, above and beyond federal spending itself.

The chattering classes are unconcerned over the ill effects of the regulatory levitation; indeed, they cheer it. (IBD)

D'oh! Organic food becomes latest casualty of the credit crunch - Dairy farmers are turning their backs on Britain's organic milk market as economic pessimism dents consumers' previously buoyant demand for organic produce. The organic goods market at large is being "credit crunched", particularly among new products like organic ready meals and home-delivery vegetable boxes.

Figures show there has been a dramatic reversal in the numbers of dairy farmers converting to organic farming from conventional methods.

Rises of up to 80 per cent in the price of organic feed for dairy herds mean that hundreds of organic milk producers are now running at a loss. So far this year, farms which were undergoing conversion to organic, and were capable of producing five million litres of milk, have abandoned the process and returned to fertiliser-intensive, non-organic farming.

The situation has prompted warnings of shortages and a "mass exit" by existing organic producers unless retailers agree to increase the farm-gate price paid for milk, to ensure farmers can cover rapidly escalating costs. For non-organic dairy farmers, joining the organic movement is no longer an attractive option. (The Independent)

Indian Ocean Tuna Catch Drops, Experts Differ on Why - VICTORIA, the Seychelles - Tuna catches across the Indian Ocean have fallen sharply in the last two years but experts are split over what is threatening the region's US$6 billion industry. (Reuters)

It's pelican vs. trout in Idaho predator conflict - A cunning predator that hunts in packs, corners prized game species and devours them whole is angering sportsmen in this eastern Idaho RV hamlet on the Blackfoot Reservoir's wind-whipped shores.

In a twist to the predator-prey debate of the West, where hunters accuse wolves of eating too many elk and Pacific Coast states bemoan federally protected sea lions eating endangered salmon, a fresh menace has emerged: the American white pelican, which anglers say gobbles hatchery-raised rainbow trout and dwindling native Yellowstone cutthroat.

State wildlife managers are reviewing a plan that could include destroying some pelican eggs on islands commandeered by the giant birds to deal with the problem. But to do that, they'd first need approval from the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which protects the pelican under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Whether it's wolves versus elk, sea lions on salmon or pelicans against trout, wildlife managers are increasingly being challenged to weigh competing interests in a landscape where the West's natural balance has been altered by humans. Just as the mighty Columbia River's dams make spawning salmon easy pickings for sea lions, eastern Idaho's reservoirs created predator-free islands for pelicans to multiply. (Associated Press)

August 4, 2008

Gosh, a note of skepticism in WaPo: Global Warming Did It! Well, Maybe Not. - We're stuck on the notion that climate change is the culprit every time a natural disaster strikes. But that's just muddying the waters. (Joel Achenbach, Washington Post)

Climate change “isn’t happening” - Climate change isn’t happening was the main message of a course on the subject at the Universidad de Verano de Adeje (UVA) (Adeje summer university). (Tenerife News)

As far as the populist concept of gorebull warming goes, we agree with them.

Helping Humanity Starts at Home - Last Monday The Wall Street Journal kicked off a debate on how best to allocate scarce resources to solve the world's problems. Bjorn Lomborg offered a summary of the latest findings from his Copenhagen Consensus project, where he has enlisted some of the world's top economists to address the issue. Over the next few Mondays we'll offer views on the subject from top political and business leaders. How would you spend $10 billion of American resources (either directly or through regulation) over the next four years to help improve the state of the world? (Harold Ford Jr., Wall Street Journal)

Unleashing America's Ingenuity By Unlocking Its Energy (John Boehner, Wall Street Journal)

Yosemite weather may become more severe - YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- Scientists predict that climate change will mean more rainfall and less snow in Yosemite in the next 50 years. If that happens, they say, one of the nation's premier outdoor destinations could experience problems - including severe floods in winter and spring, plus dry wells in the summer.

Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley also could be hurt because reservoirs might not be able to handle large winter runoffs, and water needed for irrigation or groundwater recharge would wind up in the Pacific Ocean. (McClatchy Newspapers)

Major oops! Captains’ logs yield climate clues - A preliminary study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise questions about climate change theories. One paper, published by Dr Dennis Wheeler, a Sunderland University geographer, in the journal The Holocene, details a surge in the frequency of summer storms over Britain in the 1680s and 1690s.

Many scientists believe storms are a consequence of global warming, but these were the coldest decades of the so-called Little Ice Age that hit Europe from about 1600 to 1850.

Wheeler and his colleagues have since won European Union funding to extend this research to 1750. This shows that during the 1730s, Europe underwent a period of rapid warming similar to that recorded recently – and which must have had natural origins. (The Sunday Times)

Is global warming causing hurricanes and wildfires? No, warming message morphs as Earth cools - WASHINGTON  - Global Warming Committee chair Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., recently told students gathered at the U.S. Capitol that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina. "There now is no question that this harm is being caused by human activity. It's warming up the planet and melting the glaciers," he said. "The planet is running a fever."

Markey was not aware that global temperatures stopped warming in 1998 and since 2002 have been declining. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the 3,000 global ARGO diving buoys they deployed in 2003 have shown that the world's oceans have cooled, too.

This cooling has occurred even as CO2 increased 3.5 percent. A similar decoupling took place from the 1940s to the late 1970s, when temperatures fell as CO2 accelerated upwards into the post-war boom years. This on-again, off-again correlation suggests CO2 is not the primary driver of climate. (Joseph D'Aleo, The Examiner)

US government aims to tame hurricanes - With winds that rip apart buildings and can produce more power than a nuclear bomb, it would seem humans can do little against the devastating force of a hurricane.

The United States government, however, has other ideas and is now attempting to pit some of the world's best minds against these indomitable forces of nature.
Critics say attempts to tinker with such powerful weather systems could have unintended consequences for the climate

The Department of Homeland Security has asked scientists to draw up new plans on how hurricanes and other tropical storms can be weakened before they hit land.

Three years after Hurricane Katrina caused more than $50bn of damage and killed 1,800 people when it blasted through New Orleans, American government officials have asked for a new programme into hurricane modification.

Scientists believe they can weaken the strength of tropical storms and steer them off course using a range of methods that include spraying fine particles into hurricanes or cooling the sea water in areas where they form.

But attempts to tinker with such powerful weather systems will alarm critics who believe modifying hurricanes could have unintended consequences to the climate, and could leave governments open to lawsuits if they fail to prevent storms with the new technology. (Daily Telegraph)

Hmm... they might be subjected to as many lawsuits if they succeed -- from people who suffer flood or storm damage from redirected storms and people who don't get the rain they wanted from the fringes of a (possibly) weakened storm.

Timing Is Everything: How Vulnerable To Flooding Is New York City? - A report just released in the most recent issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society offers hope that a new high-resolution storm surge modeling system developed by scientists at Stony Brook University will better be able to predict flood levels and when flooding will occur in the New York metropolitan area, information crucial to emergency managers when planning for impending storms. The report also warns that flooding is dependent not just upon the intensity of the tropical storm, hurricane, or nor'easter, but also on the local phase of the tide at the time of the storm. (ScienceDaily)

Finding well sited weather station stations is becoming more difficult - In a little over a year into the project, volunteers have surveyed about 600 stations now, roughly half of the 1221 USHCN climate network. One of the things I had hoped for would be finding more CRN1 and CRN2 rated stations as the Midwest has been surveyed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening, and the number of CRN1/2 stations just isn’t climbing much. (Watts Up with That?)

Smoking Out Unreasonable Certainty - In conversations with our exasperated green friends, we are often asked what we would accept as ‘proof’ that global warming ‘is real, and is happening’. This is a fairly typical misunderstanding of the sceptical position. Well, ours anyway. We do not argue that humans have not caused global warming. Our position is that even scientific proof of mankind’s influence on the climate is not sufficient to legitimise Environmentalism, or the environmental policies being created by governments in response to pressure from Environmentalists. It is possible to decide that even 10 metres of sea level rise is a price worth paying for constantly increasing living standards; the problem would be in extending the benefits of that increase to those who, in the short term, might lose out. But too often, environmental policies and rhetoric bear no relation to science whatsoever, let alone ‘proof’. (Climate Resistance)

NCDC changes from national record keeper to advocacy group - Foreword: As you may recall, I was invited to speak at NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) back in April about the surfacestations project by Climate Reference Network chief scientist Dr. Gary Baker. It was a good visit, and I appreciated Dr. Baker’s good humor, candor and straightforward no-nonsense scientific approach to surface measurements.

While I was there, I met with Dr. Tom Karl, as well as Dr. Peterson. During that meeting with Dr. Karl I had no hint of the type of rhetoric used in this document which is now in preparation, but Peterson was clearly trying to convince me on his position, in fact he had asked to be added to my visit schedule specifically so that he could put on his presentation for me.

To say the least, I’m shocked that NCDC’s leadership has changed from being the nation’s record keeper of weather and climatic data, to being what appears to me now as an advocacy group. The draft document reads more like a news article in many places than it does a scientific document, and unlike a scientific document, it has a number of what I would call “emotionally based graphics” in it that have nothing to do with the science. (Watts Up with That?)

Enviro sock puppets: Pawlenty joins global-warming radio ad - The governors of Minnesota and Arizona take to the airwaves to urge Congress to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Deepening his involvement in the global warming debate and in national affairs, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is lending his voice to a nationwide radio ad sponsored by the activist Environmental Defense Action Fund. In the ad, Pawlenty teams up with Arizona's Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano to scold Congress for not doing more to combat climate change. (Star Tribune)

Branson’s bogus eco-drive - The Virgin boss’s much trumpeted pledge of €1.9bn to tackle global warming is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

In September 2006, Virgin boss Richard Branson pledged €1.9 billion towards tackling global warming. For the next ten years, he announced, the profits from his aviation and rail businesses would go towards combating the biggest, most complex problem that mankind has ever faced.

The promise earned Branson headlines around the world. Media outlets carried photos of him, Bill Clinton and Al Gore at a Clinton Global Initiative press conference in New York. Adults, Branson solemnly told the assembled media, had a duty to pass a ‘‘pristine’’ planet on to the next generation. Politicians and campaigners were effusive in their praise for his imagination and generosity.

However, a look at the not-very-small print revealed that this amazing gesture would not be a matter of taking the profits from Branson’s polluting industries and using them to protect vast tracts of the Amazon.

In fact, the money would go to a new division of the Virgin conglomerate, called Virgin Fuel. Branson was simply gearing himself up to make more money. But as always, the PR spin was that he’d be doing the rest of us a favour in the process. (Stephen Price, Sunday Business Post)

BULBAL WARMING - A devoted greenist replaces all her safe incandescent globes with Gaia-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs. Bulbal warming ensues: (Tim Blair Blog)

In Science, Ignorance is not Bliss - NASA has played a key role in one of the greatest periods of scientific progress in history. It is uniquely positioned to collect the most comprehensive data on our biosphere.

For example, recently generated NASA data enabled scientists to finally understand the Gulf Stream warming mechanism and its effect on European weather. Such data will allow us to improve our models, resulting in better seasonal forecasts.

NASA’s Aqua satellite is showing that water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas, works to offset the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2). This information, contrary to the assumption used in all the warming models, is ignored by global warming alarmists.

Climate understanding and critical decision making require comprehensive data about our planet’s land, sea, and atmosphere. Without an adequate satellite system to provide such data, policy efforts and monitoring international environmental agreements are doomed to failure. Our satellite monitoring capability is being crippled by interagency wrangling and federal budget issues. As much as a third of our satellites need replacing in the next couple of years.

NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science. Advocacy is replacing objective evaluation of data, while scientific data is being ignored in favor of emotions and politics.

There are excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the Sun and the Earth’s temperature, while scientists cannot find a relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption, and global temperatures. But global warming is an issue no longer being decided in the scientific arena.

Saying the Earth is warming is to state the obvious. Since the end of the ice age, the Earth’s temperature has increased approximately 16 degrees Fahrenheit and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet. That is certain and measurable evidence of warming, but it is not evidence of AGW—human-caused warming. (Walter Cunningham, Launch Magazine)

Sudden past European chill shows climate volatility - A drastic cooling of the climate in western Europe happened exactly 12,679 years ago, apparently after a shift to icy winds over the Atlantic, scientists have said, giving a hint of how abruptly the climate can change.

The study, of pollens, minerals and other matter deposited in annual layers at the bottom of Lake Meerfelder Maar in Germany, pinpointed an abrupt change in sediments consistent with a sudden chill over just one year.

"Our data indicate an abrupt increase in storminess during the autumn to spring seasons, occurring from one year to the next at 12,679 years before the present, broadly coincident with other changes in this region," they wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Scientists have long known about the sharp chill towards the end of the last Ice Age, known as the Younger Dryas cooling. The study by researchers in Germany, Switzerland and the United States may help clear up the causes and exact duration. (Reuters)

Uh-huh... Climate change, melting Arctic clearly linked: study - A provocative new study of the record-setting Arctic thaw that's unlocking the Northwest Passage and transforming Canada's polar frontier has, for the first time, drawn a clear connection between rising global carbon pollution and the retreat of sea ice.

The study by top Norwegian climate researcher Ola Johannessen, to be published in October by the Chinese Academy of Sciences but obtained Friday by Canwest News Service, identified a "strengthening linkage" between the upward trend in CO2 emissions over the past century and the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap, which reached a historic minimum last year and appears headed for similar decreases this summer. (Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service)

... a Norwegian researcher publishing in a Chinese Academy leaked to a Canadian news mill... We'll see what comes out in October but so much Arctic warming/thaw has already been allocated to smog, soot and reduced albedo we're not sure there's any left to be 'linked' with ubiquitous 'climate change' (quoted to distinguish from normal, everyday climate change).

As if we didn’t know: SIDC issues “all quiet alert” for the sun (Watts Up with That?)

Modeling Interannual Variability Of The Amazon Hydroclimate by Medvigy et al. 2008 - There is an exciting and important new paper that demonstrates the importance of fine enough spatial resolution to adequately resolve terrain and other landscape features. The paper is Medvigy, D., R. L. Walko, and R. Avissar (2008), Modeling interannual variability of the Amazon hydroclimate, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL034941, in press. (Need subscription to access paper) (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

*&^%$#@! Pension funds join to fight climate change - A group of the world's biggest pension funds brought together privately by Prince Charles and known informally as the P8, an allusion to the G8 group of the world's wealthiest nations, is to release an action plan this summer on fighting climate change using their investments. (The Observer)

Pension funds should be looking to maximize profits for the benefit of their members, not hopping on PC bandwagons seeking to destroy economies and profits! Get rid of the misguided nitwits who should be looking after the members' benefits and replace them with people who will actually do the job required.

Oh... The climate change clock is ticking - The exact timescale of global warming is unknown, but the 100 months campaign provides a much-needed sense of urgency (Mark Lynas, The Guardian)

Is the media in danger of crying wolf on climate change? - Is it a sensible strategy to set headline-grabbing, conveniently rounded deadlines such as One Hundred Months until runaway climate change begins? (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)

"In danger of..." No, it's way too late for that. The media has been crying wolf on climate change, inter alia, since before the turn of the last century, building throughout the final decade of the 20th Century and on to the shrieking crescendo of the first decade of this one.

Climate hysterics v heretics in an age of unreason - IT has been a tough year for the high priests of global warming in the US. First, NASA had to correct its earlier claim that the hottest year on record in the contiguous US had been 1998, which seemed to prove that global warming was on the march. It was actually 1934. Then it turned out the world's oceans have been growing steadily cooler, not hotter, since 2003. Meanwhile, the winter of 2007 was the coldest in the US in decades, after Al Gore warned us that we were about to see the end of winter as we know it.

In a May issue of Nature, evidence about falling global temperatures forced German climatologists to conclude that the transformation of our planet into a permanent sauna is taking a decade-long hiatus, at least. Then this month came former greenhouse gas alarmist David Evans's article in The Australian, stating that since 1999 evidence has been accumulating that man-made carbon emissions can't be the cause of global warming. By now that evidence, Evans said, has become pretty conclusive.

Yet believers in man-made global warming demand more and more money to combat climate change and still more drastic changes in our economic output and lifestyle.

The reason is that precisely that they are believers, not scientists. No amount of empirical evidence will overturn what has become not a scientific theory but a form of religion. (Arthur Herman, The Australian)

Time to frighten the oldies: Climate change puts seniors' health at risk - Canada's elderly population -- expected to double in the next 25 years -- will be especially hard-hit by the dire effects of climate change, warns a sprawling study by Health Canada.

The much-anticipated document, released late yesterday, says Canada will face climate change hazards ranging from more natural disasters to increases in infectious disease to spikes in respiratory illness.

"Climate change is expected to increase a broad range of risks to the health of Canadians," it states.

Furthermore, "even if rapid reductions of greenhouse gases can be achieved in the near term, there is virtual certainty that climate change will be experienced for decades to come because of inertia in the climate system," the report predicts. (Toronto Sun)

Even the anti-Australia Institute noticed: States, territories big losers under ETS - The state and territory governments will lose up to $1.4 billion a year as a result of the introduction of an emissions trading scheme, a new report says.

The report by Canberra-based think tank the Australia Institute suggests the budgets of NSW and Victoria would be the hardest hit by rises in the cost of energy, transport and wages. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Garnaut stance to torpedo climate talks: trade expert - GLOBAL climate change negotiations will collapse in the same way the Doha trade talks failed last week if Ross Garnaut's view that there is no way forward without China and India is adopted, European emissions trading expert Liz Bossley has warned. (Cath Hart, The Australian)

Clearing the Smog of Beijing with “Coal by Wire.” - As the TV turns nightly to Beijing, we can expect chilling pictures and doomsday comments about the “Asian Pollution” and the “Beijing Smog”. This will induce media and political scaremongers to use these images to sell dud products like the “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”.

It is not carbon dioxide from burning coal that pollutes the skies of Asia and Africa. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring, clean, invisible, beneficial gas. CO2 is an essential part of the natural world but a very minor trace constituent of our atmosphere. (Viv Forbes, Carbon Sense Coalition)

DRIESSEN: Hot air about wind power - T. Boone Pickens is being lionized for his efforts to legislate a transformation to "eco-friendly" wind energy. We need to "overcome our addiction to foreign oil," he insists, by harnessing wind to replace natural gas in electricity generation, and using that gas to power more cars and buses. If Congress would simply "mandate the formation of wind and solar corridors," provide eminent domain authority for transmission lines, and renew the subsidies for this energy, America can make the switch in a decade. Mr. Pickens' $58-million media pitch makes good ad copy, but his policy prescriptions would bring new energy, economic, legal and environmental problems - and a price tag of more than $1.2 trillion. (Washington Times)

Al Gore’s Carbon Empire: Cashing in on Climate Change (.pdf) - Summary: Al Gore says everyone will benefit when new government rules require companies to pay to reduce global warming. But some people will benefit more than others as will some companies. Benefiting most are those like the ex-vice president who can set up and invest in companies that will profit from the federal regulations imposing heavy costs on others. (Capital Research Center)

Fail: Who is behind climate change deniers? - When the tobacco industry was feeling the heat from scientists who showed that smoking caused cancer, it took decisive action.

It engaged in a decades-long public relations campaign to undermine the medical research and discredit the scientists. The aim was not to prove tobacco harmless but to cast doubt on the science.

In May this year, the multibillion-dollar oil giant Exxon-Mobil acknowledged that it had been doing something similar. It announced that it would cease funding nine groups that had fuelled a global campaign to deny climate change.

Exxon's decision comes after a shareholder revolt by members of the Rockefeller family and big superannuation funds to get the oil giant to take climate change more seriously. Exxon (once Standard Oil) was founded by the legendary John D. Rockefeller. Last year, the chairman of the US House of Representatives oversight committee on science and technology, Brad Miller, said Exxon's support for sceptics "appears to be an effort to distort public discussion". (David McKnight, WA Today & The Age)

[David McKnight is an associate professor at the University of NSW. He researches media, including public relations, and is the author of Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture Wars.]

Nice try but McKnight might find people actually check time lines. To begin with Exxon's parsimonious support for groups who also express skeptical positions on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming has always been trivial compared with their support of greenies, sports, the arts... and was largely terminated (due to advocates poisoning the well and creating public relations problems by claiming Exxon funded a denial campaign) beginning in 2006, when it dropped the Competitive Enterprise Institute inter alia and then, in 2007, Exxon stopped funding a handful of other organizations including the Heartland Institute, a year before the Rockerfeller nonsense of May 2008 (see). Activists claim to have 'unearthed' some 19 million dollars worth of donations to organizations who also express skepticism on catastrophic gorebull warming, which is less than 0.05% of the sum thrown at creating and sustaining the gorebull warming hysteria and little more than 6% of the amount Al & his merry zealots have promised to spend on indoctrination ads over the next year or two -- they are spending $300 million, near as much per month as Exxon is alleged to have given to groups who express a skeptical position over the years.

Moreover, Exxon-Mobil most certainly has not 'acknowledged that it had been doing something similar' [as tobacco companies] either explicitly or implicitly. In fact Exxon's position appears to be one that society will continue to need and purchase its product regardless of stupid gorebull warming policies and they could care less about the issue one way or another.

McKnight is merely recycling rubbish from activist websites and if this is his idea of researching media, including public relations, he's pretty crappy at it, isn't he?

See also: Protocols of the Elders of Carbon - Associate Professor David McKnight not only links “climate change deniers” to Holocaust “deniers” and the cigarette lobby, but suggests they are corrupt, too: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Oops! Fairfax press had to do something about skepticism creeping into their publications: Despite sceptics' noise, scientific consensus is growing - Anyone keeping up with current affairs could be forgiven for thinking scientists are riven with doubt over climate change. Climate sceptics have enjoyed a resurgence as the federal Coalition danced around the introduction of carbon trading and heavy-polluting industries began an intensive lobbying effort to convince the Federal Government of their special needs. (Ben Cubby, Sydney Morning Herald)

Some serious panic beginning to appear in advocacy ranks now that media is admitting some doubts and actually publishing legitimate questioning of the orthodoxy.

Blunt answers about risks of global warming - Rajendra Pachauri isn't nearly as famous as Al Gore, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with an international panel on climate change that Pachauri, an Indian scientist and economist, has led since 2002.

But as chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Pachauri has an urgent message for world leaders about the perils of global warming. He talked to the Tribune recently while he was in town to meet with Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago civic leaders. An edited transcript follows. (Chicago Tribune)

Could Texas profit by storing carbon dioxide underground? - Officials exploring how to capture power plant emissions, inject them beneath Gulf Coast, oil-rich Permian Basin. (Austin American-Statesman)

UK 'delusional' over climate change - The UK has massively overstated its reduction in carbon emissions, say two new reports which cast a harsh light on Britain's environmental policy. (

Eye-roller: A Green New Deal for our times - Independent experts reveal a radical vision for energy, climate change and Britain's financial system (Andrew Simms, The Observer)

Finally noticed the problem of boutique fuels? Blended fuels may spike the price at the pump - To combat the problem, government looks to lower number of gasoline types (Houston Chronicle)

Debra J. Saunders: One candidate is not afraid, and here's his take on energy - More drilling, more nuclear -- plus renewable energy: That'd be useful, and McCain could get it done.

I'll say this for John McCain -- he doesn't hide behind his staff. The Republican candidate for president holds town meetings across the country and takes questions from critics and supporters alike. Regular citizens, who often depart from the news-pack question du jour, get to tell him what they think about Washington. If in reply McCain says something dicey, he can't blame his staff for filling out a questionnaire incorrectly, as Democratic candidate Barack Obama has done, because McCain said it himself. (Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle)

Oily Hypocrisy - Until the U.S. opens its offshore waters to oil drilling, it will be seen as the world’s worst energy hypocrite.

If you think that the issue of offshore drilling is only a matter of interest to American environmental groups and the U.S. Congress, think again. At last month’s World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, the blatant hypocrisy of U.S. energy policy—demanding that OPEC members expand their oil drilling efforts while restricting offshore drilling here at home—was a prominent topic of discussion. Indeed, the U.S. ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf was mentioned by three of the most powerful people in the global energy business: the head of OPEC; the chief executive of Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras; and the Saudi oil minister. All of them said the United States should start drilling in its offshore areas. (Robert Bryce, The American)

Most Californians Now Favor Offshore Oil Drilling - SAN FRANCISCO - For the first time, a majority of Californians support more drilling for oil off their state's coast, a poll showed Thursday, underscoring anxiety caused by high gasoline prices. (Reuters)

Breaking Speaker Pelosi's News Blackout - New technologies broke a news blackout attempted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Friday afternoon, 8/1/08, starting at 11:30 am (Eastern) Real Time News was the only window to a major event in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party controlled-House had just voted to adjourn for a 5-week vacation without voting, or even engaging in debate, on solutions to America's energy crisis. As the Democrats went out to their gasoline-powered cars to drive to the airport to board jet fuel-powered aircraft, the House Republicans stayed on to present their All of the Above Energy Plan. Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi removing the press from the gallery, and having lights, microphones and C-Span cameras turned off, media coverage continued, against House rules, entirely via Twitter and Qik live cell-phone video. (Nancy Coppock, American Thinker)

The dream drives on - Rising gasoline prices have traditionally generated outrage and the wrath of politicians and the media. Now, the emotional reaction is running in the other direction. As the price of gasoline soared up over $1.30 a litre in Canada and $4 a gallon in the United States, the old anger has been replaced by a new complacency, even a sense of glee and anticipation.

While we’ve seen some of the old-time grandstanding from some politicians, for the most part the new gas price reaction is being shaped by the idea that rising prices might not be such a bad idea. Maybe high prices will end North America’s “addiction” to oil—as U.S. President George Bush calls it. Better still, maybe the high cost of filling the tank up will trigger the end of the great popular love affair with the automobile.

The thrill is gone, claim critics, most of whom never experienced it themselves. The war on cars has long been fought by social activists, environmentalists, bicycle peddlers and moralizing anti-materialists. It’s been a losing battle. Decade after decade, auto sales have soared and road use increased, along with gasoline consumption, as consumers maintained their enthusiasm for new cars with ever more power and style, and for the automobile’s promise of freedom and mobility. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

EPA OKs Air Permit for Massive Navajo Coal Plant - NEW YORK - The president of the Navajo Nation said that US environmental regulators approved a final air permit on Thursday for a proposed 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant in New Mexico, considered an important step in moving the US$3 billion to US$4 billion project forward. (Reuters)

Energy giants forced to act on fuel poverty - With energy bills soaring across the UK, six million households now face fuel poverty - spending more than 10 per cent of their income on gas and electricity. Amid growing calls for a windfall tax on energy companies, the government is finally poised to act (Tim Webb, The Observer)

Um... government did act, repeatedly -- why do you think so many people face an energy-cost crisis?

More Model Mania - Paul Krugman has a strange, very angry and even borderline incoherent piece [Aug. 1], saying things like this:

“Most criticism of John McCain’s decision to follow the Bush administration’s lead and embrace offshore drilling as the answer to high gas prices has focused on the accusation that it’s junk economics — which it is.

A McCain campaign ad says that gas prices are high right now because ‘some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America.’ That’s just plain dishonest: the U.S. government’s own Energy Information Administration says that removing restrictions on offshore drilling wouldn't lead to any additional domestic oil production until 2017, and that even at its peak the extra production would have an ‘insignificant’ impact on oil prices.”

Oddly, Krugman then touts the wisdom of promising to adopt cap-and-trade schemes — without mentioning that these policies’ impact wouldn’t even rise to the level of “insignificant.” This should not be surprising from a guy who ceaselessly promotes Kyoto, which also wouldn’t do a thing (look at how well the ETS is working in Europe) but would impose staggering costs, according to none other than his preferred authority, EIA. Who's being dishonest here?

Krugman then turns to an economist to say that climate models make it pretty clear we’re all doomed. This comes as new research pours forth destroying any pretense that climate models have the slightest predictive value or policy relevance. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Politics: Aborted - Asking Can This Planet Be Saved?, Paul Krugman in the NYT, contemplates the effect of oil exploration in the USA, and the ‘5%’ possibility of 10°C rise in global temperatures, and comes to the conclusions that the continued moralisation of such questions is the only answer. (Climate Resistance)

Phony 'Emergency' - Barack Obama's newly unveiled "Emergency Economic Plan" is quite a document, sounding more like the rantings of an extremist fringe candidate than a serious contender for the presidency.

The six-page package is a doozy, replete with populist ideas that will wreck the economy and leave us poorer. The only real emergency we should worry about is the debacle that would follow its passage.

It's shocking that a mainstream candidate, with so many supposedly well-regarded economists advising him, would produce such a shoddy, poorly thought-out plan.

Take his proposal to send every family a check for $1,000. Don't worry, he assures us, we won't have to pay for it. "Windfall profits from Big Oil" will pick up the tab — in this case.

Sen. Obama seems to be trying to take advantage of reports that Exxon Mobil reported record second-quarter income — indeed, the highest quarterly profit for any corporation ever.

But the reality is that as Obama and his equally unknowing friends push windfall taxes, Exxon Mobil has already given the U.S. a massive windfall. As economist Mark Perry has noted, Exxon Mobil will pay more taxes this year to the U.S. Treasury than the bottom 50% of all taxpayers — combined.

In the first half, Exxon Mobil's after-tax income rose 15% to $22.6 billion. A lot of money, to be sure, until you consider that Exxon Mobil paid $61.7 billion in taxes — also a record.

People shouldn't fall for such cheap, recycled class-warfare argument. Yet many will. Sadly, it will saddle big energy companies with higher taxes and crimp their exploration and drilling budgets. That means less oil on the market and higher prices.

We know this because it has been tried before. Jimmy Carter's windfall profits tax led to a 6% drop in domestic oil output and as much as a 15% surge in oil imports, according to the Congressional Research Service. Now, Obama wants to play it again.

Obamanomics Flunks The Test - Barack Obama the lawyer-organizer could use a crash course in economics. His economic plan's assumptions, based on long-discredited Marxist theories, are wildly wrongheaded. (IBD)

Well duh! A Push to Wrest More Oil From Land, but Most New Wells Are for Natural Gas - With the advent of $4-a-gallon gasoline has come a bruising debate in Congress over whether to intensify efforts to drill on federal lands, including part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. But while those hoping to lower prices at the pump are clamoring for new oil, most of the new onshore drilling of the past seven years has produced natural gas, not oil. (New York Times)

Of course it's been in natural gas -- that's where the demand has been to feed a generation of gas-fired power stations built to take advantage of a cheaper fuel and avoid some pretty stupid enviro regulations.

TransCanada Gets Alaska Nod for Pipeline, Subsidy - TransCanada Corp., Canada's largest pipeline company, won state approval and a $500 million subsidy to proceed with plans to build an estimated $27 billion pipeline that will carry natural gas from Alaska's Arctic region to U.S. markets. (Bloomberg)

Expansion of Pipeline Stirs Concerns Over Safety - America's natural-gas boom is driving the construction of thousands of miles of new pipelines, many of them crisscrossing heavily populated or environmentally sensitive areas. About 4,400 miles of new pipeline will be built this year, according to government projections. That is more than 2.5 times last year's figure and the biggest annual addition in the 10 years data have been collected. The new pipe will carry 47 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, triple the amount carried by new pipeline in 2007, itself a record year. (Wall Street Journal)

Camping It Up - It’s Climate Camp time again. Last year, activists numbering 1500 (less than the capacity of some nightclubs) took part in a high-profile protest near Heathrow Airport, the site of a proposed new runway. As the camps occupied themselves recycling their own urine, eating lentils, and making sure that the media didn’t get too close to them (they didn’t want unfavourable press), hundreds of thousands of travellers took to the skies above them. Such a numerical demonstration of the protest’s unpopularity failed to dent the smug self-righteous protestors’ self-confidence.

This year, the anti-development camp is at Kingsnorth, Kent, the site of a proposed coal-fired power station - the first in the UK for 30 years, such has been the UK’s government’s inability to commit itself to energy infrastructure. If this station ever gets built, it will merely replace Britain’s crumbling capacity, not add to it. Nonetheless, the protestors would rather that the lights went out… for the sake of the polar bears. (Climate Resistance)

Climate change activists threaten to shut down coal-fired plant - Climate change activists have threatened to break the law as they gather this weekend for a week-long protest camp at the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station. The protesters aim to shut down the coal-fired plant already in operation on the site at Kingsnorth, Kent, and block the construction of the new £1.5 billion facility. The new power station would be the first coal-fired plant in the UK for more than 30 years and owners E.ON say it will be cleaner than the facility it is replacing. (The Times)

Embracing greenhouse gases: Panel charged with advising on how to reduce emissions does just the opposite - A committee appointed 16 months ago by Gov. Jim Gibbons to recommend ways to reduce greenhouse gases in Nevada supports plans by three companies to build coal-fired power plants in the eastern part of the state. (Las Vegas Sun)

Government's green car tax plans in disarray - Treasury plans to impose £2 billion of green taxes on 13 million motorists have been savaged by an influential group of MPs. The damning verdict of the Environmental Audit Committee, on the proposals to increase road taxes next year, will now lead to even greater pressure on the Prime Minister to abandon the controversial measure. The rise in road tax offered "little benefit" to the environment and gave green taxes "a bad name", the MPs said. The Government had not even attempted to calculate the environmental impact of the plans and the move is seen as a revenue-raising measure that has been "greenwashed." (Daily Telegraph)

Host of new pylons to carry wind farm power - Pylons are on the march. Britain’s electricity transmission and distribution companies are to announce plans for a £10 billion rewiring of Britain.

A report due this autumn will warn that if Britain is serious about a low-carbon economy then it must string potentially thousands of miles of new high-voltage power cables across the country. The infrastructure is vital, experts say, because most renewable energy will be generated in remote areas such as northern Scotland or the North Sea – whereas most consumers live in southern Britain.

Some fear the new pylons and cables would threaten treasured landscapes, creating dilemmas for environmentalists who would otherwise support renewable energy without question. (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

Prospectors sift through America's garbage in a gold rush founded on metals, plastic and paper - Bob Cappadona, area manager of Casella Waste Systems' 65,000sq ft recycling facility in Massachussets, can't believe the record prices his garbage is commanding. "Aluminium cans, $900 [£450] a bale. Tin cans, $150. No 2 clear plastic, $300. Cardboard, $70. Mixed paper, $40." He barely conceals his glee as he explains the effects of a spike in metal prices: "We get an extra $100 a ton."

Mr Cappadona's numbers are compelling, but the global implications of the trash boom only really hit you when you see the enormous pallets being carted away from the plant. You realise that recyclers can make vast profits from combing through ordinary rubbish, processing it and then reselling it to other companies. And that leads to another, bigger thought: trash is no longer just an environmental liability. It is becoming a financial asset. And it is everywhere. (The Independent)

More Left-Coast lunacy: Atty. Gen. Brown Settles Potato Chip Lawsuit With Heinz, Frito-Lay & Kettle Foods - LOS ANGELES--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today settled lawsuits against Heinz, Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods and Lance Inc. after the companies agreed to slash levels of the cancer-causing chemical acrylamide in their potato chips and french fries.

“The companies agreed to reduce this carcinogenic chemical in fried potatoes--a victory for public health and safety in California,” Attorney General Brown said. “Other companies should follow this lead and take steps to reduce acrylamide in french fries and potato chips,” Brown added.

In 2005, the attorney general sued McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods, Lance, Procter & Gamble and Heinz, for selling potato chips and french fries containing high levels of acrylamide, a chemical known to the state to cause cancer. Acrylamide is a by-product of frying, roasting and baking foods--particularly potatoes--that contain certain amino acids. In 2002, Swedish scientists discovered high levels of cancer-causing acrylamide in fried potato products.

The attorney general sued french fry and potato chip companies under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which requires companies to post warnings of any cancer-causing chemicals in their products unless they can prove that the levels do not pose a significant health risk.

Last year, restaurant chains including KFC, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King agreed to post acrylamide warnings at their restaurants and to pay civil penalties and costs. In January, Procter & Gamble agreed to reduce acrylamide in Pringles potato chips by 50 percent so that no warning would be required. (Press Release)

CNN recycles new car smell nonsense: Don't inhale that new car smell - Ah, that new car smell, that eau de car-logne; it does an ego good while it does a wallet bad. And now it turns out, it can do bad things to your health, too.

All these years, while we were being offered safety first, last and front, side and rear ways, hardly anyone in the vehicle industry had given much thought to what actually was in that perfume de profit, the new car smell that car buyers sought and bought.

As everyone knew, pollution related to vehicles originated from the exhaust pipe, not the shifter knob. It was spewed out the back of the rear, not the back of the rear view mirror. Well, what everyone thought they knew was wrong.

It turns out -- take a deep breath -- that most of that new car smell is not some carefully-compounded, luxury, feel-good incense to the Mammon gods. But the new car smell comes from toxic gases. (CNN)

JFS special report: Obesity statisticulation — When will people get it? - Even medical journals can read like the Onion, anymore. It was so unimaginable that anyone would take this study seriously, that I wasn’t even going to comment on it. Even G4TV laughed at the absurdity of researchers predicting that 100% of us would be obese by 2048. (Junkfood Science)

We’re not eating so badly - We’ve been surrounded by news claiming that the diets of American children and adults are shamefully unhealthy, with junk food consumption especially rampant among ethnic minorities, the poor and children. We’re told that eating habits are so bad that they’re creating a medical emergency of hurricane-like proportions, wrecking havoc on families and our society, and necessitating extreme measures to tell people what to eat.

The U.S. government just released the latest “What we eat in America” report this week. This is the dietary survey component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted on a cross section of the population by the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the US Dept. of Agriculture. NHANES is viewed by healthcare professionals as the most accurate data on our diets, lifestyles and health, and the information is supposed to be used to help guide public health policies.

So why was this important report ignored by the media? (Junkfood Science)

Elitism has a price? Who knew... Whole Foods Looks for a Fresh Image in Lean Times - PHILADELPHIA — Shawn Hebb may have one of America’s toughest jobs: convincing people that Whole Foods Market can be an economical place to shop.

This week, leading five customers through a store here, he breezed past the triple cream goat cheese, $39.99 a pound, and the fresh tuna, $19.99 a pound, to focus on the merits of beans, chicken thighs and frozen fish.

Then he held up a $1.50 package of tofu. “It looks gross but it’s delicious,” he said.

Whole Foods Market is on a mission to revise its gold-plated image as consumers pull back on discretionary spending in a troubled economy. The company was once a Wall Street darling, but its sales growth was cooling even before the economy turned. Since peaking at the beginning of 2006, its stock has dropped more than 70 percent.

Now, in a sign of the times, the company is offering deeper discounts, adding lower-priced store brands and emphasizing value in its advertising. It is even inviting customers to show up for budget-focused store tours like those led by Mr. Hebb, a Whole Foods employee.

But the budget claims are no easy sell at a store that long ago earned the nickname Whole Paycheck. Told of the company’s budget pitch by a reporter, some Whole Foods customers said they had not noticed cheaper prices; a few laughed.

Walter Robb, the company’s co-president, acknowledged that Whole Foods was fighting strong consumer perceptions about the chain’s prices, and he added that some of that was deserved. But he said the company had made a strong effort to challenge its competitors on price. (New York Times)

Need a new tea party: Environmentalists celebrate big wins in Mass. - BOSTON—So who was the biggest winner on Beacon Hill this session: Gov. Deval Patrick? House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi? Gay marriage activists?

Guess again.

Tally up the crush of bills passed during the Legislature's 19-month formal session and it's hard to find a politician or interest group with bigger bragging rights than environmentalists.

From ocean management to global warming, "green jobs" to clean energy, the environmental lobby racked up win after win at the Statehouse, helped along by a sympathetic governor, powerful House speaker and worries about soaring energy prices and the state's iffy economy. (Associated Press)

Animal rights extremists' link to UC Santa Cruz firebombings? - Investigators sifting the evidence of two firebombings targeting UC Santa Cruz biologists say the potentially lethal devices are similar to ones used in the past by animal rights activists, authorities said today.

The bombs were so powerful they were like "Molotov cocktails on steroids," said Santa Cruz police Capt. Steve Clark. (SF Chronicle)

August 1, 2008

Pickens Gives New Meaning to 'Self-Government' - The more you learn about T. Boone Pickens’ plan to switch America to wind power, the more you realize that he seems willing to say and do just about anything to make another billion or two. (Steven Milloy,

Inhofe Offers Energy Justice Resolution - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, offered a Sense of the Senate resolution on Energy Justice during today’s Full Committee Business Meeting. The resolution, which was voted down by Democrats, urged that any “environmental justice policies” should only be considered in “the context of energy justice policies.” (EPW)

Pelosi's Energy Stonewall - Hell -- otherwise known as Congress -- has officially frozen over. For the first time since the 1950s, Members will skip town today for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill. Then again, Democrats appear ready to sacrifice their whole agenda, even spending, rather than allow new domestic energy production.

Or even a mere debate about energy. The Democratic leadership is stonewalling any measure that might possibly relax the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that they would lose if a vote ever came to the floor, and they're desperate to suppress an insurrection among those Democrats who are pragmatic about one of the top economic issues. Behind this whatever-it-takes obstructionism is an ideological commitment to high energy prices. The rulers of the Democratic Party want prices to keep rising.

A good gauge of the radicalism of their energy blockade is the lowest common denominator of this energy fight: The effort to blame "speculators" for $4 gas was promoted by both Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as nearly everybody else in Washington. Sure enough, the House voted 276-151 on Wednesday for a bill that would have driven oil futures trading overseas.

But the legislation actually failed to become law -- by design. It needed a two-thirds majority because Speaker Pelosi suspended the rules to prevent Republicans from offering amendments, drilling among them. Ms. Pelosi had decreed that she would not permit a roll-call vote under any circumstances, even if it stopped her own goal of wrecking the U.S. futures market.

Meanwhile, the Senate is locked down over its own antispeculation bill. Majority Leader Reid briefly agreed to allow four amendments on GOP policy alternatives, but he withdrew the offer after he was subjected to the fury of the environmental lobby and Ms. Pelosi. To prevent a vote on offshore drilling this week, Senate Democrats also let fail a bill providing home heating assistance for the poor. Same thing for tax subsidies for wind and solar energy.

Other liberal inspirations, including suing OPEC and a windfall profits tax on the oil industry, also ended up in the Congressional dumpster. And of course Democrats long ago shut down the normal budget process in both the Senate and the House to avoid any vote.

Normally, the spending hiatus would be a useful byproduct of Congressional bickering. But in this case the shutdown is malign neglect. Surging energy prices act like a huge tax increase on the economy, since energy demand is relatively fixed over the short term. The price spike is imposing genuine hardships on middle-income and working-class voters across the country.

The Democratic leadership isn't oblivious to this man-at-the-pump reality. But Al Gore's vision of the apocalyptic tides of climate change perfectly expresses their mentality: Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid see soaring prices as a public good -- the mechanism that will force energy enlightenment on the U.S. If anything, they think the price of gas is too low. As recently as June, the Senate debated a multitrillion-dollar carbon tax-and-regulation scheme that was designed to boost energy costs. A new version will be a priority in the next Administration.

If nothing else, this summer's oil drilling stonewall is giving voters an insight into this ideology, which recoils at any oil, natural gas or coal production -- oh, and nuclear besides. That puts 93% of all U.S. energy off limits for expansion. Back in the real world, and barring a cold fusion or other miracle, the U.S. will remain dependent on fossil fuels for decades. A fresh round of domestic oil-and-gas exploration would ease the long-term pressures that supply and demand are exerting on prices, plus bolster energy security.

And those not bound by anticarbon theology are coming around. Broad margins of the American public -- now even a slim majority of Californians -- favor increasing domestic production. Many Congressional Democrats are working below the radar to craft a compromise that couples drilling with conservation and programs to prop up renewable alternatives.

But the leadership won't bend even a bit, and so Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid have spent the summer using every parliamentary deception to evade debating the issue that the American public cares most about. Short of cutting off the air conditioning on Capitol Hill, Democrats won't get the message until voters make them -- perhaps in November. (Wall Street Journal)

Why Enviro-reporters Likely Ignore Stories About Economic Impacts - The answer -- which is that they don't understand economics -- is revealed in a blog post by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Lisa Stiffler. Her report explains a review by the Beacon Hill Institute (co-sponsored by the Washington Policy Center) of the state's Climate Advisory Team recommendations to raise the costs of energy so high that people will want to move their tailpipe emissions to other countries.

That was a joke - the tailpipe emissions part. (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

The Arrogance of Greenspan - Two excerpts from Alan Greenspan’s book, The Age of Turbulence, provide a succinct expression of how political systems generate the bulk of social disorder and human suffering. While I have not read his book, these two passages go to the essence of the destructive nature of the political mindset: (1) "there can be little doubt that global warming is real and manmade;" and, (2) "[s]ometimes the duty of political leadership is to convince constituencies that they are just plain wrong."

Regarding his first proposition, Greenspan may or may not be correct in his conclusion that global warming is manmade. It is not my purpose, here, to confront him on this issue, or to suggest that any who believe in the human origins of global warming represent a destructive threat to mankind. My criticism, rather, is found in the words "there can be little doubt." Contrary to the articles of faith that unite members of the high church of Global-Warmingism, there is a great deal of doubt – particularly within the scientific community – as to whether global warming has its origins in human activity. There are thousands of respected scientists who say either that there is insufficient evidence to support this charge, or that global warming is, in fact, traceable to non-human causes. (Butler Shaffer, Lew Rockwell)

The Carbon Credit Scam: Windfall Profits? - Emerging out of thin air, it has already surpassed solar and wind as the largest cleantech industry. Carbon credits were worth a staggering $63 billion in 2007 and $59 billion in the first half of 2008 alone.

The first thought that should be going through your head right now is why aren’t there screams from the eco-commie left about windfall profit taxes on this bogus industry? Because they are profiting from it and heavily invested in it? (Democrat=Socialist)

Oil: Tar sands less damaging than coal, insists Shell - Shell warned environmentalists and ethical investors yesterday that failure to exploit tar sands and other unconventional oil products would worsen climate change because it would lead to the world burning even more carbon-heavy coal. (The Guardian)

Actually, they are only talking about carbon, which is irrelevant.

We've mentioned a few cold events lately, so, in fairness: Reykjavik sees record summer temperature - The warmest day ever in Reykjavik was recorded on Wednesday when the mercury reached 25.7 degrees Celsius (78.2 Fahrenheit), the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Thursday.

"The record was registered on the Office's grounds between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm (1700 GMT). It's the hottest temperature recorded in Reykjavik" since measurements began in 1870, meteorologist Prausti Jonsson told AFP.

An automatic weather station in the capital also registered a temperature of 26.4 degrees, but these kinds of weather stations have only been in use for 15 years so no long-term comparison was possible.

The previous record for Reykjavik was 24.8 degrees, reached in 2004.

Jonsson attributed the unusually balmy temperatures on the North Atlantic island to warm winds blowing in from Europe. The mercury had however fallen on Thursday to 15 degrees Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) as chilly winds blew in from the sea.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Iceland is 30.5 degrees Celsius (86.9 F), observed on the east of the island in 1939.

Northern Europe is currently enjoying unusually warm temperatures, with Stockholm in Sweden hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) for the past week. (AFP)

An encouraging response on satellite CO2 measurement from the AIRS Team - Recently we’ve been discussing products from the AIRS satellite instrument (Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder) onboard the Aqua satellite. There has been quite a bit of interest in this because unlike the satellite temperature record that goes back to 1979, until now we have not had a complementary satellite derived CO2 record. We are about to have one, and much more. (Watts Up With That?)

Climate Change: Secret Life Cycles Of Atmospheric Aerosols Can Be Illuminated With New Technology - An aerosol mass spectrometer developed by chemists from Aerodyne Research Inc. and Boston College is giving scientists who study airborne particles the technology they need to examine the life cycles of atmospheric aerosols – such as soot – and their impact on issues ranging from climate change to public health. (ScienceDaily)

New global warming science - On global warming, public policy is where the science was in 1998. Due to new evidence, science has since moved off in a different direction.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN science body on this matter, is a political body composed mainly of bureaucrats. So far it has resisted acknowledging the new evidence. But as Lord Keynes famously asked, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Four things have changed since 1998. (David Evans, Unleashed)

Icy reality cools the climate cultists - DAILY, new evidence emerges to demonstrate that Climate Minister Penny Wong is wrong.

The latest blow to the Government’s apocalyptic prophet is news from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute that there is more ice than normal in the Arctic waters north of the Svalbard archipelago.

According to the Barents Observer there are open areas in this area in most years during July - but this year the area is covered by ice.

A fortnight ago a Norwegian research ship, Lance, and a Swedish ship, MV Stockholm, got stuck in the ice in the area and needed to be freed by the Norwegian Coast Guard.

While one ice floe does not amount to a mini-ice age, the dramatic evidence runs counter to the mantra of the climate warming cult which has claimed the Arctic is becoming progressively free of ice.

The mantra of less ice has long been coupled with the warning that rising sea levels will soon swamp coastal areas and both claims have been used to heighten fears about climate change and add a greater sense of urgency to calls for action now.

It follows last week’s revelation from leading US hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that even in a dramatically warming world hurricane frequency and intensity may not rise during the next two centuries.

Once again real time events and science have defeated Senator Wong and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, despite their constant refrain that human-induced climate change is already occurring and we must act now to protect our prosperity and way of life.

Not only do eminent and vastly more knowledgeable scientists say otherwise, they point out that if the Earth is to warm (naturally) by even one degree and if carbon dioxide levels increase, we will be better off, not worse off.

Wong and Rudd’s end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it predictions are bunkum, thousands of top scientists agree. (Daily Telegraph)

Monckton warns Wong: You’re steering Labor to doom (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Doubtful Nationals scrutinise climate science - Undersea volcanoes, sunspots, cosmic rays and orbital wobbles were thrown into the climate change mix in Armidale, NSW, last week, where several of Australia's most prominent climate change sceptics met at the invitation of the NSW Nationals.

Professor Ian Plimer, Professor Bob Carter and William Kininmonth joined Dr Alan Moran and Dr Paul Collits at a Nationals 'Roundtable Conference' to discuss, among other things, whether Australia should hold a Royal Commission into verify the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to Prof Plimer, who is Professor of Mining Geology in the University of Adelaide, the IPCC is a club of atmospheric physicists who have failed to consider other evidence that might contradict the theory of human-caused global warming. (Stock and Land)

Yet another EOTW countdown: The final countdown - Time is fast running out to stop irreversible climate change, a group of global warming experts warns today. We have only 100 months to avoid disaster. Andrew Simms explains why we must act now - and where to begin (Andrew Simms, The Guardian)

II: '100 months' to stop overheating - Rising greenhouse gas emissions could pass a critical tipping point and trigger runaway global warming within the next 100 months, according to a report today. (The Guardian)

No worries, fellas -- it's stopped.

Spain cuts speed limit and turns out lights - Spain has seen the future and it is slow, dim and uncomfortable. A swingeing series of energy-saving measures announced by the Spanish government may be a foretaste of the kind of policies which will be forced upon an energy-hungry industrial world in the coming decades.

To protests from motorists and mockery in parts of the press, the Socialist government plans to cut motorway speed limits to 50mph and town speeds to 25mph. New austerity rules will be imposed on the air conditioning and heating of all public buildings. Street-lighting will be cut by half. (The Independent)

Russia Govt Shake-Up Stalls Kyoto Scheme Approvals - MOSCOW - Russia has not approved any projects to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol due to a reshuffle of government ministries by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia's top Kyoto official said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme - LONDON - The UK's Department for Transport on Thursday clarified rules surrounding the inclusion of aviation in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012. (Reuters)

California threat to sue US govt over ship, aircraft emissions - California said Thursday it planned to sue the US government for failing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ships, aircraft, construction and agricultural equipment. (AFP)

Left-Coast Democrat big spenders: Turning the tide in the water crisis - Unless Sacramento acts soon, California's future water security is in jeopardy. (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dianne Feinstein, LA Times)

Yes, we know Ahnold ran as a Republican. We also know California and the world would be a damn site better off without the watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside, for those who don't recognize them).

Attenborough alarmed as children are left flummoxed by test on the natural world - Children have lost touch with the natural world and are unable to identify common animals and plants, according to a survey. (The Independent)

But why should they? All they get is a constant diet of doom -- the wild world is finished, Man has destroyed the environment and is cooking the planet... We, and by extension they, are blamed for everything so why peer into a mirror of imposed guilt by taking an interest in the wild world? Of course kids turn away from the dead and play fun, exciting, escapist games in virtual realms

Catherine Beard: Radical emissions bill smells off - The Rudd government across the Tasman has opted for a softly, softly approach to emissions trading to minimise the impact on the cost of living for Australian consumers and businesses.

The aim seems to be to ease them into emissions trading with as little pain in the pocket as possible for the first few years, recognising that the effects of putting a price on carbon will be "profound" and on a par with some of the biggest economic reforms ever made.

In New Zealand, there has been an attempt by politicians to play down the impact of the proposed emissions trading scheme, despite the fact that comparisons with other schemes show it to be the most comprehensive and expensive approach in the world. (New Zealand Herald)

Speaking of things that smell off: Raising a global stink - Burgeoning efforts to curb global-warming pollution are taking aim at an unlikely new target: the placid, cud-chewing cow. (Chicago Tribune)

D'oh! Widen research to avoid climate-change errors: Study - Many biologists who are studying the potential impacts of climate change on different species and the environment could be coming to faulty conclusions unless they widen the scope of their research, a new Canadian study suggests.

The report, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests biologists often use only one of the 31 different climate-change models provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Those models, while generally consistent at predicting climate, can differ significantly in providing data about how the living conditions for certain species are expected to change, the study found. (Canadian Press)

Generally consistent... well, yes, they are generally (wrongly) programmed to deliver significant warming in response to trivial increases in an essential trace gas but that is about as far as it goes.

Oops! Cold and ice, not heat, episodically gripped tropical regions 300 million years ago - Geoscientists have long presumed that, like today, the tropics remained warm throughout Earth's last major glaciation 300 million years ago.

New evidence, however, indicates that cold temperatures in fact episodically gripped these equatorial latitudes at that time.

Geologist Gerilyn Soreghan of Oklahoma University found evidence for this conclusion in the preservation of an ancient glacial landscape in the Rocky Mountains of western Colorado. Three hundred million years ago, the region was part of the tropics. The continents then were assembled into the supercontinent Pangaea.

Soreghan and colleagues published their results in the August 2008, issue of the journal Geology.

Climate model simulations are unable to replicate such cold tropical conditions for this time period, said Soreghan. "We are left with the prospect that what has been termed our 'best-known' analogue to Earth's modern glaciation is in fact poorly known." (National Science Foundation) [em added]

On the Credibility of Climate Predictions by Koutsoyiannis et al. 2008 - An outstanding and very important new paper has appeared which raises further issues with respect to the inability of the IPCC multi-decadal global models to predict future climate. The paper is

Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides, 2008: On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53 (4), 671-684.

with the abstract

“Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.”

Here is an extract from the conclusions that effectively summarizes the implications of their results

“At the annual and the climatic (30-year) scales, GCM interpolated series are irrelevant to reality. GCMs do not reproduce natural over-year fluctuations and, generally, underestimate the variance and the Hurst coefficient of the observed series. Even worse, when the GCM time series imply a Hurst coefficient greater than 0.5, this results from a monotonic trend, whereas in historical data the high values of the Hurst coefficient are a result of large-scale over-year fluctuations (i.e. successions of upward and downward ‘trends’. The huge negative values of coefficients of efficiency show that model predictions are much poorer than an elementary prediction based on the time average. This makes future climate projections at the examined locations not credible. Whether or not this conclusion extends to other locations requires expansion of the study, which we have planned. However, the poor GCM performance in all eight locations examined in this study allows little hope, if any. An argument that the poor performance applies merely to the point basis of our comparison, whereas aggregation at large spatial scales would show that GCM outputs are credible, is an unproved conjecture and, in our opinion, a false one.”

A fundamental and societally relevant conclusion from this study is that the use of the IPCC model predictions as a basis for policy making is invalid and seriously misleading. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Another Miss for the Modelers - The hits (or rather misses) just keep on coming, in the form of observations and facts that are proving very inconvenient for James Hansen’s and the rest of the IPCC gang’s paranoid, hysterical, and angry advocacy for global governance, energy rationing, Kyoto, etc. Today, it is Hansen's catastrophe posterchild, Bangladesh — which, far from being soon underwater, is actually gaining land mass rather than losing it.

It turns out that the genii at the IPCC never considered that rivers silt up. This should not be surprising: leading sea-level rise expert Nils-Axel Mörner noted that the IPCC’s SLR panel is stacked with people who aren’t sea-level rise experts. Possibly they are the anthropology TAs, transport-policy instructors, and others that Climate Resistance discovered among the IPCC’s 2,000 “world’s leading climate scientists.”

So, let’s review the bidding. The IPCC and the models on which it premises its version of reality are wrong on rainfall. They are wrong on GHG concentrations and behavior. Models are wrong on Antarctica, on Andean snowpack, on Bangladesh, on ocean temperatures, and wrong on the Northwest Passage. Roy Spencer’s research appears to have affirmed that models are demonstrably and fatally wrong on the threshold question of climate sensitivity. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Bangladesh 'is growing' due to freak environmental conditions - Bangladesh is often held up as the 'ground zero' of climate change, with environmental experts predicting that rising sea levels could engulf much of the country of 150 million people within the next 50 years.

But a recent survey by a Bangladeshi research institute shows that the country's landmass has actually increased by more than 1,000 square km (386 square miles) since 1973, due to rivers dumping sediment as they meet the sea. (The Times)

What 'freak environmental conditions'? This is a textbook example of accretion of land by alluvion. How the blazes do they think river deltas grow?

Comments On The Draft CCSP Report “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” - The Draft report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States has been released. There is an announcement of the Public Review Draft of the Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States. Public comments are due by August 14 2008 [Climate Science readers are urged to submit comments]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Got this as a news tip... Global warming means more raw sewage in local water: report - Public health and safety threats are escalating in Metro Vancouver because an aging sewage handling and treatment system will fail more often as a result of climate change, according to a federal report uncovered by The Vancouver Sun.

The report says heavier rainstorms will frequently overwhelm portions of the region's sewage system and accelerate the spill of raw sewage into Burrard Inlet and the Strait of Georgia. (Vancouver Sun)

... along with the succinct comment: "Absolutely no doubt global warming produces a lot of crap..."  Quite.

Do Long-Term Variations Of The Sun Drive Climate Change? .pdf (Ian Wilson, Forum 2008)

One million blogging warnings to a lazy media - THE blog culture has been slow to take off here. I can tell, because too few politicians and journalists are jumping like they've been bitten. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Exxon’s Earnings: Record Profit–And Looking for More - The fact that gasoline just slipped below $4 a gallon probably won’t be enough to deflect simmering man-at-the-pump anger at ExxonMobil, which this morning reported record profit of $11.68 billion for the second quarter. Certainly not while Congress takes summer recess without yet tackling high energy prices, leaving constituents to go a whole month with no vote-grubbing pandering at all.

Exxon’s earnings follow the same pattern as all the big, integrated oil companies: High crude prices helped the parts of the company that produce and sell crude, while skinny refining margins slammed that part of the company. Since oil production is a bigger business than oil refining for Exxon, the bottom line still wins, unlike some specialists in the oil patch.

But what’s really interesting is that Exxon is spending more money—a lot more money—looking for more oil and gas. That comes just a a couple months after Exxon fought back a Rockefeller-led shareholder revolt aimed at making the big oil company focus less on oil. It also comes at a time when big Western oil companies have been frozen out of all the best spots to look for oil, and increasingly spent their spare billions buying back shares to prop up corporate values.

Are the upstream guys back in business? Exxon’s capital and exploration investments in the second quarter jumped 38% from the prior year, to $6.9 billion. For the first half, capex was up 35%, to $12.4 billion. Most of that is in projects like offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of Africa—conventional oil, but kind of hard to get. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Funny how few mention that Exxon pays $2.77 in taxes for every $1.00 profit. All this while struggling to provide uninterrupted on-demand supplies of a product we can't do without.

But wait, there's more: Exxon Posts Record $32.36 Billion Tax Payment - According to CNN, Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

Buried in the story we also find that "In addition to making hefty profits, Exxon also had a hefty tax bill. Worldwide, the company paid $10.5 billion in income taxes in the second quarter, $9.5 billion in sales taxes, and over $12 billion in what it called 'other taxes.'"

MP: In other words, Exxon Mobil paid $32.361 billion in taxes in the second quarter, which works out to $4,114 in taxes per second. Another way to look at it - Exxon paid almost $3 in taxes ($32.361 billion) for every $1 in profits ($11.68 billion), see chart above. (Mark J. Perry,

A windfall tax will not solve our energy crisis - We need a windfall tax like a bump on the head. As Labour's seaside leadership war gets under way, we may rest assured that Gordon Brown's laptop in Southwold is pinging out requests for eye-catching schemes to silence his critics at the party conference this autumn. It is time to be ultra wary of instant solutions. (Charles Clover, Daily Telegraph)

No-Drill Policy Of Democrats Harms Planet - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the Outer Continental Shelf. She won't even allow it to come to a vote.

With $4 gas having massively shifted public opinion in favor of domestic production, she wants to protect her Democratic members from having to cast an anti-drilling election-year vote.

Moreover, given the public mood, she might even lose. This cannot be permitted. Why? Because as she explained to Politico: "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet."

A lovely sentiment. But has Pelosi actually thought through the moratorium's actual effects on the planet? (Charles Krauthammer, IBD)

Judge's ruling throws Southern California power plant plans into disarray - Thirteen proposed electricity-generating plants cannot be built without the necessary environmental and health analyses, the judge ruled. (Los Angeles Times)

Prius Problem: Could Using Less Oil Make Oil More Expensive? - So you think you’re being virtuous by trading in the SUV for, say, a Prius? What if, instead, you’re really sticking the next guy in line with higher pump prices?

In the debate over why oil prices are so high, and where they’re going from here, there’s an intriguing idea making the rounds: The West’s sudden urge to kick the oil habit may run the risk of making oil even pricier in coming years.

The logic goes like this: Despite all the talk of “peak oil,” big producers in OPEC, and Russia and Mexico could tap 8 million to 10 million barrels per day of new oil — if they got the right market signals. That new supply would be enough to meet the world’s oil demand in the next decade, buying time to gradually shift over to a less oil-intensive economy without the whiplash oil-price volatility of recent months.

The rub, according to this theory, is those market signals. Though oil-consuming nations worry about security of supply, oil-producing nations worry about security of demand. If OPEC and other big producers were sure that expensive, long-term investments in new production capacity would find willing takers, they would pony up to pump the extra oil. But with all the talk in the West about curbing oil demand, the theory goes, oil producers are thinking twice about investing in new capacity. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Gasbagging - The political gasbags are out like flies on a dung heap. As Centrica, the owner of British Gas, announces the biggest gas price rises in UK history (up to 44%), we are going to hear an awful lot from our politicians about greedy companies, punitive windfall taxes, and opportunist profiteering. And it certainly will be painful. The average rises across the country will be 35% for gas and 9% for electricity. The standard British Gas bill will now be £886 as against £379 in 2004, while dual fuel bills will rise to over £1,300 (i.e., over £100 per month). The number of people experiencing fuel poverty, which is technically defined as having to expend more than 10% of household income on fuel bills, could rise dramatically to nearly 6 million. This is serious stuff, especially for Gordon Brown and the strife-riven Labour Party.

Of course, Joe-and-Jill public is all steamed up about it, but who really is to blame? Is it the companies? Or is it the gasbags themselves, the politicians? Over and over on this site, till I am as blue in the face as a gas flame, I have stressed the criminal failure of politicians of all parties to confront, and to address, the energy problem. They have consistently baulked at the tough politics required. Now the tough politics have brought things to the boil, but the kettles could soon stop whistling. The merry tune is over. (Global Warming Politics)

Wind Overtakes Water in Britain's Green Energy Mix - LONDON - Wind supplied more of Britain's electricity that water for the first time last year, while power generators preferred gas to coal and nuclear output continued to decline, according to new government data. (Reuters)

Nuclear fallout as EDF pulls £12bn British Energy deal - French energy giant EDF confirmed today that it has pulled its £12 billion offer to buy British Energy, the UK nuclear operator. (The Times)

MIT Develops Way to Bank Solar Energy at Home - CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A US scientist has developed a new way of powering fuel cells that could make it practical for home owners to store solar energy and produce electricity to run lights and appliances at night.

A new catalyst produces the oxygen and hydrogen that fuel cells use to generate electricity, while using far less energy than current methods.

With this catalyst, users could rely on electricity produced by photovoltaic solar cells to power the process that produces the fuel, said the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who developed the new material.

"If you can only have energy when the sun is shining, you're in deep trouble. And that's why, in my opinion, photovoltaics haven't penetrated the market," Daniel Nocera, an MIT professor of energy, said in an interview at his Cambridge, Massachusetts, office. "If I could provide a storage mechanism, then I make energy 24/7 and then we can start talking about solar." (Reuters)

'Oil from algae' promises climate friendly fuel - A liquid fuel made from plants that is chemically identical to crude oil but which does not contribute to climate change when it is burned or, unlike other biofuels, need agricultural land to produce sounds too good to be true. But a company in San Diego claims to have developed exactly that – a sustainable version of oil it calls "green crude". (The Guardian)

Weird, isn't it? Buzzzzzzzz kill - The loss of billions of bees raises questions about our pesticide controls. (LA Times)

Bees survived fields being heavy-metal blasted with lead arsenate (and so did people) and the severe pesticides of the past. They survived the overuse of much more benign compounds like DDT and were not seriously troubled by the earlier naturally-based pyrethrums and their derivates. Now farmers are using light-touch (and naturally based) biodegradable nicotine compounds, which plants have been producing to protect themselves for millions of years and which people actively seek to ingest by various means, Meyerhoff wants you to believe they are nuking bees out of existence (the same claim the antis make for genetically engineered crops, cell phones and just about anything else they want to whine about on the day).

Funny he neglects to mention the massive societal health and nutrition boon delivered by pesticides of all varieties. He also omits just how much wildlife habitat has been spared by the productivity boost delivered by pesticides (if you lose 20% of the crop to pests then you need larger crop areas to meet the same need).

Perhaps this tag is all you really need to know: "Al Meyerhoff, an environmental attorney in Los Angeles, is a former director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's public health program."

Uh-huh... definitely getting worse: Sea trout fished in Seine proves river is cleaner - A healthy-looking sea trout fished out of the Seine just outside Paris last weekend is proof of an improved cleanliness of the river, officials said Thursday.

"It's the first time this species has been identified just outside Paris," said the authority in charge of cleaning up the river, SIAAP.

The capture of a sea trout, a migratory fish "sensitive and demanding about the quality of the water" in which it swims, underlines the continuing improvement in the waters of the Seine, SIAAP added in a statement.

It swam upstream from the Seine estuary on the Atlantic ocean through a great number of locks and barriers, bringing to 32 the number of fish species in the Seine, in comparison to only three in 1970. (AFP)

The exercise diet that wasn’t - “Step it up ladies,” we’ve been hearing this week. Research from the University of Pittsburg was reported as showing that it takes an hour a day of exercise for overweight women to get in shape and keep the weight off. According to the media, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found “it only takes one hour of exercise a day to maintain a steady weight loss and keep those unwanted extra pounds off.”

Did reporters read the same study I did? Or, did they take their lead from a press release and fill in the rest with what’s popularly believed fat women should do? (Junkfood Science)

Does watching TV cause autism? - I have no idea, but two gentlemen from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell and one from the Economics department at Purdue seem to think so. They have written a paper, which has found interest at Slate, which they boast as an “exclusive.”

Waldman’s (and others) paper, which is a couple of years old, is a prime example of how to get carried away with an idea, so it is worthwhile to review it. It’s best to download the paper so you can follow along (the paper is freely available). (William M. Briggs, Statistician)

Live Chat Transcript With John Stossel - Editors' Note: On Thursday, July 31, 2008, John Stossel participated with a live chat with his readers to commemorate Milton Friedman Day, sponsored by and the Young America's Foundation. (Townhall)

Apparent suicide in anthrax case - A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation. (Los Angeles Times)

Nudity alert! Gaia stripped bare! Pictures online! See Mother Earth naked -- a modern masterpiece - Have you ever wondered what our world would look like stripped bare of all plants, soils, water and man-made structures? Well wonder no longer; images of the Earth as never seen before have been unveiled in what is the world's biggest geological mapping project ever. (British Geological Survey)

Caged Hens Spark Battle Over Eggs in California - LOS ANGELES - What do hens want, and how do humans know?

That's the issue at the heart of a fierce battle looming in California between animal rights campaigners and egg producers over the welfare of caged hens that could crack the state's US$300 million egg production industry. (Reuters)