Archives - December 2008

December 24, 2008

New York's Soda Tax Scam - New York Governor David Paterson has proposed to levy an 18 percent tax on non-diet soft drinks under the guise of combating obesity. Government doesn't get much more cynical than this. (Steve Milloy,

sp!ked reviews 2008:
2008: the year of living dangerously? - Let's put into perspective the mad, green-tinged panics - from melting ice to Olympian smog - that made the news in 2008.

The year that humanity became the baddie - In 2008, movie misanthropy went mainstream, but we had uplifting films about Russian scum and tightrope walkers.

A year of myths about smoking and obesity - At the fag end of 2008, two experts look back at puffed-up claims about smoking bans and the 'obesity epidemic'.

How to have a merry and moral Christmas - Forget 'going ethical' by buying overexpensive organic gifts you can't afford. Be moral this year instead. (sp!ked)

Environmental Restrictionists Could Use Polar Bears To Get In The Way Of Infrastructure Projects - In his column, Hugh Hewitt cites my recent blogpost on Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar and raises the question of how Salazar will deal with polar bears. Yes, polar bears. As Hewitt points out in this column and as he has written on his blog at, environmental restrictionists want to use the threat that supposed global warming poses to polar bears as the basis of legal suits to stop economic development not just in Alaska but throughout the United States. This sounds outlandish, but it's true. No economic growth because it might raise temperatures in the Arctic, which might in turn reduce the number of ice floes that these attractive carnivores jump on. (Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog)

95,000 Excess U.S. Deaths during the Cold Months Each Year - Guest post by Indur Goklany

Now that the cold weather is here, we should remember that more Americans die during the cold months than at any other time of year, notwithstanding any global warming.

The figure below, which is based on data from the US National Center for Health Statistics for 2001-2007, shows that on average 7,200 Americans die each day during the months of December, January, February and March, compared to the average 6,400 who die daily during the rest of the year. On this basis, there were 95,000 “excess” deaths during the 121 days in the cold months (December to March, assuming a non-leap year).

So bundle up if you go outside, and keep warm indoors as well. (Watts Up With That?)

It's Cold Outside, But Global Warming Industry Still Hard At Work - The most expensive secret you’re not supposed to know is that George W. Bush leaves office with the planet cooler than when he entered. This dangerous trend threatens the multi-billion dollar “global warming” industry, adding new urgency to the ritual shriek of “we must act now!” in the scramble to impose a costly regime of mandates and energy taxes.

The global warming industry’s tactics already range from comical to reprehensible. As a result of a cooling atmosphere -- which thanks to the “global cooling” panic we began measuring in 1979 -- you are distracted with irrelevant surface temperatures. This is possibly because more than 90% of our surface thermometer network is in violation of rules for locating the instruments. For example, why are so many now on asphalt parking lots, black tar roofs, airport tarmacs, and even hanging directly above barbeque grills?

Such childishness is only the tip of the iceberg of outrages employed to advance an ideological agenda. Our schools torment those whom they are charged with protecting from abuse, with night terrors among the less egregious outcomes. Their brainwashing includes hate mail campaigns to skeptics, reporting on their parents’ willingness to adopt an agenda, and even emotional breakdown requiring institutionalization. (Christopher C. Horner, Human Events)

Christmas Snow Job - It’s the most wonderful time of the year… well, it’s Christmas and all those wonderful holiday-season movies are back on the airwaves. One common feature is snow—we get the impression that every American lives in a place that guarantees a white Christmas. Truth be known, Americans experiencing a white Christmas are on a decline due entirely to migration patterns to the Sun Belt, not global warming. However, if you conduct a web search for “global warming and snow,” an incredible 4.8 million sites are found. You will find everything from global warming causes more snow to global warming causes less snow to global warming is a snow job! Who can ever forget the January 22, 1996 Newsweek cover (below) screaming that blizzards should be blamed on global warming? Get granddad and grandmom reminiscing about Christmas days in the past and you might get the impression something has happened to the climate system. (WCR)

Should tell you all you need to know... Lunacy clouds climate change policy - British politicians have failed to heed expert advice on greenhouse gases, but maybe Barack Obama will be different

At long last, it seems as if a US president will be getting honest scientific advice about climate change, with Barack Obama's appointment of John Holdren as the director of the White House office of science and technology policy. 

In the UK, as long ago as the late 1980s, we were lucky enough to have Sir John Houghton at the Met office and Sir Crispin Tickell, then the UK's ambassador to the UN, to convince Margaret Thatcher that climate change was a reality. So British politicians have had almost 20 years to plan the changes we will need to make as we remove carbon from our economy. All the more inexcusable then that many UK politicians, including Gordon Brown, are still running the country as if climate change did not exist. (Peter Melchett, The Guardian)

... with Melchett cheering misanthropic BS is guaranteed.

Update By Mark Serreze On Current Sea Ice Coverage - There has been quite a bit of commentary on the web with respect to the current absence of continued freeze up of Arctic Sea ice as monitored by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Mark Serreze has graciously permitted Climate Science to post the explanation for this lack of increase. His comment follows:

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about this. We are quite certain that the almost complete lack of increase in ice extent since about December 10 is real. Satellite-derived ice extent from the SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwaver/Imager) used to create the time series on our website was checked against extent based on the AMSR (Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer) instrument. AMSR shows the same pattern. This gives us independent confirmation. The past 10 days has seen a very unusual atmospheric pattern. It has been very warm over the Arctic Ocean, and wind patterns have favored a compact ice cover. While the lack of increase in ice extent is certainly quite unusual as well as interesting, we would not read too much into it right now, at it is just weather. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week. [The] issue with Chapman’s site, apparently, is that they are looking at area (concentration weighted) versus extent (part of ocean covered with ice with at least 15% concentration) The compaction that seems to be going on could give a flat line in extent but still a rise in area. In other words, the issue may be that we are looking at two different measures of ice conditions. Also, it’s not clear (I’ll have to check) how current Chapman’s data are. We had a delay in posting for awhile because of some data dropouts. “ ( Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

Solar Activity and Tropical Cyclones: Are the two related?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 649 individual scientists from 380 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Canada's Columbia Icefield, Canadian Rockies, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tropical Cyclones (Atlantic Ocean - Global Warming Effects: Frequency, The Past Few Millennia): What do millennial reconstructions of intense Atlantic hurricane activity reveal about the likelihood of global warming increasing the yearly number of Atlantic hurricanes?

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: Garden Bean, Marine Diatom, Sundial Lupine, and Sweet Orange Tree.

Journal Reviews:
"Rocky Mountain High": Does the song reflect the character of the region's late 20th-century temperatures?

Solar Forcing of Droughts in East-Central North America: What is the evidence for the linkage? ... and how strong is it?

Pollen and Allergies in Switzerland: How have they varied over the past few decades?

Opiate Production by Poppies: How is it affected by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

Root Respiration and Global Warming: Does the former rise exponentially in response to the latter, as so many modeling studies suggest? (

Spreading contagion: California will see clout increase at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue - WASHINGTON — California will regain some of its political mojo next year, on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. 

On Capitol Hill, California lawmakers will chair the committees that manage health, education, energy and more. One California senator will oversee the nation's spies. The other will write global warming legislation. A willful San Franciscan will run the House of Representatives.

Sixteen blocks away, the White House and its executive branch environs will be equally well-populated by Californians. Two cabinet secretaries and multiple key economic, environmental and legislative advisers bring years of California experience. 

Simply by the numbers, California's renewed stature seems undeniable. The numbers and titles, though, don't tell the whole story. Clout, it turns out, is complicated. (McClatchy Newspapers)

Major FDA consumer alert on diet pills - The FDA just issued one of the largest and most serious consumer alerts about over-the-counter supplements being sold for weight loss. Twenty five products were found to be tainted with active pharmaceutical ingredients that may put people’s health at significant risk. (Junkfood Science)

The hospital was unaware any medical records had been stolen…  - The steady reports of security breaches of electronic medical records are too numerous to report. The latest one at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles deserves a special note, though, because the hospital has had a history of problems with breaches of patients’ private medical information and yet, in this latest identity theft, hospital officials were oblivious that the records had even been stolen and were being used for illegal activity until alerted by prosecutors. 

It shows, once again, as security experts know, that no electronic system is invulnerable. (Junkfood Science)

A special thanks - Thank you so much, Dr. John Brignell, Ph.D., for your incredibly kind acknowledgment and encouragement. I hope all of the science-minded readers at Number Watch whom you’ve generously tutored and mentored over the years are pushing your PayPal button, too! (Junkfood Science)

Do fish fly? - Jeremy Piven abruptly quit his $15,000 a week gig in the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow last week, when his doctor claimed he had mercury poisoning from all of the sushi he’d been eating.

For this story to be true, he would be the first human in recorded history* to get mercury poisoning from eating sushi in this country.

Is it time to contact the Guiness Book of World Records or is this story a little fishy?

While none of us knows Mr. Piven’s actual medical condition and can only go by what has been reported in the news, this theatrical story is fueling a lot of fears that sushi can cause mercury toxicity. That makes it worthwhile to bring some science to the sensation. (Junkfood Science)

So Is Fish Safe to Eat or Not? - The federal government has been trying to persuade pregnant and breast-feeding women to limit their intake of fish because of mercury contamination. Now some federal scientists are arguing that these women should actually increase their fish consumption. The behind-the-scenes disagreement is fierce and raises serious questions for consumers. (New York Times)

Short answer? Fish is very good food and "advisories" are triggered by truly enormous safety margins. Your baby is probably at greater risk of malnutrition than from the mercury content of any commercially available fish even if you ate nothing else (not advised, you should eat a balanced diet). This terror campaign over fish and health does far more harm than good.

The assault on useful compounds is relentless: Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment The Task Ahead - People are exposed to a variety of chemicals throughout their daily lives. To protect public health, regulators use risk assessments to examine the effects of chemical exposures. This book provides guidance for assessing the risk of phthalates, chemicals found in many consumer products that have been shown to affect the development of the male reproductive system of laboratory animals.

Because people are exposed to multiple phthalates and other chemicals that affect male reproductive development, a cumulative risk assessment should be conducted that evaluates the combined effects of exposure to all these chemicals. The book suggests an approach for cumulative risk assessment that can serve as a model for evaluating the health risks of other types of chemicals. (NAP)

NOAA Determines Ribbon Seals Should Not be Listed as Endangered - From a NOAA press release:

NOAA today announced that ribbon seals are not in current danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, and should not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. (Alaska Report)

December 23, 2008

Economic bloodletting - Doctors once prescribed bloodletting to eliminate impurities that they believed caused disease. When George Washington was stricken with malaria and a throat infection in December 1799, his physicians bled a quart of blood from his weakened body, and followed that with laxatives and emetics. 

A few hours later, Washington died – from a cure far worse than the disease. 

Today, our nation is in a recession. Millions are unemployed. The financial services, housing and stock market meltdown has hammered incomes, consumer spending, savings, profits, tax revenues, charity, remittances and foreign aid in America and across the globe. 

Congress and the White House have responded with promises to spend $1 trillion or more, to bail out banks, homeowners, taxpayers, auto makers and other beleaguered groups; fix roads and bridges; and weatherize buildings, develop renewable energy and create "green jobs." 

The economic situation is so dire, says President-Elect Obama, that we can't worry about deficits. The "patient" needs a large "blood infusion" stimulus to "get the economy moving." 

But the proposed infusion is artificial blood: government loans, grants, mandates and massive debts for our children – experimental treatments that haven't worked in the past, and are unlikely to work now. Reduced taxes and regulations would stimulate many more private sector initiatives and jobs, argue many economists; but those curatives enjoy little support among current political leaders.

Worse, there is a real danger that the stimulus actions will be followed by the economic equivalent of medical practices that killed our first president. 

Precluding access to oil, gas, coal and uranium would deprive America of fuels that produce 93% of the energy that makes jobs, living standards, food, health and transportation possible. It would force us to continue spending our children's inheritance on imported energy – and forego trillions of dollars in leasing, royalty and tax revenues that could help pay for stimulus, defense, renewable energy, low-income energy assistance and other programs. 

Some want even more extreme bloodletting administered in the name of global warming. Mr. Obama wants a stringent cap-and-trade program, to slash carbon dioxide "impurities" by 80% by 2050. He says any company trying to build a coal-fired generating plant will be "bankrupted" by greenhouse gas fees. (Paul Driessen, Enter Stage Right)

NOAA's Ark - President-elect Obama chooses as his science adviser and head of our weather research agency two global warming activists who believe your SUV is driving us over a climate cliff.

Personnel is policy, the political cliche goes, and on Saturday the Obama administration's policy on global warming became clear. (IBD)

Major problem... Obama team primed to push climate change agenda - WASHINGTON, Dec 22 - President-elect Barack Obama's new "green dream team" is committed to battling climate change and ready to push for big policy reforms, in stark contrast with the Bush administration, environmental advocates said on Monday.

"If this team can't advance strong national policy on global warming, then no one can," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, referring to Obama's picks for the top energy and environment jobs in his administration, which takes office on Jan. 20. (Reuters)

... something which should be obvious to all just by noting who is excited by the selection of this set of misanthropic dipsticks.

Fewer Americans Worried About Climate Change - While still high, the proportion of people in the United States who are concerned about climate change has dropped this year, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 65 per cent of respondents believe global warming is a very or somewhat serious problem, down eight points since April. (Angus Reid Global Monitor)

Oh... Climate change could one day doom "white Christmas" - BERLIN - The odds of a "white Christmas" in temperate parts of the northern hemisphere have diminished in the last century due to climate change and will likely decline further by 2100, climate and meteorology experts said.

Even though heavy snow this year will guarantee a white Christmas in many parts of Asia, Europe and North America, a 0.7-degree Celsius rise in world temperatures since 1900 and projected bigger rises by 2100 suggest an inexorable trend.

"The probability of snow on the ground at Christmas is already lower than it was even 50 years ago but it will become an even greater rarity many places by the latter half of the century," said Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarber, climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (Reuters)

Prominent Scientist Fired By Gore Says Warming Alarm ‘Mistaken’, Joins Senate Report of More Than 650 Dissenting Scientists - WASHINGTON, DC – Award winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer, who was reportedly fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore’s scientific views, has now declared man-made global warming fears “mistaken.”

“I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken,” Happer, who has published over 200 scientific papers, told EPW on December 22, 2008. Happer made his remarks while requesting to join the 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report from Environment and Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) of over 650 (and growing) dissenting international scientists disputing anthropogenic climate fears. (EPW Press Blog)

Oh dear... Tough climate goals may be easier than feared - OSLO - Tough targets for avoiding dangerous global warming may be easier to achieve than widely believed, according to a study that could ease fears of a prohibitive long-term surge in costs.

The report, by scientists in the Netherlands and Germany, indicated that initial investments needed to be high to have any impact in slowing temperature rises. Beyond a certain threshold, however, extra spending would have clear returns on warming.

Until now, most governments have worried that costs may start low and then soar -- suggesting that ambitious targets will become too expensive for tackling threats such as extinctions, droughts, floods and rising seas. (Reuters)

... how can throwing money at a non-problem to tinker with irrelevant peripheral parameters ever be anything but an expensive failure? How can wasting monies that could be used to address real problems ever be anything but an unmitigated disaster? Goals are fine but attempting to implement this particular set represents monumental stupidity.

Polish Sausage: The E.U. Fails On New Kyoto Effort - Europe was supposed to be the Great White Hope for the environmental alarmists, the only credible balancing force against the irresponsible and crass capitalism of the U.S. which refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions. But the results of the recent E.U. Climate Summit in Poznan, Poland showed that hope to be misplaced.

In July the U.N.'s IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri, called on the E.U. to "show the way" to the rest of the world. If the E.U. did not do so, Pachauri said, "all attempts to manage the problem of climate change will collapse." The meeting in Poland was supposed to translate the E.U.’s ambitious target of 20 percent cuts in carbon emissions by 2020 (compared with 1990 levels) into hard-nosed legally binding agreements. In the end, the E.U. leadership approved a document full of escape clauses.

While E.U. leaders said the deal was “an example for the world”, environmental groups deemed it a betrayal of the E.U.’s efforts to fight climate change. The World Wildlife Fund, among others, called upon the E.U. Parliament to refuse major parts of the deal. They especially demanded the rejection of the raft of exemptions from the cap-and-trade scheme. The E.U. Parliament wasn’t listening. It duly ratified the deal. 

Denying that the deal significantly watered down pre-conference goals, E.U. leaders now hope they have done enough to convince the U.S., India, China, and others to follow suit. But even a cursory review reveals the claims don't stack up. (Peter C. Glover and Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)

Deroy Murdock: Global cooling? - Winter officially arrives today with the solstice. But for many Americans, autumn 2008's final days already felt like deepest, coldest January. 

Some New Englanders still lack electricity after a Dec. 11 ice storm snapped power lines. Up to eight inches of snow struck New Orleans and southern Louisiana that day and didn't melt for 48 hours in some neighborhoods. 

In southern California Dec. 17, a half-inch of snow brightened Malibu's hills while a half-foot barricaded highways and marooned commuters in desert towns east of Los Angeles. Three inches of the white stuff shuttered Las Vegas' McCarren Airport that day and dusted the Strip's hotels and casinos. 

What are the odds of that? 

Actually, the odds are rising that snow, ice and cold will grow increasingly common. As serious scientists repeatedly explain, global cooling is here. It is chilling temperatures and so-called "global-warming." 

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2008 will be America's coldest year since 1997, thanks to La Nina and precipitation in the central and eastern states. Solar quietude also may underlie global cooling. This year's sunspots and solar radiation approach the minimum in the sun's cycle, corresponding with lower Earth temperatures. This echoes Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas' belief that solar variability, much more than CO2, sways global temperatures. (Washington Times)

Global cooling (Andrew Bolt Blog)

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Cooling is 'not evidence that global warming is slowing' - My relatives in New England are fighting their way out from under a giant ice storm. Here in Las Vegas it's been snowing all week, several weeks earlier than our usual one-day-a-year photo op of snow and icicles sparkling one of our palm-bedecked golf courses before melting away by afternoon. The National Weather Service calls it "a rare snow event."

Why? It's getting colder. 2008 was the coolest year in a decade.

The American mainstream press seem to know "team players" don't mention such inconvenient developments, but in the U.K., the esteemed Guardian reports, "This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07."

How stupid does this make politicians such as Barack Obama and the other suckers who have fallen for the "global warming" hoax as they race to say, "Never mind"?

Actually, they haven't missed a beat. These guys are so "scientific" that the evidence of their own eyes and overcoats has become irrelevant. They now contend global cooling is just further proof of global warming. Honest.

So-called "climate scientists" insist "The relatively chilly temperatures compared with recent years are not evidence that global warming is slowing," The Guardian reports.

Um ... Earth's cooling doesn't mean the Earth is cooling? (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Completely inadequate IPCC models produce the ultimate deception about man made global warming - E. R. Beadle said, “Half the work done in the world is to make things appear what they are not.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does this with purpose and great effect. They built the difference between appearance and reality into their process. Unlike procedure used elsewhere, they produce and release a summary report independently and before the actual technical report is completed. This way the summary gets maximum media attention and becomes the public understanding of what the scientists said. Climate science is made to appear what it is not. Indeed, it is not even what is in their Scientific Report. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Political sunshine for Labor's climate change plan - After an entire week of criticism, and after even their own analyst, Professor Garnaut, has condemned it, the Rudd Government still stands by its climate plan.

Why? Because it is one of the best political moves they have ever made. 

The Opposition is in an incredibly narrow corner, and Labor has demonstrated that the wedge isn't just a Liberal tactic. 

The Liberal Party is bemoaning the fact that the next fairly even percentage level down from 5 per cent is 0, and realising that they really have nowhere to go. Meanwhile, Labor strategists congratulate themselves that the only party that protest votes could flow to, the Greens, will inevitably deliver them the lost votes through preferences.

With the Green's protests having been relatively small and nobody realising that the Government is simultaneously blaming population growth for the difficulty in reducing emissions and trying to stimulate this same growth with the baby bonus, the Government must be ecstatic. (Canberra Times)

Why the opposition (such as it is) does not go for reality rather than this gorebull warming nonsense remains a mystery -- it's not as if they have anything to lose and they could ride to the rescue of the populace (and into government) by blocking Left-imposed self-harm in the name of fighting the phantom menace.

Hmm... Tropics cooled by eruptions - A study released on Sunday revealed volcanic eruptions have periodically cooled the tropics over at least the last 450 years.

PARIS - VOLCANIC eruptions have periodically cooled the tropics over at least the last 450 years by spewing out particles that girdle the world at high altitude and reflect sunlight, according to a study released on Sunday.

The research adds a chunk of regional evidence to earlier work that found major eruptions - such as Krakatoa, Indonesia in 1883 and Huaynaputina, Peru in 1600 - contribute to cooling on a worldwide scale.

A trio of scientists led by Dr Rosanne D'Arrigo of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, looked at ocean temperatures in a belt extending from 30 degrees south across the equator to 30 degrees north.

They compiled temperature records reaching back nearly half a millennium from three sources: ice cores, tree rings and coral reefs.

They found the longest sustained period of cooling of sea surfaces - to a depth of one metre - occurred in the early 1800s following the eruption of Mount Tambora on the Indonesia island of Sumbawa.

Tambora blew its top in 1815 and was the most powerful eruption in recorded history, ejecting about 50 cubic kilometres of magma, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

However, links between volcanic activity and cooler ocean surfaces weakened in the 20th century, apparently as a result of global warming from the burning of fossil fuels, the researchers say. (AFP)

Another study heavily dependent on treemometers... looks like the divergence problem striking again as their nice little associations fall apart through the Twentieth Century.

Vegetation Fire Emissions And Their Impact on Air Pollution And Climate By Langmann et al. 2009 - Yet another paper has appeared that documents the role of vegetation as a first order climate forcing. It is Langmann et al., 2009: Vegetation fire emissions and their impact on air pollution and climate. Atmospheric Environment, Volume 43, Issue 1, 107-116.

The abstract reads: “Gaseous and particulate emissions from vegetation fires substantially modify the atmospheric chemical composition, degrade air quality and can alter weather and climate. The impact of vegetation fire emissions on air pollution and climate has been recognised in the late 1970s. The application of satellite data for fire-related studies in the beginning of the 21th century represented a major break through in our understanding of the global importance of fires. Today the location and extent of vegetation fires, burned area and emissions released from fires are determined from satellite products even though many uncertainties persist. Numerous dedicated experimental and modeling studies contributed to improve the current knowledge of the atmospheric impact of vegetation fires. The motivation of this paper is to give an overview of vegetation fire emissions, their environmental and climate impact, and what improvements can be expected in the near future.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Seawater science can help climate change forecasts - SINGAPORE - A team of scientists has come up with a new definition of seawater which is set to boost the accuracy of projections for oceans and climate.

Oceans help regulate the planet's weather by shifting heat from the equator to the poles. Changes in salinity and temperature are major forces driving global currents as well as circulation patterns from the surface to the seabed.

Understanding exactly how much heat the ocean can absorb and accounting for tiny differences in salinity are crucial for scientists to figure how oceans affect climate and how that interaction could change because of global warming.

"Getting these circulations right is central to the task of quantifying the ocean's role in climate change," said Trevor McDougall of Australia's state-backed research body the CSIRO, who is part of the international team that updated the methods to define sea water.

He said the new definition allows for the first time to accurately calculate ocean heat content and take into account small differences in salinity. Previous methods assumed the composition of seawater was the same around the globe. (Reuters)

Bad news for bears - Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea region of the Arctic are finding it increasingly difficult to find food during springtime, suggests a new study. (Nature Reports Climate Change)

Why? Probably because the poor buggers are being endlessly harassed by researchers chasing them in helicopters & nailing them with dart guns (but hey, gotta do something to get a slice of that gorebull warming funding largess, no?).

Scientist adjusts data -- presto, Antarctic cooling disappears - "New research presented at the AGU today suggests that the entire Antarctic continent may have warmed significantly over the past 50 years. The study ... calls into question existing lines of evidence that show the region has mostly cooled over the past half-century. ... (Heliogenic Climate Change)

Sunspot data vital clue to climate change - New discoveries linking periodic changes in the Sun’s magnetic field with global weather patterns could enable scientists to gain a clearer understanding of how additional factors – such as greenhouse gases – contribute to those weather patterns.

A newly-published paper by the University of New England’s Dr Robert Baker establishes the connection between solar cycles and the weather by correlating sunspot activity and rainfall figures for south-eastern Australia over the past 130 years.

Cycles of sunspot activity are a visible indication of the periodic changes in magnetic forces within the Sun. The most well-known sunspot cycle is the 11-year “Schwab” cycle, which comprises alternating five-and-a-half-year periods of relatively high and low sunspot activity.

Dr Baker’s paper, “Exploratory analysis of similarities in solar cycle magnetic phases with Southern Oscillation Index fluctuations in Eastern Australia” (Geographical Research, December 2008), shows that periods of increased sunspot activity are consistently associated with those periods of high rainfall in south-eastern Australia predicted by the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). Periods of drought, such as that which has afflicted Australia for the past six years, are associated with minimal sunspot activity. (Insciences)

Blame the Sun for a Cloudy Day? - An Australian researcher has linked the sun's magnetic activity to rainfall patterns in his country over the past century. The connection is solid enough that meteorologists might be able to use it to make better long-term weather predictions. But experts remain cautious about the wider implications of the findings.

Scientists have long known that the sun plays a key role in Earth's weather patterns. For example, the number of sunspots on its surface--dark zones of intense magnetic activity--peaks about every 11 years, followed by a period of dormancy. The cycle causes swings in sea-surface temperatures--more sunspots mean warmer oceans, and fewer mean chillier waters--but the effect is small. There's also a 22-year cycle, in which the sun changes the polarity of its magnetic field, but it's unclear how that phenomenon affects Earth. (ScienceNOW Daily News)

What we've learned in 2008 - Amanda Leigh Mascarelli looks at how far our understanding of climate change has come in the past twelve months. (Nature Reports Climate Change)

What they've learned? Apparently squat!

Obama Should Forget About Energy Independence - The only way to get there is job-killing taxes.

This week in Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama introduced key members of his new energy and environmental team and gave a statement expressing his administration's ambitious goal to make America energy independent. While his desire to do so is sincere, such a strategy would be disastrous for our economy.

The platitude of "energy independence" makes zero economic sense. Yes, it's true that many nations that supply us with oil are run by anti-American governments. But unfortunately embargoes don't overturn despotic regimes. More often than not they harden them, as in Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba. Since the U.S. is so reliant on oil, embargoes will hurt the U.S. as much, if not more, than the countries of OPEC. The issue of how to handle the anti-American nature of oil-exporting nations is not for the Commerce Department, but for the White House, the State Department and perhaps the Department of Defense.

The U.S. currently imports some 60% of the oil we use. To imagine an energy-independent U.S. today is to envision gas at $20 or more per gallon and a true depression. President Dwight D. Eisenhower tried oil import tariffs in the 1950s, as has every president since. Yet never before has America's reliance on foreign oil been greater than it is now. (Auther B. Laffer, Wall Street Journal)

Chu on China - “China’s addition of 90GW of coal-fired power plants installed in 2006 alone is expected to emit over 500 million tons of CO2 per year for their 40 year lifetimes. This is (sic) compared to the entire European Union’s Kyoto reduction commitment of 300 million tons of CO2.”—From Dr. Steven Chu’s congressional testimony March 2007. President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Dr. Chu to become Secretary of Energy. (Cooler Heads Digest)

EIA Predicts Greener America - The Earth's city lights at night. The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated.

-Use less oil

-Cut carbon dioxide emissions

-Drastically increase energy from renewables

-Reduce reliance on foreign imports

Sound like an environmentalist’s Christmas wish list? It’s not. It’s the Energy Information Administration’s latest estimates for U.S. energy use through 2030. The 2009 version, released on Wednesday, contains some significant changes from the previous year’s outlook.

The EIA predicts virtually no growth in U.S. oil consumption over the next 20 years. They credit this feat to a combination of events including: increased automobile efficiency, increasing use of biofuels and a rebound in oil prices after the world economy recovers from its current recession. By 2030 they expect the price of crude to be back up to $130 per barrel in 2007 dollars ($189 per bbl in nominal dollars). (Seth Myers, Energy Tribune)

LA To Try Solar Again? - Los Angeles has a solar power measure on the ballot for the city referendum this March. Measure B, titled “Green Energy and Good Jobs for Los Angeles,” would require the LA Department of Water and Power to build 400 megawatts of distributed generation on publicly owned rooftops. The LA Times reports today that Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller warned that the solar measure could result in "substantial increases" to the electricity bills of DWP customers. In 2000, L.A. announced it would become the "Solar Capital of the World," with solar panels on 100,000 rooftops by 2010. Three years and $80 million later the city cancelled the project as cost-ineffective, 99,400 buildings short of its goal. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

EC orders asset sale as price for EDF British Energy deal - The European Commission will force a sell-off of assets in return for approving Electricité de France's £12.5bn acquisition of British Energy.

EDF must sell its non-nuclear power plant at Sutton Bridge and another owned by British Energy at Eggborough to overcome competition objections, the commission ruled yesterday.

The state-controlled French utility must also agree to sell minimum amounts of electricity in the UK wholesale market, dispose of land at either Dungeness or Heysham that could be used to build a new nuclear power station, and end one of its three connection agreements with National Grid.

In return, EDF will avoid a drawn-out inquiry into its acquisition of Britain's biggest electricity provider in a deal that will put it at the forefront of UK nuclear power development. (The Independent)

Bentley plan to cut CO2 with ethanol comes under fire - Bentley, the British-based luxury carmaker owned by Germany's Volkswagen, reckons biofuels are the key to cutting its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on the way to a greener future. 

In the short to medium term, this means embracing ethanol as the main so-called renewable fuel. But, unfortunately for Bentley and the likes of GM, the science points increasingly to this being a dead-end street. Some experts reckon this push for ethanol shows Bentley needs a quick and cheap way to at least appear to be improving fuel economy. (Detroit News)

We Wouldn’t Touch You With a 39 1/2 Foot Pole, Mr. Goreinch (The Chilling Effect)

Disease — is it just a state of mind and bad energy? - The bigger story’s been missed. No one has put the pieces together. Two medical news stories this month may have appeared to be completely unrelated, but they had everything to do with each other. What they forewarn may be the most important message of all for the future of our healthcare. (Junkfood Science)

In America, Millions Breathe Too Much Soot - More than 100 million people living in 46 metropolitan areas of the United States are breathing air that has become fouled with too much soot on some days, and now those cities have to clean up their air, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said Monday. 

The EPA added 15 cities to the sooty air list, mostly in states not usually thought of as pollution-prone, such as Alaska, Utah, Idaho and Wisconsin. That probably is because of the prevalence of wood stoves in western and northern regions, a top EPA official said. 

But environmentalists said the EPA was doing only half its job on soot-laden areas, letting off the hook some southern cities with long-term soot problems, such as Houston, Texas. 

The EPA notified elected officials in 211 counties in 25 states that their air violated newly tightened daily standards for fine particles of pollution from diesel-burning trucks, power plants, wood-burning stoves and other sources. Those particles, often called soot, can cause breathing and heart problems. (AP)

Was a time, not very long ago, when everybody suffered much higher soot level exposures than those complained about by those trying to impose on us all test-tube pure air (which has never existed in nature). Time to ask, are we better off now that they were in the era of candles, lanterns and outdoor plumbing?

Revision Run Amok - The paper of record blames the "mortgage bonfire" on President Bush and his "laissez-faire" housing policies. But to get there, the Times completely ignored history prior to 2002. (IBD)

Exercising my god-given right to water - The United Nations' new "senior advisor on water"—a Canadian woman named Maude Barlow—says everybody has a right to water.

What that means, I guess, is that I have a right to take a bucket down to Whiskey Creek—a mile away—and carry home enough water to drink (after I boiling it to kill any bacteria left in the stream by the local deer and raccoons). If Whiskey Creek should dry up in a drought, I'd have the right to go even further, to the Shenandoah River, for my God-given water, or perhaps even to the Chesapeake Bay. 

That's better than the old days, when my village would have had to fight other villages for the right to water holes or local streams, but it's not much comfort to my wife. She's gotten used to having clean, safe water come out of the tap in the kitchen and bath. (Dennis T. Avery, Enter Stage Right)

December 22, 2008

This year's Grinch Award goes to... Greenpeace, for their efforts terrorizing children:

Now, personally, I have doubts about the authenticity of such a stupid piece of propaganda so, if not, then the award should be for creative and all-too-plausible disinformation. Either way parents need to be warned this crap is waiting in ambush for their children on youtube.

More in a similar vein: Hot Propaganda - coming soon to a TV near you (Watts Up With That?)

Ho, Ho, Ho: Green Santa Has Some Seeing Red - If you’ve got rugrats of a certain age, you don’t have to wait till January to gauge the country’s new environmental tenor. Just watch your kid’s school Christmas play.

“Santa Goes Green” is the theme of elementary-school productions across the country, apparently involving plans to retool Santa’s sleigh into a more efficient electric model and getting Rudolph’s nose up to code, efficiency-wise. That’s got some people grinchlike already, by the looks of it: 

I was not prepared when I was tricked into sitting through a half hour long political statement on “Global Warming.” I was not appreciative that my grand-daughter is being taught this unproven theory of mankind destroying the Earth, and that even Santa must do something to prevent its self-destruction.

Actually, Santa’s role is key. In a new children’s book with the same title, a little boy eschews toys and urges Santa Claus to throw his considerable weight behind the global warming fight in order to save his (presumably herbivorous) polar bear friend. ( Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Speaking of nonsense propaganda: Met Office warn of 'catastrophic' rise in temperature - A new study by the Met Office warns that the world could warm by more than 5C in the next 90 years, if emissions keep on rising. This would be catastrophic for the environment and for humanity. Dr Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre explains the science (The Times)

Partly correct, at least: We need to prepare for climate change that's inevitable - The state has taken historic steps to combat global warming. But even if our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are successful, there is growing scientific evidence that some climate change will nevertheless take place. We need to start preparing to adapt to this inevitability. ( Louise Bedsworth and Ellen Hanak, Mercury News)

No matter what humans do the climate will change and we must adapt or die. Pretty simple, isn't it -- why can't everybody see it?

Reply to RealClimate’s Attacks on the NIPCC Climate Report - On November 28, the global warming alarmist Web site “RealClimate” posted a ridiculously lame attack by Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt against “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate,” the summary for policymakers of the 2008 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

The NIPCC report was written by S. Fred Singer, Ph.D. and an additional 23 contributors, including some of the most accomplished atmospheric scientists in the world. The paper references approximately 200 published papers and scientific reports in support of its conclusions. It provides strong evidence that human activity is not causing a global warming crisis. ( Joseph L. Bast and James M. Taylor, The Heartland Institute)

The so-called consensus on global warming is melting - News reports from last week's UN Climate Change Summit in Poland told us global warming is "a ticking time bomb" bringing "death and destruction" to the world. Others suggested Arctic ice levels are at their lowest point ever and may disappear entirely by 2015, CO2 levels are 10 per cent higher than what is safe and basic survival will force polar bears to give up their tasty staple of seal meat for "scrambled eggs" from the nests of snow geese. (Those who've attempted to convert a cat to new food will understand the potential difficulties in explaining this to the polar bears.)

Fittingly, self-proclaimed climate expert Al Gore called the situation "the equivalent of a five-alarm fire that has to be addressed immediately."

The only thing more significant to the future of our planet than the "five-alarm fire" reported from the conference is --what we weren't told. (Susan Martinuk, Calgary Herald)

Follow up to Questions on Deaths from Extreme Cold and Extreme Heat - The post The Deadliest U.S. Natural Hazard: Extreme Cold has generated a number of questions. Mr.. Goklany has graciously supplied a followup which I have posted below. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

From the virtual realm: Stronger coastal winds due to climate change may have far-reaching effects - Future increases in wind strength along the California coast may have far-reaching effects, including more intense upwelling of cold water along the coast early in the season, "dead zones" in coastal waters, and increased fire danger in Southern California, according to researchers at the Climate Change and Impacts Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. (

On what planet? UN climate talks reveal growing global consensus - Former opponents coming around to fight climate change

POZNAN, Poland — If one message has emerged from the long and often tortuous hours of climate negotiations in recent years, it is this: In the end, progress is being made.

The level of international ambition to deal with climate change is growing, as was evident at the latest round of UN climate talks, which ended Friday in Poland. It's happening despite a range of obstacles—and sometimes even because of them.

The looming economic crisis has raised widespread fears that the costs of achieving deep greenhouse gas cuts might be intolerable, at least in the short term, as families struggle to pay mortgages and heat their homes. But nations including the United States, under President-elect Barack Obama, have responded by promising to use economic stimulus packages to push green technology and create green jobs.

Under what UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is calling a green New Deal, laid-off employees are expected to be put to work insulating houses rather than building dams, and companies manufacturing solar panels and efficient cars will get government investment. ( Laurie Goering, Chicago Tribune)

With failing hands, we drop the climate-change torch - Is there a changing of the guard on climate change? Or no guard at all?

I was in Germany last week, on a tour organized by a non-profit company called Inwent and funded by the German government.

It let a small group from Canada and the United States meet with government and business people involved in the country's booming renewable-energy industry.

Germany is far ahead of Canada in developing wind, solar and other alternatives to oil, natural gas and coal. It's pushing ahead with wind power even though its wind resource is poor. It leads the world in solar power, despite incessantly leaden skies. It's working hard to bring heat from four kilometres underground to create steam that will drive electricity generators, although that resource, too, is low-grade compared to the thermal potential in other parts of the world.

All this was a source of great pride among the people we met.

But then came news from Brussels, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Europe's 26 other nations were hammering out a climate-change agreement.

Merkel, until now a champion of tough action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, was suddenly "Frau Nein," warning that Germany would lose key industries if climate rules were too tough. (Peter Gorrie, Toronto Star)

Well Pete, we certainly hope this nonsense is in its death throes. Unfortunately:

Likely Obama Appointee Includes Climate Change Alarmist John Holdren - On the heels of creating a new position for the scandal-plagued and therefore, presumably, unconfirmable Carol Browner to lord over Senate-confirmed cabinet officials in pursuit of the global-warming agenda, the former employer of leading global warming alarmist Dr. John Holdren reports that he “appears to be President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for science adviser.” (Chris Horner, OpenMarket)

Federal energy policy shift likely to be seismic - WASHINGTON— Many environmentalists are downright giddy.

The election of Barack Obama, and his selection of what the League of Conservation Voters’ Gene Karpinski calls the “dream green team” to fashion energy and environmental policy, heralds a dramatic shift from the energy priorities of the last eight years, on issues ranging from offshore drilling to climate change. ( Houston Chronicle)

Flawed Science Advice for Obama? - Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday. [UPDATE: Mr. Obama did indeed pick Dr. Holdren.] ( John Tierney, New York Times)

Holdren's Hysterical Quotes - The scientific community can certainly help develop new technologies to cope with the problems, he said, but with the pace of climate change increasing so rapidly, "we've only got about a decade to get things right." ( Julie Walsh, CEI)

Can't say you weren't warned: Obama names 4 top members of science team - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama's selection Saturday of a Harvard physicist and a marine biologist for science posts is a sign he plans a more aggressive response to global warming than did the Bush administration.

John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government action. Holdren will become Obama's science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and does much of the government's research on global warming. (AP)

Obama's choices for science advisors - global warming advocates - According to Glenn Reynolds, one of the advisors actually believed at one time that economics should play no role in climate change policy. John Holden, tapped to be Obama's science advisor, is also a disciple of discredited population alarmist Paul Ehrlich: (Rick Moran, American Thinker)

Meet the New Climate Change Kid on the Block - Barack Obama announced his new energy team at a press conference Monday, sending a subtle slap down to President Bush by saying his administration would "value science" and "make decisions based on the facts." (David N. Bass, American Spectator)

The ETS: Completely unnecessary - Rudd has failed to see through the vested interests that promote anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the theory that human emissions of carbon cause global warming. Though masquerading as "science based", the promoters of AGW have a medieval outlook and are in fact anti-science. Meanwhile carbon is innocent, and the political class is plunging ahead with making us poorer because they do not understand what science really is or what the real science is. (David Evans, Unleashed)

Middle class still not sold on climate change - "I CAN'T for the life of me see why we should be paying for something that won't make a jot of difference.

"India, China, Brazil, Indonesia. They won't contribute. So we go first. I just can't see why." (The Australian)

And the correct answer is that politicians have been intimidated by or are in thrall to the people haters. At no point has it ever had anything to do with the global climate.

Jim Hansen’s AGU presentation: “He’s ‘nailed’ climate forcing for 2x CO2″ - I received this presentation of the “Bjerknes Lecture” that Dr. James Hansen gave at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 17th. There are the usual things one might expect in the presentation, such as this slide which shows 2008 on the left with the anomalously warm Siberia and the Antarctic peninsula: (Watts Up With That?)

Really? Man-Made Global Warming Supposedly Began 5,000 Years Ago - Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, using supercomputers and advanced climate models have hypothesised that human actions started causing global warming between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago. (Brett Anderson, AccuWeather)

We haven't done much of a job of it then. Try a search like this and see the planet was warmer 5,000-8,000 before present and has predominantly cooled over the last 5,000 years.

“relatively unknown Maryland scientist” wants to patent the swamp cooler to combat global warming - This just in, (h/t to Sonicfrog) the swamp cooler is being re-invented as a global warming solution. No mention of what the increased global humidity will do for the planet’s radiative balance. No mention of what the increased humidity would do for night-time low temperatures. (Watts Up With That?)

Geoengineering: a bad idea whose time may come - Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), climate change scientists discussed the risks and benefits of deliberately altering Earth's climate through "geoengineering". One measure of the concern scientists have about Earth's climate could be gauged by the standing-room only crowd of 200 that packed the presentation room. The eleven speakers at the session laid out some radical and dangerous ideas for deliberately altering Earth's climate. They uniformly cautioned that the uncertainties and dangers of implementing any of these schemes was high, but that geoengineering may be necessary if efforts to control greenhouse gases fail and the climate begins to undergo rapid and destructive changes. (Jeff Masters, Weather Underground)

Polar Albedo Feedback - Today is a day of note in Antarctic. The sun has reached it’s highest point in the sky, and never sets. The amount of incoming solar radiation is at it’s peak for the year, and the radiation balance is strongly affected by the reflectivity (albedo) of the surface. Open ocean absorbs much of the the sunlight, whereas ice reflects it back out into space.

One of the most popular global warming feedbacks is considered to be changes in the extent of polar ice. The story goes that as the ice melts, more heat gets absorbed in the ocean, leading to higher temperatures. Today we test that theory. (Watts Up With That?)

Current Climate Impact of Heating From Energy Usage By A.T.J. de Laat 2008 - A new paper has just been published in EOS Transactions Forum. de Laat, A.T.J., 2008: Current Climate Impact of Heating from Energy Usage. EOS Transactions FORUM, Vol. 89, No. 51, doi: 10.1029/2008EO510005, 16 December 2008. ( Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The CO2 - Temperature link - More words on the topic first presented here

I wrote:

It appears from this graph that CO2 concentrations follows temperature with approx 6-9 months. The interesting part is off course that the CO2 trends so markedly responds to temperature changes.

To some, this is “not possible” as we normally see a very smooth rise on CO2 curves. However, the difference in CO2 rise from year to year is quite different from warm to cold years, and as shown differences are closely dependent on global temperatures. Take a closer look: (Watts Up With That?)

Will Canada see its first white Christmas since '71? - The first day of winter brought wind-chill warnings, snow and a bevy of storms to cities across Canada on Sunday, potentially laying the groundwork for the first cross-country white Christmas in nearly four decades.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV Newsnet that "it looks like a very good chance" it will be a white Christmas for all parts of Canada for the first time since 1971.

"It's just sort of the beginning of winter, and it's a little much to expect when we have so many different climatic types in this country for it to be frozen and snow-covered from right across the huge country," he told CTV Newsnet on Sunday.

But with so much snow already on the ground, the veteran weather prognosticator said he thinks that any upcoming balmy Christmas Day temperatures will not be able to melt away the growing snowfall base.

"It may be in 40 years, the first one," he said. ( News)

Swiss glaciers shrinking faster - Two new studies presented at the latest American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco 15-19 December show that Swiss glaciers are shrinking, and shrinking at an increasingly rapid rate. This means that researchers are observing the same phenomena in the Alps that have already been reported in the Himalayas and in the Andes.

Swiss glaciers are melting away at an accelerating rate and many will vanish this century if climate projections are correct, two new studies suggest.

One assessment found that some 10 cubic km of ice have been lost from 1,500 glaciers over the past nine years.

The other study, based on a sample of 30 representative glaciers, indicates the group’s members are now losing a metre of thickness every year. Both pieces of work come out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

“The trend is negative, but what we see is that the trend is also steepening,” said Matthias Huss from the Zurich university’s Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology. 

The investigators reported that there has been no measured change in snowfall accumulation, which when combined with melt rates, determines a glacier’s mass balance. Rather the melting away of the Swiss glaciers is attributed entirely to a longer melt season resulting from global warming. (People and Planet)

Rumors of the Death of Arctic Sea Ice Greatly Exaggerated - Even if polar bears really are drowning, the melt is likely a natural, not man-made, phenomenon.

Mark Twain, ever the wry observer of human nature, once famously quipped that “everybody complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.” (Actually, Twain was quoting the essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner, but the colorful humorist gets credit for the line.) Whoever deserves the credit, the point was that there is a folly to human arrogance and some things cannot be “fixed,” are outside of the powers of man. The weather, for example, is governed by forces beyond human control.

But the arrogance of the race is boundless, and there are those who actually believe that man is in the process of destroying the Earth’s weather, or at least climate. Al Gore, the leader of the Gang Green, tramps about the planet in his fuel-guzzling, greenhouse gas-spewing jets to tell people that the world is burning — his speeches are usually given on days of bitter cold — because they are living too extravagantly by, well, heating their homes when cold and driving their cars to work. James Hansen of NASA gives hysterical lectures to Congress and the news media, claiming we face fire and brimstone. Repeatedly we have been told we have ten years left, starting in the 1980s; much like those old end-of-the-world preachers, the date for the end time keeps extending.

In short, there are people who believe that, yes indeedy, we can do something about the weather, or at least the climate. If we just live more frugally, share our wealth, eat lots of natural foods like tofu and pine nuts, and hold hands while visualizing world peace, we can bring carbon dioxide and methane levels down and the world will become a pastoral paradise. ( Timothy Birdnow, Pajamas Media)

The Sun controls the Earth's climate (Popular Technology)

Made a spectacularly early start on the eggnog? Environment Ohio Warns State Economy Vulnerable to Climate Change - COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 18, 2008 - Global warming could potentially damage Ohio economic sectors now worth $126.9 billion that provide 1.9 million jobs, according to a new report issued today by the environmental advocacy group Environment Ohio.

Entitled "What's at Stake: How Global Warming Threatens the Buckeye State," the report details the environmental and economic harms that may result from Ohio's changing climate. 

"It's not just about the polar bears and Arctic ice-caps anymore," said Amy Gomberg, Environment Ohio's program director. "Climate change poses threats to Ohio's environment that could have a negative impact on our economy, as well." (ENS)

Sheesh! A Crude Reality - Canada's Oil Sands and Pollution - The United States and Canada enjoy one of the largest trading partnerships in the world, with energy serving as a vital component of that relationship. Canada exports 1.96 million barrels of oil per day to the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration. While Canada also supplies a large amount of clean hydropower to northern US regions, oil exports to the United States are both more substantial and, recently, more controversial. A large portion of Canadian oil coming to the United States is extracted from the oil sands in Alberta at high cost to the environment. With climate change becoming a vital global issue, many US leaders have begun to criticize Canada for sanctioning the dirty oil extraction process. Although this criticism has not yet translated into a serious decline in the US-Canada relationship, Canada will have to improve its environmental standards for the oil sands in order to maintain healthy dealings with its southern neighbor. (Anna Hopper, HIR)

Shaw Group Urges Commitment to Nuclear Power - The Shaw Group Inc.'s J.M. Bernhard Jr. called for a national commitment to build up to 50 nuclear power plants by 2030, telling a gathering of power industry leaders that the jobs, clean electricity, and energy independence created by a "nuclear renaissance" offer a unique platform to achieve the "hope and change" pledged by President-elect Barack Obama. 

"If this nation and the Obama administration are truly serious about controlling global warming, nuclear power must maintain its 20 percent share of U.S. power generation," said Bernhard, Shaw's chair, president, and chief executive officer, during a keynote address at the Power-Gen International 2008 trade show in Orlando, Fla. "That will require the construction of 45 to 50 new nuclear plants by 2030, while also maintaining operation of the current fleet." 

Such a commitment, he said, would have the support of most Americans. "Almost 70 percent of Americans favor the construction of new nuclear plants," Bernhard said. "That level of public opinion has never been higher." (Environmental Protection)

RWE Says To Build German Offshore Wind Farm - FRANKFURT - German utility RWE AG plans to build its first offshore wind farm, a 2.8 billion euro ($4.03 billion) project, one that adds it to the ranks of would-be operators off Germany's North Sea coast.

RWE's renewable energy arm, RWE Innogy, said in a statement on Friday it had acquired project company Enova Energieanlagen with a view to installing about 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power generation capacity 40 km north of the island of Juist.

The initial preparation work could start in 2010, provided approval was obtained in 2009, and first production could begin from 2011, it said. The plan would be completed in 2015. (Reuters)

Evidence-based childhood obesity programs — another case of mistaken definition - We hear a lot about “evidence-based medicine” but we never seem to hear much of the actual evidence. Did you hear about the latest systematic review of the clinical evidence on treatments for childhood obesity? 

It was just published the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the journal of The Endocrine Society. The review was conducted by endocrinologists at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and led by Dr. Victor M. Montori, M.D., a renowned researcher in diabetes and who edited the book on Evidence-based Endocrinology (Humana Press, 2005). (Junkfood Science)

Cosmetic medicine — and you thought it was for your health - This week, Johnson & Johnson filed its Securities and Exchange (SEC) tender offer to acquire Mentor Corporation, with a reported $1.07 Billion bid. 

Mentor [website] is a leading supplier of silicon gel breast implants and liposuction, and is awaiting FDA approval for its new dermal filler and a botox type product for frown lines. Its cosmetic surgery products will join J&J’s Ethicon division, strengthening its worldwide presence in the aesthetic medicine market, according to financial news reports. J&J, the 6th largest pharmaceutical company in the world, and its Ethicon Endo-Surgery is also the world’s supplier for the bariatric surgery gastric band, Realize. (Junkfood Science)

STATS: Dubious Data Awards 2008 - Honoring some of the worst abuses of statistics and science in the past year

STATS – The Statistical Assessment Service – is a non-partisan, non-profit research group that analyzes the way science and statistics are used in the media and public debate. It is affiliated with George Mason University in Virginia .

More than 54 million disabled in U.S., census says - WASHINGTON - More than 54 million U.S. residents, or about 19 percent of the population, have some sort of disability, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Thursday.

The numbers, based on 2005 data, are up slightly from the 2002 survey when 51.2 million people or 18 percent reported a disability, the census found.

About 46 percent of adults aged 21 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with 84 percent of adults without disabilities, the survey found. (Reuters)

Looks more like you have a problem with the definition of "disabled".

Canada sets new limits on children's cold medicine - VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Canadian health officials urged parents on Thursday not to give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under the age of six, citing concern over misuse and overdoses.

The federal health agency, Health Canada, which had earlier this year recommended the medicines not be given to children less than two years old, said there is limited evidence that the medications have any effectiveness for young children. (Reuters)

Some cough medicine overdoses deliberate: report - WASHINGTON - Some children showing up in emergency rooms with overdoses of cough or cold syrup may have been intentionally medicated to keep them quiet, doctors cautioned on Thursday.

An analysis of 189 children who died from medication overdoses showed a significant percentage appeared to have been intentionally overdosed, the doctors reported in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. (Reuters)

Another huge error: Trade Deals Must Protect Environment: Obama  - WASHINGTON - The United States will insist on strong protections for the environment and for workers in future trade deals, President-elect Barack Obama said on Friday as he introduced his nominee to be chief U.S. trade negotiator. (Reuters)

December 19, 2008

EPA Goes Man-Hunting - It’s little wonder why the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list doesn’t include anyone accused of breaking federal environmental laws. It’s hard to argue that a father-son team accused of illegally importing Alfa Romeo sports cars that don’t meet U.S. tailpipe emissions standards is the criminal equivalent of the likes of Usama bin Laden or the other hardened sociopaths for whom the FBI warns the public to remain on the lookout.

But the Environmental Protection Agency has now cured its apparent case of outlaw-envy with the launch of its own “Wanted” list last week. Hoping to “track down environmental fugitives,” the agency wants to “increase the number of ‘eyes’ looking for environmental fugitives.”

In addition to the Alfa Romeo Gang believed to be hiding out in Italy (so remain alert on your next visit to Tuscany), the EPA wants us to keep an eye out for Mauro Valenzuela, an airplane mechanic criminally charged for improperly loading oxygen canisters thought to have caused the tragic 1996 crash of ValuJet flight 592.

But converting the crash into an environmental crime seems a stretch. The EPA apparently views the canister loading as “illegal transportation of hazardous material.” In any event, Valenzuela’s boss and co-worker were eventually acquitted of the same criminal counts. The only reason Valenzuela also wasn’t acquitted was because he panicked and fled to parts unknown before trial. He is, in effect, a fugitive from his own innocence -- but he is wanted by the EPA nonetheless.

The rest of the EPA’s fugitives appear to be mostly hapless immigrants now believed to be “hiding” oversees in places like Syria, Mexico, India, Greece, Poland and China. They’re wanted for a variety of alleged infractions, including smuggling banned refrigerants, discharging waste into sewers, lying to the Coast Guard about a ship’s waste oil management system, transporting hazardous waste without a manifest, and creating false official documents.

While the EPA’s fugitives certainly appear to be a motley lot who may have broken a variety of environmental regulations, often unwittingly, one can’t help but wonder whether the EPA’s Wanted list is not only over-the-top, but where the agency is headed. (Steven Milloy,

Long overdue: Legal move to crack down on climate protesters - The attorney general is considering asking the courts to clamp down on high-profile, direct-action protests on issues such as climate change, the Guardian can exclusively reveal. (The Guardian)

I'm probably old and curmudgeonly but I'm fast coming round to the opinion all terrorists (which by definition includes these misanthropic green whack jobs) should be subject to lethal force.

Top 10 dud predictions - GLOBAL warming preachers have had a shocking 2008. So many of their predictions this year went splat.

Here's their problem: they've been scaring us for so long that it's now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned.

And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer - the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

The Deadliest U.S. Natural Hazard: Extreme Cold - Yesterday Reuters reported on a study which claimed that heat is the deadliest form of natural hazard for the United States. However, this result is based on questionable data. The study used results for mortality from extreme heat and cold that can be traced to the National Climatic Data Center. But these data are substantially different from mortality data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) based on the Compressed Mortality File for the United States. The latter uses death certificate records, which provide the cause of each recorded death (based on medical opinion). It is reasonable to believe that regarding the cause of death, particularly for extreme cold and heat, medical opinion as captured in death certificate records is more reliable than determinations made by the meteorologists in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NCDC (even if they have Ph.Ds.).

Combining data from the CDC database for extreme cold and extreme heat, and various arms of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for floods, lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes, I have shown elsewhere that extreme cold, rather than heat, is the deadliest form of extreme weather event. In fact, from 1979-2002, extreme cold was responsible for 53 percent of deaths due to all these categories of extreme weather, while extreme heat contributes slightly more than half that (28%). For more, see The Deadliest U.S. Natural Hazard: Extreme Cold. (Indur Goklany, Cato @ Liberty)

ETS a big pain for little gain - THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four brief points.

First, global temperature warmed slightly in the late 20th century and has been cooling since 2002. Neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.

Second, humans have an effect on local climate but, despite the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($70 billion) looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured. Therefore, any human signal must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

Third, we live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth's geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world. No substantive evidence exists that modern rates of global environmental change (ice volume; sea level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

Last, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, be it in Australia or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric CO2 cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of CO2 since pre-industrial times.

These facts notwithstanding, the Rudd Government is poised to introduce a CO2 taxation bill on doubly spurious grounds. It presumes, first, that dangerous warming caused by human emissions is occurring, or will shortly occur. And, second, that cuts to emissions will prevent significant amounts of future warming.

There is, therefore, now a dramatic disjunction between scientific reality and the stranglehold that global warming alarmism has on planned Australian climate policy. (Bob Carter, The Australian)

RUMINANT ANIMALS NOT KYOTO VILLAINS (.pdf) - Dr Gerrit van der LIngen explains why emissions of methane from cattle and sheep should not be part of any emissions trading system in New Zealand. According to MAF, 98.7% of agricultural methane comes from ruminant enteric fermentation, released by burping; and is part of a natural closed loop that has nothing to do with fossil sequestered carbon. (NZ Climate Science)

A Glimpse Inside the Global Warming Controversy - “Do you believe in Global Warming?” I have often been asked this question by people with little or no scientific background. It seems like a simple question that demands a “yes” or “no” answer. But in reality it is a complex question that cannot be reduced to an unqualified “yea” or “nay”. The intent of this paper is not to resolve this question by rallying evidence for or against Global Warming (as if that can be done in a few pages!), but rather to lay bare the complexity of the climate change issue. Those who come to appreciate this fact will likely agree that simple answers are not only bad education, but can lead to bad policies.

The controversy surrounding global warming is not centered so much on the increase in global temperature over the last 150 years, but on the primary cause of this increase—natural, human, or a combination of the two. The theory in question is called Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

There is actually more than one AGW theory, and they vary considerably as to the causes and extent of human induced climate change. The most prevalent model is based on projections from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is this version of the AGW hypothesis that has become the focus of so much controversy. (William DiPuccio, SPPI)

Coral blooms as warming fears wither - Corals turn out to just love this global warming, after all: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

CNN Meteorologist: Manmade Global Warming Theory 'Arrogant' - Network's second meteorologist to challenge notion man can alter climate.

Unprecedented snow in Las Vegas has some scratching their heads – how can there be global warming with this unusual winter weather?

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate and the Vegas snowstorm didn’t impact his opinion. Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist, explained on CNN’s Dec. 18 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Evaluation of Near Term Hurricane Loss Predictions - Karen Clark and Company has released an interesting report (PDF and covered here) that compares the performance of catastrophe models from AIR (the company that Clark formed and ileft a few years ago), RMS, and EQE over the past three years with their five year predictions of losses. Here is what they’ve found: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Kyoto Veteran Has Deja Vu - Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner was present at the Kyoto negotiations back in 1997, and predicted their failure because of the inability to get the developing nations like China to commit to emissions reductions. He has recently returned from the Poznan Conference of the Parties aimed at drawing up Kyoto II, and is of the opinion that nothing has been learned from history. He has set out his concerns in a letter to President-elect Obama, copied in the full post. (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

EU climate bill ushers in hard year of talks - The world’s most stringent climate change package was approved by the European parliament on Wednesday, setting the scene for the toughest talks ever undertaken on climate change.

A packed year of international negotiations on climate change culminates in a crunch meeting next December in Copenhagen, at which 190 countries will gather to forge an agreement on cutting emissions that will replace the Kyoto protocol when its main provisions expire in 2012.

The clearing of the European Union’s final hurdle means the bloc is now committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020; generating at least 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; and committing billions of euros in funding to develop carbon capture and storage technology.

Many parliamentarians complained that changes to the emissions trading system at the centre of the package were too generous to corporate interests and that the legislation allowed member states to undertake most of their emissions reductions outside of Europe. Nonetheless, they voted in favour.

“Of course, it’s not a perfect agreement. But if we say ‘no’, we’re left with nothing – with our arms empty,” said Lena Ek, a liberal democrat from Sweden, echoing a common refrain. (Financial Times)

India, China showed rare unity at climate change summit - Poznan (Poland): The climate change summit may have ended in failure, but it showed rare unity of purpose between India and China which took on the industrialised world together at the closing moments of the climate summit here. The Indian position also received support from Pakistan.

Knowing that developing countries had failed to get the industrialised world to part with even one extra percent of their profits from carbon trade, India started the note of dissent at the final session of the Dec 1-12 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Industrialised countries led by the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia and Russia had refused to part with the money sought by developing countries to help them cope with climate change effects. That had happened behind closed doors. Then the Indian delegation chose to make the matter public in a dramatic finale. (IANS)

CLIMATE CHANGE: Indian Scientists Competent But Still at Sea - BANGALORE , Dec 18 - The prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc), set up here in May 1909, is celebrating its centenary with year-long lectures and seminars, some of which have revealed Indian science’s lack of coherence in dealing with climate change in India.

At the turn of the IISc’s new century, scientists from the institution and from elsewhere in India are still at the ‘discussions and debate’ stage of what should, or should not, constitute climate science for India.

Of the 20 Indian scientists who were part of the 2007 Nobel peace prize-winning team of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), three were lead authors of various IPCC reports on global warming and attached to the IISc. They were J. Srinivas, N.H. Ravindranath and R. Sukumar.

An Indian, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, has since 2002 been heading the IPCC, which shared the Nobel with former United States presidential candidate Al Gore for bringing global warming and climate change science to the forefront of the world’s conscience.

But in spite of the considerable work they did on global warming, for the IPCC reports, IISc’s scientists are yet to present a cogent scientific argument for India that together tackles the spectrum of factors in climate change. (IPS)

<chuckle> Coal-fired generators escape the blacklist - FEW if any of Australia's 30 coal-fired power generators will be shut down by 2020 under the Federal Government's scheme to reduce greenhouse gases by a target of 5 per cent, according to the findings of its white paper made public this week.

About $3.9 billion will be handed out to the most-polluting generators in the form of free permits to emit greenhouse gases under the scheme announced by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, on Monday. But modelling in the Government's white paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme shows there will be no significant reductions in carbon pollution from coal-fired power stations by 2020 if the Government sticks to a target of cutting emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Stupid game. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. Regardless, K.Rudd is all talk and focus groups -- there won't be any action.

2008 Tropical Temperatures - The blog world is jump starting discussion of 2008 annual temperatures. Yesterday at 1:56 pm Eastern, NASA employee Gavin Schmidt and climate modeler, purely in his "private" capacity, posted an article arguing that the results were consistent with climate models - an activity that lesser minds might think relates to his employment.

Lucia commented here, perhaps redundantly, that Schmidt's comment was "tendentious twaddle". (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Arctic and Greenland Ice in the News Again - Changes Attributed to Man are natural - In this story, NASA scientists suggested between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion tons of ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted at an accelerating rate since 2003, in the latest signs of what they say is global warming. Using new satellite technology that measures changes in mass in mountain glaciers and ice sheets, NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke concluded that the losses amounted to enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay 21 times in a paper presented at the AGU conference.

The data reflects findings from NASA colleague Jay Zwally, who uses different satellite technology to observe changing ice volume in Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctica. In the past five years, Greenland has lost between 150 gigatons and 160 gigatons each year, (one gigaton equals one billion tons) or enough to raise global sea levels about .5 mm per year, said Zwally, who will also present his findings at the conference this week. GRACE measured that mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska lost about 84 gigatons each year, about five times the average annual flow of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, according to Zwally.

The claims conflict with the reality that just recently glaciologist Bruce Molnia reported a bitterly cold Alaskan summer following a winter with extreme cold and record snows resulted in Alaska glaciers to expand, rather than shrink for the first time in at least 250 years.

Also in 2007, NASA scientists reported that after years of research, their team had assembled data showing that normal, decade-long changes in Arctic Ocean currents driven by a circulation known as the Arctic Oscillation was largely responsible for the major Arctic climate shifts observed over the past several years. These periodic reversals in the ocean currents move warmer and cooler water around to new places, greatly affecting the climate. (Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow)

‘Not Evil Just Wrong’: Documentary Says ‘Propaganda Fueling Global Warming Hysteria’ - "Despite the scientific consensus changing every few decades from pending global warming to global cooling, the scientists and the media all agree that whatever climate change they predicted - cooling or warming - it would have catastrophic consequences for the planet." (Breitbart TV)

Global warming and malaria: knowing the horse before hitching the cart - Abstract: Speculations on the potential impact of climate change on human health frequently focus on malaria. Predictions are common that in the coming decades, tens – even hundreds – of millions more cases will occur in regions where the disease is already present, and that transmission will extend to higher latitudes and altitudes. Such predictions, sometimes supported by simple models, are persuasive because they are intuitive, but they sidestep factors that are key to the transmission and epidemiology of the disease: the ecology and behaviour of both humans and vectors, and the immunity of the human population. A holistic view of the natural history of the disease, in the context of these factors and in the precise setting where it is transmitted, is the only valid starting point for assessing the likely significance of future changes in climate. (Malaria Journal 2008, 7(Suppl 1):S3doi:10.1186/1475-2875-7-S1-S3)

Managing Water Use From Forest Plantations By Jerome K. Vanclay - There is a very important new paper on the role of land use on the climate, and other aspects of the environment. It is Vanclay, J.K., 2009: Managing water use from forest plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 257, 385–389. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Nasa set to launch 'CO2 hunter' - The US space agency is set to launch a satellite that can map in detail where carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere.

Nasa's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) will pinpoint the key locations on the Earth's surface where CO2 is being emitted and absorbed.

CO2 from human activities is thought to be driving climate changes, but important facts about its movement through the atmosphere remain elusive.

The agency believes the technology on OCO can end some of the mysteries. (BBC News)

Oh my... New World post-pandemic reforestation helped start Little Ice Age, say Stanford scientists - The power of viruses is well documented in human history. Swarms of little viral Davids have repeatedly laid low the great Goliaths of human civilization, most famously in the devastating pandemics that swept the New World during European conquest and settlement.

In recent years, there has been growing evidence for the hypothesis that the effect of the pandemics in the Americas wasn't confined to killing indigenous peoples. Global climate appears to have been altered as well.

Stanford University researchers have conducted a comprehensive analysis of data detailing the amount of charcoal contained in soils and lake sediments at the sites of both pre-Columbian population centers in the Americas and in sparsely populated surrounding regions. They concluded that reforestation of agricultural lands-abandoned as the population collapsed-pulled so much carbon out of the atmosphere that it helped trigger a period of global cooling, at its most intense from approximately 1500 to 1750, known as the Little Ice Age.

"We estimate that the amount of carbon sequestered in the growing forests was about 10 to 50 percent of the total carbon that would have needed to come out of the atmosphere and oceans at that time to account for the observed changes in carbon dioxide concentrations," said Richard Nevle, visiting scholar in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford. Nevle and Dennis Bird, professor in geological and environmental sciences, presented their study at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Dec. 17, 2008. (Stanford University)

... so, uh... the place should really be a fair bit warmer than it is now? They are saying we are measuring warming which is really just a recovery from artificially suppressed temperatures? Actually neither of the above -- there is no useful support for the carbon dioxide-driven global temperature hypothesis.

Good scams are so hard to find: Cheap Government Deals May Undermine Carbon Market - LONDON - Recession could fuel a scramble from rich nations to buy cheap emissions rights to help them meet climate targets under the Kyoto Protocol, analysts say.

That would displace trade in wider emissions permits and especially a market in carbon offsets which could be worth $25-30 billion to developing countries by 2012.

The climate may also suffer unless revenues from the emerging trade in sovereign emissions rights, called assigned amount units (AAUs), are spent on good environmental causes. (Reuters)

Slump Means EU Industry Carbon Caps No Longer Bite - LONDON - Recession will not lead to a repeat collapse in European carbon prices, but plunging output means factories and power plants will be able to meet their climate goals for up to 10 years by buying carbon offsets.

The deepening threat of a serious recession has seen carbon analysts scramble to adjust their forecasts, as tumbling manufacturing output will cut carbon emissions, and therefore demand for and the price of carbon emissions permits called EU allowances (EUAs). (Reuters)

On Obama's Interior, Ag Picks - President-elect Barack Obama’s nominations of Senator Ken Salazar to be Secretary of the Interior and of former Governor Tom Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture complete a team that opposes affordable energy. As Governor of Iowa, Mr. Vilsack was a leading promoter of the ethanol boondoggle. Colorado Senator Salazar says he is for more oil production on federal land, but has tried to stop one oil and gas project after another on federal land in Colorado. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Sunflower seeks arguments on coal - Sunflower Electric Power Corp. has asked a federal judge to allow oral arguments as it seeks to keep alive its $1.5 billion lawsuit against the state over a decision not to allow two coal-fired plants in western Kansas.

In court papers filed Tuesday, the company asked U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren to hold a hearing before ruling on its motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the state from considering carbon-dioxide emissions in any future proceedings on Sunflower's application for an air quality permit for the Holcomb plants.

The Hays-based company also asked for oral arguments on the state's motion to dismiss its lawsuit. (Associated Press)

Wrong: Oil Is Not the Climate Change Culprit — It's All About Coal - SAN FRANCISCO — Maybe your old truck isn't responsible for destroying the planet after all.

New climate change scenarios quantify the idea that oil is only a small component of the total global warming problem — the real problem is coal.

If the world replaced all of its oil usage with carbon-neutral energy sources, ecologist Kenneth Caldeira of Stanford University calculated that it would only buy us about 10 years before coal emissions warmed the planet to what many scientists consider dangerous levels.

"There's an order of magnitude more coal than oil. So, whether there is a little more oil or a little less oil will change the details in, say, when we reach two degrees warming, but it doesn't change the overall picture," Caldeira said Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting.

Many of the efforts to "green" our world's infrastructure have focused on the importance of changing the world's transportation systems. Indeed, one of the images of environmental destruction is the car-choked freeways of Los Angeles — and hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius have become a badge of environmental pride.

But as the latest projections show, when it comes to global warming, oil is a bit player on a stage dominated by the massive amounts of coal burning, particularly in the United States and China. (Wired)

The correct answer is: "Neither". Atmospheric carbon dioxide is both asset and essential resource -- we must have it and more is actually really good.

More virtual world twaddle: World Coal Reserves Could Be a Fraction of Previous Estimates - SAN FRANCISCO — A new calculation of the world's coal reserves is much lower than previous estimates. If validated, the new info could have a massive impact on the fate of the planet's climate.

That's because coal is responsible for most of the CO2 emissions that drive climate change. If there were actually less coal available for burning, climate modelers would have to rethink their estimates of the level of emissions that humans will produce.

The new model, created by Dave Rutledge, chair of Caltech's engineering and applied sciences division, suggests that humans will only pull up a total — including all past mining — of 662 billion tons of coal out of the Earth. The best previous estimate, from the World Energy Council, says that the world has almost 850 billion tons of coal still left to be mined.

"Every estimate of the ultimate coal resource has been larger," said ecologist Ken Caldeira of Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study. "But if there's much less coal than we think, that's good news for climate." (Wired)

Nonsense, it would merely be very bad news for people. Fortunately we have no reason to have the slightest faith in peak-coalers either :)

Solar Stocks In For Another Stormy Year In '09 - LOS ANGELES - As dismal as 2008 has been for solar stocks, next year doesn't look any brighter.

Funding for solar projects and factory expansions remains scarce, prices on panels are falling faster than expected as supplies jump, and a dramatic drop in oil prices has tempered investor appetite for renewable energy stocks. (Reuters)

UCLA researchers make major advance in creating higher-density biofuels - Genetic modification of bacterium results in alcohols with greater energy

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have successfully pushed nature beyond its limits by genetically modifying Escherichia coli, a bacterium often associated with food poisoning, to produce unusually long-chain alcohols essential in the creation of biofuels.

"Previously, we were able to synthesize long-chain alcohols containing five carbon atoms," said James Liao, UCLA professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. "We stopped at five carbons at the time because that was what could be naturally achieved. Alcohols were never synthesized beyond five carbons. Now, we've figured out a way to engineer proteins for a whole new pathway in E. coli to produce longer-chain alcohols with up to eight carbon atoms."

The new protein and metabolic engineering method developed by Liao and his research team is detailed in the Dec. 30 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is currently available online. (UCLA Newsroom)

Unhealthy Lawsuits - A physicians' group has found that the practice of defensive medicine wastes more than a billion dollars a year in Massachusetts alone. Trial lawyers should be ashamed of what they've done to health care.

Nine of 10 doctors practice defensive medicine — ordering unneeded laboratory and diagnostic tests, referring patients to consultations they don't need, performing procedures that aren't called for, sending patients to hospitals without cause — to avoid being sued, not to benefit their clientele.

Doctors are a favorite prey of trial lawyers, whose litigation against the profession has forced malpractice insurance to unaffordable heights in some cases, driven doctors out of their chosen vocation and sent medical care costs far higher than they should be.

The trial bar has also effectively made it harder for seriously ill patients to be properly diagnosed and treated as doctors clog facilities with patients who are in need of neither. (IBD)

Late-night festive meals won't make you fat - LONDON - Think twice about blaming sweets for your out-of-control children this festive season, and those added pounds might not be due to an ill-advised late-night meal. As for an aspirin to cure a hangover? Forget it.

That's the advice of two researchers seeking to debunk some common medical myths that crop up during the holidays but have little scientific backing, they say.

"In the pursuit of scientific truth, even widely held medical beliefs require examination or re-examination," Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine wrote in the British Medical Journal.

"The holiday season presents a further opportunity to probe medical beliefs recounted during this time of year."

The pair combed through previous scientific studies and searched the Web for evidence to support or refute common beliefs such as one tagging poinsettia plants as toxic. Don't worry, they aren't.

Many parents think sugar from sweets, chocolates and other sources makes children hyperactive but research shows this is not the case. Rather, the link is most likely in the parents' minds, the researchers said.

"Regardless of what parents might believe, however, sugar is not to blame for out-of-control little ones," the researchers wrote. (Reuters)

From the 'here we go again' files: U.S. school meals may be key to better child health - WASHINGTON - Many American children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables and their diet lacks key nutrients, according to a report released on Wednesday that focuses on school food programs as a way to help prevent long-term health problems. (Reuters)

Experts say Oliver Twist didn't need any more - LONDON - Oliver Twist wouldn't have needed any more gruel in real life, scientists said on Thursday.

The picture painted by Charles Dickens of starvation rations in an 1830s workhouse north of London is wide of mark, according to an analysis of menus and other historical evidence.

Dickens' eponymous hero famously asked for more of the "thin gruel" doled out three times daily in the grim institution for the poor where he grew up. (Reuters)

Hmm... New wave of mad cow disease feared - Fears that the human version of mad cow disease could cause further waves of infection have been heightened by the first case in a person who is genetically distinct from previous patients.

All the 167 cases and 164 deaths in Britain caused by new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD) have so far occurred in people with a particular genetic profile carried by 42 per cent of the population.

However, a young man with a different genetic type has recently been clinically diagnosed with the incurable brain condition, BBC’s Newsnight programme reported last night.

Though the patient’s diagnosis has yet to be confirmed by biopsy, the most certain method, his case offers the strongest evidence yet that at least 90 per cent of the population is susceptible to infection with vCJD through eating beef infected with rogue prion proteins.

This suggests that a second wave of between 50 and 350 further infections might be expected, scientists said. (Mark Henderson, The Times)

... we still don't know whether consumption of anything is really related to nvCJD but one thing is for sure: the absurd panic and wild guesstimations of bazillions of 'expected' cases were total nonsense.

Stupid greenies: EU Draws Closer To Finalizing New Pesticides Law - BRUSSELS - European Parliament negotiators have struck a political deal with EU countries about revising pesticide authorization rules that would reduce the number of crop chemicals on the market, officials said on Thursday.

The changes, to be debated by the full parliament in January and again by EU farm ministers after that, would replace a 1991 law and let groups of countries with similar geography and climate decide whether farmers may use specific products.

But politically, a broad consensus had now been reached that should smooth the way for a final deal to be rubber stamped, probably in the first few months of 2009, officials said.

"This agreement is a milestone for the environment, health and consumer protection in Europe. The EU will set a global precedent by phasing out highly toxic pesticides," German Green MEP Hiltrud Breyer, who is steering the draft pesticides law through Parliament, said in a statement. A list of EU-approved "active substances" will be drawn up, with certain highly toxic chemicals to be banned unless their effect can be shown to be negligible.(Reuters)

Never give up on this rubbish, do they? Experts Urge Safety Probe Of Plastics Chemicals - WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators should examine whether a controversial class of chemicals found in many plastic products including children's toys can hurt people, a panel of experts said on Thursday.

A panel of the independent National Research Council said the scientific evidence justifies an Environmental Protection Agency assessment of the health effects from cumulative exposure to chemicals known as phthalates.

Phthalates, which make plastic products soft and flexible, have been used commercially for decades. They are different from another chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, found in plastic products including baby bottles that has also come under health scrutiny. The Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe at current levels of exposure but plans more research. (Reuters)

Funniest video yet on government economic stimulus plans — from Fred Thompson! - Remember the hilarious skit by the two British comedians on the financial market investment jargon and scams? Now comes Fred Thompson, former U.S. presidential candidate and star of Law and Order, with his own even funnier take on the government-backed economic rescue efforts. It starts slow, then builds to take down the economic nonsense that passes for policy.

It's also at a humour level that's rare in America, which is dominated by the cheap-shot one liners of The Daily Show — funny but not subtle. Thompson nails a more British humour form that's more subtle but also more effective. See it here. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Three Gorges Dam Tested As Water Rises - BEIJING - Rising water levels in China's giant Three Gorges Dam have triggered dozens of landslides in recent months, damaging houses, land and infrastructure worth millions of dollars, state media said on Thursday.

In July, China finished evacuating residents from the last town to be submerged by the massive 660-km (400-mile) long reservoir on the Yangtze River, ending an exodus of some 1.4 million people that began four years ago.

The 2,309-meter-long dam, the world's largest, aims to tame the river and provide cheap, clean energy for the country's rapid development. (Reuters)

December 18, 2008

Right! Even if for the wrong reasons: No quick or easy technological fix for climate change, researchers say - UCLA scientist sees many geoengineering plans as 'preposterous'

Global warming, some have argued, can be reversed with a large-scale "geoengineering" fix, such as having a giant blimp spray liquefied sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere or building tens of millions of chemical filter systems in the atmosphere to filter out carbon dioxide.

But Richard Turco, a professor in the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and a member and founding director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment, sees no evidence that such technological alterations of the climate system would be as quick or easy as their proponents claim and says many of them wouldn't work at all.

Turco will present his new research on geoengineering — conducted with colleague Fangqun Yu, a research professor at the State University of New York–Albany's atmospheric sciences research center — today and Thursday at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco.

"We're talking about tinkering with the climate system that affects everybody on Earth," said Turco, an atmospheric chemist with expertise in the microphysics of fine particles suspended in the atmosphere. "Some of the ideas are extreme. There would certainly be winners and losers, but no one would know who until it's too late. (University of California - Los Angeles)

As readers are aware we do not view the climate as broken and therefore seek no fixes to begin with. Moreover, warmer and wetter would be excellent news for the biosphere, meaning the alleged 'risks' of gorebull warming are actually benefits. Finally, carbon dioxide is an essential resource supporting the bulk of life on Earth and which is near critical low levels historically -- more is actually good for photosynthetic plants and hence everything they support (cute, large-eyed fur-bearing critters ... even ugly naked critters like us).

Let us be unequivocal:

  • we do not want to cool the Earth
  • we do not want to restrict the supply of the essential trace gas carbon dioxide
  • unlocking and returning carbon previously lost to the biosphere is the best thing humans have done for life on Earth (figures that it is an accidental byproduct of human activity but that does not make it any less of a gift to life on Earth)

Really? 47% Willing To Pay More for ‘Green’ Goods and Services - Forty-seven percent (47%) of U.S. voters say they are willing to pay more for goods and services if it means a cleaner environment, even as President-elect Obama promises to move ahead aggressively on both the economic and ecological fronts. (Rasmussen Reports)

Wouldn't count on it.



Garth Paltridge, then a senior Australian CSIRO researcher, published in 1974 one of the very earliest papers (following Ralph Lorenz in 1960) on what is the burgeoning technical field of Maximum Entropy Production (MEP).

The science of MEP, which now generates a substantial amount of mainstream literature every year, is resulting in a thorough review of the science of Earth's climate and of Global Circulation Models (GCMs).

It is already becoming clear this spells the death knell for a high temperature sensitivity to a CO2 doubling.

For example: Kleidon et al. (2006) Maximum entropy production and the strength of boundary layer exchange in an atmospheric general circulation model. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L06706, doi:10.1029/2005GL025373, 2006 show that the climate sensitivity to a 10x increase in atmospheric CO2 is about 3.3 K. Noting the usual log-linear relationship this is equivalent to a climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 of only about 1.0 K.

In this setup, entropy was produced by radiative transfer (absorption of solar and terrestrial radiation at the surface and in the atmosphere), the turbulent transport of sensible heat in the vertical, and horizontal heat transport by large-scale atmospheric circulation. Due to the exclusion of the water cycle (evapotranspiration, latent heat transport), entropy production associated with the hydrologic cycle [Paulius and Held, 2002a, 2002b] was not considered.

Inclusion of the water cycle would mean the sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is very likely to be even significantly less than 1 deg. C. I don't think I have to spell out to you what this implied for even the lower limit to CO2 sensitivity vis-a-vis IPCC AR4 2007.

Yet nowhere in IPCC AR4 2007 will you find a single reference to the now 38 year long MEP-based literature record! This despite a steady groundswell of papers and the publication of an excellent review text edited by Axel Kleidon and Ralph Lorenz in 2005 (Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and the production of Entropy. Life, Earth and Beyond. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg).

As CO2 goes up and tends to increase troposphere temperature, MEP requires that meridional, latitudinal and convective movement must increase. This in turn increases cloudiness (both convective and orographic) and hence rainfall thereby increasing the net amount by which clouds reduce the radiative heating of the planet i.e. presently the -13 - -21 W/m^2 which we know acts against the ~4 W/m^2 predicted for a doubling of CO2.

I would also note that biotic processes are also subject to MEP. Rising CO2 increases continental plant biomass (already observed) and oceanic cyanobacterial primary productivity (earlier this year I posted the clear evidence for that for the Southern Ocean from NOAA's own data on Jennifer Marohasy's blog) simply due to CO2 fertilization which increases biogenic aerosol production rate which in turn increases both cloud nucleation rate and cloud-based opacity/albedo.

This aspect is the as-yet almost forgotten biotic sibling of abiotic MEP.

Thanks to both abiotic and (soon) biotic MEP we can expect a cloudier, rainier planet rather than a hotter one.

Atmospheric CO2 may go where it will but I suspect in due course its rate of increase will eventually slow. The same thing will happen to any oceanic pH decline as increased raininess increases continental weathering rates which increases the export of total alkalinity, Fe and Si into the ocean (which in turn tends to CO2-absorbing primary productivity, neutralize CO2-induced acidity and so on).


* the lack of the IPCC-predicted stratospheric heating;

* the observed reduction in tropical-polar temperature gradients (underestimated by GCMs);

* the known 30 year trends in continental potential evaporation (down), cloudiness, rainfall (both up), oceanic wind speeds (up) etc; and

* the confounding 20 year surface temperature record just before and since the 1998 El Nino (up then down),

I think we can reasonably expect to see a majority of top level climate researchers in the next few years cautiously promulgating a more moderate view of global climate CO2 sensitivity and a more optimistic view on climate homeostasis and so-called ocean acidification. It is already happening at various reputable overseas universities (e.g. MIT, several Max Planck Institutes, Uni. Hamburg etc) and even now is slowly creeping into other institutions, including here in Australia.

Of course the monstrous egos, the chronically dogmatic, the hopelessly compromised, the committed members of the AGW herd won't like it but, hey, that's entropy for you.


Dr Steve Short
Ecoengineers Pty Ltd (via CCNet)

U.N.: Oblivious to science - "Yes, we can!" former Vice President Al Gore bellowed as the crowd went wild during his closing day speech at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland, Friday. But it was not Barack Obama's meaningless campaign motto they were excited about; instead, it was the prospect of using the U.N.'s global warming propaganda to spread American wealth.

In reality, the hit on the U.S. economy by the U.N.'s legally binding 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the planned 2009 Copenhagen treaty would drastically reduce America's ability to make wealth, much less to increase its foreign aid and technology transfers, the essence of both treaties.

Most astonishing is that the global warming treaty is not based on sound science. The U.N. created its own political entity, the International Panel on Climate Change, to produce its own global warming conclusions. The U.N.'s IPCC conveniently ignores data and has made significant alterations to scientific documents after scientists approved them in order to convey human influence on climate. (Cathie Adams, WND)

Greenies go ga-ga over emissions - APOPLECTIC apocalyptic greenies threw shoes at an effigy of Kevin Rudd, broke into a woodchip mill in Tasmania and threatened to move to Europe as part of an orchestrated dummy spit against the Prime Minister's emissions scheme announced this week.

The tantrums from Australia's screeching environmental banshees have barely abated since the Government revealed its plan to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from between 5 and 15 per cent by 2020, an amount deemed too small by green groups.

"It's a decision to see the Great Barrier Reef die before our very eyes," said Greens Senator Christine Milne.

Rudd must be rubbing his hands with glee as the more crazed greenies give him the appearance of being a safe pair of hands on climate change - doing just enough to placate green-aware citizens but not enough to wreck the economy.

But his scheme is a more radical proposal than any other country has adopted.

Professor Bob Carter, a James Cook University geologist, described it yesterday as "the worst single piece of legislation to be tabled in the Parliament since Federation".

"It is a non-solution to a non-problem," he said. "If ever there were a bill that justifies a conscience vote, then this must be it, for it wittingly intends to reduce the living standards of all Australians."

The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, who is about to take up the EU presidency, described the European climate deal as "a silly luxury" this week, so what does that make Australia's deal? (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

EU Court Rejects Steel's Challenge To Carbon Market - LUXEMBOURG - The European Union's carbon emissions trading scheme, Europe's key tool for fighting climate change, does not discriminate against steelmakers, the EU's top court said on Tuesday.

"The directive establishing a community scheme for greenhouse gas allowance trading does not breach the principle of equal treatment," the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said after a key test of the emissions trading scheme (ETS).

The ruling came just days after European leaders agreed a package of measures to cut emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, after easing the rules slightly to help industry in the grip of recession. (Reuters)

EU finalises deal to fight climate change - BRUSSELS/STRASBOURG, Dec 17 - The European Union finalised plans for its battle against global warming on Wednesday, seeking to lead the way towards a broad alliance including other big polluters like China and the United States.

The European Parliament approved a cut in carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, heeding warnings of severe weather, famine and drought as the atmosphere heats up.

The deal takes on a greater importance coming just before Barack Obama assumes the U.S. presidency, amid hopes in Europe he will cooperate more on tackling climate change than incumbent George W. Bush.

"Happily Bush is going," said European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "Everybody knows what Mr Obama has set as priorities -- energy security and climate change." (Reuters)

'From EU, 4 Percent Less Reduction Till 2020' - BRUSSELS, Dec 17 - Greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union may fall by as little as four percent between now and 2020 as a result of a new decision by the bloc's law-makers.

In a Dec. 17 vote, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved the broad thrust of a package of measures to address climate change agreed by the EU's governments last week.

Officially, this commits the Union's 27 countries to reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases that trigger climate change by 20 percent below 1990 levels by the end of the next decade. As part of an objective known as the 'triple 20 percent', the EU has also pledged to boost energy efficiency by 20 percent and to ensure that 20 percent of its energy derives from renewable sources.

Yet the small print of the Parliament's decision allows the bulk of CO2 reductions to be 'off-set' by financing 'clean development' projects outside the EU's borders. An integral part of the package known as the 'effort-sharing law' is especially reliant on offsetting.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has calculated that the actual emission cuts achieved within the Union could be only four or five percent by 2020. Its estimate is based on data from the bloc's own environment agency estimating that an 8 percent cut took place in the Union between 1990 and 2006. Of the remaining 12 percent cut required to attain the 20 percent objective, most could be undertaken abroad.

"The 20 percent target sounds nice in words," said WWF spokeswoman Delia Villagrasa. "But it is void because EU countries are allowed to accomplish approximately three-quarters of the effort outside EU borders."

WWF argued that the deal is not sufficient to comply with the Union's stated objective of preventing global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If the EU's example is replicated throughout the world, Greenland's ice sheet will melt in its entirety and the future of many cities will be jeopardised by rising sea levels.

Greenpeace climate change specialist Joris den Blanken concurred. "The effort-sharing law allows so much offsetting outside the EU that I don't think it even qualifies as EU legislation any more," he said. (IPS)

<chuckle> Did Early Global Warming Divert A New Glacial Age? — The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

But gathering physical evidence, backed by powerful simulations on the world's most advanced computer climate models, is reshaping that view and lending strong support to the radical idea that human-induced climate change began not 200 years ago, but thousands of years ago with the onset of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

What's more, according to the same computer simulations, the cumulative effect of thousands of years of human influence on climate is preventing the world from entering a new glacial age, altering a clockwork rhythm of periodic cooling of the planet that extends back more than a million years. (ScienceDaily)

NOAA and NASA Estimate 2008 will be 9th Warmest for the Globe - Don’t Buy It - Though it doesn’t rank with the Bernie Madhoff’s Ponzi scheme, it is nonetheless criminal at a time when important decisions are about to be made that will affect our way of living and economic well-being.

According to a NOAA Press Release yesterday, NCDC’s ranking of 2008 as ninth warmest if expected trends continue compares to a similar ranking of ninth warmest based on an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The NASA analysis indicates that the January-November global temperature was 0.76 degree F (0.42 degree C) above the 20th century mean. The NOAA and NASA analyses differ slightly in methodology, but both use data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center - the federal government’s official source for climate data.

Don’t believe a word of it. UAH MSU satellite data suggest 2008 will end up about the 15th warmest (16th coldest) in their 30 years of lower tropospheric data. The NASA, NOAA and Hadley data bases are seriously contaminated and the agencies are intentionally ignoring the issues as they are agenda driven with inflated budgets because of the alleged global warming. (Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow)

Impacts Of Urbanization And Land Surface Changes On Climate Trends By Kalnay Et Al - There is an excellent new paper by an outstanding research group titled “Impacts of urbanization and land surface changes on climate trends” by Eugenia Kalnay, Ming Cai, Mario Nunez and Young-Kwon Lim that appeared in the March issue of the journal of the International Association for Urban Climate. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Still trying to kill an inconvenient alternate hypothesis: Cosmic Rays Do Not Explain Global Warming, Study Finds — A new study supports earlier findings by stating that changes in cosmic rays most likely do not contribute to climate change. It is sometimes claimed that changes in radiation from space, so-called galactic cosmic rays, can be one of the causes of global warming. A new study, investigating the effect of cosmic rays on clouds, concludes that the likelihood of this is very small. (ScienceDaily)

And yet the effect can be demonstrated experimentally.

Recent Temperature Trends in Context - As 2008 nears an end, there are a lot of folks waiting to see where the final number is going to come in for this year’s global average temperature. It’s likely that the average temperature for 2008 will fall below the value for 2007 and quite possibly be the coldest year of the (official) 21st century. 2008 will add another to the growing recent string of years during which time global average temperatures have not risen. Does this mean that pressure of “global warming” fuelled by increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activity has abated?

The answer is a qualified “no”—it seems that natural variations have been flexing their muscles and offsetting anthropogenic warming. (WCR)

Qualitative Thoughts on CO2 - Recently I commented on CO2 concentration as a function of temperature. This paper is my attempt to answer comments and reactions for which I am grateful. I wrote: It appears that CO2 concentrations follows temperature with approx 6-9 months. The interesting part is off course that the CO2 trends so markedly responds to temperature changes.

To some, this is "not possible" as we normally see a very smooth rise on CO2 curves. However, the difference in CO2 rise from year to year is quite different from warm to cold years, and as shown differences are closely dependent on global temperatures. (Frank Lansner, Icecap)

U.S. Carbon Output Slower Than Thought By 2030 - NEW YORK - U.S. energy-related emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 2030 will be 9.4 percent less than forecast last year as renewable energy develops and prices cut demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will hit 6.410 billion metric tons in 2030, the EIA said in its Annual Energy Outlook 2009. In its 2008 outlook, the EIA had forecast the emissions to hit 6.851 billion metric tons by 2030.

"Efficiency policies and higher energy prices ... slow the rise in U.S. energy use," the EIA said. "When combined with the increased use of renewables and a reduction in the projected additions of new coal-fired conventional power plants, this slows the growth in energy-related (greenhouse gas) emissions." (Reuters)

Desperate talk: 2009 'year of climate change': UN chief - UNITED NATIONS - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called 2009 "the year of climate change" as he reviewed the world body's "mixed" record handling crises in Darfur, Kosovo and Zimbabwe.

Speaking at his last official press conference at UN headquarters this year, the secretary general listed climate change, one of his priorities since he assumed his post two years ago, as a key challenge for the world next year.

"I am pleased with our success in keeping climate change high on the global agenda," he said, adding that "2009 will be the year of climate change."

"We have no time to waste. We must reach a global climate change deal before the end of the year (2009) - one that is balanced, comprehensive and ratifiable by all nations," Ban said. (AFP)

Nonsense: UN official points to climate change among issues to steer long-term business growth – The global crisis in financial markets and looming economic recession has focused the corporate world’s attention on critical non-financial issues – such as climate change – important to its future survival, the head of the United Nations initiative for ethical business told reporters today. (UN News)

Ha! Why coming clean is good business - Public firms grapple with climate-change disclosure

Public companies can't allow preoccupation with the financial crisis to detract from the importance of focusing on climate-change disclosure, securities lawyers say. Statistics indicate that U. S. companies mentioned climate change 7,634 times in their securities filings in the first quarter of 2008 compared with 536 in the comparable period in 2006. (Financial Post)

Yeah, that did 'em a lot of good, eh? Perhaps if they were not distracted by such fantasy threats they might actually deal with the business of business!

Northeast CO2 Output Drops On Fuel Switch, Demand - NEW YORK - Carbon dioxide emissions from power generators in 10 US Northeastern states are on track to fall steeply in 2008 on softer prices for cleaner-burning natural gas and lighter electricity demand, according to a report released Monday.

The report was issued by Environment Northeast, a research and advocacy group that helped the 10 states from Maryland to Massachusetts form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a pact aiming to force utilities to cut emissions of the planet-warming gas by placing a cap on their pollution starting in January.

Carbon dioxide output this year from the 10 states is on track to be 16 percent below the group's cap of 188 million tons of emissions, according to the report. Environment Northeast reported in September that 2007 emissions were about 9 percent below the cap. (Reuters)

Algeria's Experiment in Carbon Capture - A venture by Algeria's Sonatrach, the United Kingdom's BP, and Norway's Statoil to strip CO2 out of natural gas and store it underground could help cut emissions.

About 700 miles south of Algiers, the capital of Algeria, a monumental assemblage of pipes and cylinders rises from the bleak Sahara Desert. Not far away is a small airstrip and helicopter pad. And in a compound down the road, surrounded by a thick stand of trees to break the whistling winds, there are dormitories, tennis courts, even a mess hall, where a crew of chefs whips up hearty meals including lobster pie and potato tarts for several hundred people.

In a way, this oil industry camp represents an effort to turn the desert -- or at least the natural gas Algeria exports to Europe -- green. The plant, which is situated on a tiny oasis known as Krechba, is designed to strip out and cleanly dispose of the carbon dioxide contained in the gas produced by a vast network of seven distinct fields below the desert floor.

The gas in this part of gas-rich Algeria contains about 7 percent CO2, on average. That contaminant level must be reduced to about 0.3 percent before it is exported to Italy and other European countries. In the past, energy companies vented such unwanted CO2 into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse gas problem. But in this case, the partners, Sonatrach, the national oil and gas company, BP, and, Norway's Statoil decided in the late 1990s to store the carbon dioxide underground. (Der Spiegel)

Yes, they do need to reduce the CO2 content of natural gas but the reinjection of same is to maintain field pressure, not control planetary temperature.

Overcompensation blunts ETS's value - LIKE most political compromises, the Rudd Government's policy on climate change is inadequate and its own white paper explains why.

The justification for substantially increasing its initial offer to shield industries exposed to international trade is the risk of carbon leakage: that is, companies moving overseas and merrily causing pollution in a country that does not limit emissions. Certainly, there have been plenty of dark threats to that effect from local company executives.

But the white paper released on Monday points out that deciding on the location of a business involves many factors, such as access to resources, skilled labour and infrastructure, security of energy supply and political stability. "As such, the absence of a carbon constraint ... will not automatically lead to carbon leakage from Australia; indeed, Treasury modelling suggests this risk is low and work by the (International Energy Agency) suggests there has been little carbon leakage from Europe since the introduction of the (European Union's emissions trading scheme)," it adds.

So why give heavy emitters an estimated 45 per cent of all permits by 2020, rather than the 30 per cent originally judged as adequate? Because the Government was not prepared to call their bluff. (The Australian)

Who says carbon dioxide emissions trading has any value whatsoever?

So, windfarms really do significantly dry and heat their surrounds: Answers to huge wind-farm problems are blowin' in the wind - While harnessing more energy from the wind could help satisfy growing demands for electricity and reduce emissions of global-warming gases, turbulence from proposed wind farms could adversely affect the growth of crops in the surrounding countryside.

Solutions to this, and other problems presented by wind farms - containing huge wind turbines, each standing taller than a 60-story building and having blades more than 300 feet long - can be found blowin' in the wind, a University of Illinois researcher says. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Palm oil no longer sustainable for Malaysians, unless they burn it! - KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysian power producers will soon start burning palm oil instead of coal following the collapse of palm oil prices on the international market.

Under a plan announced last week by the country’s Plantation Industries and Commodities minister Peter Chin, the Malaysian government also aims to ensure that palm biodiesel is available at every gas station throughout the country by 2010.

logged forest in asiaProducers are reeling under the shock of plummeting prices that have seen palm oil crash from a high of US$1,267 to today’s low of around $450 per ton, leaving them with a massive pool.

The plan was welcomed by an environmentalist group today on the grounds that it will severely dent palm-oil profits and may lead the Malaysians to introduce a moratorium on new plantations, albeit for the wrong reasons. (Green Assembly)

UK Biodiesel Plant Crippled By U.S. Subsidies - LONDON - Britain's largest biodiesel plant is running well below capacity, crippled by U.S. subsidies, Biofuels Corporation Trading Limited Chairman Sean Sutcliffe said in an interview on Wednesday.

The European Union said earlier this year it was investigating whether soaring imports of U.S. biodiesel break global trade rules because of subsidies.

"Damage has been done across the industry, plants have shut down. The European market is being served by imports because of this unfair subsidy," Sutcliffe said. (Reuters)

Dying without insurance — a myth or fact? - A worrying claim that has circulated for years is that 18,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance. A thought-provoking analysis revealed that this is little more than an urban legend. (Junkfood Science)

Innocent children and the most vulnerable can be hurt the most - A heartbreaking story was reported in the Australian news today about a young girl left crippled and brain damaged. Her father had come to feel so afraid and distrustful of modern medicine that he continued to give her alternative remedies for a heart infection and delayed taking her to the hospital until it was too late. (Junkfood Science)

Lancet: Dozens of nations inflated vaccine numbers - LONDON – Dozens of developing countries exaggerated figures on how many children were vaccinated against deadly diseases, which allowed them to get more money from U.N.-sponsored programs, a new study said Friday.

Research in the medical journal, The Lancet, said only half as many children were vaccinated than was claimed by countries taking part in special programs meant to reach kids in poor nations. The findings raise serious issues about vaccination programs — and whether money earmarked for children is actually reaching their intended recipients.

"With the unprecedented billions given by the international community, there is no excuse for these poor coverage rates," said Philip Stevens, of the International Policy Network, a London-based think-tank. "One has to wonder where the money has gone — hopefully not into Swiss bank accounts." (Associated Press)

More dodgy UN figures - According to a major new Gates-funded study in The Lancet, developing countries have been hugely over-reporting their coverage rates for childhood vaccinations.

The Associated Press takes up the story: "From 1986 to 2006, the United Nations reported that 14 million children received immunizations in the programs. But the reports from the independent surveys put that number at just over 7 million."

All this is depressingly reminiscent of UNAIDS' systematic overreporting of global AIDS prevalence.

There are two points to take away from this. (Campaign For Fighting Diseases)

New definition of fake drugs envisages better health - But India is resisting amendments to the definition, citing bogus fears of 'protectionism' and baseless 'threat' to its generics industry

A decision is expected by this year's end on a new global definition of counterfeit medicines, aimed at saving people from harm and even death. But activists and the Indian Health Ministry are resisting the move, claiming it comes from vested interests and threatens the nation's vast generics industry.

The definition proposed by the World Health Organisation's International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) is enthusiastically supported by countries where people suffer terribly from counterfeit drugs, such as Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria. WHO estimates that up to 20 per cent of drugs sold in India may be counterfeit. Although the Centre denies this, fake and sub-standard drugs from India certainly plague many other parts of the world. This year a study in six African cities showed over a third of anti-malarial drugs to be sub-standard. Of the drugs from Asia (principally India and China), 32 per cent were sub-standard.

These rip-offs provoke suffering, death and drug-resistant strands of disease and they damage the reputation of good Indian generic drugs. (Julian Harris, The Pioneer)

California... California officials launch 'Green Chemistry' initiative - The plan would inform consumers how items sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how environmentally safe their ingredients are.

Is that laundry soap truly "environmentally friendly"? Was that mattress treated with toxic chemicals? Is that sweatsuit fashioned from organic cotton? Is that lipstick "natural"?

California officials launched a sweeping green initiative on Tuesday to inform consumers exactly how hundreds of thousands of products sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how safe their ingredients are.

The plan, which would require every product to reveal its "environmental footprint," envisions the most comprehensive regulations ever adopted for consumer goods. (LA Times)

Bulgaria Delays Plastic Bags Tax Due To Crisis - SOFIA - Bulgaria delayed on Tuesday plans to levy a tax on plastic shopping bags, aimed at reducing plastic waste, on fears that the tax would burden businesses too much during the global financial crisis. (Reuters)

Time to give up on saving the planet? - Doom and gloom climate change reports, gathering pessimism and a sense that time is running out - is it okay to admit that you feel like giving up on saving the planet? (Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian)

Yes Bibi, by all means give up. The world will definitely be better off without you and your hysterical ilk.

'The end' as a weapon - Some environmentalists have their own fixation with the apocalypse — just not the biblical one. This involves the wrath of nature and the ecological end times. But fear is an ineffective tool for any cause. (Tom Krattenmaker, USA TODAY)

More Evidence of Intimidation in the Green Movement - Mark Lynas is best known for shoving a pie in Bjorn Lomborg's face. So when he says people in the environmental movement are closed-minded and resort to intimidation, it's worth paying attention to what he says. He's come to the realization that nuclear power doesn't deserve its reputation and is a valuable tool against global warming, which has earned him scorn from his peers. (Iain Murray, Planet Gore)

Report says biotechnology can tackle global warming - The Bureau of Rural Sciences says biotechnology can help Australian farmers remain viable despite the effects of climate change.

The bureau's latest report says biotechnologies like genetic modification can help develop new crops and pasture species tolerate the forecast hotter and drier conditions, use nitrogen more effectively, and resist pests and diseases.

It also says biotechnology will help reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, by allowing farmers to cut their fuel and fertiliser use. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Of all the reasons to use biotech gorebull warming ain't it!

December 17, 2008

Follow Up On UK Met Office Long-Term Forecasts - On December 11, 2008, Climate Science posted a weblog titled “Comments On UK Met Office Press Releases On Climate. Thanks to Steve Goddard, he has alerted us to a news article which provides further support for the difficulty of long term weather prediction.

The Daily Telegraph published an article on December 13 2008 titled “Weather:Coldest start to winter since 1976 - Britain has endured its coldest start to winter in more than 30 years” by Stephen Adams. While warmer weather is predicted in the coming weeks by the ECMWF model (see), this very cold period certainly was not predicted by the UK Met Office. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Blast from the past: Warm, Watered and Well Fed is Better - The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that all government efforts to stop global warming and cut carbon dioxide emissions were anti-life and against the interests of mankind. (Carbon Sense Coalition)

Global Warming’s Last Gasp - You folks in Fargo, N.D., who think you are shivering because it's 11 degrees below zero are badly mistaken — according to the precious computer models global warming alarmists use, it can't be that bitterly cold.

Their models show conclusively that the world is heating up. How can it be minus 11 degrees in Fargo? The models never showed it would get cooler.

Well it is, but they prefer to ignore such facts that might poke a large hole in their pet global warming theory that keeps their bank accounts fat and healthy with the grants that fund their researching of a scientific scam.

In the midst of an early winter vicious cold front that has plunged large areas of the northern United States into sub-zero temperatures, an Associated Press journalist has penned an absurd report warning that the world is in the process of being spit roasted by the alleged warming of the planet. (Philip V. Brennan, NewsMax)

Interesting... Phoenix probe sheds new light on Mars weather - CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - NASA is still unable to say for sure whether its Phoenix lander has found a place where life could have existed on Mars.

But scientists working with the U.S. space agency said on Monday computer models they have been using to predict what the weather would be like on the Red Planet are wrong, and more accurate models would give a better picture of its past. (Reuters)

Mars would appear rather easier to model than Earth and yet they can't get Mars climate models right. Tell us again how good the Earth ones are...

<Muffled laughter> Sea level could rise by 150cm, US scientists warn - Sea level rise due to global warming will "substantially exceed" official UN projections and could top 150cm by the end of the century, according to a report from the US Geological Survey on the risks of abrupt climate change. Such a rise would be catastrophic, seeing hundreds of millions of people affected by flooding.

Many scientists now fear the warming world is on the verge of "tipping points", in which climate change and its effects accelerate rapidly. The science is evolving quickly and the new report updates the most recent findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released in 2007.

Some observers have called for an update of the science before the UN talks on a global deal on greenhouse gases emissions reach their finale in December 2009. The US report considers four scenarios for abrupt change, and delivers bad news on two.

On sea level, the report found models used by the IPCC in 2007 do not take into account recent information on how fast glaciers slide into the oceans, particularly from Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets. The report says the south western states of the US will enter a "permanent drought state". (The Guardian)

Sheesh! Change, but at what price? - After 2008 started with panic over food prices, the world seemed to be waking up to global warming. But then the recession hit

No one could have predicted quite how dramatically 2008 would have ended. Even as President Bush was slashing his way through US environmental protection laws, president-elect Obama appointed Nobel prize-winning physicist Steve Chu as the next US energy secretary. Chu is seen as the repudiation of everything that Bush stood for, and predicts temperatures will rise by a staggering 6.1C by the end of the century if nothing is done. Although it does not mean the oil age is over, if you want a sign that 2008 was a tipping point, it could not have been clearer. (John Vidal, The Guardian)

No Rush to New Kyoto? - “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia, Winston”

It is only fitting that amid the talks over a successor to the 2008-2012 Kyoto “global warming” treaty in Poznan, Poland -- where the Poles were lectured how they should leave that abundant coal in the ground since their friendly Russian neighbors have a reliable gas supply for them to burn instead -- that we should see eye-popping rhetorical revisions to join such ignorance of history. (Christopher C. Horner, Human Events)

Cooling on Global Warming - Germany and the rest of Europe are getting more rational on climate change.

Participants at last week's United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland, were taken aback by a world seemingly turned upside-down. The traditional villains and heroes of the international climate narrative, the wicked U.S. and the noble European Union, had unexpectedly swapped roles. For once, it was the EU that was criticized for backpedalling on its CO2 targets while Europe's climate nemesis, the U.S., found itself commended for electing an environmental champion as president. (Benny Peiser, Wall Street Journal Europe)

Europe’s Climate Policy For Dummies = 4% by 2020 - Those interested in the full details of the European climate agreement reached last week in Brussels can examine it in all of its gory details here (in PDF). It is, to put it mildly, complicated. So in the interests of those just wanting the bottom line, here I offer a simplified version of the policy. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Carbon Markets - What's In It for the Poor? - UXBRIDGE, Canada, Dec 15 - Climate experts meeting in Poznan, Poland, promised to create a new pot of carbon-credit gold for the rural poor as guardians of rural lands and forests.

But there are many who warn that the gold will flow only to corporate interests. (Tierramérica)

Bull! The greenhouse gas emissions race is on - BUSINESS must act swiftly to measure and report on greenhouse gas emissions after the release of the Government's white paper. (The Australian)

If there was the slightest doubt before All-talk Kevin has dispelled it now -- Australia is not seriously going to pursue any self-destructive "anti gorebull warming" strategies.

Industry revolt on green plan as miners sacked - HEAVY industry is demanding further concessions in the Rudd Government's modest emissions trading scheme, saying it will still cost jobs, stymie investment and exacerbate the effects of the economic downturn.

Conservationists have panned the scheme for pandering to "dirty" industry, saying it will not help the environment and offers overly generous compensation that transfers $2.24 billion from taxpayers to major polluters in 2010, potentially rising to $12.25billion in 2020.

But industries such as cement, aluminium and coalmining say that although the Government increased compensation and announced modest emission reduction targets in the scheme unveiled on Monday, they would lobby for further concessions, either in draft legislation to be released early next year or through Coalition-supported amendments in the Senate. (The Australian)

Blessed change in the climate - EVERY now and then you have to be grateful when you discover our political leaders have told a deliberate, calculated lie. Monday was such a day. Kevin Rudd's announcement of a carbon emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020 demonstrated that his pre-election claim that climate change was the great moral issue of our time, and demanding that Australia lead the way, was what Winston Churchill would call a terminological inexactitude: a whopper, a piece of bare-faced duplicity of epic proportions. But thank goodness Rudd and his colleagues deceived us.

And deceive us they did. At the election last year, Rudd said Australian wanted real action on climate change. And Rudd acted, in a real symbolic kind of way. He ratified the Kyoto Protocol. More symbolism when he promised to cut emissions by 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2050, 41 years away.

While most of the media has failed to take Rudd to task, the truth is that if the Rudd Government genuinely believed climate change to be the greatest moral threat facing humanity, and if it fully accepted the findings of the UN panel that laid down a minimum target cut of 25 per cent to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 to prevent catastrophic climate change, then we now would have bigger cuts. A true believer in those claims could do no less.

To a true believer, policy responses to a temporary global financial crisis could not compete with the sort of policies required to stem permanent, irrevocable damage caused by climate change.

But, thank God, Rudd and his ministers are not in fact true believers. Rudd's higher carbon reduction target of 15 per cent is predicated on other key economies committing to target reductions comparable to Australia. In other words, Australia follows, rather than leads. Rudd's caution on targets is unquestionably driven by, dare one use the word, scepticism about the world's ability to reach consensus on tackling climate change. In other words, Rudd sounds more and more like John Howard every day.

The alternative - that Australia lead the climate change parade rather than sitting comfortably in middle of the pack - is the kind of moral narcissism only the Greens and like-minded eco-fundamentalists can afford. (Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian)

The Fabian Carbon Tax - Everyone is relieved that we are only getting a 5% carbon tax penalty with lots of refunds, exemptions and electoral bribes.

This is the worst possible outcome.

Better they stayed at 25% tax, which would have provoked such a revolt that even the Liberals would have objected. The whole thing would then have been abandoned at the first opportunity.

But this sneaky Fabian tax will get onto the books and we will all be trained to submit annual returns to the Greenhouse office. Then later, exemptions will be abandoned, the tax will become a permanent feature of the mess called the Australian Tax “System”, and 5% will creep to 10%, to 20%, where they wanted it in the first place.

Meanwhile, climate change will continue regardless.

And those looking forward to their Green subsidies and handouts need to remember:

“The benefit you get from Canberra is the tax you sent to Canberra, less bureaucratic charges both ways”. (Viv Forbes, Carbon Sense Coalition)

Climate change: 2008 is world's 10th hottest year - THE year 2008 is set to be the 10th warmest on record for the globe, with a temperature 0.31°C above average.

And Australia is on track for its 15th warmest year on record, with a temperature 0.37°C above average, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

Senior Climatologist with the Bureau of Meteorology, Andrew Watkins, said 2008 was a La Nina year, in which the Pacific Ocean cools and temperatures tend to be lower across Australia.

"In spite of that La Nina event we still came out with the 15th warmest on record year for Australia," he said.

Dr Watkins pointed out the preliminary global figure means 2008 was "warmer than all but two years in the previous century, so we are still seeing considerable warming here post-2000." (The Australian)

We've covered this particular deception before. Yes, the average of the last decade, where temperatures have actually declined, is higher than the average of the previous decade, where temperatures increased more rapidly than the last has cooled. That's how genuine cooling becomes a pretend warming.

Hmm... Arctic Ice Volume Lowest Ever as Globe Warms: UN - GENEVA - Ice volume around the Arctic region hit the lowest level ever recorded this year as climate extremes brought death and devastation to many parts of the world, the U.N. weather agency WMO said on Tuesday.

Although the world's average temperature in 2008 was, at 14.3 degrees Celsius (57.7 degrees Fahrenheit), by a fraction of a degree the coolest so far this century, the direction toward a warmer climate remained steady, it reported.

"What is happening in the Arctic is one of the key indicators of global warming," Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said. "The overall trend is still upwards." (Reuters)

... enthusiastic claims, if dubious.

From CO2 Science this week:

Young Forest Stands Exposed to Elevated CO2 and Ozone: The Importance of Long-Term Studies: Are root biomass responses after seven to ten years of elevated CO2 and ozone exposure the same as those observed in the first five years of growth in these conditions?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 647 individual scientists from 378 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Taravilla Lake, Central Iberian Range, Spain. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Agriculture (Species - Alfalfa): How is the alfalfa plant affected by increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2?

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: European Beech and Norway Spruce Ecosystem, Garden Bean, Sour Orange Tree, and Sweet Orange Tree.

Journal Reviews:
Estimating 21st-Century Sea Level Rise: How do James Hansen's wild ideas stack up against more rational analyses?

Last Glacial Maximum and Little Ice Age Atmospheric Circulation Characteristics Over the Mediterranean Sea: How similar or different were they?

The Little Ice Age in the Tropical Andes of Bolivia: How similar was it to the Little Ice Age in Europe? ... and why is the answer important?

Less Frequent but More Extreme Rainfall Events in Semi-Arid Grasslands: Is the global-warming-induced precipitation change good or bad for plant productivity?

Global Warming and Wildfires: Have rising temperatures been promoting the occurrence of larger and more frequent wildfires around the world?

CO2 Truth-Alerts

Click here to watch short videos on various global warming topics. Embed any Truth Alert video on your own web page or to watch it on YouTube in a higher resolution. (

Sun Often 'Tears Out A Wall' In Earth's Solar Storm Shield -- Earth's magnetic field, which shields our planet from particles streaming outward from the Sun, often develops two holes that allow the largest leaks, according to researchers sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

"The discovery overturns a long-standing belief about how and when most of the solar particles penetrate Earth's magnetic field, and could be used to predict when solar storms will be severe. Based on these results, we expect more severe storms during the upcoming solar cycle," said Vassilis Angelopoulos of the University of California, Los Angeles, Principal Investigator for NASA's THEMIS mission (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms). THEMIS was used to discover the size of the leak. (

OPEC Was Right About Oil Prices. Now What? - Back in June, I wrote a piece for The American in which I argued that oil prices were being driven higher by the immutable law of supply and demand. Today, with prices plunging to near $40 instead of the $145 level seen in mid-July, it’s abundantly obvious that speculators were a key driver, probably the main driver, of the surge in oil prices that occurred between late 2007 and July.

So, to be clear, I was wrong. The leaders of OPEC were right. So, too, was my pal, Ed Wallace. In May, Wallace, a savvy journalist from Fort Worth who writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Business Week, published several articles which he showed how the unregulated futures market was being used by speculators to push prices upward. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Drill, Arnold, Drill! - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is begging for a bailout to close an $11 billion budget gap. He should be pressing for an oil revenue-sharing deal instead.

California's revenues have weakened more than expected, thanks to a protracted housing slump and sinking retail sales. Rising unemployment is also adding to budget woes.

Schwarzenegger wants to raise the state's sales tax to help make up the shortfall. But there's a better way to drum up revenues, one that won't cost California taxpayers a dime. The state could generate huge royalties by allowing offshore oil drilling.

"Can we maybe think about offshore royalties that businesses and oil companies would pay?" pleaded California Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines.

Though a Republican, Schwarzenegger opposes new drilling off the California coast. And the Democrat-led Assembly and state Senate recently passed resolutions urging Congress to preserve a federal ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific.

But public outcry over gas prices led Congress in October to lift the quarter-century ban, opening the door to state drilling.

The Interior Department estimates that those bicoastal waters contain at least 18 billion barrels of oil — more than half of it off the California coast.

Drilling in those waters could generate almost $1 trillion in new energy revenue, pumping potentially billions into California and other state coffers in the form of royalties and other income. (IBD)

Bailing Out Wind -  Obama announces his energy team without mentioning a green source of renewable energy that could create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and reinvigorate a vital manufacturing sector — nuclear power.

The domestic auto industry isn't the only uncompetitive industry that seems to require life-sustaining transfusions of government cash to stay in business. Alternative energy sources have relied on such subsidies, called "investments," for years.

Yet in President-elect Obama's announcement of his energy team, we were told "the foundations of our energy independence" lie in "the power of wind and solar." Except that for these alternative sources there's been a severe power shortage.

After decades of tax credits and subsidies, wind provides only about 1% of our electricity. By comparison, coal provides 49%, natural gas 22%, nuclear power 19% and hydroelectric 7%.

Wind power is currently uncompetitive. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently: "In 1999, 2001 and 2003, when Congress temporarily killed the credits, the number of new turbines dropped dramatically." These subsidies will be renewed in the new administration, but to "invest" in wind and solar to replace fossil fuels will be expensive. (IBD)

Alberta Mulls New Wind Power Lines - CALGARY - Wind power developments planned in the Canadian province of Alberta will require C$1.83 billion (US$1.5 billion) in new transmission lines to connect the electricity to markets, the province's system operator said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Enel to Launch Two US Geothermal Plants in Q1 - MILAN - Italy's biggest utility, Enel, will launch two geothermal plants with a total capacity of 65 megawatt (MW) in Nevada in the first quarter of 2009 aiming to expand in the US renewable energy market, it said on Monday. (Reuters)

German Wind Industry in Talks for State Aid: Report - FRANKFURT - The German wind energy federation BWE is in talks with the German environment ministry over state support for companies in the sector as the financial crisis bites, a German newspaper reported.

"The expansion of renewable energy and climate protection will stall unless the current situation improves," Hermann Albers, president of BWE, told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview to be published on Wednesday.

The financial crisis was slowing growth in the sector, mainly because project financing was becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive, especially for off-shore wind parks, he said. (Reuters)

Fat discrimination tax - It made the financial news today, because everyone knows it’s not really about health. But even the numbers don’t add up.

New York Governor, David Paterson, is reported as proposing a 15% tax on sugar-sweetened sodas, calling it an obesity tax. That makes it sound like it has a noble intention of public health concerns over obesity, when, as the Financial Times noted, it’s really just a way to raise money to help address the state’s $13.3 billion deficit. (Junkfood Science)

Oh... With increasing obesity, fuel consumption becomes weighty matter -- Excess fuel consumption caused by excess driver and passenger weight has increased in the past two years, with no end in sight.

In a widely publicized study in fall 2006, University of Illinois computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson and doctoral student Laura McLay estimated the amount of vehicle fuel consumed as a result of overweight and obese passengers.

Now, in a new study by Jacobson and doctoral student Douglas King, current estimates of weight-based fuel consumption were calculated and compared with those reported in 2006. The results are not good news. (

Environmental groups, scientists cheer Obama appointments - With a Nobel physicist and a former EPA chief on board, some expect Obama's White House to break from what they see as the Bush administration's record of overlooking science in favor of politics. (Los Angeles Times)

Given that environment and environmentalism is 100% prime time politics and nothing but politics that would seem unlikely.

Marty's off with the chemical tinkerbells again: Groups urge BPA ban in all food packaging - Canada is the first country in the world to propose banning plastic baby bottles made from bisphenol A, but an influential coalition of public health and environmental advocates says the federal government hasn't gone far enough and should also protect pregnant women from the controversial chemical.

The bottle ban, announced by Health Canada with great fanfare earlier this year, was put in place as a precaution to minimize exposures for babies under 18 months.

But the groups want the government also to ban the chemical in all food packaging, including cans, based on worries that mothers are ingesting it through food and inadvertently exposing their fetuses.

"Protecting infants against BPA is not enough. We need to protect the fetus, and that means protecting the mother," said Barbara McElgunn, health policy adviser for the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada. The association was one of the 22 groups that yesterday called on the federal government to introduce the wide-ranging food packaging ban. (Globe and Mail)

'crakes don't like cooling temperatures? Corncrake numbers 'show decline' - The number of corncrakes in Scotland is estimated to have fallen for the first time in a decade, it has been warned.

RSPB Scotland said the population of calling males had dropped by about 8%, from 1,236 in 2007 to 1,140 this year. (BBC News)

Nutrient Control Actions for Improving Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin and Northern Gulf of Mexico - A large area of coastal waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico experiences seasonal conditions of low levels of dissolved oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Excess discharge of nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers causes nutrient overenrichment in the gulf's coastal waters and stimulates the growth of large algae blooms. When these algae die, the process of decomposition depletes dissolved oxygen from the water column and creates hypoxic conditions.

In considering how to implement provisions of the Clean Water Act to strengthen nutrient reduction objectives across the Mississippi River basin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested advice from the National Research Council. This book represents the results of the committee's investigations and deliberations, and recommends that the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture should jointly establish a Nutrient Control Implementation Initiative to learn more about the effectiveness of actions meant to improve water quality throughout the Mississippi River basin and into the northern Gulf of Mexico. Other recommendations include how to move forward on the larger process of allocating nutrient loading caps -- which entails delegating responsibilities for reducing nutrient pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus -- across the basin. (National Academies Press)

Virtual world guesstimates: Corn pests to thrive as global climate warms-study - CHICAGO, Dec 16 - Populations of insects that feed on corn and other crops in the United States may flourish and expand to new territory as global climate change brings warmer summers and milder winters in the decades ahead, according to a new study.

More frequent or more severe pest infestations may cut crop yields and drive up the price of corn, used for food and animal feed and to produce renewable fuels. (Reuters)

GM crops: environment ministry proposes, Ramadoss opposes - NEW DELHI: The environment ministry might be planning to bring genetically modified (GM) crops like Bt Brinjal to your plate but Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has promised to "continue to oppose" GM foods.

Ramadoss, in a meeting with hundreds of farmers organised by his party PMK in Kancheepuram town of Tamil Nadu last week, promised to resist the entry of GM foods for common use.

"The PMK has always opposed GM seeds. As a minister of PMK and as union health minister, I will continue to oppose GM seeds," he said.

"As far as Bt Brinjal is concerned, it was brought to the country without proper research on its safety," he added. According to health ministry officials, the minister has also discussed with top health officials his stand on GM crops.

Hailing the strong stand of Ramadoss and favouring the anti-GM movement, the Coalition for GM Free India has written a letter of appreciation to the health ministry. (Economic Times)

December 16, 2008

Green team: Obama’s choices will challenge Inhofe - No one enjoys debating global warming more than U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. Yet the sledding ahead looks to be decidedly tougher for the Tulsa Republican, given the environmental team President-elect Barack Obama is assembling and Democrats’ strengthened majorities in Congress.

Inhofe has led the charge against Al Gore, the United Nations’ climate panel, celebrity activists and others who argue human activity is the chief cause of warming. Last week he publicized a report that some 650 scientists disagree with the idea that people are causing global warming.

But the balance of power in Washington will change in January. Obama will be sworn in, and with him will come experienced proponents of global warming countermeasures.

The New York Times reports Carol Browner, a Gore disciple and Bill Clinton’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, will lead climate and energy policy at the White House. (The Oklahoman)

Good thing Inhofe is there then, isn't it.

Oh my... Michael McCarthy: A sliver of cheer on climate change - Listening to Gore, I even felt hope myself, as the world felt hope on Obama's election

Optimism is one of the strangest of human conditions, not least because when it strikes, it often affects the most rational of beings. There have been occasional outbursts of it in history: we think of the Renaissance, when Rabelais was so sure of the benignity of human nature that he made the motto of his abbey of Thélème "do what you wish", or the French Revolution, when the revolutionary armies were at first irresistible, so great was their belief that they were the vanguard of a new life.

Most of all, we think of the founding of the United States, the nation that sprang from the 18th-century Enlightenment and its unshakeable belief in the power of reason, the original Optimistic Society: at its heart is the belief that anyone can become president, a belief which after more than two centuries, Barack Obama has triumphantly vindicated.

I was vividly put in mind of the American optimistic tradition on Friday, in a conference hall in Poznan, Poland, listening to a speech by Al Gore, the former US vice president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for alerting the world to the dangers of climate change. (The Independent)

Polar Bears, Climate Change, and Human Dignity - Polar bears are recognized worldwide as living symbols of the Arctic, and have recently become prominent symbols in international campaigns to combat global climate change. On May 14, 2008 a slightly different symbolic association was presented to the world. Against a backdrop of American flags and large photos of polar bears, the US Secretary of the Interior announced his government’s decision to list polar bears worldwide as a threatened species due to declining Arctic sea ice. Explicit in the same announcement was the current US administration’s clear determination to prevent this listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from being used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) or obstruct energy developments deemed vital to US interests.

While at first glance this listing may seem like a victory in the fight against climate change, the outcomes are likely to be complex and may take some time to become clear. Legal challenges have already begun, from environmental groups seeking to force governmental action on GHGs, the State of Alaska challenging the US government’s science, and aggrieved American hunters who can no longer import the polar bear hides from their guided hunts in Canada. A new US administration might very well decide to take action on GHGs, but the initial decision will at the very least delay development of substantive, practical, and effective polar bear conservation policies which are urgently needed. The primary criterion for appraising any policy decision is whether it is likely to resolve the problem it is intended to address: the “threatened” listing fails this most basic test. Further, that decision ensures that the only costs of listing polar bears are borne by a relatively few US citizens – plus the Canadian Inuit and Inuvialuit communities that, until this spring, derived an important source of seasonal income from those hunts. What, if anything, should be done? (Douglas Clark, Martina Tyrrell, Martha Dowsley, A. Lee Foote, Milton Freeman and Susan G. Clark, SPPI)

EU Climate Plan Cut to Shreds - Industry lobbyists again triumphed this week in Brussels. Coal-fired power plants in East and Central European countries won the right to a delayed payment schedule for emissions credits. German industry won the right to future concessions if a study deems that the EU ETS renders them less competitive on the global market. Although it was never entirely clear what Italy wanted (some believed that the Italian delegation threatened to veto the package to win concessions for the Italian car industry in upcoming negotiations), Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told AFP that "Italy is on the way to getting all it wants.” The gutted agreement infuriated environmentalists. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Klaus: Climate issues are silly luxury good - Czech president hits at EU climate deal

PRAGUE, Dec 12 (AFP) - Czech President Václav Klaus hit out at the EU climate [20-20-2020-20-20] deal concluded Friday and described global climate issues as "a silly luxury."

"I do not like the way they forced it", Klaus said shortly after an agreement was announced in Brussels.

He also claimed that his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy had "pushed" the deal so that it would not be left when the Czech Republic takes over the EU presidency from France on January 1.

"This is scandalous," he said. "We should have been able to discuss it during our presidency, to force it now is not very good."

"Environmental issues are a luxury good," Klaus added. "Now we have to tighten our belt and to cut the luxury." (The Reference Frame)

Inside the Beltway - It’s too bad they’re so capable, experienced, and energetic because the energy and global warming policies that President-elect Obama wants them to pursue are radical, economically disastrous, and pointless. As the Washington Post sub-headlined David A. Fahrenthold’s article on Obama’s picks, “Their goals will be radical, but the three officials tapped to lead effort are experienced regulators.” (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Dead wrong: Australia's Climate-Change Winners & Losers - SYDNEY - The only clear, outright winners from Australia's climate-change policy unveiled on Monday are the accountants and lawyers who will have to make sense of it.

Losers, on the other hand, are everywhere.

They include coal-fired power stations, mainly in government hands or unlisted, and some of the local stock market's biggest firms, such as smelters BlueScope Steel and OneSteel, and refiner Alumina Ltd, analysts say.

Around 1,000 of the largest polluters, ranging from transport operators and aluminum makers to gas producers and petroleum refineries, will have to pay to pollute from 2010, under a government plan to cut national greenhouse gas emissions by 5-15 percent by 2020.

Gas firms Woodside Petroleum and Santos, and refiner Caltex Australia will have to pay for permits to pollute. Qantas Airways will also face carbon costs via higher fuel prices or the need to buy permits, or both. (Reuters)

This is not about pollution at all but rather the essential trace gas carbon dioxide. The whole thing is a nonsense placing a discouragement tax on enterprises feeding the biosphere. About as anti green as it gets and too absurd for words.

Solar protection - LOWER-INCOME households, pensioners, business and industry will receive more than $11 billion a year to compensate for increased costs caused by the emissions trading scheme.

Families and singles on high incomes, however, will be worse off under the scheme, which was locked in yesterday to begin on July 1, 2010 - only months before the next election is due.

Billed as the biggest economic upheaval since the 1980s deregulation of the economy, the scheme was tweaked to accommodate the demands of industry in lean economic times. (Sydney Morning Herald)

<chuckle> Greenpeace, WWF damn paper on climate change - THE Federal Government's white paper on climate change received only muted praise from industry but outright hostility from the environment movement.

Environment and community groups reacted angrily. Sixty of them joined to condemn the Government's target range.

The range of between 5 and 15 per cent was "a total failure of climate policy and shows that the Rudd Government has caved in to pressure from the big polluters", the groups, including Greenpeace and WWF, said. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Check out these twits: Critics of Rudd's emissions strategy plan sandbagging protest - The offices of MPs around Australia will be sandbagged in a graphic protest by environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE).

FOE members are angered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's announcement yesterday that the federal government will seek to cut Australia's carbon emissions by five per cent by 2020, spokesman Damien Lawson says.

From 10am (midday NZST) today, mock climate emergency services workers will begin sandbagging MPs' electoral offices to protect them from rising sea levels FOE says will result from climate change.

"A five per cent target locks Australia into runaway climate change. This target will not stop drought, it will not save the Great Barrier Reef, and it will not prevent ice melting and the sea rising," Mr Lawson said.

"This is an emergency and the government must act within this term. Our carbon emissions must peak in the next year and then continuously decrease if we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change."

Mr Lawson said emissions cuts of 40 to 50 per cent by 2020 were needed, and the government should also consider former US vice-president Al Gore's call for a 100 per cent switch to renewable energy by the same year. (AP, AAP)

They sound like they really believe the gorebull warming propaganda -- no wonder they were gullible enough to believe K.Rudd (poor saps probably even voted for him :))

Excuse me? Scientists predict a hot and bleak future - SOME climate scientists have turned on the Federal Government, calling for "scientific honesty" after it delivered its target range for emissions cuts of between 5 and 15 per cent yesterday.

The mainstream scientific community believes much deeper cuts are needed more quickly and that yesterday's announcement all but locks Australia into a hot and rather bleak future.

The modest cuts for 2020 are seen as marking a fork in the road in Australia's approach to climate change, with the Government proceeding down one route and the research that underpins the need for emissions cuts heading down another. (Sydney Morning Herald)

And uh, what research would that be that allegedly underpins the need for emission cuts? They can only be talking about PlayStation® climatology, computer game manipulation of non-existent worlds which has no demonstration application in the real world. Sorry guys. While process models can certainly help us make sense of observations and aid our efforts to understand what is happening they are completely valueless when it comes to prognostication. At this time the only known climate risk is climate hysteria and panicked attempts to address a pretend problem.

Burning concerns about Captain Reasonable - BEHIND closed doors Kevin Rudd has sometimes described his political persona as "Captain Reasonable".

And it was the captain who took the podium at the National Press Club yesterday, calm, controlled, and, most of all, moderate.

He described climate change as an elephant of an issue, but then proposed not doing anything especially big about it.

He called it "a threat to our people, our nation and our planet", but then announced only the gentlest of responses.

He said the country stood at "the crossroads of history", but then suggested that we choose the course of least resistance.

For heaven's sake, he seemed to be saying, can't we all just be reasonable.

Rudd's carbon emissions plan is crafted as a piece of political positioning, and he said as much himself:

"We will be attacked from the far right for taking any action at all," he said early in his speech.

"We will be attacked from parts of the far left for not going far enough. The Government believes we have got the balance right." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Give us time: Wong defends modest climate target - Penny Wong has defended the federal government's modest greenhouse gas reduction targets, saying it will take time to tackle climate change.

The climate change minister, who made way for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to announce the targets on Monday, said the economy would become greener over time.

"We have to build a low pollution economy of the future, that is going to take some time," she told Sky News. (AAP)

Societe Generale Cuts EU Carbon Emissions Forecast - LONDON - Societe Generale cut its forecasts for European Union industrial emissions, saying an EU recession may depress EU carbon permit prices for years.

Prices for carbon permits traded under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme in 2009 could average 17 euros a tonne, down a third from a previous forecast of 25.5 euros, it said.

"Prospects on emission levels for 2008 and 2009 reduce every day, with an increasing number of industrial firms announcing temporary shutdown ... and downward revised output productions for next year," SocGen carbon analyst Emmanuel Fages said.

The bank said EU Allowances could rise to 20 euros by 2012, down sharply from estimates of 37 euros made earlier this year and significantly below the 30 euros a tonne level experts say is needed to encourage corporate investment in clean technology. (Reuters)

Scientists Urge Caution in Ocean-CO2 Capture Schemes - SINGAPORE - To some entrepreneurs, the wild and icy seas between Australia and Antarctica could become a money spinner by engineering nature to soak up carbon dioxide and then selling carbon credits worth millions of dollars.

To some scientists and many nations, though, the concept of using nature to mop up mankind's excess CO2 to fight global warming is fraught with risk and uncertainty.

An analysis by a leading Australian research body has urged caution and says more research is crucial before commercial ventures are allowed to fertilize oceans on a large scale and over many years to capture CO2. (Reuters)

Forget all that -- atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource that we do not want to waste.

Emerging Arctic Amplification by Mark C. Serreze and Andrew P. Barrett - Guest Weblog by Mark C. Serreze and Andrew P. Barrett, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

One of the most universal features of coupled global climate model simulations is that atmospheric greenhouse gas loading will lead to an especially strong rise in surface air temperature (SAT) in the Arctic [Holland and Bitz 2003; Serreze and Francis 2006]. From hereon, this will be referred to as Arctic amplification.

As part of a recent study [Serreze et al. 2008] we looked at expressions of Arctic amplification through the 21st century from the NCAR CCSM3 and other coupled global models participating in the IPCC-AR4, all using the same (A1B) emissions scenario. The following features stand out: 1) A pattern of rising SAT in the cold season strongest in the northern high latitudes which develops a clear Arctic Ocean focus as the decades pass; 2) a distinctive vertical structure of the ocean-focused temperature change, with warming becoming stronger from the lower troposphere toward the surface; 3) much smaller high latitude temperature rises in summer.

The explanation often offered for Arctic amplification is albedo feedback. As SAT rises, some of the Arctic’s high albedo sea ice and snow cover melts. This exposes darker underlying surfaces, which readily absorb solar radiation, leading to a further rise in SAT. An obvious problem with this argument is that model projected Arctic amplification is only prominent in the cold-season, when, depending on month and latitude, there is little or no solar radiation to speak of. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science) [em added]

A flaw we have been highlighting for years -- nice to see they actually recognize it. Sadly they still seem to view model output as equivalent to empirical data (a very common problem among virtual worlders) and will actually reject real world observations which do not agree with modeled expectations (also regrettably common in PlayStation® climatology).

As Ice Melts, Antarctic Bedrock Is on the Move - As ice melts away from Antarctica, parts of the continental bedrock are rising in response -- and other parts are sinking, scientists have discovered. (Ohio State University)

They found the models to be [gasp] incorrect? They don't know whether the Antarctic is losing or gain ice? But, but...

Possible indication of ocean cooling: Defying Predictions, Sea Level Rise Begins to Slow - World's oceans rise slower since 2005, fail to display predicted accelerating trend.

Satellite altimetry data indicates that the rate at which the world's oceans are rising has slowed significantly since 2005. Before the decrease, sea level had been rising by more than 3mm/year, which corresponds to an increase of about one foot per century. Since 2005, however, the rate has been closer to 2mm/year.

The decrease is significant as global climate models predict sea level rise to accelerate as atmospheric CO2 continues to increase. In the 1990s, when such acceleration appeared to be occurring, some scientists pointed to it as confirmation the models were operating correctly. (Michael Asher, Daily Tech)

Oh... Warming climate signals big changes for ski areas, says University of Colorado study - Rocky Mountain ski areas face dramatic changes this century as the climate warms, including best-case scenarios of shortened ski seasons and higher snowlines and worst-case scenarios of bare base areas and winter rains, says a new Colorado study. (University of Colorado)

... try looking up from your 'puter screens and check out what is happening in the real world. Dopey blighters!

Scientists Denounce AP For Hysterical Global Warming Article - Scientists from around the world are denouncing an Associated Press article hysterically claiming that global warming is "a ticking time bomb" about to explode, and that we're "running out of time" to do anything about it. (NewsBusters)

The Horner Chris-tal Ball - Seth Borenstein is not entirely alone in still foolishly playing the old game. He is joined by the Washington Post, which continues its contortions to blame President Bush for Kyoto’s failure here. For example, first the Post asserted that Bush “refused to ratify” the treaty. Ah, nice try, but that would be the Senate’s job actually, as they kindly allowed me to correct them.

This Sunday they regressed, editorializing that, well . . . um . . . then the U.S. actually refused to sign the treaty. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

OK. Whatever, people. Maybe some couch time will help deal with the looming terror of the forthcoming January 20 expiration date for this obsession with distracting from just telling us who did what (and “why” would also help). But the smarter among the media set have moved on — in fact, precisely as I predicted. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Steven Chu vs a sane homeowner - A few days ago, Marc Morano received some credit from a Joe Romm - the cheerleader-in-chief at recent wild orgies celebrating the death of Michael Crichton - for having determined that Steven Chu, the future U.S. secretary of energy, is not quite psychiatrically OK (much like many similar participants of the Poznań conference) when it comes to warmophobia and related disorders.

Well, your humble correspondent would like to modestly inform everyone that it is me, and not Marc Morano, who has figured it out. ;-) Thanks!

To see why Steven Chu is psychiatrically impaired, let us look at his new talk about the ... electrical wiring.

After a small fire in your house, a woman comes to your house and tells you that you have to pay $20,000 to get a new wiring, otherwise your house will burn in a few years at the 50% confidence level.

Chu's opinion is that it would be foolish to "look for" an expert who says that the new wiring is not necessary. Clearly, you must trust the woman and her first friend who says the same thing, he says: you have to pay $20,000. In the same way, the United States of America (and perhaps other countries as well) must immediately sacrifice a part of the national economy, too, in order to avoid the burning house - a planet, in this case - in a few years.

It's not his money, after all, so why wouldn't he sacrifice it? Why wouldn't he give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety? (The Reference Frame)

Green Cars For Cheap Gas - CHURCHVILLE, VA—Now we’re going to give Ford, GM and Chrysler billions of dollars so the Feds can order them to build more “green” cars—with gas now costing $1.49 per gallon. How many Americans will pay $30,000 for one of these new high-mileage lightweights instead of getting a family-protective SUV for the same bucks? Or a pickup to pull the boat? At $1.49 per gallon, not many. So Detroit will go broke again, unless the Feds slap on another $3 per gallon in gas tax.

Haven’t we just been there? And we didn’t like it much. We demanded, “Drill, baby, drill.” We forced a liberal Democratic Congress that hates oil to end the drilling ban on public lands. Thus, we could pump more domestic gas and oil and bring down the price—so Detroit’s old lineup of SUVs and big pickups would sell again.

Which way are we going? And why? (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Chinese Government Delays Sinopec Acquisition - Chinese refining giant Sinopec is still waiting for government approval that will allow it to buy Canada’s Tanganyika Oil, whose upstream assets are largely in Syria. Sinopec’s awaiting the endorsement of the powerful National Development & Reform Commission, and the company has pushed back the closure of the $1.94 billion deal until December 19. (Lee Geng, Energy Tribune)

It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas: The Paradigm Shift in the U.S. Natural Gas Business - The collapse in oil prices gets most of the headlines. But the corresponding collapse in natural gas prices may be the more important story for both the short- and long-term interests of the U.S.

On July 1, natural gas futures peaked at $13.51. On July 14, crude oil futures peaked at $145.16 per barrel. Today, the spot price for natural gas is about $5.67 and the spot price for oil is about $46. And those prices may go lower still. On November 24, Jen Snynder, the head of North American gas research for the energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, released a report which she claimed that the U.S. gas market should expect to see natural gas prices “in the range of $5 to $6” for the next five years.

While many analysts have discounted Snyder’s prediction, the potential for a long-term slowdown in natural gas drilling in the U.S. could have devastating effects on the drillers and oilfield service companies. The number of rigs drilling for gas usually outnumber those looking for oil by more than 3 to 1. But now that the U.S. is awash in gas, a drastic slowdown in drilling has begun. That can be seen by looking at the latest rig count numbers from Baker Hughes. And Texas, the biggest natural gas producer in the country, provides a good barometer for the trend. In September, an average of 946 rigs were working in the Lone Star State. By the first week in December, the number of active rigs in Texas had fallen to 852. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Rudd digs deep for coal sector - BUSINESSES, community organisations and coalmining communities not eligible for direct compensation under the emissions trading scheme have not been forgotten, with a $2.5 billion special fund set aside to help them adapt.

The Climate Change Action Fund will be available to pay for energy-saving measures that would reduce operating costs.

As well, there will be help for the coal sector that could otherwise be at risk as a consequence of the scheme, threatening jobs and communities in predominantly Labor seats. (Sydney Morning Herald)

And this little piggy got none: Renewable energy boom set to go up in smoke - UNTIL yesterday the so-called "green revolution" was ready to roll, but the renewable energy industry doubts the Government's white paper will allow it to get out of first gear.

The fear is that since carbon permits are limited to $25 a tonne, and many are being given away, the emissions trading scheme will simply add a little lead to the saddlebags of heavy polluters without giving enough incentive for investors to switch to emissions-free technology.

"There's no doubt the white paper is actually undermining the potential for green-collar jobs in Australia," Mark Diesendorf, the deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of NSW, said.

"We've put up a message that says to investors 'stay away'. (Sydney Morning Herald)

CCDNet letter on CCS: Dear Benny,

For several years now, "clean" coal, involving carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, has been touted as the means of mitigating global warming, supposedly arising from fossil-fuel-burning power stations. But, of course, this necessarily comes at a considerable price increase for electricity.

It is not well-known that a huge drawback to the substantially unproven CCS process is that every cubic metre of (solid) coal that is burnt produces about six cubic metres of liquefied CO2. (The actual amount of super-critical fluid, or near-liquid, CO2, is based on complete combustion of the coal, its complete capture, and the actual carbon content of the coal ... an 80% carbon coal yields six cu. metres of near-liquid CO2.)

It doesn't take an Einstein to realise the immense logistics and difficulties of dealing with the around-sixfold increase in volume from coal to near-liquid CO2. Unless power generators have a ready sink in which to inject the voluminous CO2 (such as a depleted oil well), it won't take long before multiple injection points have to be created, because the CO2 will readily exhaust the brine-filled pores of a deep, geologically acceptable rock stratum, such as sandstone (which must have an impermeable caprock anyway). If the geosequestration point is well away from the power station, huge costs in infrastructure to transport the large volumes of near-liquid CO2 (pipelines or tankers) will be inevitable.

Apart from the above, it is easy to gloss over other problems with the CO2, once underground. The volumes have to be retained in the rock forever, which is a huge ask, because near-liquid CO2 has extremely low viscosity and will sneak out of any fissure. Also, the CO2, being acidic, is highly reactive to organic and mineral constituents, possibly leading to fouling of aquifers for human or animal consumption.

"Clean" coal does not appear to be a realistic solution.

John Harborne (MIEAust, CPEng, retired metallurgist) Via CCNet

China Powers Down: Electricity Providers are Hit Hard by High Coal Prices and Lowered Power Demand - China’s electricity providers will lose some $10.3 billion this year after being hit by higher coal prices and sagging power demand. Through October, the country's top five power generators posted losses of $3.94 billion, a sum that includes over $500 million in losses by the country’s biggest generator, China Huaneng Group, and some $963 million by China Guodian Corp. Losses at the other big producers include an $882 million loss China Datang Corp., an $880 million loss at China Huadian Corp., and a $713 million shortfall at China Power Investment Corp.

About 90 percent of the thermal power plants owned by the top five power companies are losing money, and 70 percent of them have a deficit of at least $14.7 million. Most power producers incurred major losses in the first half of this year when coal price soared to record highs. But as coal prices moderated, demand for electricity declined. The global recession has meant a big decline in demand for iron and steel. That has meant sharp decreases in electricity demand from China’s metal producers, which have been leading the country’s demand for increased electricity production. (Lee Geng, Energy Tribune)

China Coal Market Resets, Looks for Pollution Reduction Technologies - China’s coal market, like other commodity markets, is going through tumultuous times.

Prices have plunged in recent months, falling as low as $87 per ton, a steep drop from the $145 price level hit in June. The downward pressure on coal prices will likely continue as stockpiles at ports and power plants continue to grow due to the country’s slowing economy.

The price gyrations have led China's top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission to remove the price controls it imposed on coal in June. The agency will allow buyers and sellers to negotiate prices based on market supply and demand next year. But the agency also made it clear that it will intervene if it decides that prices are fluctuating too much. The agency imposed price controls last summer when coal prices were soaring and power shortages were common. Today, coal prices are plunging and power demand is falling as China’s export-oriented economy begins to feel the full effect of the global recession.

China obtains about 70 percent of its primary energy from coal. For comparison, the US and the rest of the world draw slightly over 20 percent of their energy from coal. China’s heavy reliance on coal has resulted in staggering air pollution problems. (Lee Geng and Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Ad Populum - “Everyone uses and loves this product!”

Making a product claim like this is a tried-and-true advertising technique. It’s hoped that you will take others’ approval as a good enough reason to buy the product, too. Falling for this is a fallacy of logic called Ad Populum (“appeal to popularity”) — going along with what’s popular. It’s right out of high school.

So, when a media release went out last week from the NCCAM Press Office (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), saying that 38% of adults use complementary and alternative ‘medicine’, were you tempted to think — even just for a moment — “Maybe, there is something to CAM.” (Junkfood Science)

China to Accelerate South-North Water Project - BEIJING - China will accelerate construction of the south-to-north water diversion project next year, the Xinhua news agency quoted the head of the project office, Zhang Jiyao, as saying.

The project, criticized by some environmentalists for encouraging the wasteful use of water, will divert water from the Yangtze River in western and central China to arid northern regions through three channels: eastern, middle and western. (Reuters)

December 15, 2008

The Crone searching for a downside: The Oceans’ Shifting Balance - Most of us understand that what we give off in the form of exhaust — from cars and manufacturing and energy production and burning forests — makes its way into the atmosphere, and is responsible for changes in the global climate. What is less familiar is the fact that the oceans are absorbing as much as a third of the carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

The effects are already being felt. That added carbon dioxide is slowly making the oceans less alkaline and more acidic, altering the chemical balance on which much of oceanic life depends. Carbon dioxide reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, a process that consumes carbonate ions. Those ions are necessary for the chemical reaction used to form calcium carbonate, the structural element in corals and the shells of many marine animals.

As the oceans acidify, shells will simply dissolve. The growth of coral reefs will slow, and their structural integrity would be weakened, making them more vulnerable to storms and erosion. That would be a catastrophic loss. The list of potential long-term effects to oceanic life is only beginning to be explored. (New York Times)

Let's humor them for a moment and pretend corals would be troubled by reduced oceanic alkalinity from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (we know those are the kind of conditions under which corals evolved -- let it go for a moment, alright?). Would this mean the hypothetical greenhouse world would reduce coral growth? Not necessarily:

Ben McNeil of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues modeled the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and ice, and calculated the sea surface temperature and the levels of calcium carbonate in the water up to 2100. Then they estimated how these changes would affect the formation of corals.

They found that warmer water would increase the rate of coral formation, or calcification, and that this would outweigh the detrimental effect of lower levels of calcium carbonate in the seawater. They predict that by 2100 corals will be growing 35% faster than today.
-- Geophysical Research Letters (DOI: 10.1029/ 2004GL021541)

So again the media play almost exclusively on hypothetical downsides to hypothetical conditions caused by real human activity while burying any mention of equally plausible upsides to hypothetical conditions caused by real human activity.

Should we ask the old girl how that's working out for circulation numbers?

Bravo Manchester: “That Shouw’d ‘Em!” - The good citizens of Manchester have spoken for so many of us. We are sick and tired of Government trying to impose cack-handed ‘Green’ taxes and higher costs onto us, and we are especially angry about this in the current straightened economic circumstances.

The Manchester vote announced today is devastating for the Government. Greater Manchester’s proposal for peak-time tolls of up to £5 a day was defeated by a majority of 4 to 1, with 79 per cent voting against. The scheme was rejected in separate votes in all ten Greater Manchester boroughs taking part, in which just over a million people voted out of 1.9 million balloted (a 53.2% turn out). A full report is available in the Manchester Evening News. (Clamour Of The Times)

Survey: Americans don’t want taxes used on global warming - While a majority of Americans believe the Earth is warming, there is little support among the public to use tax money to address the issue, a new survey suggests. (Daily Progress)

Indians don't believe in global warming! - Despite economic downturn, Indian consumers put premium on products/brands perceived to be socially responsible

BANGALORE, INDIA: Indians do not believe the environment is in crisis, but they think it is important to take environmentally-friendly actions and it is a high priority for them. Hence, 88 percent of Indian consumers are prepared to pay more for goods that are environmentally friendly against 82 percent in China. In Japan, only 68 percent of consumers feel the environment is the most important issue.

Unlike their peers in every other country, respondents in India believe there is too much fuss about the environment (79 percent) and they do not believe the world is experiencing global warming (56 percent). Still, 92 percent feel it is their duty to contribute to a better society and environment.

These are some of the interesting findings to emerge from a study of consumers in India, China and Japan, part of a 10-market global study called 'goodpurpose' conducted by Edelman, the world's largest independent PR firm. (CyberMedia India Online)

Let's get real on the environment - After the failure in Poznan, it's time to be honest: the world is not going to be cutting greenhouse gases anytime soon

The world's environmental leaders have spent the past two weeks meeting in Poznan, Poland, pretending that they're carrying on the fight against global warming first addressed by the Kyoto Protocol.

You recall the Kyoto Protocol. It was never ratified by the United States – defeated 95-0 in the US Senate in 1997, in fact – and has proven just as ineffective elsewhere around the world. It was supposed to be first step in the world's cutback of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming our atmosphere.

The hard truth be told, essentially none of those who signed onto the treaty have been able to cutback their greenhouse gas emissions.

People – surprise, surprise – demand to be warm at the cheapest prices. Developing countries like China and India have ignored it completely, with their emission rising at 6% to 8% a year. China now emits more greenhouse gases than even the United States. (David Appell, The Guardian)

Good thing increasing the essential atmospheric trace gas carbon dioxide is a major environmental plus then, isn't it.

Yes, it's still a mere trace gas.

Yes, it's absolutely essential for most life on Earth.

No, it does not present a danger now, nor in any foreseeable human future.

No, humans cannot emit sufficient to push it to toxic levels -- ever.

No, no amount of "carbon constraint" will measurably affect the planet's temperature over the next 50 years.

No, we can not knowingly and predictably affect the planet's climate by twiddling with a few trivial variables in a complex coupled non-linear chaotic system.

Does that clear it up any for you?

Melting Moments - Is Kevin Rudd wilting under the heat of global warming?

Only last year the Labor leader was brimming with evangelical fervour as he pronounced climate change as ''the greatest moral challenge of our time''.

Climate change, the Prime Minister said, ''threatens the security and stability of us all'', and a failure to act would be judged harshly by future generations.

But now we see the Government's moral resolve melting away before our eyes.

After the initial symbolic act of signing Kyoto, the Government has been slowly but steadily downsizing its rhetoric and expectations.

The cooling-off from the pre-election passion began immediately after signing the Kyoto Protocol at the Bali climate conference, when the Prime Minister shocked environmental supporters by distancing himself from tougher short-term targets being agreed to by other countries.

Those targets of between 25 and 40per cent reductions by 2020 were said by scientists from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be necessary to limit global warming to acceptably low levels. Fast-forward to the present, and the Government's emissions targets, set to be announced on Monday, are reported to be as low as a 5 to 15 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

The weakening is even more pronounced when you take into account that the 5 to 15 per cent target is based on a baseline of emissions in 2000, where the United Nations uses the tougher baseline of emissions in 1990. (Canberra Times)

K.Rudd sets 5pc greenhouse gas emissions cut target - AUSTRALIA will set an "unconditional" 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of just 5 per cent if the world fails to act on climate change. (The Australian) | CARBON REDUCTION: Read the white paper | Biggest polluters win significant compensation (The Australian)

Indigenous communities warned over 'carbon-baggers' - There are claims that unscrupulous carbon brokers have been approaching Indigenous communities and trying to sign them up to questionable carbon trading deals. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

By definition all hot air are trades are "questionable" (despicable?). Love the term "carbon baggers" though.

Al Gore Rouses UN Climate Talks to More Action - POZNAN - Former Vice President Al Gore urged weary climate delegates to agree a new climate treaty next year and drew loud cheers on the last day of difficult two-week UN climate talks on Friday.

The talks were on course to meet a minimum goal, to sign off on a fund to help poor nations prepare for global warming, but they were likely to delay any decision on climate targets. (Reuters)

Ozone Man goads climate delegates to historic inaction?

Interim Climate Pact Approved - Tough Negotiations to Combat Global Warming Are Postponed

POZNAN, Poland, Dec. 13 -- The effort to come up with a global warming treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol inched forward Saturday morning as delegates to United Nations-sponsored talks here agreed on a narrowly framed interim document that leaves all the difficult negotiating until next year.

The modest result leaves the three-year process far short of the goal of concluding a binding agreement by the end of 2009 to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow the planet's warming, which under current conditions scientists predict will reach dangerous and irreversible levels by the end of the century, if not sooner.

Given the minimal progress made in negotiations this year, several key players said, it will almost certainly take direct involvement by President-elect Barack Obama and other world leaders to produce a meaningful agreement next year.

Much of this meeting's negotiations focused on highly technical details, including how to measure deforestation and how to legally define an international fund aimed at helping poor countries adapt to climate change. But the core questions -- how much industrialized countries will slash their emissions, what they expect in return from major emerging economies, and what they will do to help poorer countries pursue low-carbon development -- remained untouched.

The meeting brought a large crowd to this modest industrial city -- nearly 4,000 delegates and 5,500 observers, activists and journalists -- and produced a work plan that increased the planned number of negotiating sessions next year in an effort to forge a final deal by the time the global talks convene again in Copenhagen in December. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington)

Climate Change: Much Ado About Nothing - Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus - “The mountains labour, forth will creep a mouse”. This classical proverbial iambic line is customarily used of people or projects that are all display and no substance. The phrase was widely employed in both the Greek and the Roman worlds, and in Greek it seems to have been an anapaestic line. The phrase was also famously mentioned by Horace in his Ars Poetica, or The Epistle to the Pisones (18 BC). The source of the saying is unknown, but it may well derive from one of Aesop’s Fables about a group of rustics who are mesmerized by a heaving mountain side. The peasants believe that this is a mighty sign, and that perhaps the Titans will break out once more to renew their war against the Gods. However, after a long time of waiting and watching, a tiny mouse [picture*] creeps from the ground to much embarrassed laughter: “At last, and at last, a teeny, tiny mouse poked its little head and bristles out of the gap and came running down towards them, and ever after they used to say: ‘MUCH OUTCRY, LITTLE OUTCOME.’”

The ‘Global Warming’ Mouse

Can the application of this lovely proverb have ever been more apposite than in the case of the EU Summit on climate change and the Poznan Climate Meeting, both of which concluded yesterday? Despite the increasingly-desperate attempts of the French President and Summit Chair, Nicolas Sarkozy (“quite historic”), of the EU Commission President, José Manuel Durão Barroso (“the most ambitious proposals anywhere in the world”), and of the odd unreconstructed BBC reporter and analyst, like poor old Roger Harrabin, to put a spin on the outcomes of these two meetings, it is absolutely clear that the world is, at last, slowly rowing back from the dangerous weirs of ‘global warming’ politics and economics.

Let’s be blunt: the Poznan Meeting was a disgrace. After two weeks, more than 10,000 delegates and 145 ministers could produce absolutely nothing except the release of some money (peanuts by comparison to credit crunch figures) to aid poorer countries with climate adaptation. Even I can go along with that. They are all waiting for some fairy tale solution to appear in Copenhagen next year, for their ugly duckling to turn into a swan. There will be no fairy tale; indeed, their ugly duckling could well drown in the economic floods. Moreover, at the even more hypocritical EU Summit, Italy, Poland, along with many other EU countries, douched the whole ‘global warming’ agenda in a cold shower of reality, with coal-burning power stations and heavy industries gaining (much-needed, I might add) reprieves. As The Times rightly reports, the down-hearted ‘Greens’ have not been been fooled by the spin:

“But Greenpeace, the WWF and other environmental groups denounced the agreement as ‘a dark day for European climate policy’ despite the commitment to retain the headline target of 20 per cent CO2 cuts by 2020. ‘European heads of state and government have turned their backs on global efforts to fight climate change,’ they said in a joint statement.”

So do not be fooled by uncritical BBC reports and newspaper stories. ‘Global warming’ is truly on the wane. (Clamour Of The Times)

Berlusconi hails EU climate deal - Italian demands met but Europe must not 'foot bill' alone

Brussels, December 12 - Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he was satisfied that Italy's requests had been accommodated in a compromise on the European Union's climate package.

''Once again our tactical ability has paid off,'' he said after the leaders of the 27 member states hammered out a new deal on the climate package that takes the global economic crisis into account.

Berlusconi said Europe was now at the forefront of the battle against climate change but insisted that it could not be ''left to foot the bill on its own''.

''The other carbon-dioxide emitting countries must also make a commitment at the Copenhagen world climate conference in 2009,'' Berlusconi said.

The new deal accommodates two Italian demands that Foreign Minister Franco Frattini described as deal-breakers earlier this week.

In one new clause, the entire climate package will be reviewed in March 2010 after the Copenhagen conference in December 2009 in order to ensure Europe is not isolated, and therefore penalised economically, in its fight against climate change.

In a second major concession to Italy, the Italian manufacturing sector will receive free 'polluting permits' when European industries and companies have to start 'paying to pollute' via an auction system in 2013.

''No Italian jobs will be put in jeopardy and the manufacturing industry will be fully safeguarded,'' said Italian EU Affairs Minister Andrea Ronchi. (ANSA)

Near-Paralysis at UN Climate Talks Ends With Vow for New Treaty -- One hundred eighty-nine countries agreed to start formal negotiations for a new treaty to fight global warming, following a two-week debate that exposed the gap they must close between rich and poor nations.

The U.S., Canada and Japan rebuffed demands by developing countries for pledges to cut greenhouse-gas emissions at the United Nations-led climate talks in Poznan, Poland. Requests by China and South Africa for more industrialized nations to share clean-energy technologies got no support at the talks.

“Lots of proposals met with deafening silence,” Keya Chatterjee, an observer to the talks in Poznan, Poland for the World Wildlife Fund. “We achieved only the minimum, which was to set an ambitious plan for next year.” (Bloomberg)

Rich-poor rift adds hurdles to climate deal - POZNAN, Poland, Dec 14 - World leaders led by President-elect Barack Obama may be needed to help agree even a modest U.N. climate treaty in 2009 after a rift deepened between rich and poor nations over funds and new goals to cut emissions.

The Poznan talks lacked the urgency and ambition of 2007, when they were launched at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

In Bali, a core group of 40 ministers stayed up one night in negotiations almost until dawn. One evening in Poznan, when talks came to a crunch, many in the same group sent deputies to negotiate and went to a party. (Reuters)

Poor accuse rich of meanness in UN climate fight - POZNAN, Poland, Dec 13 - Developing nations accused the rich of meanness on Saturday at the end of U.N. climate talks that launched only a tiny fund to help poor countries cope with droughts, floods and rising seas.

They said the size of the Adaptation Fund -- worth just $80 million -- was a bad omen at the halfway mark of two years of negotiations on a new treaty to fight global warming designed to be agreed in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. (Reuters)

We tried to warn you against basing your pleading for aid funds on a nonsense like gorebull warming. Are you listening yet?

CLIMATE: As Bush departs, the world assesses his record on global warming - POZNAN , Poland -- Don't expect teary-eyed farewells for President George W. Bush's climate team, which is wrapping up its final U.N. negotiating session here this weekend.

"Bush will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet," declared Saleem Huq, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report on adaptation.

"A blank page," Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace said. "That's the charitable view. If I were him, I'd be very ashamed to admit to all the negative things that he's done and the positions he's taken -- which has meant that, since Kyoto , this process has not moved forward very far at all."

Artur Runge-Metzger, head of a climate change division at the European Commission, tried to be diplomatic. "They have delayed the process for a long time," he said.

And Keya Chatterjee, deputy director of the U.S. climate program at the World Wildlife Fund, faulted Bush for spending two terms fighting mandatory curbs on domestic greenhouse gas emissions while censoring scientific evidence linking man-made emissions to global warming.

"The last eight years have been pretty difficult for the science community at large, but particularly the climate science community, who have felt largely ignored," she said. "It'll be a real relief for people to feel like they've been listened to."

Bush administration officials, meanwhile, have been making the rounds here to promote what they say is their sound record on climate and energy. They point to their setting of new energy efficiency targets for home appliances, establishing a renewable fuel standard and toughening of automobile fuel-efficiency standards -- the first new fuel-efficiency standards in more than three decades. (Greenwire -- subscription required)

But wait: Russia may not join global deal on climate change - POZNAN, Poland - Russia may not join a new global deal to fight climate change if it is against Moscow's interests and will set a national mid-term target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year, an official said on Friday.

"If the conditions for the international agreement are not favorable for us we may not join such an agreement," Alexander Pankin, deputy head of the Russian delegation at U.N.-led December 1-12 climate negotiations in Poland, told Reuters. (Reuters)

There's more: Barack Obama's envoy at UN climate talks presses China to step up emissions cuts - Incoming administration says it will push new treaty if Beijing joins "global solution"

POZNAN, Poland — President-elect Barack Obama's administration is prepared to embrace mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States but will push through Congress a new international climate treaty only if China and other big emitters join in a "global solution," Sen. John Kerry warned at the latest round of climate talks Thursday in Poland.

Kerry (D-Mass.), widely viewed as Obama's unofficial representative at the UN meeting, praised China—which recently surpassed the United States as the world's biggest greenhouse gas producer—for taking a variety of climate-friendly actions, including establishing auto emissions standards tougher than those in the United States and setting ambitious goals to improve energy efficiency.

But unless China and other powerhouses in the developing world agree to quickly follow the U.S. toward large-scale emissions cuts, "there's no way for us to get from here to there" in terms of holding climate change to less than catastrophic levels, he said at a news conference. (Chicago Tribune)

Corus: 'We will quit EU to avoid carbon regime' - Philippe Varin, the chief executive of Corus, is threatening to shift the steelmaker's European operations to China unless regulations governing carbon emissions are overhauled.

Mr Varin warned that politicians had to help fund new clean-energy technologies or face the prospect of Corus quitting the UK and Europe.

Corus employs around 25,000 workers in the UK and is in negotiations with unions over pay in an effort to curb large redundancies. (The Independent)

SOS (save our scam): University of Copenhagen: Climate Scientists Gather in Copenhagen 10-12 March 2009 to Assist New Climate Deal - COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec 11, 2008 -- As the United Nation's (UN) annual climate change summit - the Conference of the Parties (COP14) - moves towards its closing sessions today in Poznan, it is clear that there are still considerable differences to be handled before an agreement on how to tackle climate change can be reached at next December's UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen.

However, help is at hand for the world's policymakers and politicians. In an unprecedented move, climate researchers from more than 70 countries will gather in March next year to deliver a much needed update on the science of climate change at "Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions" taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, 10 - 12 March 2009 (

The importance of the Congress' work is no better reflected than by the attendance of the IPCC Chairman and Nobel Laureate Dr. R.K Pachauri. Dr. Pachauri will join Lord Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics; Jose Manuel Barosso, President of the European Commission; and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as plenary speakers at the Congress in Copenhagen. (BUSINESS WIRE)

Naked misanthropy: Population growth contributes to emissions growth - BANGKOK, Thailand  -- Few doubt the world's booming population contributes to rising carbon emissions.

But as a U.N. climate conference in Poznan, Poland considers how to reduce heat-trapping, greenhouse gases, the talk is all about setting emissions targets and funding renewable energy projects. Stabilizing population is not even on the table.

"Population is the unmentioned elephant in the living room when it comes to climate change," said Bill Ryerson, president and founder of the Vermont-based Population Media Center.

U.N. officials contend that pushing policies on population growth could undermine already difficult negotiations that are fraught with finger pointing between rich and poor nations over who is to blame for global warming.

The developing world would oppose introducing population into the mix on the grounds that it would hold them accountable for a problem they blame on the West. The Vatican along with Catholic and Muslim countries, meanwhile, are opposed over fears population policies would increase support for abortion and birth control.

"A lot of people say population pressure is a major driving force behind the increase in emissions, and that's absolutely true," the U.N.'s top climate official Yvo de Boer said. "But to then say 'OK, that means that we need to have a population policy that reduces emissions,' takes you onto shaky ground morally." (Associated Press)

Global Warming's Poor, Huddled Masses - Barack Obama doesn't have a mandate for his global warming policies. He doesn't even have a mandate from his most fervent supporters.

Last month, President-elect Obama promised to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — approximately a 16% cut — and then to cut them an additional 80% by 2050.

That's a 68% cut from today's levels and would mean trimming U.S. carbon emissions to roughly where they were in 1905.

Think about 1905 for a minute. There were just 77,988 registered vehicles in the U.S., compared to over 250 million today — or just one vehicle for every 3,200 now. Less than 10% of the country had electricity, fewer than five percent of households had electric clothes-washers, only a handful of Americans had dishwashers, and no one had air conditioning.

Life expectancy was only 47 years, about 30 years shorter than today — although it may have seemed a whole lot longer than that.

Reducing America's greenhouse gases to 1905 levels, even including the substantial energy efficiency gains already made and those projected for the future, would be very costly and require a wrenching transformation of our way of life. (David A. Ridenour, IBD)

An Upcoming Talk By Roy Spencer “Global Warming As A Response To The Pacific Decadal Oscillation” - On December 15, 2008 Noon-1:30pm there will be an interesting and provocative talk titled “Global Warming as a Response to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation” by Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama-Huntsville at the Capitol Hill Club 300 First St., S.E., in Washington, D.C. Reservations are required - RSVP by calling 202/ 296-9655 or email (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Holland Inundated? No Way! Guest Weblog By Hendrik Tennekes - My weblogs of 28 October and 7 November, and a incisive two-page centerfold article by Karel Knip in the November 8 issue of NRC/ Handelsblad, Rotterdam’s counterpart to the New York Times, finally received a clear response from KNMI, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

In a November 10 message to the director-in-chief of KNMI, I suggested that the Institute should contemplate issuing a low-end estimate for sea-level rise, in order to balance the alarmist furor sweeping the country. This is exactly what KNMI decided to do. In an op-ed piece in the December 11 issue of NRC/Handelsblad, Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at KNMI, writes:

“In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimeters. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise. It is my opinion that there is no need for drastic measures. It is wise to adopt a flexible, step-by-step adaptation strategy. By all means, let us not respond precipitously.”

This opinion, of course, chimes with the statement by Professor Marcel Stive that I quoted earlier:

“Fortunately, the time rate of climate change is slow compared to the life span of the defense structures along our coast. There is enough time for adaptation. We should monitor the situation carefully, but up to now climate change does not cause severe problems for our coastal defense system. IPCC has given lower estimates for the expected sea level rise in four successive reports.”

As far as I am concerned, this settles the matter. KNMI has spoken. It has spoken clearly. There is no imminent danger of accelerated sea-level rise. (Climate Science)

On the Trail of Polar Lows - Scientists from the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht have developed a mathematical method that enables a reconstruction of the occurrence of small-scale polar storms - so-called polar lows - in the North Atlantic. This has made it possible to determine, for the first time, the frequency of such polar lows in the past.

Subsequent statistical analysis of data generated for the last 60 years revealed no direct correlation between global warming and the incidence of polar lows.

The results from the Institute for Coastal Research in Geesthacht have now been published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. (Huliq News)

Even quieter on the solar front - another “all quiet alert” issued - Solar cycle 24 still getting a slow and very delayed start. This is the third one of these (that I know of) this past year. (Watts Up With That?)

Climate scepticism is good - "I am not a climate sceptic," said Senator Nick Xenophon in a recent ABC interview, and went on to explain why. He said he found the case for human-induced global warming generally convincing, though far from certain, and believed governments should take action to reduce greenhouse emissions because of the greater risk of doing nothing.

On most everyday understandings of the term ''scepticism'', the senator was in fact displaying a sceptical attitude towards the issue: he denied that the evidence about global warming was certain and was prepared to entertain doubts about the degree of probability for global warming. His refusal to be labelled a ''climate sceptic'', however, shows how the term has become hijacked in public debate.

''Climate scepticism'' now stands for a policy stance, opposition to the case for emission reduction. It has become detached from its normal sense of reasonable doubt about the science. The confusion is important and reflects a dangerous misunderstanding of how far policy can be based on robust evidence.

In principle, all scientific theories are open to falsification by new evidence and therefore no science can ever be entirely certain. In practice, however, many areas of science are sufficiently well grounded in reliable evidence to be accepted beyond reasonable doubt. But climate science is not among them. (Canberra Times)

Making Light Work of Climate-Change Economics - Today, I can relax a little, and simply point you to two absolutely splendid pieces, both related to ‘global warming’.

The first piece is by Nigel Lawson ((Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer from June 1983 to October 1989), writing in The Sunday Telegraph. This is an excoriating critique of the European Union Climate Summit in Brussels and the United Nations Climate Meeting in Poznan, Poland, and, more generally, of the dangerous politics and economics of “the great climate change circus”, as Nigel calls it. It is a brilliant article, both honest and devastating. I just love the concluding sentences:

“Meanwhile, welcome to the new science paradigm, in which effects precede cause. I have to confess my own limitations. Unlike Mr Al Gore, Lord Stern, and Lord Turner, I do not know what is going to happen to the planet in the next 100-200 years. But I do know nonsense when I see it.” (Clamour Of The Times)

Good grief! Nickelodeon indoctrinates kids with games "battling CO2 monsters"?

Global Warming Is Caused by Computers - In particular, a few computers at NASA's Goddard Institute seem to be having a disproportionate effect on global warming. Anthony Watt takes a cut at an analysis I have tried myself several times, comparing raw USHCN temperature data to the final adjusted values delivered from that data by the NASA computers. (Climate Skeptic)

In the virtual realm: Stanford researchers predict heat waves and crop losses in California -- Global warming will likely put enormous strain on California's water supply and energy systems and have a devastating impact on certain crops.

Stanford researchers predict this outcome based on projections from two different emission scenarios. One assumes a continuing moderate increase in greenhouse gas emissions until 2100; the other assumes emissions would increase until mid-century and then start dropping off. Both of the scenarios indicate there will be more frequent heat waves and generally rising temperatures, the only difference being just how dramatic the increases will be. (

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. -- Yogi Berra

Something is rotten in Norway - 500,000 sq-km of sea ice disappears overnight - I had planned to do a post yesterday evening about how sea ice area and extent had returned to very near normal levels. But I was tired, so I saved off the graphs from the NANSEN arctic sea ice site.

This morning I was shocked to discover that overnight, huge amounts of sea ice simply disappeared. Fortunately I had saved the images and a copy of the webpage last night. Here is the before and after in a blink comparator: (Watts Up With That?)

Global Sea Ice Trend Since 1979 - surprising - Much importance has been ascribed to tracking the change in Arctic sea ice, but what about the global trend? That doesn’t seem to get much press. However there is some important information that needs to be presented related to the global trend of sea ice as measured by satellite since 1979. The results are surprising. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Eye-roller du jour: "Things Happen Much Faster in the Arctic" - QUEBEC CITY, Canada, Dec 13 - In just a few summers from now, the Arctic Ocean will lose its protective cover of ice for the first time in a million years, according to some experts attending the International Arctic Change conference here.

A summer ice-free Arctic wasn't due for another 50 to 70 years under the worst-case climate change scenarios examined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Things are happening much faster in the Arctic. I think it will be summer ice-free by 2015," said David Barber, an Arctic climatologist at the University of Manitoba.

Such a "dramatic and serious loss of sea ice will affect everyone on the planet," Barber told IPS. (IPS)

II: Arctic Is the Canary in the Coalmine - QUEBEC CITY, Canada, Dec 12 - Nearly 1,000 scientists and representatives of indigenous peoples from 16 countries have braved a major winter storm to share their findings and concerns about the rapidly warming Arctic region at the International Arctic Change conference in Quebec City.

The Arctic is "ground zero" for climate change, with temperatures rising far faster than anywhere else on the planet. Some predict an ice-free summer Arctic in less than five to 10 years -- the first time the Arctic Ocean will be exposed to the sun in many hundreds of thousands of years. (IPS)

A day or two earlier: Oscillation Rules as the Pacific Cools - PASADENA, Calif. -- The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. The image also confirms that El Niño and La Niña remain absent from the tropical Pacific. (NASA JPL)

Meanwhile: Look to patterns to grasp glacier growth - Alaska's glaciers grew this year after shrinking for most of the last 200 years. The reason? Global temperatures dropped over the past 18 months.

The global mean annual temperature has been declining recently because the solar wind thrown out by the sun has retreated to its smallest extent in at least 50 years. This temperature downturn was not predicted by the global computer models, but had been predicted by the sunspot index since 2000.

The solar wind normally protects the Earth from 90 percent of the high-energy cosmic rays that flash constantly through the universe. Henrik Svensmark at the Danish Space Research Institute has demonstrated that when more cosmic rays hit the Earth, they create more of the low, wet clouds that deflect heat back into outer space. Thus the Earth's recent cooling. (Dennis T. Avery, Journal Star)

Seth Boringtheme: Obama left with little time to curb global warming - WASHINGTON - When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid. (AP)

AP: 'Global Warming Is Accelerating. Time Is Close to Running Out' - Despite the nation experiencing its tenth straight year of temperatures cooler than 1998's peak, and much of New England experiencing its worst ice storm in decades (video embedded right), the Associated Press on Sunday published one of the most hysterical articles concerning global warming I've ever seen.

In writer Seth Borenstein's view, climate change is "a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid." (News Busters)

Hot air from Obama - IN one of his first public policy statements as America's president-elect, Barack Obama focused on climate change, and clearly stated both his priorities and the facts on which these priorities rest. Unfortunately, both are weak, or even wrong. (Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian)

More outright lies: Climate risk insurance the buzz in Poznan - JOHANNESBURG, 12 December 2008 (IRIN) - Climate risk insurance was the buzz at the two-week climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, which started on 1 December.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a coalition of island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development and environmental concerns, especially their vulnerability to the effects of climate change, led the groups lobbying to ensure that insurance would become part of any deal on adaptation.

Members like Papua New Guinea are already feeling the impact: in 2005, 1,000 residents on its Carteret atoll had to be evacuated as the rising sea level was slowly drowning their land. (IRIN)

The Carteret islands are sinking -- due to tectonic motion and volcanism, not gorebull warming. We have covered this many times but the myth is alarmingly resilient.

Ralph should be embarrassed: INTERVIEW: There’s room for optimism on climate - Climate change is caused by human activities because the greenhouse effect amplifies the impact of the energy that is released into the environment, says Ralph Cicerone, president of the US National Academy of Sciences. Cicerone is an atmospheric scientist whose research on climate change has helped shape policy in the US and other countries. While attending Academia Sinica’s Academy Presidents’ Forum in celebration of the institution’s 80th anniversary, Cicerone sat down with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Meggie Lu last Sunday to say why he is optimistic that the generations to come will solve serious environmental problems (Taipei Times)

Alice in Climateland - A debate over whether the science of climate change is 'settled' turned into an unsettling exchange (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Hype Won't Solve Climate Problem - I am far from being a climate skeptic. On the contrary, I believe the evidence of man's impact on the planet is overwhelming. But I am increasingly ill at ease about the debate itself.

I have just finished reading another large pile of articles about the topic and listening to various speeches. And the elements of hype and carelessness I have come across are increasing. All sorts of things are thrown together under the banner of climate change as if it is responsible for all of the world's problems.

From a practical viewpoint, it is impossible to unravel what is caused by weather fluctuations, the lack of economic growth or failed government policy -- to say nothing of proving the current effects of structural changes in the climate.

For example, everyone quotes the number of "200 million climate refugees". But closer examination reveals that migrants name drought as the least important reason for leaving their country. If at all. Even where drought is involved, it cannot be determined with certainty that it is due to climate change, because weather fluctuations happen all the time.

There are authors who claim that fertile land has already been lost to the rising sea level, a claim for which there is little evidence. (Louise O. Fresco, Der Spiegel)

Just for laughs: Dangerous Sea Level Rise Imminent Without Large Reductions of Black Carbon and Implementation of Other Fast-Action Mitigation Strategies - POZNAN, Poland, Dec 11, 2008 -- Poznan Panel of Experts Discuss Importance of Black Carbon, the Montreal Protocol, Biochar, and Methane as Part of Global Climate Strategy

The world is already close to passing the tipping points for abrupt climate change events, and if strong measures aren't taken immediately the results will be catastrophic, concluded panelists during a side event at the UN climate conference in Poznan Tuesday night. Both scientific experts and government representatives alike at the event sponsored by the Federated States of Micronesia and Sweden, stressed the urgent need for fast-action mitigation measures that should be implemented and expanded immediately in order to avoid devastating consequences such as sea level rise.

Dr. Hermann Held of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research pointed out that land ice melt is being vastly underestimated, and that non-linear abrupt climate change is not being taken into account as it should be by the climate convention. The world is already committed to an astounding 2.4 degrees of warming, due in part to the warming effects of black carbon -- a substance that is now considered the second-greatest contributor to climate change after CO2 -- which are being "unmasked" by reductions of SO2, which produces a cooling effect. (PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX)

More laughs - not a serious contention that the Clinton/Gore administration caused global warming (gorebull warming, no the other hand...):

Hampering development at all costs: UN poised to agree action to halt rainforest destruction - Britain leads negotiations and pledges £100m to cut impact of deforestation

Britain is brokering the world's first agreement on curbing the enormous contribution tropical deforestation makes to climate change, which is likely to be signed at the UN climate conference in Poznan, Poland, later today.

It will take the form of a statement of intent by countries with large tracts of rainforest, such as Brazil, and concerned developed nations, mainly in Europe, for a joint approach to halting forest destruction.

The removal of tropical forests is responsible for about 18 per cent of all the carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming – more than all the emissions from the world's transport sector. Huge amounts of carbon stored in trees are released when forests are cleared, especially if the clearance involves burning. (The Independent)

Misanthropy, Hollywood style - Remixed with an eco-twist and a slice of Gore, a new version of The Day the Earth Stood Still popularises human-hating. (Tim Black, sp!ked)

The Oil Addiction Myth - Every day some pundit, politician, activist, business leader, or academic claims that America’s “oil addiction” endangers U.S. national security and, indeed, the habitability of our planet. Champions of this message now include defense intellectuals, who have joined forces with global warming campaigners to demand new taxes or regulations on fossil energy use. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

The Crone is impressed: Title, but Unclear Power, for a New Climate Czar - WASHINGTON — Much remains unknown, and perhaps undecided, about Carol M. Browner’s new position as White House coordinator of energy and climate policy.

How much real authority will Ms. Browner wield? Will her office have the same bureaucratic clout — the ability to knock heads together at other agencies — as the National Security Council and the National Economic Council? Will she be able to hold her own against the two powerhouses that will lead those established councils, James L. Jones, a retired Marine general, and Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary? Will she outrank the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council? Will she have office space in the West Wing? How big will her staff be?

But this much is known. Ms. Browner’s thinking on climate change, environmental regulation, energy conservation and new technology are very much in line with those of President-elect Barack Obama and the other members of his environmental team. Ms. Browner, who has close ties to Mr. Obama’s transition chief, John D. Podesta, started laying the groundwork for the handover with him back in August. (New York Times)

While people in the real world are not: Thoughts on Obama's Energy Picks - Ms. Carol Browner's appointment to the informal White House post of global warming and energy 'czar' would be a most unfortunate decision. The federal government doesn't need another czar. And if President-elect Obama decides there must be one, then Carol Browner is a bad choice. She worked for Al Gore and shares many of his wildest opinions. Although the Senate won't have a chance to vote on her appointment, someone needs to ask her whether she agrees with Mr. Gore, for example, that all coal-fired power plants must be replaced by renewable energy within a decade. Or whether sea levels are going to rise twenty feet in the next four decades. (Myron Ebell, CEI)

‘When Britain Really Had Some Oil’ - If I were asked “What has been the single biggest failure in UK politics over the last thirty years?”, I should have to reply “The abject failure of all political parties to develop, and to put into action, a realistic energy policy for the next thirty years.” Although rather belated, I am thus delighted to see that a few of our more enlightened MPs have at last grasped the seriousness of the situation. With the EU closing down our older coal plants; with the imminent demise of our older nuclear power stations; with our lack of adequate gas storage facilities; with a rose-tinted and utopian view of ‘renewables’ blinding MPs; and, with the economically-fatuous and ill-fated policies currently being adopted in the name of ‘global warming’ hysteria, Britain faces a very grim future of power blackouts and massive economic disruption. (Clamour Of The Times)

Oil Companies Voting With Their Feet - Another day, another oil company fleeing the country. No, this isn't Ecuador, the banana republic that just defaulted on its debt after chasing out investors. It's the United States, and what we're seeing is self-defense. (IBD)

YPF, Pan American, Petrobras to explore Malvinas basin - Argentina’s YPF, Brazil’s Petrobras and Pan American Energy signed several agreements for the joint oil and gas exploration offshore in the San Jorge Gulf, the Malvinas basin and along the South Atlantic coastline, according to a report released Wednesday in Buenos Aires. (Mercopress)

As coal comes back into fashion, how serious are we about carbon reduction? - Peering nervously into the dark tunnel of climate change policy, Europe’s political leaders hesitate. Gordon Brown says he can see a chink of light in the distance and he stumbles into the gloom. Silvio Berlusconi says the British are silly and declines to follow. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, says she can see the dim glow but wonders whether it might be a train.

She is right; the light at the end of the tunnel is a coal train, a diesel juggernaut pulling 100 wagons laden with dusty, carbon-rich but very cheap fuel. Even as European Union leaders were preparing to meet in Brussels on Thursday for talks on cutting carbon emissions, the world’s energy marketplace was rushing towards them, pistons pumping and whistle blowing.

Can they hear it? Europe’s CO2 emissions are falling. Deutsche Bank is forecasting a 10 per cent fall in emissions in 2009 against last year’s level. The price of coal, gas and oil is cheaper by the day and, even more embarrassing, the price of a permit to emit a tonne of carbon has collapsed on Europe’s emissions trading system. (The Times)

Politically inconvenient truth about electric cars - President Nicolas Sarkozy would dearly like to end France’s rotating presidency of the European Union on a high note by brokering this week a deal on a grand European response to global warming and energy efficiency. The ultimate plan is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent with member states at the same time drawing their future energy needs from clean renewable sources by the same percentage amount. Under the circumstances, it is no surprise that the automobile industry has found itself at the heart of the climate change debate.

Indeed, Mr Sarkozy’s own government commissioned months ago one of France’s leading energy experts – Jean Syrota, the former French energy industry regulator – to draw up a report to analyse all the options for building cleaner and more efficient mass-market cars by 2030. The 129-page report was completed in September to coincide with the Paris motor show. But the government has continued to sit on it and seems reluctant to ever publish it.

Yet all those who have managed to glimpse at the document agree that it makes interesting reading. It concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted developed of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notable exception of Germany. New so-called “stop and start” mechanisms can produce further 10 per cent reductions that can rise to 25-30 per cent in cities. Enhancements in car electronics as well as the development of more energy efficient tyres, such as Michelin’s new “energy saver” technology, are also expected to help reduce consumption and pollution. (Financial Times)

Offshore wind farm plans in jeopardy without support - Government's target for renewable energy will not be met, suppliers warn

Plans to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm in the Thames estuary are under threat unless the Government boosts incentives for renewable energy investment, it is claimed.

The London Array project is not the only one in jeopardy. Without an overhaul of the rewards system, the offshore installations vital to meeting ambitious EU environmental targets will simply not get built, energy suppliers are warning. (The Independent)

Green 'super-grid' could let Europe harness African Sun - The trouble with most renewable energy is that you can't put the fuel in a ship and take it to where you want the power. Unlike oil or gas or coal, you can't transport the hot sunshine from Africa to Britain, or the North Sea wind to Italy.

But backers of a new European super-grid say the next best thing is to move the electricity across continents using a new generation of high-voltage direct-current cables (HVDC) that leak far less electricity than conventional alternative-current pylons (sic). (New Scientist)

Regulators a threat to target - THE Rudd Government's renewable energy target has been put at risk by a failure of regulators to recognise the costs of getting green power to markets, energy networks have warned.

Yesterday, Kevin Rudd announced that a $500 million renewable energy fund to spur on the development of clean power plants would now be spent over 18months rather than six years from 2009.

But Energy Networks Australia says electricity distributors already face challenges renewing aging infrastructure thanks to the global financial crisis, let alone building new networks to deliver clean energy sources. (The Australian)

Costs don’t just mean financial — EMRs and patient lives

Part One: “Separating myth and evidence about electronic medical records,” here.

The public has heard little about the systematic reviews of the evidence on electronic medical records, which have found no significant benefit in reducing medical errors or improving quality of patient care, safety or health outcomes. The conclusions from those reviews, cautioning that health information technology is being implemented without sound evidence, has also had little media coverage.

The public has heard even less about the increasing numbers of investigators who have been questioning the claim that health information technologies save lives and who have even found that HIT can increase mortality. The media is largely silent about studies finding that EMRs can introduce entirely new types of medical errors and “many unintended and negative consequences.” (Junkfood Science)

A surprising link between UFOs and acupuncture - Do you remember when the National Enquirer offered a million-dollar reward for anyone who could prove that UFOs were extraterrestrial? (Junkfood Science)

Ground Zero Lawsuits Are to Begin in 2010 - After years of wrangling, lawyers for New York City and for the thousands of ground zero workers suing the city have agreed to begin trials in the spring of 2010. The lawsuits claim that workers suffered illnesses as a result of their exposure to dust at the site, and most of the first cases to be heard will involve people with the most severe health claims. (New York Times)

Hmm... doubtless people were harmed by conditions at the site but who is culpable? Think maybe it could be radical Islam and appeasers ranging back to Jimmy Carter?

Corporate sabotage: The Greening of the Corporation - A new report analyzes how far advanced top companies are in addressing climate change and adopting environmentally friendly policies (Business Week)

D'oh! Enviro Economics - Despite all their promise, green companies are awash in red ink.

First there was the dotcom bust of the late 1990s, then came the real-estate bubble that's deflating before our eyes. Next up: the green bubble. Alternative energy ventures have received a lot of great press, heavy investment and lip service from politicians in the last couple of years, but many of the nascent green industry's balance sheets are beginning to bleed red. (Newsweek)

Green Hits Red Light with Cash-Strapped Consumers - LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO - US consumers' enthusiasm for all things clean and green is being overshadowed by their urgent need for a different kind of green -- the one that pays the mortgage and puts food on the table.

From hybrid cars to solar panels, products that promise to reduce consumption of polluting fossil fuels are not selling as quickly as they were before access to credit dried up and gas prices plummeted from historic highs. (Reuters)

The Glaxo-Gates Malaria Vaccine - Researchers have been trying for more than 70 years to develop a vaccine against the elusive malaria parasite without notable success. Two studies conducted in East Africa suggest that they are finally closing in on their goal.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation deserves huge credit for enabling this research to go forward when the drug manufacturer was unwilling, on its own, to take the financial risk to try to develop a vaccine.

The new studies showed that the most advanced candidate vaccine — made by GlaxoSmithKline — cut illnesses in infants and young children by more than half and could safely be given with other childhood vaccines that are already routinely administered throughout Africa. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, along with an editorial that called the vaccine’s performance a “hopeful beginning” toward prevention of the disease. (New York Times)

Rule Eases a Mandate Under a Law on Wildlife - The Interior Department on Thursday announced a rule that has largely freed federal agencies from their obligation to consult independent wildlife biologists before they build dams or highways or permit construction of transmission towers, housing developments or other projects that might harm federally protected wildlife.

The rule, quickly challenged by environmental groups, lets the Army Corps of Engineers or the Federal Highway Administration in many cases rely on their own personnel in deciding what impact a project would have on a fish, bird, plant, animal or insect protected under the Endangered Species Act.

In announcing the rule, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said his main intention was to ensure that the 1972 law was not used as a “back door” means of regulating the emission of the gases that accelerate climate change. Without this rule, Mr. Kempthorne said, his decision last summer to list the polar bear as threatened because of the loss of sea ice caused by the warming of the climate could be used to block projects far from the bear’s Arctic habitat.

“The Endangered Species Act was never intended to be a back door opportunity for climate change policy,” he said.

Legal experts said the change seemed intended to ensure that the protection of species like the polar bear would not impede development of coal-fired power plants or other federal actions that increased emissions of heat-trapping gases. The Endangered Species Act, a complicated law with numerous procedural requirements, has long infuriated business interests and property rights advocates. But the law’s broad sweep, and its impact on a range of issues like hydroelectric power and logging, has largely been supported by federal courts. (New York Times)

The Curse of the Were-Mouse - There is a fascinating little story in The Times today carrying a ‘Red Flag Warning’ about the ecological dangers of introducing alien animals and plants to isolated oceanic islands. (Clamour Of The Times)

The persistence of thuggery (Number Watch)

Nothing new about murderous greenies: How Eta went to war over the environment - The militant Basque separatist movement has its traditional strongholds in urban centres such as Bilbao. But as it seeks to display its eco credentials - by sabotaging a new high-speed rail link - a bloody battle is being fought in one of the region's most beautiful locations. A project director has already been murdered and now his colleagues fear they may be next (The Observer)

The roots of environmentalism - Many environmentalists seem to think that their movement is cool, new, original, and thought-provoking. They think that their "modern" ideas were invented by their widely promoted icons. It is hard to believe that they think so but some of them probably do. Well, the reality is very different. Similar ideas have been around for centuries and their incorporation within the modern industrial society began roughly seven decades ago. (The Reference Frame)

December 12, 2008

Pickens Hops Aboard Public Health Bandwagon - Has public health replaced patriotism as the new “last refuge of scoundrels”?

T. Boone Pickens’ self-enrichment plan to switch America into natural gas-powered cars and wind power was initially advertised as a means to wean America off foreign oil. When the plan was announced last July, oil had spiked to $147 per barrel, and Pickens’ TV ads blamed our oil “addiction” for a $700 billion annual “wealth transfer” to foreigners.

But what a difference five months makes. (Steven Milloy,

CO2 good after all? Ocean worlds may be dying stars’ last haven for life - A new study has suggested that large and distant ocean worlds could provide a last refuge for life around Sun-like stars, long after the heat of the stars’ red giant phase sterilizes closer-in, Earth-like planets.

... The team argues that life on planets the size of Earth would die off before the red giant phase begins.

That’s because the planet’s cooling core would stop the volcanic activity needed to replenish atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is gradually removed by the formation of carbon-containing rocks.

Plants would thus run out of CO2 needed for photosynthesis.

But, the cores of bigger planets, called super-Earths, would stay warm for longer, allowing CO2 to persist in their atmospheres.

... An ocean-dominated super-Earth would be best, because it would be best able to hold onto its CO2 atmosphere, the team added. (ANI)

Funny how everywhere not contaminated by gorebull warming nonsense still knows the biological value of atmospheric carbon dioxide, that marvelous essential resource.

Not according to theory: Earth has warmed 0.4 C in 30 years -- Half of the globe has warmed at least one half of one degree Fahrenheit (0.3 C) in the past 30 years, while half of that -- a full quarter of the globe -- warmed at least one full degree Fahrenheit (0.6 C), according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

A map of Earth's climate changes since December 1, 1978, (when satellite sensors started tracking the climate) doesn't show a uniform global warming. It looks more like a thermometer: Hot at the top, cold at the bottom and varying degrees of warm in the middle.

This is a pattern of warming not forecast by any of the major global climate models.

... Virtually all of the warming found in the satellite temperature record has taken place since the onset of the 1997-1998 El Nino. Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino. (University of Alabama in Huntsville) [em added]

Pachauri — The IPCC Is Impermeable to New Science - The Guardian reports a remarkable statement by Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC: What the IPCC produces is not based on two years of literature, but 30 or 40 years of literature. We’re not dealing with short-term weather changes, we’re talking about major changes in our climate system. I refuse to accept that a few papers are in any way going to influence the long-term projections the IPCC has come up with. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Rightly: Climate change 'largely ignored' by many big firms: report - Corporate America is making progress on addressing climate change but many company executives are "largely ignoring" the issue when it comes to making business decisions, a report released Thursday said. (AFP)

In fact gorebull warming should be ignored by everyone.

Obama Ally Wants Delay in Cap-and-Trade - 'We Can't Kill the Business Climate,' Says Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)

One of Barack Obama's closest allies in the Senate said Tuesday that she hopes the economic downturn can induce the incoming president to delay the centerpiece of his plan for reducing carbon emissions.

"Let me speak for me here because I think this is very dangerous," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "I would like to keep my relationship with Barack at this point. Let me speak for me."

McCaskill said she hoped Obama would delay a plan to institute a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

"I think a delay may be necessary," she continued. "Yes, we've got to do something. Yes, we have to move forward. But we can't kill the business climate at the same time. I'm from a state where most of the people who turn on the lights in the state get it from utility companies that depend on coal. And the cost of switching all that to clean coal technology or to alternative sources is going to be borne by them -- by regular folks who are trying to figure out how to pay their mortgages right now."  (ABCNews)

EU Carbon Price To Drop Further By Year-End - LONDON - European carbon emissions will continue to be volatile to the end of the year, with prices expected to tighten to 13 euros or lower if industrial output figures and the economic newsflow do not improve.

Carbon prices have more than halved a two-year high this summer by falling to below 15 euros ($19.79) in November, a level analysts previously regarded as a potential price floor.

Lower industrial output, a flood of emissions permits onto the market, strong selling to generate cash in the financial crisis and falling oil prices have all contributed to carbon's decline. (Reuters)

Right result, wrong reasoning: Brazilians kill off Aussie led proposal on carbon capture at Poznan climate summit - AUSTRALIAN climate negotiators suffered a frustrating defeat yesterday when talks in Poland thwarted an attempt to inject billions of dollars into the search for clean coal and carbon-capture technology.

Canberra and the coal industry have tried for years to have the UN-convened climate change talks extend one of the main international funding schemes for fighting pollution to cover projects to store emissions underground.

A majority of countries supported the Australian-led proposal to extend the Clean Development Mechanism, which would have provided new incentives for the development of such expensive technologies.

But opponents led by Brazil yesterday refused to allow a draft proposal to go to ministers in their meetings in Poznan, Poland, over the next two days, meaning there is no hope the idea will be adopted in any wider treaty signed in Copenhagen next year. (The Australian)

Regardless of why they did it this is definitely the right result -- we do not want such a magnificent resource injected into the planet's crust where it has been and would again be inaccessible to the biosphere for millions of years.

U.N. Climate Talks To Speed CO2 Offset Approval - POZNAN - Climate negotiators meeting in Poznan, Poland on Thursday drafted measures to speed up U.N. approval of carbon offset projects, drawing support from carbon traders.

Under Kyoto Protocol rules rich countries can lay off their greenhouse gas emissions and meet their climate targets by funding cuts in developing nations.

But developers of emissions-cutting projects under that scheme, called the clean development mechanism (CDM), complain that it is creaking because of excessive red tape. (Reuters)

Political timing from Science: Climate Change Alters Ocean Chemistry -- Researchers have discovered that the ocean's chemical makeup is less stable and more greatly affected by climate change than previously believed. The researchers report in the December 12, 2008 issue of Science that during a time of climate change 13 million years ago the chemical makeup of the oceans changed dramatically. The researchers warn that the chemical composition of the ocean today could be similarly affected by climate changes now underway – with potentially far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems. (

He certainly plays to his audience: Soon, we won't be able to adapt to climate: Pachauri - POZNAN (Poland): Very soon, the impacts of climate change will exceed our capacities to adapt to them, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has warned.

The head of the panel that has done more than anyone else to bring the effects of climate change - lowered farm output, more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and a rise in sea level - to the forefront of world attention said: "The impacts of climate change are now so evident. If we don't take immediate action they will get far worse.

"And remember, poorest countries and the poorest communities in these countries are the most vulnerable to these effects." (Economic Times) | Climate change getting worse, warns Pachauri (Indo-Asian News Service)

At home "global warming" is an irrelevant plot by Western Imperialists to suppress third world and particularly Indian development while, on the gorebull warming circuit, it's an urgent problem requiring vast transfers of developed world wealth to third world countries, particularly India.

US 'willing to lead climate push' - The US is set to lead the world towards a new climate deal, according to John Kerry - but only if other countries pledge emission curbs too.

The former US presidential candidate said here at the UN climate conference that the aim of agreeing a new global deal next year must remain on track.

But a deal could not work unless it covered all countries, he added. (BBC News)

Printable report now available: U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims (EPW Press Blog) | Link to Full Printable PDF Report

China's really getting the hang of extorting the West: Rich nations plan "great escape" on climate: China - POZNAN, Poland - Some rich countries are planning a "great escape" from promises to fight climate change as recession bites and a deadline nears to agree a new treaty, China's climate ambassador Yu Qingtai told Reuters on Wednesday.

"The only conclusion many people like me are drawing is that some (rich) countries are preparing for the great escape from Copenhagen," Yu said in an interview. His comments underlined concerns that U.N.-led climate global negotiations in Poznan, Poland, are treading water as many delegates and observers question the chance of agreeing a comprehensive treaty as planned in Copenhagen next year.

Developing countries complain that rich states, most to blame for global warming, cannot even agree a range of emissions cuts nor specific funding to help the South to prepare for climate change, as promised under earlier conventions. (Reuters)

Unfortunately for them economic reality is beginning to intrude.

Kevin Rudd faces Al Gore's heat on climate - BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former US vice-president Al Gore are urging Kevin Rudd to publicly back a tough global climate change agreement as the Government faces growing domestic pressure not to lead the world on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The weekend phone calls from Mr Brown and Mr Gore, the self-proclaimed climate guru, came as a leading unionist and the head of the nation's peak mining industry body attacked big banks, such as NAB and Westpac, for suggesting Australia should promise deep and unilateral greenhouse emission reductions, insisting the Government should tie any commitment to international agreements.

Australian Workers Union leader Paul Howes accused the banks of being hypocritical and dishonest on the issue, because they stood to reap all the benefits of a new carbon market but suffer none of the pain.

And the Australian Industry Group, which represents the manufacturing sector, is urging the Rudd Government to rethink even modest plans because of the global financial crisis - either starting its scheme as a "dry run" until the economic situation improves, or delaying the proposed 2010 start date. (The Australian)

Most Australians would readily admit K.Rudd is a prime-time weak link as far as elected leaders go and so it is inevitable that other leaders and key carbon scammers should attempt to coerce the fool into stupid promises (and he makes enough of those without encouragement). Just because the dipstick-in-chief makes rash promises doesn't mean Australia will really try to implement them though.

Coalition may delay emissions scheme - KEVIN Rudd's ambition of an emissions trading scheme in Australia by 2010 is looking even shakier with confirmation the Coalition may delay Senate support entirely until business is happy.

The Coalition policy had been to support emissions trading in principle but push for a delay until at least 2011. But now the Opposition has flagged it may wait until 2012 or even longer if the global financial crisis hits hard.

The move follows the Australian Industry Group's decision to call for a delay in the 2010 start date proposed by the Rudd Government in light of the global financial crisis.

Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb said today it would be reckless to proceed if it would hurt the economy. (The Australian)

As energy rationing inevitably must. Are they learning this nonsense must never proceed?

Better cut carbon dioxide later - THE nation's commitment to addressing climate change was conceived in times of prosperity, in times of low unemployment, high profits, budget surpluses and unquestioned economic security. It was shaped by the politics of prosperity.

Despite the optimism, implementing national initiatives that put a price on carbon for the first time, with considerable uncertainty over the progress towards an international agreement, was always ambitious and was aptly described as a diabolical dilemma. (The Australian)

No Heather, there's actually no case for ever doing so.

Bankrupt advice on emissions - THE hypocrisy of big banks such as Westpac and National Australia Bank that signed up to a corporate communique on climate change calling for aggressive unilateral targets needs to be exposed.

Having participated in what can be described only as a global stuff-up of our financial system, they now are trying to tell Australian corporations that operate in the real economy, and generate real wealth and real jobs, how to behave on climate change. (The Australian)

U.N. Chief Tells World: We Need A Green New Deal - POZNAN - The world must avoid backsliding in fighting global warming and work out a "Green New Deal" to fix its twin climate and economic crises, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

"We must re-commit ourselves to the urgency of our cause," Ban told a December 1-12 meeting of 100 environment ministers in Poznan, Poland, reviewing progress toward a new U.N. climate treaty meant to be agreed at the end of 2009.

"The financial crisis cannot be an excuse for inaction or for backsliding on your commitments," he told ministers. The climate crisis "affects our potential prosperity and peoples' lives, both now and far into the future." (Reuters)

U.N. chief may call climate summit in September 2009 - POZNAN - The United Nations may call a summit of world leaders in September 2009 to try to spur negotiations on a new U.N. climate treaty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday. (Reuters)

New UN Treaty May Let Some Countries Drop CO2 Limits -- United Nations negotiators may allow some developed nations to drop their greenhouse-gas targets in a new climate-change treaty beginning in 2013.

Industrialized countries should “principally” commit to new limits on emissions blamed for global warming, according to a draft document guiding negotiations by 37 richer nations that currently have limits under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol climate treaty. The draft was provided today to delegates at UN-sponsored treaty talks in Poznan, Poland.

“The wording leaves open the possibility that not all countries will have targets,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said today in an interview. (Bloomberg)

Italy still 'not satisfied' ahead of EU climate change summit - Negotiations have moved forward on a European plan to combat global warming but Italy is not yet prepared to sign on, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Wednesday.

"There have been steps towards a balanced compromise, but Italy is not satisfied," Frattini said in remarks quoted by the ANSA news agency the day before EU leaders were set to debate the plan in Brussels.

Andrea Ronchi, the minister for European affairs, said for his part that "conditions are not right to say we have reached agreement" at the European Union level.

"We still have concerns over the protection of the manufacturing sector," he said, pointing in particular to the ceramic, glass and paper industries. (EUbusiness)

Comments On UK Met Office Press Releases On Climate - There was an interesting news article in the Guardian on December 6 2008 by James Randerson titled Explainer: Coolest year since 2000 (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Understatement of the day: Climate change not imminent danger, UN panel chief says - There is no clear evidence that global warming is an imminent danger to the world, says Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Even so, it would be good for governments to go further with proposed cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions to deal with dire predictions made in a 2007 panel report, he told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday. (CBC News)

No clear evidence? Try no evidence whatsoever - zip, zilch, none, nada, not a thing, absolute dearth... We have no evidence carbon dioxide emissions from any and all sources do other than help feed the biosphere as a resource essential for photosynthesis.

The U.N.'s Global Warming Muzzle - When the United Nations insists that man-made global warming is now proved beyond doubt, it's practicing one of the few things it has proved itself good at: censorship of dissenting viewpoints.

The wasteful, corrupt, dictatorship-dominated U.N. may not be successful in fulfilling very many of its supposed objectives — world peace, the end of poverty, mutual understanding, etc. — but when it comes to suppressing contrarian points of view that interfere with official U.N. stances, the organization ranks with the best. (IBD)

“Wilder and wetter everywhere” - The scare: The Guardian, one of the two UK newspapers most prone to write unverified and scientifically-inaccurate stories about the consequences of “global warming”, published an article on 10 December 2008, intended to influence delegates at the UN’s Poznan conference on the climate. The article listed a series of alleged climate catastrophes all round the world, saying that “millions … are feeling the force of a changing climate. … (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Paleostorms of Southern France - The United Nations Climate Change Conference is well-underway in Europe and environmental groups are lobbying to reinforce every pillar of the greenhouse gas – global warming story. According to their reports, any severe storm any place on the planet can now blamed on global warming. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms – it just doesn’t matter … they are all caused by global warming and any deaths or damages from these storms is directly related to the consumption of fossil fuels, particularly that obscene consumption in the United States. Of course, they always insist that the debate on any of these subjects is over, and it is now time for action. Even U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the conference participants, “The economic crisis is serious; yet when it comes to climate change, the stakes are far higher…The climate crisis affects our potential prosperity and our people’s lives, both now and far into the future…we must recommit ourselves to the urgency of our cause.” Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Well, before you get carried away and win a Nobel Peace Prize, be alert that we have covered this nonsense many times in the past at World Climate Report, and the scientific literature on the subject continues to provide a stream of evidence countering the claims of the global warming advocates. As we have seen many times before, the claims of increasing storm intensity or frequency are generally inconsistent with the conclusions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and certainly at odds with dozens of articles published each year in the professional scientific literature. (WCR)

“Companies could be sued over climate change” - The scare: In early December 2008, The Guardian, a newspaper of the British Left and an unquestioning true-believer in the catastrophist version of climate alarm, quoted Professor Myles Allen, a physicist at Oxford University, as saying computer models such as one that he has developed can now ascribe individual extreme-weather events to anthropogenic “global warming”, allowing environmental pressure groups to sue the corporations they believe are to blame for the catastrophic heating of the planet. Professor Allen joked, “We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity.” He said his team had used a “new technique” of comparing two models – one including and one excluding anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions – to identify the impact of manmade “global warming” and, for instance, to work out whether “global warming” worsened the UK floods in 2007, which inundated 10,000 properties and forced the evacuation of 11,000 people from their homes. He added that people affected by floods could “potentially” use the findings to begin legal action. He said, “It’s just a question of computing power. We can work out whether climate change has loaded the dice and made extreme weather more likely. And once the risk is doubled, then lawyers get interested.” (Christopher Monkton, SPPI)

Editorial: Time for candor on climate plan - Ever since he signed California's 2006 law to reduce emissions linked to global warming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made the transition sound startlingly easy.

A 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020? No problem. Bring on the hydrogen-powered Hummers, the geothermal-powered Jacuzzis and the solar-powered plasma televisions.

There is no need for sacrifice or higher energy prices in Schwarzenegger's vision of a low-carbon future.

"It's all about technology, because we all know that the guilt trip that we have put on people has not worked, to tell them that they should not use the Jacuzzi, or the big, large plasma TV," the governor said in a speech last month.

Sadly, this overly optimistic view of the world has crept into the "scoping plan" that the California Air Resources Board is expected to vote on today to implement the state's global warming law. (Sacramento Bee)

Greens Against Growth - Under normal circumstances, November 2008 might have been remembered as a key moment in the American climate-change policy debate. Two independent evaluations were made public that analyzed California's groundbreaking, path-setting 2006 law dictating a sharp state increase in the use of cleaner, costlier energy -- specifically Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's repeated assertions that not only would the law not be a drag on the economy; it would actually make the state's economy healthier. Similar claims are common in Washington and many state capitals, which are all considering California-style regulations.

Both evaluations were highly dismissive of the notion that the California plan would help the economy. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office -- the most respected voice in Sacramento -- concluded (pdf) that the California Air Resources Board's claims of economic gains were simply not sustained by the "scoping plan" it released outlining the implementation of the 2006 law. Instead, the plan ignored likely negative effects and cherry-picked data to produce a forecast of long-term economic benefits. Most tellingly, the LAO noted that the "ARB deemed all measures included in the plan 'cost effective' simply because they reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, whatever the cost." By this logic, a business shutting down would be "cost effective."

But the most damning criticism came from the economists hired to do a "peer review" (pdf) of the ARB. Most were stunned by the shoddiness of the ARB's analysis. (Chris Reed, American Spectator)

Angela Merkel turns her back on green dream of EU - Angela Merkel was once the Green Goddess who pushed through tough climate change targets to show that Europe could lead the world in beating global warming.

Under huge pressure to shield German industry from the cost of going green, however, she has been transformed into Frau Nein — fighting to reverse key goals that she once championed. (The Times)

Why Merkel's Climate About-Face Is Bad for Business - The economy or the environment? That is the choice as Angela Merkel sees it -- and she has chosen the former. But the dichotomy is no longer valid, and Merkel's choice is a grave mistake. These days, one can have both the economy and the environment. (Christian Schwägerl, Der Spiegel)

Not only can you have environment as well as economy but you must have a booming economy to support environmentalism (the reverse, however, does not hold and a dud economy makes environmentalism totally unaffordable).

EU lead on climate change under threat - The European Union's global leadership on climate change is under threat as Germany heads a rebellion to protect industry from the extra cost of tough environmental targets. (Daily Telegraph)

A Bad Climate Trade-off - Protectionism hinders the fight against global warming.

The high priests of climate change are wrapping up their latest meeting today in Poznan, Poland, where the United Nations is hosting a conference on global warming. But don't expect a real solution to emerge. While most of these politicians and negotiators concur global warming is a man-made problem, there is still fierce opposition to the quickest method for spreading man-made solutions: free trade.

Numerous technologies already are on the market or in development that can increase energy efficiency or directly reduce the volume of global emissions. Solar panels provide an alternative source of power generation for countries currently dependent on carbon-dioxide-emitting energy such as coal. Clean coal technologies can significantly reduce pollution from existing coal-fired power stations. Fluorescent lamps can increase energy efficiency over traditional lighting systems.

But trade protectionism inhibits the international spread of these and other technologies, especially to high-polluting developing countries. Low-carbon technologies are classed as "manufacture" and are treated as an industrial good on each country's tariff schedules. Developing countries have high tariffs on industrial goods as a form of industry protection. A 2007 World Bank study found that of four major low-carbon technologies -- clean coal, wind, solar and fluorescent lamps -- tariff and nontariff barriers can be as high as 160% among the top 15 greenhouse-gas-emitting developing countries. Such products also face stiff nontariff barriers like quotas and import ceilings.

Even worse, many developing countries are now calling for compulsory licensing of patents on low-carbon technologies to reduce their cost. Under this regime, governments ignore patents on these technologies and allow for local production or importation of knock-offs. At last year's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Meeting in Bali, Nigerian Environment Minister Halima Tayo Alao argued that patents are a "barrier" to transferring low-carbon technologies to developing countries. (Tim Wilson, Wall Street Journal Asia)

More about 'Gibbering George' Moonbat: The Completely Cuckoo Climate Change Cyberspace Conspiracy Conspiracy - How long has it been since we last mentioned George Monbiot? The truth is that we simply got bored of his predictable column in the Guardian. Furthermore, we aren’t convinced that anyone actually takes him at all seriously, apart from the people who book him for media appearances. After all, his earnestness excites the vapid newswaves with the prospect of the end of the world. And there’s nothing more exciting than the end of the world, especially when the rest of the news is so mundane. But this week, George has surprised us. (Climate Resistance)

Obama’s Energy Plan May Hinge on Scientist, Washington Veteran -- Barack Obama’s choice of a Clinton administration veteran to head a new White House energy office and a Nobel Prize-winning physicist as energy secretary will redefine the way policy is made and applied in the U.S.

Whether it also helps advance the president-elect’s agenda of boosting the economy and reducing pollution may depend on how well the two individuals get along. Carol Browner, 52, will head the national energy council, and Steven Chu, 60, will be Obama’s energy secretary, a person close to the transition said.

“If the chemistry is right between Carol Browner and Steve Chu then you can take what otherwise might be some creative tension and turn it into a positive,” said Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. “If they are not in alignment philosophically in terms of what they think ought to be done, then you’ve got an issue.” (Bloomberg)

Obama Team Set on Environment - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has selected his top energy and environmental advisers, including a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, presidential transition officials said Wednesday.

Collectively, they will have the task of carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated intent to curb global warming emissions drastically while fashioning a more efficient national energy system. And they will be able to work with strong allies in Congress who are interested in developing climate-change legislation, despite fierce economic headwinds that will amplify objections from manufacturers and energy producers. (New York Times)

Obama's Awful Energy Picks - President-elect Barack Obama made centrist choices for cabinet positions that deal with economics and national security, but yesterday he went off the deep end with his energy picks. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Browner and Greener - Needless to say, the nation’s energy crisis is no longer Barack Obama’s top priority.

During the October 7 debate at Nashville’s Belmont University, after a summer in which gasoline prices topped $4 per gallon, Senator Barack Obama declared that the highest priority facing the next president was the nation’s energy crisis.

It is curious, then, that it has taken so long for President-Elect Obama to unveil his top energy officials. The selections he is expected to announce shortly come after Obama has tapped not only his economic and foreign-affairs advisers, but his nominees to head the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Commerce, and Health and Human Services. Apparently, $1.50-per-gallon gas makes the nation’s energy crisis a middling concern. But unless Obama’s plan is to cultivate a recession four years in length, at some point the nation’s long-term energy challenges will return to the front burner. Unfortunately, Obama’s picks reveal a mindset dedicated largely to combating climate change, with little emphasis on securing the energy supplies our 21st-century economy will require. (Max Schulz, NRO)

"New" Ethanol To Face Crunch Time Under A Chu DOE - NEW YORK - The next U.S. energy secretary, a long-standing champion of producing ethanol from non-food crops rather than corn, could face hurdles in moving the next-generation biofuel from the laboratory to the gasoline station.

Steven Chu, Obama's pick for the head of the Department of Energy, is a steadfast supporter of next-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol, expected to be made from the tough woody bits of crops like grasses and fast growing trees as well as plant and timber waste.

A 2007 report co-chaired by Chu, and commissioned by the governments of China and Brazil, called for "intensive research" into production of cellulosic, which relies on technology like isolating microbes, or using large amounts of heat and steam, to break down the tough bits into fuel.

Chu, the head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Nobel physics laureate, also helped organize the Energy Biosciences Institute, a lab focusing on next-generation biofuels funded with $500 million from oil major BP Plc.

He has been a staunch opponent of the current U.S. corn-based ethanol system, which was widely blamed for spiking food and grain prices this summer, calling it "not the right crop for biofuels," at a conference this spring in the country's agriculture heartland. (Reuters)

It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas: The Paradigm Shift in the U.S. Natural Gas Business - The collapse in oil prices gets most of the headlines. But the corresponding collapse in natural gas prices may be the more important story for both the short- and long-term interests of the U.S.

On July 1, natural gas futures peaked at $13.51. On July 14, crude oil futures peaked at $145.16 per barrel. Today, the spot price for natural gas is about $5.67 and the spot price for oil is about $46. And those prices may go lower still. On November 24, Jen Snynder, the head of North American gas research for the energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, released a report which she claimed that the U.S. gas market should expect to see natural gas prices “in the range of $5 to $6” for the next five years. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

The good, the bad and the ugly (Number Watch)

What are you willing to reveal in a text message? - Text messaging has become so ubiquitous and we’ve become so comfortable with it, it can be easily to forget to consider how the information we share might be used. Like any technology, it can bring life-saving benefits as well as risks.

Today, there have been a rash of stories across the country — from Minnesota, Florida to Texas — of text message phishing scams, trying to get people to reveal personal information about themselves. No financial institution would send a text message asking for information and the Better Business Bureau advises never provide personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you. [Follow the hyperlinks for more information on these financial scams.]

Receiving a text message asking for your credit card information may be a no brainer for some who wouldn’t think of replying, but what if you receive a text message asking about your lifestyle habits, if you smoke, drink or what you weigh? Would it be as clear how revealing that information might be used in ways that might negatively affect you? (Junkfood Science)

Brazil Allows Planting Of Dupont, Dow GMO Corn - SAO PAULO - Brazil's biosafety regulator CTNBio approved on Thursday the commercial planting of a genetically modified corn jointly developed by Dupont Inc. and Dow Chemical Co..

The Herculex corn variety is insect resistant and tolerant to glufosinate ammonium.

It must still be approved by Brazil's Agriculture Ministry before it can be planted.

This is the sixth genetically modified variety of corn approved for commercial planting in Brazil.

The first ones, developed by Bayer and Monsanto, were cleared in late 2007. So the next corn season will be the first one to produce genetically modified types.

They are expected to account for 6.7 percent of the total planted area, according to independent grain analyst Celeres in their first season. (Reuters)

December 11, 2008

This absurd claim, again: Global warming may kill coral reefs within 40 years - POZNAN, Poland -- The world has lost nearly one-fifth of its coral reefs and much of the rest could be destroyed by increasingly acidic seas if climate change continues unchecked, an environmental group warned Wednesday.

Global warming and the rising temperature of the oceans are the latest and most serious threats to coral, already damaged by destructive fishing methods and pollution, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said. (Canadian Press)

Reef builders evolved when Earth was warmer and when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were far higher than any anticipated. They built reefs when there were no ice caps and sea levels were higher, now stranded inland, far above sea level and they built reefs even during ice ages, now lifeless in the cold, dark depths. Far from fragile, static and endangered corals are opportunistic occupiers of every suitable niche colonizing any suitable structure from rock to oil rig. In fact Greenpeace caused the destruction of rare North Sea corals through their idiotic Brent Spar campaign.

Warning sounded for last Metro glacier - COQUITLAM - Metro Vancouver's last remaining glacier -- a 20-hectare mass of ice in the Coquitlam watershed -- could be wiped out within 100 years due to global warming, according to a geoscientist for the region.

Although the loss isn't expected to have a huge effect on the region's water supply, the threat of its disappearance has prompted Metro Vancouver to look at ways to conserve and store water for future generations.

Geoscientist Dave Dunkley, who has visited the Coquitlam site three times, said the glacier is shrinking and speculates it has retreated about 720 metres from the alpine valley floor.

"If we keep going down the climate-change path we're on, we may not see this glacier by the end of the century," said Dunkley, a geoscientist with Metro Vancouver. (Vancouver Sun)

About 50 acres of ice is expected to last 100 years? Not much of a thaw, eh?

UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims - Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History'

POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]

Full Senate Report Set To Be Released in the Next 24 Hours – Stay Tuned… (EPW Press Blog)

Eichler et al.: Half of recent warming was solar - In this dose of peer-reviewed skeptical climatological literature, we follow Climate Research News. The blog was intrigued by a new article in Geophysical Research Letters that was accepted on Friday, December 5th. (The Reference Frame)

Setting climate change targets will not save the world, warns Bjorn Lomborg - Setting new targets on reducing carbon emissions will do nothing to save the world from global warming, a leading environmentalist has warned as ministers meet at a landmark climate change conference. (The Telegraph)

Banking on global warming - Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes outs some particularly offensive green hypocrites: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Greenwash: Are carbon offsetters ripping you off? - The cost of offsetting your carbon emissions produced when you fly varies wildly. Fred Pearce asks: genuine error or a convenient con-trick? (The Guardian)

Time for shoot-on-sight orders: No new coal - the calling card of the 'green Banksy' who breached fortress Kingsnorth - The £12m defences of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading "no new coal". He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.

All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours, in which time it is thought the mystery saboteur's actions reduced UK climate change emissions by 2%. Enough electricity to power a city the size of Bristol was lost.

Yesterday the hunt was on for the man dubbed "climate man" or the "green Banksy". Climate activists responsible for hijacking coal trains and breaking on to runways said they knew nothing about the incident. (The Guardian)

Uh-oh... Obama meets Gore, lauds ideas on energy, economy - CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday praised former Vice President Al Gore's ideas on the environment as one way to help the nation's struggling economy.

Obama, Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately at Obama's transition headquarters in Chicago for almost two hours. Obama said they discussed so-called green jobs as a way to boost employment, reduce energy costs and improve national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil.

Obama said global warming is "not only a problem, but it's also an opportunity."

"We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now, that this is a matter of urgency and national security, and it has to be dealt with in a serious way," Obama said at the end of the closed-door meeting. (Associated Press)

Major uh-oh... Officials say Obama chooses energy, EPA posts - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama intends to round out his environmental and natural resources team with a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and three former Environmental Protection Agency officials from the Clinton administration.

The president-elect has selected Steven Chu for energy secretary, Lisa Jackson for EPA administrator, Carol Browner as his energy "czar" and Nancy Sutley to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Democratic officials said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Europe Puts Hurdles in Obama's Climate Path - Just as the US gets a new president who promises to reverse years of climate change neglect, American environmental experts worry that Europe's resolve on climate change is weakening. Merkel's recent about-face is especially alarming. (Der Spiegel)

The 'Green Jobs' Myth: European workers aren't believers - The United Nations is huddling in Poznan, Poland, this week to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, but the real news is that part of the global "consensus" on climate change seems to be unraveling. To wit, the myth of "green jobs."

In Brussels last week, some 11,000 metal workers clogged the EU quarter to protest global-warming policies. They worry that their industry could be harmed and their jobs forced overseas; some of them carried coffins as props. Most of the marching workers were from Germany, where auto makers are also still fuming over new emissions standards. Audi and BMW and other carbon-using industries have argued both for shallower emissions cuts and a longer phase-in period.

Meanwhile, Poland is threatening to veto a new EU climate-change accord unless restrictions on its coal use are eased. And Italy's government complains that new green policies could cost its industry up to €20 billion a year over the next decade. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared at Poznan by video, asserting that green measures "will also revive our economies."

But not everyone is buying it. As Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italy's environment minister, has noted, "Some people claim environmental measures are a way to relaunch industry, but we have to be realistic. Resources are limited, and they will be even more so because of the economic crisis."

This is certainly a new tune for the Europeans, who have lectured Americans for more than a decade to sign Kyoto because the planet is in peril. Their happy talk of a painless 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 has been mugged by reality. Carbon emission regulations come at a high price in lost jobs and lost competitiveness.

No wonder, then, that the Europeans are delighted over the pledges by the incoming Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress to adopt similar legislation to tax U.S. industries. (Wall Street Journal Europe)

Redistributing more of your, uh, wealth: UN talks split on aid to help poor cope with warming - POZNAN, Poland, Dec 10 - U.N. climate negotiators tried on Wednesday to break the deadlock over controlling planned payouts from a new fund to help poor nations adapt to floods, droughts and rising seas.

The 189-nation talks split between rich and poor countries over the Adaptation Fund -- due to start in 2009 -- which could grow to about $300 million a year by 2012 to help developing nations cope with global warming. (Reuters)

EU Commitment to the Environment Put to the Test - European Union leaders are to gather in Brussels on Thursday for a crucial summit and one of the most important issues will be climate change. However, with Germany, Poland and Italy all calling for concessions, will the deal end up as a toothless compromise? (Der Spiegel)

Angela Merkel turns her back on green dream of EU - Angela Merkel was once the Green Goddess who pushed through tough climate change targets to show that Europe could lead the world in beating global warming.

Under huge pressure to shield German industry from the cost of going green, however, she has been transformed into Frau Nein — fighting to reverse key goals that she once championed.

As EU leaders meet to complete the targets today the German Chancellor, who was so firmly in Europe's driving seat just a year ago, also seems off-message over the other main item on the agenda: the size of the recovery plan needed to beat the recession.

Berlin is being accused of resorting to national self-interest just when Europe needs to pull together. Moreover, the importance of Europe sticking to its ambitious target of cutting CO2 by 20 per cent by 2020 has never been greater, with the chance of liaising with a sympathetic new US president to push for a global successor to the Kyoto Protocol fast approaching. (The Times)

Climate change: A battle for the planet - The Polish city of Poznan, host of this week's vital climate change summit, may become known as the place where the Earth was saved – or doomed

Summing up what many scientists, environmentalists and politicians now think about the threat of climate change is simple: the world is drinking in the last chance saloon. (The Independent)

"Drinking in the last chance saloon"? Swilling Kool-Aid, more like.

How to Save the Climate from the Recession - Yvo de Boer, the UN's climate chief, is facing an uphill task at Poznan. The world needs a new treaty on global warming to replace the Kyoto Protocol but many nations are now far more worried about the economic crisis. The prospects of reaching a deal by next year in Copenhagen are already looking slim. (Der Spiegel)

:) Hopes for Poznan climate change progress melting away - As climate change negotiators headed back into the Poznan International Fair after a two-day break, there was a frosty atmosphere inside and out.

Delegates at the Dec. 1-12 U.N. climate change talks say recession and the change of U.S. administration make it unlikely the world will meet a deadline for agreeing a full new pact to fight global warming in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

Developing nations are fed up with what they see as a lack of progress at the conference in western Poland, with some of the poorest fearing their calls for urgent help to adapt to a warmer world are being sidelined.

Activists from both rich and poor countries shivered outside in freezing temperatures on Tuesday to cajole negotiators into doing more. (Reuters)

Before Summit, E.U. Debates Limits on Carbon Emissions - Nations Weigh Economic, Climate Risks

POZNAN, Poland, Dec. 10 -- With delegates from around the world struggling to make progress here toward a new agreement on combating global warming, the European Union is locked in its own contentious debate over whether to toughen limits on carbon emissions, even though much of the continent has fallen behind on meeting current targets.

The Europeans' disagreements over how fast to cut emissions in order to avert dangerous climate change, which could culminate in a vote as soon as Thursday in Brussels, highlights the difficulties the industrialized world faces as it decides how aggressively it can afford to act, especially amid a severe economic downturn.

The outcome in Europe could have major implications for the U.S. Congress, which is poised to enact limits on greenhouse gas emissions after President-elect Barack Obama takes office. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Dumber by the day: Europe pledges strict emissions cut to tempt China and India into climate deal - European climate chiefs to pledge 85-90% emissions cut by 2050 in exchange for 15-30% reduction by developing countries

European officials have offered to make the continent virtually zero-carbon in an attempt to lure China and other developing countries into a new global climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol.

Stavros Dimas, European commissioner for the environment, told the Guardian that the EU could aim for a 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2050 in exchange for greater efforts by developing nations to limit their emissions.

Dimas said the pledge has "already been put on the table" and that he was awaiting responses. In return, Europe would ask developing countries to reduce their forecasted carbon pollution growth by 15-30% over the next decade. "We haven't got any reaction, so they're floating somewhere," he said. (The Guardian)

Italy defies EU summit deal on climate change - Despite "significant steps" taken to soften the impact of the EU's climate change goals on its industry, Italy yesterday (8 December) continued to maintain a tough negotiating line ahead of a decisive EU summit on 11-12 December. (EurActiv)

U.N. Climate Talks May Decide On Carbon Capture - POZNAN - U.N. climate talks in Poland may still release funds to curb carbon emissions from coal plants in the developing world, the U.N.'s top climate official said on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the track of U.N. talks which vets scientific approaches for curbing greenhouse gases failed to reach any conclusion on approving the technology, called carbon capture and storage (CCS).

That technology is untested on a commercial scale, and involves trapping and then burying underground the carbon dioxide which power plants produce as a result of burning fossil fuels. (Reuters)

Criminal waste of both the energy to do so and the loss to the biosphere of the carbon resource. Must not be done.

EU carbon trading system brings windfalls for some, with little benefit to climate - BRUSSELS: The European Union started with the most high-minded of ecological goals: to create a market that would encourage companies to reduce greenhouse gases by making them pay for each ton emitted into the atmosphere.

Four years later, the carbon trading system has created a multibillion-euro windfall for some of the continent's biggest polluters, with little or no noticeable benefit to the environment so far.

The lessons learned are coming under fresh scrutiny now, both in Europe and abroad. EU leaders will meet Thursday and Friday to work on the next phase of their system, seeking, they say, both to extend its scope and correct its flaws. And in the United States, President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to move quickly on a similar program. (James Kanter, IHT)

'Groundhog day' at climate talks - AUSTRALIAN diplomats have been accused of helping turn UN climate talks in Poland into "groundhog day" by failing to support a proposal that rich countries look to the advice of climate scientists when setting greenhouse targets.

It is believed that Australia has joined Japan, Canada and Russia in wanting changes to a proposed agreement that says greenhouse cuts should be "informed" by advice that the developed world needs to cut emissions by 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The disputed draft text is largely similar to a document that was supported by all four countries at a summit in Bali a year ago.

Backing the document would not bind Australia to a cut of 25-40 per cent — the range put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as giving the world a chance of limiting global warming to about 2 degrees. (The Age)

Oh... 2008 One Of The Worst Years For Disaster Losses: Insurer - POZNAN - Weather-related disasters and earthquakes are likely to make 2008 the second most costly year for insurers after 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the United States, a leading insurer said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

... how many times must this undead claim rise? We have exactly zero evidence of increasing extreme weather events but know with certainty that we are placing more vulnerable assets in harms way (coasts and valley floors, where storm/flood damage is to be anticipated). More assets are getting clobbered? Go figure! Oh, and get used to it because there is some indication we are returning to more storm-prone phases of various cycles associated with cooler conditions.

Oscillation Rules as the Pacific Cools - PASADENA, Calif. -- The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. The image also confirms that El Niño and La Niña remain absent from the tropical Pacific. (NASA JPL)

Greenpeace scare-bear Bill Hare cranks up the rhetoric: Bye, bye Arctic ice - a case of too little too late - The world is struggling to keep global warming to two degrees celsius as governments cannot agree on the steps. Even if they agree, it will be too little too late to save the Arctic ice cap and the sea will rise 6-7 metres, says a senior expert of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).Bill Hare from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany was the coordinator for the section on sea level rise for the benchmark 2007 Assessment Report 4 (AR4) of the IPCC. He now says it is 'likely that IPCC AR4 sea level rise projections are biased low'.

New research carried out since AR4 shows that the 'risk of additional sea level rise from both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets may be larger than projected and could occur on century time scales'. (Indo-Asian News Service)

Opposites attract on a burning issue - MARVIN Geller and Richard Lindzen are good friends. For those in the climate-change know, this may come as a surprise. After all Geller, an atmospheric scientist at Stony Brook University in New York State, and Lindzen, also an atmospheric scientist, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, are on opposite sides of the climate-change debate. Geller argues that evidence suggests global warming is real and humans are the likely culprit. Lindzen says it ain't so. (The Australian)

Comments On The NASA GISS Website Q&A “GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT)” - Thanks to Vincent Gray of New Zealand for alerting us to a set of questions and answers on the NASA GISS website, with respect to the measurement of surface air temperatures (SAT) in regards to long term climate change.

The NASA questions and answers (in italics) are listed below along with the Climate Science response in bold font. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today. How and why we are told otherwise? - How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant. Despite this President Elect Obama met with Al Gore on December 9 no doubt to plan a climate change strategy based on these problems. They make any plan to reduce of CO2 completely unnecessary.

Proponents of human induced warming and climate change told us that an increase in CO2 precedes and causes temperature increases. They were wrong. They told us the late 20th century was the warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us, using the infamous “hockey stick” graph, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did not exist. They were wrong. They told us global temperatures would increase through 2008 as CO2 increased. They were wrong. They told us Arctic ice would continue to decrease in area through 2008. They were wrong. They told us October 2008 was the second warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us 1998 was the warmest year on record in the US. They were wrong it was 1934. They told us current atmospheric levels of CO2 are the highest on record. They are wrong. They told us pre-industrial atmospheric levels of CO2 were approximately 100 parts per million (ppm) lower than the present 385 ppm. They are wrong. This last is critical because the claim is basic to the argument that humans are causing warming and climate change by increasing the levels of atmospheric CO2 and have throughout the Industrial era. In fact, pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today, but how did they conclude they were lower? (Dr. Tim Ball, CFP)

DEMING: Global warming freeze? - President-elect Barack Obama recently declared his intention to mitigate global warming by enacting a cap-and-trade policy that would reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2050.

But the last two years of global cooling have nearly erased 30 years of temperature increases. To the extent that global warming ever existed, it is now officially over. (David Deming, Washington Times)

Setback for Hide on climate study bid - ACT leader Rodney Hide has lost his bid to have a committee studying changes to the emissions trading scheme look at whether global warming is taking place.

But he is claiming victory after National agreed that the committee could look at the accuracy of climate change predictions.

Mr Hide, a minister in Prime Minister John Key's Government, said that opened the door to a broader look at the science of global warming.

"I'm very happy with that because that covers the science. What I'm pleased about is that we're going to have the sceptics [submitting], and there are a lot of them. (Dominion Post)

Australia's climate change targets will be announced next week, says Penny Wong - CLIMATE Change Minister Penny Wong says Australia will announce climate change targets next week.

Senator Wong said any discussion of targets would have to wait for that announcement.

At the same time the coalition is toughening its stance on emissions trading, suggesting a scheme should be delayed until it has the broad support of industry. (The Australian)

Poorest need $1 bln for urgent climate projects - POZNAN - Rich nations will be asked to contribute $1 billion to a fund to help the poorest countries implement urgent projects to adapt to climate change, a top official said on Wednesday.

Boni Biagini, who runs the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) which was set up under U.N. auspices in 2001, said funds would be raised based on an evaluation of plans from 38 of the world's poorest countries. (Reuters)

I'm all for helping countries develop but attempting to leverage the fraud of gorebull warming will end in tears.

Climate Science, Economics and the Orientation of Policies: A Dissenter’s Perspective - The attached text formed the basis for an invited lecture at the Edinburgh Business School of Heriot-Watt University on 18 November 2008.

Prelude: It is an honour and a pleasure for me to appear today at the Edinburgh Business School of Heriot-Watt University, and it is also a rare and welcome opportunity. I am grateful to the School for inviting me to make this presentation.

First, a personal word. I am not a climate scientist. I am an economist, and a relative newcomer to climate change issues, I became involved with the subject by accident rather than design. To begin with, my main involvement was limited to some economic and statistical aspects of this huge and complex array of topics. Over time, however, my interests and concerns have broadened in ways that I had neither planned nor expected. Increasingly, I have become critical of the way in which the issues of climate change are being viewed and treated by governments across the world, with widespread support from public opinion. I am now a non-subscriber to positions, arguments and policies that find general and often unquestioning support. Today I will outline the minority views – you might well think, the heretical views - that I have come to hold, and my reasons for holding them. (David Henderson via CCNet)

The Bailout That Won't - Would you buy a car from Congress?

Leave it to Bob Lutz, GM's voluble vice chairman, to puncture the unreality of the auto bailout he himself has been championing. In an email to Ward's Auto World, he notes an obvious flaw in Congress's rescue plan now taking shape: The fuel-efficient "green" cars GM, Ford and Chrysler profess to be thrilled to be developing at Congress's behest will be unsellable unless gas prices are much higher than today's.

"Very few people will want to change what has been their 'nationality-given' right to drive big and bigger if the price of gas is $1.50 or $2.00 or even $2.50," Mr. Lutz explained. "Those prices will put the CAFE-mandated manufacturers at war with their customers -- and no one will win in that battle."

Translation: To become "viable," as Congress chooses crazily to understand the term, the Big Three are setting out to squander billions on products that will have to be dumped on consumers at a loss.

None of this was mentioned at four days of congressional bailout hearings, because Detroit knows better than to suggest Congress has a role in the industry's problem. Yet its own recently updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy regime, or CAFE, makes a mockery of the idea that government money will render the companies profitable, even as the same bailout bill demands that the Big Three drop their legal challenge to a California mileage mandate even more unsustainable than the federal government's. (Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal)

Just 14% Say Federal Government Will Run Big Three Better - Congress and the White House are fast reaching a deal on a bailout plan for the Big Three that many suggest is just a step short of nationalizing the U.S. auto industry since it gives the federal government a say in how the automakers spend their money and what kind of cars they build.

But only 14% of U.S. voters think the Big Three automakers will run better if they are run by the federal government, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Two-thirds of voters (67%) say the companies will not run better. Nineteen percent (19%) aren’t sure. (Rasmussen Reports)

Bankrupt Bailout - As the Big Three get closer to securing billions in aid from Congress, what was once called a "bailout" has turned into a plan to nationalize the car companies. Bankruptcy is still the better idea. (IBD)

Terence Corcoran: The price of oil returns to 'normal' - The number of big names who hung their hats on peak oil theory is too lengthy to list

As the world price of crude oil soared up toward $150 a barrel earlier this year, even some of the most stalwart defenders of the ability of man to keep oil flowing began to lose faith. Despite the long history of oil’s downward price drift over most of the past 140 years, the idea that this time was different became almost a new law of the world energy markets: Oil had reached it’s peak, the world was running out, the fundamentals of market forces were at work, the price must soar and the result would be economic turmoil.

As it turns out, the opposite has happened. Oil traded at $43.72 yesterday. Philip Verleger, of the Haskayne School of Business in Calgary, said yesterday that oil could go to $20 a barrel as the economic slowdown drags on through the next year or more. Price recovery could take few years, before oil returns to “normal” levels. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Latin America: An Ex-Exporter? - Latin American economists frequently bemoan the fact that the region is heavily dependent on exports of raw materials such as minerals, timber, agricultural products, and, of course, oil and gas. Economies suffer from dependence on commodity markets that generally concentrate wealth in the hands of a minority elite. That in turn tends to breed corruption, unemployment, and social unrest.

High commodity prices have made things worse in the region, giving countries a false sense of economic security as G.D.P. growth outperforms the developed world. As a result, countries have done little to diversify their economies: Mexico still exports crude and imports gasoline; Chile exports raw copper and imports copper wiring; and Argentina depends heavily on Asian soy markets for its wealth.

While economists, investors, and government officials fear that the current global financial crisis will put downward pressure on demand – and in turn, prices – for commodities, a greater threat could be imminent. The region's status as a net energy exporter is at risk from bad government policies; in the long term, energy trade deficits could put pressure on Latin America’s economic health. (Randy Woods, Energy Tribune))

Poland 'optimistic' on German backing over coal power - WARSAW AND BERLIN say a "special arrangement" is needed to shield Poland's coal-dependent economy from a new EU regime for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said after receiving German chancellor Angela Merkel in Warsaw yesterday that he was "optimistic" a deal could be found on carbon trading certificates ahead of talks in Brussels tomorrow and on Friday.

Until now, Polish officials were ready to derail an EU plan to charge power generators for emissions permits in the hope of reducing environmentally damaging carbon dioxide emissions.

Warsaw rejects the proposal as it stands, saying it does not take into account its 95 per cent dependence on domestically mined coal for energy. (Irish Times)

JA Solar Slashes Revenue View - LOS ANGELES - Chinese solar company JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd sharply reduced its fourth quarter revenue outlook on Wednesday, citing a dramatic slowdown in orders.

The company's stock, which had been trading down about 1 percent before the announcement, slid 5 percent on the news to close at $2.85 on Nasdaq.

JA Solar's warning came a day after Q-Cells, the world's largest maker of solar cells, stunned markets by abruptly cutting its outlook for this year due to "a flood" of requests from customers to postpone deliveries. (Reuters)

EU agrees 2020 clean energy deadline - Green lobby and politicians hail agreement to use 20% renewables within 12 years as climate change landmark

EU leaders today agreed to combat climate change by ordering a fifth of Europe's energy mix to come from renewable sources within 12 years.

The agreement, hailed as "landmark" deal and a breakthrough by politicians and the green lobby alike, came ahead of a crucial EU summit on Thursday, at which 27 prime ministers and presidents aim to finalise the ambitious package to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. (The Guardian)

Britain Pledges Millions For Biomass Heating - LONDON - The British government has pledged around 12 million pounds ($17.74 million) to help cover the costs of buying and installing biomass-fueled heating, it said on Wednesday.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the funding is available through grants of up to 500,000 pounds. The grants can cover up to 40 percent of the difference in cost between a biomass boiler and one which is powered by fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

Commercial and industrial businesses, as well as schools, hospitals, local authorities, charities and housing associations are all eligible to apply for the grants. (Reuters)

Waste coffee grounds offer new source of biodiesel fuel - Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks. Their study has been published online in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. (American Chemical Society)

Separating myth and evidence about electronic medical records - A national patient registry. National health information technology (HIT). Electronic medical records (EMR). These are all terms for a nationalized electronic system that connects government agencies, insurers, prescription benefit managers and healthcare providers, enabling seamless access and sharing of our medical records.

It’s been widely promoted that electronic medical records will lead to significant healthcare savings and improve the accuracy of communications among care providers, reduce medical errors, improve health and save lives. But few consumers have looked past the claims to examine the evidence. Is there any evidence to support claims that EMRs will save billions of dollars and improve patient outcomes?

Popular misperceptions of the efficiency of EMRs versus the reality for healthcare professionals, as we’ve seen, may be why claims of benefits seem so plausible. For doctors and nurses charting patient assessments, care and prescriptions, however, clicking through computer pages to select the appropriate standardized boxes and responding to each electronic prompt are cumbersome and add little quality, individuality or accuracy to communications among care providers. (Junkfood Science)

Family lifestyle equals genes in obesity risk - NEW YORK - Obesity can run in families, but family lifestyle has just as much to do with teenagers' weight as their genes do, new research shows.

"What we do as a family -- our family lifestyles -- matters for weight. Lifestyles aren't just about individual behaviors," study author Dr. Molly A. Martin, Pennsylvania State University in University Park told Reuters Health. The study is the first to demonstrate that the connection between parents and children's weight is social as well as genetic. (Reuters Health)

That's odd, they vilified Atkins for telling you the same thing: Eat more protein to burn more calories - Come January, many people will be heading back to the gym and cutting calories in an effort to lose weight. But your efforts to slim down may be thwarted if you don't eat enough protein.

According to an Australian study published in this month's issue of Nutrition & Dietetics, eating higher-protein meals (think lean meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and legumes) can improve the body's ability to burn fat among people who are overweight and obese - an effect that can translate into shedding extra pounds.

Previous studies have hinted that higher-protein diets are better able to curb your appetite than traditional high-carbohydrate meal plans. But now it seems that boosting protein can also help your body burn more calories. (Globe and Mail)

Dressed to Kill: From Virus to Vaccine -- In a pioneering effort, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Queensland in Australia have successfully demonstrated that they can count, size and gauge the quality of virus-like particle-based (VLP) vaccines much more quickly and accurately than previously possible. Their findings could reduce the time it takes to produce a vaccine from months to weeks, allowing a much more agile and effective response to potential outbreaks. (

Sugar can be addictive, at least in rats - CHICAGO - A study of rats offers scientific proof for what many dieters already know: Sugar can be addictive.

"Bingeing on sugar can act on the brain in ways very similar to a drug abuse," said Bart Hoebel of Princeton University in New Jersey, who presented his findings on Wednesday at a meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He said bingeing on sugar water produced behavioral and even neurochemical changes in rats that resembled the changes produced when animals or people take substances of abuse. (Reuters)

Rats feel good being fed after a fast... imagine that.

Dubious claim du jour: Blue streetlights may prevent crime, suicide - Blue streetlights are believed to be useful in preventing suicides and street crime, a finding that is encouraging an increasing number of railway companies to install blue light-emitting apparatus at stations to prevent people from committing suicide by jumping in front of trains. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Corporate welfare’s new clothes - Governments have long engaged in such ‘stimulus’ packages and with lousy results

In politics, it helps to have amnesia if one wishes to repeat history’s economic failures but offer them up in the audacious wrapping of something “new.” For example, the current financial crisis is often incorrectly blamed on a laissez-faire approach to regulation. But only if one forgets it was the U.S. federal government in the 1970s under president Jimmy Carter which first pressured banks to lend to Americans who were high credit risks, pressure then upped in the 1990s under Bill Clinton and subsequently defended by too many Democrats and Republicans alike in past eight years. (Mark Milke, Financial Post)

Politics choke clean-air efforts - Scientists say the EPA chief bowed to pressure from the White House, hampering pollution-control efforts. (John Sullivan, Tom Avril and John Shiffman, Philadelphia Inquirer)

All those millennia people existed without industry and associated pollution -- their expected lifespans were what, one-forth to one-half that of Industrial Man's, right? In fact developed world life expectancies have roughly doubled since 1900, haven't they?

'Green terrorist' angers environmentalists - POLICE have apologised for a hypothetical terror exercise in which a forest activist hijacks a plane and threatens to crash it into a pulp mill.

The hypothetical scenario - acted out by about 70 police at Devonport airport on Tuesday under the codename Western Approach - angered Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, the Tasmanian Greens and The Wilderness Society.

They called it offensive, unnecessary and irresponsible and made formal complaints to Tasmania police.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Steve Bonde later apologised, The Mercury reports.

The scenario involved a forest activist who hijacks an aircraft en route to King Island from Hobart and threatens to damage the Wesley Vale pulp mill before landing the plane and taking the passengers hostage.

After negotiations, the armed offender leaves the building but is shot. (The Mercury)

Works for me. What's anyone's problem?

Veggie mouse with a taste for albatross threatens island bird - A killer mouse that has turned from a shy vegetarian into a rapacious, predatory carnivore is being blamed for the worst breeding season on record for a rare albatross.

Tristan albatrosses are found only on Gough Island, a British territory in the South Atlantic, and they are being terrorised by house mice.

Since being introduced to the remote island, the mice have thrived in the absence of predators, and have grown so bold that they attack and eat the albatross chicks. (The Times)

Fearing Backlash, Industry Urges Nanotech Safety - CHICAGO - Fearing the emerging new field of nanotechnology will engender fears like those surrounding genetically modified foods in Europe, companies are pushing government agencies for a more coordinated effort to ensure the tiny nanomaterials are safe and environmentally friendly. (Reuters)

December 10, 2008

ANPR - The day after Thanksgiving was the deadline for submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), “Regulation of Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act.” The ANPR is EPA’s preliminary response to the Supreme Court global warming case, Massachusetts v EPA (April 2, 2007). EPA invited public comment on literally hundreds of issues but the main issue in dispute is whether EPA should issue a finding under Section 202 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles “cause or contribute to air pollution” that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads Digest)

Horse spit! Science paves way for climate lawsuits - People affected by worsening storms, heatwaves and floods could soon be able to sue the oil and power companies they blame for global warming, a leading climate expert has said.

Myles Allen, a physicist at Oxford University, said a breakthrough that allows scientists to judge the role man-made climate change played in extreme weather events could see a rush to the courts over the next decade.

He said: "We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity. And people adversely affected by climate change today are in a position to document and quantify their losses. This is going to be hugely important."

Allen's team has used the new technique to work out whether global warming worsened the UK floods in autumn 2000, which inundated 10,000 properties, disrupted power supplies and led to train services being cancelled, motorways closed and 11,000 people evacuated from their homes - at a total cost of £1bn.

He would not comment on the results before publication, but said people affected by floods could "potentially" use a positive finding to begin legal action. (The Guardian)

We don't know the mean temperature of the Earth with anything like the accuracy normally suggested by gorebull warming cranks and we don't know with any precision what it "should be". Heck, we don't even know if global mean temperature guesstimates are even a useful of meaningful metric. Moreover, who is responsible for the carbon emissions from say, coal-fired electricity, producer or consumer, on whose behalf the producer gifts the essential resource to the biosphere? And what about that value, does that come off of "costs"? Who would pay that -- farmers, whose crops benefit or the consumer of said crops? What about wildlands and critter habitat, does the government owe for their aerial fertilization on our behalf? Allen is romancing himself and anyone who believes this nonsense item.

Bush last-minute rules cement environmental legacy - WASHINGTON - In his waning weeks in the White House, President George W. Bush is drawing more fire than ever as he presides over a steady stream of environmentally unfriendly regulations meant to last into the Obama administration.

"While the first 100 days of the Bush administration initiated perhaps the worst period of environmental deregulation in American history, the last 100 days of a Bush presidency could be even worse," the staff of the House of Representatives global warming committee wrote just before the November 4 election. (Reuters)

I wonder if the media will eventually admit Bush is right to put people first and environmental hysteria second? One day they might erect statues to "W" for saving people from themselves but it will be a long time coming -- most still won't admit Reagan was right when he stated trees emit volatile organic compounds and contribute to smog production.

Obama says climate change a 'matter of urgency' - CHICAGO -- President-elect Barack Obama says attacking global climate change is a "matter of urgency" that will create jobs as he got advice from Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the issue.

In remarks to reporters, Obama made clear he would adopt an aggressive approach to global warming when he takes over the White House on January 20.

He and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met for nearly two hours with former Vice President Gore at Obama's presidential transition office in Chicago.

"All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over," Obama said. (Reuters)

Schwarzenegger tells U.N.: Green rules help markets - POZNAN, Poland - Green regulations will help both the environment and ailing economies, California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a 187-nation U.N. climate conference on Monday. (Reuters)

Uh... how far is California down the gurgler?

Lament from greenies that the PM is beige, not bold (The Australian)

K.Rudd really does emulate Al 'Bigfoot[print]' Gore: The Lodge and Kirribilli House have heavy carbon footprint - AT last - proof Kevin Rudd is full of hot air.

The Herald Sun can reveal The Lodge and Kirribilli House emitted 272 tonnes of carbon in just nine months.

It's about 21 times more than an average household, which emits about 14 tonnes a year.

The PM's hectic travel schedule also contributes to his huge carbon footprint.

If he travelled on a commercial carrier, he would have pumped out 90 tonnes of carbon by flying 264,764km this year.

But he flies on an RAAF Boeing 737 with an entourage of advisers, lifting his travel emissions to an estimated 11,700 tonnes or more.

The Rudd family's household emissions include one tonne of wood burned in The Lodge's open fires, and about 240,000 kilowatt hours of electricity at both residences.

They also used 388,000 megajoules of gas for hot water, heating and cooking.

The PM would have to plant 2205 trees to offset his annual household emissions.

Mr Rudd won international praise for signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. (Ben Packham, Herald Sun)

To be fair The Land Down-Under is home of the macropods so we should expect big footprints. In a way it is really nice to see at least one way Kevni is not all talk, at last.

Wong to resist calls for greenhouse cuts - THE Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, will confront international calls for Australia to back tough targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions when she joins the UN climate talks in Poland today as environment groups intensify their pressure on the Rudd Government to take tougher action at home.

A document released from the UN talks yesterday shows a significant number of countries, including China, maintaining calls for developed countries to examine cutting greenhouse gases by between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. This was backed by a briefing from the UN's peak scientific body showing the cuts were needed if the planet is to avoid a rise in temperature of more than two degrees and dangerous climate change.

But as Senator Wong arrived in Poland there was increased speculation at home that the Rudd Government wants to limit Australia's 2020 target to cuts between 5 and 15 per cent when it announces its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme next Monday. (Canberra Times)

Australia To Set 10 pct Carbon Reduction Target: Report - SYDNEY - The Australian government has endorsed a carbon emissions reduction target of 10 percent by 2020, following the introduction of a carbon trading scheme in 2010, the Australian Financial Review paper said on Wednesday.

A more ambitious 25 percent reduction target would be kept open as a possibility if the international community agrees to ambitious targets at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, the paper said without citing sources.

The government's top climate adviser Ross Garnaut said in a report published in September that Australia should aim to cut emissions by 5-10 percent by 2020. (Reuters)

21 spotless days and solar magnetic field still in a funk - We are now at 21 days with no sunspots, it will be interesting to see if we reach a spotless 30 day period and then perhaps a spotless month of December. (Watts Up with That?

Idiot! Human rights and climate wrongs - Sixty years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the cornerstone document that was created in the aftermath of unimaginable atrocities.

This declaration, and the legal documents that stemmed from it, have helped us combat torture, discrimination and hunger. And now, this venerable document should guide us in the fight against one of the greatest challenges ever to face humankind: climate change. (Mary Robinson, Sydney Morning Herald)

The poor are in far greater danger from gorebull warming hysteria and zealots driving absurd actions to "address" the phantom menace than from any five other risks you could name.

Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst - As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the Copenhagen summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the crucial issue of targets (The Guardian)

Climate Talks To Fail Without Tough CO2 Goals: U.N. - POZNAN - The United States and other rich nations must pledge by the end of next year specific targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to win agreement on a U.N. climate pact, the U.N.'s top climate official said on Tuesday.

Some analysts say that President-elect Barack Obama may not be ready to set formal emissions targets for 2020 within a year, and that economic recession could delay an end-2009 deadline by 190 nations for agreement on a new U.N. global warming pact.

"We have to have numbers on the table from industrialized countries (by the end of 2009) otherwise the other dominoes won't fall," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said during December 1-12 talks on global warming. (Reuters)

About time! This stupidity is at least 20 years past its use-by date.

Dominic Lawson: Kyoto is worthless (and you don't have to be a sceptic to believe that now) - The EU has managed to claim success while increasing emissions by 13 per cent

Seldom has a politician's call to action been so rapidly answered. Mr Ed Miliband gives a newspaper interview in which he demands "popular mobilisation" to force the world's governments to push through an agreement to limit carbon emissions. Within hours, members of the Plane Stupid campaign occupy the runway at Stansted Airport, causing arriving planes to circle for hours before being diverted. Well done, Ed!

In fact the Secretary of State for the Environment's demand for a "countervailing force" to be applied to the carbon foot-draggers was anticipated: last week, "climate protesters" broke into one of Britain's biggest power stations, managing to cut almost two per cent of the nation's power supplies. I imagine that the Secretary of State for Energy will be having stern words with Ed Miliband. This, though, would mean Mr Miliband shouting at himself, like a lunatic on a street-corner, since he is the Secretary of State for Energy, as well. Who says we don't have joined-up government?

Both of these "mobilisations" were presumably designed, à la Miliband, to put pressure on the world's environment ministers who are now gathering in the Polish city of Poznan to come up with the outlines of a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Accord, which expires in 2012. The truth, however, is that Kyoto, as a means to reduce carbon emissions, has been like Monty Python's parrot, long dead, despite all the protestations to the contrary by its salesmen. (The Independent)

Kyoto Protocol: BBC Continues to Flog a Dead Parrot - Dominic Lawson has consistently been a voice for sanity over the debacles that are ‘global warming’ and the Kyoto Protocol. Today, Lawson excels himself in a splendid set of ripostes in The Independent. The whole piece is an exemplary attack on nearly every nonsensical aspect of policy with regards to climate change, but especially noteworthy is his scathing denunciation of the BBC, a topic on which, reluctantly, I have had myself to comment recently. Here he is on the BBC’s Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin: (Clamour Of The Times)

Moonbat's getting provocative (looking for more ink to boost Xmas book sales George?): Cyberspace has buried its head in a cesspit of climate change gibberish - The Stansted protesters get it. The politicians of Poznan don't quite. But online, planted deniers drive a blinkered fiction (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Rule of Law at Stake in UK - Yesterday the UK saw a large group of protesters bring a major London airport to a halt. Plane Stupid (you can’t get them for false advertising, that’s for sure) managed to cancel over 50 flights as the airport closed for five hours while police arrested 56 people, of whom 49 have now been charged. (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

Class hatred at Stansted Airport - Posh Plane Stupid insists that it is not picking on poor people. So why is it so madly obsessed with cheap flights? (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

Analysts say airport incursions might inspire copycat tactics - LONDON - Protesters stormed the tarmac at one of Britain's busiest airports, shut down two airports in Thailand and invaded a runway in Athens - and some experts see a worrisome pattern.

In the post 9/11 era, protests at sensitive international airports have become an effective way to rattle nerves and publicize causes.

Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, said there was an "increasing trend for demonstrators to shut down airports."

Environmental action group Plane Stupid targeted Stansted Airport, northeast of London, in the most recent protest, cutting through its perimeter fence Monday and briefly knocking out Britain's third-busiest airport. (Associated Press)

Europe on collision course over emissions costs - BRUSSELS, Dec 8 - European Union nations on Monday dug in for a battle over the costs of tackling climate change, with few signs of compromise emerging ahead of a summit of EU leaders later this week. Two groups have emerged to demand changes to the plan, threatening the chance of a successful deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The margin between success and failure will be narrow, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra told Reuters ahead of the two-day summit of EU leaders that starts on Thursday. (Reuters)

India won't accept emissions limits, says climate envoy - The country's CO2 emissions are only one tonne per capita, compared with 20 tonnes a head in the USA

India is not a "major emitter" of greenhouse gases and will not volunteer to take on responsibilities that would see it accept legally binding limits, the country's special envoy on climate change has told the Guardian.

Arctic sea ice gone by 2015? A challenge to David Barber. - Here we go again. Last March I wrote about the media predictions that the Arctic sea ice would be gone by the summer of 2012. As I showed back then, those wild predictions were based on a simple extrapolation of the minimum summer sea ice extents of 2006 and 2007. (Climate Sanity)

How not to measure temperature, part 79 - could you, would you, with a boat? - Or maybe with the lack of grass, “goat” might be more appropriate.

Every once in awhile (like once a week) I happen upon a NOAA USHCN weather station that leaves me wondering - what were they thinking? (Watts Up With That?)

Homer's right, it just gets worse and worse: Scientists try to mitigate climate change effects - POZNAN, Poland -- Scientists studying the changing nature of the Earth's climate say they have completed one crucial task - proving beyond a doubt that global warming is real.

Now they have to figure out just what to do about it.

"It is critical for us to get a much better understanding of the impact of climate change in some parts of the world," Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.

Scientific warnings of potential catastrophe have been the backdrop for talks among more than 10,000 delegates and environmentalists negotiating a treaty to control the emission of greenhouse gases, which have grown by 70 percent since 1970. The treaty, due to be completed in one year, would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Pachauri said he was concerned that negotiators were sparring and probing - and leaving key decisions for the last moment. (Associated Press)

Do you suppose AP actually believes any of this garbage? Climate change is a fact, always has been, always will be. Gorebull warming, on the other hand, is total nonsense.

<chuckle> UN suspends leading carbon-offset firm - Emissions trading rocked as Norwegian company is left in limbo.

As international climate talks began last week in Poland, the United Nations (UN) suspended the work of the main company that validates carbon-offset projects in developing countries, sending shockwaves through the emissions-trading business. (Nature News)

'Climate Chancellor' No More - Angela Merkel is facing withering criticism for remarks she made on Monday that seemed to back away from her earlier commitment to tackling climate change. (Der Spiegel)

From CO2 Science this week:

Perfect Droughts of Southern California (USA): How bad were the really bad ones? ... and when might another occur?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 643 individual scientists from 377 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Elk Island National Park, East-Central Alberta, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tropical Cyclones (Atlantic Ocean - Global Warming Effects: Frequency, The Past Few Centuries): What do multi-century records reveal about the propensity of global warming to increase the yearly number of Atlantic hurricanes?

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: Big Bluestem, European Beech and Norway Spruce Ecosystem, Garden Bean, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
South African Urban Heat Islands: Have they contaminated the country's purported contribution to global warming?

Hydrological Extremes of France: Have they changed in any way in response to 20th-century global warming?

Dengue Fever in a Warming World: Does the latter promote the spread of the former?

The Changing Response of Austrian Black Pine Trees to Periodic Water Deficits Over the 20th-Century: How has it changed? ... and why?

Flower and Pollen Production in Birch Trees: How are these reproductive characteristics affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment?

CO2 Truth-Alerts:
Click here to watch short videos on various global warming topics. Embed any Truth Alert video on your own web page or to watch it on YouTube in a higher resolution. (

New Book “Climate And The Hydrological Cycle” by Bierkens Et Al 2008 - There is a valuable new book of a collection of papers Climate and the Hydrological Cycle, 2008; Edited by M.F.P. Bierkens, A.J. Dolman, P.A. Troch. IAHS Special Publications 8. ISBN 978-1-901502-54-1. 344 pp, which provides documentation in several of its papers as to why the hydrologic cycle is an intimate component of the climate system, as was concluded in the 2005 NRC report National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Shriek! IEA: Energy security to come from mitigating climate change - HOUSTON, Dec. 9 -- The global economic slowdown cannot distract policymakers worldwide from progressing on climate change mitigation efforts through international accords and related national energy policies, said Richard J. Jones, deputy executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

"Mitigating climate change will substantially improve energy security," Jones told a Dec. 9 energy forum at Rice University's James Baker Institute for Public Policy. "I personally believe investment in energy is a sound way to create jobs and get out of economic crisis."

Referring to IEA's World Energy Outlook 2008 report (WEO2008), Jones said a new international climate agreement is the first step toward a sustainable energy system. Effective implementation of such a system is crucial, he said. (Oil & Gas Journal)

What is this gibberish emanating from the IEA? Efforts to address the phantom menace pose the greatest threat to energy security. Arrrggh!

Arkansas Governor says he no authority to halt coal plants - Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday that he doesn't believe he has the power to issue a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants, offering a setback to environmentalists hoping to block a facility under construction.

"My research is that I don't have the authority to go issue a moratorium under existing state and federal law," Beebe told reporters after meeting with environmental groups opposed to a $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.

Beebe met for about 40 minutes with a coalition of environmentalists who delivered more than 3,700 petitions asking for such a moratorium on new plants. The group's members said at a news conference that they hope to convince Beebe to halt the construction of a Southwestern Electric Power Co. plant in southwestern Arkansas. Southwestern is owned by American Electric Power.

Environmental regulators decided last week to allow work to resume on the 600-megawatt plant near Fulton, which the company hopes to complete in four years. An appeal is scheduled to go before an administrative law judge on the plant's air permit next week. (Associated Press)

Oh... people aren't lining up to make Pickens richer: Pickens "Anxious" Over Wind Farm Project Financing - NEW YORK - Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said on Monday he is "anxious" for his company's multibillion dollar plans to build a giant wind farm in Texas as the economic crisis chokes off project financing.

Mesa Power LLC is planning to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle, but financiers for the project have disappeared in the economic downturn.

"Where's the money is the question. I don't know how we'll do it. I'm anxious to see what Obama comes up with. There is no money to finance a wind project now," Pickens told reporters at a briefing in New York City. (Reuters)

Finally realizing we can't control the climate? Climate change experts 'lose faith' in renewable technology - Support for renewable energy technology to fight global warming is weakening in the face of worldwide economic problems and the true scale of the carbon reductions required, a survey published today has suggested.

Figures presented at the UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, show that climate experts have less faith in alternative energy than they did 12 months ago.

The survey shows less support for wind energy, solar power, biofuels, biomass and hydrogen energy as technologies with "high potential" to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere over the next 25 years. (The Guardian)

Veers immediately into nonsense: Scum of the earth may save planet - THERE are many reasons for wanting to reduce our dependence on oil: the increasing cost, reliability of supply, finite resources, the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming. (The Australian)

There is no benefit in limiting or worse, reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide -- it's an essential resource, the increasing abundance of which is highly beneficial for the biosphere.

Congress Has No Business In Auto Industry - Let's not allow Congress and members of the bailout parade to panic us into allowing them to do things, as was done in the 1930s, that would convert a mild economic downturn into a true calamity. Right now the Big Three auto companies, and their unions, are asking Congress for a $25 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy. Let's think about that a bit.

What happens when a company goes bankrupt? One thing that does not happen is their productive assets go poof and disappear into thin air.

In other words, if GM goes bankrupt, the assembly lines, robots, buildings and other tools don't evaporate. What bankruptcy means is the title to those assets changes. People who think they can better manage those assets purchase them. (Walter E. Williams, IBD)

53% Oppose Government Loans to Automakers - Even as the White House and Congress put the finishing touches on a $15 billion rescue package for the Big Three automakers, 53% of U.S. voters say they oppose taxpayer-funded loans to help keep General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in business. (Rasmussen Reports)

Say NO to the Auto Makers Bailout! - Taxpayers should not have to pay for their bad business decisions

Since the 1970s, Detroit's Big Three auto makers have failed to keep up in the competitive auto industry. High labor costs and inflexible work rules, as well as a failure to overcome negative consumer sentiments have combined to bring the Detroit-based auto manufacturers to their knees. Now they are begging the federal government for a bailout to the tune of $75 billion! (FreedomWorks)

Are Fluorescents Really the Way to Go? - The European Union began the process on Monday of moving away from the incandescent light bulb. But the energy-efficient alternatives may not be all they're cracked up to be. They contain harmful substances and disposal is difficult. (Der Spiegel)

Q-Cells Profit Warning Hits Solar Sector - FRANKFURT - Q-Cells, the world's largest solar cell maker, cut its outlook and said its markets would stay subdued well into 2009, hitting shares across the sector on fears the financial crisis would eat into demand for renewable energy.

Chief Executive Anton Milner said economic uncertainty had led since late November to "a flood" of requests from customers to postpone agreed deliveries until next year, and the company was planning a production shutdown over Christmas.

"We expect to witness a very negative reaction for the whole solar universe today as Q-Cells is seen as one of the bellwethers," Dexia analysts wrote in a note. (Reuters)

REC Says Not Yet Hit By Lower Demand Amid Crisis - OSLO - Norwegian solar industry group Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) said on Tuesday it had not yet seen lower demand as a result of the global financial crisis, but was expecting to see an impact. (Reuters)

Solar Panel Glut Expected In 2009: Suntech - POZNAN - The solar power sector will produce an over supply of solar panels in 2009, said Zhengrong Shi, chief executive of the world's biggest module manufacturer Suntech.

"We expect definitely an over supply of modules next year," he told Reuters in an interview, adding Suntech expected its euro-denominated prices to fall by 10-15 percent next year, by 25-30 percent in dollars, compared to the third quarter of 2008.

"The financial crisis has accelerated that situation," Shi said. The entire sector could halve the cost of solar power before 2012, he added, assuming companies cooperated on cutting prices across the supply chain.

Low-carbon solar photovolataic (PV) power is much more expensive than fossil fuel alternatives and provides a tiny fraction of the world's electricity. The sector is under pressure to cut costs to prove it can scale up. (Reuters)

Congress Should Expand Yucca Mountain Capacity: DOE - WASHINGTON - Congress should expand the capacity of the planned U.S. nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada and delay a decision on whether to commission an additional dump site, the U.S. Energy Department said in a report released on Tuesday.

"Unless Congress raises or eliminates the current statutory capacity limit of 70,000 metric tons of heavy metal, a second repository will be needed," Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said in a statement.

The current capacity is not based on technical restrictions and the country's waste inventories will exceed that limit by 2010, the department said.

The long-delayed nuclear waste dump is not expected to be opened until 2020 at the earliest, the department said in June.

According to the report, the repository layout at Yucca Mountain can be expanded to hold three times or more than the amount of waste now allowed at the site. (Reuters)

Self-reporting may not be accurate? Go figure... Fat lies mask full extent of obesity - The obesity epidemic may be worse than previously thought with new research showing men and women underestimate their weight and add centimetres to their height when answering health surveys.

While the last national population survey found 54 per cent of people to be overweight or obese, the true figure is probably 66 per cent, researchers at the University of Sydney say.

Maybe, although some of their complaints here are extremely poorly founded. For example as a young man a guy may indeed have stood 6' tall and yet be slightly stooped and slumped to measure an inch shorter a few decades later. Is he lying or even exaggerating to give his height as 6'? Of course not, the last time anyone bothered to measure that's what he was and it still says so on his drivers license. Height decline after about age 30 is normal. Should no longer standing as erect change a person's weight ratio?

Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment - Risk assessment has become a dominant public policy tool for making choices, based on limited resources, to protect public health and the environment. It has been instrumental to the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other federal agencies in evaluating public health concerns, informing regulatory and technological decisions, prioritizing research needs and funding, and in developing approaches for cost-benefit analysis.

However, risk assessment is at a crossroads. Despite advances in the field, risk assessment faces a number of significant challenges including lengthy delays in making complex decisions; lack of data leading to significant uncertainty in risk assessments; and many chemicals in the marketplace that have not been evaluated and emerging agents requiring assessment.

Science and Decisions makes practical scientific and technical recommendations to address these challenges. This book is a complement to the widely used 1983 National Academies book, Risk Assessment in he Federal Government (also known as the Red Book). The earlier book established a framework for the concepts and conduct of risk assessment that has been adopted by numerous expert committees, regulatory agencies, and public health institutions. The new book embeds these concepts within a broader framework for risk-based decision-making. Together, these are essential references for those working in the regulatory and public health fields. (NAP)

Lookout! Stuff contains stuff! Personal care products might contain harmful chemicals - Now we're really getting personal. We're focused on your private place - the bathroom. That's generally where you use all that soap, body wash, shampoo and lotion. And deodorant, perfume, shaving cream, lip balm, lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, hair gel, mousse, hairspray, anti-aging serum ... (Kansas City Star)

Actually it is undeniably true that all chemical compounds are composed of [drum roll] chemicals. Some are certainly therapeutically active (and that's exactly why you use them).

For the especially gullible: Mobile phone chip to counter radiation unveiled - BRUSSELS - Belgian health products distributor Omega Pharma will launch a chip it claims can counter potentially damaging radiation from mobile phones and has high hopes for its sales.

The company, which sells non-prescription products such as wart treatments, pregnancy tests and sun tan lotions to pharmacists, unveiled the E-waves phone chip on Tuesday, a day before its launch in Belgium.

Testing of the chip, which offsets the electromagnetic radiation from the phone, showed it lessened symptoms such as headaches and loss of concentration that might be associated with mobile phone use, Omega said.

It also neutralized the heating effect within the body produced by electromagnetic signals.

Testing of consumers appetite for the product, costing 38.95 euros ($50.1), will start on Wednesday. (Reuters)

By the way, this chip is not for intended for internal use.

Peter Foster: Where anti-capitalists hang themselves - Robert Reich combines the economic insight of Lou Dobbs with the objectivity of Al Gore

Does the free market corrode moral character? The question is front and centre in the avalanche of claims that the ongoing financial crisis is rooted in the greed of fat cat Wall Street bankers, and that Wall Street is typical of capitalism more generally. But markets are far broader and more pervasive than Wall Street, and the larger issue of their relationship to notions of right and wrong is addressed in a fascinating online discussion available at

The John Templeton Foundation, whose mission is to “serve as a philanthropic catalyst” likes to address “Big Questions,” and this is certainly one of the biggest. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Here's a wildly contentious piece: Surface-level ozone pollution set to reduce tree growth 10 percent by 2100 - Modern day concentrations of ground level ozone pollution are decreasing the growth of trees in the northern and temperate mid-latitudes, as shown in a paper publishing today in Global Change Biology. Tree growth, measured in biomass, is already 7% less than the late 1800s, and this is set to increase to a 17% reduction by the end of the century.

Ozone pollution is four times greater now than prior to the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s; if modern dependence on fossil fuels continues at the current pace, future ozone concentrations will be at least double current levels by the end of this century with the capacity to further decrease the growth of trees. (Wiley)

Everything I've seen suggests increasing biomass (due to aerial fertilization from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide) and this lot come up with a reduction in biomass since the late 1800s? NASA has even issued press releases on the greening of northern mid and high latitudes being visible from space and yet these guys come to the opposing conclusion of reduced biomass... Very dubious.

In New Era, Timber’s Struggles Stir Broad Concern and Support - SEELEY LAKE, Mont. — A scramble is under way here in Montana to save the historically important, culturally resonant timber industry — once a pillar of the state’s identity, now under siege as demand for housing and wood products has plummeted in the national economic downturn.

But what makes this debate different from those about saving automobile makers or banks and whoever else is in line for a bailout are the multiple layers of connection to things that might seem to have nothing to do with two-by-fours, plywood or even jobs.

Climate change, for example — how to manage state and federal forest lands as new diseases and insects threaten them in a warmer future — and the soaring costs of fighting wildfires in the West have both become part of the discussion. If the state loses its base of roughly 200 interconnected sawmills, pulp buyers and family-owned tree-cutting contractors, advocates say, who will be left to work in the woods to make them usable, beautiful and safe, and at what cost?

“Our fear is that we could lose our infrastructure — the base of knowledge and experience of working in the forest,” said Mary Sexton, the director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.” (New York Times)

Oh dear... Farmers 'more open' to beating climate change - Farmers are more optimistic about their ability to adapt to climate change than ''tree-changers'' who buy a country property as a lifestyle choice, new research says.

A study by Charles Sturt University found traditional broadacre farmers were confident they could meet the challenges of climate change by new techniques such as soil improvement, planting farm trees, growing fodder crops and using minimum soil tillage methods.

Among lifestyle farmers, a lack of confidence in being able to adapt to climate change was linked to higher levels of personal stress, social researcher Rik Thwaites said.

''We found many of the lifestylers had expectations of moving to the country to live a comfortable green existence, but their expectations were challenged by the realities of drought, fire and lack of water.'' (Canberra Times)

... comparing experienced people who know what they are doing with naive twits blundering out of the cities. And guess what? Experienced people are more confident in their coping abilities...

Another eat-the-creature feature: Eat camels to protect environment, Aussies told - Australians were urged Tuesday to eat camels to stop them wreaking environmental havoc, just months after being told to save the world from climate change by consuming kangaroos.

A three-year study has found that Australia's population of more than a million feral camels -- the largest wild herd on earth -- is out of control and damaging fragile desert ecosystems and water sources.

The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, which produced the report, plans to serve camel meat at a barbecue for senior public servants in Canberra on Wednesday to press its point.

Report co-author Professor Murray McGregor said a good way to bring down the number of camels was to eat them. (AFP)

EU Watchdog Says Agri-Environment Policy Badly Run - BRUSSELS - European rules linking payment of subsidies to farmers with protection of the environment are poorly managed and enforced, the European Union's financial watchdog said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Secret ingredient for the health of tropical rainforests found - A team of researchers led by Princeton University scientists has found for the first time that tropical rainforests, a vital part of the Earth's ecosystem, rely on the rare trace element molybdenum to capture the nitrogen fertilizer needed to support their wildly productive growth. Most of the nitrogen that supports the rapid, lush growth of rainforests comes from tiny bacteria that can turn nitrogen in the air into fertilizer in the soil. (Princeton University)

Wonder if they realize that's why fertilizer manufacturers offer molybdenum as an added trace nutrient for Australia's depleted soils?

December 9, 2008

The Wrong Scary Toy Story - One in three toys was found to have “significant levels of toxic chemicals, including lead, flame retardants and arsenic,” according to a new report from the anti-chemical industry. But don’t let the report’s political agenda distract you from very real toy safety issues. (Steven Milloy,

This is where the cranks have it bassackwards: Ecoflation, a new worry, could hit consumer goods - WASHINGTON - Add another economic worry to inflation and deflation: ecoflation, the rising cost of doing business in a world with a changing climate.

Ecoflation could hit consumer goods hard in the next five to 10 years, according to a report by World Resources Institute and A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm. (Reuters)

The answer is not to change either companies or consumers but to get rid of the cranks causing the unwarranted inflationary pressures.

Hmm... Obama to meet with Gore on climate change, energy - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama will meet Tuesday with former Vice President Al Gore in Chicago to discuss energy and environmental policy, the transition team and Gore’s office confirmed today. (Houston Chronicle)

... Biden did say Obama would soon be tested by terrorists. So, it begins, or does it...

The Obama-Gore Consensus - The birth of climate pork.

Barack Obama's great virtue is his ability to behave like a cynical politician without getting a reputation as a cynical politician.

The latest example is his left-pleasing promise during the campaign for a windfall oil tax, now quietly removed from his transition Web site. Explained an aide, the tax was all along meant to apply only if oil prices are over $80 a barrel. "They are below that now and expected to stay below that."

Mr. Obama here makes a choice in favor of good economic policy. But there's something else going on. He's a student of the late radical thinker Saul Alinsky, who argued that you do or say what's necessary in a democracy to gain power, while keeping your true aims to yourself. Mr. Obama's novel contribution has been to turn this exploitation on his supporters on the left (who admittedly are so wedded to their hero that, so far, they don't seem to mind).

His next big challenge is an upcoming conference updating the Kyoto targets. Mr. Obama has not backed off his overwrought climate rhetoric, but listen carefully to Al Gore. Now that Democrats are on the verge of power, he's backing off cap-and-trade and carbon-tax proposals (i.e. visible energy price hikes for consumers) in favor of a new approach -- massive government subsidies for "green technology."

Two fans, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, co-founders of the Breakthrough Institute, write approvingly of what they call Mr. Gore's highly "significant shift." "He knows that cap-and-trade, and most any new regulation, would raise energy prices -- a political nonstarter during a recession."

Uh huh. Mr. Gore, when he's close to power, always drops the politically unpopular medicine his climate views would seem to necessitate. When he ran for president, he tried to lower gasoline prices by opening up the petroleum reserve. There was no recession at the time.

But the former veep is perfectly in sync with Mr. Obama. Energy taxes popular with the left but unpopular with voters will soon be off the table to preserve his second-term hopes. But that doesn't mean an end to "climate policy, " which can still be used to foster a network of trade groups willing to kick back some of their taxpayer subsidies to maintain Democrats in power. This will do nothing for climate change (and indeed nothing proposed or entertained in Washington would make a difference to climate). But it will help cement Democratic ascendancy over Washington's iron triangle of interest groups, politicians and the bureaucracy.

Indeed, Mr. Gore, as an investor and promoter of several green energy funds himself, is a walking conflict of interest here -- one whose bogus credibility Mr. Obama will happily make use of. Alinsky would be proud. (Holman W. Jenkins Jr., Wall Street Journal)

The impossibility of objectivity - Too often, disagreements on any issue – including scientific ones – are a dialogue of the deaf. It is rare indeed for two people with radically opposed views to be prepared to listen or accept that there may be nuggets of truth in their opponent's arguments. This does not just apply to activists with a firm belief in a particular cause, it is also characteristic of professional scientists who we might naively expect to behave better.

The reason for this is simple. We all have inbuilt world views and biases, and they inevitably colour our judgement, however objective we strive to be. We talk about scientific facts, but (at the risk of sounding too post-modernist) many of these are based on a particular accepted interpretation of the available evidence.

Scientists should always strive to be objective and base their conclusions on hard data. As the newly-fashionable Keynes said "when the facts change, I change my mind". But the human mind all too often does not work like that. Consciously or unconsciously, we tend to look for evidence which supports our own views, and ignore or devalue contrary observations.

It is quite possible to persuade someone of your point of view if they have no strong opinion in the first place, but almost impossible if they have already made their own judgment. This is why rational, evidence based argument so often fails to convince. It does not mean that scientists (and others) should stop doing it, but they should be realistic about the chances of success. The aim must be to persuade the non-aligned members of an audience, rather than win over opponents. (Scientific Alliance)

This might explain why no amount of evidence nor reasoned argument seems able to dissuade or even give pause to CAGW believers (for new readers CAGW is the acronym for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming in all its various guises: climate interference, disruption, change, man-made warming...).

This tedious rubbish, again: Climate change: Sci-fi solutions no longer in the margins - With political efforts to tackle global warming advancing slower than a Greenland glacier, schemes for saving Earth's climate system that once were dismissed as crazy or dangerous are gaining in status. (AFP)

If the planet warms that will be great, if not, well, we'll adapt to any foreseeable change but it will be neither easy nor pretty but what we most assuredly do not want is some dill trying to cool the planet -- ever.

Just what are falling temperatures evidence of? - If increasing temperatures are consistent with or are evidence of global warming, what theory is consistent with or evidence of falling temperatures? Global warming, too?

We have to ask this complicated question because it was just reported that this year’s global average temperature is on track to be the coldest in the last eight years. In other words, the temperature has dropped, and has been dropping for a couple of years.

So, do these falling temperatures mean that global warming has stopped or is false? (William M Briggs, Statistician)

North's Exposure - Someone just sent me a transcript of a taped interview with Jerry North of Texas A&M doing what he can to diminish climate skepticism and some individual skeptics — and, in the process, merely diminishing himself. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Oh... Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst - As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the Copenhagen summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the crucial issue of targets (David Adam, The Guardian)

The Chilling effect:

Paris to press UK and Germany on climate deal - The UK and Germany are being pressed to agree a bigger subsidy to eastern European countries as France makes a last-minute effort to rescue an ambitious climate agreement.

Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, will raise the matter with Gordon Brown in talks today in London following discussions with Angela Merkel, German chancellor, on Sunday.

Mr Sarkozy is seeking their agreement to bolster the climate package’s so-called “solidarity fund” ahead of a two-day summit of European heads of state that begins on Thursday. (Financial Times)

Merkel vows to resist EU climate deal if jobs threatened - German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Monday to resist any European Union deal on climate protection this week that might jeopardise jobs.

Speaking ahead of an EU summit starting Thursday in Brussels, Merkel told the top-selling Bild newspaper: "It must not take decisions that would endanger jobs or investments in Germany."

"I will make sure of that," she added. (AFP)

Merkel Backpedals on Climate - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has long been on the front lines in the battle against climate change. But with the economy in a downturn, she may be changing her tune.

It used to be that when environmentalists looked to Berlin, they saw one of their closest allies in the fight against climate change. For much of the last three years, Chancellor Angela Merkel has made the fight to reduce global CO2 emissions a signature issue of her government.

On Monday, though, Merkel finds herself under fire from many of her former allies. In a Monday article in the mass-circulation tabloid Bild, Merkel said that she will not approve any European Union climate rules "that endanger jobs or investments in Germany." (Der Spiegel)

Proliferating nonsense: EU agrees to switch off old-style light bulbs by Sept. 2012 - The European Union decided to phase out traditional household light bulbs by September 2012 in favour of new energy-saving models that use a fraction of the electricity.

From next September, 100-watt versions of the old incandescent bulbs will be banned from Europe's shops and other bulbs with lower wattage will follow in the ensuing years, EU experts decided in a vote in Brussels. (AFP)

Ya mean it's supposed to do something? Report Says 2 Global Programs To Curb Emissions Fall Short - The Government Accountability Office, in a report issued as negotiators convened the latest round of U.N. climate talks in Poland, has concluded that two key international programs aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions are not getting the job done.

The study, requested by Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), ranking minority member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and two other House Republicans, highlights problems in the European Union's emissions trading system and in a U.N. program that allows industrialized countries to offset their domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

The GAO said that Europe's cap-and-trade system had created "a functioning market for carbon dioxide allowances, but its effects on emissions, the European economy, and technology investment are less certain." A separate program that grants offsets to industrialized nations for funding energy projects in the developing world, investigators wrote, has had an "uncertain" effect on carbon emissions, "and its impact on sustainable development has been limited." (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Olympic-class conclusion leap: Global warming aided by drought, deforestation link - In the rainforests of equatorial Asia, a link between drought and deforestation is fueling global warming, finds an international study that includes a UC Irvine scientist.

The study, analyzing six years of climate and fire observations from satellites, shows that in dry years, the practice of using fire to clear forests and remove organic soil increases substantially, releasing huge amounts of climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (University of California - Irvine)

It's easier for people to burn forests when they are dry [!] but it does not necessarily follow that the liberated carbon dioxide has anything to do with subsequent global mean temperature. In fact we know the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis is severely flawed since the expected tropical mid-troposphere "hot spot" has spectacularly failed to appear (not just "weaker than expected" or even smaller -- failed completely). So adding tropical carbon dioxide is doing, um... nothing.

Climate inquiry will not question global warming science - A parliamentary committee inquiry into climate change policy will not relitigate the science that blames humans for global warming, according to new terms of reference.

The National government has put the emissions trading scheme (ETS) on hold while it conducts a complete review. (NZPA)

Then it's not a complete review, is it?

CO2 and Temperature Relationship Reaffirmed - Questions Flat Ice Core CO2-Graph During 1000 Years? - I came across Hans Errens illustration showing the yearly growth in CO2 concentration as a function of UAH global temperatures:

It appears from this graph that CO2 concentrations follows temperature with a lag of approximately 6-9 months. The interesting part is of course that the CO2 trends so markedly responds to temperature changes. I wanted to get a clearer picture of this relationship, and thus took approximately 20 datasets from this graph And plotted them in a scatter graph to see the trend, and got the following result: (Frank Lansner, Icecap)

Virtual refugees in virtual worlds driven by virtual disasters... U.N. says climate change may uproot 6 million annually - POZNAN, Poland - The impact of climate change could uproot around six million people each year, half of them because of weather disasters like floods and storms, a top U.N. official said on Monday.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) was making plans based on conservative estimates that global warming would force between 200 million and 250 million people from their homes by mid-century, said L. Craig Johnstone, the U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

"That means a displacement of something like six million people a year -- that's a staggering number," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the December 1-12 U.N. climate talks in Poland. (Reuters)

Are There Long-Term Trends in The Start Of Freeze-Up And Melt Of Antarctic Sea Ice? - On Thursday, December 4 2008, Climate Science posted the weblog Are There Long-Term Trends in The Start Of Freeze-Up And Melt Of Arctic Sea Ice?

Thanks to Bill Chapman of the University of Illinois, who hosts the excellent website Cryrosphere Today, we now have the corresponding data for Antarctic. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Southern Ocean resistant to changing winds - Intensifying winds in the Southern Ocean have had little influence on the strength of the Southern Ocean circulation and therefore its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience. (CSIRO Australia)

Actual data shows models guess wrongly, again. Who would have guessed...

Dutch research into fair-weather clouds important in climate predictions - Research at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) has led to better understanding of clouds, the unknown quantity in current climate models. The Delft researcher Thijs Heus has tackled this issue with a combination of detailed computer simulations and airplane measurements. He charted data including cloud speed, temperature and the 'life span' of clouds to arrive at new observations. (Delft University of Technology)

Granted, clouds are a huge unknown in climate modeling but they most certainly are not "the" (singular) unknown -- the only thing we are sure of in climate is that there is much more we don't know than that we do.

Fickle Sun Brought Down Ancient Emperors - CHURCHVILLE, VA—A North China cave stalagmite just produced an amazingly precise record of China’s rainfall over the past 1800 years, proving that variations in the sun’s activity—through weaker monsoons and poor rice crops—helped bring down three historic Chinese dynasties (the Tang, Yuan, and Ming dynasties).

In contrast, the sun sent abundant rainfall for the Song Dynasty, producing rich rice harvests, social stability, and population growth through the 10th-13th centuries—a period known to the world as the Medieval Warming. The Chinese recorded the Song abundance in both historic documents and cave-wall paintings. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Not So Confident - I notice with some mild amusement that Joe Romm, who viciously attacks anyone daring to offer a view on climate change science or policy that differs from his own, has offered a bet on future climate change (emphasis in original): (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Oh boy... Kulongoski objects to BLM logging plan - PORTLAND, Ore. — Gov. Ted Kulongoski has asked the Bureau of Land Management to hold off on its plan to increase logging on federal lands in Western Oregon.

In a letter dated Monday, The governor cited the BLM's failure to go through formal consultation with federal scientists over the potential harm to salmon and northern spotted owls.

He also expressed concern over issues such as water quality and the lack of a guarantee that the BLM will use forest management strategies consistent with the fight against global warming. (Associated Press)

What Happened to Oil Prices? Don’t Buy the Hype! - What goes up, must come down, or so the saying goes. Why, then, did so many analysts drive us into a forever-fear mode vis-a-vis oil prices as recently as a few months ago? Some said $200 would soon be the per-barrel price.

Excuse me? What's that about new analyst predictions of $25 oil?

Barely five years ago, the editor-in-chief of World Oil magazine declared "The world is awash with oil." His point was that talk of oil "running out" was just plain foolish. Really, there is no shortage of oil, nor will there by any time soon (as in, years and years and years and years and years).

My friends, there were many plants in the dinosaur days, and many large beasts that wandered this Big Blue earth of ours. Hence, there is no shortage of oil. There is, however, a shortage of common sense, and perhaps an even greater dearth of decency amongst the analysts of this world. As oil prices rose and rose and rose, a few folks on this planet thought: "This is crazy! What the heck is happening?" However, no one seemed willing to go on record, not even the oil gurus. Believe me, I tried, and I know lots of energy execs. So, what gives? (Eric Kavanagh, Energy Tribune)

OPEC Oil Investment Plans On Track, For Now - The warnings from the International Energy Agency and others are ominous: a prolonged world recession could lead to underinvestment in upstream energy projects that will likely lead to a future oil supply crunch. For now, countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries armed with a huge war chest, are continuing to invest. But that might not be enough.

There are signs of delays and budget slashing outside of OPEC. Grim forecasts of a prolonged economic global slowdown are discouraging investment in high-cost projects, such as deepwater drilling and oil sands. And some OPEC members have warned that their upstream investments will be at risk if prices stay low.

But there’s little evidence that OPEC’s biggest oil exporters are significantly cutting back on upstream expenditures. Only about 10 percent of the $90 billion earmarked in the Middle East and Africa for upstream projects in the next five years through 2013 has been shelved, according to a recent report by the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation, an affiliate of the 10-nation Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

Just what no one needs... Climate change campaign call - A Government minister has called for a global protest movement along the lines of Make Poverty History to pressure world leaders into signing an agreement to tackle climate change.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said "popular mobilisation" was needed to help politicians force through a deal in the face of fears about the impact on a struggling global economy.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: "There will be some people saying 'We can't go ahead with an agreement on climate change, it's not the biggest priority'. And therefore you need countervailing forces. Some of those countervailing forces come from popular mobilisation. (Press Association)

... a twit inciting antisocial activity by neo-Luddites.

Protesters break into secure area at UK airport - Dozens of environmental activists broke into a secure area of a London airport Monday, chaining themselves to each other and barricading themselves behind fencing in a protest against air-traffic pollution.

Protest Group Plane Stupid, known for its attention-grabbing stunts, said activists stormed Stansted Airport before dawn and staged their protest near the taxi area where planes travel between takeoff and landing. The activists are opposed to a possible expansion of the airport.

Police said that 57 activists were arrested, most on suspicion of trespassing. (Associated Press) | Passengers' fury as climate change protest at Stansted airport forces dozens of flights to be cancelled (Daily Mail)

All suspected terrorists penetrating, or attempting to penetrate secure areas should be shot on sight. That such a policy would reduce the number of village idiots and other plainly stupid antidevelopment "protesters" is a major plus.

U.K. Greens’ Uncivil Disobedience - There could be no better snapshot of the elitism, killjoyism, and outright snobbery of the radical environmentalist movement than the protest taking place at Stansted Airport in London today.

Here we have an attempt by a tiny clique of well-to-do eco-protesters — with Middle-England names like Joss, Tamzin, and Lily — to prevent thousands of people from flying abroad, whether for fun, to meet loved ones, or, in one distraught woman’s case, to attend her father’s funeral in the Republic of Ireland. This is the very essence of environmentalism: an aloof effort to police and restrain the desires of the mass of the population. (Brendan O’Neill, Planet Gore)

Plane Selfish - Ridiculous, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-righteous, and self-important protest outfit, Plane Stupid broke into Stansted Airport today, to delay the reopening of a runway. (Climate Resistance)

How Long Before We See Eco-Terrorism? - Today's news that Stansted airport, the third largest in Britain, had been shut down for five hours by a group of "climate activists" provides yet further evidence that we are faced by a dramatic new escalation in the battle over "global warming".

More than 50 flights were cancelled and thousands of dismayed passengers milled about in chaos and confusion, as the protestors, under a banner reading "Climate Emergency", blocked off a runway with metal barriers and padlocked themselves to fences.

Although the police eventually arrested 57 people on various criminal charges, what was significant was that the young demonstrators, most between 18 and 23, declared that they were so "terrified" by the threat of global warming that they were quite prepared to break the law in support of their demands that the government must take much more immediate and drastic action to "save the planet".

This was precisely the kind of thing we were warned of three months ago after a landmark case involving another group of "climate activists" charged with causing criminal damage to a power station in Kent. (Christopher Booker, EU Referendum)

Peru’s Surging Natural Gas Business - Peru's phenomenal economic growth in recent years has boosted the country's prominence in Latin America. It has also caused more than a few headaches for government planners, as energy demand has expanded faster than expected. Inadequate transmission and natural gas pipeline capacity has further exacerbated the problem, putting Peru under threat of power outages and forcing generators to increase imports of high-cost diesel.

If the government is to be believed, the problem will be short lived, as projects are underway to increase generation and transmission capacity and expand natural gas pipelines. But the current energy crisis will have long-lasting consequences, as it has forced the country to rethink how best to take advantage of its newfound natural gas wealth. It's becoming increasingly clear that Peru will not expand its natural gas export program beyond the one liquefied natural gas project that is on track to start operations in about a year. (Randy Woods, Energy Tribune)

Turkmenistan Joins the Natural Gas Elite: The South Yolotan-Osman Gas Field is one of the World’s Largest - The growth in global natural gas resources continues to grow. In July, a study done by Navigant Consulting estimated that America’s potential gas resources may total 2,200 trillion cubic feet. That’s 50 percent more gas than Russia and twice as much as Iran. A more recent study, published in mid-November by consulting firm ICF International, estimated U.S. gas resources at 1,830 Tcf. The big U.S. gas numbers are being driven by shale gas plays in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and elsewhere.

And while those U.S. gas reserves are important, the gas story that could alter the balance of power in Asia is coming out of Turkmenistan. (Peter C. Glover, Energy Tribune)

Colliery on track for record output shows King Coal is striving to regain crown - Britain's coal industry is on track to break a new production record as it expands at a time when many environmentalists are calling for it to be cut back or closed down.

The West Midlands colliery of Daw Mill near Nuneaton is expected to produce more coal this year than any other in the history of an indigenous industry that began with the Romans.

And this week a rig will move into position to drill three exploratory boreholes that could lead to reopening of a mothballed mine at Harworth in north Nottinghamshire.

Daw Mill has already mined 3m tonnes this year and staff are confident of hitting 3.25m tonnes by the end of this month, beating a 13-year-old record for annual output set at Selby, North Yorkshire. (The Guardian)

No again: Scientists turning CO2 from coal-fired plants, algae into oil - Eliminating greenhouse gases and developing new, non-petroleum-based fuels are two of America's biggest environmental challenges. University of Kentucky researchers think algae might offer an answer. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Eliminating greenhouse gases is something we definitely do not want to do.

France is poised to be nuclear leader - "We thought there was a future in nuclear power when no one else believed in it," said Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of Areva. The French government-owned company is building the first nuclear reactors to be constructed in western Europe for nearly 20 years.

With "no oil, no gas, no coal and no choice," France decided to go nuclear in 1974, and today about 80 percent of its electricity is generated by 59 nuclear plants across the country. But even France became pessimistic about nuclear power: It stopped building new reactors at the end of the 1980s and in 2002 a government report called the industry a "monster without a future."

How things have changed. Nuclear power is back in favor, thanks to fears about oil supplies, energy security and global warming. France is poised to develop its expertise into a significant export. Its president, Nicolas Sarkozy, considers the sale of nuclear power to be central to his diplomacy: It is a badge of France's technical prowess and a reaffirmation of its status as a global industrial power. Soon after his election 18 months ago, he toured countries from China to Libya to tout France's nuclear expertise, signing deals to open the way for French firms to sell reactors. (The Economist)

Iraq Aims to Double Power Output - Over the next few years, Iraq hopes to double its power generation capacity using gas-fired turbines. But it is still unclear whether the country can overcome the chronic power shortages that have plagued it since the U.S. invaded in 2003.

Despite recent electric grid upgrades, only about half of Iraq’s electricity demand is currently being met, according to the latest quarterly report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). Problems are numerous, and range from water shortages and lack of fuel oil to run generators, to insufficient transmission lines and a dearth of trained personnel. Add in years of neglect and underinvestment, as well as security problems, looting, and sabotage, and the enormity of the problem becomes obvious. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

This is how you do it - How do you create an obesity epidemic in a country with nearly the lowest percentage of “obese” people in the world?

You begin by changing the definition.

On Tuesday, Health Ministry officials in India released the country’s first Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. It begins by making significant departures from World Health Organization definitions for overweight and obesity. According to new cutoffs enacted by Indian health officials, anyone with a body mass index of 23 kg/m2 is now labeled as overweight. And a BMI of 25 and over is now defined as obese — considerably more stringent than the international cut-off of a BMI 30.

[As you may remember, overweight used to be defined as a BMI of 27 before the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute changed the definition to 25 to match new international guidelines in 1998.]

As the Daily News & Analysis in Mumbai (Bombay) reported , men with waistlines of 35 inches or more and women with waistlines of 31.5 inches or more are now considered obese by the new norm. These, too, are well below the WHO cut-offs of 40.2 and 34.6 inches, respectively. (Junkfood Science)

Malaria vaccine may be available in 2012 - A vaccine against the parasitic disease malaria cut illnesses by more than half in field trials and could be safely given with other childhood inoculations, two studies have reported. The vaccine, which will begin a third and final phase of clinical trials early next year, could become the first to protect children from malaria, which kills 1 million people worldwide every year.

The studies, published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine, were reported at a New Orleans meeting of tropical medicine researchers and were hailed as a significant breakthrough in the fight against one of the most intractable and deadly infectious diseases. (Los Angeles Times)

Stifling Dissent on Malaria - Despite all its good work, the Gates Foundation is encouraging a harmful trend among malaria activists.

Nine months ago, The New York Times reported that Dr. Arata Kochi, head of malaria control at the World Health Organization (WHO), was worried the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was undermining scientific creativity in a way that “could have implicitly dangerous consequences [for] the policymaking process in world health.” According to Kochi, the Gates Foundation’s research support comes with strings attached. He expressed concern that Gates-funded studies were adopting “a uniform framework approved by the Foundation,” leading to homogeneity of thinking. Gates has created a “cartel,” said Kochi, with research leaders linked so closely that “each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of others. The result is that obtaining an independent review of scientific evidence…is becoming increasing difficult.”

Kochi never intended for his remarks to be aired publicly; his internal WHO memo was leaked to the Times. But it had a welcome effect, briefly galvanizing a debate about the best ways to spend aid money—a debate that could lead to new discoveries, more effective interventions, and many more lives saved.

Unfortunately, the malaria community has recently been discouraging debate over a new initiative known as the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm), which was approved by the United Nations-backed Global Fund in early November. The AMFm will spend some $2 billion on anti-malaria drugs over the next five years. It may increase access to good quality medicines and save thousands of lives. But it may also increase drug resistance by pouring medicines of unknown quality into poor countries with underregulated health systems. (Roger Bate, The American)

Rise in autism linked to shift in age at diagnosis - NEW YORK - The apparent increase in the prevalence of autism that many studies have reported in recent years may be attributable, at least in part, to a drop in the age at diagnosis over time, the results of a Danish study suggest.

"Our study is the first study to quantify how decreasing age of diagnosis inflates the observed prevalence of autism," lead author Dr. Erik T. Parner, from the University of Aarhus, told Reuters Health. "We were surprised that the impact of shifts in age of diagnosis on the observed autism prevalence was so great."

The study, which is reported in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, included all 407,458 children born in Denmark between 1994 and 1999. (Reuters Health)

D'oh! Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up - Trash has crashed.

The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices.

Ordinarily the material would be turned into products like car parts, book covers and boxes for electronics. But with the slump in the scrap market, a trickle is starting to head for landfills instead of a second life. (New York Times)

Bee Epidemic Threatens Chunk of Menu as Science Debates Cause -- Honey isn’t the only thing we’d miss if bees completely disappeared.

“Bees are a profound part of the ecosystem, much more than we ever thought,” said Rowan Jacobsen, whose chilling new book, “The Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis” (Bloomsbury), gives us a taste of a world without honey, not to mention other goodies bees make possible. The tall, lanky 40-year-old author talked with me at a new East Village restaurant fittingly called Apiary while promoting his book in New York.

“Fruitless Fall” details the recent rise of Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees, around for the past 100 million years, have been mysteriously dying in droves -- about 30 billion worldwide last year alone. (Bloomberg)

December 8, 2008

Here we go again: UN is told that Earth needs an asteroid shield - Scientists call for £68m a year to detect danger, and more for spacecraft to defend against it (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Lot's have people have tried to convince me over the years that there is some merit in NEO hand-wringing, all unsuccessfully. Bottom line is there is a minuscule chance we'll get clobbered and absolutely jack we can do about it. Worry about real problems because we are most unlikely to still be around next time a planet-stomper arrives. Even in the slightly more-likely event of an air-burst "city-killer" it's still 30:1 that it will be over ocean (70% of globe) or lightly-/un-inhabited regions (the great bulk of relatively dense human population occupies just 3% of the Earth's surface). A lot more lives can be saved spending the money on vaccination programs, water reticulation, sanitation, infrastructure development or virtually anything other the the care and feeding of a few the-sky-is-gonna-fall-someday paranoiacs.

Don't worry fellas, we found footage of the planetary defense squad:

Another excuse for the 'missing' catastrophic warming? Melting ice may slow global warming - Scientists discover that minerals found in collapsing ice sheets could feed plankton and cut C02 emissions

Collapsing antarctic ice sheets, which have become potent symbols of global warming, may actually turn out to help in the battle against climate change and soaring carbon emissions.

Professor Rob Raiswell, a geologist at the University of Leeds, says that as the sheets break off the ice covering the continent, floating icebergs are produced that gouge minerals from the bedrock as they make their way to the sea. Raiswell believes that the accumulated frozen mud could breathe life into the icy waters around Antarctica, triggering a large, natural removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise. Raiswell says: ' It won't solve the problem, but it might buy us some time.' (The Observer)

When will these guys admit there is no physically plausible enhanced greenhouse risk?

Just for laughs: Arctic will have first ice-free summer in 2015: Researcher - WINNIPEG - The ice that has covered the Arctic basin for a million years will be gone in little more than six years because of global warming, a University of Manitoba geoscientist said.

And David Barber said that once the sea ice is gone, more humans will be attracted to the Arctic, bringing with them even more ill effects.

“We’ll always have ice in the winter time in the Arctic, but it will always be first-year ice,” Barber said on Friday.

He said he estimates the Arctic sea should see its first ice-free summer around 2015. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Satellite derived sea level updated- short term trend has been shrinking since 2005 - We’ve been waiting for the UC web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story. (Watts Up With That?)

Cold is the new warm - When is a short term trend not a short term trend? When it’s an upward anomaly.

James Randerson in the Guardian tells us that,

This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07.

But just when you thought it was safe to rush out to buy a guilt-free 4×4… <scary music> (Climate Resistance)

Romm’s Fairy Tales - Where Cold is Warm - In another fable on Climate Progress, chief alarmist blogger Joseph Romm claims “The climate story of the decade is that the 2000s are on track to be nearly 0.2C warmer than the 1990s. And that temperature jump is especially worrisome since the 1990s were only 0.14C warmer than the 1980s (see datasets here). Global warming is accelerating, as predicted.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course he chooses to use the bogus GHCN/ GISS global data which is contaminated from many factors (see this EPA comment on the data issues with this data set). The issues include global station dropout (6000 to under 2000 with just over 1000 used last month). Most of the dropout occurred after 1990 and most stations that dropped out were rural. There was a tenfold increase in missing monthly data after 1990, requriing infilling of missing month using surrounding months or nearest urban stations. Both these lead to warm biases. There was a change of instrumentation that Karl of NCDC showed led to a warm bias.

After Roger Pielke Sr and others did a survey of stations in eastern Colorado and found the vast majority did not meet government standards including the climate stations, Anthony Watts started a volunteer effort to survey US climate stations in the 1221 USHCN network using the governments own criteria on About halfway through that assessment, he has found only 4% have met standards and 69% were poor or very poorly sited. All of these factors introduce a warm bias. (Joseph D’Aleo, AMS Fellow, CCM)

Why sequester CO2 gas, which is good for agriculture, reforestation - Why are we going to spend trillions of dollars sequestering CO2 to mitigate global atmospheric warming, while our empirically-tested temperature models (e.g., see “Greenhouse Gases and Greenhouse Effect”, published in the last issue of Environmental Geology, or “Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission”, published this year in Energy Sources Journal) shows that increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere causes cooling rather than warming?

In the dense earth’s troposphere, the heat from the Earth’s surface is mostly transferred by convection, approximately 67%. Radiation accounts for approximately 8%. Why is this important fact ignored by most scientists? (George Chilingar, CFP)

Oh dear... Murray Darling chief says river will never be same - PARTS of the River Murray's ecology will be lost or changed forever by the drought and global warming, the head of the new Murray Darling Basin Authority says.

In his first interview with The Advertiser since being appointed chairman and chief executive of the soon-to-be-operational Murray Darling Basin Authority, Rob Freeman said the body would achieve a world first when it established a single plan for a river system covering both environmental and economic sustainability. (Adelaide Advertiser)

... The Murray is a permanent river because it is constrained by weirs and locks and boosted with diverted waters from the Snowy Mountains Scheme, prior to which it was a seasonal string of billabongs which flooded into an occasional river. If drought and gorebull warming dried the big creek it would then be returning to its natural, pre-European settlement state. For the head of the river management authority to make such achingly stupid statements is truly frightening.

Bill Carmichael: Cold reality of fuel bill rises - THE Lord must have a wickedly mischievous sense of humour – because every time the great and good convene to discuss global warming, He sends a splendid joke in the form of freezing cold weather.

This phenomenon happens so frequently in the United States that it has its own name – the Gore Effect, named after the presidential sore loser and high priest of the global warming cult, Al Gore.

Whenever Saint Al arrives in his private jet to lecture lesser mortals about the evils of flying, you can guarantee that temperatures will plummet to sub-Siberian levels.

He is a walking one-man cold front.

But, weirdly, the same thing is now happening on this side of the Atlantic, too. (Yorkshire Post)

Poland and Germany clash over CO2 emissions permits - Germany sparked a row with Poland yesterday after demanding free pollution permits for its coal-fired power stations in a dispute that threatens to scupper agreement next week on ambitious plans to cut back European carbon dioxide emissions.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France will meet Donald Tusk, Polish prime minister, and eight other east European leaders in Gdansk, Poland today to try to overcome their resistance to the emissions-reducing package ahead of the European Union summit on Thursday.

But Polish officials said that Warsaw would vigorously oppose any German demands that its energy intensive industries receive free CO 2 emission permits rather than pay for them. (Financial Times)

No deal amid EU climate deadlock - France's Nicolas Sarkozy, the current EU president, has failed to break a deadlock with Eastern member states over an ambitious climate change deal.

Mr Sarkozy said there had been progress but that the end had not yet been reached ahead of an upcoming EU summit.

Countries including Poland and the Czech Republic oppose deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, saying they unfairly penalise their need for coal.

Polish PM Donald Tusk said a compromise would need a lot more hard work. (BBC News)

UN Panel Says Global Financial Crisis May Curb CO2 Emissions - Delegates at a United Nations meeting to discuss the world’s climate said Thursday that the global financial crisis will likely provide a reprieve from the spike in recent years of greenhouse gas emissions. They also warned that nations will struggle to adopt long-term shifts to more environment-friendly lifestyles. (redOrbit)

Hot air not so valuable? Go figure... EU CO2 To Drop 10 pct Below 2007 Levels: Deutsche - LONDON - European Union industrial emissions could fall by 10 percent below 2007 levels next year, Deutsche Bank said on Thursday, unnerving traders on the possibility of another price collapse in carbon permits.

The German bank cut its previous forecasts, saying lower productivity from companies participating in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) coupled with corporate efforts to meet EU renewable energy targets could lead to a surplus in emissions permits over the next three years.

This will depress prices for permits (EUAs) traded in the scheme's second phase (2008-12), possibly forcing a retest of the all-time low of 11.80 euros a tonne, the bank said, prompting trader worries over a possible repeat of the scheme's first phase when EUA prices fell to zero. (Reuters)

Chemicals boss warns of exodus - Prime minister is urged to change EU climate change rules to prevent mass exit

JIM RATCLIFFE, the reclusive billionaire behind Ineos, Britain’s largest private company, has warned Gordon Brown that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost if the prime minister commits Britain to tougher EU curbs on carbon emissions.

Ratcliffe issued the warning in a letter last week that was also signed by Paul Thompson, chief executive of GrowHow, the UK’s last remaining fertiliser manufacturer, and Steve Elliott, head of the Chemical Industries Association.

It is part of a feverish, last-ditch effort by the chemicals industry and other big energy users to force changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week in Brussels, where they are expected to sign off on a bloc-wide climate-change package. (Sunday Times)

Director of Harvard Environmental Economics Program assails AB 32 plan - I finally got around to reading all 147 pages of the peer review of the ARB's scoping plan for implementing AB 32 and other climate change measures. All I can say is I never have to write a critical word of my own again about Arnold's approach to global warming and his claims it will be an economic bonanza. All I have to do is quote the experts. Consider this impassioned broadside from Robert Stavins, the director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, who all but accuses CARB of fraud and suggests the agency will set back the cause of responsibly fighting global warming: (Union-Tribune)

Horse spit! Climate change demands cool heads and compromise - THE UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, focuses attention on the importance and difficulty of achieving international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

No country acting alone - not even the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, the US and China - can cause the risks of dangerous climate change to fall substantially by its actions alone. A co-operative effort involving all substantial economies is required. (Ross Garnaut, The Australian)

Even if all human emissions stop today there will be no measurable change in global mean temperature.

Seeking snout-space at the government trough: Northrop Urges Obama: Boost Climate-Change Tech - WASHINGTON - Northrop Grumman Corp, a top Pentagon supplier, urged President-elect Barack Obama on Friday to lead a drive harnessing technology, much of it developed for national defense, to cope with global climate change. (Reuters)

EU Delays Decision On Forest Offsets - POZNAN - The European Union has delayed a decision on whether to allow EU companies to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in tropical forest conservation, EU officials said on Friday.

The EU would publish detailed proposals in January on how to finance ways to slow deforestation in tropical countries, EU executive Commission official Juergen Lefevere said on the sidelines of U.N.-led climate talks in Poland. (Reuters)

Euro Parliament Warns On Carbon Offsets - BRUSSELS - European nations must scale back their hopes of reaching carbon reduction goals cheaply by paying for easy cuts in the developing world, a leading negotiator in EU climate talks said on Friday.

The global carbon market works by putting a cap on greenhouse gases in rich countries. They can exceed these targets, but only if they pay for corresponding emissions cuts -- known as offsets -- in the developing world.

"It's a dangerous illusion that our emissions reductions can be mainly based on CDMs (offsets) while we continue with business as usual here," said Finland's Satu Hassi, a leading European Parliament negotiator in talks with member states. (Reuters)

Maneuvering for your tax dollars: Business leaders urge climate action - THE business leaders of 140 global companies are calling for immediate deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as UN talks on climate change enter their second week.

They have rejected arguments the global economic downturn is reason to tread softly, saying decisive action now will stimulate economic activity. (Australian Associated Press)

New Paper “Update On A Proposed Mechanism For The Regulation Of Minimum Mid-Tropospheric And Surface Temperatures In The Arctic and Antarctic” by Herman Et Al 2008 - We have a new paper that is “in press” for publication; Herman, B., M. Barlage, T.N. Chase, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2008: Update on a proposed mechanism for the regulation of minimum mid-tropospheric and surface temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., in press with the abstract: “This paper is an update from our earlier paper to include data through July 2008. In our earlier paper, which included data through 1998, a mechanism which generally limits Arctic minimum 500 mb temperatures to the -40C to -45C range was presented. The current paper is in agreement with those earlier findings and also shows some evidence of later autumn onset dates of the initial appearance of these temperatures, in agreement with the recent reduction of Arctic sea ice cover in the summer and fall. In the southern hemisphere, little change can be seen for the seasonal onset and end of the temperatures reaching -40°C area, while the appearance of temperatures reaching -44°C area seems to show a later onset date beginning about 1998, but this time period is too small to define a clear trend. The limiting of the minimum of these midtropospheric temperatures has important implications for minimum surface temperatures that can occur over land during the Arctic winter.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

November 2008 Global Temperature Update: +0.25 deg. C above normal. (Roy Spencer)

Enviro-quacks? Sheesh! Climate change a worry for doctors - ALTHOUGH the public accepts that climate change is a major issue that must be addressed in the interest of the world's environment and future economy, many health professionals have asked: what has climate change to do with health? Hopefully this question was put to rest when the World Health Organisation selected "protecting health from climate change" as the theme for World Health Day last April 7. WHO recognises that climate change is posing an ever-growing threat to global public health and that "wherever you live, climate change threatens your health". (David Shearman and Michael Kidd, The Australian)

You'd think they'd know that net excess deaths are associated with cold conditions both regionally and globally and thus doctors interested in saving/prolonging lives should be all for gorebull warming.

Twaddle: Maria Neira: If we improve our health care, we can beat climate change - The human cost of climate change may be measured in the toll imposed by droughts, floods and heat-waves. The World Health Organization (WHO) and climate change experts have warned of the adverse effects global warming has on air quality, food production, water availability and the distribution of infectious diseases. Yet policy-makers, and even the health community, have given insufficient attention and resources to using health-related arguments to enhance public understanding of the need for stronger climate-change control measures.

This is not sufficiently forward thinking. We know that current climate-related threats to human health can be avoided or controlled by relatively routine and inexpensive public health measures. Furthermore, awareness of the significant health benefits and consequent cost savings of well-conceived climate control policies can be an effective driving force for global action. (The Independent)

Climate changes. Either we adapt to it or we don't but there is no such thing as an effective or well-conceived climate control policy.

<chuckle> The Global Warming Deniers Are Restless - Just when you thought it was safe to acknowledge the unequivocal reality of global warming…..

Just when you thought the U.S. government was ready to admit that it has a serious emissions problem, and do something about it….

Just when you thought the skeptic party was over…

No way: There has been a strong run of nonsense from global warming "skeptics" and deniers lately. They are not ashamed, and they are not changing their tune. In fact, it sounds like they are gearing up for the next battle.

The George C. Marshall Institute is planning an event with Roy Spencer, of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, postulating that global warming isn't human caused after all--it's the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation." Never mind the IPCC, which is beyond confident at this point that what we're seeing has human, and not natural causes. (Sheril Kirshenbaum, Smog Inc)

If the smog mob actually believe any of the crap they distribute they are in for a really hard time as reality inevitably intrudes. Kinda feel sorry for them really.

Upsetting the hysterics: New US military report on global warming raises worry - WASHINGTON - A new US military report has come under scrutiny for asserting that the scientific data on what is causing global warming is "contradictory" - a position one leading specialist said indicates the government still hasn't fully embraced the urgency of climate change.

The long-range planning document, published Thursday by the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for developing blueprints for future military strategy, is intended to provide a "basis for thinking about the world a quarter of a century from now."

But a section of the 56-page report on climate change and natural disasters prompted criticism yesterday from some leading specialists who said that spreading the inaccurate perception that the causes of climate change remain an open question could result in government agencies not taking the issue seriously enough. (Boston Globe)

That climate is but poorly understood is hardly an inaccurate perception -- we don't know near enough to make predictions years in advance and may never do so. Some good comments here, too.

Skepticism on climate change - THE MAIL brings an invitation to register for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, which convenes on March 8 in New York City. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank, the conference will host an international lineup of climate scientists and researchers who will focus on four broad areas: climatology, paleoclimatology, the impact of climate change, and climate-change politics and economics.

But if last year's gathering is any indication, the conference is likely to cover the climate-change waterfront. There were dozens of presentations in 2008, including: "Strengths and Weaknesses of Climate Models," "Ecological and Demographic Perspectives on the Status of Polar Bears," and "The Overstated Role of Carbon Dioxide on Climate Change."

Just another forum, then, sounding the usual alarums on the looming threat from global warming?

Actually, no. The scientists and scholars Heartland is assembling are not members of the gloom-and-doom chorus. They dispute the frantic claims that global warming is an onrushing catastrophe; many are skeptical of the notion that human activity has a significant effect on the planet's climate, or that such an effect can be reliably measured or predicted. Some point out that global temperatures peaked in 1998 and have been falling since then. Indeed, several argue that a period of global cooling is on the way. Nearly all would argue that climate is always changing, and that no one really knows whether current computer models can reliably account for the myriad of factors that cause that natural variability.

On this they would all agree: Science is not settled by majority vote, especially in a field as young as climate science. (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

Waiting on a better deal: Russia to keep hold of ‘hot air’ - Russia has confirmed that it will not sell its massive surplus of “hot air” carbon allowances onto the world carbon market up to 2012, but has not ruled out doing so in later years.

Like other former Soviet bloc nations, Russia was handed a paper windfall under the Kyoto Protocol when the UN set it a greenhouse emissions reduction target far above its current emissions levels. Kyoto targets are set against a base year of 1990, but eastern European nations had already seen their emissions plummet soon after 1990 as old industry collapsed along following the demise of the Soviet Union.

There has long been speculation over how much of its emissions surplus Russia would sell, and the government has been under international pressure not to flood the market and undermine real emission-cutting actions in other countries. A bloc of African nations called for a commitment from developed nations at the current UN climate meeting in Poland to refrain from using these surplus allowances. They are known as AAUs and are issued by the UN to governments.

But Victor Blinov, the deputy head of Russia’s delegation at the conference, has stated in an interview with Bloomberg that all the AAUs would be banked for possible future use in the next climate agreement due to take effect from 2013. (Carbon Positive)

Rasmussen Offers “Straight Talk About Energy Policy” - Kimball Rasmussen, president and CEO of Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Utah G&T, gave a presentation this week to CFC employees at their Herndon, Va., headquarters based on his recent position paper, “A Rational Look at Climate Change Concerns and the Implications for U.S. Power Consumers.” The 50-page white paper does a skillful job of discussing NRECA’s “Our Energy/Our Future” campaign and explaining the complex science—and its inconsistencies and shortcomings—used to calculate the effects of global warming, referencing the recognized authority on global warming science, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Kimball Rasmussen, Solutions )

There is no case for Heathrow's third runway - The decision last week by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to delay a ruling on Heathrow's third runway until early in 2009 has been cited as evidence of a possible government retreat from the project. That interpretation is premature. The plan to expand Heathrow has powerful backers, from the Prime Minister to British Airways, and from the CBI to major unions. All are likely to pursue its implementation with vigour.

At the same time, the cabinet will have noticed opposition to the runway has broadened. It no longer emanates exclusively from the standard alliance of eco-campaigners and local objectors that gathers when major construction programmes are mooted. Anti-runway adherents today include many backbench Labour MPs and ministers, including Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, and the Conservative party.

All have made it clear they believe that a third Heathrow runway and the resulting expansion of Britain's aviation industry do not represent sensible use of resources. Mr Hoon should spend his festive season in careful contemplation of these views. (The Observer)

And he should rapidly conclude these antidevelopment, antimodern nitwits can go sit on a mountain of lima beans but that they have neither justification nor right to interfere in the lives of real people.

“Energy Security for Australia – find more oil, waste it less”. - A statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on Australian governments to focus more on energy security, particularly domestic oil exploration, production and refining capacity.

Responding to a Queensland government paper entitled “Towards Oil Resilience”, Viv Forbes, Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, said that far too much exploration land was locked up in No-Go areas such as marine parks, national parks, world heritage areas, aboriginal reserves and other restricted areas.

“Oil tankers pose far more threat to the coastline and the Great Barrier Reef than would a few oil production platforms and far less eyesore and hazard than hundreds of wind towers.

“A few inconspicuous oil wells would also disfigure the outback environment far less than thousands of solar panels. And they do less environmental damage than clearing or cultivating vast tracts of land to convert food into ethanol.

“Australia is a huge island in a remote corner of the world. Everything we eat, export or import relies on ships, planes, tractors, trucks and trains. These all run on hydro-carbon fuels.

“Yet every Ministerial statement on energy prattles on endlessly about wind, solar and geothermal energy. For the foreseeable future, our mobile machinery will run on oil, gas, or electricity from coal.” (Carbon Sense Coalition)

Wind power targets unrealistic, say critics - Claims in a Government-commissioned report that wind power can supply a third of Britain's electricity have been condemned as wildly optimistic by leading experts. (Daily Telegraph)

Shell to quit wind projects - ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has become the second big energy company to abandon the UK wind-energy sector in the last month.

Shell, Danish firm Dong Energy and Scottish Power have cancelled the £800m Cirrus Array project off the northwest coast after five years and millions of pounds in investment.

The consortium blamed Ministry of Defence concerns over radar interference from turbines.

Less than a month ago, Shell denied a Sunday Times report that it had exited the project. However, on Friday the company confirmed that it had no plans for further investment in the UK wind sector. (Sunday Times)

US Ethanol Profits Down As Oil Price Plummets - NEW YORK - Weekly profit margins for U.S. ethanol distillers fell a few cents a gallon to even grimmer levels as gasoline prices plummeted, analysts said.

"It's all a function of demand. Global demand for oil and gasoline is down and that has put downward pressure on ethanol," Cory Garcia, a senior researcher at Raymond James & Associates in Houston. said. (Reuters)

Got it in one - "worthless output": Botched biofuel legislation stalls climate change initiative - The government has blown a hole in its climate change plans by misdrafting a key piece of legislation covering the introduction of "green" fuel for motorists. The Department for Transport admitted last night that there was an "error" in the law governing the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) and it was going to have to put it right.

The RTFO was introduced this year as a way of ensuring that up to 2.5% of all petrol and a similar amount of diesel poured into cars and trucks came from low-carbon fuels. It was linked to the Hydrocarbon Oil Duty Act which missed out a vital reference to bioblends, which are part fossil fuel and part biofuel.

The error means that oil companies and supermarkets will be able to get away with meeting half these combined targets this year, which could have an impact on 2009, according to the Renewable Fuels Agency, responsible for overseeing the sector.

Biofuels manufacturers said they feared a "catastrophe" if forecourt suppliers cut back on their commitments and clean-fuel refiners are left with worthless output. (The Guardian)

Preventive health and wellness information brought to you by… - How can you recognize sound health information on the internet from quackery? In the most surreal case of cognitive disconnect, the federal agency in charge of regulating fraudulent health claims on the internet, and promoting and protecting public health, has entered a partnership that will lead consumers to a website with some of the very same spurious health claims it is busily trying to shut down… (Junkfood Science)

Can most online health information be trusted? - In our connected society, it’s easy to overestimate people’s internet savviness. With more than 1.1 billion health websites on the worldwide web, it’s also easy to believe good information is abundant and simple to find. Recent studies have revealed how false those beliefs are and how vulnerable most people are, even healthcare professionals. (Junkfood Science)

Bring back DDT: Bed bug explosion makes city life suck - BLAME everything from council clean-up scabs to dirt cheap airfares, Sydney's bed bug problem has exploded with a 4500 per cent increase in treatments for the tiny pests.

It has become so bad Westmead Hospital will, for the first time, run courses on how to detect and control the blood suckers next year.

Summer's warmth kicks the creatures into active mode and yesterday Australia's top bed bug expert, Westmead Hospital entomologist Stephen Doggett, said: "In the past few weeks I've had a lot of calls and I expect an explosion of calls now it's getting warmer. Everywhere from five-star hotels to family homes can be infested. Between 2000 and 2006 there was a 4500 per cent increase in calls."

Mr Doggett said the bugs were now resistant to common insecticides after being wiped out in Australia during the 1950s with the aid of the now banned chemical DDT. (Daily Telegraph)

Eek! A chemical! Consumer commission sued over chemicals in toys - NEW YORK - Two public advocacy groups sued the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday, saying the commission is acting unlawfully by not planning to fully implement a new ban on toys containing toxic chemicals.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says that, contrary to a new ban that goes into effect February 10, 2009, the CPSC has decided to allow chemical-laden toys and child-care products manufactured before that date to be sold at stores.

The ban involves products containing types of phthalates, plastic-softening chemicals linked by some medical research to health problems including abnormal reproductive development in children. The CPSC is charged with implementing the new ban. (Reuters)

Boy these phthalate cranks are a pain in the butt, aren't they?

Another costly and completely pointless recall: Irish pork cancer scare forces British supermarkets to pull meat from shelves - Supermarkets across England, Scotland and Wales have withdrawn Irish pork from sale after cancer-causing dioxins were found in pork products in Ireland.

The warning was flashed to the UK after it was confirmed the poisons had been found in bacon and ham produced in the Irish Republic.

All Irish pork products were recalled from stores in Ireland last night and shelves were cleared after the discovery of the toxins in slaughtered pigs.

The Food Standards Agency has advised consumers not to eat pork or pork products, such as sausages, bacon, salami and ham, which are labeled as being from the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland.

It said it was making the precautionary recommendation while it continued to investigate whether any contaminated pork products had entered the UK market. (Daily Mail)

No one is going to be able to eat enough bacon to get chloracne from this and there is no other known human effect from dioxin exposure.

More bent gender 'research': It's official: Men really are the weaker sex - Evolution is being distorted by pollution, which damages genitals and the ability to father offspring, says new study. Geoffrey Lean reports

The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals.

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

Backed by some of the world's leading scientists, who say that it "waves a red flag" for humanity and shows that evolution itself is being disrupted, the report comes out at a particularly sensitive time for ministers. On Wednesday, Britain will lead opposition to proposed new European controls on pesticides, many of which have been found to have "gender-bending" effects. (The Independent)

Wonder if they've ever considered people's ingestion of the substances mentioned in this next item?

Prohibition's Second Act - Last week saw the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. In Washington, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) -- a group of former cops and drug-war veterans who have soured on America's war on drugs -- gathered to celebrate the anniversary, and to argue for an end to America's current prohibition on marijuana and more serious drugs.

Essentially, they believe that the war on drugs creates criminals. Richard Van Wickler, a one-time New Hampshire county corrections superintendent, noted during a LEAP conference call last week that despite America's drug laws, 114 million Americans (out of more than 300 million) have used illegal drugs, 35 million in the last year. The law is not much of a deterrent. (Debra J. Saunders, Rasmussen Reports)

This nonsense again: Managing our investment in nature - While economists are developing solutions to the economic crisis, they are not considering investment, at least so far, in the values of nature. Nature's provision of clean water, pollination, food and fiber are discounted as free services. Even in the best of times, investments in nature conservation and restoration get low priority. (Julia Marton-Lefèvre and Nikita Lopoukhine, IHT)

Utter tripe that it is. The imaginary value of undeveloped areas is exactly that, imaginary. The means of making such areas valuable as are is by generating sufficient societal surplus (wealth) that people can and do value mere aesthetics and ornamental critters rather than viewing their surrounds in terms of food, fuel and shelter. Wealth generation leads to preservation but artificially claiming value where there is none leads to lack of affordability and destruction through poaching, illicit harvest or whatever. Imposed "conservation" does not and can not work.

Increased Oversight Of GMO Crops Needed: Government - WASHINGTON - More oversight and coordination is needed among federal agencies to prevent unapproved releases of genetically modified crops into the environment and food and feed supply, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress said on Friday. (Reuters)

In truth there's probably too much unnecessary oversight already, a regulatory burden encouraged by the largest biotech firms to inhibit startups and competition.

China Delays Finishing Mammoth Water Project: Report - BEIJING - China has postponed completing a huge water transfer project to quench its national capital's thirst, citing stubborn pollution worries for pushing the target date back four years to 2014, official media said on Saturday.

The South-North Water Diversion scheme will channel water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries to ease shortages across northern China, where population growth and frantic industrialization have drained dams and underground reserves.

The main "central route" stretching 1,267 kms (787 miles) from the Danjiangkou Dam in central Hubei province to Beijing was due to be finished in 2010. (Reuters)

December 5, 2008

Green-on-Green Violence - The activist group Environmental Defense got a taste of what it used to dish out this week when its Washington, D.C., offices were invaded by another green group, the Global Justice Ecology Project. (Steven Milloy,

Does Obama Need Congress To Act On Climate Change? - What happens if Congress can't—or won't—pass a climate bill in the next two years? Does that mean Obama will just have to abandon his promise to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions? Well, no, not necessarily. As we've discussed before, and as Marc Ambinder noted yesterday, thanks to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA technically has the option of using the existing Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 from power plants and large industrial facilities. Here's Ambinder's take: (New Republic)

The only real question is why would anyone do so by any means?

Cap, trade and deal - Barack Obama’s climate-change proposals may have widespread support now, but how long can it last? (Adam Chamberlain and John Vellone, Financial Post)

Texas Worries About a Carbon Cap - Texas leads the nation in wind energy, but it is also is the largest producer and consumer of energy — the latter largely due both to its size and to the presence of big industries like oil, gas and chemicals.

So when it comes to potential greenhouse gas regulation – something that President-elect Barack Obama says he will support — there are vast rifts of opinion. (New York Times)

Some Carbon Candor - A climate guru rebukes his mates on cap and trade.

Liberal interest groups, think tanks, lobbyists, bloggers and other nuisances are inundating the incoming Obama Administration with advice, but James Hansen recently managed to say something interesting. Namely, the famous NASA scientist had the nerve to expose some of the global-warming fantasies widespread among children and politicians.

No, the spiritual leader of the climate-change movement hasn't recanted. Global warming threatens "not simply the Earth, but the fate of all its species, including humanity," he writes in his manifesto, which is tame by Mr. Hansen's normal rhetorical standards. (He likes to compare carbon to the Holocaust: "those coal trains will be death trains -- no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria.")

But Mr. Hansen also had the honesty to follow his convictions to their logical conclusion, while reproaching his followers -- President-elect Obama among them -- for not doing the same. To wit, Mr. Hansen endorses a straight carbon tax as the only "honest, clear and effective" way to reduce emissions, with the revenues rebated in their entirety to consumers on a per-capita basis. "Not one dime should go to Washington for politicians to pick winners," he writes. (Wall Street Journal)

Europe cool toward faster action on climate change - Poznan, Poland - The European Union reacted coolly Wednesday to calls by poor and island nations to take bolder action against global warming, saying such an effort may be "very costly." The conflict is one of many playing out at this year's main UN climate conference, where some 190 countries are trying to pave the way for a global deal next year to curb emissions of so-called greenhouse gases. (DPA)

Kevin Rudd cools on carbon targets - FEDERAL cabinet is finalising a cautious emissions trading scheme offering higher compensation to big trade-exposed polluters and a "soft" start in pollution-reduction targets.

With concern growing in the Rudd cabinet about the emissions trading scheme's potential to exacerbate already rising unemployment, particularly in crucial marginal regional seats, the target range for the regime to be released on Monday week is widely expected to be between 5 per cent and 15 per cent by 2020. But the emissions trading white paper will tie Australian emissions reduction targets to the ambition of next year's Copenhagen agreement on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

After months of furious lobbying from key industries, including LNG, cement and steel, the Government will offer significant changes to its original formula offering wider compensation to trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries to ameliorate corporate concern about jobs and investment moving offshore.

Senior sources also say the Government's strategy is to negotiate the scheme through the Senate next year with the Coalition, rather than the Greens and independents, meaning its final impact is likely to be even softer when an amended version finally starts in 2010. (The Australian) | Rudd dobbed himself into dilemma (Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald)

Don't 'soften' it -- scrap the stupid idea altogether!

Under the Weather: Internal Report Says U.N. Climate Agency Rife With Bad Practices - As more than 10,000 delegates and observers gather in Poznan, Poland, to discuss the next phase in the battle against "climate change," a U.N. agency at the center of that hoopla badly needs to do some in-house weather-proofing.

The Poznan conference, seen as a major step toward a negotiated successor to the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gases, is taking place until Dec. 12 under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a subsidiary of the World Meteorological Organization, a global association of scientific weather forecasters.

But the WMO, the $80 million U.N. front-line agency in the climate change struggle, and the source for much of the world's information in the global atmosphere and water supply, has serious management problems of its own, despite its rapidly expanding global ambitions.

The international agency has been sharply criticized by a U.N. inspection unit in a confidential report obtained by FOX News, for, among other things, haphazard budget practices, deeply flawed organizational procedures, and no effective oversight by the 188 nations that formally make up its membership and dole out its funds. (George Russell,

Time for the BBC to Chill Out - This morning I awoke to a truly hilarious (if inadvertent) moment on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme [‘Listen Again’ from 07.17 am onwards]. There was good old Roger Harrabin sounding like some doleful Eeyore braying on about how terrible it was that Italy, Poland, France, and all the rest were likely to scupper the EU’s efforts to save us all from “dangerous climate change”, only to be followed by an item from a poor soul who was stuck up North somewhere because of heavy and unseasonal snow. The cognitive dissonance was deafening, yet none of the presenters flinched, nor had the wit to make a comment, such is the BBC’s increasing deafness on the subject of climate change. (The Clamour Of The Times)

Does the Senate have to ratify these? Statement by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. at the EcoPartnerships Signing During the U.S. – China Strategic Economic Dialogue - Beijing – Today we mark the beginning of what I believe will be a very powerful model for identifying, developing and implementing energy and environmental innovations that will benefit both the American and Chinese people.

We are here to witness the signing of 7 EcoPartnerships – voluntary, cooperative partnerships between U.S. and Chinese entities including local, state or provincial government-to-government partnerships, and partnerships among businesses, universities and non-profits. By partnering at the sub-national level, ideas can be tested in targeted areas before broad introduction as a new model for sustainable growth, based on energy and environmental innovations. (Treasury Press Release)

The Shearing of the Sheep: The Grotesque UN Climate Conference in Poznan Dec. 1-12, 2008 - While large parts of Northern Europe are covered by massive snow – beginning at an unusually early time already in October – a tragi-comic event is taking place in Poland. (Euro-Med)

Next year will be critical year for action on climate change, UN officials say - 4 December 2008 – With negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, expected to wrap up in December 2009, next year will be the year of climate change, United Nations officials said today in New York. (UN News)

Climate Change Reduction or ‘Green Global Welfare’? - The idea seems simple enough. The rich world would pay the poor world to save a type of natural commodity from which we all benefit – trees.

Forests and jungles absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, which is stored in trees. Cutting trees down releases CO2 and triggers the emission of additional greenhouse gases from denuded soils. Forest loss and land degradation could be responsible for 20 percent of the planet-warming gases attributable to human activities, some experts suggest.

That has made the question of what to do about forests central to talks underway this week in Poznan, Poland, that aim to shape a new global agreement to fight global warming. Scientists and environmentalists want mechanisms to reward the developing world for saving its forests incorporated into any such treaty. (New York Times)

It's always about the money: Rich, Poor In Dispute Over Rainforest Cash - POZNAN - Brazil ruled out on Thursday letting rich countries offset their greenhouse gas emissions by helping to save the Amazon rain forest, an idea under active discussion by the European Union.

Indigenous peoples attending United Nations-led climate talks in Poznan protested that they had no chance of seeing such carbon cash, and appealed instead for money first to root out corruption and cement their land rights. (Reuters)

Are There Long-Term Trends in The Start Of Freeze-Up And Melt Of Arctic Sea Ice? - The use of Arctic sea ice coverage as a climate metric has received wide science and media coverage. This issue is motivated by the recent large reduction in late summer areal coverage (e.g. see the data on the excellent website The Cryosphere Today).

There is another sea ice metric to look at, however, and that is the date of the year of the minimum and maximum sea ice coverage. With the addition of well-mixed greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we should expect the start of the freeze-up in the late summer/early fall to be later and the start of the melt in the late winter/early spring to be earlier. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Point of No Return for the Arctic Climate? - Temperatures in the Arctic are rising much faster than elsewhere in the world. Researchers now say it may be the result of a dramatic shift in global climate patterns. If they are right, ice at the North Pole may soon be a thing of the past. (Der Spiegel)

Cave's climate clues show ancient empires declined during dry spell -- The decline of the Roman and Byzantine empires in the Eastern Mediterranean more than 1,400 years ago may have been driven by unfavorable climate changes.

Based on chemical signatures in a piece of calcite from a cave near Jerusalem, a team of American and Israeli geologists pieced together a detailed record of the area's climate from roughly 200 B.C. to 1100 A.D. Their analysis, to be reported in an upcoming issue of the journal Quaternary Research, reveals increasingly dry weather from 100 A.D. to 700 A.D. that coincided with the fall of both Roman and Byzantine rule in the region. (

Obama's Environmental Test - Two down, one to go.

You might think now that Barack Obama has staffed his economic and security teams, the hard choices are over. But he has one more doozy of a decision to make. And the worry is that his picks for that final, crucial team -- those overseeing energy and environmental policy -- will undo any smart moves the president-elect has made so far.

It isn't yet clear Team Obama understands that it doesn't have the luxury of making a mistake here. Energy is the engine of, and inextricably linked to, the American economy. Environmental policies and regulations that punish energy markets will only deliver a further economic hit.

In the process, this will damage Mr. Obama's own goals. He has picked an economic team that has already successfully discouraged him from proceeding immediately with any tax hikes. Good. But an ill-crafted cap-and-trade program that dramatically escalates energy costs is the same as a giant tax hike. Mr. Obama is promising to save or create 2.5 million jobs. Fabulous. But drowning industries in exorbitant energy prices will only encourage further overseas flight. If the president-elect thinks Detroit is a problem, just wait for the impact an upward march in electricity prices would have on, say, the manufacturing South. (Wall Street Journal)

Global Warming Update: CNN Drops Science Unit and Miles O'Brien - Climate alarmists won't have Miles O'Brien to spread global warming hysteria on CNN anymore as the network has decided to eliminate its science and technology unit.

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday, this "will result in the loss of seven jobs including veteran space correspondent Miles O’Brien." (NewsBusters)

Barack's Windfall Reversal - Here comes the 'change' part of his Administration.

One of Barack Obama's emerging political qualities is how casually he has been dumping the ballast of his campaign promises. The latest lousy policy to go over the side is a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies. (Wall Street Journal)

Oil Change - In the face of plummeting oil prices, President-elect Obama abandons resurrecting the windfall profits tax on oil companies. It was a bad idea at any price. Now, will he also face reality and let them drill? (IBD)

Energy Goals a Moving Target for States - In hopes of slowing global warming and creating “green jobs,” Congress and the incoming administration may soon impose a mandate that the nation get 10 or 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within a few years.

Yet the experience of states that have adopted similar goals suggests that passing that requirement could be a lot easier than achieving it. The record so far is decidedly mixed: some states appear to be on track to meet energy targets, but others have fallen behind on the aggressive goals they set several years ago.

The state goals have contributed to rapid growth of wind turbines and solar power stations in some areas, notably the West, but that growth has come on a minuscule base. Nationwide, the hard numbers provide a sobering counterpoint to the green-energy enthusiasm sweeping Washington. (New York Times)

Energy saboteurs and intimidators still busy: Bank cuts coal loans as Washington eases rules - SAN FRANCISCO - Bank of America Corp will sharply cut lending to coal mining companies that take the tops off mountains, following pressure from groups that call the practice an environmental hazard. (Reuters)

And allegedly profit-making enterprises are still yielding to extortion. Appeasement never works. This is just another way enviro cranks are inhibiting society's energy supplies.

Meanwhile: German Environment Minister Plans Talks Over Power Financing - BERLIN - German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has invited leading European banks to Berlin for a summit to discuss financing problems facing the green power industry, his ministry said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Ever thought pretend power has trouble attracting finance because it is worthless?

Yet another stupid capitulation: Malaysia Chides HSBC Move To Curb Palm Oil - KUALA LUMPUR - Banking giant HSBC's decision to curb lending to oil palm projects in Malaysia is misguided and will hurt the bank more than it will hurt Malaysia's palm industry, the country's commodities minister said.

HSBC, under pressure from environmental groups to brush up its green credentials, said on Tuesday it would cut ties with a third of forestry clients such as palm oil, soy and timber companies. (Reuters)

Russian gas supplies to EU could be cut in Ukraine row - Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine raising the prospect of a winter energy crisis in Western Europe. (Daily Telegraph)

Recycling shipped to China to be burnt as cheap fuel - Recycling is being shipped to China where it is being burnt as cheap fuel, according to a new report calling for a whole new approach to disposing of waste in the UK. (Daily Telegraph)

Biofuels No Threat To Africa Food Safety: Institute - VIENNA - Biofuel crops are not a threat to food security but a potential boon for Africa where some regions could be as successful as Asian palm oil giants, an industry expert said on Thursday.

But Werner Koerbitz, director of the Austrian Biofuels Institute, said the infrastructure and political will were desperately needed.

He said countries particularly along the west African coast, such as Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast showed great natural potential to become major biofuel producers.

"Those countries could be as rich as Malaysia," he said, referring to the world's second biggest palm-oil producer. (Reuters)

They already have resources and tradable commodities and yet they are impoverished nations -- due to civil strife and bad governance, lack of property rights and virtual absence of the rule of law. Diverting agriculture and effort to the production of feel-good fuels to absolve misguided European eco-consciences is plain stupid.

EU Ends Biofuel Battle To Get Green Energy Deal - BRUSSELS - The European Union agreed on Thursday a series of ways to promote green energy after resolving a long-running battle over biofuels.

But Italy would not drop its demand to review the legislation in 2014, preventing the European Union from signing off on a deal to get 20 percent of the bloc's energy from renewable sources by 2020. (Reuters)

Chocolate cake and an important message for bariatric surgery patients - The writers of House MD on Fox-TV did a public service last night. Unlike most television shows, House continues to punch through popular stereotypes about fat people and take on obesity sacred cows with that cutting, impudent honesty that only Dr. Gregory House can get away with. Last night’s drama, weaved a difficult story line with subplots of humor and sexual tension and even medical ethics. Simultaneously, it brought an important educational message to bariatric surgery patients and medical professionals that no other media has dared to touch.

Like all entertaining television, everything on House moves faster than life and teeters at the brink of reality. But while the diagnostic investigations are sensational, the underlying message last night was genuine. (Junkfood Science)

Apple or pear shape is not main culprit to heart woes -- it's liver fat - For years, pear-shaped people who carry weight in the thighs and backside have been told they are at lower risk for high blood pressure and heart disease than apple-shaped people who carry fat in the abdomen. But new findings from nutrition researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest body-shape comparisons don't completely explain risk.

In two studies, they report excess liver fat appears to be the real key to insulin resistance, cholesterol abnormalities and other problems that contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Having too much fat stored in the liver is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (Washington University School of Medicine)

Environmentalists Accuse Ankara of Early Start on Mega Dam - Turkey's Ilisu dam project in ancient Mesopotamia was already controversial due to the cultural sites it would flood. Now, though, environmentalists say construction has gone ahead in violation of conditions set by project-backers Germany, Austria and Switzerland. (Der Spiegel)

I wish my government could be accused of early starts on most anything but particularly dams.

Panel Seeks Changes in E.P.A. Reviews - The Environmental Protection Agency must revise its approach to assessing environmental health hazards and other risks, because current practices hinder useful and timely regulation, an expert panel of The National Research Council says. (New York Times)

Actually the department needs to realize it exists to benefit humans rather than the misanthropic crap it chooses to indulge. The path to the best possible environment is development and particularly wealth generation for only a society generating a surplus beyond the needs of all its citizens can indulge such pure luxury goods as aesthetics and protected playgrounds for critters providing neither food and/or fiber nor useful work function (transport, animal powered whatever...). Every impoverished society views their environs from the perspective of food, fuel and shelter, they have no choice.

Sadly the EPA, a nice if naive idea, is awash with natur über alles greenies going exactly the wrong way about trying to achieve their aim of "protecting" nature. There are some six billion people on this planet who will do whatever it takes to survive which is why we need to maximize wealth generation and productivity if we want to indulge such ornaments as wild spaces and wild critters. The real function of the EPA can only be achieved by facilitating human productivity and wealth generation and yet they persist in their wrongheaded obstructionism. Too stupid for words, isn't it?

New EU Recycling Laws Worry Manufacturers - BRUSSELS - Electronics manufacturers will have to collect and recycle nearly two thirds of the electrical goods they sell in the European Union, the EU's executive said on Wednesday.

The proposal angered producers, who said it bore little relation to the real world, where people often pass on old televisions and computers to friends, families, charities or schools, making them impossible to keep track of.

The EU's Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive seeks to minimize the incineration or dumping in land-fill sites of household appliances. (Reuters)

Why? As More Eat Meat, a Bid to Cut Emissions - STERKSEL, the Netherlands — The cows and pigs dotting these flat green plains in the southern Netherlands create a bucolic landscape. But looked at through the lens of greenhouse gas accounting, they are living smokestacks, spewing methane emissions into the air.

That is why a group of farmers-turned-environmentalists here at a smelly but impeccably clean research farm have a new take on making a silk purse from a sow’s ear: They cook manure from their 3,000 pigs to capture the methane trapped within it, and then use the gas to make electricity for the local power grid.

Rising in the fields of the environmentally conscious Netherlands, the Sterksel project is a rare example of fledgling efforts to mitigate the heavy emissions from livestock. But much more needs to be done, scientists say, as more and more people are eating more meat around the world. (New York Times)

Wild deer should be culled to protect wildlife, experts claim - A cull of wild deer is needed to to prevent the destruction of Britain's most protected woodland, experts have claimed. (Daily Telegraph)

Ghana's 'miracle': Logging underwater forests for exotic timber - Ghana, which is running short of forests to chop down, is about to turn to the dead trees underneath its Lake Volta as a new source of exotic timber, one of its top export earners. (AFP)

Neither miraculous nor new, just exploitation of an available resource not that it is economic to do so.

EU Approves Genetically Modified Soybean For Import - BRUSSELS - The European Union has authorized imports of a genetically modified (GM) soybean type for sale across its 27 national markets for the next 10 years, the European Commission said on Thursday.

Developed and marketed by Monsanto, the soybean is destined to be imported for use in food and animal feed, not for growing. It is a second-generation GM product known by its code number MON 89788 and commercially as Roundup RReady2Yield.

The soybean is designed to resist glyphosate Roundup Ready herbicides and produce increased yields for farmers. (Reuters)

December 4, 2008

They're certainly getting the hang of this game: Obama climate goals not enough - China, India - POZNAN, Poland — U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's goals for curbing greenhouse gases to 2020 are inadequate to fight global warming, Chinese and Indian delegates told Reuters at U.N. climate talks on Wednesday.

Developing nations welcomed Obama's plan for tougher goals than President George W. Bush but said Obama's target of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 was not enough to avoid dangerous global warming.

"It's more ambitious than President Bush but it is not enough to achieve the urgent, long-term goal of greenhouse gas reductions," Tsinghua University's He Jiankun, of the Chinese delegation, said on the sidelines of the Dec. 1-12 talks.

U.S. emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are running about 14 percent above 1990 levels and Bush's plans had foreseen emissions rising and only peaking in 2025. Obama also plans to cut emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

"It's not ambitious enough considering the Kyoto Protocol targets, but given the eight-year Bush administration it's progress," said Dinesh Patnaik, a director at the Indian Foreign Ministry. (Reuters)

Senate Democrats will pack plenty of muscle - WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats will be able to do plenty over the next two years -- despite falling just short of their goal of winning a majority big enough to end Republican procedural roadblocks.

Senate Democrats will have the muscle, with the help of a few moderate Republicans, to pass a crush of bills, including ones to stimulate the economy, ensure equal pay for women, ease global warming, lower prescription drug prices for the elderly and change course in the Iraq war. (Reuters)

The Cost Of Green - Stimulating the economy with massive new investments in "green" infrastructure seems to be a popular idea, and President-elect Obama has made it a centerpiece of his program. Will it work? We doubt it. (IBD)

Cap and burn Canada - North American cap-and-trade carbon controls, supported by all parties in Ottawa, could wreck Canada (Aldyen Donnelly, Financial Post)

GAO Unable to Verify Effectiveness of International Carbon Markets - WASHINGTON – The Government Accountability Office today released its report about the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and international carbon offset scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism. GAO found that the available information on the Emissions Trading Scheme could not substantiate either emissions reductions or clear economic benefits, and that negative economic effects could occur if the European Union further reduced emissions allowances. (Committee on Energy & Commerce)

Um, no: Professor sheds light for climate change sceptics - THE sun is a powerful player in the planet's climate as the energy it sends to Earth waxes and wanes. But the sun is not driving recent global warming as climate change sceptics claim.

That is the message from atmospheric scientist Marvin Geller of Stony Brook University in New York state, a keynote speaker at this week's Australian Institute of Physics national congress in Adelaide.

"Solar physicists and climate scientists agree that while the sun affects climate (they) cannot account for the last several decades' warming trend without including human influences," he said. (The Australian)

We don't understand it so it must be people :)

Seriously though, skeptics do not claim the sun drives recent warming -- since there hasn't been any.

Moreover, carbon dioxide skeptics tend to be rather more realistic about our ability to determine current and past temperatures, realizing we have no indication of anything out of the ordinary occurring lately.

Finally, skeptics are also more open to alternate hypotheses, especially since Svensmark et al demonstrated a mechanism for solar effects to be dramatically amplified by influencing cloud formation and planetary albedo, something we can not yet quantify within a couple of percent (try the calculator in this page and see how adjusting the albedo value up or down 1% while leaving other values unchanged delivers global mean temperature changes far greater than we believe have occurred over the entire industrial era).

Geller is being quite disingenuous suggesting TSI (total solar irradiance) is the whole or even a particularly significant part of the climate story.

Scientist warns against overselling climate change - Climate change forecasters should admit that they cannot predict how global warming will affect individual countries, a leading physicist has said. (Daily Telegraph)

And yet he believes models about gorebull warming... go figure!

Plumbing new depths: New U.N. Pact May Be Needed For Climate Victims: WWF - POZNAN, Poland - The world may need a new U.N. pact to compensate victims of climate change or risk a tangle of billion-dollar lawsuits linked to heatwaves, droughts and rising seas, a study said on Wednesday.

The report, commissioned by the WWF UK environmental group, said the world already had compensation deals for accidents from nuclear power, oil spills, or even objects launched into space. But there were no U.N. schemes for damage from climate change.

"The likelihood of legal action against major-emitting countries is increasing," according to the 37-page study of options written by two climate lawyers. (Reuters)

Climate lawyers!

There's gold in green: profiting from climate change - Imagine an unpopular, impotent, and fragile UK Government, trying to make political capital out of a looming crisis. To avoid being embarrassed by criticism of its shallow policies, it appoints an independent panel of experts, to which it defers controversial decisions. Now imagine that the panel proposes measures from which its members and their associates will directly benefit.

It couldn't happen here, you may think. Scandal and resignations would surely follow. Who could possibly allow vested interests to profit from the legislation they are instrumental in creating? (Ben Pile, The Register)

Uh-huh... Companies Warned to Go Green or Go Under - NEW YORK, Dec 3 - If companies in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector do not implement sustainable environmental strategies, their earnings could be cut in half by 2018, according to a future scenario analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and global consulting firm A.T. Kearney released on Tuesday.

"The vast majority of companies are only beginning to realise that the financial impacts of climate change will be so severe that classical cost-reduction efforts will not be sufficient," A.T. Kearney partner Daniel Mahler told IPS.

The future scenario, entitled "Ecoflation", concludes that physical climate change, water scarcity, deforestation and climate change policies could significantly increase the price of commodities, packaging, manufacturing and logistics. (IPS)

All this from gorebull warming that isn't happening? What a crock. The only real 'ecoflation' stems from the idiot policies of those seeking to "address" the phantom menace.

An international court to prevent climate change. Now that is a good idea. - Stephen Hockman QC—which, if you read Rumpole, you know means queer customer—is a European (I can’t say Englishman, because an Englishman would not voluntarily cede his country’s sovereignty to a foreign body) who is proposing to create an International Court of Environmental Justice, whose purpose will be to “punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change.”

Isn’t that nice? (William M Briggs, Statistician)

Excuse me, do you speak climate? - Oh Deah. The BINGOs are at odds with the TUNGOs and the RINGOs over the NAMAs and the NAPAs.

RFUK is concerned about what REDD is going to do to PAM.

But at least the SIDS are keen on LULUCF.

If you thought the science behind global warming was dauntingly complex and believed "low albedo" was something to do with sex drive - it means poor reflection of sunlight - then the UN climate talks in Poznan are not for you.

Running until December 12, the negotiations for concluding a new worldwide climate pact gather more than 10,000 policymakers, industrialists and campaigners.

And they are awash in alphabet soup. (AFP)

Czech President: EU's Outspoken Global Warming Doubter - Czech President Vaclav Klaus, one of the most prominent climate change doubters, is about to get a new platform: the EU presidency. Others in the bloc worry that he could stall important climate talks next year. (Deutsche Welle)

FACTBOX-What Asia's top players want from U.N. climate talks - Dec 4 - Nearly 190 nations are meeting in Poland as part of U.N. talks to hammer out a broader pact to fight global warming.

Asia is a crucial part of the negotiations, representing half of humanity and a large and rapidly growing share of the greenhouse gas pollution blamed for warming the planet.

Following are what the five main players in Asia want from the U.N.-led talks on a more ambitious pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol from 2013. (Reuters)

Polish Coal Miners at Center of EU Climate Tussle - European Union leaders meet this week in Poland to discuss fighting climate change. But as the EU seeks to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Polish coal miners are worried -- and defiant.

Coal provides 94 percent of Poland's energy and some 117,000 jobs, a fact that's come into focus as the country prepares to host global talks on a new climate-saving pact.

"Everyone wants to live in healthy air," said Waclaw Czerkawski, deputy head of Poland's Trade Union of Miners. "But you have to find some kind of balance, and you can't do that at the expense of the economy, industry and jobs." (Deutsche Welle)

European metal workers protest EU's climate policy - BRUSSELS, Dec. 2 -- About 11,000 workers from the steel industry in European countries gathered on Tuesday in Brussels to protest the European Union's climate change policy which they fear might make them lose their jobs. (Xinhua)

Global Climate Change Logjam - Three reasons why global climate change negotiations will go nowhere (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

Fewer tickets on the gravy train? National rejects expert advice? - Yesterday I was informed that a number of officials have been dumped from the New Zealand Government delegation to the climate change talks in Poznan, Poland (Frog Blog)

Oh dear... Proposal Ties Economic Stimulus to Energy Savings - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama and leaders in Congress are fashioning a plan to pour billions of dollars into a jobs program to jolt the economy and lay the groundwork for a more energy-efficient one.

The details and cost of the so-called green-jobs program are still unclear, but a senior Obama aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a work in progress, said it would probably include the weatherizing of hundreds of thousands of homes, the installation of “smart meters” to monitor and reduce home energy use, and billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments for mass transit and infrastructure projects.

The green component of the much larger stimulus plan would cost at least $15 billion a year, and perhaps considerably more, depending on how the projects were defined, aides working on the package said.

During the campaign, Mr. Obama supported a measure to address global warming by capping carbon emissions while allowing companies to buy and trade pollution permits. He said he would devote $150 billion of the revenue from the sale of those permits over 10 years to energy efficiency and alternative energy projects to wean the nation from fuels that are the main causes of the heating the atmosphere. (New York Times)

Uh-huh... more of that, uh, 'settled' science: Arctic Tundra Emits Methane Even In Winter - LONDON - The arctic tundra emits the same amount of methane in winter as in the warmer months, a surprising finding that bolsters understanding of how greenhouse gases interact with nature, researchers said on Wednesday.

Scientists have long known that wetlands produce large amounts of methane and had thought it unlikely that greenhouse gases escaped from beneath frozen tundra, said Torben Christensen, a biogeochemist at Lund University in Sweden.

"Mother Nature is showing us something that is really surprising," Christensen, who led the study published in the journal Nature, said in a telephone interview.

"Nobody would expect to have loads of gas seeping out from a frozen environment." (Reuters) [em added]

So much for the alleged critical feedback of increasing methane emissions from warming tundra -- something now apparently not temperature dependant.

Understanding the daily variation - For over two centuries, meteorologists were puzzled by the observation that atmospheric pressure in the tropics peaks at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. nearly every day. In the late 1960s, a theory was proposed that these surface pressure variations result from waves that are generated by the sun's heating of the upper atmosphere. (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Greenhouse gas emissions increase in US - The amount of U.S. greenhouse gases flowing into the atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, increased last year by 1.4 percent after a decline in 2006, the Energy Department reported Wednesday.

The report said carbon dioxide, the leading pollution linked to global warming, rose by 1.3 percent in 2007 as people used more coal, oil and natural gas because of a colder winter and more electricity during a warmer summer. Half of the country's electricity is generated by coal-burning power plants. (Associated Press)

Are Rising CO2 Levels And The Increase In Atlantic Major Hurricanes Since 1995 Related? - The official end of the 2008 Atlantic basin hurricane season occurred last Sunday (November 30). This year was an active and destructive season. My colleague, Phil Klotzbach and I were very happy to see that our forecasts for this year’s activity worked out well, as did NOAA’s seasonal hurricane forecast. See our website for a 53-page summary of this season’s activity. Although this is my 25th year of making these seasonal forecasts, Klotzbach should get most of the credit for the success of this year’s forecast. (Dr. William Gray, Icecap)

Uh-oh... Rethinking Observed Warming - The United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway this week in Poznan, Poland, and literally thousands of folks have convened and reinforced the notion that the buildup of greenhouse gases has caused substantial warming in recent decades and that left unchecked, the continued buildup will undoubtedly cause significant warming in the decades to come. Believe it or not, it is possible that aspects of the traditional greenhouse gas explanation could be largely wrong, and if you think we are crazy, let’s visit an article just published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics. (WCR)

... this is a major problem for the enhanced greenhouse crowd because their entire supporting argument has been that only their version of increased forcing from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (and equivalent gases) suitably drives models to emulate observations and that, therefore, enhanced greenhouse is the cause. Now a model suite has been driven to similar emulation without enhanced greenhouse and thus the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis, already circling the drain, disappears down the gurgler, so to speak.

UN Data shows ‘Warming has Stopped!’ – Climate Fears Called ‘Hogwash’ – ‘Global Carbon Tax’ Urged

Aussie Scientist Says ‘No relationship between CO2 and temperature’

Read Part Two of this Report here:

Washington DC - The bad news for global warming alarmists just keeps rolling in. Below is a very small sampling of very inconvenient developments for Gore, the United Nations, and the mainstream media. Peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute climate fears. The majority of data presented below is from just the past week. Also see: U.S. Senate Minority Report: “Over 400 Prominent Scientists (and rapidly growing) Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007” & ‘Consensus’ On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008 - July 18, 2008 & An August 2007 report detailed how proponents of man-made global warming fears enjoy a monumental funding advantage over skeptical scientists. (EPW)

Cleveland-area TV meteorologists disagree with prevailing attitude about climate change - They will tell you when the skies might rain or snow in fickle Northeast Ohio, when to bundle up the kids in a cold snap and when to make weekend plans if steady sunshine spans the five-day forecast.

They also will tell you that human-caused global warming is hogwash.

They're your local TV meteorologists. (Plain Dealer)

Waste heat could warm the earth? Perhaps it has already started. - Excerpt of an article from the New Scientist, 01 December 2008 by Mark Buchanan (h/t to Richard Hegarty)

EVEN if we turn to clean energy to reduce carbon emissions, the planet might carry on warming anyway due to the heat released into the environment by our ever-increasing consumption of energy.

That’s the contentious possibility raised by Nick Cowern and Chihak Ahn of the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at Newcastle University, UK. They argue that human energy consumption could begin to contribute significantly to global warming a century from now.

Cowern and Ahn considered an emissions scenario proposed by James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and others. Under this scenario, which envisages greenhouse gases being cut significantly through phasing out coal over the next 40 years, Cowern and Ahn calculate that the greenhouse effect will start to diminish by 2050, stabilising the climate. (Watts Up With That?)

China Braces For Snow And Sandstorms - BEIJING - Temperatures are expected to drop by up to 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) across most of China in coming days, bringing snow in the northeast and sandstorms in the west, state media said.

The state weather observatory launched a cold weather emergency response plan on Wednesday to tackle disasters after record cold and snow brought down power lines and paralyzed much of the usually mild south earlier this year.

National and 23 provincial meteorological departments have been ordered to be on high alert and closely monitor the cold current and snowstorms, Xinhua news agency said. (Reuters)

“On The Misconception That Planting Trees Worsens Global Warming” by Lianhong Gu - The following is a guest weblog by Dr. Lianhong Gu of the Terrestrial Water - Carbon Cycles Group Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: (Climate Science)

Richard Courtney's critique to U.S. MAYORS CLIMATE PROTECTION AGREEMENT - You will find another of Richard Courtney critique's at the foot of this article. Great reading Richard and thank you. (Co2sceptic)

Low-carbon Britain: a pointless distraction - The UK's new climate change plan suggests we make considerable sacrifices for little practical benefit.

The UK’s official Committee on Climate Change unveiled its first report on Monday, detailing why and how Britain must make massive cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next few decades. But achieving the goals set out in Building a Low-Carbon Economy will be expensive, a distraction from other priorities, and quite possibly futile. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

State responds to Sunflower lawsuit - The Kansas attorney general’s office is asking a federal court to dismiss Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s lawsuit against the state for denying an air quality permit it needs to build two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas.

Sunflower filed the lawsuit last month asking a U.S. District judge to block the state from denying the permit. (Associated Press)

Effort would make St. Louis clean coal focal point - ST. LOUIS -- Two major coal companies and one of the Midwest's largest utilities are combining with Washington University to try and make St. Louis the nation's center for clean coal research and education.

Arch Coal and Peabody Energy are based in St. Louis and both have coal mining operations in Wyoming. The utility company Ameren Corp. also is based in St. Louis. Chief executive officers from those companies and Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton on Tuesday announced formation of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.

"Despite these difficult financial times, the university and these lead corporate sponsors realize that the investment in such research will benefit the region and the world in the long run," Wrighton said at a news conference at the university. "The knowledge and technology we will be able to create together will over time mean lower costs to customers and global environmental improvement."

Wrighton said the university has dedicated more than $60 million over the past year in education and research on energy, the environment and sustainability. A new building is expected to open in 2010. (Associated Press)

EPA to gut mountaintop mining rule protecting streams - The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that will allow coal companies to bury streams under the rocks leftover from mining. (McClatchy-Tribune)

France Proposes EU Coal Compromise - POZNAN - France wants a slew of exemptions to cut carbon costs for east European power producers and heavy industry, as the holder of the EU presidency tries to nail agreement on wider climate goals, a draft paper shows.

The proposals in a paper seen by Reuters, dated December 2, would halve the cost of carbon targets for utilities in east Europe compared with their western counterparts and exempt companies vulnerable to global competition. (Reuters)

Dutch Court Annuls Nuon Power Plant Permit - AMSTERDAM - A Dutch court annulled a permit for Dutch utility Nuon to build a multi-fuel power plant in the port of Eemshaven on Wednesday, after environmental groups raised concerns about its construction.

Nuon shareholders approved the 1.5 billion euros ($1.90 billion) project last year, which aimed to build a plant in the port that could generate electricity from coal, gas and biomass, with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts.

But environmental groups including Greenpeace as well as some local residents opposed a permit awarded to Nuon by the province of Groningen and took the matter to court.

"This judgment should make investors in coal power stations think twice," said Rolf Schipper from Greenpeace Netherlands in a statement.

Nuon was not immediately available for comment. (Reuters)

Maybe they should try rubbing two enviros together...

Nuke Global Warming - It is high time that the green axis of antagonism stop its obsessive obstructions of future growth and prosperity. Environmentalists' fascination with unproven and inadequate alternative energies must give way to massive expansion in nuclear power plants -- solar power operates at 25% efficiency on an annual basis, while nuclear power operates at 85% efficiency. Perhaps as many as 150 new nuclear power plants would be built in the US in this century. (Paul Taylor,

Palm oil offers no green solution - A major international study says palm oil plantations reduce plant and animal diversity, and do little to reduce carbon emissions.

Researchers say tropical forests are increasingly cleared to make way for palm oil crops, leading to a reduction in habitats for many rare species. (BBC News)

Maybe, caring most for those with HIV/AIDS looks different than we believe - It’s easy to mean well and get behind popular preventive health programs that sound like they save lives and are in everyone’s best interests. But no matter how popular or intuitively correct an intervention may be, that doesn’t make it scientifically sound, mean its benefits outweigh the potential harms, or that it is the most ethical use of skyrocketing healthcare costs. (Junkfood Science)

They should be careful with this nonsense: Salt 'as bad as cigarettes' - AUSTRALIANS are consuming too much salt, say nutritionists who blame not only fast food but also healthier alternatives such as canned vegetables and baked beans.

Less than 5 per cent of all sausages and beef burgers sold in the nation's supermarkets contained acceptable levels of salt, a Nutrition Society of Australia conference has also heard.

Jacqui Webster, a senior project manager based at Sydney's The George Institute for International Health, said Australians were consuming well over the maximum recommended intake of six grams of salt a day. (AAP)

For if salt and cigarettes are of equivalent harm then cigarettes are essentially harmless or salt (an essential micronutrient) should be banned? Bloody idiots.

Health fears go up in smoke - A year ago, Scottish health chiefs boasted that the smoking ban had cut heart-attack rates. It was a load of hot air.

In September 2007, the Scottish government declared that the country’s year-old smoking ban had led to a dramatic fall in hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), which includes heart attacks and angina. Health officials argued that these figures vindicated their illiberal anti-smoking policy. But data released this week cast serious doubts on the theory that smoking bans have a measurable impact on ACS. (Christopher Snowdon, sp!ked)

Parsing the Cancer Statistics - There is heartening news in the latest annual report on cancer trends. The report shows that a long-term decline in death rates from cancer has continued in both sexes. And for the first time, there is evidence that the rate of newly diagnosed cancers has declined in recent years. It is news worth celebrating. But it is also important to recognize some worrying countertrends.

The new report — from the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute and an association of cancer registries — attributes the gains primarily to a drop in lung, colorectal and prostate cancer in men and in breast and colorectal cancer in women.

There seems little doubt that the decline in cancer death rates since the early 1990s is real. It is attributed to healthier lifestyles, improved screening and better treatments. But the decline in newly diagnosed cancer cases is more difficult to interpret. (New York Times)

Scientists probe limits of 'cancer stem-cell model'; Melanoma does not fit the model -- One of the most promising new ideas about the causes of cancer, known as the cancer stem-cell model, must be reassessed because it is based largely on evidence from a laboratory test that is surprisingly flawed when applied to some cancers, University of Michigan researchers have concluded. (

British Balance Benefit vs. Cost of Latest Drugs - RUISLIP, England — When Bruce Hardy’s kidney cancer spread to his lung, his doctor recommended an expensive new pill from Pfizer. But Mr. Hardy is British, and the British health authorities refused to buy the medicine. His wife has been distraught.

“Everybody should be allowed to have as much life as they can,” Joy Hardy said in the couple’s modest home outside London.

If the Hardys lived in the United States or just about any European country other than Britain, Mr. Hardy would most likely get the drug, although he might have to pay part of the cost. A clinical trial showed that the pill, called Sutent, delays cancer progression for six months at an estimated treatment cost of $54,000.

But at that price, Mr. Hardy’s life is not worth prolonging, according to a British government agency, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The institute, known as NICE, has decided that Britain, except in rare cases, can afford only £15,000, or about $22,750, to save six months of a citizen’s life. (New York Times)

Tragic but how many life months will his treatment deny others? Is diverting that $30,000 to briefly delay this guy's inevitable death the best use of limited health funds? Sad as it may be everybody dies and society simply cannot throw unlimited funds into extending everyone's lives at all cost. Unrealistic and undeliverable expectation is just another downside of universal health care -- if this guy was properly insured then he'd get his treatment -- but total loss universal 'care' can never deliver that kind of coverage.

Consensus Of Whom? - "Consensus" has become one of the scariest words in America. It means officials have reached agreement on how to fleece the public. And it's being used in the same breath as "universal health care." (IBD)

How Foreign Aid Destroyed Africa - Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Martin Durkin, the producer of the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle. He has been the executive producer of a wide range of programmes and television documentaries for Channel 4 in Britain and he is managing director of WAG TV, a London-based independent TV production company. One of his main specialties is the catastrophe of economic aid to Africa. (Jamie Glazov,

Environmentalism's Appropriation of Christianity - “The ecological reformation of Christianity,” according to one scholar, “may be one of the most significant, though least noted events of this age.” (1) The environmental movement has conducted a 50 year campaign to appropriate the world’s Christian Churches. This is a top-down affair involving the recruitment of key clerics, theologians, Archbishops, Patriarchs and Popes. The stakes are huge. Churches claim 2 billion followers and assets worth trillions (US$). The reformation is partly complete. While Churches now promote Ecology they have yet to convert most Christians into green consumers, activists and voters. (EcoFacism)

December 3, 2008

Ultimate Global Warming Challenge Entries - We did receive a few entries in The Ultimate Global Warming Challenge although half a million dollars was apparently insufficient to entice The Hockey Team at RealClimate to bother claiming what they say is a sure thing. Neither did Hansen, Romm, Gore et al, despite our having made clear they need not personally sully their hands with the prize sponsor's funds, we'd direct it to any charity they cared to name. Must be nice being so affluent that stooping to pick up $500,000.00 is a waste of your time, eh?

Oh well, five people did submit entries ranging from playful to hopeful, linked below in .pdf format. Have a look at them and see what you think:

A Simple Proof That Humans Have Affected Global Temperatures: past and present - ABSTRACT: A proof-theoretic characterization of logical scenarios formed a suitable basis for testing two Ultimate Global Warming Challenge hypotheses regarding climate predictions. The first hypothesis (i.e. surface temperatures are not affected by the production of greenhouse gases) was put to the test with a simple “bare-foot” analysis (a method that most anyone could repeat). This null hypothesis (H1) was rejected since the use of fossil fuels (during construction of roads), can cause long-term increases in surface temperatures. The second hypothesis (H2) involved predicting the impact of future hypothetical scenarios on global economics. A dire prediction from a world-renowned soothsayer indicates a catastrophic event will indeed have a negative effect on the biosphere as well as on per capita income. This global disaster causes flooding of several countries and will result in a reduction in the human population. The global effect of the meteor will put an end to the debate over the potential economic effects of a 1°C increase in average temperatures. (David B. South)

Save Al Gore (ThermoGrafix) - This is an encrypted file which I am certainly not going to retype here. No, I'm not sufficiently enthused to image it through a text reader either.

UGWC Hypothesis (V. Manoharan) - very colorful and also encrypted (these guys must think someone will want to copy from their entries when in reality it simply makes them a damn nuisance to handle and/or highlight).

Manmade Emissions are Contributing to Global Warming - Abstract: The scientific method cannot ‘prove’ a theory, only disprove it. Therefore, it is not possible to conclusively prove that anthropomorphic emissions are resulting in global warming. Instead, what we can do is show this theory passes all tests that the scientific method puts it to. That is being done here by addressing three questions: 1) Is the Earth warming?; 2) If so, is this warming at least partly due to the greenhouse effect or is it all due to other sources; and 3) If any of the warming is due to the greenhouse effect, are manmade emissions contributing to it? If, via the scientific method, we can show that the answer to these three questions is ‘Yes’, then it must be concluded that manmade emissions are contributing to global warming. (Chris Keating)

UGWC Challenge - Summary/Abstract: \A report published in February 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that the observed increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide since 1750 is the result of human activities. Scientists now have 90% confidence – thanks to major advances in climate modeling and the collection and analysis of data – that human activities are causing the world to warm.

The full report – “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis” is published by Cambridge University Press. It was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. Over 620 expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also participated. Representatives from 113 governments reviewed and revised the Summary line-by-line during the course of this week before adopting it and accepting the underlying report. The full report is available at, or

The report describes an accelerating transition to a warmer world marked by more extreme temperatures, heat waves, new wind patterns, worsening drought in some regions, heavier precipitation in other, melting glaciers and Arctic ice, and rising global average sea levels. (I. Daniels)

La Niña may be returning - La Niña, a Pacific atmospheric phenomenon that ended during the summer, to be replaced by ENSO-neutral conditions, shows some signs of life again. (The Reference Frame)

Major Oops! Researchers Use Sun Cycle to Predict Rainfall Fluctuations -- The sun’s magnetic field may have a significant impact on weather and climatic parameters in Australia and other countries in the northern and southern hemispheres.

According to a study in Geographical Research published by Wiley-Blackwell, the droughts in eastern Australia are related to the solar magnetic phases and not the greenhouse effect.

The study titled “Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuation in Eastern Australia” uses data from 1876 to the present to examine the correlation between solar cycles and the extreme rainfall in Australia.

It finds that the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) – the basic tool for forecasting variations in global and oceanic patterns – and rainfall fluctuations recorded over the last decade are similar to those in 1914 -1924. (

Mythbusting - I mentioned yesterday the fashionable lines being bandied about as the Poznan COP gets underway. Today’s is the idea of “renew[ing] America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” in the phrasing of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton at her Monday unveiling.

Kyoto is the highest-profile policy typically cited by these forces of restoration, and is certainly the one about which The One has expressed his intention to do something. So here’s a refresher as to who actually trashed our reputation via Kyoto — if indeed that is what certain people sincerely believe, as opposed to using it as an excuse for certain attitudes and behavior, which I believe you will conclude is the case after this English-to-English translation.

The U.S. agreed to, then signed, a treaty that a unanimous Senate, exercising its constitutional prerogative, instructed the executive not to agree to. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Cooling Down - Policymakers and other busybodies trying to save the planet will one day learn that, despite all the hype about global warming, most people are focused on issues that for them are more meaningful. (IBD)

Prins - Time to Ditch Kyoto, The Sequel - Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics, has written a follow-on piece to his collaboration with Steve Rayner that appeared in Nature just over a year ago. (Time to Ditch Kyoto, a shorter version of The Wrong Trousers, PDF). Prins’ follow on is published in the Delegate’s Book to the Poznan Climate Conference, and I am happy to provide a copy here in PDF. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Will the U.N. Chill Out on Climate Change? - 10,000 people from 186 countries have descended upon Poznan, Poland for yet-another United Nations meeting on climate change. This time, it’s the annual confab of the nations that signed the original U.N. climate treaty in Rio in 1992. That instrument gave rise to the infamous 1996 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, easily the greatest failure in the history of environmental diplomacy. (WCR)

Developing nations seek cash in U.N. warming fight - POZNAN, Poland, Dec 2 - Developing nations urged rich nations at U.N climate talks on Tuesday to raise aid despite the financial crisis to help the poor cope with global warming and safeguard tropical forests. (Reuters)

Shaping Economic Analysis to Suit Climate Politics - Today’s ClimateWire reports (subscription needed) that California’s proposed climate policy — known by its bill number as AB32 — has been soundly criticized by a distinguished panel of six internationally recognized economists with expertise in carbon policies: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

California Called Out on Bogus Economic Analysis - Harvard’s Robert Stavins wrote, "I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the economic analysis is terribly deficient in critical ways and should not be used by the state government or the public for the purpose of assessing the likely costs of CARB's plans." (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Sarkozy moves to enlist Eastern EU members on climate change - French President and EU presidency holder Nicolas Sarkozy will this weekend make a dramatic attempt to obtain the agreement of the bloc's Eastern countries on the bloc's climate change package, ahead of a crucial EU summit on 11-12 December, sources told EurActiv.

Most US organizations not adapting to climate change - Organizations in the United States that are at the highest risk of sustaining damage from climate change are not adapting enough to the dangers posed by rising temperatures, according to a Yale report. (Yale University)

Translation: most enterprises too sensible to fall for gorebull warming scam.

12 years to halve UK CO2 - First report of the Government's Climate Change Committee warns targets will be missed without radical cuts

Britain should adopt the world's toughest climate change target and slash nearly half of its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 12 years, the Government's new climate advisory committee said yesterday in its first report.

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases causing global warming should be cut by 42 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, as long as there is a new global climate deal in a UN meeting in Copenhagen a year from now, said the Committee on Climate Change. (The Independent)

More unsettled settled science: Rivers are carbon processors, not inert pipelines - Microorganisms in rivers and streams play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle that has not previously been considered. Freshwater ecologist Dr. Tom Battin, of the University of Vienna, told a COST ESF Frontiers of Science conference in October that our understanding of how rivers and streams deal with organic carbon has changed radically. (European Science Foundation)

A New Paper “Changes In Climate And Land Use Have A Larger Direct impact Than Rising CO2 On Global River Runoff Trends” by Piao et al. 2007 - Thanks to Valentine Anantharaj of the Geosystems Research Institute at Mississippi State University for alerting us to this very interesting new paper.

Shilong Piao, Pierre Friedlingstein, Philippe Ciais, Nathalie de Noblet-Ducoudre, David Labat, and Sönke Zaehle, 2007: Changes in climate and land use have a larger direct impact than rising CO2 on global river runoff trends. PNAS, vol. 104, no. 39, 15242-15247. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Possums not fried - You are being misled by alarmists:

SCIENTISTS say a white possum native to Queensland’s Daintree forest has become the first mammal to become extinct due to man-made global warming.

The white lemuroid possum, a rare creature found only above 1000m in the mountain forests of far north Queensland, has not been seen for three years.

Experts fear climate change is to blame for the disappearance of the highly vulnerable species thanks to a temperature rise of up to 0.8C....

Scientists believe some frog, bug and insects species have also been killed off by climate change. But this would be the first known loss of a mammal and the most significant since the extinction of the Dodo and the Tasmanian Tiger.

“It is not looking good,” researcher Steve Williams said.

“If they have died out it would be first example of something that has gone extinct purely because of global warming.”

Rising temperatures - which these researchers blame on man - are said to have caused this extinction. So let’s check the mean maximum temperatures at the nearest big weather station, Cairns, and see if things have grown possum-deadly hotter over the past 30 years: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Still desperate to find something (anything) that could be bad about a booming biosphere: Scientists: Longer allergy season may be linked to climate change - Still sneezing, even though it's December? You might be able to blame it on global warming.

Allergists are looking at the possibility that global warming produces bigger, nastier ragweed plants that pump more pollen into the atmosphere. Bottom line: If true, you'll be sneezing more often, for more days out of the year. And that could be the least of our worries. (Dallas Morning News)

LATIN AMERICA: Changes in Land Use, Changes in Climate - MEXICO CITY, Dec 2 - The countries of Latin America have failed to design integrated policies to control the processes of changes in land use, one of the causes of climate change. The region produces 12 percent of the world's emissions of greenhouse gases, which are driving up the planet’s average temperatures and changing the climate around the globe. (Tierramérica)

Time to prepare for disasters caused by climate change is now, says UN - 2 December 2008 – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today launched a campaign to raise awareness of the humanitarian implications of climate change, calling for improved disaster preparedness and response measures in countries that suffer most from extreme weather events. (UN News)

Yes, dealing with natural disasters is a big deal and yes, the means to do so is through development and wealth generation but no, it has squat to do with gorebull warming, which is purely a distraction.

This nonsense, again: Health - a Victim of Climate Change - MÉRIDA, Mexico, Dec 2 - More malaria, diarrhea, and asthma: these diseases are on the rise around the world because of environmental destruction and kill some three million children under five and two million adults a year. (IPS)

What they really mean is lack of development and wealth generation is lethal -- exactly that which is under assault through gorebull warming hysteria. Stupid game...

Moonbat... Long, detailed, impressive - but futile in the face of runaway climate change - This environmental state of emergency demands a bolder answer than Lord Turner's. We could start by taking six critical steps (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Ain't no possibility of "runaway climate change" (read: gorebull warming) on our water-rich world.

These Can’t Be Related, Can They? - Reinsurance giant Munich Re, a company I have worked with in the past, says that global warming should mean increased premiums: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Soot speeds Arctic warming: Research - Pollution researchers have called on policymakers to increase emphasis on soot, methane and ozone in the battle to rein in climate-warming emissions.

The Climate Policy Center researchers said soot falling on the Arctic is one of the reasons behind the rapid melting of the polar ice cap in recent years, Reuters reports. The pollution experts, led by Pam Pearson, said such a re-focus would have a greater impact on slowing global warming than targeting carbon dioxide above all. (Carbon Positive)

Canada Oil Sands Threaten Millions Of Birds - Study - CALGARY - A coalition of North American environmental groups says the development of Canada's oil sands region threatens to kill as many as 166 million birds over the next five decades and is calling for a moratorium on new projects in the region.

The coalition's groups, which include the Natural Resources Defence Council, the Boreal Songbirds Initiative and the Pembina Institute, say petroleum-extraction projects in the oil-rich region of northern Alberta are a threat to migratory birds and the boreal forest they rely on.

Their study concluded that development of the oil sands, would be fatal for 6 million to 166 million birds because of habitat loss, shrinking wetlands, accumulation of toxins and other causes. (Reuters)

Hard Facts and Innumeracy: Coal Use Grows Despite Global Warming Warnings - Last year, during an interview with Vaclav Smil, I asked the distinguished professor of geography at the University of Manitoba why there was such a paucity of informed discussion about energy issues. He replied “There has never been such a depth of scientific illiteracy and basic innumeracy as we see today.”

That line comes to mind amid the continuing calls for phasing out coal in the U.S. In July, Al Gore, the former vice president and recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, declared that the U.S. should “commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” In November, in an op-ed in the New York Times, Gore insisted that the U.S. must replace “dangerous and expensive carbon-based fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.”

Gore’s calls have been seconded by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace as well as by the International Energy Agency. On November 25, the I.E.A.’s executive director, Nobuo Tanaka, said that “Preventing irreversible damage to the global climate ultimately requires a major decarbonisation of world energy sources.” (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

“No one wants to leave the house” - Wind turbines and neighborhoods just don’t mix It seems. Would you want one of these to do this when a wind storm comes your way? Wind power has it’s pluses and minuses, just like any energy solution. But like a coal or nuclear power plant. They really shouldn’t be sited next to/within population areas. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Replacing corn with perennial grasses improves carbon footprint of biofuels - Converting forests or fields to biofuel crops can increase or decrease greenhouse gas emissions, depending on where – and which – biofuel crops are used, University of Illinois researchers report this month. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

German automakers denounce EU compromise on CO2 emissions - The German automobile federation VDA slammed on Tuesday an EU compromise on rules to cut CO2 emissions from new cars, saying it ignored the sector's current crisis. (AFP)

A tragic reminder that water is not healthy for babies - Doctors were able to save little baby Ladamien with about an hour to spare, but this story is a heart-stopping reminder that water is not a healthful drink for babies. When they are hungry, they need fats and calories.

With growing numbers of young families struggling during these economic hard times — and others believing the childhood obesity hysteria telling them baby fat is bad and must be avoided — please remember that diluting formula with water, trying to fill babies up on less and make formula stretch, can cause malnutrition, brain damage and death in infants and toddlers. (Junkfood Science)

Times have changed — one in two college kids have a psychiatric disorder? - Wild and crazy toga parties, food fights, drinking, smoking, and foolish pranks made National Lampoon’s Animal House a cult classic thirty years ago. Today, college kids like Bluto, played by John Belushi, and his friends would be diagnosed as needing psychiatric treatment.

Nearly half of all college-age young people had a psychiatric disorder in the past year, according to psychiatrists from New York in the latest issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. More precisely, their behaviors, as reported to interviewers during a 2001-2002 epidemiological survey, matched symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). (Junkfood Science)

The War On Peanuts - North Carolina is the fifth-largest peanut grower in the U.S., yet peanut-allergy nazis have persuaded even officials in that state to crack down on PB&Js.

Take Union County Public Schools, the fastest-growing school district in the Tar Heel state. Officials there recently sent letters home to parents asking that they no longer pack peanut-butter sandwiches or cookies in their kids' lunches.

If they abide by the restriction, a certificate with their child's name will be placed on display at their school "in acknowledgment of the voluntary commitment to safety your family has made."

The district's also shaming parents into washing their kids' hands in the morning before they go on the bus, lest they transfer the dangerous peanut molecule and endanger a seat mate.

The move isn't isolated to North Carolina. It's a national trend. Other states have banned peanuts altogether from schools, while others have created peanut-free zones within schools. (IBD)

Screen addiction 'bad for kids' health' - SPENDING a lot of time watching TV, playing video games and surfing the web makes children more prone to a range of health problems including obesity and smoking, US researchers said today.

US National Institutes of Health, Yale University and the California Pacific Medical Centre experts analysed 173 studies done since 1980 in one of the most comprehensive assessments to date on how exposure to media sources impacts the physical health of children and adolescents.

The studies, most conducted in the US, largely focused on television, but some looked at video games, films, music, and computer and internet use. (Reuters)

Peter Foster: Coming soon: An all-new, all-green NEP - The past week’s bizarre political events brought to mind Joe Clark, a(nother?) Conservative Prime Minister (albeit an earlier “Progressive” model) who was brought down by his own strategic misjudgment and the oppositions’ cynical power lust. Cynical power lust remains a constant in politics. The issue is how the reflexive interventionist ideology of the liberal left has morphed since 1980. Thirty years ago, economic nationalism was the redoubt of the wise and clever state; now it’s the environment. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Green Asthma Inhalers - Crazy. Is there really a problem with asthma inhalers destroying the ozone layer? (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)

Why Reporters & Judges & Professors Are Biased - That the news media were biased in the 2008 presidential election is now acknowledged by fair-minded people, left or right.

As Time magazine's Mark Halperin said this weekend at a Politico/USC Conference on the 2008 election: "It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business. ... It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Given how obvious this bias is, the question is not whether liberals in the media tend to offer biased reporting. The question is why? Why can't liberal news people report the news without any slant?

The answer is that for people on the left, all - I repeat, all - professions are a means to an end, not ends in themselves. That end is the social transformation of society, meaning the promoting of "social justice" as the left understands that term.

For most liberal news reporters, therefore, the purpose of news reporting is not to report news as objectively as possible. The purpose of the media in general and of reporting specifically is to promote social justice and the social transformation of society. (Dennis Prager, The Bulletin)

Search for ivory-billed woodpecker to begin anew -- Last year, Allan Mueller thinks he saw the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker. The wildlife biologist wants to make sure of it this winter. (Associated Press)

DEVELOPMENT-SOUTHERN AFRICA: Harnessing the Zambezi - LILONGWE, Dec 2 - If the socio-economic development goals of the eight countries that share the Zambezi River basin are to be met, countries along the river should quickly implement plans towards managing water resources in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner. (IPS)

IAEA Says Irradiated Crops Could Ease Food Crisis - VIENNA - The UN atomic agency called on Tuesday for greater trust and investment in using radiation to bolster crops against climate change and disease as a way to save millions from hunger.

The technique has been around since the 1920s and proven effective but its spread has been limited by phobias over the words "radiation" and "mutation", the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

But unlike bio-engineered genetic modification of crops (GM), irradiating plant species -- known as "induced mutation" -- does not introduce any foreign genetic material. (Reuters)

Fight over adding hormones, labeling milk rages on - KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Anti-biotech forces turned out in Kansas on Tuesday to argue against a state plan that would limit how dairy products free from artificial hormones can be labeled.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture held its final hearing on the matter Tuesday morning, considering a regulation that would ban dairy product labels from stating the product as "rBST free." The law would take effect in January 2010.

In addition to banning "rBST-free" claims, the rule would require that labels declaring products to have been derived from cows not supplemented with the growth hormone to carry companion disclaimers saying "the FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rBST-supplemented cows." (Reuters)

December 2, 2008

Obama pledge on treaties a complex undertaking -- President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to restore the United States' international standing extends far beyond front-page topics such as closing Guantanamo and banning torture, into areas as diverse as nuclear testing, the rights of women and people with disabilities, and military and commercial activities in the world's oceans.

As a candidate, Obama promised to seek Senate ratification of long-stalled treaties on a nuclear test ban, women's equality and the law of the sea, and to sign a U.N. convention on disability rights. He also vowed to reverse President Bush's policies on global warming and to join negotiations toward a long-term treaty on greenhouse-gas emissions. (SF Chronicle)

We agree Bush panders far too much to greenhouse hysterics and a reversal from paying lip service to this nonsense is long overdue. Get away from it, far away.

Legates Clarifies Global Warming 'Consensus' At Wynnewood Institute - Wynnewood - References to the "consensus view" of global warming pervade news coverage of the issue, but climatologist David Legates says that phrase needs clarification.

An associate professor at the University of Delaware, Dr. Legates also serves as Delaware's state climatologist, though the position does not obligate him to share the views of other state officials. Speaking to an audience at the nonprofit Wynnewood Institute Tuesday night, he said something that may have sounded like a concession, coming from a skeptic on the issue: The climate is changing. For about a century, the average global temperature has seen a net rise. But, he emphasized, the climate always has been changing. (The Bulletin)

Questions a-plenty on global warming - ONE of ABC television’s remaining links to a more intelligent era, The Einstein Factor, ended its season on Sunday, closing with its signature quote from the great physicist: “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

From his blinkered approach to the question of climate change, it is patently clear that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is no Einstein. Not even an apprentice Einstein.

Far from questioning climate change, Rudd, aided and abetted by a largely compliant CSIRO and a plethora of pandering academics eager to receive government funding, has all but shut down discussion on the issue.

For Labor, particularly, there is no science to discuss. It is settled.

Further, Rudd encourages his fawning acolytes to denigrate those who follow Einstein’s approach to science as “deniers”, and says of them: “To stay in denial as the climate change sceptics and some members opposite would have us do, is reckless and irresponsible.”

Unfortunately for Rudd, his climate change minister Senator Penny Wong and his faddist spinmeister Dr Ross Garnaut, the science is far from settled. (Piers Akerman Blog)

This is what happens when bad hypotheses become fashionable: Foretelling a major meltdown: Rare mineral might portend return to hothouse climate of old - By discovering the meaning of a rare mineral that can be used to track ancient climates, Binghamton University geologist Tim Lowenstein is helping climatologists and others better understand what we're probably in for over the next century or two as global warming begins to crank up the heat — and, ultimately, to change life as we know it. (Binghamton University)

For a start there is no reason to suspect the elevated carbon dioxide levels were anything other than an artifact of temperature (e.g. oceanic outgassing in a warmer climate) and there remains no evidence raising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from say 200 to 2,000 ppmv has a significant effect on global mean temperature. Moreover Earth has plunged into ice ages with high levels of carbon dioxide and emerged from them during periods of low CO2 concentration so the possibility of the CO2-forcing hypothesis having merit is extremely low.

:) Greens go nuts at UN climate talks - Armed with walnuts, apocalyptic art and a small green dinosaur, environmentalists spiced up the UN climate talks here Monday with colourful demands for action on global warming.

The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, welcomed the almost 11,000 participants at the 12-day talks in Poznan by handing out walnuts and urging them to "crack the climate nut" and overcome negotiation deadlock.

Greenpeace meanwhile unveiled a three-metre (10-foot) high sculpture depicting the Earth on the brink of destruction from a "tidal wave" of carbon dioxide made of wood and coal. (AFP)

UN climate talks a test of will - FOR the next two weeks, environment ministers from 192 nations will batten down in the chilly Polish city of Poznan to confront one big question: can politicians bridge the gap that separates them from climate scientists over the action needed to avoid dangerous climate change? (Sydney Morning Herald)

No Marian, it's a test of won't while countries jockey to get someone gullible to allow them competitive advantage, which this has always been about.

No Excuse To Neglect UN Climate Fight - Delegates - POZNAN - The economic slowdown is "no excuse" to neglect a fight against global warming that could widen water shortages to half of humanity by 2050, delegates told the opening of UN climate talks in Poland on Monday.

US President-elect Barack Obama also won praise at the Dec. 1-12 talks of 10,700 delegates from 187 nations for setting "ambitious" US goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change. (Reuters)

57 delegates per signatory country to do what, exactly? Why are we paying all these twits to be on perpetual world tours to talk about the weather? These are very pricey events involving a lot of hangers on all talking about something no rational person wants them to achieve -- rationing energy and lowering human living standards. Sheesh!

Save the planet! Ban warming summits! - No one is gassier than a global warming alarmist: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Poznan Puffery - A favorite line already emerging as the Poznan talks on Kyoto II kick off this week is that Kyoto I is obviously a success because emissions among covered parties are down 17 percent “since 1990.” (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Japan, U.S. Seek to Divide Developing Nations at Climate Talks -- Japan and the U.S. will try to jumpstart global-warming talks this week by proposing that some of the biggest developing countries, including China and India, agree to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases. (Bloomberg)

India Sets Out Demands In Climate Change Fight - Dec 1 - India, the world's no. 4 greenhouse gas emitter, joins about 185 nations in Poznan, Poland, from Monday to work on a new UN climate pact meant to curb global warming.

Following are some of the main points India has made in submissions to the United Nations ahead of the talks, which are part of a two-year drive to replace the Kyoto Protocol from 2013.

The United States, China, India and Brazil are currently outside Kyoto's first phase till end-2012. Kyoto only commits 37 rich nations to binding emissions targets. (Reuters)

European Update - The United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks of this week in Poznan, Poland, and in anticipation of this great event, we have examined three research papers published recently in top journals that give us insight into the climate history of Europe. Given the results of these papers, we doubt they will receive any press attention from the massive media delegation covering the climate conference. (WCR)

Poznan kicks off as EU climate talks stumble - Delegates from 186 nations are in Poznan, Poland today (1 December) to launch 12 days of talks designed to bring forward an international deal to tackle climate change. But the conference is currently overshadowed by an EU internal row over how to share the 'effort' of reducing CO2 emissions. (EurActiv)

UN takes step on slow road to new Kyoto - Poland: hero or villain on climate change? That will be the question for thousands of delegates at a series of crunch meetings on global warming taking place in the next two weeks.

While many of the Polish government's climate change experts will be in the western Polish city of Poznan, hosting the governments of more than 190 countries at United Nations talks on global warming, their colleagues will be holed up hundreds of miles away in Brussels arguing for a serious weakening of the European Union's climate change targets.

Both talks reach a conclusion at the end of next week, with the UN expected to set out a timetable and a skeleton framework for a new global agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol, which will be finalised over the course of a crammed year of negotiations ahead of a final meeting next December in Copenhagen.

But the role of the European Union, which has long been the world's most strident champion of drastic greenhouse gas emissions cuts, will be severely undermined if Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and a handful of other member states get their way on watering down the bloc's commitment to cut its emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

"It is highly ironic," said one EU official of Poland's stance. "But we are confident that we will have a deal in Brussels." (Financial Times)

Environment must give way to economy: Tories - LAKE LOUISE, ALTA. - Jim Prentice, the Federal Environment Minister, said yesterday Ottawa would not harm an already-weakening economy to pursue environmental progress.

In his first speech since taking over the portfolio, Mr. Prentice told top business leaders here that the economy, including protecting investment and jobs, has moved ahead of the environment as Canadians' top concern. (Financial Post)

Sigh... Climate juggernaut on the horizon, UN talks told - War, hunger, poverty and sickness will stalk humanity if the world fails to tackle climate change, a 12-day UN conference on global warming heard on Monday.

A volley of grim warnings sounded out at the start of the marathon talks, a step to a new worldwide treaty to reduce greenhouse gases and help countries exposed to the wrath of an altered climate. (AFP)

Can the Climate Survive the Financial Crisis? - Just as the world gathers in Poland to come up with a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the global financial meltdown threatens to torpedo the effort. But could a world recession actually help the climate? (Der Spiegel)

Idiots! The climate is fine, it's people we need to worry about!

From CO2 Science this week:
Public Comment to the Environmental Protection Agency:

Read our Public Comment (in PDF format) submitted to the EPA on 24 November 2008 in Response to the Environmental Protection Agency's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0318.

Full Document (4.8 mb)
Chapter 1 (0.1 mb)
Chapter 2 (0.2 mb)
Chapter 3 (0.1 mb)
Chapter 4 (1.4 mb)
Chapter 5 (0.7 mb)
Chapter 6 (1.6 mb)
Chapter 7 (0.2 mb)
Chapter 8 (0.3 mb)
Chapter 9 (0.3 mb)
Chapter 10 (0.1 mb)

Late 20th-Century Acceleration in the Growth of Greek Fir Trees: Was it caused by the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 641 individual scientists from 375 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Tornetrask Area, Swedish Lapland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Transgenic Plants: How are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... and how might they better cope with 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, Erect Brome, Garden Bean, and Monterey Pine.

Journal Reviews:
Atmospheric Methane on the Rise Again?: It remains to be seen.

Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Cyclones: How have their numbers varied over the past three centuries?

The Medieval Warm Period in Canada's Columbia Icefield: When did it occur? ... and how hot did it get?

Water Relations of Aspen and Aspen-Birch Forests Exposed to Elevated CO2 and Ozone: How are they affected by the two trace gases? ... and which effect predominates?

How Does Climate Change Affect the Ranges of European Birds?: A new paper suggests that no one really knows (even though they may think they do).

CO2 Truth-Alerts:
Click here to watch short videos on various global warming topics. Embed any Truth Alert video on your own web page or to watch it on YouTube in a higher resolution. (

Parliament bans the cool facts - Note what Labor does when Liberal MP Dennis Jensen tries to table evidence in Parliament that directly contradicts the global warming hype: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

A Warm-Monger's Climate Scare Tactic Demolished - Below is an exchange at CCNet between Climate Alarmist Andrew Glikson and Paul Biggs. Glikson lays out a case that sounds solid if one doesn't know how weak it truly is. Dr. Biggs does what I lacked the time to do since it posted; demolishes it completely. (Timothy Birdnow)

Climate change targets could push up household bills to £500 a year, says Government chief - Tough new targets on tackling climate change will cost Britain £500 a year per household, push up utility bills and force 1.7million Britons into fuel poverty by 2020. (Daily Mail)

Say what? Climate change fight could create jobs - AID specialists support a claim by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that efforts to adapt to climate change could create "millions of jobs" if enough funding is available. (Agence France-Presse)

We are expected to cough up vast sums of money so these dipsticks can spend some of it paying poor people to do nothing useful (less, of course, suitable administrative wages and costs for themselves).

Our scam... Nielson, Taylor & Clark: Govt should go with emissions trading scheme - The new Government's decision to put the emissions trading scheme on hold pending a review came as a bolt from the blue.

Stakeholders had been led to expect that there would be some changes to the ETS but the proposal to pass legislation putting it on hold was completely unexpected.

The decision has thrown the emerging carbon market into disarray. It has undermined the recent launch of the New Zealand Stock Exchange's carbon trading platform, TZ1. (New Zealand Herald)

Actually it's high time the NZ Government, having won election on reality as opposed greenie fantasies, jettisoned gorebull warming hysteria altogether.

Criminalizing Carbon - A British jurist wants to form an international court for the environment with the power to punish states and businesses. Will fossil fuels soon become controlled substances? (IBD)

Farmers Panic About a ‘Cow Tax’ - The comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s exploration of greenhouse gas regulation ended last Friday, with farmers lobbying furiously against the notion of a “cow tax” on methane, a potent greenhouse gas emitted by livestock. (New York Times)

Venice Flooded As Sea Levels Hit Highest In 22 Yrs - ROME - Large parts of Venice were flooded on Monday as heavy rains and strong winds lashed the lagoon city, with sea levels at their highest level in 22 years. (Reuters)

Junkscience Journalism: Sea Level Trends in South Pacific - The Earth’s climate is very complex and well beyond the understanding of even the best scientists. The forces “creating” the climate can be powerful, natural, unknown, and interacting in both complex and unknown ways.

These forces involve the sun and the many variations of the solar production of radiant heat and light, the variations in solar magnetic fields, variations in sunspots production rates, the solar wind and its interaction between cosmic radiation and interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Furthermore there are strong and mostly unexplainable variations in movements of oceanic tides and current variations, about which we also know little.

With so much that is unknown and with so much uncertainty about the climate, one would expect that global warming scientists and their swarms supporters in the media, academia, and the political leadership, would be a little cautious, even humble at making sweeping and profound statements of their rigid certitudes. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

EU Agrees To Cut Car Emissions In Climate Fight - BRUSSELS - European carmakers must cut global-warming gases from new vehicles by 18 percent within the next six years, the EU agreed on Monday, after a long battle between environmentalists and an industry facing tough times.

"This deal represents a balance between the needs of the environment and the car industry across Europe, which is suffering massively at the moment," British Conservative lawmaker Martin Callanan told Reuters late on Monday.

But the compromise was attacked by environmentalists, who said it was tailored too neatly around big auto's demands and undermined EU efforts to lead the world in fighting climate change. (Reuters)

Autocar Readers Defy Emissions Beliefs - 90 per cent of survey respondents ‘not guilty’ about driving their cars. (Climate Research News)

Rush for renewable energy will put '£80 on household bills' - HOUSEHOLDS are facing large rises in their electricity bills in the coming decade because of the "dash" for renewables, according to an influential House of Lords report.

Consumers across Britain face an extra £80 a year on their energy bills as a result of the Government's commitment to source 15% of the UK's power from renewables by 2020. In Scotland, the target is higher, with ministers pledging to source 50% of the country's electricity from renewables by that year. (The Scotsman)

Clearing Forests For Biofuel Hurts Climate - Study - POZNAN - Clearing tropical forests to plant biofuels is a bad idea for the climate and reduces the diversity of animal and plant life, a study found on Monday.

"Keeping tropical rain forests intact is a better way to combat climate change than replacing them with biofuel plantations," according to scientists from seven nations writing in the journal Conservation Biology.

Millions of hectares of forest land in South East Asia has been converted to palm oil plantations to produce biofuels -- seen as greener than fossil fuels because plants soak up greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as they grow.

But the study, released on the opening day of 187-nation talks on a new UN climate treaty in Poland, said it would take 75 years for carbon emissions saved from using biofuels to make up for carbon released into the atmosphere by burning down a forest to clear it for a biofuel plantation. (Reuters)

The Free Speech Alliance Declares War on the “Censorship Doctrine”

A multitude of organizations, hundreds of thousands of individuals join together to defend the First Amendment from a reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine

Editor's Note: You too can join the Free Speech Alliance. Click here and sign the petition, and stand at the ready for whenever any liberal again threatens the First Amendment with talk of reinstating the Censorship Doctrine. (NewsBusters)

Never mind the pens and donuts - Dismissing information or research out of hand simply because of the source — whether it’s connected to groups whose politics we don’t agree with, is reporting something we don’t want to believe, or the author once received funding or consulted for a stakeholder — is a fallacy of logic known as ad hominem. It’s a simplistic response used by those unable to examine the accuracy and scientific integrity of the information itself. While it may be instinctive, it also leaves us more susceptible to bad science and to miss some of the best.

It’s not the source, it’s the science that matters. (Junkfood Science)

Surgery is not for two - For women wanting to get pregnant, the soundest medical information is vitally important for their health and safety, and that of their babies. The riskiest thing a woman of childbearing age can do is to trust any medical information from reporters or a news story. No credible medical professionals would ever consider basing patient care decisions on news stories, either. Doctors know that the results could be devastating for the women and babies in their care. (Junkfood Science)

Lack of vitamin D could spell heart trouble - Vitamin D deficiency—which is traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness—may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A growing body of evidence links low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to common CVD risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes, as well as major cardiovascular events including stroke and congestive heart failure. (American College of Cardiology)

See! Grandma knew a thing or two sending the kids out to play in the healthy sunshine! UV hysteria and Ozone Man's last ridiculous scare campaign have done a lot of harm to people's health for vitamin D is truly the "sunshine vitamin" (you synthesize it in your skin with reactions powered by sunlight). And what is the precursor compound from which you create this wonder health product? Cholesterol. Yup, the same compound from which you make testosterone and other necessary goodies for health and vigor. Still convinced it's icky, nasty stuff that must be pharmacologically-reduced to ever-lower levels? Still frightened a little sunshine will kill you? You shouldn't be.

Persistent pollutant may promote obesity - Tributyltin, a ubiquitous pollutant that has a potent effect on gene activity, could be promoting obesity, according to an article in the December issue of BioScience. The chemical is used in antifouling paints for boats, as a wood and textile preservative, and as a pesticide on high-value food crops, among many other applications. (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

So, uh... I shouldn't eat the antifouling paint off boat bottoms or I might get fat.....

 Bet it doesn't slow the anti-dam cranks any: Salmon-tracking network upends some sacred cows - WASHINGTON — They were two of the 1,000 juvenile salmon implanted with almond-sized transmitters as they headed out of the Rocky Mountains, down the Snake River bound for the sea.

Their remarkable three-month, 1,500-mile journey of survival to the Gulf of Alaska was tracked by an underwater acoustic listening network that has wired the West Coast from just north of San Francisco to southeastern Alaska. The tracking network could provide a model for a global system.

A salmon's life in the ocean has always been one of nature's best kept mysteries.

However, scientists using the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking network have made some startling discoveries that challenge long-held beliefs about salmon survival and raise new cautions about how global warming may affect salmon and other marine species.

Among the findings:

Previously, it was thought that the highest mortality rates for salmon were in the freshwater streams and rivers as they headed to the saltwater ocean. But using the acoustic tracking system, researchers found that within the first few weeks of entering the ocean, 40 percent of the salmon died. Meanwhile, billions of dollars have been spent to increase in-river survival rates of salmon through projects such as habitat improvements in spawning areas and the modification of hydroelectric dams.

A study by Welch, which has touched off a major scientific debate, found dams may have less of an impact on salmon survival rates than previously thought. The study found juvenile salmon from the Columbia River, with its string of massive hydroelectric dams, survived their downstream migration equally or better than those migrating downstream in the dam-free Fraser River in British Columbia. Some environmentalists have insisted the only way to restore the Columbia River runs is by breaching four dams on the lower Snake River, a major tributary of the Columbia. (McClatchy Newspapers)

ENVIRONMENT-US: Bush Quietly Passes Dozens of New Rules - UXBRIDGE, Canada, Dec 1 - As the world community meets in Poland this week to find solutions to the climate crisis, the George W. Bush White House is chaining the United States' tiller to prevent a change of course by President-elect Barack Obama by passing new anti-environmental rules and regulations at a furious pace.

Nearly a million hectares of public wildlands in Wyoming and Utah are being opened up to oil shale extraction, the Endangered Species Act is being gutted, as are regulations regarding factory farm operations, the Clean Air Act, and removing mountaintops to dig for coal and more, said a coalition of environmental groups.

"There are many last-minute changes and some are draconian," said Josh Dorner of the Sierra Club, an environmental NGO. (IPS)

Excellent! Shame he hasn't managed to undo much of the damage wrought by Slick Willy at the end of his disastrous term but we'll take what we can get.

Food crunch opens doors to bioengineered crops - KUNMING, China - Zeng Yawen's outdoor laboratory in the terraced hills of southern China is a trove of genetic potential , rice that thrives in unusually cool temperatures, high altitudes or in dry soil; rice rich in calcium, vitamins or iron.

"See these plants? They can tolerate the cold," Zeng says as he walks through a checkerboard of test fields sown with different rice varieties on the outskirts of Kunming, capital of southwestern China's Yunnan province.

"We can extract the cold-tolerant gene from this plant and use it in a genetically manipulated variety to improve its cold tolerance," Zeng says.

In a mountainous place like Yunnan, and in many other parts of the developing world, such advantages can tip the balance between hunger and a decent living. And China is now ready to tip that scale in favor of genetically modified crops. (Associated Press)

How fears turned to trust - Christian Walter has heard it all before.

"I've been accused of being in the pocket of Monsanto and other companies that have an interest in GE. I consider myself an environmentalist. I want to understand what the risks are and how they can be mitigated. I've no commercial interests. I put the data from my research in front of the people at this conference, in front of GE Free NZ and anyone who is interested. I want to be judged and trusted on my research which is publicly funded."

The senior scientist at Scion is responding to a press release from GE Free NZ saying many of the speakers at the GM Biosafety Symposium in Wellington a week ago were scientists "with vested interests in promoting the hasty commercialisation of GMOs for private gain".

For Walter it's an insulting statement that fails to understand how science works. He says he got into genetic modification research doing a PhD in Germany when he was still a member of Greenpeace and at the time very critical of the field.

"The more I learned, the more I found the risks weren't as big as some people wanted us to believe." He says it was the realisation that what occurs in conventional breeding is much more dangerous to the genome compared to genetic engineering, that changed his view. (New Zealand Herald)

Iraq To Revive Dead Farmland By Sucking Out Salt - BAGHDAD - Iraq started flushing excess salinity out of millions of acres of land on Monday in a project aimed at cleansing rivers, breathing new life into dying soils and reviving what was once part of "the fertile crescent".

Though Iraq is wetter and more arable than many of its desert-covered neighbours, centuries of irrigation and over-use have left swathes of farmland fallow because of salinity.

Salt collects in soil when farmers irrigate it with salty water or do not drain it properly. The soil gradually becomes useless.

"It's a huge project: we are seeking to collect and drain all the salty water and remove groundwater from the centre and the south (of Iraq)," Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Rasheed said at the launch of the project.

First thought up in the 1950s but frequently delayed by political upheaval, the project seeks to revive six million acres (2.5 million hectares) of land. (Reuters)

December 1, 2008

The Crone... Save the Economy, and the Planet - Environment ministers preparing for next week’s talks on global warming in Poznan, Poland, have been sounding decidedly downbeat. From Paris to Beijing, the refrain is the same: This is no time to pursue ambitious plans to stop global warming. We can’t deal with a financial crisis and reduce emissions at the same time.

There is a very different message coming from this country. President-elect Barack Obama is arguing that there is no better time than the present to invest heavily in clean energy technologies. Such investment, he says, would confront the threat of unchecked warming, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and help revive the American economy.

Call it what you will: a climate policy wrapped inside an energy policy wrapped inside an economic policy. By any name, it is a radical shift from the defeatism and denial that marked President Bush’s eight years in office. If Mr. Obama follows through on his commitments, this country will at last provide the global leadership that is essential for addressing the dangers of climate change. (New York Times)

Not even close! Even the foolish EU, who leapt into rash "climate control" mode years ago in an attempt to gain trade advantage over the US, has said "heck no" now that the costs are apparent and the economy is faltering. This is the moment you want to hand economic saboteurs a victory they admit they can not win?

President-elect Barack Obama proposes economic suicide for US - If the holder of the most powerful office in the world proposed a policy guaranteed to inflict untold damage on his own country and many others, on the basis of claims so demonstrably fallacious that they amount to a string of self-deluding lies, we might well be concerned. The relevance of this is not to President Bush, as some might imagine, but to a recent policy statement by President-elect Obama. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Obama on the 'urgency' of combating 'global warming' - In a video shown at a costly, two-day "global warming" jamboree at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hosted by Governor Schwarzenegger of California in November 2008, Barack Obama said:

"Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security."

Obama said he would introduce "a federal cap and trade system to reduce America's emissions of carbon dioxide to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 percent by 2050." He said his administration would "invest" $15 billion a year in solar power, wind power, biofuels, nuclear power and clean coal to "save the planet" by creating 5 million new "green jobs". (The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, American Thinker)

Economy may force Obama to cut back on green pledge - Barack Obama, who promised last week to write a "new chapter in America's leadership" on the environment, could find his hands tied by the economic crisis, a leading figure in global climate change negotiations said yesterday. (The Guardian)

New battle brews on Capitol Hill: Dems vs. Dems - WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats have a bigger majority than they've enjoyed in decades, but that doesn't necessarily mean there will be unity on Capitol Hill.

A new battle may be brewing as Democrats fighting Democrats show evidence of a party divide.

The growing Democratic majority could be in deadlock from within on issues ranging from climate change and energy to health care and social security.

"We're not just talking ideology here. The broader your majority, the more you've got different regions of the country that have different economic and social interests that you have to take into account," said Norman Ornstein, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. (CNN)

Europeans concerned about US climate commitment - WASHINGTON — Despite widespread optimism that President-elect Barack Obama will adopt policies more to their liking, some European officials are preparing to be disappointed on global warming. (AP)

Compromise Or Lose Climate Deal, Poland Warns EU - BRUSSELS - Europe risks failing on a deal to fight climate change this year because richer nations refuse to budge in a battle with poorer states over the costs, Poland's EU affairs minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz said on Thursday.

An EU deal next month is seen as vital to catalyze global talks on cutting greenhouse gases from other big emitters such as Russia, China, India and the United States.

"There is no guarantee of success -- we are very far," Dowgielewicz told reporters. "The number of outstanding issues is enormous." (Reuters)

Rich Shelving CO2 Cut Ambitions As Economies Slow - OSLO - Many industrialised nations are shelving ambitions for the deepest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as economic slowdown overshadows the fight against climate change.

About 190 countries meet for UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, next week with scant mention of a deal in Vienna last year by almost all rich nations to consider cuts in emissions of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

"That target is perhaps something that's on the back-burner for the time being," said Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN Climate Panel that said last year that industrialised nations needed to make such cuts to avoid the worst of warming. (Reuters)

Really? Australia Sees No Reason To Delay Carbon Plan - CANBERRA - The financial crisis was no reason to delay implementing an Australia-wide carbon trading plan, details of which will be unveiled with interim targets on Dec. 15, Australia's minister for climate change said on Friday. (Reuters)

but Wong delays emissions target - AUSTRALIA'S delay in announcing its 2020 greenhouse target until after a UN summit is a defensive move suggesting the Government will not take a lead in post-Kyoto talks.

That assessment comes from observers of the climate negotiation process.

Despite assurances that Climate Change Minister Penny Wong would fly to the summit in the Polish city of Poznan with a target on the table, the announcement has been delayed until December 15 — three days after talks conclude.

The delay also means Australia will not reveal its target until European leaders try to paper over growing divisions on a plan to cut emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020.

A news release late on Friday said Canberra would take account of international developments before revealing the depth of its emissions cuts. (The Age)

Australia squibs on climate promise - THE Rudd Government has reneged on a commitment to present its 2020 target to cut greenhouse gases to UN climate talks that start today. The back-pedalling comes amid wrangling in cabinet over how far to go with curbing emissions. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia needs a Moratorium on Emissions Trading - Viv Forbes from the Carbon Sense Coalition today called on the Australian Government to announce an immediate moratorium on plans to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme.

“In the midst of global financial turmoil and plummeting profits for Australia’s backbone industries, it is irresponsible to maintain uncertainty on who will be affected by these taxes, when and by how much.

“Australia is more reliant on mining, transport, electricity, cement, smelting, refining, farming, tourism and trade than any other country in the world. Taxes on emissions of carbon dioxide will reduce growth and jobs in all of these industries. The longer this uncertainty remains, the more jobs will be lost or go overseas. (CFP)

Green Taxes Need Explaining Or Risk Backlash - Study - OSLO - Governments must do a better job of explaining environmental taxes such as charges on driving in cities or higher electricity bills or risk a public backlash, a study showed on Friday.

Governments often fail to link green taxes to their goal of curbing energy use or helping a shift to renewable energies, according to Steffen Kallbekken, of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

"People do not understand environmental taxes," he told Reuters. "There is quite a strong belief that the revenues just disappear into a big black hole". (Reuters)

Actually taxpayers tend to have a good grasp on "environmental" taxes -- they are fully aware they are being ripped off with no hope of any good ever being delivered.

Efforts to support global climate-change falls: Poll - PARIS - There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.

Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.

Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop.

And only one in five respondents - or 20 per cent - said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 per cent a year ago. (Canwest News Service)

EU heads towards scaled-down climate ambitions - The French EU Presidency is "putting everything on the table" in a "desperate" bid to agree on the climate and energy package before the end of the year, sources close to the negotiations told EurActiv.

Poznan Climate Talks Endangered by Global Crisis - Although bringing 190 nations to the table to discuss the delicate problems of climate change and global warming was no easy deal, the United Nations predicts a "gloomy" outcome, among talks of the widely-spread financial crisis. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, predicts that participant countries will invoke all kinds of reasons to avoid making changes, citing their monetary difficulties. (Softpedia)

Testing times for peer juggling financial crisis and climate peril - Lord Turner puts forward 'budgets' for green progress - recession or not (The Guardian)

This item is more interesting for the manner in which it highlights ignorance at The Guardian. Under a pretty picture of water vapor issuing from cooling towers is the caption: "Gas being flared off at the Grangemouth oil refinery". Uh, no. Memo to Guardian, the interesting lighting effect in Murdo MacLeod's picture is from the low-horizon sun behind the central tower, the visible water vapor is composed of droplets, not gas and gas flares are the plumes of flame seen at various facilities as waste gases are burnt off.

China, India lead demand extra help for climate struggle - BEIJING: China and India next week will spearhead calls for rich nations to dig into their pockets to tackle climate change but will resist targeted curbs on their own carbon emissions, sources say. (AFP)

Environment Minister places economic priority over environment - In his first major speech since taking the post of federal environment minister, Jim Prentice signalled his government will not stir greater troubles in Canada's economy with strident environmental policies.

"We will not - and let me be clear on this - we will not aggravate an already weakening economy in the name of environmental progress," Prentice said in a speech to business leaders at the Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum Friday morning.

"If this means re-examining the way forward in the face of present-day economic realities, then so be it." (Calgary Herald)

Climate Fight Costs May Be Three Times More - LONDON - The cost of efforts to avoid dangerous global warming may be 170 percent higher than 2007 estimates, a report for the UN's climate agency said on Thursday.

The report comes four days before the UN leads a fresh round of talks in Poland to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in ongoing negotiations marred by squabbles over who should bear the cost of fighting climate change.

The UN report cited research by the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy adviser to 28 countries, and others which showed growing capital costs especially in the energy sector.

"The increased investment needed is entirely due to higher capital costs for energy supply facilities," it said. (Reuters)

Cost of reducing emissions by 2030 likely to surge: UN report - PARIS — Hundreds of billions more dollars are likely to be needed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a 2030 target, according to UN estimates published on Friday ahead of global talks on climate change. (AFP)

Carbon regulation could "cripple" Texas: Perry - HOUSTON - Texas Gov. Rick Perry said on Tuesday that the economy of the leading energy producing U.S. state would be "crippled" by a federal agency's proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. (Reuters)

Stop the warming! Ban Coke! - Reader J from Melbourne wonders why global warming crusaders still drink Coke. Or beer. Or any soft drink also aerated with carbon dioxide - the gas we’re told is heating the world to hell. Read below the results of J’s fascinating investigation - involving everything from Mentos to the Internet. But some highlights: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Many items like this and I suggest the Coca-Cola company may be a lot less cooperative with greenpeas et al -- in fact they might even distribute some sensible consumer information rather than recycling misanthropic green pap.

The fool’s gold of carbon trading: A huge new market designed to solve global warming seems doomed to failure - It was a deal to make Alistair Darling hug himself with glee. Just as the world’s existing financial markets were hitting a five-year low two weeks ago, the Treasury raked in a cool £54m from a brand new one. The occasion was Britain’s first auction of CO2 permits. Almost 4m were knocked down to greenhouse gas emitters in a sale that was four times oversubscribed. The government expects to sell 80m more over the next four years, raising a further £1 billion. (Sunday Times)

New Zealand's carbon market cast into limbo - WELLINGTON - New Zealand's fledgling carbon market has been thrown into limbo only weeks before its planned start date, after the incoming government met an election pledge to review emissions trading, industry officials said.

The scheme was to be the first carbon cap-and-trade scheme outside of Europe and had been designed to help the country meet its obligations under the Kyoto climate-change protocol. (Reuters)

Eye-roller: Climate change gathers steam, say scientists - PARIS — Earth's climate appears to be changing more quickly and deeply than a benchmark UN report for policymakers predicted, top scientists said ahead of international climate talks starting Monday in Poland.

Evidence published since the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change's (IPCC) February 2007 report suggests that future global warming may be driven not just by things over which humans have a degree of control, such as burning fossil fuels or destroying forest, a half-dozen climate experts told AFP.

Even without additional drivers, the IPCC has warned that current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, if unchecked, would unleash devastating droughts, floods and huge increases in human misery by century's end.

But the new studies, they say, indicate that human activity may be triggering powerful natural forces that would be nearly impossible to reverse and that could push temperatures up even further. (AFP)

Sierra Nevada climate changes feed monster, forest-devouring fires - Wildfire has marched across the West for centuries. But no longer are major conflagrations fueled simply by heavy brush and timber. Now climate change is stoking the flames higher and hotter, too. (Tom Knudson, Sacramento Bee)

Check out the comments under this Knudson warming fantasy -- I don't think they are quite on the same page as Knudson & the Bee :)

Trees To Fight Warming? Insurers Ponder Risks - OSLO - Paying landowners to let forests grow is promoted by the United Nations as a viable way to fight global warming, but experts first have to puzzle out how to insure trees against going up in smoke.

Under UN plans, owners will get carbon credits to slow the destruction of tropical forests. But fires caused by lightning -- along with other hazards such as storms, insects and illegal logging -- are a big risk for insurers and investors.

A new UN climate treaty to include granting forest owners tradeable carbon credits will be discussed by about 190 nations in Poznan, Poland, from Dec. 1-12. The credits could be worth billions of dollars for those agreeing not to cut down trees. (Reuters)

It's actually not that hard: "carbon credits" have exactly zero value so insure for lumber or not at all.

All the usual begging bowls before a climate meet: Forests Under Threat From Climate Change: Study - OSLO - Forests are extremely vulnerable to climate change that is set to bring more wildfires and floods and quick action is needed to aid millions of poor people who depend on forests, a study said on Thursday.

The report, by the Jakarta-based Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), urged delegates at a UN climate meeting in Poznan, Poland, from December 1-12 to work out new ways to safeguard forests in developing nations. (Reuters)

Can't blame them for wanting to be paid for hot air too: Forestry group lobbies for carbon credits - LONDON - Farmers and forest managers should be allowed to earn carbon offsets from planting and looking after trees in tropical countries, the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Center said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Wind Changes over Time and Space as a Climate Metric to Diagnose Temperature Trends - In Pielke et al. 2001: Analysis of 200 mbar zonal wind for the period 1958-1997. J. Geophys. Res., 106, D21, 27287-27290, we demonstrated that temporal and spatial trends in upper tropospheric winds can be used to diagnosis the trends in the tropospheric temperatures below the level of the wind observations. This concept uses what is called the “thermal wind relation” and is a robust, well-established relationship between the change of wind with altitude and the horizontal temperature gradient. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Real Climate Misunderstanding Of Climate Models - Real Climate has introduced a weblog titled FAQ on climate models. There are quite a few issues that can be raised with their answers, but I will focus on just one here. It is their answer to the question “What is tuning”. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Cave bears killed by Ice Age, not hunters: study - OSLO - Giant cave bears froze to death during the last Ice Age in Europe about 28,000 years ago, according to a study on Wednesday that cleared human hunters of driving them to extinction thousands of years later.

The largely vegetarian bears, weighing up to a ton and bigger than modern polar bears or Kodiak bears, apparently died off as a sharp cooling of the climate led to a freeze that killed off the fruits, nuts and plants they ate. (Reuters)

Scientists Crack Iceberg Mystery - OSLO - US scientists have figured out how icebergs break off Antarctica and Greenland, a finding that may help predict rising sea levels as the climate warms.

Writing in Friday's edition of the journal Science, they said icebergs formed fast when parent ice sheets spread out quickly over the sea. (Reuters)

Glaciers in Norway Growing Again - Scandinavian nation reverses trend, mirrors results in Alaska, elsewhere.

After years of decline, glaciers in Norway are again growing, reports the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The actual magnitude of the growth, which appears to have begun over the last two years, has not yet been quantified, says NVE Senior Engineer Hallgeir Elvehøy.

The flow rate of many glaciers has also declined. Glacier flow ultimately acts to reduce accumulation, as the ice moves to lower, warmer elevations.

The original trend had been fairly rapid decline since the year 2000. (Daily Tech)

Atlantic Hurricane Season Sets Records - This NOAA press release just showed up in my inbox, it seems to be a completely different take on the Hurricane season than that of Florida State’s COAPS and Ryan Maue who says:

Record inactivity continues: Past 24-months of Northern Hemisphere TC activity (ACE) lowest in 30-years. (Watts Up With That?)

Cold snap fails to cool protagonists of global warming - EUROPE is shivering through an extreme cold snap. One of the coldest winters in the US in more than 100 years is toppling meteorological records by the dozen, and the Arctic ice is expanding. Even Australia has been experiencing unseasonable snow.

But the stories about global warming have not stopped, not for a second. (The Australian)

Thousands of elderly people are dying each winter in a 'national scandal', official figures show - Last winter 25,300 more people died in the winter months than in the summer, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Most of these are due to circulatory and respiratory diseases and the majority occur among the elderly in a situation which has been condemned by campaigners.

There are fears the death toll will be higher this year as forecasters predict lower temperatures than last year, utility bills have risen and the credit crunch means many households are struggling to make ends meet. (Daily Telegraph)

It is cold that kills (Benny Peiser)

Some locust plagues don't like it hot - It's not often we can report on some good news associated with climate change. But it seems that warming temperatures could give welcome respite to farmers - in China, at least - by suppressing locust plagues.

Zhibin Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues have trawled through 1000 years of historical records documenting locust swarms and compared it with 1000 years of temperature, drought and flood data estimates.

They found that the Oriental migratory locust (Locusta migratoria manilensis), which has been named as one of the most damaging agricultural pests in Chinese history, operates on a climate-driven cycle. Every 160 to 170 years, the swarms get bigger then subside again.

Counterintuitively, the timing of the largest swarms coincides with cooler periods.

"The popular view is that global warming may accelerate natural and biological disasters like drought and flood events, and outbreaks of pests, as predicted by the IPCC," says Zhang. "Our results suggest that warming reduced climatic extremes and locust plagues in ancient China." (New Scientist)

The Nude Socialist believes it counterintuitive that warmer times are good times (they are not ideologues though...). Wonder if their staff all avoid tropical and Mediterranean holiday destinations? Meanwhile Chinese history conflicts with the IPCC's model ensemble and must therefore be wrong -- everybody knows the wildly conflicting models cancel out all errors and must therefore deliver the only true results on averaging ;)

Statistician debunks Gore’s climate linkage to the collapse of the Mayan civilisation - This is an email I recently received from statistician Dr. Richard Mackey who writes: (Watts Up With That)

Oh dear... Melanoma cases likely to decline - New Zealand could lose its unenviable reputation as the skin-cancer centre of the world thanks to climate change.

Extreme levels of ultra-violet (UV) radiation caused by clear skies and bright sunshine kill between 250 and 300 Kiwis a year, giving New Zealand the highest death rate from melanoma in the world.

However, there may be cause for celebration, with some scientists believing that by the second half of this century the rate will be falling.

Scientists think that climate change will speed up a recovery of the ozone layer over much of the world and block out more of the damaging UV rays. (The Press)

To begin with, we have no indication the conceptual "ozone layer" is broken or that it will ever "be fixed". Moreover, it remains unclear whether UVA (ultraviolet radiation in the 320-400 nanometer [nm] band and not blocked by ozone) or UVB (270-320nm, which causes sunburn and is both blocked by ozone (O3) and, if allowed to penetrate the atmosphere, creates ozone lower in the atmosphere where it can be an irritant in photochemical smog) which is responsible for malignant melanomas, if either. Regardless, the tropics receive far heavier bombardment with radiation of both types and yet life thrives there. Finally, it is changing fashion and leisure time which has increased people's exposure to solar radiation far more than any trivial change in ozone "shielding" as fair skinned Europeans have gone from occasional outings to the beach in neck to knee swimwear to regularly toasting themselves "tanning" on the beach in bikinis and briefs. Ironically, clearing cities of coal and wood smoke has significantly increased urban exposure to solar radiation but this has squat to do with "thinning ozone".

When the warmest year in history isn't - Here's another reason why people don't trust newspapers. When science reporters write about, say, hormone therapy or drinking red wine, they report on studies that find that hormones or red wine can be good for you, as well as studies that suggest otherwise. Any science involving complex organisms is rarely black and white.

When it comes to global warming, newspapers play up stories that reinforce the prevalent the-sky-is-falling belief that global warming is human-caused and catastrophic. But if a study or scientist does not portend the end of the world as we know it, it rarely rates as news.

In that spirit, many papers (including The Chronicle) have reported on a UC San Diego science historian who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on global warming published between 1993 and 2003, and concluded, "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

Over 10 years, not one study challenged the orthodoxy - does that sound right to you? If that were true, it would strongly suggest that, despite conflicting evidence in this wide and changing world, no scientist dares challenge the politically correct position on the issue. (Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle)

How not to measure temperature, part 78 - teach the children well - Title with apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

In my last post, part 77 of “How not to measure temperature” I pointed out that the National Weather Service in Upton NY has a weather station that is way out of compliance due to the way it is setup and the proximity to bias factors such as the parking lot. (Watts Up With That?)

<chuckle> Thanksgiving’s Future: Kangaroo Instead of Turkey? - Incoming President Obama will undoubtedly call for a renewed crusade against greenhouse gas emissions. Will Thanksgiving dinners in the future feature kangaroo instead of turkey?

Don’t get me wrong. Turkeys emit lots less greenhouse gas than beef cattle. Cattle today are fed lots of grain, and growing it requires nitrogen fertilizer (made with natural gas), and much diesel fuel for the tractors and combines. In addition, cows naturally emit vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times as dangerous to the environment as CO2.

Turkeys (and also chickens) make twice as much meat per pound of grain as cattle, and their stomachs don’t create methane. That means far less than half as much greenhouse gas emitted per pound of turkey as from beef production. But Britain just passed a law to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. If the U.S. is to match that sort of emission cuts, even turkey won’t be “green” enough. (Dennis Avery, CFP)

Actually Dennis could have told you about Emu -- not so tasty as turkey perhaps but the portions go further ;)

Al Gore does Oprah - was anybody watching? - We can only hope the most people in the US are shopping on Black Friday and not watching the Oprah Winfrey Show today. Al Gore has brought his global warming propaganda machine to share with Oprah. You can find the details on Oprah’s web page. Here are some of the topics that Gore is pushing: (Watts Up With That?)

By all means make lawyers richer...Lawyers call for international court for the environment - A former chairman of the Bar Council is calling for an international court for the environment to punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change. (Daily Telegraph)

... for what would the world be like without them?

Physicist says warming fears 'manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis'

Comments sent to EPA by research physicist John W. Brosnahan of Vanderpool, Texas, who develops remote-sensing instruments for atmospheric science for such clients as NOAA and NASA and who has published much peer-reviewed research. Brosnahan has given permission for public release of his statement

As a research physicist who has spent the past 30 years of my career in atmospheric science, I am surprised that government agencies, politicians, and much of the public have been manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis, which is the best way to describe the "non-link" between CO2 and global warming. There is virtually NO physical science to support any role of man's generation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in climate change. All of this pseudo-science is driven by poorly conceived computer modeling and represents a political agenda that uses science and the public as pawns. (John W. Brosnahan via Greenie Watch)

Beware the church of climate alarm - As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him.

The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a "rejected genius", and asserts there is "palpable fear" he will "embarrass" the EU.

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown.

As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate. (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

Erika Lovley, Welcome to the Show - This piece in Politico yesterday, daring to acknowledge scientific debate about “global warming,” was not about to go untouched by the opprobrium of the Green noise machine, which is dedicated to teaching anyone who dares speak up that it might not be beneficial to their careers. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

A Clean Air Rule to Keep - Among the many environmental indictments of the Bush administration is that it has failed in two terms to achieve any significant reduction in smog, acid rain, mercury and greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Its one serious effort to reduce some of these emissions was shot down by the federal courts. And conditions could easily get worse — weaker laws, more pollution — if President Bush proceeds with a last-minute rule change aimed at stripping the Clean Air Act of one of its most important provisions. (New York Times)

Except that NYT's desired format is counterproductive. All it does is discourage plant maintenance and upgrading. Greenhouse gas emissions will eventually be recognized as the problem that never was or even could be, mercury mania is basically an assault on the energy supply and is of trivial environmental or health benefit while acid rain made a good scare of, um, no consequence really (although Scandinavian studies indicate "acid rain" boosted their forest growth). Exactly why The Crone whines and hand-wrings wanting nothing good remains a mystery.

UN Climate Boss Warns Of "Cheap, Dirty" Energy Fix - POZNAN - The world must avoid a "cheap and dirty" fix for the economy that could undermine the fight against global warming, the UN's top climate official said on Sunday.

Yvo de Boer said the world risked a second financial crisis if governments reacted to economic slowdown by building cheap, high-polluting coal-fired power plants that might then have to be scrapped as climate impacts hit. (Reuters)

Except there is not now, never has been nor is there ever likely to be any climatic reason to scrap power plants.

Shell Says EU Carbon Plan May Harm Refinery - Paper - AMSTERDAM - European Union plans to tighten carbon trading rules after 2012 risk damaging the global competitiveness of Royal Dutch Shell's Pernis refinery, a Shell executive told a newspaper published on Saturday. (Reuters)

Well, someone's going to "Drill Baby, Drill!" Russia to drill for oil in deep Gulf of Mexico Cuban waters - Russian oil companies could soon begin searching for oil in deep Gulf of Mexico waters off Cuba, a top diplomat said just days before Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the island. Russian oil companies have "concrete projects" for drilling in Cuba's part of the gulf, said Mijail Kamynin, Russia's ambassador to Cuba, to the state-run business magazine Opciones. (Mercopress)

Low Carbon Price May Stunt Investment In Wind, Sun - LONDON - Falling prices for European carbon emissions permits could stunt investment in the renewable energy sector both within and outside Europe, but the credit crunch continues to have a greater impact. (Reuters)

Whatever happened to the hydrogen economy? - WHATEVER happened to the hydrogen economy? At the turn of the century it was the next big thing, promising a future of infinite clean energy and deliverance from climate change. Generate enough hydrogen, so the claim went, and we could use it to transform the entire energy infrastructure - it could supply power for cars, planes and boats, buildings and even portable gadgets, all without the need for dirty fossil fuels. Enthusiasts confidently predicted the breakthrough was just five to 10 years away. But today, despite ever-worsening news on global warming and with peak oil looming, the hydrogen economy seems as distant as ever. (New Scientist)

What happened to the hydrogen economy? Absolutely nothing -- never was one, never will be.

Environmental activists to stage 48-hour protest - Up to 30,000 climate refugees could be created if plans to build a new coal-fired power station go ahead, a report claimed today. (Press Association)

It could also rain moon men, too, but I doubt that just as much...

EU Plans To Limit Biofuel Impact On Forests - BRUSSELS - The European Commission plans new rules for biofuels by the end of 2010 to prevent the valuable trade from encouraging the destruction of rainforests, a document seen by Reuters on Thursday showed. (Reuters)

EU Near Green Energy Deal Despite Biofuel Deadlock - BRUSSELS - The European Union has agreed rough deals on promoting renewable energy, but talks remain deadlocked over the controversial issue of biofuels, the European Parliament's lead negotiator said. (Reuters)

Green tax is the end of low-cost flights - Airlines and tour operators have reacted angrily to this week's pre-Budget announcement, warning that plans to increase green taxes on the “cash cow” of travel will hasten the end of low-cost flights. (The Times)

New Blog: The Clamour Of The Times: A Johnsonian Blog: by Professor Philip Stott - Asked by his friend, James Boswell (1740-1795), why ‘predestination’ figured in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, Dr. Johnson (1709-1784) replied that it was but “the clamour of the times”. The aim of this blog is to interrogate “the clamour” of our own noisy times. (Clamour Of The Times)

Remembering those less fortunate - Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for our blessings. It’s also a good time to remember those whose tummies aren’t full of turkey and all the fixins, who find themselves alone and who don’t have enough to eat.

The latest Household Food Security in the U.S. 2007 report from the U.S. Economic Research Service revealed that the percentage of food insecure households in the United States have remained stable over the past decade, but those with hunger (now called “very low food security”) have steadily crept up — rising by one-third since 1999. Just over 4% of households experienced hunger in our country in 2007. (Junkfood Science)

FDA alert: All-natural weight loss supplements found tainted - The FDA has issued an alert to consumers and healthcare professionals about two dietary supplements sold for weight loss. Both have been found to be adulterated with prescription drugs and could endanger consumers.

According to the FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, these products sold as natural diet aids have been recalled by the manufacturers. Consumers should discontinue taking them and return the products to the manufacturers. (Junkfood Science)

Political correctness teaching prejudice - University students voted to discontinue its fundraiser for a genetic disease that cuts short the lives of young people. The reason they gave is what has caught attention: the victims of the disease aren’t the right color or gender. The Carlatan University Students' Association said the disease is not “inclusive” enough. (Junkfood Science)

Do you know where your health news and information comes from? - If a commercial entity provides $3-4 million to finance a news service to produce in-depth coverage of policy issues that make a case for its services — including paying journalists to write columns, and create video interviews, multimedia and free content for syndication to news outlets around the world — would most readers consider the news to be unbiased journalism or paid marketing? (Junkfood Science)

Who needs science and facts when you can just hire a public relations firm? - A new computer game for children, ages 10 to 14, is already being called the autopsy game. Its goal is to scare children about their food and health, and teach them that if they eat bad foods — ‘red light’ foods with fats, sugar and salt — they could die before their parents and get fatal diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

The goal of the game, called Yoobot, is said to be to get kids to realize that their food and lifestyle choices can have dire consequences and that they are “playing with their futures.” (Junkfood Science)

Diagnoses Of Cancer Decline in The U.S. - The pace at which Americans are getting cancer has started to decline, marking what could be a long-awaited turning point in the battle against the disease, according to an annual report that tracks progress in the war on cancer.

Cancer deaths have also continued a decline that began in the early 1990s, meaning that for the first time both trend lines are dropping. (Washington Post)

The Minimal Impact of a Big Hypertension Study - The surprising news made headlines in December 2002. Generic pills for high blood pressure, which had been in use since the 1950s and cost only pennies a day, worked better than newer drugs that were up to 20 times as expensive.

The findings, from one of the biggest clinical trials ever organized by the federal government, promised to save the nation billions of dollars in treating the tens of millions of Americans with hypertension — even if the conclusions did seem to threaten pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer that were making big money on blockbuster hypertension drugs.

Six years later, though, the use of the inexpensive pills, called diuretics, is far smaller than some of the trial’s organizers had hoped. (New York Times)

Always on guard against useful products: EU Watchdog Calls For Cuts In 13 Pesticide Elements - MILAN - Europe's leading food risk assessment agency EFSA has identified 13 substances whose use should be cut in growing fruit and vegetables to protect human health, it said in a statement on Thursday.

EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, is sifting through 300 active substances -- chemicals and micro-organisms -- used in pesticides across the 27-nation bloc to check if their existing maximum residue levels are safe for humans. (Reuters)

Ripping off consumers under green camouflage: Canada's Loblaw To Charge For Plastic Shopping Bags - TORONTO - Loblaw Co, Canada's biggest supermarket chain, said on Thursday that it will start charging customers a fee for every plastic shopping bag they use.

The company, with more than 1,000 grocery stores across Canada, said it would begin charging customers 5 Canadian cents a bag on April 22, 2009, which is Earth Day.

The company said it would also encourage customers to use alternatives to plastic bags and enhance its offer of affordable reusable bag options. Loblaw currently offers reusable fabric bags to its customers for a small fee. (Reuters)

Green Bridge to Nowhere - James Gustave “Gus” Speth is the consummate environmental insider. For over thirty years he has played a key role in the development of environmentalist organizations and agendas. He was present at the founding of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970 and later launched the World Resources Institute, a $27 million enterprise that may be the most influential environmental think tank in the world. He served on, and eventually chaired, President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality, where he oversaw production of the apocalyptic Global 2000 report. During the 1990s he worked on President Clinton’s transition team and headed up the United Nations Development Program, and he is now dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

His prominence within the environmental establishment means that when Gus Speth speaks, environmentalists listen. He is not only an academic dean but, in many respects, the dean of contemporary environmental thinkers. Like others, he advocates ambitious and far-reaching environmental programs; unlike many, he has held positions in which to make such things happen. Few with his green bona fides have his currency in the halls of power or connections with global leaders. Yet like so many celebrated environmental thinkers, he lacks a clear or compelling vision of how to reconcile contemporary civilization with the need for environmental protection. (Jonathan H. Adler, New Atlantic)

Mumbai: the nihilism that dare not speak its name - The terrible assaults on the Indian city of growth and ambition suggest that contemporary terrorism is not as alien as we think. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

The Spread Of Nihilism's Bloody Stain - The terrorist assault on Mumbai is the latest clash between civilization and nihilism. From the Somali pirates to the Taliban, this is what the world would be like without America. (IBD)

The Thrill Of Victory - Nineteen months after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war "lost," a freely elected Iraqi Parliament signs a security pact with the United States. We won. It is the terrorists and their appeasers who lost. (IBD)

Too many rich US farmers get subsidies: GAO - WASHINGTON - Too many rich farmers continue to receive US farm subsidies in spite of income caps designed to restrict their participation, and the Agriculture Department needs to do more to enforce the rules, the auditing arm of Congress said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

In Maryland, Focus on Poultry Industry Pollution - WILLARDS, Md. — Standing before a two-story-tall pile of chicken manure, Lee Richardson pondered how times had changed.

“When I left school and started working the land, this stuff was seen as farmer’s gold,” said Mr. Richardson, 38, a fifth-generation chicken grower, explaining that the waste was an ideal fertilizer for the region’s sandy soil. “Now, it’s too much of a good thing.”

How to handle the 650 million pounds of chicken manure produced in the state each year has sparked a fierce debate between environmentalists and the state’s powerful poultry industry. State officials hope to bring Maryland in line with most other states next month by enacting new rules for where, how and how long chicken farmers can spread the manure on their fields or store it in outdoor piles. (New York Times)

Honey bee crisis threatens English fruit farmers - LONDON - Where in the United States, fruit farmers pay to have bees trucked thousands of miles to pollinate their crops and in parts of China, humans with feather dusters have taken on the task, in Britain most bees go nature's way.

Britons have a deep nostalgia for home-grown honey and its associations with an ordered rural lifestyle. But here, too, the honey bee population is dwindling, and with winter under way faces a tough fight for survival.

Besides warnings the country will run out of English honey by Christmas, there is a threat to growers of fruits such as apples and pears. (Reuters)

Sahel Africans Face Hunger Despite Bumper Harvest - DAKAR - Poor people in Africa's arid Sahel region will go without food despite bumper harvests this year, as wild price moves on world markets put staple cereals beyond many families' budgets, aid agencies say. Prices of imported foods have ballooned in recent years, pushing up prices for locally grown crops even though harvests are expected to be bigger than ever after abundant rains.

"The nature of food insecurity has changed in West Africa," Alexander Woollcombe, Food Security Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam GB told Reuters. "It's not a problem of production. The problem is, poor people can't afford to buy it." (Reuters)

ARGENTINA: Frustration Over Veto of Glacier Protection Law - BUENOS AIRES, Nov 28 - The decision by the administration of Cristina Fernández to veto a law to protect Argentina's glaciers -- important reserves of freshwater -- has caused deep concern among scientists and environmentalists who participated in writing the legislation.

"We worked closely with the legislators to get this law passed," said a disappointed Ricardo Villalba, geoscientist and director of the Argentine government's institute for snow and glacier research, IANIGLA.

"It's difficult to understand what happened. The scientific community doesn't want to slow economic development, but rather preserve freshwater sources in a region where the provinces rely on those reserves for consumption and irrigation," Villalba, a member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Tierramérica. (Tierramérica)

And that's what they never get -- "preservation" is an attempt at stasis in an ever-changing world.