The same people driving the lawsuits that seek to dismantle the Obama administration’s health care overhaul have set their sights on an even bigger target:
a constitutional amendment that would allow a vote of the states to overturn any act of Congress.
Under the proposed “repeal amendment,” any federal law or regulation could be repealed if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states voted to do so.
The idea has been propelled by the wave of Republican victories in the midterm elections. First promoted by Virginia lawmakers and Tea Party groups, it has the
support of legislative leaders in 12 states. It also won the backing of the incoming House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor, when it was introduced
this month in Congress.
Like any constitutional amendment, it faces enormous hurdles: it must be approved by both chambers of Congress — requiring them to agree, in this case, to
check their own power — and then by three-quarters of, or 38, state legislatures.
Still, the idea that the health care legislation was unconstitutional was dismissed as a fringe argument just six months ago — but last week, a federal judge
agreed with that argument. Now, legal scholars are handicapping which Supreme Court justices will do the same.
The repeal amendment reflects a larger, growing debate about federal power at a time when the public’s approval of Congress is at a historic low. In the last
several years, many states have passed so-called sovereignty resolutions, largely symbolic, aimed at nullifying federal laws they do not agree with, mostly on
health care or gun control. (NYT)
Governance: It is an anachronism a constitutional amendment tried to kill. It lets defeated legislators wreak political and economic havoc without
consequence. Like the dodo, the lame duck should be extinct.
Elections are supposed to have consequences, one of them being occasionally throwing the rascals out. Yet here the rascals we threw out on Nov. 2 are still
running the roost and deciding the fate of our republic in ways we have already rejected.
Enter the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Ratified on Jan. 23, 1933, it was designed to end forever the excesses of lame duck sessions, but because of
the way it was written utterly failed to accomplish one of its main purposes. (IBD)
The vaccine makers are in a bind — and public health is in danger.
By Jonathan (Josh) Bloom, Ph.D., Gilbert Ross, M.D.
The development of new antibiotics has slowed to a trickle, just when we need them most. As drug-resistant bacteria are on the rampage worldwide, we find
ourselves in a most precarious situation — one not unlike the one we faced in the pre-antibiotic era, before penicillin, when staphylococcal and pneumococcal
infections were the dominant pathogens. Now MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) kills more people than AIDS every year, and other
multiple-drug-resistant organisms have appeared, leaving doctors with few therapeutic weapons for treating a number of prevalent infections.
How did this happen? Much of the blame can be laid at the feet of the FDA. (ACSH)
A virus previously thought to be linked to a baffling condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome is not the cause of the disease, scientists said on Monday
after their study found previous research was contaminated in the lab.
Researchers from University College London, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Oxford University said cell samples from patients in earlier studies were
contaminated with the virus, known as XMRV, which is found in the DNA of mice.
This suggests the patients were not infected with XMRV and it could not have triggered their illness, the scientists said.
The finding, published in the journal Retrovirology, is the latest to contradict a U.S. study from 2009 which suggested a link between XMRV and chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS) when the virus was found in the blood of 68 out of 101 CFS patients. The XMRV virus has also been identified in samples from certain prostate
"Our conclusion is quite simple: XMRV is not the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome," said Greg Towers, of UCL, who worked on the latest study.
"All our evidence shows that the sequences from the virus genome in cell culture have contaminated human chronic fatigue syndrome and prostate cancer
A lack of toilets and poor hygiene practices in India cost Asia's third largest economy almost $54 billion every year, the World Bank said on Monday.
Premature deaths, treatment for the sick, wasted time and productivity, as well as lost tourism revenues, are the main reasons for the high economic losses, the
bank said in a report.
"For decades, we have been aware of the significant impacts of inadequate sanitation in India," Christopher Juan Costain, the World Bank's head for
South Asia's water and sanitation program, told a news conference.
"The report quantifies the economic losses to India, and shows that children and poor households bear the brunt of poor sanitation."
The study "Economic impacts of inadequate sanitation in India" is based on figures taken from 2006, but experts say these remain similar now. It said
the largest economic loss was as a result of poor public health. (Reuters)
At an all-day White House conference on "environmental justice," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is
creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations.
Speaking at the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice on Thursday, Napolitano discussed the initial findings of the department’s recently created
"Climate Change and Adaptation Task Force." (CNSNews.com)
So, someone please tell me, what is Janet proposing? Our climate is already subjected to constant naked scanning and satellite surveillance,
invasive probes and endless cavity searches as a matter of routine. Tell us, Ms. Napolitano, what can you threaten the climate with that it does not already
endure at present? Why will it yield any more information to you than we manage to extract already? Headline: Homeland Security waterboards Gaia; no confession
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Saturday a “clean” energy standard for electric utilities could gain traction among Republicans in the next Congress
even though it would create a new federal mandate.
Murkowski, the top GOP member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the standard should allow wide discretion for states and regions, which would
help build support. (E2 Wire)
Fraud: wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
Fraud: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.
A British Gas advertisement says, “The future of Britain’s low carbon energy supply is in safe hands.” ExxonMobil’s advertisement says “we
remove CO2 from natural gas by first freezing, then melting it. The captured CO2 may then be safely stored, so it won’t enter the atmosphere, reducing
greenhouse gas emissions.” How much energy does that take? It means the product costs more and profits increase because the taxpayer subsidizes CO2
injection to increase oil recovery.
The Cancun Climate Conference and most national policies confirm equalization of wealth as the real objective. Everything is based on falsified evidence and
completely unnecessary. If a private citizen practiced such deception it would constitute fraud. Despite evidence of manipulated data, corrupted science, false
claims, and failed predictions the nonsense continues. (Tim Ball, CFP)
CLIMATE CHANGE: THE COLD spell Ireland and the rest of northern Europe has been experiencing may, paradoxically, be the result of global warming, rather than
evidence it is not happening, according to the most recent scientific research.
The Journal of Geophysical Research suggested a link between diminishing levels of sea ice in the Arctic and an increased probability of harsh winters across
Europe, saying these “do not conflict the global warming picture, but rather supplement it”. (The Irish Times)
Waterways receiving nitrogen from human activities are significant source
What goes in must come out, a truism that now may be applied to global river networks.
Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is a potent
greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone destruction.
It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrogen to nitrous oxide and an inert gas called dinitrogen.
When summed across the globe, scientists report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), river and stream networks are
the source of at least 10 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions to the atmosphere.
That's three times the amount estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (NSF)
As in: Big deal. "Ozone depletion" is not and never was a problem, nor is enhanced greenhouse - despite all the panic that it might
magically become one.
The sun went spotless yesterday, the first time in quite
awhile. It seems like a good time to present this analysis from my friend David Archibald. For those not familiar with the Dalton Minimum, here’s some
background info from Wiki:
The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830. Like the
Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for
example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years. The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, also occurred during the Dalton Minimum. Solar cycles 5 and 6, as
shown below, were greatly reduced in amplitude. – Anthony
Dalton minimum in the 400 year history of sunspot numbers
Guest post by David Archibald
James Marusek emailed me to ask if I could update a particular graph. Now that it is a full two years since the month of solar minimum, this was a good
opportunity to update a lot of graphs of solar activity.
Figure 1: Solar Polar Magnetic Field Strength
The Sun’s current low level of activity starts from the low level of solar polar magnetic field strength at the 23/24 minimum. This was half the level at
the previous minimum, and Solar Cycle 24 is expected to be just under half the amplitude of Solar Cycle 23.
A paper presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting this week finds that Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic experienced a
"dramatic" Medieval Warming Period from 800-1200 AD with temperatures 2 to 3 degrees C higher than the mean temperature of the past 100 years.
Ellesmere Island was also in the news this week due to a discovery of a mummified forest where "no trees now grow" due to its "current frigid
state." (Hockey Schtick)
For a second
time, a letter has appeared in the journal Science urging scientists to action regarding climate change. “Because of the physics of the climate system,
we must ensure that global emissions of greenhouse gases peak and start to decline rapidly within a decade in order to have a reasonable chance of meeting the 2°C
goal,” urge the authors, noting that “humankind has waffled and delayed for decades; further delay risks serious consequences for people and the ecosystems
on which we rely.” What is not immediately obvious is who these correspondents are. While some are legitimate scientists, a number turn out to be from
somewhat nebulous organizations and institutions. They are philosophers, ethicists and “decision scientists” who have turned shilling for climate disaster
into a career. They grow like a tapeworm within the bowels of science—they are climate science parasites.
In 2009, a number of climate change activists sent a letter to Science, bemoaning the ability of society to make use of scientific
knowledge and urging scientists to form an organized, dumbed-down front when communicating with non-scientists regarding climate change. At that time, this blog
labeled the authors climate change spin doctors. Evidently, the results of
that naked appeal for help in bamboozling the public were insufficient, since a number of the same people have again written to Science with a new appeal
for expanded scientific subterfuge. This new request has caused me to relabel the offending authors science parasites, for the reasons explained below. (Doug L.
Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
On Sept. 24, Scott Storms, a lawyer for the Indiana utility commission, quit and went to work for Duke after receiving an ethics waiver. That decision
outraged consumer advocates. On Oct. 5, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels fired the commission’s head and ordered a reopening of Mr. Storm’s recent decisions
involving Duke. Duke later fired Mr. Storms and also its top local executive who had hired him.
End of story? Not by a long shot. Then came a release of emails pried loose by the Indianapolis Star, which led to the resignation last week of James Turner,
Duke’s executive in charge of its regulated utility businesses. The emails exposed an allegedly excessive coziness between Indiana regulators and Duke
executives, who joked about cars, wine and wives. In one email, Duke’s Mr. Turner wondered if the state’s “ethics police would have a cow” if a top
regulator visited him at his weekend home.
Then again, you might wonder how the people involved could have helped being buddy-buddy with each other. Virtually all the players working for Duke had once
worked for the Indiana government, while the main player on Indiana’s side, the head of its utility commission, had once been a lawyer for a local utility now
owned by Duke.
The company in the future might be smart to hire out-of-staters to run its Indiana business. The state might be smart to subject its utility regulators to
legislative confirmation or direct election by voters, as other states do to ward off cronyism. Hovering over all is Duke’s Edwardsport coal-gasification
plant, whose high-tech white elephanthood is a direct product of Mr. Rogers’s attempt to position his company to prosper in the age of climate politics.
The plant, which is nearly $1 billion over budget, was always destined to mean higher prices for consumers compared to the low-tech coal plants it would
replace. But it was sold to the locals as supplying not just electricity but a “clean coal” future for Indiana’s “dirty” coal-mining industry. More to
the point, the plant’s economics were supposed to be rescued when Congress passed cap and trade, dramatically hiking costs for traditional coal power plants.
Mr. Rogers here was betting on Mr. Rogers, the closest thing to a celebrity CEO in the utility business, profiled in the New York Times magazine two years
ago as a “green coal baron.” No executive has lobbied as noisily or consistently for a national price on carbon output. His wish seemed certain to come true
after both major parties nominated climate worrywarts in the 2008 presidential contest.
But something about a 9.8% national unemployment rate has now made politicians less keen on imposing higher utility bills. Nor did Mr. Rogers count on what
we’ll boldly call the public’s growing sophistication about climate science. Where the public was once prepared to believe in a pending climate meltdown
because “scientists” said so, now it entertains the possibility that “scientists” are human, capable of mistaking theory for fact, of confusing belief
From the start, the Edwardsport plant was unpopular with certain consumer and green groups for whom clean coal is an oxymoron, but they were outvoiced by
other groups that take a more realistic view of America’s dependence on coal. Now the opponents are limbering up again, joined by industrial customers such as
Nucor Steel, who fret about getting socked with high-priced electricity.
Though it isn’t reflected in the emails, let’s just assume then a certain neuralgia on Duke’s part about whether Indiana regulators will continue to
let the plant’s costs be passed along to consumers. Until the scandal, the state had been reasonably obliging. But ‘tis the season to be charitable. The
critics should also acknowledge that Duke and the rest of the industry have been in a tough position, trying to invest billions to meet future demand despite
nagging uncertainty about the future of climate policy. The Edwardsport plant may be proving a wrong bet in this regard, but that does not mean that Indiana’s
regulatory process has been corrupted.
Just the opposite: The plant was hugely popular with the political firmament, and continues to benefit from a gusher of federal, state and local tax
subsidies worth $460 million. One could even say the regulatory process made the Edwardsport blunder possible. Without regulators around to guarantee a return
on such a risky and pioneering investment, Duke likely would have sat on it hands and let rising electricity prices take care of any gap between demand and
supply while waiting for the country to make up its mind about global warming.
Read full story and many comments here. (Via Icecap)
THE internationally renowned scientist recruited by the Queensland government to head its clean coal research has resigned.
Kelly Thambimuthu has quit in protest against what he sees as a downgrading of the area.
Dr Thambimuthu, who has strong international connections in clean coal research through his chairmanship of the International Energy Agency's greenhouse
program, resigned from the state government-run ZeroGen project last month.
The Queensland government announced at the weekend that it would pass the project -- which aims to build a zero-emission coal-fired power station -- on to the
industry-run Australian Coal Association. This would delay the construction of such a power station by at least five years. (Andrew Fraser, The Australian)
Study gathers comprehensive wind info to improve renewable energy
RICHLAND, Wash. – Meteorological equipment typically used to monitor storms could help power grid operators know when to expect winds that will send turbine
blades spinning, as well as help them avoid the sudden stress that spinning turbines could put on the electrical grid.
"We know that the wind will blow, but the real challenge is to know when and how much," said atmospheric scientist Larry Berg. "This project
takes an interesting approach –adapting an established technology for a new use – to find a reliable way to measure winds and improve wind power
Berg and Rob Newsom, both researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, are using a variety of meteorological equipment to
measure winds high up into the air – about 350 feet, the average height of turbine hubs – and get a better reading on how winds behave up there.
Wind measurements are typically made much lower – at about 30 feet high – for weather monitoring purposes. Wind power companies do measure winds higher up,
but that information is usually kept proprietary. PNNL's findings will be available to all online. (DOE/PNNL)
HENRY E. HUDSON, the federal judge in Virginia who ruled this week that the individual mandate provision of the new health care law is unconstitutional, has
become the object of widespread derision. Judge Hudson explained that whatever else Congress might be able to do, it cannot force people to engage in a
commercial activity, in this case buying an insurance policy.
Critics contend that Judge Hudson has unduly restricted Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce, the principal basis on which the government
defends the law. Some also claim that he ignored the “necessary and proper” clause of the Constitution, which allows Congress leeway to choose how to put in
place national economic programs. Yet a closer reading shows that Judge Hudson’s analysis could prove irresistible to the Supreme Court and that there is a
reasonable chance it will agree that the insurance mandate is invalid. (NYT)
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
On December 13, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson issued a decision on the Commonwealth of Virginia's challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare's
"minimal essential coverage provision," sparking a flurry of controversy and commentary by declaring that neither the Interstate Commerce nor the
General Welfare clauses of the Constitution permits Congress to mandate that Americans purchase health insurance.
As a conservative, of course I am delighted with the decision. As an attorney, I am impressed by Judge Hudson's admirable exercise of judicial restraint in
crafting his opinion. (Townhall)
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A federal judge asserted on Thursday that it would be “a giant leap” for the Supreme Court to accept the Obama administration’s
defense of a central provision of the new health care law, suggesting he may become the second judge to strike it down as unconstitutional.
In a three-hour hearing, the judge, Roger Vinson of Federal District Court, said the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance, a provision that
takes effect in 2014, would constitute “a giant expansion” of the court’s traditional application of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
“People have always exercised the freedom to choose whether to buy or not buy a commercial product,” the judge said, noting that he had been uninsured and
paid out of pocket when his first son was born.
The hearing came on dueling requests for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by governors and attorneys general from 20 states, all but one of whom are
Republicans. Because of the plaintiffs’ prominence, the cases carry the most political weight of the roughly two dozen court challenges to the sweeping law.
The Supreme Court has held previously that Congress can use its Commerce Clause authority, which is among the powers assigned to the national government, to
justify the regulation of “activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.”
Ian H. Gershengorn, a deputy assistant attorney general who is defending the law, told Judge Vinson that the health care market was unique because getting sick
was both unpredictable and potentially bankrupting. The economic consequences of not having insurance — including cost-shifting to others — justify its
regulation by Congress, he said.
But lawyers representing the state officials argued that the insurance requirement was unconstitutional because it would, for the first time, require citizens
to buy a commercial product.
If the government is allowed such power, said David B. Rivkin Jr., who represented the state officials, the health law “would leave more constitutional
devastation in its wake than any statute in our history.”
A similar argument was convincing to another federal district judge, Henry E. Hudson of Richmond, Va., who ruled Monday in a separate case that the health law
left federal authority without “logical limitation.”
Although two other district court judges had already upheld the insurance mandate, Judge Hudson rejected it, creating a conflict for appellate courts to
resolve. He did not suspend any part of the act pending appeals, which are expected to end at the Supreme Court.
Judge Vinson, a senior judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has seemed somewhat more receptive than Judge Hudson to the states’ argument that the
entire health care law should fall if the insurance mandate is unconstitutional. He said the act was analogous to a watch with interlocking and interdependent
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been accused of wanting to give "the federal government control over all aspects of the Internet." AP View
Internet: The U.N. is talking about regulating the Web. Meanwhile, Washington is moving toward regulating online news and information content. Though not
unexpected, these are deeply disturbing developments.
The U.S. media don't seem interested in the United Nations' attempt to invade the private sector, so word that the international body "is considering
whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonize global efforts by policy makers to regulate the Internet" had to come from an Australian
outlet called iTnews.
Nothing new here. The U.N. has been wanting to run the Web for years and is not letting a crisis — the WikiLeaks releases — go to waste. Following the
Chicagoland model, it has plans to form an intergovernmental group that would "attempt to create global standards for policing the Internet."
The meeting delegate from Brazil, which is pushing the proposal, told iTnews that the plan isn't to take over the Web. Which is no reassurance at all. Whenever
an elected official or bureaucrat says a program won't cost much or the regulation being considered won't be a burden, history teaches us to expect the exact
This big idea is coming only a few months after the Internet Governance Forum, a group that consults with the U.N., met in Vilnius, Lithuania. Its goal: to save
the Internet with an international treaty that would include net neutrality.
While we ponder the condition of the Internet in the clutches of the U.N. or some other inter-government group, we recall that America's own Federal
Communications Commission is days away — Dec. 21 — from voting on net neutrality, a policy in which the government dictates how Internet service providers
handle the traffic that flows over their infrastructure.
This policy, as we've said before, would institute a dangerous system that would violate free speech and property rights. (IBD)
The solution to the abuse of the eminent domain process is not endless legal inquiries or other ways to enrich lawyers. The answer is money.
My reputation—well deserved—is that of a property rights hawk. Nonetheless, I am impatient with the latest dispute over the Takings Clause, which concerns
the Supreme Court’s denial of cert in Tuck-It-Away, the dispute over Columbia University’s campaign to take over large swathes of Manhattanville in New York
City, which is the latest case in the Kelo line of eminent domain flare-ups.
George Mason University Professor Ilya Somin calls this case “a particularly egregious instance of the abuse of ‘blight’ condemnations to take property
that was not blighted in any meaningful sense and transfer it to a powerful private interest group.”
That may well be true. The reason for my impatience, however, is that many problems could be alleviated by shifting attention away from doctrinal disputes over
the nature of public use and toward the part of eminent domain doctrine that requires making “just compensation.” Raising the required compensation to a
level that reflects the benefits of the deal to the acquirer, and not just a niggardly assessment of the loss to the property owner, would shift incentive
structures toward making eminent domain a tactic of last, rather than first, resort. (James V. DeLong, The American)
That's the title of my latest HND piece, and let me assure
you..."Crisis" is no exaggeration. The article has plenty of statistics, but this one should get you going: On the Pine Ridge Reservation—admittedly
about as bad as it gets—the average life expectancy is 45. Compare that to 77.9 for the American population at large.
Have I got your attention now?
I dig up a quote from way back in 1727 from a man who would eventually become the Governor of New York, and it seems eerily prophetic.
But what, alas, sir, have we Christians done to make them better? We have indeed reason to be ashamed, that these infidels by our conversation and
neighborhood, are become worse than they were before they knew us. Instead of virtues, we have only taught them vices, that they were entirely free from before
that time. The narrow views of private interest have occasioned this, and will occasion greater, even public mischiefs, if the governors of the people do not,
like true patriots, exert themselves and put a stop to these growing evils.
I conclude that the Indian needs to reclaim the traditions of his ancestors and become a health warrior.
More than a decade ago, international health and development agencies, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, started a campaign to cut
the number of malaria cases and deaths in half by 2010. By 2005 the effort was in such disarray that the toll from malaria had actually gotten worse, not
The campaign will fall short of meeting its original goals for the end of this year. But the encouraging news is that, after so much wasted time, there has been
enormous progress over the past three years in distributing the means to prevent and treat malaria and in bringing down death rates in many countries. (NYT)
The incidence rate of food-borne illness in the United States is dramatically lower than previously estimated, according to findings reported Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new data
thoroughly refute the misleading claims of alarmists advocating for vastly expanding federal regulation of the food supply.
According to the new research published in the current edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, some 16 percent of Americans experience
some form of food-borne illness annually—compared to the previous estimate of 25 percent. Best of all, the new analysis has lowered the number of deaths
related to food-borne illness from 5,000 a year to 3,000 annually—a difference of 40 percent. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
The obesity epidemic is forcing New Zealand funeral directors to introduce larger caskets and look for larger plots for burials. Big people are creating
bigger problems for funeral directors and cemeteries. (MercoPress)
Now, I know the greenies are going to be upset about all the space taken up by larger burial plots (terminal sprawl?) but to preempt their
inevitable insensitive whining I'd like to propose something a little radical and demonstrate why the greenies should be grateful for larger interments. It
shouldn't be difficult to calculate the CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) greenhouse gas value of the interred and so the greenies (or the UN) could
provide carbon credits to the deceased's estate on a per kilo basis - they claim CO2 is a huge problem, after all. The bereaved could flog these
credits off to defray some of the increased interment costs and the greenies can be happy with the enhanced carbon sequestration of larger interments, so
everyone should be happy.
I don't know why the UN needs twenty years' worth of quarterly extravaganzas to still not achieve anything when we can come up with a win-win in a moment and
all it took was spending other people's money. This spending is something with which greenies and the UN have inordinate experience and which is really their
default position anyway. Perhaps we could get this to the top of the agenda for Durban?
A US environmental group has found that drinking water in 35 American cities contains hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen.
The study by the Environmental Working Group - the first nationwide analysis measuring the presence of the chemical in US water systems - is to be made public
tomorrow, The Washington Post said today. (AFP)
Should you care? In a word, "no". These clowns make it sound interesting by throwing in chemical names and "probable
carcinogen" (a classification that includes most things natural) but don't tell you that your lifetime risk from these things are of no practical
significance. The presence of trace amounts of chromium 6 in drinking water constitutes no known human health risk whatsoever.
“Group finds ‘Erin Brockvich’ chemical in D.C., Bethesda
Water” was this morning’s scary Washington Post headline. The comrades at the Environmental Working Group reportedly found hexavalent chromium,
Cr (VI), in drinking water across the country at levels up to 200 times greater than the goal proposed by California (0.06 ppb). Cr (VI) has reportedly caused
cancer in laboratory mice.
Before you swear off tap water, run to your doctor, join a class action lawsuit or do anything other than simply roll on the floor laughing at Ken Kook and
his fellow EWG Krazies, here’s a few things to consider:
Outside of a hotly disputed study of a 1970s-era Chinese population, epidemiologic studies have not associated Cr (VI) exposure with increased risk of
cancer. Even the EPA acknowledges this (See p. 207 of April 2010 EPA review document). Then there’s this comment
from a review of the Cr (VI) epidemiology:
The weight of scientific evidence supports that Cr (VI) is not carcinogenic in humans via the oral route of exposure at permissible drinking-water
concentrations. [J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2002 May 24;65(10):701-46.]
Mice are not little people. So who cares whether lab mice poisoned with Cr (VI) got cancer or did cartwheels?
No violations of the EPA drinking water standard for chromium were reported. While there are no specific drinking water standards for Cr (VI), the EPA oral reference dose (RfD) for Cr (VI), which includes a monster safety factor of 300, is way above
the levels of CR (VI) detected by EWG.
The proposed California standard for Cr VI is not science-based.
The EWG specializes in efforts to scare people about the mere presence of chemicals and metals in drinking water. The group seems to be impervious to
Paracelsus’ 450-year-old basic toxicology principle that “the dose makes the poison.”
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday ordered General Electric Co to dredge deeper into the Hudson River as part of the next phase of an effort to
remove cancer-causing chemicals dumped into the river over decades.
GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate, also must remove more contaminated sediment instead of capping and sealing the river bottom to get rid of polychlorinated
biphenyls, or PCBs.
The company has until January 14 to review the decision and notify the agency about how they plan to best proceed with the next phase of the cleanup, which is
due to begin in May. (Reuters)
The environment would be a great deal better off if we just got rid of the EPA.
[Editor note: This post was prepared by Mary Hutzler, Dan Simmons, et al. for the Town Hall blog at the Institute for Energy Research, a free-market
'all-energy-all-the-time' think tank.]
“The federal government is ultimately responsible for the long-term … consistent [energy] policy…. A clean energy
portfolio standard is one example of a potential policy that the administration and Congress should discuss.… In this time of fiscal austerity I propose such
–Secretary Steven Chu
With each passing day, the odds of Congress passing a Renewable Electricity Standard grow more and more dim. But Energy
Secretary Chu, Senator Graham, and others are now promoting a similar mandate under a new name. Their old vinegar/new bottle effort should be exposed and
rejected as the wrong path for energy policy.
Instead of a renewable electricity mandate, Chu, Graham, et al. are promoting a “clean energy standard” to “encourage”
investments in nuclear energy, coal with carbon capture and sequestration technology, and renewable energy in the electric generating sector. But despite the
happy talk about “clean energy standards,” these mandates will increase electricity prices and make our economy less competitive.
The term “clean energy standard” is a complete misnomer. Clean is defined by the specific legislation and not by common sense. For example, Secretary
Chu’s definition is that the technology should remove 90 percent of emissions. Second, the schemes do not regulate all energy, but just electricity
production. Third, these are mandates and not merely “standards.”
Policymakers Support “Clean” Electricity Mandates on Flawed Premises
It is difficult to understand why people support these mandates. According to E&E News, Sen. Graham supports a “clean” energy standard
because of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” E&E states that Graham “predicts new energy mandates can be tailored to help businesses compete with China and not harm
But Graham’s argument is not supportable in theory or practice. As explained below, “clean” electricity mandates mandate the use of more expensive
types of electricity generation. This artificially increases the cost of electricity, increasing the cost of doing business in America, and forcing energy-price
sensitive industries to leave the United States for more welcoming economic environments.
Sen. Graham also claims to support a “clean” energy mandate because of pollution concerns. He stated, “I’m in the camp that all things being equal,
that it would be good to clean up the air, carbon being just one pollutant. But I want to do it in a way that creates jobs, not loses jobs.” [ii] Sen. Graham needs to brush up on economics so that he will realize that, on net, mandates
reduce jobs and do not create them. Also, while carbon can be a pollutant Sen. Graham isn’t talking about carbon, but carbon dioxide. The problem with lumping
carbon dioxide in pollutants that are dirty, or toxic, or otherwise harmful is that carbon dioxide itself is clean. Carbon dioxide levels could be orders of
magnitude higher and the air would still be just as clean as it is today. The difference is that higher carbon dioxide concentrations would impact the
atmosphere’s greenhouse effect.
It is also difficult to take one of Sen. Ben Cardin’s reasons for considering a “clean energy mandate” seriously. He said, “If a clean energy
standard gets us all off of imported oil, that’s good.” Sen. Cardin apparently does not know that petroleum only produces 1 percent of our electricity
generation. The overwhelming majority of oil is used as a transportation fuel, not to make electricity. A “clean” energy mandate will not impact imported
oil in any material way.
The mandate Secretary Chu is proposing would be 50 percent “clean energy” by 2050, with an interim target of 25 percent by 2025, where clean energy is
defined as any generation that can capture 90 percent of emissions. According to Secretary Chu, the clean energy standard would not cost the government money
but would instead be a direct cost to consumers and the market.[iii][Read more →] (MasterResource)
Why are carbon trading issues that have gone awry ignored by the media? Two examples: 1-scam artists from around the world, capitalizing on lax regulations at
the Danish emissions trading registry have made off with an estimated $7-billion over the last two years, and 2- the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced
that it will be ending carbon trading this year. Both of these have been underreported (ignored?) by most media. (CFP)
California often leads the nation, especially in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The act of leading is one thing, however. Leadership's outcome is another
On Friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the bureaucracy charged with implementing AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,
adopted a cap-and-trade scheme to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions by about 15% by 2020. CARB's regulations go into effect in 2012.
The unelected officials at CARB intend to reorder California's use of energy. In so doing they blandly declaim that their rules will create jobs while admitting
to higher energy costs and a slowing economy. Somehow, this formula is transmogrified by CARB analysts into net job creation.
Given the immutable laws of math, one is forced to calculate that CARB's actions will "create" low-paying jobs at the expense of good jobs. (Chuck
Here is a wonderful pull quote, or really some pull paragraphs:
Greenpeace hysterically announced failure at Copenhagen could lead to a 20-foot rise in the level of the oceans - on a web page that helpfully asked for
donations three times.
Similar end-times prophecies were made at the previous 14 climate parties, too.
All of which violates Apocalyptic Prophecy Rule No 1: If you say the world is going to end, it's best to pick a deadline far enough into the future that
you'll never be held accountable if your prediction is wrong.
Saying end times are just a year or two away just doesn't make sense for a permanent bureaucracy.
And, here's a section that's even better!
A Chinese company called Huaneng Renewables cancelled its public share offering. China Datang Renewable went ahead, but lowered share prices. Analysts say
the IPO for Sinovel Wind, another "green" company, is in trouble too.
Yuanta Research analyst Min Li says there's no mystery to the sudden retreat of China's environmental companies.
Without a firm treaty to force developed countries such as Canada and the United States to subsidize projects, the market demand just isn't there.
"Positive sentiment seems lacking in the sector given difficulty in getting any certainty that subsidies will continue," said Li.
Translation: Chinese windmill companies don't actually make any money. They only survive off the $20 billion or so a year in subsidies directed their way by
the Kyoto Protocol.
Since the Green movement began back in the late 1960s, essentially every one of their major precepts has been dead wrong.
The Cancun global warming and wealth redistribution summit concluded last week, with little to show for two weeks of talking in 5-star hotels and restaurants,
other than vague promises that countries will try to do something meaningful about the “threat” of “dangerous” climate change. (Townhall)
2010′s world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards: The Associated Press has published
one of the most biased pieces of environmental science journalism in a long time, and that’s quite a feat in itself. Indeed, there are some serious
journalistic integrity issues with this clearly biased piece: the authors intersperse anecdotes with specific scientists’ quotations while playing fast and
loose with the facts in order to push an agenda. Undoubtedly, there is a considerable amount of scientific ignorance on the part of the authors, but using
the human suffering associated with 2010′s natural disasters as talking points in this narrative is a new low for the Associated Press.
This article by Seth Borenstein and Julie Reed Bell deserves a thorough fact-checking and deconstruction. Keep your vomit bags and pitchforks at the ready,
and hold onto your seats on this Pulitzer-prize winning fictional roller coaster…
A REPLY to a critic of The Australian's coverage of the debate about climate change.
DAVID McKnight's criticism of The Australian over climate change ("Sceptical writers skipped inconvenient truths", Inquirer, December 11) makes for a
good case study of Australian universities' intellectual collapse.
Here's a University of NSW senior research fellow in journalism who contradicts himself, fails by his own reasoning, does little research, breaks at least three
laws of logic, and rests his entire argument on an assumption for which he provides no evidence.
Most disturbingly - like a crack through the facade of Western intellectual vigour - he asserts that the role of a national newspaper is to "give
Bask for a moment in the inanity of this declaration that newspapers "are our leaders". Last time I looked at our ballot papers, none of the people
running to lead our nation had a name such as The Sydney Morning Herald. Didn't he notice we live in a country that chooses its leaders through elections? The
role of a newspaper is to report all the substantiated arguments and filter out the poorly reasoned ones, so readers can make up their own minds.
The point of a free press is surely for the press to be free to ask the most searching questions on any topic. Yet here is an authority on journalism attacking
The Australian for printing views of scientists who have degrees of doubt about global warming and/or any human component in it.
And these scientists that McKnight wants to silence are not just the odd rare heretic.
The swelling ranks of sceptical scientists is now the largest whistle-blowing cohort in science ever seen. It includes some of the brightest: two with Nobel
prizes in physics, four NASA astronauts, 9000 PhDs in science, and another 20,000 science graduates to cap it off. A recent US Senate minority report contained
1000 names of eminent scientists who are sceptical, and the term professor pops up more than 500 times in that list. These, McKnight, an arts PhD, calls
Just because thousands of scientists support the sceptical view doesn't prove they're right, but it proves their opinions are nothing like the tobacco sceptics
campaign that McKnight compares them with in a transparent attempt to smear commentators with whom he disagrees.
Ponder the irony that McKnight, the journalism lecturer, is demanding The Australian adopt the policy espoused by the dominant paradigm, the establishment, and
censor the views of independent whistleblowers.
He thinks repeating government PR is journalism; the rest of us know it as propaganda. (Joanne Nova, The Australian)
In 2000, USHCN apparently wasn’t happy with the fact that the 1930s was the warmest decade – so they gave the past a demotion and bumped the 1990s way
Apparently that wasn’t enough though. An astute reader (Steve Case) captured the USHCN data in 2008 and again today. Below is a plot of the further
adjustments during the last two years. Once again, the present has been artificially made warmer and the past has been made cooler. Temperatures in 2007 were
raised by 0.16 degrees, and temperatures were lowered by 0.08 degrees in 1930.
Suppose a company wasn’t happy with their financial reports, so they subtracted money from past earnings and added them to present earnings. What would
happen to the people in charge? (SPPI)
The GISS Model E is the workhorse of NASA’s climate models. I got interested in the GISSE hindcasts of the 20th century due to an interesting posting by Lucia over at the Blackboard. She built a simple model (which she calls “Lumpy”) which
does a pretty good job of emulating the GISS model results, using only a model including forcings and a time lag. Stephen Mosher points out how to access the
NASA data here (with a good discussion), so I went to the NASA site he indicated and got the GISSE results he points to. I plotted them against the GISS version of the global surface air temperature record in Figure 1.
Figure 1. GISSE Global Circulation Model (GCM or “global climate model”) hindcast 1880-1900, and GISS Global Temperature (GISSTemp)
Data. Photo shows the new NASA 15,000-processor “Discover” supercomputer. Top speed is 160
trillion floating point operations per second (a unit known by the lovely name of “teraflops”). What it does in a day would take my desktop computer
Now, that all looks impressive. The model hindcast temperatures are a reasonable match both by eyeball and mathematically to the observed temperature. (R^2 =
0.60). True, it misses the early 20th century warming (1920-1940) entirely, but overall it’s a pretty close fit. And the supercomputer does 160 teraflops. So
what could go wrong?
Earth's stratosphere is as clear as it's been in more than 50 years. University of Colorado climate scientist Richard Keen knows this because he's been
watching lunar eclipses. "Since 1996, lunar eclipses have been bright, which means the stratosphere is relatively clear of volcanic aerosols. This is the
longest period with a clear stratosphere since before 1960." Consider the following comparison of a lunar eclipse observed in 1992 after the Philippine
volcano Pinatubo spewed millions of tons of gas and ash into the atmosphere vs. an "all-clear" eclipse in 2003:
Keen explains why lunar eclipses can be used to probe the stratosphere: "At the distance of the Moon, most of the light refracted into the
umbra (Earth's shadow) passes through the stratosphere, which lies 10 to 30 miles above the ground. When the stratosphere is clear, the umbra (and therefore,
the eclipsed Moon) is relatively bright. On the other hand, if the atmospheric lens that illuminates the Moon becomes dirty enough, light will be blocked and
the eclipse will appear dark."
This is timely and important because the state of the
stratosphere affects climate; a clear stratosphere "lets the sunshine in" to warm the Earth below. At a 2008 SORCE conference Keen reported that
"The lunar eclipse record indicates a clear stratosphere over the past decade, and that this has contributed about 0.2 degrees to recent warming."
What will the eclipse 21st eclipse look like? "The stratosphere is still fairly clear, and the December 2010 eclipse should be normally
bright," predicts Keen. "I welcome any and all reports on the brightness of future lunar eclipses for use in my volcano-climate studies. While actual brightness measurements (in magnitudes) made near mid-totality are most useful, I can also
make use of Danjon-scale ratings of the eclipse. Please be sure to note the time, method, and instruments used in your reports." Submit your observations here. (SpaceWeather.com) [em
Interesting. Add up all the "minor contributions" from sources other than enhanced greenhouse (brighter sun, land use change, black
carbon particulates, etc. and now lack of volcanic particulates in the stratosphere) and there really isn't much of the world's post 1750 warming left
unaccounted for, is there? Tell us again just how reduced emission of a minor and essential trace gas will radically alter Earth's mean temperature trajectory.
ABSTRACT: A number of published papers and openly available data on sea level changes, glacier retreat, freezing/break-up dates of rivers, sea ice retreat,
tree-ring observations, ice cores and changes of the cosmic-ray intensity, from the year 1000 to the present, are studied to examine how the Earth has recovered
from the Little Ice Age (LIA). We learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner, from 1800-1850 to the present.
The rate of the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming.
It is suggested on the basis of a much longer period covering that the Earth is still in the process of recovery from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the
end of the recovery before 1900. Cosmic-ray intensity data show that solar activity was related to both the LIA and its recovery. The multi-decadal oscillation
of a period of 50 to 60 years was superposed on the linear change; it peaked in 1940 and 2000, causing the halting of warming temporarily after 2000. These
changes are natural changes, and in order to determine the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect, there is an urgent need to identify them correctly and
accurately and remove them (Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Natural Science) | Full Text (PDF, 4900KB)
Remember the Steig et al 2009 Nature paper? As Steve McIntyre points out at Climate Audit: “Like so many Team efforts, it applied a little-known statistical method, the properties of
which were poorly known, to supposedly derive an important empirical result. In the case of Steig et al 2009, the key empirical claim was that strong Antarctic
warming was not localized to the Antarctic Peninsula (a prominent antecedent position), but was also very pronounced in West Antarctic.”
EIN GEDI, Israel — Five miles out, nearly to the center of the Dead Sea, an international team of scientists has been drilling beneath the seabed to
extract a record of climate change and earthquake history stretching back half a million years.
The preliminary evidence and clues found halfway through the 40-day project are more than the team could have hoped for. The scientists did not expect to pull
up a wood fragment that was roughly 400,000 years old. Nor did they expect to come across a layer of gravel from a mere 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. That
finding would seem to indicate that what is now the middle of the Dead Sea — which is really a big salt lake — was once a shore, and that the water level
had managed to recover naturally.
“We knew the lake went through high levels and lower levels,” said Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham, a leading Dead Sea expert and the driving force behind the
project, “but we did not know it got so low.” Professor Ben-Avraham, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and chief of the Minerva Dead
Sea Research Center at Tel Aviv University, had been pushing for such a drilling operation for 10 years.
The idea was to bore under the sea and extract a continuous geological core that, once analyzed, could supply information of global importance on natural
processes and environmental changes. (NYT)
“Many of us look upon science as a rather absolutist system of belief. We have a vague notion that science strives to “prove” the correctness of this
or that idea about nature and that scientists are all of paragons of objectivity in white coats. But the idea that some beliefs are “scientifically proven”
is in many ways an oxymoron. In reality, science does not actually set out to provide positive proof of anything. Rather, it is a constantly
self-correcting means of understanding the world and the universe around us. To put it in a nutshell, the vital characteristic of any scientific idea is not
that it can be proven to be true but that it can, at least potentially, be shown to be false (which is not the case for all kinds of proposition).”
Since the IPCC multi-decadal climate predictions of the coming century that are given to the impacts community and policymakers cannot be shown to be false,
this approach is not a proper use of the scientific method.
QUEENSLAND'S ambitious plan to become a world leader in clean coal is in disarray.
The Bligh Government has abandoned its controversial ZeroGen project after taxpayers pumped $150 million into the initiative.
In a major blow to the state's carbon reduction strategy, the Government will give away the state-owned company ZeroGen and scrap its planned $4.3 billion clean
coal power station in central Queensland.
As thousands of new jobs at the proposed plant go up in smoke, ownership of ZeroGen will be handed to an industry body, the Australian Coal Association, with
state taxpayers' investment written off as a loss of almost $100 million.
The Federal Government yesterday attacked the decision after confirming it had also invested $47.5 million towards a pre-feasibility study for the now-aborted
About $40 million of the state's $102.5 million investment in ZeroGen was spent after the Government was advised to withdraw from the project by a review which
described the venture as "speculative". (Sunday Mail)
BOSTON -- Cape Wind has outlasted a decade of government review, a slew of court brawls and fierce opposition from mariners, fishermen, Indian tribes and
Kennedys just to win the right to sell its wind-fueled electricity.
Now, all it needs are customers.
Last month, the nation's first offshore wind farm nailed down its first buyer when the Massachusetts Department of Public Utility approved a deal that sees Cape
Wind selling half its power to National Grid, the state's largest electric utility.
But the other half of the Cape Wind project's electricity remains available with no obvious takers, raising the possibility of a smaller project with pricier
The top prospect for Cape Wind is the state's second-largest electric utility, NStar. But NStar is uninterested and says it can find cheaper renewable power
"It's not that we're for or against Cape Wind at all," said NStar spokeswoman Caroline Allen. "We just want to make sure that we are promoting
renewables in the region ... but also being mindful of costs for our customers." (Associated Press)
A future legislature could amend Dalton McGuinty’s odious
Could Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green-energy contracts be reversed?
By Lawrence Solomon
Obligations that are odious should not be honoured. So says the Doctrine of Odious Debts, a theory first postulated by Russian
legal scholar Alexander Sack in 1927 that is now increasingly accepted by international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund,
as well as by today’s legal scholars.
That doctrine, to date, has been applied chiefly in undemocratic settings, where tyrants callously rack up debts that a hostage citizenry is then expected to
repay. It may soon be applied more broadly in democratic states where elected leaders fail in their fiduciary duties, wrongly saddling current taxpayers as well
as their children with dubious obligations that do not benefit them, and that they didn’t request.
IN SUSQUES, ARGENTINA It's the lightest of all metals, skitters wildly on water and can unexpectedly explode. To mine it commercially requires an elaborate
process involving drilling, evaporation tanks and chemical processing.
But if President Obama is to fulfill his goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, a once-obscure metal crucial for the batteries in those
cars, lithium, will probably be mined by the tens of thousands of tons here in the high Andes. Its boosters say lithium will one day rival petroleum in value,
and that has prompted a race to secure mining rights across this craggy, bone-dry mountain range where vast salt flats contain some of the world's largest
"These are the most notable reserves at the moment," said Horacio Dias, a geologist who manages operations here for Exar, an Argentine affiliate of
Canada's Lithium Americas Corp. "We think there is enough here to last many years."
Mining executives are banking that lithium-ion batteries, which carry a longer-lasting charge than the lead acid variety long used in vehicles, will become
cheap enough to help spur a mass market for electric cars or gas-electric vehicles. The Obama administration, trying to reduce America's reliance on foreign
oil, has provided $2.4 billion in grants to car companies, battery makers and suppliers. (Washington Post)
Hinkley, California, the town made famous in the Oscar-winning Julia Roberts movie Erin Brockovich, does not show any evidence of an increased rate of
Pacific Gas and Electric, which released a "toxic" plume of hexavalent chromium 6 from a Hinkley-based natural gas pipeline station, paid a record
$333 million to settle a class-action suit in 1996. But the California Cancer Registry has now completed three studies that show cancer rates remained normal in
from 1988 to 2008. (Tim Cavanaugh, Reason)
LA JOLLA, CA-In addition to fast food, desk jobs, and inertia, there is one more thing to blame for unwanted pounds-our genome, which has apparently not
caught up with the fact that we no longer live in the Stone Age.
That is one conclusion drawn by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who recently showed that mice lacking a gene regulating energy balance
are protected from weight gain, even on a high fat diet. These findings have implications for the worldwide obesity epidemic and its consequences, such as type
two diabetes. (Salk Institute)
Your socioeconomic background has less impact on your chances of obesity if you're a man than if you're woman, according to a new analysis from the National
Center for Health Statistics. Women who were better educated and wealthier were less likely to be obese than their less educated and poorer counterparts, but
the same effect was not seen in men.
Interestingly, for men of color — blacks and Mexican Americans — higher income actually increased the odds that they were obese. (Time)
McDonald’s Corp. brass is calling critics who blame the fast-food giant for the growing obesity rate in the U.S. and other developed nations — including
its child Happy Meals — “food police.”
Regulators and activists have recently turned up the heat on initiatives to combat the high-calorie, high-fat meals.
“We’ve seen many years of someone trying to dictate behavior through legislation. Our Happy Meals have been supported by parents since the 1970s. The
nutrition of Happy Meals, which include apples, meets FDA guidelines,” CEO Jim Skinner told the Financial Times. “We sell choices on the menu that make our
customers feel better.” (Sun-Times)
So here we go again. Someone who seemingly forgot that, by the way, she’s a parent, has decided to file a lawsuit in California—well, to be fair, she
filed it with folks from over at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)—against McDonald’s. Why? Because they apparently target children when
they market their Happy Meals to the public at large (ie, deceptive marketing). And, let’s face it, no one’s suggesting to throw a Happy Meal on the
official Food Pyramid—it’s not the healthiest fare.
I paused as I read the news on this to reflect upon a phrase someone here (yes, my boss) tends to quote: “Where there’s loss, there’s liability.” I’ll
tell you where the loss is—it’s in our collective minds. And don’t think I’m being harsh here or pro promoting a pathway to childhood obesity and
potentially a whole host of related grown-up health issues. Here—this is a quote from Monet Parham—the woman who filed the lawsuit–from cnn.com today:
“We have to say no to our kids so many times and McDonald’s makes that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my
kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat.”
Am I the only one who reads that and goes, “huh?”
Think about it. Ms. Parham is saying that McDonald’s is making it hard to say “no” to her kids. I have visions of Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar and Fry
Guys coming down upon the roof of the Parham’s abode, SWAT team style, and basically holding her and her family hostage until she says, “YES!! We’ll have
the fries!” Surely there ought be local news footage of that scene somewhere on youtube—but you haven’t seen it yet, have you? That’s because it
doesn’t exist. (Lawyers and Settlements)
The federal government on Wednesday significantly cut its estimate of how many Americans get sick every year from tainted food.
But that does not mean that food poisoning is declining or that farms and factories are producing safer food. Instead, officials said, the government’s
researchers are just getting better at calculating how much foodborne illness is out there.
In a pair of research reports made public on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about 48 million people a year get sick from
tainted food, down from the previous, often-cited estimate of 76 million. The number of deaths estimated to come from food poisoning also went down, to about
3,000 a year from 5,000.
The revision means that one in six Americans gets sick each year from tainted food, not one in four, as the old study, conducted in 1999, projected.
The estimates were part scientific detective work and part guesswork. For both studies, government statisticians extrapolated the number of nationwide illnesses
from data on tens of thousands of lab-confirmed illnesses in 10 states. They also used information from telephone surveys. (NYT)
Interesting they have nothing to say about possible causes for such relatively high prevalence - like the lack of added preservatives these
days. Consumers are a pretty weird lot - pretending to be terrified of trace preservatives there to protect them and also worried about the dangers of spoiled
food. Go figure.
While Congress tackles all the responsibilities it should have already dealt with this year, Senator Harry Reid (D–NV) is hoping to sneak through
legislation comprised of more than
100 bills that couldn’t pass on their own merit. This drastic expansion of federally owned lands has not even been introduced as a bill, but Reid hopes to
jam it through before Christmas.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2010 is set to designate hundreds of thousands of acres of land under the control of the federal government.
Yesterday, Michelle Malkin went on a media tour exposing this secret attempt. The piece of legislation has
no official name because Reid has refused to introduce it or give any opportunity for public debate. Some of the highlights of the bill
include: Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Many landholders along the Tumut River have not returned to their homes because of increased outflow from the
Blowering Dam. (AAP: Wolter Peeters). From the ABC site.
It’s not like we need another case study in just how creatively dumb bureaucracy can be, but Jennifer Marohasy has been relentless in pursuing the
extraordinary case of a government contracting a corporation to pour nearly 7000 Mega litres into a area facing life threatening floods. That’s more than 2000
Olympic pools worth of water dumped into a flood zone just last Wednesday.
Remember, this legislation was made with good intentions, and it was supposed to help the environment…
The Whole Truth: Water Deliberately Dumped into Flooded Area
SNOWY Hydro chief executive, Terry Charlton, recently confirmed that water was dumped into the already flooded Murray-Darling Basin, but said the
authority had little choice (The Australian, December 15, 2010, page 7). A real time operational diagram, however, tells a very different story.
Last Wednesday, Snowy Hydro could have sent water into Eucumbene dam. At only 20 percent it had a storage capacity of a whopping 4 cubic kilometres of
Instead, the water managers set the trans-mountain tunnels so water was flowing away from Lake Eucumbene at over 80 cubic metres per second (6,912 megalitres
Tumut River residents were issued with urgent evacuation orders last Thursday after the increase in outflows.
Desperate farmers phoned Snowy Hydro last week asking why flood waters were being sent west, rather than east to Lake Eucumbene, given this dam was less than
half full, but their calls were ignored.
Amid complaints of environmental harm and pressure from a federal court, U.S. agriculture regulators are considering a compromise approval for genetically
altered alfalfa that would allow the crop to be grown with certain restrictions aimed at protecting non-GMO crops, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on
The move marks a shift in policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to give more consideration to how genetically modified crops impact organic and
non-genetically altered crops, and sets the stage for "co-existence" considerations for other biotech crops going forward.
The department is considering either unrestricted approval or approval with restrictions for the "Roundup Ready" alfalfa, which has been genetically
altered to tolerate herbicide treatments, Vilsack said. A third option - to leave the crop as a regulated, unapproved crop - is not preferred, he said.
Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia Thursday said that he would seek a vote before the end of the current congressional session on his bill to postpone
Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon dioxide emissions for two years.
With EPA regulations due to begin soon on mandating that big factories start cutting pollution blamed for global warming, Rockefeller said: "I want to make
it clear that I intend to get a vote this year on my EPA-suspension legislation." (Reuters)
The George Soros-funded, out-to-get-Fox-News and generally-lamebrained Media Matters is claiming that
Fox editor Bill Sammon committed the grave felony of urging climate skepticism to Fox staff in a December 2009 e-mail. Sammon, of course, did nothing of the
sort. The e-mail in question reads:
“Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period
without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert
such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”
Rather than urging skepticism, Sammon merely advised reporters to treat claims about global warming as what they are — claims that are disputed. Sammon
correctly noted that a journalist’s job is to report the facts rather than to decide what they are.
This is apparently too a subtle distinction for the comrades at Media Mutters (Green Hell Blog).
Should Michigan voters support a plan to send billions in tax dollars to mitigate global warming’s effects in the Third World at a time when their state is
setting records for cold weather, their per capita income is down 5 percent in a decade, unemployment is hovering near 13 percent, and Detroit warming shelters
are expecting a 25 percent increase in homeless?
“That’s a strong way to put the question,” says Andy Hoffman, professor of sustainable enterprise at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural
Resources and the Environment, who just retuned from sunny Cancun with a U-M delegation of 30 students and alumni to monitor the 2010 United Nation’s Climate
It’s a question global warming activists should get used to. There’s a new sheriff in town in Michigan’s Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, the new chair of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee, who with other Republican legislators will be keen on asking why the United States tripled its funding of global warming
aid to developing nations — to $1.7 billion — this year when deficits are out of control and global warming legislation is a dead letter among the American
A green advocate, EPA veteran, and prolific author, Hoffman is unfazed by the brutal weather than greeted his companions upon their return from Cancun. “One
cold snap is not a sign that global warming is losing steam,” he says, though the Green movement itself has made a history of exploiting warm weather events
to advance its agenda. “There are long-term concerns about shifting weather patterns. Think of the droughts in Africa.”
Last year’s Climategate scandal, however, revealed that top global warming scientists were manipulating data to fit their pre-conceived unions. That scandal
— and a decade of flat temperatures — have combined to gut public support of the climate movement. An unpopular House cap-and-trade bill — passed with the
support of the entire Michigan Democratic delegation — fueled this fall’s tea party rage against a Democratic Congress that seemed intent on burdening a
crippled U.S. economy rather than helping it to its feet.
Hoffman seems undeterred.
He says spending billions “to develop technology and components transfer to developing nations” is crucial in heading off a climate catastrophe. He says
that Upton & Co. should find somewhere else to cut — perhaps defense spending at a time when the U.S. is fighting two wars on the Mideast terror front. He
deflects a question as to whether fighting global warming is as important as fighting the War on Terror, but says it’s essential that the U.S. not only send
billions aboard but invest billions at home to develop green technologies.
“We should be doing what China is doing in renewables, or else we’re going to be buying these technologies from abroad,” he says, sounding a common theme
of green envy for the Communist nation that — ironically — is building a new coal plant at the rate of one-per-month while the GranObama administrations
have strangled coal power here. “Any new technology requires government support” This is poppycock, of course.
From automobiles to cell phones, new products have succeeded in America because its markets are relatively free of government interference. Capital is finite,
and the more capital is free to find its most efficient use, that is where prosperity will grow.
Michigan and the nation are desperate for that kind of prosperity. Its electorate has just voted to steer away from Green Democrats who have diverted one-sixth
of the trillion-dollar stimulus package to green technologies.
Rather than traveling to Cancun to lobby for a post-warming, green utopian future funded by U.S dollars, Hoffman’s U-M students might have spent the week in a
Detroit soup kitchen, seeing how the poor freeze when the state’s economic engine, the auto industry, doesn’t produce enough carbon-burning vehicles. (Henry
It's over. The 15,000 delegates from 193 countries plus 10,000 hangers have packed their bags and left the Cancun luxury hotels where they were saving the
Earth for two weeks. The purveyors of bad tequila (for technophobic young demonstrators) and fine wines (for delegates) are counting their money, and hotel
employees are busily cleaning up the mess in preparation for the influx of Christmas tourists.
In the spirit of Copenhagen, civilization has again dodged the bullet of mass hysteria. A new dark age of deindustrialization has been evaded, and another nail
has been driven into the coffin of the Kyoto accord. There was never any real possibility that major developing nations such as China and Brazil would line up
to commit economic suicide, and agree to hobble their burgeoning industries by firmly limiting carbon dioxide emissions, while less developed countries would be
free to do whatever they wish. (Calgary Herald)
The Cancun conference is being credited with keeping international climate talks alive. But the real potential for bringing emissions under control may lie
in a Plan B, with nations acting on their own in moving toward a low-carbon economy. Fred Pearce, e360)
The UN is not irrelevant - it's a hazard to be eliminated. As for climate, that's always the enemy but we can no more change it than we can
predict it, so we have to adapt to whatever it throws at us.
UN's top drylands official says people must be paid via global carbon markets for preserving the soil (Guardian)
The best thing for reversing desertification is increasing carbon dioxide levels. Makes plants way more water efficient and if warming should
be associated with it increases precipitation (don't tell anyone but the Sahara was a land of savanna and wetlands with hippos, crocodile and large herds of
grazing animals only a few thousand years ago - during the Holocene Thermal Maximum when temperatures were a few degrees warmer).
The Nature Climate Blog has informed its
readers that the first results of the CLOUD (cosmics leaving outdoor droplets) experiment at the Center of Europe for the Research of Nuclei (CERN) are ready to
be published. The writer of the blog entry was probably shown the results.
The summary? They confirm that the clouds are being nucleated by the radiation at the rate that was expected in the newest models, whatever these models are
(and be sure I would like to see some details, too). So the effect is surely nonzero.
Henrik Svensmark told me a year ago that the CLOUD experiment is somewhat redundant because the existence of the basic effect behind cosmoclimatology has
already been pretty much established by their own experiments in Denmark. But it may be true that the CERN logo is needed for some additional people to notice.
Within the last few days, NCDC released a revised global temperature data set stretching all the way back to 1880. The chart below shows the monthly changes
NCDC made to temperature anomalies based on the previous data set, which was the global temperature anomaly record through October 2010. (click on images to
New NCDC data, source here. Previous (October 2010) NCDC global temp anomaly data here. The chart
depicts the monthly difference between these two NCDC data sets.
Amazingly, they found mucho, newly discovered degrees of global warming during the late 19th century. (How did they miss all this "warming" during
their last fabrication revision of global temperatures way back in 2009?)
What the chart above also clearly indicates are major changes (cooling adjustments) to the global temperature record starting around 1938. The cooling
adjustments continue up through 1965. After 1965, the majority of the adjustments made to the old 2009 temperature record are of "global warming"
The chart below shows the cumulative adjustments for the two periods: 1938-1965 and 1966-2010. Based on this simple analysis, it is clear why NOAA/NCDC
continues to fabricate revise global temperature records - they need to "cool" down the 1930 and
1940's and "heat" up modern temperatures to lend credence to the very wobbly AGW hypothesis.
Are The IPCC Global Climate Model Multi-Decadal Global Model Predictions Accurate On Regional And Local Spatial
The editorial includes the text
“In general, despite the considerable progress achieved, GCMs still cannot reconstruct the important details of the climate at smaller scales (regional to
local). They cannot resolve sub-grid processes, e.g. related to topography and land use. Hence, other techniques, such as regional climate models (RCMs), or
downscaling methods, have been developed. A typical RCM grid is of the order of 10–50 km, although some climate simulations have used smaller grids, but
usually only for a shorter temporal horizon of simulations. Alternatively, statistical downscaling can be used, based on relationships linking large-scale
atmospheric variables (predictors) and local/regional climate variables (predictands),
cf. Wilby (2010).
However, it should be understood that RCMs operate under a set of boundary conditions set by whatever GCM is being used. Hence, if the GCM does not do an
adequate job of reproducing the climate signal of a particular region, the RCM will simply mimic those inaccuracies and biases, and propagate the uncertainties
even further, albeit at a regional scale.
It is not clear how the coupling of a RCM to a flawed GCM can provide more refined insights, any more than can statistical downscaling.”
This is an important issue since even if the global climate models could accurately predict an annual global average of any climate variable [a big IF
which is still being debated], if they cannot skillfully predict the spatial and temporal scales that matter in terms of environmental and social impacts (such
as water resources), they are of no value. Indeed, as a result of the fine-scale spatial resolution that regional downscaling can provide, they can mislead
policymakers into accepting the predictions as skillful when they are not.
I have discussed this subject in papers and in a variety of weblog posts; e.g. see
“The use of multi-decadal global climate models as the driver of determing hotspots [the most responsive regions to climate change], however, is dependent
on these global models being able to skillfully predict regional climate change….As we have reported on the Climate Science weblog, there is no skill in
predicting multi-decadal regional climate (see).
Thus, how can these multi-decadal models be used to identify hot spots? These models do not even include all of the first order climate forcings and
The answer is that they cannot…..Actually “hot spots” are likely to be quite different when the actual vulnerability of regions are assessed using a
bottom-up (“place-based”) perspective in which all threats (social as well as environmental) are included.”
The clear answer to the question
Are The IPCC Global Climate Model Multi-Decadal Global Model Predictions Accurate On Regional And Local
is NO. I invite climate science colleagues to e-mail me to present a counter viewpoint to this answer which we will present
as a guest post. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
Concerns are mounting that the icy conditions will have a devastating effect on those suffering from fuel poverty, especially the elderly, following
yesterday's revelation that the Warm Front fund, which helps people with heating and insulation, would not take on any more cases until next April. With many of
the big energy providers having already hiked up their prices, the immediate future looks bleak, with forecasters predicting that December temperatures will be
as vicious as November, Europe's coldest on record. (Independent)
Energy Policy: Tax cuts? Omnibus spending? Jobless benefits? Don't ask, don't tell? How about repealing the drilling ban that has slashed oil and gas
production and cost us trillions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs?
If the Deepwater Drilling Moratorium has been lifted under the "New Drilling Rules" established by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, you'd never know it
from the declining oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, the only offshore area where any drilling at all is permitted.
A chart put together by energy attorney Poe Legette and posted at RedState.com shows the sharp decline in production as old wells deplete and new ones find it
hard to get started. From March to September, oil production from the Gulf was down 22% and natural gas production off 30%.
As RedState notes, only 18 to 20 new drilling permits have been issued since May, about the number that would have been issued in a single month before the
Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf. Most of these permits are for shallow-water gas operations, not for the deep oil wells where needed reserves are to
"We're not holding our breath for a return to business as usual," Whitney Stanco, an energy analyst at the Washington Research Group, said in a recent
research note. "Despite pressure from Gulf state lawmakers and the oil and gas industry, we believe permitting in 2011 will likely be slower than it has in
This is not good news. Declining Gulf production means more imports, higher energy prices and fewer jobs that might otherwise be "saved or created."
There's a bitter irony in an administration seeking an extension to jobless benefits as it works to see that thousands of highly skilled workers in the oil and
gas industry stay that way. (IBD)
With so much attention focused on the boom in natural gas from new shale resources, we shouldn''t lose sight of the importance of domestic offshore gas,
mainly from the Gulf of Mexico. Although it has been declining for the last decade, offshore production still accounts for about 13% of US gas output. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, ET)
I am considered a leading critic of peak oil, the belief that oil production has peaked, is peaking, or will peak soon. I am a resource optimist in the
Julian Simon tradition and believe that resourceship allows so-called depletable
resources to expand, refuting the fixity/depletion mindset.
This said, I am empirically oriented. So let’s study and debate the facts, while remembering the record of peak-oil forecasts from the beginning to the
For my optimist/resourceship/expansionist position, I get slammed a good bit, such as by Joe Romm and by Gabriel Rotello at the Huffington Post (but also
supported there by Raymond Learsay). I mostly take
the fuss, which is two parts emotionalism to one part intellectual argument.
But when David Hughes of the Post Carbon Institute published a piece calling a New York Times
story “inaccurate, misleading and unhelpful ‘journalism’”
I thought to add a comment. However, the post was not approved for some reason. While I don’t have the precise wording (it’s lost on the Internet), I will
reproduce the comments here as best I’m able in the next several paragraphs.
Hughes remarks that Chinese demand is growing, without explaining why that is different from the demand growth experienced throughout the past century and a
half. He also criticized the citations to what he called the “uber-optimist” CERA and a failure to mention other “credible” reports that are more
pessimistic (one added comment cited the Hirsch report), but doesn’t note that the National Petroleum Council, the definitive industry voice (though hardly
infallible) in its report “The Hard Truth,” examined the peak oil arguments and found them without merit.
The IEA has certainly lowered its long-term oil production forecast, but could this be evidence for a demand response to high prices (which they also
predict), rather than an indication that they are more concerned than before about supply? There is also a political element on what oil exploration will be
permitted by government.
Finally, Hughes attacks the article’s optimism about shale gas, citing a variety of problems facing the industry, without acknowledging that production is
booming, which seems pretty clear evidence that these problems are being overcome.
Other criticisms could have been made, but for a comment on a website, brevity seemed of value. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
WHEN President Obama announced in March 2009 that his administration would guide General Motors and Chrysler through a government-financed bankruptcy, he
made it clear that the taxpayers’ $80 billion would buy nothing less than a sweeping transformation of the entire auto industry.
“This restructuring, as painful as it will be in the short term, will mark not an end, but a new beginning for a great American industry,” he said, “an
auto industry that is once more outcompeting the world; a 21st-century auto industry that is creating new jobs, unleashing new prosperity and manufacturing the
fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us toward an energy-independent future.”
Now, nearly a year and a half after the two automakers exited bankruptcy, the administration has defined down the goals of the bailout, focusing on G.M.’s and
Chrysler’s return to profitability and job creation. Though these are promising developments that show the bailout has not been an unmitigated short-term
failure, the new emphasis shows just how far the industry is from the kind of transformation we were promised.
In particular, what Mr. Obama called his “one goal” — having Detroit “lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars” — is nowhere
near being achieved. While the idea of improving G.M.’s and Chrysler’s fuel efficiency was doubtless a politically popular justification for the bailout,
American consumers have not embraced the goal with equal fervor. Sales of fuel-sipping compact and subcompact cars have actually dropped this year, while pickup
and sport utility vehicle sales grew by double-digit percentages.
This dynamic is not limited to Detroit, as Honda and other foreign producers have seen their sales this year grow largely on the backs of light trucks. But, as
the king of S.U.V. and pickup sales, Detroit has been the main beneficiary of the market’s continued preference for less-efficient offerings. (NYT)
Canada's energy regulator said on Thursday it approved plans for a C$16.2 billion ($16.1 billion) Arctic gas pipeline, a project that faces growing economic
pressure as natural gas prices languish.
The National Energy Board, following six years of deliberations, said the Mackenzie Gas Project is in the public interest provided that the major oil companies
that are backing it meet more than 200 environmental and socioeconomic conditions.
"We examined the benefits the project can bring. We found that they are large and varied," the board said in its ruling. "We also looked at the
negative impacts. We found that they can be minimized and are acceptable." (Reuters)
Ontario should follow B.C. in protecting consumers
By Jan Carr and Benjamin Dachis
In attempts to stimulate the creation of “green” jobs and technologies, some jurisdictions around the world have created
programs that guarantee renewable electricity generators payments per kilowatt-hour (kWh) that are much higher than market prices. This approach of paying a
premium to certain generators to achieve renewable goals, while overcharging all electricity consumers, is of dubious economic wisdom. But insofar as
governments insist on doing it some ways are less bad than others.
Consider the cases of Ontario and British Columbia.
Both provinces have adopted the guaranteed price approach of paying a premium for electricity generated from renewable resources using a “feed-in tariff”
(FIT). In much the same way as consumers buy electricity at published prices that are updated periodically, so a FIT pays generators at a pre-established price
rather than requiring them to compete for customers’ business. Ontario has such a program in operation, while B.C. has so far only announced its intentions to
have one. The B.C. program promises to be much kinder to consumers’ pocket books than the program already in place in Ontario.
Researchers at the Ames Laboratory and the University of Colorado find that wind turbines help channel beneficial breezes over nearby plants
AMES, Iowa – Wind turbines in Midwestern farm fields may be doing more than churning out electricity. The giant turbine blades that generate renewable energy
might also help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing
carbon dioxide [CO2] from the air and soil.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a scientific society, in San Francisco today, a researcher at the U.S. Department of
Energy’s Ames Laboratory and his co-researcher from the University of Colorado announced the preliminary findings of a months-long research program aimed at
studying how wind turbines on farmlands interact with surrounding crops.
“We’ve finished the first phase of our research, and we’re confident that wind turbines do produce measureable effects on the microclimate near crops,”
said Ames Laboratory associate and agricultural meteorology expert Gene Takle. According to Takle, who is also a professor of agricultural meteorology and
director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University, the slow-moving turbine blades that have become a familiar sight along Midwestern highways,
channel air downwards, in effect bathing the crops below via the increased airflow they create.
His colleague in the research is Julie Lundquist, assistant professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, at the University of Colorado at Boulder,
joint appointee at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute.
Lundquist’s team uses a specialized laser known as a lidar to measure winds and turbulence from near the Earth’s surface to well above the top tip of a
“Our laser instrument could detect a beautiful plume of increased turbulence that persisted even a quarter-mile downwind of a turbine,” Lundquist said.
Both Takle and Lundquist stressed that their early findings have yet to definitively establish whether or not wind turbines are in fact beneficial to the health
and yield potential of soybeans and corn planted nearby. However, their finding that the turbines increase airflow over surrounding crops, suggests this is a
realistic possibility. (Ames Lab.)
Then it is equally possible that this increased turbulence increases evapotranspiration and crop water requirements, isn't it? So the
headline may equally have read: "Wind Turbines on Farmland May Harm Crops", or maybe: "Wind Turbines May Increase Pesticide Use by
Protecting Crop Pests from Frosts" and so on...
The George C. Marshall Institute released a new paper examining the viability of electric cars. Authored by the Institute's CEO, William O'Keefe, Electric
Cars: Not Ready for Primetime, considers whether public subsidization of electric vehicles is worthwhile, concluding: "Like many of the solutions to
national problems that are invented in Washington DC, there is less to the electric car movement than the public has been led to believe. The image created for
electric cars does not match today’s reality."
O'Keefe reviews the arguments used to justify public investment and finds that there generally are more efficient and effective ways to achieve the same ends.
Any time Congress creates a health care entitlement, it “crowds out” (i.e., displaces) private coverage, replacing private sector spending with increased
taxpayer spending. The end result: Private spending and coverage contract while government entitlements, dependency, and spending grow.
A little loop of genes that give bacteria the power to resist virtually all known antibiotics is spreading quickly and likely to cause doctors headaches for
years to come, an expert predicted on Wednesday.
They come on the equivalent of a genetic memory stick -- a string of genes called a transmissible genetic element. Bacteria, unlike higher forms of life, can
swap these gene strings with other species and often do so with wild abandon.
This one is called New Delhi metallobeta-lactamase 1 or NDM-1 for short and Dr. Robert Moellering of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center in Boston predicts it will cause more trouble in the coming years. (Reuters)
Drug companies are failing to put their research dollars into antibiotics and other key areas of unmet medical need, highlighting a mismatch between the hunt
for profits and public health, Europe's top health regulator said.
Thomas Lonngren, outgoing head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said on Wednesday the organization he has led for 10 years might in future need to step
in as "watchdog" to advise where R&D funding should be focused.
The rise of "superbugs," or antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, is a growing problem. Drugmakers, however, have little incentive to invest in
new drugs that are typically saved for the sickest patients and so have only small sales. (Reuters)
Looking beyond obvious causes of obesity like overeating, scientists said on Wednesday they may have found a gene that also plays a role, one that helped our
ancestors survive famines.
Targeting this thrifty gene and others with diagnostic tests and drugs offers another way to fight the global epidemic of obesity, the researchers said.
Mice bred to lack this gene, known as CRTC3, can eat a high-fat diet without gaining weight, while normal mice on the same diet grow plump, the researchers
And Mexican Americans who have an especially potent version of this gene are more likely to be obese than others, Dr. Marc Montminy of the Salk Institute for
Biological Studies in California and colleagues reported in the journal Nature.
The gene did not appear to have the same effect in whites, which supports what scientists know -- that obesity is very complex. But CRTC3 is clearly important.
We human beings sure are gullible. Polls report that 27 percent of Americans believe in ghosts, and 25 percent in astrology. Others believe mediums,
fortunetellers, faith healers and assorted magical phenomena.
I'd think the astrologers or the psychics or the ghost hunters would be eager to prove they were for real. Not only would they convince skeptics, they'd make a
That's what James Randi, the magician, author and debunker of bogus claims, will pay anyone who can prove he or she actually has an ability that can't be
explained by science. (John Stossel, RealClearPolitics)
Environmentalists hate sprawl -- except when it comes to the size of their expansive pet legislation on Capitol Hill.
In a last-ditch lame duck push, eco-lobbyists have been furiously pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to pass a monstrous 327-page omnibus
government lands bill crammed with more than 120 separate measures to lock up vast swaths of wilderness areas. Despite the time crunch, Senate Democrats in
search of 60 votes are working behind the scenes to buy off green Republicans. House Democrats would then need a two-thirds majority to fast-track the bill to
the White House before the GOP takes over on Jan. 5.
Yes, the hurdles are high. But with Reid and company now vowing to work straight through Christmas into the new year (when politicians know Americans are
preoccupied with the holidays), anything is possible. The Constitution is no obstacle to these power grabbers. Neither is a ticking clock. (Michelle Malkin,
In 2010, the EPA granted exactly two new coal mining permits in West Virginia. There are fifty outstanding permits, because according to the EPA, bugs are
more important than jobs.
Mayfly populations are disrupted when coal companies dig beneath the surface of the earth, which the EPA says affects the amount of food and thus the
populations of indigenous fish. Other research has indicated that as soon as those bugs leave, other ones take their place, and fish populations are unaffected.
As the result of this standoff, coal cannot expand in Appalachia, and some of the highest paying jobs in the state remain unfilled. For state representative
Gary Howell, that’s unacceptable.
“The EPA gets their authority from the Commerce Clause. Where no interstate commerce exists, their authority stops,” he said. That’s why he has introduced
a bill that would exempt West Virginia coal from the EPA’s grip, allowing coal to be regulated only by a state agency.
The EPA can only regulate interstate commerce, Howell explains. If coal is produced in West Virginia and burned in West Virginia, it shouldn’t be under the
EPA’s jurisdiction. This doesn’t mean that environmental standards won’t be adhered to. It simply means that state agencies can streamline and prioritize
enforcement instead of it being handled by a centralized bureaucracy. (Jillian Bandes, Townhall)
Last Friday’s federal appellate court decision allowing the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas regulations to take effect Jan. 2 is an unnecessary
travesty for taxpayers, consumers, businesses and states.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is by no means the final word on whether the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s rules are legal, but it does allow them to take effect pending their litigation.
The court (Clinton appointee David Tatel, Bush appointee Janice Rogers Brown, and former-dope-smoking Reagan appointee Douglas Ginsburg presiding) held that
the industry lawyers challenging the rules failed to show that “the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harm[s] will
directly result from [the EPA’s regulations].”
This is ridiculous.
On Jan. 2, the EPA will start writing permits for power plants and other large emitters of greenhouse gases. Overlooking for a moment the costs and hassles
to emitters and consumers that will undoubtedly be caused by the rules, at the very least this permit-writing process will cost the EPA and state permitting
authorities (read “already strapped taxpayers”) about $80 million per year.
And what environmental benefits will be gained by these expenditures? You don’t have to be a global warming skeptic to respond “none.”
Under the Clean Air Act, if the EPA decides to regulate a pollutant, the so-called “best available control technology” (BACT) must be used to reduce
emissions. But, funny enough, there is no BACT for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).
Burying CO2 underground — so-called carbon capture and sequestration — is experimental, and so is not considered BACT. The Obama EPA would love to
declare natural gas as BACT for electric power generation, but it is not yet willing to escalate its war against the coal industry.
Since there is no commercially available technology to reduce CO2 emissions from smokestacks, few will be avoided — even the EPA acknowledges that.
So at the very least, Judges Rogers, Tatel and Ginsburg have imposed huge costs on taxpayers for precisely nothing in return. Apparently there is nothing
quite like a lifetime appointment away from the real world.
But the wasted $80 million is really only the tip of the iceberg. There remain a number of ways that the EPA’s rules can cause further harm, according to
environmental consultant Rich Trzupek.
First and foremost, the permitting process is open to public comment, most of which tends to come from environmental activist groups who typically use the
process to delay permits and harass applicants. There’s nothing speculative about this harassment; it will happen.
Next, the Clean Air Act allows states to charge permit holders fees based on the amount of emissions. This would essentially be a carbon tax passed on to
consumers through higher prices.
The EPA is directing state permitting agencies to press for energy efficiency in permits, enabling regulators to meddle in business operations when it comes
to equipment selection, for example. And since high-efficiency equipment tends to cost more money, consumers can expect to absorb those costs as well.
The EPA is also advising states that they can engage in emission trade-offs in permitting — allowing increases in some other regulated pollutants in
exchange for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But such “backsliding,” as it is termed by environmentalist vigilantes, would merely provide another
opportunity to harass permit applicants.
States say they will be harmed by the EPA rules. Texas, in particular, has said it isn’t ready, willing or able to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
In a September filing, Texas’ attorney general told the court, “If Texas is unwilling or proves unable to accede to [the EPA's] unlawful [rules], the
[EPA] has threatened to impose a permit moratorium that would halt as many as 167 projects in its first year, costing the state jobs, business opportunities,
and tax revenues. In effect, due to uncertainty resulting from the agency’s actions, a de facto construction ban is already in place.”
Demanding a showing of more harm than the foregoing is more sadistic than judicial in nature.
The EPA is out of control and the federal judiciary is out of touch. Let’s hope the new GOP-controlled House is up to the challenge of using its budget and
investigative powers to get a grip on the EPA. Revamping the courts and the laws they interpret will have to wait until at least 2013.
Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial
Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a book from Regnery Publishing.
Note: This column erred in originally reporting Judge Judith W. Rogers, rather than Judge Janice Rogers Brown, as member of the three-judge court. I regret
The revelation that the Obama administration used a covert CIA program to dig up dirt on countries opposed to the Copenhagen climate treaty shows a White
House desperate to enforce its orthodoxy on global warming, Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe told The Daily Caller.
The latest leaked Fox News memo obtained by Media Matters reveals more Rovesque ambitions from
Washington managing editor Bill Sammon. This time it's global warming that gets a rhetorical makeover.
From: Sammon, Bill To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005
-Washington Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009 Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data...
...we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based
upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
The memo is an apparent corrective; it was sent out less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler reported that the UN World Meteorological
Organization said that it looked like it would be the warmest recorded decade. It is concurrent with the Fox-hyped "Climategate" scandal, in which
journalists purported that leaked Climate Research Unit e-mails revealed deception and malpractice on the part of climate scientists. Several independent news
and science organizations later concluded that the e-mails did not undermine climate change findings.
Last week, a leaked memo revealed Sammon to have urged
journalists to use "government option" instead of "public option" at the height of the health care debates.
Can anyone tell me please, just what is supposed to be wrong with:
...we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based
upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
Bangalore, Dec 14 The Visvesvaraya Technological University today conferred the ''Doctor of Science'' (Honoris Causa) degree on G Madhavan Nair,
former ISRO Chairman, and R K Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resource Institute, New Delhi. (PTI)
The time has arrived to do away with the fetish for calibrating growth in terms of GDP numbers alone, according to eminent climate scientist and Nobel
laureate, Dr R.K. Pachauri. (The Hindu Business Line)
In a MasterResource article a few months back, I walked
everyone through a series of recent scientific findings and described how they cast new light on how the total amount of observed global warming to date could
be divvied upon among various causes. I ultimately concluded that the high confidence that the IPCC (and later echoed by the EPA) placed on the statement that
“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic
greenhouse gas concentrations” was misplaced.
This line of reasoning was recently incorporated into statements made by Dr. Patrick
Michaels when testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.
During the questions and answers portion of the hearing, one of the other panelists, Dr. Benjamin Santer, quickly objected and claimed that Pat was
“wrong” because he didn’t take into account the cooling influence of aerosols when determining how much observed warming should be assigned to greenhouse
A day or so following the testimony, Judith Curry hosted a discussion on
her blog site Climate Etc. to further examine Michaels’ logic. In her remarks introducing the thread, she too suggested that Pat was “obliged” to include
sulfates in the calculation. When I stepped in to offer additional explanation, RealClimate’s Gavin Schmidt commented that he hoped I was
“kidding,” and John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M commented
that my explanation was “nonsense.”
So with all these erudite folks claiming that Pat Michaels and I are wrong, I figured I ought to take another look into the logic behind our conclusions.
First let’s get a couple of things out of the way up front. The argument about whether or not the inclusion of sulfates is required to arrive at a
logically correct conclusion has nothing whatsoever to do with the veracity and/or applicability of the scientific papers from which I’ve drawn some numbers
(see my earlier post for details about these findings). I am not
suggesting that there isn’t plenty of room to argue that aspect of things, just that such a discussion does not impinge on the discussion of our logic. So
I’ll set aside discussion of those issues in order to focus on the topic at hand. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
A number of Sydney suburbs will be inundated regularly because of climate change-driven sea-level rises, threatening homes and community infrastructure worth
billion of dollars by the end of the century, new projections show. (SMH)
Even with the expected active 2010 North Atlantic hurricane season, which accounts on average for about 1/5 of global annual hurricane output, the rest of
the global tropics has been historically quiet. The Western North Pacific this year has seen 8-Typhoons, the fewest in at least 65-years of records. Closer to the US mainland, the Eastern North Pacific off
the coast of Mexico has uncorked a grand total of 7 tropical storms of which 3 became hurricanes, the fewest since at least 1970. Global, Northern Hemisphere, and Southern
Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Energy (ACE) remain
at decades-low levels. With the fantastic dearth of November and December global hurricane activity, it is also observed that the frequency of global
hurricanes has continued an inexorable plunge into into a double-dip recession status. With 2010 [possibly but not probably] being the
hottest year ever, we will likely see the fewest number of global
tropical cyclones observed in at least three-decades…
Polar bears were added to the threatened species list nearly three years ago when their icy habitat showed steady, precipitous decline because of a warming
But it appears the Arctic icons aren't necessarily doomed after all, according to results of a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
The findings indicate that there is no "tipping point" that would result in unstoppable loss of summer sea ice when greenhouse gas-driven warming
rises above a certain threshold. (NSF)
Still flogging the failing enhanced greenhouse horse though when they should really just put the poor critter out of its (and everyone
else's') misery. How long will they continue to cling to the vestigial credibility of the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas
emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature. (USGS)
Forget it, fellas, people have noticed models must have their initial conditions reset and realigned with reality so frequently that we can
not predict a major storm 10 days in advance, we certainly can't predict major climatic events like ENSO 10 months in advance and that prediction of global
climate 10 years in advance is complete fantasy.
Fears for future of gene pool as interbreeding between vulnerable species driven together by global warming gathers pace (Independent)
Both Ursus maritimus marinus and Ursus arctos horribilis are basically Ursus arctos anyway - they're all brown bears with some localized
specialization and niche exploitation. Has there traditionally been interbreeding according to prevailing conditions? Without doubt. Why are we only noticing
now? Because we haven't paid attention before, probably.
Rising concentrations of zinc in a waterway on Colorado's Western Slope may be the result of climate change that is affecting the timing of annual snowmelt,
says a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The study focused on the Snake River watershed just west of the Continental Divide near Keystone, Colo., where CU-Boulder researchers have observed a four-fold
increase in dissolved zinc over the last 30 years during the lowest water flow months, said Caitlin Crouch. Crouch, a master's degree student who led the study,
said the high levels of zinc affect stream ecology, including deleterious effects on microbes, algae, invertebrates and fish.
The team speculated the increased zinc concentrations may be tied to changes in groundwater conditions and stream flow patterns caused by climate change and the
associated snowmelt that has been peaking two to three weeks earlier than normal in recent years, largely because of warming air temperatures. The result is
lowered stream flows and drier soils along the stream in September and October, which increases metal concentrations, said Crouch. (University of Colorado at
SAN FRANCISCO -- The northernmost mummified forest ever found in Canada is revealing how plants struggled to endure a long-ago global cooling.
Researchers believe the trees -- buried by a landslide and exquisitely preserved 2 to 8 million years ago -- will help them predict how today’s Arctic will
respond to global warming.
They also suspect that many more mummified forests could emerge across North America as Arctic ice continues to melt. As the wood is exposed and begins to rot,
it could release significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- and actually boost global warming. (OSU)
It has taken two years to complete this process. It does represent the broadening of the AMS to consider that the role of humans in the climate system
involves much more than just the effects due to the addition of CO2 and several other greenhouse gases.
Excerpts from the first AMS Statement include
“This section summarizes the current knowledge of the physical processes affecting weather modification as a result of changes in land use, aerosol, and
a. Aerosol radiative effects
By partially blocking solar radiation from heating the surface, air pollutants lower surface heating and evaporation rates. This slows vertical air
motions, and hence causes slower dispersal rates of air pollutants, and suppresses formation of convective clouds and precipitation. Reduced surface
evaporation has major implications for the global hydrological cycle and how it responds to the combined forcing of GHGs, land use change, and aerosol
pollution. In addition, surface deposition of dark aerosols accelerates ice-melt rates, hence affecting water resources. While these conclusions are
based on sound physical meteorology, many of these effects are yet to be quantified.
b. Cloud-mediated effects of aerosol
Aerosols act mostly as cloud-drop condensation nuclei (CCN), and some of them as ice nuclei (IN), both of which change cloud radiative and precipitation
properties in complex ways. Over oceans, emissions from fossil-fuel-burning ships produce tracks, observed to dramatically influence the extent and
persistence of local shallow cloud cover, reducing the amount of solar radiation received at the surface and enhancing the amount reflected back to space.
Aerosols also suppress precipitation from shallow or short-lived clouds (e.g., orographic cap clouds). Their impacts on deep convective clouds are much less
certain, but are of potentially great importance. Recent research suggests that, depending on meteorological conditions, aerosols can either increase or
decrease rainfall from such clouds. In warm moist atmospheres, aerosols often invigorate deep convective clouds, usually resulting in greater electrical
activity, stronger damaging winds, and a greater likelihood of flash floods. Studies indicate that aerosols might also modulate the intensity of tornadoes
c. Changes in land use
One example of significant land use change is the rapid global increase in urbanization and its associated changes in land surface properties and topography
that create “urban heat islands” and urban barrier effects that perturb regional air flows, which thus redistributes precipitation, runoff, and flood risk
over and around cites. Land-use changes alter surface albedos, as well as surface fluxes of heat, water vapor, and momentum to the atmosphere, and thus modify
local and regional atmospheric circulations, which in turn can modify weather. For example, when a forest is removed and replaced by an agricultural field, it
can result in a significantly different albedo, especially after a snow storm. Artificial lakes, and wind and solar farms also change the surface fluxes
and albedo. Such changes also occur indirectly through increases in nitrogen deposition and atmospheric CO2, which alter leaf area amounts and thus the
portioning of latent and sensible heat fluxes. Poor agricultural practices that favor wind erosion, such as from summer fallow, overgrazing, and
deforestation, as well as from tillage, can produce large quantities of dust that absorb and reflect solar radiation thereby modifying clouds and precipitation
“The cumulative changes in surface and atmospheric heat and moisture profiles modify atmospheric circulation and weather patterns on all scales, including
synoptic storm tracks, in ways that are just beginning to be explored. In the aggregate, these changes can affect air quality, ecosystems, and water
resources. The cumulative impacts of inadvertent weather modification may thus result in local or regional-scale climatic alterations superimposed on, and
interacting with, natural and GHG-induced climate variability and change. Understanding of inadvertent weather modification, still in its infancy, is thus
necessary for understanding the sources, triggers, and response mechanisms of climate change.”
High-priority research and new technological capabilities are required to improve understanding of the impacts of inadvertent weather modification. These
Further use of satellite remote sensing of land, trace gas, aerosol, cloud, and precipitation properties.
Enhanced documentation of emissions of aerosols and their precursors; their chemical evolution; radiative properties; CCN and IN activity; and their
transport and deposition.
Expanded in situ measurements of aerosol–atmosphere and land–atmosphere interactions over a range of cloud regimes, from fair weather to severe
convective storms and to hurricanes.
Detailed simulations of these processes at a hierarchy of scales, up to global.
These research efforts on unintended weather modification should be recognized as addressing parts of the broader question of climate variability and change,
which crosses geopolitical boundaries.”
This Statement [as I have posted on previously; i.e. see]
provides wider support for the findings that we reported on in the paper
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski,
E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol.
90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.
The second Statements implicitly involves geoengineering (although the AMS has a separate statement for that; see
my post). Excerpts from that Statement read
“Cloud seeding techniques have been developed over nearly 70 years through experimentation and trials. In this statement we focus on the policy issues that
pertain to local-scale application of these techniques covering areas from a few to several hundreds of square kilometers. Larger-scale efforts to intentionally
modify weather and climate using these or other techniques are discussed in a separate AMS policy statement on geoengineering.”
“From time to time methods have been proposed for modifying extreme weather phenomena, such as seeding severe thunderstorms with aerosols to diminish
tornado intensity, or seeding tropical cyclones to cause changes in their dynamics and steer them away from land and/or diminish their intensity. Some
experimentation has taken place in these areas, but current knowledge of these complex weather systems is limited and the physical basis by which seeding
might influence their evolution is not well understood. ”
“Weather modification techniques other than cloud seeding have been used in various areas of the world for short periods of time to achieve goals similar
to those of cloud seeding. Much less is known about the effects of these other techniques, and their scientific basis is even further from being demonstrated,
either statistically or physically, than it is for cloud seeding. Application of weather modification methods that are not supported by statistically positive
results combined with a well-understood physical chain of processes leading to these results, and that can also be replicated by numerical cloud modeling,
should be discouraged.”
The scientific uncertainty (and thus dangers of deliberate intervention in the global climate system – “geoengineering”) indicate that geoengineering
is a very poor idea.
A United Nations panel issued nearly 2 million carbon offsets to a hydrofluorocarbon-23 destruction project in China on Wednesday, it said on its website.
The Zhejiang Juhua Co. in China was awarded 1,997,903 U.N.-backed offsets called certified emissions reductions (CERs).
Under the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), rich countries buy CERs, which are each equivalent to 1 tonne of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The panel
this summer halted issuing CERs to HFC-23 projects while it investigated allegations that some developers were manipulating the CDM.
At the panel's last meeting of the year in November, it gave clearance to issuing the credits, despite a U.N. investigation which found flaws in the methodology
the projects use.
The European Commission has proposed to restrict the use of CERs from such projects in its emissions trading scheme from January 1, 2013, which some countries
and companies oppose. (Reuters)
The Gulf of Mexico suffered remarkably little damage. Why were so many so willing to believe otherwise?
The day after the midterm elections in November, panelists at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy discussed the various factors that had
contributed to the Democrats’ losses—most surprisingly, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One speaker with excellent Democratic connections in Washington
noted that top White House staff were consumed by the spill and its political fallout for much of the spring of 2010. As staffers now lamented privately, this
had diverted attention from other pressing issues—above all, the sputtering economy.
The political fortunes of the Democratic party were not the only collateral damage from the spill. Gulf coast tourism plummeted, even in areas untouched by oil.
Seafood restaurants in New York and Chicago proudly advertised that they did not serve Gulf fish. And many oyster beds were devastated when they were flushed
with fresh water from the Mississippi River as a “preventive” measure. Most recently, on December 1, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cancelled previous plans
for much expanded offshore oil and gas drilling, killing thousands of jobs and forgoing an opportunity to reduce the nation’s enormous foreign energy bill.
Oddly enough, however, the ecosystem of the Gulf itself turns out to have suffered remarkably little damage from the continuous gushing of oil into the water
from April 20 till July 15, when the leaking well was capped. One group of scientists rated the health of the Gulf’s ecology at 71 on a scale of 100 before
the spill and 65 in October. By mid-August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was having trouble finding spilled oil. This squared with
the finding of researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California that the half-life of much of the leaking oil was about three days. At
that rate, more than 90 percent would have disappeared in 12 days.
NOAA explained one reason for this in a report in August: “It is well known that bacteria that break down the dispersed and weathered surface oil are abundant
in the Gulf of Mexico in large part because of the warm water, the favorable nutrient and oxygen levels, and the fact that oil regularly enters the Gulf of
Mexico through natural seeps.” In other words, the organisms that normally live off the Gulf’s large natural seepage of oil into the water multiplied
extremely rapidly and went on a feeding frenzy. Another 25 percent of the spilled oil—the lightest and most toxic part—simply evaporated at the surface or
dissolved quickly. (Robert H. Nelson, Weekly Standard)
In the guise of environmentalism, U.S. foundations are spending millions to stop oil tankers along the B.C. coast
Last week, Michael Ignatieff and 142 other Members of Parliament voted in favour of a motion to ban oil tanker traffic on the
north coast of British Columbia. This week, Liberal MP Joyce Murray from Vancouver Quadra introduced Bill C-606 to put that motion into law by amending the
Canada Shipping Act to prohibit oil tanker traffic on the north and central coast of British Columbia.
Ms. Murray and every single one of those MPs played right into the hands of the U.S. foundations seeking to block oil tanker traffic. Whether intentional or
not, these actions will also stop oil exports to Asia. On the surface, this is about oil, Canada’s single most important export. More important, this is about
the sovereignty of our country, which should be decided by Canadians, not foreign-funded campaigns.
The charge to pressure MPs to vote for a tanker ban was led by the Dogwood Initiative. In 2009, a U.S. foundation paid $30,000 to the U.S. Tides Foundation
to fund the Dogwood Initiative “to expand an outreach campaign to mobilize urban voters for a federal ban on coastal tankers.” Another U.S. foundation paid
the Dogwood Initiative “to help grow public opposition to counter the Enbridge pipeline construction …”
In 2006, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund paid $100,000 to the Pembina Foundation and $100,000 to the Westcoast Environmental Law Research Foundation, “To
prevent the development of a pipeline and tanker port that would endanger the Great Bear Rainforest. ” Read More » (Financial Times)
In sharp contrast to the pro-nuclear energy rhetoric of the
Administration, some nuclear power plant owners are considering shutting down their facilities. Exelon, owner of the New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power
plant, recently announced that it plans to close
the plant 10 years early because of EPA regulations aimed at reducing the environmental impact of plants’ cooling water intake systems.
Currently, Oyster Creek employs the accepted “best technology available”—based on a site-specific cost-benefit analysis—and uses water from nearby
Barnegat Bay to cool the reactor. This is no longer good enough for regulators. The EPA’s
revision of Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act determines that the thermal discharge released into the Bay from this “once-through” cooling system is
too damaging to organisms there. Oyster Creek would have had to install large cooling towers to accommodate the new rule, but spending eight years and
$700–800 million simply did not make economic sense. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
HONG KONG — The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to
shortages of materials needed for a range of green products — from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines.
So warns a detailed report to be released on Wednesday morning by the United States Energy Department. The report, which predicts that it could take 15 years to
break American dependence on Chinese supplies, calls for the nation to increase research and expand diplomatic contacts to find alternative sources, and to
develop ways to recycle the minerals or replace them with other materials.
At least 96 percent of the most crucial types of the so-called rare earth minerals are now produced in China, and Beijing has wielded various export controls to
limit the minerals’ supply to other countries while favoring its own manufacturers that use them.
“The availability of a number of these materials is at risk due to their location, vulnerability to supply disruptions and lack of suitable substitutes,”
the report says, which also mentions some concerns about a few other minerals imported from elsewhere, such as cobalt from the Congo. (NYT)
Did they mention that absurdly stringent greenie legislation is the reason America's not producing domestic supplies of the misnamed
"rare earths"? Rare earths are not really "rare", just not conveniently concentrated in easily extractable ore resources.
(12-15) 04:00 PST Washington - -- The tax compromise expected to pass the Senate today and add $858 billion to the national debt is packed with much more
than another year of unemployment benefits and a two-year extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts.
It also contains a special-interest bonanza of spending programs disguised as tax breaks, or "tax earmarks," that range from energy and education tax
credits to tax-exempt bonds for areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
California's Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer joined an overwhelming 83-15 vote Monday to move forward on the tax bill, the biggest
bipartisan victory of the Obama administration so far. A Senate vote on final passage is expected today.
Ethanol subsidies are among the biggest earmarks. Feinstein waged a last-ditch effort Tuesday to reduce them, even as she sought to add tax breaks for wind and
solar developers. She and Boxer and a dozen other Senate Democrats and 81 House members demanded the alternative-energy tax breaks in exchange for their votes
for the tax bill.
An amendment by Feinstein to cut ethanol subsidies and extend a tax credit for alternative-energy manufacturers, which was part of the 2009 stimulus, failed.
The $2.3 billion program has made nine awards to California companies, including Stion and Nanosolar in San Jose.
One program survives
But one big alternative-energy program that survived under pressure from Democrats would extend a subsidy to cover nearly a third of the cost of new wind and
solar installations. It was the top goal for alternative-energy industry lobbyists. (SF Chronicle)
Ethanol futures rose to a four-week high in Chicago after the U.S. Senate passed an $858 billion tax-cut plan that includes incentives to help buoy demand
for the biofuel.
The grain-based additive gained a seventh day out of the past eight after the Senate voted 81-19 on the tax measures, which extend a 45-cent credit to refiners
for each gallon of the fuel blended with gasoline and a 54-cent tariff on Brazilian imports.
“There was a little bit of a rally into the close,” said Matt Janney, a trader at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. in Chicago. “Looks like the Senate voted
to pass the ethanol subsidy. It still has to go through the House, but it’s kind of moving quicker than we had thought.” (Bloomberg)
The U.K. will propose the biggest changes to energy policy in two decades tomorrow when the coalition government lays out plans to ensure aging power plants
are replaced and climate targets met.
David Cameron’s government is likely to reassert state control over the market-based system introduced by his predecessor Margaret Thatcher when proposals are
made to parliament. The regulator has suggested a “carbon floor” price to force up the cost of emitting greenhouse gases, encouraging investment in nuclear
reactors and offshore wind farms. (Bloomberg)
Several hundred firms have been granted waivers on some of ObamaCare’s rules; but other firms undoubtedly meriting similar waivers will not get them, and
their workers will suffer.
Ronald McDonald is not the only one who gets to keep his health insurance next year. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been
quietly granting waivers of a new ObamaCare requirement that will drive up the cost of insurance. The pace of waivers has picked up dramatically, much to the
displeasure of liberal advocates. The good news is that the Obama administration has had to acknowledge that its healthcare overhaul does not work for everyone.
The bad news is that this only avoids the worst political heat, and does not represent a change in policy direction. (The American)
The future of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform has been put in doubt after a judge ruled unconstitutional a key element obliging people to buy
The judge in Virginia ruled on Monday said the federal government cannot require someone to buy health insurance. Nearly half the states have filed lawsuits
challenging the healthcare reform law and Republican governors and state legislators are working to stall the plan's implementation.
In Congress, Republican lawmakers have pledged to repeal the law once they take control of the House of Representatives in January.
Here are some questions and answers about healthcare reform's future after the judge's ruling: (Reuters)
By contradicting two prior opinions, Monday’s court ruling in Virginia against the Obama health care law highlighted both the novelty of the constitutional
issues and the difficulty of forging consensus among judges who bring differences in experience, philosophy and partisan background to the bench.
Judge Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond wrote with conviction that the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance goes
“beyond the historical reach” of Supreme Court cases that limit federal regulation of commercial activity. During the last two months, however, two other
federal judges ruled with equal force that the provision fell squarely within the authority Congress was granted under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to resolve the conflict, and many court watchers already expect a characteristically close decision. But what is now
clear is that the challenges from dozens of states to the law’s constitutionality can no longer be dismissed as frivolous, as they were earlier this year by
some scholars and Democratic partisans. (NYT)
The world could stop malaria deaths by 2015 if massive investment is made to ramp up control measures, including wider use of insecticide-treated mosquito
nets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Progress has been made over the decade, with deaths estimated to have dropped to 781,000 last year from nearly one million in 2000, the WHO said in its World
Malaria Report 2010.
The largest absolute decrease in mortality was recorded in sub-Saharan Africa, which still accounts for nine out of 10 deaths, mainly children under age 5,
according to the U.N. agency. More countries are reporting they have halved cases and deaths since 2000, 11 of them in Africa and 32 in other regions.
"By maintaining these essential gains, we can end malaria deaths by 2015," said Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for malaria.
"It is indeed within our reach." (Reuters)
Joe Cohen, a scientist tantalizingly close to delivering the world's first malaria vaccine, is on the stump.
After 23 years of painstaking laboratory work and a program of major trials in seven countries, the 67-year-old biologist says the clinical case for the vaccine
is almost proved. It's a breakthrough moment that could save hundreds of thousands of lives, but when it comes to public health in the developing world, Cohen
knows hard science is only half the job. That's why the softly spoken U.S.-Italian researcher found himself one chilly December evening pitching his life's work
to rich-world politicians whose voters will have to foot the bill, and fielding questions over festive mince pies and wine in a leather and oak-clad room in
London's Houses of Parliament.
How cost-effective will the vaccine be compared to tried and tested low-tech approaches like mosquito nets and insecticides, one inquirer asks. Is there any
evidence that it will bring down the spread of the disease in general, helping those who haven't been vaccinated? How long is a shot likely to stay effective?
Is there a danger it might foster a false sense of security? As the session goes on, it's clear that enthusiasm for Cohen's work is coupled with wariness among
the experts and well-informed lawmakers. The bottom-line question: is the vaccine -- and the global health community's aim of completely eradicating a disease
that kills a child every 45 seconds -- really worth the money? (Reuters)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dropped the artificial sweetener saccharin from its list of hazardous substances, the agency said on Tuesday.
The white crystalline powder used in diet drinks, chewing gum and juice was dubbed a potential cancer-causing agent in 1980. While a review by the National
Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer cleared saccharin in the late 1990s, it has remained on the EPA's potential hazard list.
Over the last year, Save the Children emerged as a leader in the push to tax sweetened soft drinks as a way to combat childhood obesity. The nonprofit group
supported soda tax campaigns in Mississippi, New Mexico, Washington State, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia.
At the same time, executives at Save the Children were seeking a major grant from Coca-Cola to help finance the health and education programs that the charity
conducts here and abroad, including its work on childhood obesity.
The talks with Coke are still going on. But the soda tax work has been stopped. In October, Save the Children surprised activists around the country with an
e-mail message announcing that it would no longer support efforts to tax soft drinks. (NYT)
Women who are poor are much more likely to be obese but men are not, U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday in a report that contradicts some common
They found income does not greatly affect whether a man is obese but that education seems to affect both sexes.
"Among men, obesity prevalence is generally similar at all income levels, with a tendency to be slightly higher at higher income levels," the team at
the National Center for Health Statistics wrote. (Reuters)
SAN ANTONIO -- Studies of the impact of excess weight on breast cancer outcomes showed mixed results, researchers reported here.
Two of three presentations at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium suggested that at least certain subgroups of overweight and obese patients have worse
survival compared with normal-weight patients. The third study showed no association between body mass index (BMI) and breast cancer outcomes. (MedPage Today)
Survivors of the World War II atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki continue to fall ill today as a result of the radiation they received, a surprising Japanese
Researchers testing survivors between 1985 and 2004 found people who had received high levels of radiation from the bomb blast were eight times more likely to
develop a rare blood disease than those exposed to low levels.
"It adds evidence to the fact that radiation even at moderately low doses is hazardous, and the diseases you can get aren't only cancers," said David
J. Brenner, who heads the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, and was not involved in the study.
The Japanese researchers focused on so-called myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS, in which damage to cells in the bone marrow prevents blood cells from
With a baseline rate of only a dozen MDS cases per 100,000 survivors per year, Brenner added, even an eight-fold increase in risk doesn't amount to much.
"This is quite a small risk relative to getting the common cancers," he said.
The findings nevertheless may add to ongoing debate over modern radiation sources, such as computed-tomography (CT) scanning, a high-resolution form of x-ray.
A scan of the Canadian population reveals that, thanks largely to fortified foods, almost no one is deficient in folic acid, and forty percent have
relatively high -- maybe even too high -- levels of the B vitamin in their blood.
Despite the lack of deficiency, however, 1 in 5 women of childbearing age did not carry in their blood the amount of folate (the natural form of folic acid)
recommended to prevent birth defects, the benefit for which the vitamin is best known.
So while many men, the elderly, and children may have a lot of folic acid, Canadian women of childbearing age often don't have enough, and should continue to
take supplements, study author Cynthia Colapinto of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute told Reuters Health.
"I believe all women of childbearing age should take supplements," she said.
These findings are "reassuring," said Dr. Nicholas Wald, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, who did not participate in the
study. He cautioned that people should not focus on the high levels of folate found in the study, since there is still no evidence that these levels can cause
"It is a mistake to talk about dangerously high levels of folate," Wald said in an e-mail to Reuters Health. "The important message is that folic
acid fortification has worked and has been shown to be successful in improving health without evidence of harm." (Reuters Health)
The Environmental Protection Agency sprang two surprises last week. First,
EPA asked a federal judge to allow them to delay issuing the boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) rule until April 2012, which would give EPA time
to reconsider and rewrite the proposed regulation. The rule is designed to cut air pollution from approximately 200,000 industrial boilers, process
heaters, solid waste incinerators, etc. Industrial users of boilers have made a good case that the proposed standards were going to be impossible to meet
in many cases.
Next, EPA announced that the ozone or smog rule would be delayed until July 2011, while it reconsidered the scientific and health studies on smog’s
effects. The announcement suggests that EPA has bowed to intense opposition from…
WASHINGTON, DC, December 14, 2010 - At the Pentagon on December 15, U.S. Navy officers will decide how to dispose of the next generation of retired vessels,
among them the ex-USS Forrestal, the aircraft carrier on which Senator John McCain served in 1967 in the waters of Vietnam. The 1076-foot Forrestal, the largest
aircraft carrier of its day and the first to support jet aircraft, is slated to be dumped in deep water somewhere off of the East Coast next year to be used as
an artificial reef.
But a new report by the nonprofit Basel Action Network, released today, finds that the U.S. government underestimates the costs of ship dumping and fails to
"properly" account for the economic advantages of recycling in U.S. ship dismantling yards - costing taxpayers millions of dollars and thousands of
jobs each year. (ENS)
Russia has decided to restart work on a disputed motorway cutting through one of the last forests in Moscow's sprawling suburbs, overruling protests that
prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to delay the project.
Medvedev's order in August to suspend construction in Khimki Forest was seen as a rare Kremlin concession to protesters and raised the hopes of
environmentalists and other activists.
The decision to go ahead, announced on Tuesday, will disappoint them and could deal a blow to the image of the president, who had championed the idea of giving
activists and ordinary Russians a stronger voice in a nation known for top-down rule. (Reuters)
We now know how cap-and-trade will be rebranded for the start of the 112th Congress — and we also know the Republican weak spot in the Senate.
As reported today by Energy & Environment News,
[A] proposal for a clean energy standard, which has been batted around for years and introduced most recently by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), has created a
buzz on and off Capitol Hill in recent weeks.
What is a “clean energy standard” (CES)?
Graham’s CES is essentially a national renewable electricity standard (RES),
where nuclear power and so-called “clean coal” qualify to meet the RES. Reportedly, Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Tom Carper (D-Del), and Energy
Secretary Chu are open to it.
CCS is a pipedream. So-called “clean coal” depends on the commercial viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS). As we
have pointed out before, CCS is a technical and political pipedream. It will never
happen on a significant scale — and everyone knows this except the fools on Capitol Hill who are being serenaded by unscrupulous electric utilities and
too-stupid-for-words coal companies. The utilities are for CCS because they want the billions in taxpayer largesse that would be floated their way. The coal
companies that are for CCS hope that it will buy them peace with politicians and the public. Though CCS may be promised in a CES bill, the enviros will work
to make sure that CCS projects are never actually come into operation. Properly seen, CCS is little more than a bait-and-switch tactic to get coal-burning
utilities and coal companies to agree to “cap.”
Nuclear power is a pipedream. Environmentalists are committed to ending nuclear power — that’s why no new plants have been
constructed in more than 30 years. While utilities, politicians and the public will be teased by the prospect of more nuclear power in a CES bill, crafty
enviros will make sure that no law guarantees the construction of more nuclear plants. As now, the enviros will make sure that they can use the regulatory
process and the courts to halt new nuke plant construction.
So here’s our problem. While the GOP-controlled House will have knee-jerk reaction to anything called “cap-and-trade,” members may not have the same
reaction to an unfamiliar beast called a “clean energy standard.” The enviros, of course, will work to liken opposing a “clean energy standard” to
opposing food and shelter for orphans. Then there’s the clean energy industry which will be working harder and throwing around more money than ever. The 112th
Congress is do-or-die time for the wind and solar rentseekers.
Energy use in America is already clean. If the enviros need something to do, they ought to go pester their fellow communists in China, where energy use is
anything but clean. We should be all in favor of the ChiComs “winning the race for clean energy.” Then they can put it to good use at home. (Green Hell
An ongoing study in Yellowstone National Park seeks to measure the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a response to geologic activity and as a possible
predictor of some geologic events. A story covering this
study notes that researchers estimate that Yellowstone emits 45,000 tons of CO2 per day. That is about 16.5 million tons per year.
The EPA estimates that the average car emits between five and six tons of CO2 per year. So natural
geologic activity in Yellowstone contributes CO2 equivalent to about 3 million cars. The current attempts by the EPA to limit CO2 emissions would be dangerous for the American economy, but they would have no
impact on the millions of tons Yellowstone emits every year.
More seriously, the EPA regulations would also have little impact on the billions of additional tons of CO2 that China, India, and the developing world will
emit each year in the decades ahead. As a result, the regulations would have damaging impacts on the American economy, but just like cap-and-trade restrictions,
they would have negligible
impact on world temperatures. (The Foundry)
Next year, Republicans will be the majority party in the House of Representatives, which means they’ll hold the committee chairmanships and run the
hearings. They’ll have opportunities aplenty to review the Obama administration’s global warming policies and the alarmist “science” that
supposedly justifies cap-and-trade, renewable energy mandates, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gases.
They would do well to study how in the 105th and 106th Congresses, a GOP House committee chairman from Missouri single handedly
debunked the Clinton-Gore administration’s economic analysis of the Kyoto Protocol.
Kyotoism: Down but Not Yet Out
Politically, the last eighteen months have been remarkable. In June 2009, the House passed H.R. 2454, the “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” popularly known as the
Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. Waxman-Markey’s passage was the culmination of a 20-year PR/lobbying campaign waged by U.N. officials, regulatory
bureaucrats, environmental activists, lefty politicians, and corporate rent seekers.
Many of them crowed that ultimate victory was inevitable. With Barack “Blueprint
for Change“ Obama in the White House, Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Waxman and Markey running the climate show in the House, and Majority Leader
Reid and Chairman Boxer setting the agenda in the Senate, expectations ran high in green circles.
Their optimistic scenario went as follows: Congress would finally enact cap-and-trade, which would shame China into accepting binding emission limits at the
Copenhagen conference, which would then remove the chief obstacle to U.S. ratification of a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.
The UNFCC’s new Costa Rican executive secretary used her opening statement to urge attendees to embrace the wisdom of Ixchel.
Ixchel? She was a moon goddess, Figueres explained, “the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you — because today, you are gathered in
Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change using both reason and creativity.”
Ixchel, or Ix Chel, was a winning - or disturbing - choice, depending on your carbon politics and religion. The “high-segment” audience fortunately was
spared details of the goddess’s darker – and bloodier – side. Could a formidable old woman with a writhing serpent headdress and crossed bones embroidered
on her skirt ever be reasonable?
She was actually a moody and malevolent goddess, motivated more by divine wrath than Socratic reason. As for weaving, Ixchel’s only tapestries were
destructive floods and storms. Was this why she apparently had become the unofficial patron saint for pagan climate alarmists and decarbonistas? (Quadrant)
The metaphor of the day was the climate talks zombie - an animated, staggering corpse feasting on the flesh of anyone constructive. This was a terrifying
moment for the global warming brigades. If Cancun collapsed like Copenhagen, this could have been their end - nothing left but zombie apocalypse. (CFACT)
There was no advance on the vapid pledges made in Copenhagen which were deemed to be retrograde
How's this for upbeat reporting? "The breakthrough – which Britain and the Prime Minister did much to bring about – came amid unprecedented scenes of
enthusiasm and emotion in the early hours of Saturday morning, when tears flowed and thunderous ovations from almost all the representatives of the 194 nations
gathered in the resort's sprawling Moon Palace hotel complex drowned out the last resistance."
Thus, in The Daily Telegraph, the doyen of environment correspondents, Geoffrey Lean, gave David Cameron star billing for negotiating the saving of the planet
at the Cancun UN climate change summit. Amazing, really, considering that our Prime Minister, in common with almost every other head of government, chose to
stay away from unseasonably cool Cancun. He obviously has a wonderful telephone manner.
Yet what is this deal that had the delegates, by Lean's on-the-spot account, shedding copious tears of happiness and relief? As far as I can tell, there was no
advance on the vapid pledges made a year ago in Copenhagen, and which were deemed at the time to be retrograde and almost worthless. The UN member states agreed
in Cancun that they "shall aim to complete" further commitments by developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions "as early as possible".
The agreement dropped the earlier text that called on the world to cut emissions by 50 per cent and richer countries by over 80 per cent by 2050; in its place,
all concerned agreed to "work towards identifying a global goal for substantially reduced global emissions by 2050". Yada, yada.
Oh, and the delegates repeated their Copenhagen commitment to set up a Green Climate Fund of $100bn to "address the needs of developing countries". We
are given no clear idea of how this money is to be raised, delivered or allocated. (Independent)
Japan will continue to push for a broad climate treaty, that would include major greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States, as an accord reached
last week in Mexico left the door open to such a possibility, its environment minister said. (Reuters)
Written by Dennis Ambler
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:17
A recent re-posting on the SPPI blog from the HockeySchtick site, with the title, “The 97% ‘Consensus’ is only 75 Self-Selected Climatologists” was a
second look at the claim first made in January 2009, in a paper called “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” by Peter Doran and Kendall
Zimmerman, from the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.
This was their stated aim:
“The objective of our study presented here is to assess the scientific consensus on climate change through an unbiased
survey of a large and broad group of Earth scientists.”
It was roundly de-bunked at the time by several commentators and it would have been forgotten and consigned to its proper place in the dustbin, if it
hadn’t been continually quoted by activists as fact.
Campaigners who planned to shut down coal-fired power station convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass
Environmental activists who were arrested before they could execute a planned shutdown of a coal-fired power station near Nottingham in April last year were
today convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.
The 20 campaigners were among 114 detained on Easter Monday 2009 in the largest pre-emptive police operation against environmentalists ever mounted in the UK.
They were arrested on suspicion of planning to occupy and close down E.ON's operations at Ratcliffe-on-Soar for a week. The 14 men and six women will be
sentenced at Nottingham crown court on Friday. The maximum penalty for the offence is three months' imprisonment, a £2,500 fine or both. The police operation
to thwart their action cost £300,000. (Guardian)
First make them pay the cost of protecting society and its assets from them, then penalize them.
Much has be written and even more said about stopping climate change. The total foolishness of such a quest is
obvious to anyone with even the most cursory understanding of Earth's climate over the Past 65 million years. The more science learns about the ever changing
nature of climate the more capricious nature appears and the less significant the labors of H. sapiens are revealed to be. To place the ludicrous
arguments and unsubstantiated fears of climate catastrophists in perspective, it is instructive to survey Earth's climate since the demise of the
dinosaurs—the geological time period called the Cenozoic Era. During this long span of time, Earth's climate has undergone a significant and complex
evolution. If one truth has been discovered by human science it is that Earth's climate is always changing, driven, as one set of researchers put it, by trends,
rhythms and aberrations—the mechanisms of climate change. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
The 'big freeze' is set to return today, but forecasts that look even 10 days ahead always need an element of luck
When it comes to dreaming of a white Christmas, don't believe all you read in the papers – such as the assertion, prominent yesterday, that it's certain to
happen. It might, say the latest forecasts. They also predict the return of the "big freeze" today, which may or may not last as long as a month. But
the truth is that modern weather forecasting is all down to sums – and to forecast accurately a weather event 10 days away is simply too big a sum to carry
out. Even for the brightest mathematical prodigy.
To calculate current forecasts, which stretch six days or 144 hours ahead, half a million pieces of data have to be put into a mathematical model of the
atmosphere run on one of the world's fastest supercomputers at the Met Office's HQ in Exeter.
The computer then performs 7,500 trillion calculations every minute for 90 minutes to carry out the forecast, for a total of 675,000 trillion calculations (or
675 times 1015). The further out you go, the more the number of sums increases, and the less reliable the forecast becomes. Ten days away is simply too far, the
Met Office says, for any forecast to be accurate. (Independent)
Which is exactly why GCMs are completely useless for climate prognostication.
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski,
E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol.
90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union
we wrote (bold face added)
“In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of Earth’s climate.
These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008],
the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in
land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they
would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005].”
There is a very important new paper that provides further quantitative documentation of the role of aerosols (including human caused aerosols) within
the climate system. It is
“Detailed information on the chemical and physical properties of aerosols is important for assessing their role in air quality and climate. This work
explores the origin and fate of continental aerosols transported over the Central Atlantic Ocean, in terms of chemical composition, number and size
distribution, using chemistry-transport models, satellite data and in situ measurements. We focus on August 2005, a period with intense hurricane and tropical
storm activity over the Atlantic Ocean. A mixture of anthropogenic (sulphates, nitrates), natural (desert dust, sea salt) and chemically aged (sulphate
and nitrate on dust) aerosols is found entering the hurricane genesis region, most likely interacting with clouds in the area. Results from our
modelling study suggest rather small amounts of accumulation mode desert dust, sea salt and chemically aged dust aerosols in this Atlantic Ocean region. Aerosols
of smaller size (Aitken mode) are more abundant in the area and in some occasions sulphates of anthropogenic origin and desert dust are of the same magnitude in
terms of number concentrations. Typical aerosol number concentrations are derived for the vertical layers near shallow cloud formation regimes,
indicating that the aerosol number concentration can reach several thousand particles per cubic centimetre. The vertical distribution of the aerosols shows that
the desert dust particles are often transported near the top of the marine cloud layer as they enter into the region where deep convection is initiated. The
anthropogenic sulphate aerosol can be transported within a thick layer and enter the cloud deck through multiple ways (from the top, the base of the cloud, and
by entrainment). The sodium (sea salt related) aerosol is mostly found below the cloud base. The results of this work may provide insights
relevant for studies that consider aerosol influences on cloud processes and storm development in the Central Atlantic region.”
(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 50: 15 December 2010
Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment is Porites [Porites sp.]. To
access the entire database, click here.
Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Red Ironbark (Logan et al., 2010) and Sydney Blue Gum (Logan et al., 2010).
Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 914
individual scientists from 542 separate research
institutions in 43 different countries ... and
counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Southern Sierra Nevada,
California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.
The poor performance of some sectors aiming to slow climate change is pushing money managers to cast further afield for investments that both carry green
credentials and are likely to post better returns.
Some renewable-energy stocks, such as those in solar and wind industries, have fallen spectacularly in recent years, belying hopes that they were poised to
Money managers say this poor performance is due in part to a lack of hoped-for policies to help these industries grow. As a result, say the managers, they are
looking at other areas of the market that are part of the climate-change story, such as recycling and energy efficiency. Even eBay Inc., as a promoter of
reusing goods, fits the bill. (WSJ)
The relationship between government and renewable energy has always been a close one — but also a difficult one. The relationship is going to get more
difficult as stimulus programs and tax cuts run out in two weeks — and that may throw America’s alternative energy programs up in the air.
The problem is this: the renewable energy sectors — including companies that make technologies for wind, biofuels and solar energy — depend on government
subsidies. The solar industry, for instance, relies almost entirely on government dollars. The Cape Wind project, which appears close to becoming the first
offshore wind farm in America, will rely on government loans to make up at least some of the $2 billion it needs to get started, according to people briefed on
the matter. (NYT)
Subsidies: As with the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, the majority leader of the Senate seeks to buy votes for a bill, this time the tax-cut
compromise with support for ethanol credits for the rich.
With the tax-cut compromise having made it through the Senate, the Democrats have once again reminded us why the voters threw a good portion of the rascals out
in 2010. They continue to act as if the populist revolt against tax-and-spend big government never happened.
To sweeten the deal made between President Obama and Republicans regarding extending all the decade-old Bush tax rates, including those derided by liberals as
"tax cuts for the wealthy," Majority Leader Harry Reid added corn sweetener in the form of extending the 45-cents-per-gallon ethanol tax credit.
Call this a tax credit for the wealthy. It's also the poster child for tax-spend-and-elect big government. Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland, the nation's
second-largest ethanol producer, has operations in 119 congressional districts for good reason. Helping keep this boondoggle going is the fact that Iowa has the
first presidential caucus.
Ethanol is also protected by a 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imported from countries like Brazil that can make it from sugar cheaper. The tariff will
also be extended. Brazilians can't vote in our elections; Iowans and residents of other corn states can. (IBD)
Paper asks hard questions about biofuel production
In the world-wide race to develop energy sources that are seen as "green" because they are renewable and less greenhouse gas-intensive, sometimes the
most basic questions remain unanswered.
In a paper released today by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, authors Michal Moore, Senior Fellow, and Sarah M. Jordaan at Harvard
University in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, look at the basic question of whether these energy sources are ethical.
In addition to arguing that the greenhouse gas benefits of biofuel are overstated by many policymakers, the authors argue that there are four questions that
need to be considered before encouraging and supporting the production of more biofuel. These questions are:
What is the effect of biofuel production on food costs, especially for poor populations?
Should more land be used for biofuel when the return of energy per acre is low? Are there better uses for that land?
In addition to worrying about the impact of global warming, should we not consider the impact on land of massively expanding biofuel production?
What are the other economic impacts of large scale production of biofuel?
"Policymakers, especially in the U.S., have been in a rush to expand biofuel protection," says Michal Moore. "But they need to start thinking
outside of the box of climate change and the corn lobby."
"If policy is designed to create better outcomes for everyone, then we need to subject policy to ethical tests. In many respects, current policy around
biofuels fails those tests."
The paper can be found at www.policyschool.ca then click on "latest papers" (University of Calgary)
Germany's main center-left opposition parties have backed calls to make further cuts in support for new solar power installations, which may help the
government to bring forward reductions in aid.
Both the environmentalist Greens and Social Democrats (SPD), who enacted legislation under ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that created the basis for a boom in
solar investment, said they were open to paring back assistance the industry receives.
"In view of recent developments, a measured reduction in allowances for photovoltaics is definitely possible," said Baerbel Hohn, deputy head of the
Greens in parliament.
The SPD is also open to the option of cutting back support, according to internal papers seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
Germany's Environment Ministry welcomed the news. (Reuters)
A top US energy official said this week in Riyadh that Saudi Arabia expects to generate nuclear power within 10 years. Egypt will invite tenders for its
first nuclear plant later this month. [Read More]
(Andres Cala, ET)
A judge in Virginia on Monday declared a key part of President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law unconstitutional in the first major setback on an issue
that will likely end up at the Supreme Court. (Reuters)
The U.S. Justice Department is confident it will ultimately prevail in defending a key part of President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law, a department
spokeswoman said on Monday.
Spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler expressed disappointment that a federal judge in Virginia declared a key part of the law unconstitutional but said the department
continued to believe, as other judges in Virginia and Michigan have found, that the law is constitutional. (Reuters)
Health Care: A federal judge ruled Monday that the mandate forcing Americans to buy health care insurance is unconstitutional. Is this the first step in the
collapse of ObamaCare?
U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, a 2002 George W. Bush appointee, said lawmakers went too far in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when
they included a requirement forcing those who are not otherwise covered to buy a health plan or pay a penalty.
He wrote that this individual mandate "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."
Never have the courts, Hudson's 42-page opinion said, "extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of
commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market."
The judge, ruling on a challenge brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, didn't go far enough, though. He left the rest of the law as it is by
denying an injunction that would have stopped its implementation.
Hudson could have — and should have — agreed to the injunction because ObamaCare has no severability clause, language often used in lawmaking that says if
any part of the legislation is found unconstitutional, the rest remains in effect.
We're not federal judges, but it looks to us that without the protection of a severability clause, the entirety of ObamaCare should now be considered
unconstitutional. As Cato's Michael Cannon put it, "The fact that Congress did not provide for a 'severability clause' indicates that lawmakers viewed the
law as one measure."
In other words, if one part is unconstitutional, the whole thing is.
Maybe the Democrats were in such a hurry to force the health care overhaul on the country they forgot to include the clause.
Either way, the legislation does not deserve to be law. (IBD)
This week's HND piece takes a look at the big lie that it is the
continually-debunked (but never officially abandoned) saturated fat/cholesterol theory of heart disease.
It would be bad enough that the entire theory is derived from studies nearly a century old that either fed ridiculous amounts of cholesterol or actual meat
products to rabbits. The rabbits were harmed by this, of course, but that should hardly be much of a surprise, since rabbits do not eat meat nor have much (if
any) cholesterol in their normal diets.
But the real killer is the fraudulent nature of the big study that supposedly proved the theory. The (in)famous Seven Countries Study of Prof. Ancel Keys,
has that name since even though he had access to diet, cholesterol, and heart disease data in 22 countries, he ignored all but those seven countries that proved
his fat/cholesterol/heart disease theory. Moreover, within the seven countries that he did analyze, his methodology would not pass muster in a junior high
school science fair.
For this incredible junk science, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine (13 January 1961), and his work is still honored by many who
should—and probably do—know better. Please note that there are literally dozens of large studies that absolutely destroy the cholesterol theory.
Malcolm Kendrick, MD, among others, has tried to put the stake through the heart of this meme, but has also noted that:
The cholesterol hypothesis is, perhaps, the greatest ever example of a medical hypothesis that has become too powerful to die. Too many vested interests are
intertwined with it. World famous experts would look incredibly stupid if the hypothesis were to be accepted to be wrong. An entire industry of cholesterol
lowering would fall apart. Hundreds of billions of dollars of statin sales are at stake. Worse, much worse, the medical profession would end up with a few
million eggs on its face. Perish the thought. Much better that millions die, surely.
In fact, I have come to realize that there is, literally, no evidence that can dent the cholesterol hypothesis. Believe me, I have had a good go.
Kendrick may be right, as far as "official" recognition goes. But then, readers of this blog don't care much for conventional wisdom. After all,
Robert J. Samuelson is hardly the first person to notice that the conventional wisdom is nearly always wrong.
Livestock Waste, Soy, and Dairy Foods Leach More Estrogen Into Drinking Water Than Oral Contraceptives, Study Finds
Dec. 10, 2010 -- Oral contraceptives account for just 1% of the estrogen found in our drinking water supply, according to a new report in Environmental Science
Reports of intersex fish, including male fish with some female characteristics, led to widespread concerns about female hormones leaching into the nation’s
water supply. Some suspected that estrogen from birth control pills excreted in urine may be a significant contributor, but the new study exonerates birth
control pills as a main source of estrogen in our drinking supply. Instead, agricultural sources such as livestock waste, soy and dairy foods, and other
pharmaceuticals are among the main culprits. (WebMD)
Bottom line: yes, effluent outfalls do tend to be associated with increased hormone loads in watercourses and yes, this can affect aquatic
life. We have no evidence of human harm but strongly recommend effluent be treated to the highest affordable standard. Affordability, of course, is
strongly dependent on competing requirements for societal funding and effort.
The evidence that there’s a risk to health is too weak for regulatory actions says international expert panel. Ongoing research will clarify relevance of
novel claims and experiments.
An international panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization to examine the health risks from exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) agreed
that it would be “premature” to take any public health measures to regulate or ban the chemical.
This conclusion was in light of the robust evidence that human exposure to BPA, primarily through food, did not result in accumulation in the body and was
rapidly excreted in urine.
Previous regulatory research has concluded that BPA – widely touted by environmental activists as an endocrine disruptor – lost its estrogenic power through
the way it was metabolized in the body. The WHO panel noted the chemical was rapidly excreted in urine, and that any circulating level of BPA in the blood was
The WHO panel, which was organized with FAO, and was supported by European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, the US National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences and the US Food and Drug Administration, said that food is the primary source of BPA exposure – and that soil, dental sealants and cash
register receipts – recently the subject of scare stories in the media – were of “minor relevance.”
A recently published study by scientists at the University of Texas School of Public Health found that BPA levels in food were 1000 times lower than the
Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) level established by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US EPA.
The WHO’s conclusions mirror EFSA’s recent decision that the evidence against BPA was weak, and that recent concerns did not stand up to methodological and
statistical scrutiny (for more on this decision, see STATS report on the EFSA review). (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)
There are no adverse health effects associated with the low-level amounts of mercury found in dental fillings, the FDA determined less than 18 months ago.
This conclusion was supported by the American Dental Association. But after four consumer and dental groups resumed attacking mercury amalgam in dental
fillings, citing hypothetical health risks, and accusing the FDA of using flawed science in approving the substance for the umpteenth time, the agency will yet
again reassess the scientific basis used for its decision.
“This sounds akin to the ongoing controversy over BPA,” says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, “except that these amalgams have been used for over 150 years in
hundreds of millions of people.”
Commenting that it seems as though the FDA must have a lot of time on its hands if it’s reviewing more data on the already proven safety of mercury amalgams,
ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross says, “Just like atrazine and BPA — chemicals that we’ve been safely using for decades — activists are now going after mercury
in dental fillings. This is so 10 years ago.” (ACSH)
MONDAY, Dec. 13 -- Taxing sodas and other sweetened drinks would result in only minimal weight loss, although the revenues generated could be used to promote
obesity control programs, new research suggests.
Adding to a spate of recent studies examining the impact of soda taxes on obesity, researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical
School looked at the impact of 20 percent and 40 percent taxes on sales of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, which also included sports and fruit drinks,
among different income groups.
Because these taxes would simply cause many consumers to switch to other calorie-laden drinks, however, even a 40 percent tax would cut only 12.5 daily calories
out of the average diet and result in a 1.3 pound weight loss per person per year, researchers said.
A 20 percent tax would equate to a daily 6.9 calorie intake reduction, adding up to no more than 0.7 pounds lost per person per year, according to the
statistical model developed by the researchers. (HealthDay News)
Fat or obese? The labels we use to describe heavy-weight individuals can dramatically influence the judgments we make about people, a new study suggests.
Using the term “obese people” results in more negative judgments than does the term “fat people”, even when there is no objective difference between the
two groups, research shows.
“The study reinforces earlier findings that, given the choice between fat and obese, the term fat is the lesser of two evils,” says University of New South
Wales psychologist, Dr Lenny Vartanian.
The research, published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorder adds to a growing body of evidence that labels assigned to social groups can impact people’s
perceptions of that group.
Dr Vartanian’s findings challenge the wisdom of recent calls to adopt a “tough love” approach to the obesity epidemic. In July both the UK health minister
and the Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association said calling some obese people fat might be the nudge they needed to start losing weight.
(University of New South Wales)
About 15 to 20 years ago, folks began to notice problems in amphibian communities around the world. At first, physical deformities were being noticed and
then large population declines were being documented.
The finger was initially pointed at the coal industry, with an idea that perhaps mercury was leading to the deformities. But this didn’t pan out. Next, farm
practices came under fire, as excess fertilizer running off into farm ponds became the leading suspect. But that theory didn’t hold water either. Then,
attention turned to the ozone hole, with the idea that increased ultraviolet radiation was killing the frogs. No luck there either.
Then came the Eureka moment—aha, it must be global warming!
This played to widespread audiences, received beaucoup media attention and, of course, found its way into Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
But, alas, this theory, too, wilted under the harsh glare of science, as new research has now pretty definitively linked an infection of the chytrid fungus to
declines, and even local extinctions, of frog and toad species around the world.
Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this, is that while researchers fell all over themselves to link anthropogenic environmental impacts to the frog declines,
turns out that as they traipsed through the woods and rainforests to study the frogs, the researchers themselves quite possibly helped spread the chytrid fungus
to locations and populations where it had previously been absent.
Now a bit good—although hardly unexpected—news is coming out of the frog research studies. Some frog populations in various parts of the world are not only
recovering, but also showing signs of increased resistance—gained through adaptation and/or evolution—to the chytrid fungus.
Thus opens a new chapter in the ongoing Disappearing Frog saga, and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending. (WCR)
BOZEMAN, Mont. -- New research indicates that the speed of early forest clearance following human colonisation of the South Island of New Zealand was much
faster and more intense than previously thought.
Charcoal recovered from lake-bed sediment cores show that just a few large fires within 200 years of initial colonization destroyed much of the South Island's
lowland forest. Grasslands and shrubland replaced the burnt forest and smaller fires prevented forests from returning.
The findings - by an international team led by Dave McWethy and Cathy Whitlock from Montana State University- have just been published in the prestigious
journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States and will be explored further under new grants from the National Science Foundation
Geography and Spatial Science (GSS) and Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) programs (www.wildfirepire.org).
Previous studies by co-authors Matt McGlone and Janet Wilmshurst at Landcare Research in New Zealand showed that closed forests covered 85-90% of New Zealand
prior to the arrival of Polynesians (Māori ) 700-800 years ago, but by the time Europeans settled in the mid 19th century, grass and shrubs had replaced over
40% of the South Island's forests. Despite this information, questions over the timing, rapidity, and cause of the extensive forest clearance have remained.
(Montana State University)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- JunkScience.com was outraged to note that late last Friday, the federal appeals court in Washington, DC
refused to stay the EPA's global warming regulations pending the outcome of litigation because the industry lawyers failed to show that certain harm would be
directly caused by the rules.
"It's difficult to know who was lamer in this case, the industry lawyers or the judges," said JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy. "Starting
Jan. 2, at the very least, the EPA will spend about $80 million annually writing and overseeing permits to emit greenhouse gases," observed Milloy.
"In these times of heightened concern over government spending, if potentially wasting $80 million in taxpayer money annually is not considered certain
harm, in addition to the state sovereignty issues and costs to consumers and businesses at stake, then the new Congress will need to take a look at rewriting
the laws governing federal agencies and the courts that sit in judgment of them," said Milloy.
Steve Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com and author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.
The subject of the high-level Washington conference yesterday was the future of nuclear power.
The theme was much more ambitious -- how to get a national energy plan for 2025 or 2050 when the political process stumbling over next month's agenda and the
current bargain price for natural gas dominate industry thinking.
And the primary idea emerging from the so-called "Nuclear Energy Summit" was a proposal to create a national clean energy standard that would set an
escalating requirement for low-carbon energy production, but would let states and regions choose their way of complying. Not just renewable energy and energy
efficiency, but nuclear power and clean coal, would qualify. (ClimateWire)
CANCUN, Mexico -- Red-eyed and rumpled climate change negotiators stood just after 1 a.m. Saturday in the hotel ballroom that had been converted into a U.N.
plenary hall embracing one another and patting colleagues on the back.
After a marathon 24 hours of closed-door bargaining, the exhausted delegates were anxious to have the fruits of their labor adopted. Two preliminary votes had
already been won. They knew they were close. Then Bolivia took the floor. There was an audible groan throughout the room and even a few half-hearted boos.
"It is totally inadequate," said Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon regarding the ability of the "Cancun Agreement" to rein in catastrophic
consequences of global warming. Rejecting the text unequivocally, he said, "Bolivia does not support this objective."
But unlike last year's U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, when Bolivia and a handful of others brought
decisionmaking to a standstill, this year the president of the talks said "consensus does not mean unanimity" and gaveled through the agreements over
The result, said ministers and analysts alike, was a set of agreements that restored widespread confidence in the U.N. climate talks. UNFCCC Chief Christiana
Figueres declared her bureaucracy "back on track." Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh declared, "Multilateralism lives to fight another
And E.U. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard emerged saying, "We have proven that multilateralism can produce results." (Greenwire)
When it comes to UN climate conferences, I am constantly flabbergasted by the breathless naivety and forced optimism of certain politicians and environmental
reporters, not to mention of green activists. It is as if Voltaire's very own Dr. Pangloss had set sail to Cancún with Candide. Despite having become a
syphilitic beggar, Dr. Pangloss remains firm in his belief that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds", explaining that syphilis
"… was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which
contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have had
neither chocolate nor cochineal."
'Global warming' was likewise reduced to a clapped-out beggar last year in frozen Copenhagen. Yet, in the best of all possible worlds, this Danish debacle is
now seen as a good thing, because it brought a sense of reality to the delegates in Cancún, who still, of course, neatly proceeded to avoid any legally-binding
commitments on emissions, and on pretty well anything else for that matter, putting off the whole charade until next December in sunny Durban, South Africa. My,
how this ship of fools traverses the globe - Candide and Gulliver have nothing on them! And, it is worth remembering that Cancún was the 16th Conference of the
Parties no less. (GWPF)
The global warming prophets and propagandists, who enjoy living in style on other people's money, gathered last month in the plush resort of Cancun, Mexico,
where January temperatures usually hover around 80 degrees. God must have a sense of humor because Cancun was hit by its coldest temperature in a hundred years.
(Phyllis Schlafly, IBD)
Two weeks of Cancún climate change talks ended Saturday, with a vague deal to help poor countries deal with climate change and the original Kyoto
Protocol all but dead.
The climate change conference in Cancún appears to have sealed the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding treaty to combat climate change, and
left countries squabbling over the substance and form of a new treaty for the future.
During the two-week meeting in Cancún, which ended Saturday, Japan said it would not commit to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions under the protocol after the
first term of obligations for industrialized countries expires at the end of 2012. In effect, that means any emissions reductions by major industrial nations
will be voluntary and at their own discretion – a far cry from the enduring, global commitment to reduce global warming agreed to in Kyoto 13 years ago. (CSM)
The climate conference in Cancun was a turning point for the world’s greens. There were two possible outcomes. One was a total political meltdown in Cancun
that would have been hideously embarrassing in the short run but that in the long term would have cleared the way for more hopeful approaches to carbon issues.
The other was a cobbled together pseudo-deal of some kind that would have avoided short term embarrassment but over the long run would doom the greens to a
future of frustration and futility.
Outcome one would have helped the planet; outcome two helps the bureaucratic rent seekers and process junkies of the world’s diplomatic establishment.
Guess who won? (Walter Russell Read, American Interest)
A new bottom-up approach holds better prospects for success than the cumbersome UN negotiations
The official communique from the Cancún climate change conference cannot disguise the fact that there will be no successor to the Kyoto protocol when it
expires at the end of 2012. Japan, among others, has withdrawn its support for efforts simply to extend the Kyoto treaty.
This sounds like bad news, because it means that there will be no international price on carbon, and, without a market price, it is difficult to see how the
reduction of carbon emissions can be efficiently organised. But appearances can be deceiving.
Even as the top-down approach to tackling climate change is breaking down, a new bottom-up approach is emerging. It holds out better prospects for success than
the cumbersome United Nations negotiations. (George Soros, Guardian)
Delegates at the United Nations climate talks stayed up two nights in a row last week to agree on a proposal to slow global warming. Next year’s
negotiations may be even tougher. (Bloomberg)
Just when you think they might be learning that, regardless of whether there is any merit in the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis or not,
adaptation is and always has been humanity's only option, you get garbage like this:
The modest agreement that came out of the Cancun climate talks this weekend points tells me one thing: It’s time to start talking a lot more about
adaptation to climate change. While most of the work of the greentech sector is focused on mitigation technologies that can reduce carbon emissions, from clean
power to energy efficiency, given that this latest agreement will not prevent the rise of global temperatures within the range that scientists say is needed
(though it made some progress on other key issues), perhaps it’s time for those in the greentech industry to start betting that adaption will one day be a hot
Adaptation technology has long been a slightly taboo subject, with the idea that technology should be used to stop global warming, not help humans deal with it.
But more and more scientists, companies and pundits are taking the subject seriously in recent weeks, including an excellent article in The Economist last
month. As The Economist article points out, the world will warm by 3.5 degrees C by 2100, and that’s if countries hit the emissions reductions targets put
forth in the Copenhagen Accord. The much-discussed 2-degree safe temperature rise is now a joke we can’t realistically hit. (Katie Fehrenbacher, Earth2Tech)
We will count ourselves extremely fortunate if Earth does manage to warm to its "expected" mean temperature of 15 °C (by
calculation it is still below "normal") because warmer is most assuredly more life-friendly than cooler but there is a very near zero possibility of
seeing 2 degrees warming, let alone 4.
Would it be catastrophic if Earth did warm a couple of degrees? Hardly, unless you consider savannah and wetlands reclaiming the Sahara to be a catastrophe. The
Sahara/Sahel arid zone only developed over the last 6000-odd years as Earth cooled and has shown (some) greening with a little warming in the 80s and 90s
along with the aerial fertilization from increases in the vital trace gas, CO2. Reversing the desertification of Africa... what a tragedy, eh?
First the caveats. Any diplomats waking up following the dramatic final night of negotiations at the Cancun Summit feeling a warm glow of pride at a job well
done would be wise to remind themselves that there remains a gaping chasm between the actions required to effectively tackle climate change and the actions
promised in the vaunted Cancun Accords.
You know there is something badly wrong with a situation when you find yourself in agreement with Bolivia's socialist firebrands. But when the country's climate
envoy, Pablo Solon, refused to bow to pressure and issued a statement arguing the Cancun Agreement was "disastrous for humanity" because it would
still allow for temperature rises of up to 4 degrees Celsius, it was hard not to nod along. (James Murray, BusinessGreen.com)
Deutsche Bank is putting its
interest in making money off climate change ahead of the facts
By David Henderson
As the Cancun post-mortems continue, one area that calls for attention is the questionable role of leading businesses. Recent
episodes involving the Deutsche Bank Group are illustrative of a wider problem. They give grounds for serious concern.
In September a report entitled “Climate
Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” was issued under the auspices of Deutsche Bank. It was published by DB ClimateChange Advisors, a unit
described on the bank’s website as “the brand name for the institutional climate-change investment division of Deutsche Asset Management, the
asset-management arm of Deutsche Bank AG in the U.S.” The report was co-authored by three climate scientists at the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth
Institute of Columbia University.
As the title suggests, the authors’ avowed purpose in preparing the report was to demonstrate that the “major skeptic arguments,” and any conclusions
based on them, are to be rejected. To quote the document’s introduction: “This study aims to respond to the most common misconceptions that are presented to
challenge the position that [greenhouse gas] emissions are adversely impacting Earth’s climate and will continue to do so.”
The corporate climate-change bandwagon, an unprecedented global scramble of money-grubbing and subsidy-seeking opportunists,
shows no signs of ending. Whatever the failures and limitations of last week’s United Nations’ conference in Cancun, the prospect of cashing in on the idea
of carbon-free energy has galvanized corporate players all over the world, generating a momentum that seems to have left the UN effort in the dust. The carbon
targets proposed in the Kyoto Protocol may be too crazy for governments to adopt, but they’re just fine with all the banks, solar power firms, turbine makers,
consultants, real estate speculators, regulatory manipulators, scammers and spinners who aim to make a killing off climate change.
An example of such a pro-climate change campaign is the work of Deutsche Bank, the giant German financial institution that has imbedded itself in the
renewable energy field. Deutsche Bank claims to have funded more than $5-billion in renewable projects, the result of its aggressive marketing of Feed-in
Tariffs (FIT) as government policy. It promotes FIT pricing of electricity all over the world, from Ontario to developing nations. Investors are urged to sink
money into renewable energy, on the claim that the returns will beat the market.
To offset their own carbon emissions, European companies have been wildly overpaying China to incinerate a powerful greenhouse gas known as HFC 23. And in a
bizarre twist, those payments have spurred the manufacture of a harmful refrigerant that is being smuggled into the U.S. and used illegally. (Mark Schapiro,
Climate change alarmists hate it when we refer to carbon dioxide as “plant food”, even though
the description is accurate. And what a food it is! Earlier this year, the ABC’s Landline program reported on an experiment conducted by the Victorian Department of Primary Industry, which blasted a patch
of wheat with higher CO2 levels:
[ABC reporter] CHRIS CLARKE: A series of pipes pour extra carbon dioxide over a trial plot of wheat. You can hear and feel the gas coming out. So how much
are you putting over this area?
[Scientist] GLENN FITZGERALD: In the centre of the ring there is a little sensor, a little cup that maintains that centre concentration at 550 parts per
million which is the concentration we expect in the atmosphere over the whole planet in the year 2050.
CHRIS CLARKE: The experiment’s in its third year.
GLENN FITZGERALD: CO2 is called a fertiliser, it’s a CO2 fertilisation effect which means that carbon dioxide is a food source for plants if you will,
that’s the carbon that goes into the bulk of the biomass of the plant. So raising levels of CO2 actually increases that growth, increases the biomass and in
agriculture, increases the yield. Given, of course, that there’s sufficient water and sufficient nitrogen and that is what we’re seeing here. We have a
number of different varieties in this trial and we’re seeing overall on average 20 per cent yield increase due to elevated CO2.
CHRIS CLARKE: They’re not just measuring how much wheat is grown. An important part of this experiment is temperature and temperature relates to water
use. More carbon dioxide should increase the plants’ water efficiency …
Click for the entire piece (re-run on the ABC last weekend). Also includes video
depicting lush wheaty goodness. (Tim Blair)
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– If current climate projections hold true, the forests of the Southwestern United States face a bleak future, with more severe
–– and more frequent –– forest fires, higher tree death rates, more insect infestation, and weaker trees. The findings by university and government
scientists are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Fog is a common feature along the West Coast during the summer, but a University of Washington scientist has found that summertime coastal fog has declined
since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly.
Fog formation appears to be controlled by a high-pressure system normally present off the West Coast throughout the summer, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral
researcher with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the UW.
"The behavior of that high-pressure cell is responsible for a lot of the weather phenomena we see on the coast," he said. It can alter water
temperature, ocean circulation, surface winds and other factors linked to coastal fog formation.
The fog decline could have negative effects on coastal forests that depend on cool and humid summers, but Johnstone, who presents his findings Monday (Dec. 13)
at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco, hasn't seen evidence of that yet.
In fact, climate models indicate that coastal fog should be increasing because of global warming, but he believes that is not happening because of strong
influence exerted by regional circulation patterns related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. That climate phenomenon, centered in the North Pacific, has
wide-ranging effects that last for years or even decades rather than for just a year or two. (University of Washington)
Deep sediment cores retrieved from the Bering Sea floor indicate that the region was ice-free all year and biological productivity was high during the last
major warm period in Earth's climate history.
Christina Ravelo, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will present the new findings in a talk on December 13 at the fall
meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. Ravelo and co-chief scientist Kozo Takahashi of Kyushu University, Japan, led a nine-week
expedition of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) to the Bering Sea last summer aboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution. The researchers drilled
down 700 meters through rock and sludge to retrieve sediments deposited during the Pliocene Warm Period, 3.5 to 4.5 million years ago.
"Evidence from the Pliocene Warm Period is relevant to studies of current climate change because it was the last time in our Earth's history when global
temperatures were higher than today," Ravelo said.
Carbon dioxide levels during the Pliocene Warm Period were also comparable to levels today, and average temperatures were a few degrees higher, she said.
Climate scientists are interested in what this period may tell us about the effects of global warming, particularly in the polar regions. Current observations
show more rapid warming in the Arctic compared to other places on Earth and compared to what was expected based on global climate models.
Ravelo's team found evidence of similar amplified warming at the poles during the Pliocene Warm Period. Analysis of the sediment samples indicated that average
sea surface temperatures in the Bering Sea were at least 5 degrees Celsius warmer than today, while average global temperatures were only 3 degrees warmer than
Samples from the expedition showed evidence of consistently high biological productivity in the Bering Sea throughout the past five million years. The sediments
contain fossils of plankton, such as diatoms, that suggest a robust ecology of organisms persisting from the start of the Pliocene Warm Period to the present.
In addition, samples from the Pliocene Warm Period include deep-water organisms that require more oxygenated conditions than exist today, suggesting that the
mixing of water layers in the Bering Sea was greater than it is now, Ravelo said.
"We usually think of the ocean as being more stratified during warm periods, with less vertical movement in the water column," she said. "If the
ocean was actually overturning more during a period when it was warmer than today, then we may need to change our thinking about ocean circulation."
Today, the Bering Sea is ice-free only during the summer, but the sediment samples indicate it was ice-free year-round during the Pliocene Warm Period.
According to Ravelo, the samples showed no evidence of the pebbles and other debris that ice floes carry from the land out to sea and deposit on the seafloor as
they melt. In addition, the researchers didn't find any of the microorganisms typically associated with sea ice, she said.
"The information we found tells us quite a bit about what things were like during the last period of global warming. It should benefit the scientists today
who are sorting out how ocean circulation and conditions at the poles change as the Earth warms," Ravelo said. (University of California - Santa Cruz)
Climate change may spell disaster for wolverines, a reclusive resident of the mountains of the Northwest, but other wildlife species are a higher priority
for government protection, officials said on Monday. (Reuters)
GREENBELT, Md. -- The size, background ecology, and development patterns of major northeastern cities combine to make them unusually warm, according to NASA
scientists who presented new research today at an American Geophysical Union meeting, in San Francisco, Calif.
Summer land surface temperatures of cities in the Northeast were an average of 13°F to 16°F (7°C to 9°C) warmer than surrounding rural areas over a three
year period, the new research shows. The complex phenomenon that drives up temperatures of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. is called
the urban heat island effect. (NASA/GSFC)
It's contamination of the near-surface temperature amalgam with urban heat island-affected readings that causes such doubt about the amount
and rate of alleged warming. It's also why the satellite-mounted MSU-derived time series is considered so much more useful. The mid-troposphere series (below)
certainly shows response to ENSO events but no apparent correlation with atmospheric carbon dioxide. And the last 30 years' trend? An insignificant 0.05 °C/decade
(one-half of one degree per century) at an altitude enhanced greenhouse theory insists should warm more rapidly than the surface. So either the surface
temperature estimates are way too high (enter UHIE contamination) or the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis is wrong. Either way there is no evidentiary support for
Storing massive amounts of carbon dioxide underground in an effort to combat global warming may not be easy to do because of the potential for triggering
small- to moderate-sized earthquakes, according to Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback.
While those earthquakes are unlikely to be big enough to hurt people or property, they could still cause serious problems for the reservoirs containing the gas.
"It is not the shaking an earthquake causes at the surface that creates the hazard in this instance, it is what it does at depth," Zoback said.
"It may not take a very big earthquake to damage the seal of an underground reservoir that has been pumped full of carbon dioxide." (Stanford
The UK’s first commercial scale CCS facility – a plant at a colliery in Yorkshire that would capture carbon and then pump it for burial in old gas-wells
under the North Sea – has itself gone under after failing to raise the £635 million needed to fund its construction.
The high flying operation, jointly owned by flamboyant mining entrepreneur Richard Budge of the UK and KRU, Russia’s second biggest coal company, seemed to
hit pay dirt last year with a life-saving £164 million in EU funding. According to its 2009 annual report, it had been unable to meet loan repayments to its
banks and its auditors, Baker Tilly, indicated there was “material uncertainty” as to whether the company would be able to continue as a going concern.
The EU rescue was designed to carry the concern until it qualified for subsidies from the UK or elsewhere. The enterprise is now under administration, a form
of bankruptcy, in the hopes that a buyer can be found.
For an illustration of the sprawling facility, see here.
Washington, D.C. – As winter weather already grips portions of the United States, the need for cheap and efficient power for heat and light is essential.
Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, points out that the Obama Administration's continued war on fossil fuels that is making
the guarantee of a comfortable winter increasingly bleak for the nation's poorest citizens.
"With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase. Heavy demand and
higher prices due to the Obama Administration's assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond," noted
Project 21's Borelli. "It's disgraceful that the first black president and the first black EPA administrator are advancing policies that will
preferentially harm blacks who overwhelmingly supported Obama." (National Center)
The Interior Department on Monday issued guidance about its new regulatory regime for offshore drillers, responding to complaints that confusion over the
agency's new policies has delayed deepwater permitting.
Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management detailed how drillers can comply with recently imposed requirements regarding updating spill response plans,
blowout preventer testing and calculating worst-case flow-rate scenarios for an uncontrolled spill.
"As we continue to strengthen oversight and safety and environmental protections, we must ensure that the oil and gas industry has clear direction on what
is expected," said Michael Bromwich, the head of BOEM, in a statement.
The information does not include any new requirements. It is intended to provide a path forward to deepwater drilling in the aftermath of the massive BP oil
spill, the agency said. (Reuters)
The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil
drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one. (NYT)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Obama administration's decision to maintain a ban on oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific
coasts is a mistake, according to a University of Illinois expert who wrote a six-volume book series on marine pollution.
"It's a ridiculous decision on the part of the Interior Department," said John W. Kindt, a professor of business and legal policy at Illinois.
"The previous 180-day moratorium really hurt a lot of businesses. Well, a seven-year ban is going to sting even more."
Kindt says giving the oil companies a public spanking through a seven-year ban isn't going to solve our energy problems, and that unreasonably prohibiting
offshore drilling will not only exacerbate the region's economic woes, it also will strengthen U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (University of Illinois at
In the latest indication rational thinking has turned upside down post-BP spill, former CEO Tony Hayward now counts among one of the 25 finalists for TIME
magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year. [Read
More] (Michael Economides, ET)
Canada's oil sands developers, stung by controversy over the environmental impact of their toxic waste ponds, said on Monday they agreed to collaborate on
research into speeding up reclamation of the northern Alberta land they cover.
The move comes after Syncrude Canada, one of the largest developers, was found guilty in the 2008 deaths of 1,600 ducks in a tailings pond, an incident that
brought the issue into the international spotlight.
Syncrude, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Imperial Oil Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Suncor Energy Inc, Teck Resources and Total SA said they were teaming up on
research and agreed to eliminate intellectual property barriers to sharing information. (Reuters)
His past backing of massive federal subsidies for ethanol was a major mistake, he said in a panel talk, and let's give him credit for this laggard truthfulness
while hoping more is to come, not just from him but from others backing varied positions that are supposed to save us but actually kill.
Ethanol kills? Isn't it enough to say that the federally fostered use of this corn-based gas additive drives up food prices, chews up forests and contributes to
the D.C. deficit dance while doing next to nothing to save us from endangering particles in the air? That's obviously plenty, but some students of the subject
have said as well that international emphasis on biofuels is reducing food production and thereby contributes to starvation in the poorest parts of the world.
Originally seen by some as a potent renewable energy source, ethanol had early support from the environmentally minded and quickly garnered still other fans.
Farmers smelled the cash and smiled. Some corporate chiefs looked at how subsidies and mandates kept profits bulging. They smiled, too.
Politicians, figuring those farmers were good for votes, those corporate chiefs good for campaign contributions and that the public at large could be convinced
all would benefit, could hardly be restrained in their enthusiasm.
From the start, though, there were critical economists, and, eventually, some environmental groups woke up to reality, too. Then, the other day, lo and behold,
there was the Nobel Prize-winning, Oscar-winning former vice president of the United States, none other than Al Gore himself, saying not only that he had seen
the light on this issue, but that it was devilish politics that made him bless ethanol in the first place.
Good stuff, but not enough, because now we need others to jump ship, and we need those politicians who happily backed such idiocies as the 1970s Corporate
Average Fuel Economy program and more recent versions to say they now understand their initial stupidity may have slaughtered as many Americans as were killed
in Vietnam. (Jay Ambrose, Scripps Howard)
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s green energy plan will increase utility bills 3%-8% annually for twenty
years, according to the LA Department of Water and Power. Currently,
Los Angeles gets almost 50% of its electricity from out-of-state coal power plants, which is the primary reason that its ratepayers avoided the price spikes
that plagued California during the 2000 electricity crisis, but the Mayor’s energy
plan would have the Department of Water and Power disinvest from its Nevada coal generating facility and replace this power with expensive renewable energy.
BUSINESSES are facing a "perfect storm" from 2012 when they will be hit by a doubling in their energy bills at the same time as the UK government's
controversial "carbon tax".
Carbon Masters, a spin-out company from the University of Edinburgh, has calculated that most UK firms will be see their gas and electricity bills soar by 100
per cent between 2012 and 2016 while they will also be saddled with a carbon tax bill of at least £42,000 under the government's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)
energy efficiency scheme.
Kevin Houston, chief executive of Carbon Masters, believes most companies are completely unprepared for the enormous jump in their energy costs from 2012
onwards. (The Scotsman)
APPLE VALLEY, Calif. — Fears that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the federal
government's push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely this summer after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for
protecting eagles, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The restriction has stymied efforts to "fast-track" approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all
three in California.
Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds. If
extensions aren't granted in the lame duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt. (AP)
The San Miguel County Commission is scheduled to vote on a revised ordinance governing wind-energy farms this week in Las Vegas.
A proposed wind farm by Chicago-based Invenergy, on mesa-top trust land leased from the New Mexico State Land Office, prompted an immediate backlash from nearby
villages and a call for more space between the farm and private homes.
The residents living near and on Bernal Mesa, where the wind farm is proposed, want a three-mile setback from the closest residences.
Invenergy has proposed a 1,500-foot setback. (The New Mexican)
The Alpha Ventus Wind Park is the first of its kind: a deep water wind farm in the stormy North Sea. It is composed of 12 turbines that
together will generate 60MW of electrical power. When fully operational, the farm will be able to power 50,000 households. But barely two months after the
ceremony opening Germany’s first deep water wind farm, six of the newly installed wind turbines were idle. This was not due to a lack of wind but because of
gearbox damage: two turbines had to be replaced entirely, the other four repaired on site. Problems with Alpha Ventus highlight a series of poor decisions—a
precipitous move to shut down working nuclear plants, rampant installation of solar cells, and a headlong rush into offshore wind generation among them—that
could well have Germany facing blackouts in the not too distant future. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
Environmental reforms to the energy market, to be unveiled this week, will result in huge gas and electricity price increases over the next ten years.
Under the changes, householders will have to pay an extra £500 a year by 2020 effectively to subsidise the cost of new nuclear power plants and wind energy.
The Government has been forced into the reforms by claims from energy companies that unless there are more incentives, green investment will not happen and
Britain will miss tough climate change targets.
Over the next seven years most old coal-fired power stations and nuclear plants will be shut. With demand set to grow, the country faces the danger of
To avoid this, energy companies say the most economical way to keep up energy production would be to build more gas-fired power stations, but this would destroy
any hopes of meeting the Government's carbon emission targets. (Daily Mail)
Let’s all thank Surgeon General Regina Benjamin for demonstrating beyond all doubt last week that nannyism is more dangerous than smoking.
The Office of the Surgeon General just released a report claiming that a
single puff of a cigarette or a single inhalation of secondhand smoke can permanently damage one’s health and perhaps lead to death. Now we know what all
those blindfolded condemned men given one last puff as they stood before firing squads really died from.
While no one disputes that too much smoking is unhealthy, the new report demonizing any smoking or even incidental exposure to secondhand smoke is clearly
over the top.
Certainly any exposure to tobacco smoke will have some sort of a discernible physiological effect — just like virtually every sensory experience. But
Benjamin asserts that even one of those physiological events, however transient and reversible, can cause harm and possibly even lead to death. As commonsense
and everyday experience informs (most of) us, this is ridiculous.
So how does Benjamin back up her assertions? Well, she really doesn’t.
The report contains the usual set of epidemiologic studies showing that smokers tend to be less healthy and die earlier than nonsmokers. None of this is
news, though it should be noted that these studies often fail to isolate tobacco as the cause of the adverse health outcome as opposed to the entire suite of
unhealthy behaviors that smokers tend to have – i.e., smokers tend to be heavier drinkers, have poorer diets, get less exercise, lead more stressful lives,
and have less education and income than nonsmokers.
The report contains not a single example of anyone who had incidental or limited contact with tobacco smoke and then experienced an adverse health outcome or
“Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger acute cardiac events like heart attack,” avers the Surgeon
General’s media release. It’s a scary statement, but it’s not one supported by any real-world evidence of that happening despite the billions of people
who have been so exposed over the centuries.
Supporting Benjamin with an op-ed in the Washington Post Also was former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw who recalled and lamented the smoking-related death of
his father: “After 50 years of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, my father died, too young, of a massive heart attack. He was 69. It’s almost certain that all
those years of nicotine inhalation were a major contributor to his clogged arteries.”
What is more than almost certain is the fact that, although Brokaw’s father was such a long-term and presumably heavy smoker, he surpassed the life
expectancy for his birth year (1912) by about 14 years — not bad for someone actually permitted the dignity to make his own lifestyle decisions.
Like many, if not most people, I don’t care for smoking or inhaling anyone else’s tobacco smoke. That said I’m more concerned about the all-to-common
and wanton disregard of facts and the misuse of science and statistics, especially by those in positions of power and prominence.
Today’s lifestyle nannies, aided by a gullible and scientifically illiterate media, feel at liberty to demonize any behavior or substance, and to trod upon
any and all individual liberties without regard for the relevant facts. Making the situation worse is that the nannies have few vocal opponents, as they stand
ready to demonize and ostracize anyone who dares speak up against their junk science.
The two most significant advances of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were the development of science and the realization of individual liberty as an
intrinsic right. Surgeon General Benjamin’s report is a clear sign that both are on the downswing of history. (Green Hell Blog)
A new vaccine against the most deadly forms of pneumonia, one of the world's biggest killers of children, will be launched in Nicaragua from Sunday as part
of an effort to prevent 700,000 deaths in poorer countries by 2015.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) said Nicaragua would be the first developing nation to begin vaccinating children with the pneumococcal
shots, made by drugmakers Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, and another 18 countries will follow in the next few years.
But GAVI Alliance said in a statement on Friday that it hoped to be able to fund the vaccines for more than 40 countries in total by 2015 -- a project it says
could help avert up to 7 million deaths by 2030. (Reuters)
The iron, that relic of households past, is no longer required to look neat and freshly pressed. Why bother when retailers like Nordstrom offer crisp
“wrinkle-free finish” dress shirts and L. L. Bean sells chinos that are “great right out of the dryer.”
Though it is not obvious from the label, the antiwrinkle finish comes from a resin that releases formaldehyde, the chemical that is usually associated with
embalming fluids or dissected frogs in biology class.
And clothing is not the only thing treated with the chemical. Formaldehyde is commonly found in a broad range of consumer products and can show up in
practically every room of the house. The sheets and pillow cases on the bed. The drapes hanging in the living room. The upholstery on the couch. In the
bathroom, it can be found in personal care products like shampoos, lotions and eye shadow. It may even be in the baseball cap hanging by the back door.
Most consumers will probably never have a problem with exposure to formaldehyde, though it can have serious health implications for people who work with the
chemical in factories. The biggest potential issue for those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing can be a skin condition called contact dermatitis. It affects a
small group of people and can cause itchy skin, rashes and blisters, according to a recent government study on formaldehyde in textiles. Still, some critics
said more studies on a wider array of textiles and clothing chemicals were needed, including a closer look at the effects of cumulative exposure. At the very
least, they said, better labeling would help. (NYT)
U.S. health regulators are seeking a second opinion on whether mercury-containing dental fillings pose a risk to dental patients, especially children and
Food and Drug Administration officials said that while there are no new scientific findings on such silver-colored cavity fillings, it wants feedback on methods
it used to weigh available data and decide last year that the metal alloy is safe.
In documents released on Friday ahead of a public meeting on the issue, the agency said it would ask its panel of outside experts to assess how much mercury
dental patients are exposed to and how much exposure is acceptable. (Reuters)
Most exercise appears to have little relationship to either the quality or quantity of sperm, but men who bike at least five hours a week have fewer and less
active sperm than men who didn't exercise, a study said.
Research among competitive athletes has linked biking to genital or urinary problems and poor semen quality, said Lauren Wise at Boston University, who led the
study published in "Fertility and Sterility."
"However, we were uncertain whether we would find an association among a sample of men engaged in more moderate levels of physical activity," she told
Reuters Health, warning it is still too early to say regular biking caused the sperm problems. (Reuters)
Vitamin D deficiency is taking blame for a growing list of health problems. Weak sperm, however, may not be one of them, hints new research.
"There has been increasing interest in the importance of optimal vitamin D concentrations in recent years, and low vitamin D has been associated with
increased risk of several negative health outcomes," lead researcher Cecilia Host Ramlau-Hansen of Aarhus University Hospital, in Denmark, told Reuters
Health in an e-mail.
Too little vitamin D has been tied to osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some common cancers. But, as Ramlau-Hansen notes, no one
has yet looked for a link between vitamin D and the quality of a man's semen. (Reuters Health)
Inconceivable but true: Snowy Hydro tops up floods with environmental flow
While residents of Wagga Wagga scrambled to save their belongings from rising flood waters there was a rumour circulating that the crisis was exacerbated by
bureaucratic incompetence, in particular that Snowy Hydro was releasing environmental flow water into the already flooded Murrumbidgee River.
I was angry at even the concept. It was inconceivable. I phoned Snowy Hydro early on December 10 to set the record straight. (Quadrant)
Britain and the EU are on the verge of a trade war with Iceland and the Faroe Islands after talks to agree a quota for fishing mackerel collapsed.
Iceland and the Faroes have set their own vastly increased quotas and walked out of negotiations with the EU which were intended to find a mutually acceptable
In what some observers are already calling "Cod Wars II", EU nations are expected to take retaliatory action to put pressure on Iceland and the Faroes
to reduce the quantity of mackerel they catch. The EU has already threatened trade sanctions which could result in a ban on Faroese and Icelandic imports of
cod, herring, whiting, haddock and mackerel. Iceland set a 130,000-ton quota this year while the Faroes gave themselves an 85,000-ton quota. The figures are
many times bigger than five years ago. (Independent)
The derailment of DuPont's intended acquisition of a top South African seed company -- a deal that would have doubled DuPont's African seed business -- is
emboldening activists opposed to creeping control by both DuPont and rival Monsanto of the lucrative emerging market. (Reuters)
WASHINGTON, DC, December 10, 2010 - A federal appeals court today rejected a motion by several industry groups and states opposed to climate regulation for a
partial stay of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's planned regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied all the pending motions to stay EPA's regulations of greenhouse
gases, some of which are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2011.
The order by Judges Douglas Ginsburg, David Tatel and Janice Rogers Brown declared that the petitioners "have not shown that the harms they allege are
'certain,' rather than speculative, or that the 'alleged harm[s] will directly result from the action[s] which the movant[s] seeks to enjoin.'"
The case, Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc., et al., v. EPA, pits the U.S. EPA, 16 states and environmental groups against industries, global warming
skeptics and 14 other states.
Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, was pleased with the court's decision, saying, "NACAA applauds the
decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals denying the stay of EPA's greenhouse gas rules. The doors of state and local permitting agencies will be open for business
come January 2, 2011."
Sunrise illuminates greenhouse gases emitted by NRG's W.A. Parish power plant at Thompsons, Texas, the 59th largest power plant in the world with four gas and
four coal-fired units. (Photo by Joe A.)
This decision is by no means the end of the legal action. The court also said that, as the petitioners had requested, they would hear oral arguments in the
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused
late Friday to stop the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules from going into effect on January 2, 2011. The litigation over the rules will continue, but the court will
allow them to go into effect pending the outcome of the litigation. (Green Hell Blog)
The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers —
as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.
The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President
Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks.
Now, the agency says, it needs until July 2011 to further analyze scientific and health studies of the smog rules and until April 2012 on the boiler regulation.
Mr. Obama, having just cut a painful deal with Republicans intended to stimulate the economy, can ill afford to be seen as simultaneously throttling the fragile
recovery by imposing a sheaf of expensive new environmental regulations that critics say will cost jobs.
The delays represent a marked departure from the first two years of the Obama presidency, when the E.P.A. moved quickly to reverse one Bush environmental policy
after another. Administration officials now face the question of whether in their zeal to undo the Bush agenda they reached too far and provoked an unmanageable
political backlash. (NYT)
Average annual global temperatures have risen a degree or two since the Little Ice Age ended some 150 years ago. Thank goodness. The LIA was not a
particularly pleasant time.
Prolonged winters, advancing glaciers, colder summers, more frequent storms and extended cloudiness reduced arable land, shortened growing seasons, rotted grain
in wet fields, and brought famine, disease and death. Coming after the prosperous Medieval Warm Period – when farmers grew wine grapes in England and Vikings
raised crops and cattle in Greenland – it must have been quite a shock.
The LIA underscored how much better a warmer planet is than a colder one. Moderate warming above today’s norm would likely bring expanded cultivation during
longer growing seasons in northern latitudes, fewer people dying from hypothermia during frigid winters, and many other benefits.
What caused the Medieval Warm Period to end, and the Little Ice Age to come and go, is still debated. Even the best scientists don’t fully understand what
alignments of solar, cosmic, oceanic, atmospheric and planetary forces control this millennial warm-cool rhythm.
In any event, the initial warming of 1850-1900 was followed by perhaps an additional overall 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) of warming during the
twentieth century. However, it was not a steady rise in temperatures, proportionate to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, as “manmade climate
disaster” themes suggest. Instead, Earth warmed noticeably1900-1940, cooled slightly 1940-1975 (“most scientists” worried about another little ice age),
warmed again 1975-1995 (“most scientists” feared global warming), and exhibited little change from then to the present.
The 20-year late twentieth century warming supposedly justifies demands that we stop using hydrocarbon fuels, halt US economic growth, hold back Third World
development, ban incandescent light bulbs, blanket the planet with unreliable wind turbines and solar panels, make recompense to poor nations for emitting CO2
and “causing global climate disruption,” and even consider “geo-engineering” (putting dust particles or tiny mirrors into space to block the sun’s
rays) to prevent warming that stopped in 1995. Even though no reliable or factual evidence shows that this recent warming was (primarily) human-caused!
These are important issues for the next Congress (and others) to grapple with. But an even more fundamental question is rarely raised, and almost never
How much credence can we give any claim that average global temperatures have risen or fallen X degrees over a certain period, or that this year or decade is
“the warmest ever,” or “since record-keeping began” – especially when the alleged difference is measured in tenths or hundredths of a degree?
The answer: Not much. The truth is, we cannot trust the hype and numbers that routinely come out of the IPCC, NOAA, NASA, CRU, White House and other branches of
the climate crisis industry. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)
Let's wrap this rubbish up for the year (no prizes for picking the publications by the spin of the articles):
UNFCCC's IPCC-driven climate circus will take a brief recess for the holidays before recommencing the junket circuit in the new year. The crazy climateers
would have to consider the past year a major success - the gravy train is still on the rails. In a nutshell the outcome can be called a PR win for the whackos
which is basically harmless for denizens of the real world.
Reuters image accompanying one of
the below articles, presumably a representative image of a crazy climateer ;-)
In essence said crazies agreed to hold discussions on further talks. I suspect they take great inspiration from Robert Shaw: Der Krieg wird weitergehen.
The Cancun agreement commits the world to a series of decisions under the United Nations. But what has the world agreed to?
TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE
That climate change is "one of the greatest challenges of our time."
That warming of the climate system is "unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid twentieth century is
very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations".
To keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).
To reconsider in 2015 whether the goal for global average temperature rise should be decreased to 1.5C.
That fighting climate change requires a paradigm shift that requires "more sustainable production and consumption and lifestyles".
TO CUT CARBON EMISSIONS
That global emissions of greenhouse gases should peak "as soon as possible".
That the world needs to make "deep cuts" in carbon emissions. But developed countries must "take the lead" and poor countries need more time
Developed nations will consider extending the Kyoto Protocol, but only as part of a wider agreement that commits all countries to making emissions cuts.
Developing countries will reduce their emissions as part of a global deal.
Rich countries will report on emissions cuts against international standards.
Poor nations must also report on emissions cuts against international standards, but only after funding has been delivered to help build the appropriate
TO HELP POOR COUNTRIES CUT CARBON AND ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
To pay developing countries £60 million ($100 million) per annum by 2020 to adapt to climate change and develop green technology.
98. Recognizes that developed country Parties commit, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, to a
goal of mobilizing jointly USD100 billion
per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries;
but it is hardly unusual for The Independent to be out by three orders of magnitude, is it? Item 95 also seeks $30 billion in the period 2010-2012.
To set up an adaptation committee to help poor countries cope with the floods and droughts that climate change could cause.
To consider "a climate risk insurance facility" to help poor countries cope with extreme weather impacts.
To share green technology.
To pay poor countries not to chop down trees. The new scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) protects the rights of indigenous
peoples and promotes biodiversity. It also leaves the door open for big business to get involved in protecting trees though the carbon offsetting market.
Environment Editor Michael McCarthy witnesses the successful conclusion of the UN talks on global warming – and explains why the deal is good news
Ministers and officials from nearly 200 countries pulled off one of modern history's major repair jobs yesterday when they revived the global project to counter
global warming, which had seemed critically damaged by the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference a year ago.
At a successor conference in Cancun, Mexico, they agreed a package of measures which are not yet enough to save the climate, but are enough to save the
20-year-old international climate change negotiating process from collapse – a real danger if the talks had ended in deadlock once again, as many observers
The world's governments face a new battle in South Africa in 2011 between rich and poor about slowing climate change, buoyed by some progress in Mexico but
with faded hopes for a new treaty in coming years.
In 2011, governments will try to build on a deal in Mexico to set up a Green Climate Fund to help channel $100 billion in climate aid a year from 2020, along
with new systems to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies.
The two-week meeting in the Caribbean resort that ended on Saturday showed an ever-broader belief that a legally binding deal is far off, partly because of
opposition by China and the United States, the world's top emitters of greenhouse gases.
"We still have a long and challenging journey ahead of us," said Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's Climate Commissioner, of hopes for a legally
binding global deal.
Cancun rejected calls by small island states, which fear they will be washed off the map by rising sea levels, to set a deadline for a treaty when environment
ministers next meet in Durban, South Africa, in a year's time. (Reuters)
A new “green fund” to help poor countries adapt to the effects of global warming formed the centrepiece of a small package of measures on climate change
agreed at the Cancún conference, which finished on Saturday.
But although governments have agreed on the form of the fund, which should eventually supply $100bn a year to developing countries, the question of how the
money for it will be raised has still not been resolved. (Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)
World leaders at a climate-change conference in Cancun, Mexico, made clear that addressing the issue will be all about money, agreeing that rich countries
would spend potentially trillions of dollars to help poor countries develop on a greener path.
But the diplomats postponed hashing out which rich countries would pay how much, and exactly what the poor countries would have to do to get the checks.
The two-week United Nations climate conference in the resort city of Cancun underscored that future global efforts to address climate change will likely depend
more on economic incentives than on environmental mandates. (Jeffrey Ball and Cassandra Sweet, WSJ)
The modest deal wrangled out by the 200 countries meeting at the Mexican resort of Cancún may have done more to save a dysfunctional UN negotiating process
from collapse than protect the planet against climate change, analysts said today.
"The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine," said Tim Gore of Oxfam. "The agreement falls short of the emissions cuts that are
needed, but it lays out a path to move towards them." (Guardian)
UNITED Nations-sponsored talks on climate change have forged a way ahead for global action on curbing emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, one that could
retain the 13-year-old Kyoto Protocol as a linchpin in future efforts.
Weary negotiators endorsed lengthy final texts that sought to balance the interests of rich and poor nations through nuanced wording that for the first time
formally recognised emissions cuts pledged by developing countries as well as the US.
Climate activists hailed the result as a win on several fronts, as a mood of triumph - and relief - swept negotiating teams who had feared deadlock. (SMH)
Climate negotiators left this tourist city upbeat about a modest deal to control global warming, but the world still faces daunting choices on how to cope
with rising seas, health woes and mass migration.
Because nations are unlikely to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change, world leaders must work out how developing nations will
adapt to more severe weather predicted in coming years that will hit food and water supplies. (Reuters)
"I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time," Christina Ora of the Solomon Islands
complained to delegates at U.N. talks on fixing global warming.
Her line from a brief, riveting speech to a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen was emblazoned on activists' T-shirts at the latest U.N. talks in Mexico,
expressing exasperation at small steps meant to slow floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.
The two-week 190-nation conference in Cancun, a Caribbean resort, agreed on Saturday to step up action against climate change, including a goal of $100 billion
a year to help the poor from 2020 and action to protect carbon-absorbing rain forests.
Almost all admit it fell woefully short of action needed. Cancun underscored that a treaty, as urged by Ora, is out of reach because of disparate economic
interests among China, the United States, OPEC oil exporters and Pacific islands. (Reuters)
In 2009, the US drop in carbon dioxide emissions was the largest since data collection began in 1949. They were 7 percent lower due to slow economic growth, a
drop in energy demand of almost 5 percent, a drop in electricity generation of 4 percent, the use of more efficient technologies, and the addition of cleaner
sources of energy (natural gas and renewable energy), Worldwide, emissions dropped 1.3 percent, mostly a matter of the economy. The last time carbon dioxide
pollution dropped worldwide was in 1999. (1)
So this is one plus of economic downturn. However, if you think the present economic downturn is bad, imagine what it would be like if we followed the
suggestion of Professor Kevin Andersen of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research who submitted a paper in Cancun saying ‘rich’ nations such
as the US should halt economic growth over the next 20 years while allowing developing nations such as China and India to continue their explosive growth and
emissions growth. He suggests enforcement of economic growth restrictions in nations such as the US should be similar to World War II-style rationing. (CFP)
Unusually cold weather last winter killed Florida's endangered manatees at a record rate, a report said on Friday.
During 2010, a record 699 manatees have died in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Research Institute.
Of those, 244 were attributed to cold weather and many of the 271 undetermined deaths were also likely caused by weather. In most years, the leading cause of
manatee deaths is from collisions with power boats. (Reuters)
Back in January of 2009, I reviewed the implications of a then just-published
article in Nature magazine that was billed as shedding important new light on some aspects of the long-term (since the late 1950s) temperature history
The article, by Eric Steig and colleagues, described more warming taking place over a larger portion of Antarctica than had previously been recognized. The
implication was that the temperature rise across Antarctica was not lagging behind the rest of the world and thus “not bucking the trend of global warming” as apparently some
“contrarians” were claiming.
Now, that result must be tempered, as a new paper is forthcoming that improves upon the analytical technique developed by the Steig team and finds
significantly less warming across the continent as a whole (about 50% less), and a different geographical pattern of temperature changes across
Antarctica—results that fit more closely with the existing (that is, pre-Steig et al.) perception of what was going on down there. Basically, when a more
correct analysis was performed, our understanding of what has been occurring in Antarctica has been firmed up, rather than being badly shaken—Antarctica, on
average, has warmed a little bit over the past 50 years, with the largest and most significant warming being concentrated in the regions around the Antarctic
Peninsula, rather than spread somewhat evenly across the continent (as the Steig et al. result showed).
But, perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that the new analysis grew from the blogosphere.
Soon after the Steig et al. article was published, it was being examined and critiqued on various blog sites. Among the criticisms was that the statistical
technique pioneered by the Steig team was improperly implemented and that the published results were influenced by these inaccuracies.
An effort grew from these blog discussions to develop a better implementation of the methods and the results revealed a rather different picture of the
patterns of temperature evolution across Antarctica than did the original Steig et al. paper (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Patterns of temperature changes over Antarctica (1957-2006) based on the new, updated analysis (left) and as reported by Steig et al. (right) (figure
source: The Air Vent)
The Blogosphere at its Best
Now, this type of thing happens fairly frequently in blog space—a spirited critique of a scientific publication. But what doesn’t happen very frequently,
is that the blog discussions are formalized and submitted to a scientific journal. And in this case, not only were they submitted, but after a lengthy and
extremely thorough review process, the new, improved findings have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate—a very well-respected
This shows the utility of blogs at their best—initial informal critical discussion that hits upon a legitimate and important point of science, which is
then formalized, submitted, and accepted into the peer-reviewed scientific literature, thereby making a much more permanent, citeable and, in fact, more widely
accessible, contribution to the scientific knowledge base.
Kudos to Ryan O’Donnell, Nicholas Lewis, Steve McIntyre, and Jeff Condon.
To read more about how all this came to pass, please visit Jeff’s blog where
some of the authors describe all that was involved from start to finish and include a preview of their results.
I wrote in my original MasterResource article “[The Steig et al. paper was]
all in all a reasonable approach to the problem—but likely not the final word on the matter.” The new paper by O’Donnell et al. pretty much confirms this,
and adds important new words to the story. Lead author Ryan O’Donnell describes it like this:
In my opinion, the Steig reconstruction was quite clever, and the general concept was sound. A few of the choices made during implementation were incorrect;
a few were suboptimal. Importantly, if those are corrected, some of the results change. Also importantly, some do not. Hopefully some of the cautions outlined
in our paper are incorporated into other, future work. Time will tell!
This is the way science is supposed to work. I am delighted to see the blogosphere opening the doors to scientific contributions to a wider audience. I hope
this trend continues—science will be the better for it. But, importantly, to achieve this contribution, it requires a great deal of effort, persistence, and
fortitude that extends far beyond a comment thread on a blog somewhere. I encourage more people who really are interested in making a lasting impact to grin and
bear it and make the effort—it is an effort that can be rather painful, but which provides great satisfaction in the end, and best of all, it keeps science
So blog away, but when you hit upon something that you think is scientifically important, take the time to write it up and send it in to a journal—the end
result could be rewarding for all of us. (MasterResource)
There is an interesting new study by Lauer et al. entitled “The Impact of
Global Warming on Marine Boundary Layer Clouds over the Eastern Pacific—A Regional Model Study” [hereinafter Lauer10]. Anthony Watts has discussed some
early issues with the paper here. The Lauer10
study has been controversial because it found that some marine stratocumulus clouds decrease with increasing warming. This is seen as an indication that (other
things being equal) clouds are a net positive feedback, that they will amplify any warming and make it even warmer. This finding has engendered much discussion.
I want to do a different analysis. I want to provide a theoretical understanding of the Lauer10 findings. Figure 1 shows the larger picture, within which
Lauer’s results make sense. This is the picture of part of the Earth as a solar-driven heat engine.
Figure 1. Very simplified picture of the main driving loop of the tropospheric circulation. A large counter-rotating cell (a
“Hadley Cell”) of air exists on each side of the equator. Energy enters the system mostly around the equator. Thunderstorms (shown with rain) drive deep
convection currents from the surface to the upper troposphere. Some of the energy is transferred horizontally by the Hadley Cells to the area at 30N/S. There,
some the energy is radiated out to space. A large amount of the radiation occurs in the clear dry desert regions. Other parts of the atmospheric circulation not
Lauer10 is discussing the low cloud decks found off the western edges of the continents at around 30°N/S, as illustrated in Fig. 1.
I have extracted below a key set of statements from her post [boldface added]
“The actual shift within the community seems to have occurred in the context of the IPCC process. The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around
identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the
political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets in the context of the UNFCCC. National and international science programs were funded to
support the IPCC objectives. Scientists involved in the IPCC advanced their careers, obtained personal publicity, and some gained a seat at the
big policy tables. This career advancement of IPCC scientists was done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund
science.Eager for the publicity, high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently
publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative…..Further, the institutions that support science use the publicity to
argue for more funding to support climate research and its impacts. And the broader scientific community inadvertently becomes complicit in all
this. When the IPCC consensus is attacked by deniers and the forces of “anti-science,” scientists all join in bemoaning these dark forces fighting a
war against science, and support the IPCC against its critics. The media also bought into this, by eliminating balance in favor of the IPCC consensus.”
“Changing the funding priorities is key. We need to reduce reliance on building ever more complex climate models for being the
primary source of reducing uncertainties regarding climate change. Climate researchers need to engage with a broader range of expertise in and build
strong links to disciplines experienced in complex nonlinear modeling and statistical inference, among others. We need a much better understanding of natural
climatic variability. More research is needed on understanding abrupt climate change and developing a more extensive archive of paleoclimate proxies.
And finally, greater resources need to be provided to accelerating the establishment of definitive climate data records.”
I have reported examples of the biases that Judy documented with respect to climate assessments and funding on my weblog; e.g.see
LONDON, UK, December 9, 2010 - China has answered efforts to ban credits from industrial gas projects in the European carbon market by threatening to release
potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unless developed nations pay what environmental groups are calling a "climate ransom."
Despite having received nearly US$1 billion to destroy waste gas produced during the manufacture of HCFC-22 refrigerant, an ozone-depleting gas, China is
insisting on continued payments above the actual cost of destroying a substitute refrigerant gas, according to the nonprofit groups Environmental Investigation
Agency and CDM Watch. (ENS)
No one should care and no one should pay them one way or the other.
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has warned that Australians face a decade of rising electricity prices and the risk of blackouts unless a carbon price is
introduced next year.
Although acknowledging households were struggling to pay high power bills, Ms Gillard said things would get even worse for families if investment uncertainty in
the electricity industry continued.
The only solution was to resolve the debate over carbon pricing which was delaying investment decisions, she said in an exclusive interview with The Sunday
The correct solution is to guarantee no carbon tax or penalty of any description, ever. It costs absolutely nothing, requires no supporting
or supervising bureaucracy and removes all investment uncertainty. Power costs will come down as electricity producers return to the most economical and
abundant fuel. So simple you'd think even a politician would get it.
Germany and other European coal-mining nations secured an extension of coal subsidies until 2018 after a months-long battle against environmentalists.
The European Commission, the EU's executive, had proposed in July that the coal mining industry should only get four more years of state aid before subsidies
are phased out in 2014, the sixth such extension of state aid since 1965.
But with thousands of jobs on the line, Germany led other coal-mining countries such as Spain in pushing hard to extend subsidies to 2018, to fit around
Berlin's own national laws.
That battle was settled between EU ambassadors and commissioners at two meetings in Brussels on Wednesday, with Germany getting its way.
The deal was rubber stamped by ministers on Friday. (Reuters)
MUMBAI, India — When it was introduced in early 2009, the egg-shaped Tata Nano was billed as a modern-day people’s car, an ultracheap vehicle that would
bring greater mobility to the masses of India and, eventually, the world. But those ambitions have stalled — for now, at least.
Though car sales have shot up across India, because of an economy that is growing at nearly 9 percent annually, sales of the Nano have been falling for the last
four months. Its maker, Tata Motors, sold only 509 Nanos to its dealers in November — a stark contrast to the 9,000 it delivered in July. Last year, when
media coverage and auto writers’ praise were stoking demand, Tata had orders for more than 200,000 Nanos, which has a list price starting at about $2,900.
But as Tata has struggled with problems like production delays and fires in some of the cars, rival cars like the Maruti Suzuki Alto have overtaken the Nano.
The Alto, which starts at $6,200 here, had sales of more than 30,000 in November, making it India’s best-selling car last month. (NYT)
The headlines were abuzz last month following Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s talk at the
National Press Club where he dubbed the global race for clean energy our new “Sputnik Moment” and warned that the U.S. risked falling behind other
countries. In this imaginary race, our competition is no longer the Soviet Union, but China, which now leads in the manufacture of wind turbines and solar
The Sputnik analogy is inappropriately applied for obvious reasons. The U.S. space program of the mid-twentieth century was an outgrowth of our military at a
time when the United States and Soviet Russia were researching long-range ballistic missiles. The program was a high-cost, high-risk venture that never achieved
economies of scale, nor was it intended to. There’s no question the race advanced us technologically and the productization of its research benefited
generations of Americans. But, contrary to Chu’s message, it was not a jobs program, its objectives were not imposed on private industry, and its work did not
interfere with the lives of everyday Americans.
In the case of energy, we already have a competent and competitive energy market run by the private sector. It’s role in not to innovate, but to keep this
country reliably powered at a reasonable price so that others can.
Chu’s problem is with the fuels used to power the U.S. and that’s what he wants to change.
He doesn’t hide his agenda to boost wind energy in the United States and he will do what’s necessary to shift the economics in wind’s favor, including
sponsoring policies meant to drive up the price of fossil fuels. By teaming up with Interior secretary Ken Salazar, Chu expects to fast-track building hundreds
of thousands of megawatts of wind nationwide including the shallow waters just off our eastern seaboard.
The problem for the rest of us is that Chu is an ideologue who, like the department he rules, refuses to publicly acknowledge the cost of his ideas or engage
on whether his vision is even realistic.
While Chu delivered his sermon in Washington, ratepayers in the State of Massachusetts experienced a glimpse of his vision in action.
Cape Wind: The Uneconomic Gets More So
Cape Wind is the first offshore wind energy facility approved to be built in the United States. The 468-megawatt project (sticker price: $2.3+ billion) will
be erected in federal waters off the coast of Nantucket and its energy sold to utility giant National Grid. With high upfront costs and fewer hours to spread
the cost over (given a 39% capacity factor), the power purchase agreement with Grid represents the most expensive in the country. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Risk-free contracts pay up to 20 times market value
One century ago, amid public outrage at the high electricity rates that came of the long-term franchise contracts that Ontario
municipal governments had signed with private utilities, the municipalities reneged on the bargains they had struck. To help the municipalities stab their
private-sector partners in the back, the province even went so far as to write new legislation negating previous legislation enacted specifically to ensure that
franchise agreements could not be cancelled without compensation.
Fast forward to today and many of the same elements are in place. Once again in Ontario, long-term electricity contracts between the government and
private-sector players are at play. Once again, public outrage is mounting at the utility rates that they face.
Reform: When we said nearly half of U.S. doctors might close their practices or retire early rather than live under the Democrats' health overhaul, we were
heavily criticized. The critics, though, were wrong.
Four in nine doctors responding to an IBD/TIPP poll sent out in August 2009 said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early
retirement" if Congress passed what has become known as ObamaCare. That means as many as 360,000 physicians have plans to be doing something other than
treating the growing number of patients in this country.
The doctors also told us — 67% to 22%, with 11% not responding — that they expected fewer students to apply for medical school in the future if the plan
Given these views, it's no surprise that 71% were doubtful that the government would be able to cover the 47 million uninsured Americans with better care at
lower costs, which ObamaCare supporters have promised. (IBD)
Starting with the science used by the EPA to justify its regulatory action with respect to smog, the agency proposed to make more stringent the ozone NAAQS as follows:
EPA proposes that the level of the 8-hour primary standard, which was set at 0.075 ppm in the 2008 final rule, should instead be set at a lower level within
the range of 0.060 to 0.070 parts per million (ppm), to provide increased protection for children and other ‘‘at risk’’ populations against an array of
O3-related adverse health effects that range from decreased lung function and increased respiratory symptoms to serious indicators of respiratory morbidity
including emergency department visits and hospital admissions for respiratory causes, and possibly cardiovascular-related morbidity as well as total
nonaccidental and cardiopulmonary mortality.
The first field study that the EPA cites in its proposal is a 1998 study
by Korrick et al. that the EPA describes as follows:
The results of one large study of hikers (Korrick et al., 1998), which reported outcome measures stratified by several factors (e.g., gender, age, smoking
status, presence of asthma) within a population capable of more than normal exertion, provide useful insight. In this study, lung function was measured before
and after hiking, and individual O3 exposures were estimated by averaging hourly O3 concentrations from ambient monitors located at the base and summit. The
mean 8-hour average O3 concentration was 0.040 ppm (8-hour average concentration range of 0.021 ppm to 0.074 ppm O3). Decreased lung function was associated
with O3 exposure, with the greatest effect estimates reported for the subgroup that reported having asthma or wheezing,
and for those who hiked for longer periods of time.
Here’s how the study was conducted, according to its authors:
During the summers of 1991 and 1992, volunteers (18-64 years of age) were solicited from hikers on Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. Volunteer nonsmokers with
complete covariates ( n = 530) had pulmonary function measured before and after their hikes. We calculated each hiker’s posthike percentage change in forced
expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1 ) , forced vital capacity (FVC) , the ratio of these two (FEV1 /FVC) , forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75% of FVC (FEF
25-75% ), and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR).
Here are the reported results:
After adjustment for age, sex, smoking status (former versus never) , history of asthma or wheeze, hours hiked, ambient temperature, and other covariates,
there was a 2.6% decline in FEV1 [95% confidence interval (CI) , 0.4-4.7 ; p = 0.02] and a 2.2% decline in FVC (CI, 0.8-3.5 ; p = 0.003) for each 50 ppb
increment in mean O3.
Accepting these results at face value (i.e., blaming O3 for the reported effect), none are of clinical significance. FEV1 values between 80% to 120% of
average are considered normal. It follows then that a 2.6% decline, especially after strenuous hiking, is not clinically significant.
But then is it really appropriate to attribute even this insignificant decline to O3 in the first place?
Fig. 2 in the study indicates that O3 levels varied throughout the day, but the researchers only took spirometry measurements at the beginning and end of
each hike. So there’s no data that indicate spirometry measurements varied with changes in O3 levels.
Even if it was possible to wave a statistical wand over the FEV1 and FVC measurements to adjust for the potential confounding risk factors (most of which
were self-reported and not verified or validated by the researchers), important potential confounding risk factors variables were omitted, e.g., hiker fitness
and hiking intensity to name just two.
Moreover, hikers were volunteers and not selected at random, possibly introducing some sort of bias into the mix.
The researchers needed to show that O3 caused the changes in spirometry, but they didn’t. In any event, the changes weren’t clinically significant.
At most, this study provides evidence that hiking up and down a mountain may slightly affect one’s breathing. It does not show, as the EPA claims, that
even low levels of O3 (i.e., levels 47% lower than the current standard) are a public health problem. (Green Hell Blog)
As the holiday decorations go up, so do anxiety levels. In the midst of prepping for the in-laws and the added financial stress of the holidays, the last
thing Americans need is another source of unwarranted anxiety.
But just in time for the holidays, Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, which preys on parents’ greatest
fears by warning shoppers of “toxic” chemicals and other dangers lurking on every toy aisle.
When it comes to protecting their children, parents will do whatever it takes to eliminate the risk of harm. Whether it is buying outlet plugs, fancy cribs,
corner cushions or even expensive organic food, we generally strive to be as careful as we can. Unfortunately, reports like “Trouble in Toyland” are
designed to cause unnecessary panic and downplay the real dangers kids face. (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)
BY JACK DINI – Do you wash your reusable shopping bags after using them? If not, you may be putting your family and yourself at risk for food poisoning.
Researchers from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University conducted a study to assess the potential for cross contamination of food products from
reusable bags for carrying groceries in California and Arizona. They discovered that reusable bags are seldom, if ever, washed and often used for multiple
purposes. Large numbers of bacteria wee found in almost all bags and coliform in half. E. coli were identified in 12% of the bags and a wide range of entire
bacteria, including several opportunistic pathogens. When meat juices were added to bags and stored in the trunks of cars for two hours the number of bacteria
increased 10-fold indicating the potential for bacterial growth in the bags. Hand or machine washing was found to reduce the bacteria by greater than 99.9%. The
results indicate that reusable bags can play a significant role in the cross contamination of foods if not properly washed on a regular basis. (Hawaii Reporter)
American life expectancy slipped slightly in 2008 to 77.8 years, the first dip since 2004, while stroke slid a notch to become the fourth-leading cause of
death, U.S. health experts said on Thursday.
They said a baby born in 2008 could expect to live about one month less than one born in 2007, falling from a record high of 77.9 years in 2007.
The change is more likely a statistical blip than a significant shift, said Arialdi Minino, who led the study for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
"The issue with life expectancy is minuscule," Minino said, noting that was just one measure of a country's health.
His group also looked at death rates that had been adjusted for an aging population. In terms of the risks of dying in a given year, "2008 didn't change
much from 2007," Minino said.
The CDC said that overall, women were expected to live 80.3 years and men 75.3 years. (Reuters)
Just imagining eating calorific food such as chocolate can reduce your appetite and help you lose weight, claim psychologists
Ever wished you could cut down on the amount you eat without going hungry? It turns out all you need is a good imagination. Scientists have found that going
through the mental motions of eating, say, a chocolate bar, will help.
The result, from a study of more than 300 volunteers, seems to fly in the face of intuition that imagining a delicious meal will make your mouth water even
General Mills Inc is lowering the amount of sugar in its children's breakfast cereals to no more than 10 grams per serving from 11 grams a year ago, the
latest move from a U.S. foodmaker to address childhood obesity.
The growing problem of obesity is leading to more children having adult health problems, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
The step-down in sugar by General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Trix cereals, is a move closer to its year-old goal to reduce to
single-digit levels the number of grams of sugar per serving in all of its cereals advertised to children under 12. (Reuters)
Australian drinkers have been duped by the low-carb beer "myth", with a poll showing widespread belief it is less fattening and the best beer for
Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of low-carb beer drinkers who responded to a VicHealth poll said it was a healthy alternative to full-strength beer.
A majority (59 per cent) said it was healthier than mid-strength while more (38 per cent) thought it was healthier than lower-alcohol light beer compared with
those who knew it was not (36 per cent).
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The poll revealed widespread "misunderstanding and confusion" on low-carb beer, said VicHealth executive director Todd Harper, who said this was to
the alcohol industry's benefit.
"What that shows is the alcohol companies have very successfully exploited the desires of people to make healthier choices," Mr Harper told AAP.
Ever met anyone at a kegger who thought beer was a diet product?
Campaigners presented a petition of more than a million signatures to the EU executive on Thursday, demanding a halt to approvals of new genetically modified
The petition is seen as a test case for the "European citizen's initiative," introduced under the EU's new constitutional treaty, which enables a
million or more people to jointly ask the European Commission to change EU legislation. (Reuters)
You can get watermelons to sign up to just about anything, even petitions to ban water:
Environmental Protection Agency regulations may result in over 50,000 megawatts of coal power plant retirements and up to $180 billion in compliance costs
for remaining plants, consulting firm The Brattle Group said in a report.
Emerging EPA regulations could force coal plant operators to decide between retiring plants or installing expensive emission control equipment and cooling
towers to reduce cooling water use, Brattle economists Metin Celebi and Frank Graves said in the report released Wednesday.
Before even considering the potential effect of possible government efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming, the report estimated
40,000 MW to 55,000 MW of coal capacity could retire if the EPA mandates further reductions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates, mercury and other
harmful emissions by 2015.
Brattle said another 11,000 MW to 12,000 MW could retire if cooling towers are also required, bringing total retirements to 50,000 MW to 67,000 MW, or roughly
20 percent of installed coal plant capacity. (Reuters)
CANCUN, Mexico — Delegates from almost 200 nations worked Thursday to clear away a host of disputes and to take small steps forward in easing the impact of
climate change at a conference whose limited goals drew an accusation of "ecocide" from Bolivia's President Evo Morales.
Once again this year, as it neared its end, the annual negotiations under the U.N. climate treaty will not produce an overarching deal to slash emissions of
global warming gases. From the start, the talks focused instead on secondary areas, including setting up a "green fund" to help poorer countries cope
with global warming. (AP)
The United Nations needs a new body to spend revenue from future sales of carbon allowances, ensuring that developing nations build sustainable economies,
according to the former climate chief. (Bloomberg)
Move by Mexican presidency, Europe and Pacific island states to prepare new negotiating text has outraged developing nations
Europe and a group of small island Pacific states have jointly proposed a new international treaty at the UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, to commit
developing and developed countries to reducing their climate emissions, according to leaked documents seen by the Guardian and the Times of India.
The move has outraged many developing countries, including China, Brazil and India, who fear that rich countries will use the proposal to lay the foundations to
ditch the Kyoto protocol and replace it with a much weaker alternative.
The new negotiating text could provoke the most serious rift yet in the already troubled climate talks because the Kyoto protocol is the only commitment that
rich countries will cut their emissions. (Guardian)
As negotiators near a deal on preserving forests as a way to fight climate change, a top advocate for deserts says that the planet's driest lands should also
play a role. (AFP)
Actually deserts have generally higher albedo than forests, so they are "cooling the planet" already. Here's a reminder of a really stupid scheme to "cool the planet" ... by significantly increasing the greenhouse
Japanese Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto said a global treaty for reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be based on last year’s Copenhagen Accord,
not the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a comment that may derail the United Nations climate talks. (Bloomberg)
CANCUN Dec 9 - An impasse on the future of the Kyoto Protocol is still blocking a deal to slow global warming on the penultimate day of U.N. climate talks,
India's environment minister said on Thursday. (Reuters)
I’m here at the UN’s Cancun Climate Conference—or COP16 (Conference of the Parties) in the jargon. The last two COPs in Poznan (2008) and
Copenhagen (2009) were (ironically) characterized by exceptionally cold weather. I can’t say that there’s December snow in Cancun, but locals
tell me it’s exceptionally cool for the time of year. But then again, that’s Climate Change for you!
This is the world’s travelling circus; the moveable feast; the great eco-love-in. We have some 15,000 delegates (including me — I’m accredited
for the EU which is a great irony since I am hugely skeptical of the EU as well as the myth of man-made climate change). Of course 99% of the delegates
are paid-up true believers in Al Gore’s Great Climate Myth, so everyone here agrees with each other, reinforcing their opinion that Al Gore’s view
is the only sane view to have. I take a profoundly different view though.
Copenhagen carried huge hopes and optimism, and ended in failure and recrimination. Cancun is the mirror image. Expectations have been
managed down to zero though, so any tiny nugget of success will be hugely overhyped. And there will be nuggets—probably on forestry, on technology
transfer, and on a “Cancun Fund” to combat climate change (watch out for that one, because you know who’ll be paying – you, the taxpayer). But the
Holy Grail, of a legally binding emissions agreement, looks as far off as ever, and they’re already whistling in the wind and talking of “laying the
stepping stones for COP17 in Durban in 2011”. Continue reading... (The
Global negotiators are likely to punt contentious decisions on the Kyoto Protocol in hopes of reaching agreement on other key climate issues, Canada's top
At a Thursday morning news conference, Guy St. Jacques said there are two years before the first commitment period of Kyoto expires – plenty of time to find
common ground on extending the deal. (Globe and Mail)
OTTAWA – The future of climate change negotiations lies with the Copenhagen Accord, Environment Minister John Baird said in comments that call into
question reports of progress at the United Nations talks in Mexico. (Toronto Star)
THE chances of a legally binding deal to tackle climate change are looking increasingly slim as the negotiations in Cancún, Mexico, enter their final days.
So much so that even environmentalists are deserting the sinking ship.
The only half-way successful negotiations in Cancún to date have been on REDD, short for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The idea
is that governments pay tropical nations to curb deforestation, and so keep the carbon stored in trees out of the atmosphere. REDD is controversial, not least
among indigenous people who fear they will lose out. But negotiators expect to conclude a deal before the end of the conference.
However, seeing little sign of a wider agreement on cutting overall emissions, many are talking about going it alone. Daniel Nepstad, a forest ecologist from
the Amazon Environmental Research Institute who is a key architect of REDD, told Forest Day, a Cancún side event on forests, that there was little chance of a
United Nations climate treaty with a global carbon trading system that could fund REDD. With the Amazon forests "already showing the early signs of a
massive dieback", REDD cannot wait for the UN. (Fred Pearce, NS)
The two greatest data dumps in Web history have been treated far differently
Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army analyst who served up the classified files at the heart of the Wikileaks farrago, claimed that
“It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”
What is fascinating about this statement is that I could find it quoted only twice in the mainstream media: in The Sydney Morning Herald and on
Glenn Beck. This appears to reflect a broader lack of media interest in comparing and contrasting the two most newsworthy data dumps in Internet history.
Wikileaks in fact played a small part in spreading the Climategate emails towards the end of 2009, just ahead of the last great climate shindig in
Copenhagen. Also, one current Wikileak reveals that President Barack Obama used a combination of muscle and bribery to achieve a “deal” that he could
announce at the Danish capital. Nobody should be the least bit shocked by this revelation. It is a prime example not just of political cynicism but of why
diplomacy, by its very nature, cannot be “transparent.” But it also suggests how science can be corrupted by politics. That is the fundamental aspect of
Climategate that so few people seem to have grasped, perhaps because so few in the media appear prepared to countenance it.
If we are to believe recent reports, the effects of climate change over the next 90 years will make up to 1 billion people homeless, deny 3 billion access to
clean water and see the emergence of ''ghost states'' whose governments-in-exile rule over scattered citizens.
The sensational claims in The Observer were based on a scientific report presented this week at the start of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico. The report
outlines the effects of human-induced climate change to be expected this century, largely because it now appears we cannot stop global temperatures rising by 4
Climate change-induced migration and displacement are real. But it is too simplistic to suggest that the impacts of climate change on human settlements will
spur mass migration, and it could feed panic about the security implications of human movement.
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The figures cited don't ring true with any of the research being done by migration experts on the impacts of climate change and human movement. The report might
have the basic "science" right, but it overlooks the human elements - people's inherent resilience, their lack of resources and desire to move great
distances, their cultural ties to their land - which make it unlikely that billions of people will ever flee their homes for other countries. Perhaps most
significantly, it overlooks the evidence we already have about what is happening in countries most at risk. This is underscored by my own field work in
Bangladesh and the Pacific. (Jane McAdam, SMH)
[Associate Professor Jane McAdam from the University of NSW is the editor of Climate Change and Displacement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Hart
Publishing, Oxford, 2010).]
We'd go further than the Associate Professor, we have yet to see evidence of even one "climate [change] refugee".
team of experts from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and NOAA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
has joined the community of climate deniers or, as they are called by Sean Carroll, the
Republicans (Carroll notes that the more educated a person who is not a left-wing activist is, the more skeptical he or she is about the man-made climate
The article by Lahouari Bounoua and six co-authors in Geophysical Research Letters combines their climate model with the feedbacks linked to
vegetation, especially evapotranspiration - the sum of plant transpiration and evaporation from leaves.
Written by Dennis Ambler
Thursday, 09 December 2010 14:12
Former Republican Congressman and former chairman of the House Committee on Science, Sherwood Boehlert, launched an attack last week on the Republican Party
and its stance on global warming science. He made great play of the contributions of Climate Scientists and National Academy of Sciences reports on climate
matters. It seems he does not have much idea of the make-up of the NAS panels and how they are stacked with activist scientists and NGO’s to deliver the right
message, whilst carrying the scientific imprimatur of the NAS.
Seward, Alaska—Despite a 30-year warming trend, the last three years in the Bering Sea have been the coldest on record. A University of Alaska Fairbanks
scientist says that the cold temperatures have helped produce larger zooplankton in the Bering Sea, which may be changing the way Walleye pollock are feeding.
Alexei Pinchuk, research professional at the UAF Seward Marine Center, has spent the last three years gathering zooplankton samples in the Bering Sea. He and
his colleagues have been looking at how changes in temperature in the Bering Sea affect resident zooplankton, and in turn how those zooplankton shifts may
affect the diet of Walleye pollock. (UAF)
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A wave of reptile extinctions on the Greek islands over the past 15,000 years may offer a preview of the way plants and animals will
respond as the world rapidly warms due to human-caused climate change, according to a University of Michigan ecologist and his colleagues.
The Greek island extinctions also highlight the critical importance of preserving habitat corridors that will enable plants and animals to migrate in response
to climate change, thereby maximizing their chances of survival.
As the climate warmed at the tail end of the last ice age, sea levels rose and formed scores of Aegean islands that had formerly been part of the Greek
mainland. At the same time, cool and moist forested areas dwindled as aridity spread through the region.
In response to the combined effects of a shifting climate, vegetation changes and ever-decreasing island size, many reptile populations perished. (UM)
Niche-dwelling "habitat specialist" critters don't survive when their habitat disappears from small islands... and this surprises
COLLEGE STATION, Dec. 9, 2010 – Changes in clouds will amplify the warming of the planet due to human activities, according to a breakthrough study by a
Texas A&M University researcher.
Andrew Dessler, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, says that warming due to increases in greenhouse gases will cause clouds to trap more
heat, which will lead to additional warming. This process is known as the "cloud feedback" and is predicted to be responsible for a significant
portion of the warming over the next century.
Dessler used measurements from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument onboard NASA's Terra satellite to calculate the amount of
energy trapped by clouds as the climate varied over the last decade. He also used meteorological analyses provided by NASA's Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis
for Research and Applications (MERRA) and by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
"It's a vicious cycle – warmer temperatures mean clouds trap more heat, which in turn leads to even more warming," Dessler explains. His work is
published in the Dec. 10 issue of Science magazine and is supported by a NASA research grant.
While climate models had long predicted that the cloud feedback would amplify warming from human activities, until recently it was impossible to test the models
"This work suggests that climate models are doing a pretty decent job simulating how clouds respond to changing climates," Dessler says.
Some prominent climate skeptics have recently been arguing that clouds would act to stabilize the climate, thereby preventing greenhouse gases from causing
"Based on my results, I think the chances that clouds will save us from dramatic climate change are pretty low," he explains. "In fact, my work
shows that clouds will likely be amplifying the warming from human activities.
"I think we can be pretty confident that temperatures will rise by several degrees Celsius over the next century if we continue our present trajectory of
greenhouse gas emissions." (Texas A&M University)
We have already provided readers with several real-world benchmarks against which claims of positive feedbacks and climate sensitivity can be
tested. Recall that a quick check of their homework showed that an already
delivered three-fourths of the expected effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 (2.8/3.7 Watts per meter squared) has been concurrent with an estimated
warming of three-fourths of one degree C (if indeed that warming is real and not simply measurement artifact). No need for mumbo jumbo or crappy models,
regardless of feedbacks, other forcings (land use, black carbon...) the simple fact is Earth's actual response to enhanced greenhouse forcing is equivalent to
+1 °C per doubling of CO2, slightly less than raw calculations might suggest and certainly giving no indication of the presence of marvelous
We noted, also, how quickly Earth equilibrates its surface temperature in response
to the rearrangement of its thermal furniture. Not that there should have been any doubt given the annual cycle of seasonal change but covering the
"additional forcing" case of a strong El Niño demonstrates there is no immediately adjacent "tipping point" threshold to worry about.
We have looked at climate sensitivity quite thoroughly and concluded ΔF 1 W/m2
= ΔT 0.2 ± 0.1 °C. This is entirely consistent with empirical measures and implies net negative feedback.
How clouds respond to warming – the ‘cloud feedback’ problem – will likely determine whether manmade global warming becomes either the defining
environmental event of the 21st Century, or is merely lost in the noise of natural climate variability.
Unfortunately, diagnosing cloud feedback from our global satellite observations has been surprisingly difficult. The problem isn’t the quality of the data,
though. The problem is figuring out what the cloud and temperature behaviors we observe in the data mean in terms of cause and effect.
So, Andy Dessler’s (a Texas A&M climate researcher) new paper appearing in Science this week is potentially significant, for it claims to have
greatly closed the gap in our understanding of cloud feedback.
Dessler’s paper claims to show that cloud feedback is indeed positive, and generally supportive of the cloud feedbacks exhibited by the IPCC computerized
climate models. This would in turn support the IPCC’s claim that anthropogenic global warming will become an increasingly serious problem in the future.
Unfortunately, the central evidence contained in the paper is weak at best, and seriously misleading at worst. It uses flawed logic to ignore recent
advancements we have made in identifying cloud feedback.
In fact, the new paper is like going back to using only X-rays for medical imaging when we already have MRI technology available to us.
What the New Study Shows
So what is this new evidence of positive cloud feedback that Dessler has published? Well, actually it is not new. It’s basically the same evidence we published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Yet we came to a very different conclusion, which was that the only clear evidence of feedback we found in the data was of strongly negative cloud feedback.
But how can this be? How can two climate researchers, using the same dataset, come to opposite conclusions?
The answer lies in an issue that challenges researchers in most scientific disciplines – separating cause from effect.
Dessler’s claim (and the IPCC party line) is that cloud changes are caused by temperature changes, and not the other way around. Causation only occurs in
one direction, not the other.
In their interpretation, if one observes a warmer year being accompanied by fewer clouds, then that is evidence of positive cloud feedback. Why? Because if
warming causes fewer clouds, it lets in more sunlight, which then amplifies the warming. That is positive cloud feedback in a nutshell.
But what if the warming was caused by fewer clouds, rather than the fewer clouds being caused by warming? In other words, what if previous researchers have
simply mixed up cause and effect when estimating cloud feedback?
A Step Backwards for Climate Science
What we demonstrated in our JGR paper earlier this year is that
when cloud changes cause temperature changes, it gives the illusion of positive cloud feedback – even if strongly negative cloud feedback is really
I can not overemphasize the importance of that last statement.
We used essentially the same satellite dataset Dessler uses, but we analyzed those data with something called ‘phase space analysis’. Phase space
analysis allows us to “see” behaviors in the climate system that would not be apparent with traditional methods of data analysis. It is like using an MRI to
see a type of tumor that X-rays cannot reveal.
What we showed was basically a new diagnostic capability that can, to some extent, separate cause from effect. This is a fundamental advancement – and one
that the news media largely refused to report on.
The Dessler paper is like someone publishing a medical research paper that claims those tumors do not exist, because they still do not show up on our latest
X-ray equipment…even though the new MRI technology shows they DO exist!
Sound strange? Welcome to my world.
We even replicated that behavior see in the satellite data analyzed with phase space analysis — our ‘MRI for the climate system’ – by using a simple
forcing-feedback climate model containing negative cloud feedback. It showed that, indeed, when clouds cause temperature changes, the illusion of positive cloud
feedback is created…even when strongly negative cloud feedback really exists.
Why Dessler Assumed We Are Wrong
To Dessler’s credit, he actually references our paper. But he then immediately discounts our interpretation of the satellite data.
Because, as he claims, (1) most of the climate variability during the satellite period of record (2000 to 2010) was due to El Nino and La Nina (which is
largely true), and (2) no researcher has ever claimed that El Nino or La Nina are caused by clouds.
This simple, blanket claim was then intended to negate all of the evidence we published.
But this is not what we were claiming, nor is it a necessary condition for our interpretation to be correct. El Nino and La Nina represent a temporary change
in the way the coupled atmospheric-ocean circulation system operates. And any change in the atmospheric circulation can cause a change in cloud cover, which can
in turn cause a change in ocean temperatures. We even showed this behavior for the major La Nina cooling event of 2007-08 in our paper!
It doesn’t mean that “clouds cause El Nino”, as Dessler suggests we are claiming, which would be too simplistic and misleading of a statement. Clouds
are complicated beasts, and climate researchers ignore that complexity at their peril.
Very Curious Timing
Dessler’s paper is being announced on probably THE best day for it to support the IPCC’s COP-16 meeting here in Cancun, and whatever agreement is
announced tomorrow in the way of international climate policy.
I suspect – but have no proof of it – that Dessler was under pressure to get this paper published to blunt the negative impact our work has had on the
But if this is the best they can do, the scientists aligning themselves with the IPCC really are running out of ideas to help shore up their climate models,
and their claims that our climate system is very sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions.
The weak reasoning the paper employs – and the evidence we published which it purposely ignores! – combined with the great deal of media attention it
will garner at a time when the IPCC needs to regain scientific respectability (especially after Climategate), makes this new Science paper just one
more reason why the public is increasingly distrustful of the scientific community when it comes to research having enormous policy implications. (Roy W.
Andrew Lacis and the good folks at GISS have a new paper,Atmospheric
CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature, Andrew A. Lacis, Gavin A. Schmidt, David Rind, Reto A. Ruedy 15 OCTOBER 2010 VOL 330
SCIENCE [hereinafter "Lacis10"]. Although most commenters have dismissed their work as being derivative and not containing anything new, I find that
they have actually made a couple of unique and novel errors. I have two main difficulties with their paper. I have a problem with one of their theoretical
claims, and I also have large issues with their model results. First, the theoretical claim. Lacis10 says:
Because the solar-thermal energy balance of Earth [at the top of the atmosphere (TOA)] is maintained by radiative processes only, and because all the
global net advective energy transports must equal zero, it follows that the global average surface temperature must be determined in full by the radiative
fluxes arising from the patterns of temperature and absorption of radiation. This then is the basic underlying physics that explains the close coupling that
exists between TOA radiative fluxes, the greenhouse effect, and the global mean surface temperature.
WUWT readers, Figure 4 is noteworthy, because it points out the trend of 20th century warming in context with other periods of warming derived from the ice
core record. I suggest you bookmark this post and that graph, as it tells a simple but indisputable story. – Anthony
I estimated the total raw CO2 warming to be around 9,25 times the warming effect of one CO2-doubling:
Heat from one CO2-doubling (the “CO2-sensitivity”) has been estimated by IPCC and J. Hansen to be 3K or even 6K, including feedbacks. The 9,25 CO2
“doublings” cannot all have such a huge effect including feedbacks, so present day conditions on Earth must be extraordinarily heat sensitive (at least
according to the IPCC).
Claim: Just a tiny temperature increase under present day conditions (like raw effect of one single CO2 doubling) should result in temperature jumps of
up to 3 – 6 K.
There is an important new paper that further examines the role of vegetation processes within the climate system. The study documents a complex
interaction between local vegetation and larger scale atmospheric circulations.
The paper is
Isabella M. Angelini, Michael Garstang, Robert Davis, Bruce Hayden, David R. Fitzjarrald, David R. Legates, Steven Greco, Stephen Macko, and Vickie Connors,
2010: On the Coupling Between Vegetation and the Atmosphere. Theor. Appl. Climatol. DOI
10.1007/s00704-010-0377-5 (in press)
The abstract reads
“Recent studies suggest that vegetation can drive large-scale atmospheric circulations and substantially influence the hydrologic cycle. We present
observational evidence to quantify the extent of coupling between vegetation and the overlying atmosphere. Within the context of vegetation-atmospheric
interactions, we reanalyze existing climatological data from springtime leaf emergence, emissivity, dew point temperatures, and historical records of
precipitation and forest coverage. We construct new rainfall transects based on a robust global climatology. Using isotopic analysis of precipitation, we find
that rain in Amazonia comes primarily from large-scale weather systems coupling interior regions to the ocean and is not directly driven by local evaporation.
We find that changes in vegetative cover and state influence the temperature and moisture content of the surface and atmospheric boundary layer, but are not
reflected in observable precipitation changes. This analysis reaffirms the view that changes in precipitation over continental reaches are a product of complex
processes only partly influenced but not controlled by local water sources or vegetation.”
The conclusion reads
“Vegetation-atmosphere interactions involve complex processes on multiple time and space scales. Attempts to synthesize these interactions within the
framework of a model have been severely limited by the inability to adequately represent nonlinear interactions on scales not easily included in the model
Our results suggest that the rain-producing processes in the atmosphere ranging from the cloud elements through the ensemble of storm clouds within the
larger-scale parent system have profound effects upon how the total rain-producing entity is coupled to the surface and its constituents. While there is an
essential coupling of the surface to the atmosphere in the hydrologic cycle, there is no simple relationship between the supply of water from the surface to the
atmosphere and the return of that water to the surface in the form of rain.
We show that major changes in the amount of surface vegetation as well as changes from passive to active production of water by plants are not dramatically
reflected by changes in precipitation but are more subtly evident in changes in water content and temperature of the air. While air temperature and water vapor
content are related, the relationship of air temperature to plants may involve more complex radiative and stability considerations of the air column than simple
feedbacks between water phases and temperature might imply. Careful analysis of rainfall distributions over vegetated and non-vegetated surfaces extending over
large distances inland from the ocean show no evidence of the gradients in rainfall suggested by M&G nor do they support, from an observational point of
view, the existence of any vegetation-induced driving mechanism. Instead, analysis of stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen collected in a manner compatible
with the production of the observed rain show a strong dependence upon water drawn from the ocean. These results suggest that any numerical simulation of the
pathways connecting the source of the water required to produce the observed rainfall must not only include careful consideration of the moist air
thermodynamics and the physiological processes governing transpiration but must be equally aware of the dynamic forces driving the three-dimensional circulation
fields of the atmosphere on a diverse range of time and space scales. “
The idea of creating biochar by burning organic waste in oxygen-free chambers — and then burying it — is being touted as a way to cool the planet. But
while it already is being produced on a small scale, biochar’s proponents and detractors are sharply divided over whether it can help slow global warming.
(Dave Levitan, e360)
While maintaining/improving soil carbon is generally quite desirable, inhibiting atmospheric carbon dioxide is not and "global
warming" is completely irrelevant either way.
Administrators have been called in to sell the assets of Powerfuel, which owns Hatfield colliery near Doncaster and planned to build a clean-coal
demonstration plant in Britain.
The firm is owned by the mining entrepreneur Richard Budge – known as "King Coal" – and the Russian coal group KRU. Despite being selected by the
European Union to receive £164m for the project, it is £635m short of the money required. The plant would have been fitted with carbon capture and storage
(CCS) technology, which prevents carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
The news is another blow to hopes of introducing large-scale CCS technology to Britain soon following the decision by the energy group E.ON in October to
withdraw its Kingsnorth project from the competition to build a demonstration facility. (Guardian)
America's ethanol experiment has been a costly disaster.
In November voters across America made clear their frustrations with runaway spending, bailouts, and special-interest dollars sloshing through Washington. Yet
the lame duck session threatens a return to business as usual as corporate interests scramble for federal favors.
One particularly bold example is the ethanol lobby, which is mounting a full-court press to renew expiring tariffs and tax protections that raise consumer
prices while doing little to improve energy independence or the environment. Lawmakers should do nothing and allow the ethanol program to expire. (Matt Kibbe,
In Washington, D.C., Corn is King. Corn farmers receive all manner of farm subsidies: deficiency payments, direct payments, crop insurance premium subsidies,
price support payments, counter-cyclical program support, and market loss assistance. Total price tag? More than $75.8 billion from 1995 to 2009, according to
the Environmental Working Group.
But that’s not all. Corn is the main feedstock for the production of ethanol, and Congress props up the market for ethanol in three main ways. First, the
so-called Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which is actually a Soviet-style production
quota, compels refiners to blend increasing amounts of corn-ethanol into the nation’s motor fuel supply. Almost 12 billion gallons of corn ethanol will have to be sold as motor fuel in 2011.
Under current law,…
President Obama and Hill Republicans may have a deal on the expiring Bush tax cuts, but they haven't done anything about two expiring tax credits for
renewable energy. It's time for them to act. And then not act.
The short-term future of America's green economy depends on the extension of a popular tax credit of up to 30% for wind, solar, geothermal and other
renewable-energy projects. Obama's stimulus package converted the credit into a cash grant that served the same purpose, supporting 1,179 solar installations
and 211 wind projects with investments of over $16 billion since last February, reviving industries that stalled during the financial meltdown of 2008. It has
bipartisan support, but unless Congress intervenes, it will vanish on Dec. 31.
A tax credit of 45c per gal. for ethanol blenders is also set to disappear on Dec. 31 — and not a moment too soon. Ethanol brewed from corn is technically a
renewable fuel, but it's even dirtier than gasoline; the carbon supposedly saved by using farmland to grow fuel (which boosts global food prices and worsens
world hunger) is ultimately devoured by the conversion of wetlands and forests into farmland. In any case, the U.S. already has a mandate ensuring the
production of billions of gallons of ethanol; the credit is just a way of shoveling additional tax dollars to big grain farmers and agribusinesses, which
already enjoy lucrative subsidies. (Time)
Yes, the ethanol credits should go, as should the mandates - and so too should all the "alternative/green" energy panhandling
rewards. All they can ever achieve is a transfer of your earnings to favored (and remarkably well-heeled) beggars with no prospect of ever improving your lot or
The European Union's biofuels industry looks set to struggle to attract funds to expand with a challenging investment climate made more difficult by complex
questions about the sector's environmental credentials. (Reuters)
Maul the Midwest. Coddle California. Dictate to doctors. Hobble health care. Ban the bulb. Cancel coal. Destroy Detroit. Grovel to the Greens.
Goodbye to all that.
Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Left Coast) is out. Hail the new Chairman Fred Upton (R-Middle America).
In a demonstration of the sea change that November 2 has brought to Washington, Upton – an auto-friendly, Obamacare-reviling, global warming critic – has
been given the reins over the House committee with perhaps more power to reverse President Obama’s radical agenda than any other: Energy and Commerce.
With jurisdiction over the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Series, Upton has a chance to deal crippling blows to Obama’s anti-carbon and
pro-national health care vision. In an extraordinary turnabout, Michigan will go from being in the cross-hairs of Chairman Waxman, a Green religious zealot with
a Left Coast disdain for “flyover country,” to being in the driver’s seat under the 13- term Chairman Upton from St. Joseph. Upton will also be a very
different chair from the last Michigander to hold the post, John Dingell, who – though pro-auto – used the bully pulpit to preach socialized medicine.
Upton seems energized by the challenge.
“I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Whip McCarthy and the entire Republican Conference as we repeal
Obamacare, fight rampant job-killing regulations, cut spending, and help put folks back to work,” he roared upon learning of his coveted new post Tuesday
“We face many challenges, but priority number one is to repeal the job-killing Obamacare law,” continued Upton, signaling to the Tea Party-led electorate
that Republicans heard them loud and clear.
Under Waxman, leftist HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was given a free hand to impose Obamacare and demonize business. Just days after the election, Waxman
applauded Sebelius’ new rules mandating how insurers had to spend their premium dollars..
“In today’s market, too many insurers – particularly in the individual health care market – charge high premiums and yet spend 30 percent or more on
administrative costs, high salaries, and profits,” declared the Dictator from Beverly Hills.
Shot back Upton today: “If we have learned anything these last two years of soaring unemployment and out-of-control spending, it is that government is not the
answer to all our ills.” Ultimately, Upton recognizes that his committee’s charge is not just to oversee – but to reverse Obama’s agenda entirely.
The congressman, who served in the Reagan Administration from 1981-5, told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York that his task is like the “game Jenga, in
which small wooden blocks are stacked in a tower. Players remove blocks from the lower part of the tower and place them on the top, seeing how high they can
raise the structure before it collapses from lack of support below.”
“Ultimately the tower falls,” Upton told York. “I’m convinced that if you take the health care law and begin to look at all of the different parts, you
can make it fall.”
He will also fight a rogue EPA which Waxman gave free run to regulate carbon emissions in defiance of public will and the failure of Washington to pass cap and
trade.” The Obama administration is on notice – they will not be allowed to regulate what they have been unable to legislate,” says Upton in direct shot
across EPA’s bow.
Upton’s reward comes after a challenge from Joe Barton of Texas. Barton’s opposition was fueled by concern about Upton’s commitment to principle as he was
a co-sponsor of the outrageous 2007 law that banned Americans from buying incandescent light bulbs by 2012. The law has not only denied consumers’ choice but
destroyed hundreds of American manufacturing jobs. Upton, a team player by reputation, pushed the law on behalf of his president at the time, George Bush –
who himself was trying to buy his way into Green heaven after a lifetime as an oil man.
Upton has indicated has learned his lesson. While repeal of Obamacare will take some time, Upton can reassure the troops immediately with one bold stroke:
Compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) makers Philips Electronics, Osram Sylvania and General Electric are scrambling to defend the looming ban on incandescent
light bulbs, according to Climatewire.
Philips has sent halogen bulbs to members of Congress and conservative columnists like George Will in an effort to show that CFLs are not the only option to
incandescents. Sure, halogens and LEDs are options, but expensive and inferior ones. Try putting LED lights on your Christmas tree — they’re about as
aesthetically pleasing as a migraine.
Sylvania is trying to convince people that the 2007 legislation — sponsored by let’s-hope-he’s-not-a-RINO Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), the chairman-elect
of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and signed by the accursed, lame-memoir-hawking George Bush — is not a ban at all. In January 2012, however, you
won’t find any 100-watt incandescents on store shelves. In January 2014, 40-watt bulbs will be history. How is this not a ban?
Consumers, in fact, have more choices, says Sylvania. Perhaps, but they’re getting a lot worse.
Philips, Sylvania and GE all lobbied Congress into forcing us to buy more expensive and inferior lighting — all in the name of saving the planet from the
dreaded global warming.
Moreover, CFLs are handblown by poor, low-wage Chinese bastards who reportedly
are being poisoned by the mercury.
And no, Upton doesn’t get any points for any meaningless regret he expresses or futile effort he may make to repeal the ban. The Senate likely will not
pass and/or Obama likely will veto any such bill. You can bet that the CFL makers will make sure of that.
In the next world, may the CEOs and lobbyists of Philips, Sylvania, and GE; Fred Upton and the members of the 110th Congress who voted for the ban; and the
accursed George Bush be compelled to read W’s biography ad infinitum by humming and flickering CFL-light. (Green Hell Blog)
Of the 6 billion people on Earth, 2 billion try to survive on a few dollars a day. They don't build businesses, or if they do, they don't expand them. Unlike
people in the United States, Europe and Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc., they don't lift themselves out of poverty. Why not? What's the
difference between them and us? Hernando de Soto taught me that the biggest difference may be property rights.
I first met de Soto maybe 15 years ago. It was at one of those lunches where people sit around wondering how to end poverty. I go to these things because it
bugs me that much of the world hasn't yet figured out what gave us Americans the power to prosper.
I go, but I'm skeptical. There sits de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, and he starts pulling pictures out showing slum
dwellings built on top of each other. I wondered what they meant. (John Stossel, Townhall)
The intelligentsia won’t admit that commerce is the friend of population control, not its enemy
Ted Turner, the billionaire philanthropist, has always been famous for putting his substantial carbon footprint in his mouth.
Last Sunday he urged world leaders to institute a Chinese-style global one-child policy to save the Earth from catastrophic climate change. “If we’re going
to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now,” he was reported as saying, “we’re not going to do it with seven billion people [the world’s current
Mr. Turner put forward the novel — nay Swiftian — notion of tradeable rights in child bearing. Presumably, an individual in a developed country would
have to purchase the right to inflict “population pollution” on the globe by buying it from somebody in a poor country. This latter party would either
promise not to procreate, or perhaps be sterilized just to make sure. Previously, Mr. Turner, who has five children and owns two million acres of land on which
he raises bison, has recommended tax penalties for those having more than one child.
A Swedish safety expert says stopping mobile phone use in cars isn’t the right move.
A leading international safety expert has criticised calls to ban mobile phones from cars as unnecessary.
Thomas Broberg, a senior safety adviser with Swedish car maker Volvo, says the suggestion that Australia consider introducing a national ban on mobile phone use
in cars would not be something his company — renowned for its focus on safety — would support. (SMH)
Florida filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to block new water pollution controls in the recession-hit state.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Pensacola, accuses the EPA of trampling over the state's rights while seeking to impose rules that would cost taxpayers
and local agricultural business too much. (Reuters)
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from five electric utilities in State of Connecticut v. American Electric Power. The utilities are
challenging an appellate court decision that the “political questions” doctrine does not bar states and other plaintiffs from suing emitters of carbon
dioxide (CO2) for injuries alleged to result from CO2-induced global warming.
Trautman Sanders, a law firm with an extensive environmental practice, concisely summarize the history and
basic issues of the case:
Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Second Circuit Global Warming Nuisance Case
December 6, 2010
In a victory for industry, the Supreme Court today granted a petition from a group of electric utilities for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the
decision of the United States…
A lot of numbers have been floating around on the benefits of renewable energy, particularly given the U.N. climate change talks going on this week in Mexico.
The latest set of data comes from the Pew Charitable Trust, which issued a report Wednesday saying $2.3 trillion in clean power project investments could
materialize in next 10 years if G-20 countries adopt aggressive policies.
The report, “Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity,” noted that the United States alone could draw $342 billion in investments over the next
decade, which could lead to 171 gigawatts of renewable energy generation in solar, wind, geothermal, biomass/waste, small hydro and marine energy. Now, that
could happen only if the country adopts policies that go beyond what it has agreed to in the U.N. climate haggling in Copenhagen a year ago, the report said.
For "clean power investments" read: "complete waste". Subsidy farming is not investing but rent seeking and parasitism.
If these guys see profit in investing in "green power" on an "as is" basis then they should go for it but their profits should not be
guaranteed by, or dependent on, diversion of taxpayer funds.
Vitter, Barrasso Introduce Bill to Ensure Open, Accurate NASA Climate Data
For Immediate Release Contact:
Joel DiGrado (Vitter) (202) 224-4623
December 8, 2010 Emily
Lawrimore (Barrasso) (202) 224-6441
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sens. David Vitter and John Barrasso today introduced S. 4015, the Public Access to Historical Records Act,
which would dramatically improve the transparency and accuracy of NASA’s historical records and guarantee public access to the data.
“Recent incidents, such as the investigation showing that the Obama administration manipulated data to justify the drilling moratorium, have raised
concerns that some scientists and government agencies are using misleading data to support their favored viewpoints,” said Vitter. “This bill would
open NASA’s temperature records to public scrutiny and establish an objective set of data to ensure that influential climate research is protected from
political agendas.” Read the rest of this entry »
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, the US government has fought back against accusations that it isn't doing anything to combat global warming.
In his speech, Energy Secretary Steven Chu criticized climate change deniers, highlighted inventions by US scientists and even quoted a Native American saying
about saving the planet. (Spiegel)
I usually add some gentle humor to these reports. Not today. Read this and weep. Notwithstanding the carefully-orchestrated propaganda to the effect that
nothing much will be decided at the UN climate conference here in Cancun, the decisions to be made here this week signal nothing less than the abdication of the
West. The governing class in what was once proudly known as the Free World is silently, casually letting go of liberty, prosperity, and even democracy itself.
No one in the mainstream media will tell you this, not so much because they do not see as because they do not bl**dy care.
The 33-page Note (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/CRP.2) by the Chairman of the “Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Co-operative Action under the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change”, entitled Possible elements of the outcome, reveals all. Or, rather, it reveals nothing, unless one understands what
the complex, obscure jargon means. All UNFCCC documents at the Cancun conference, specifically including Possible elements of the outcome, are drafted
with what is called “transparent impenetrability”. The intention is that the documents should not be understood, but that later we shall be told they were
in the public domain all the time, so what are we complaining about?
Since the Chairman’s note is very long, I shall summarize the main points: (SPPI)
Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, urged government ministers meeting in Mexico for climate change talks to agree to a compromise, in the hope of getting the
slow negotiations moving.
At the opening of the high-level segment of the talks, Mr Ban told the conference in Cancún: “The world, particularly the poor and vulnerable, cannot afford
the luxury of waiting for the perfect agreement.” (Financial Times)
Actually the world can't afford any sort of agreement on attempting to control the global thermostat.
Dec. 8 -- A call for greenhouse-gas emissions to peak in developed countries by 2015 at the latest is included in new draft conclusions for United Nations
climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.
The wording responds to demands from a bloc of 43 island nations that say their existence is threatened by a build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
Also included was a call for envoys to aim to keep global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). (Bloomberg)
Japan under fire over Kyoto deadlock but senior negotiator says country will stand firm
A senior Japanese negotiator today said that it had come under intense diplomatic pressure to soften its stance at the UN climate talks in Cancún and admitted
that it was causing a "big problem" for the negotiations.
But he repeated the country's position that it would not compromise on its refusal to sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol – the
international treaty that legally binds rich countries to cut emissions. (Guardian)
CANCUN, Mexico, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- China is standing firm on its position of voluntary, non-binding carbon cuts, a government official said at the climate
change conference in Cancun, Mexico.
"This national voluntary pledge is autonomous; it is not negotiable; (it is) not imposed by the outside," said Liu Zhenmin, an official with the
Chinese delegation, China Daily reported Wednesday.
Liu's remarks came in response to media requests for clarification on a report by Reuters on Monday in which the Chinese Foreign Ministry's envoy for climate
talks, Huang Huikang, said that the Chinese government could bring its "voluntary" goals to slow emissions growth and fight global warming under a
binding overall framework. (UPI)
CANCUN, Mexico -- China's pledge to reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions will be bound by domestic law, but it is "premature" to demand the
country make internationally binding commitments, a top Chinese negotiator said.
Huang Huikang, special representative for climate change negotiations in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told ClimateWire that China is "poor"
and "not at the same level" as the United States and is not yet prepared to agree to mandates.
"It's going to be, but this time we cannot say legally binding," Huang said. "In principle we will make our commitment under the convention, but
this time it is probably premature to discuss whether China's commitment is legally binding or not."
Huang's comments came after a day of confusion and wild speculation at U.N. climate treaty talks, set off by remarks to Reuters interpreted by many to mean that
China will accept legally binding targets. Though the comments appeared to be contradicted by Chinese Vice Minister Xie Zhenhua, analysts described the position
as everything from a "game changer" to a key signal of that China intended to be flexible on negotiations in the coming days.
But U.S Envoy Todd Stern early in the day declared that China's offer to inscribe its existing pledge under a binding U.N. decision contained "nothing
new," saying "That was the Copenhagen Accord, as far as we're concerned."
And, Stern said, because China insists that the targets be declared voluntary while U.S. and industrialized nation targets be legally binding, the position
"steps backward." (ClimateWire)
CANCUN, Mexico, Dec 8 - The world's governments struggled on Wednesday to break a deadlock between rich and poor nations on steps to fight global warming and
avert a new, damaging setback after they failed to agree a U.N. treaty last year in Copenhagen.
Several ministers warned that failure at the talks in Cancun, Mexico, could undermine faith in the ability of the United Nations' 194 member states to tackle
global problems in the 21st century as power shifts toward emerging nations led by China and India.
"I think that what is at stake here is also multilateralism," said European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. "It's absolutely crucial that
this process, which is the only one we have ... can prove that it can deliver results." (Reuters)
The United States is warning that the Cancun climate summit could collapse over the refusal of a few countries, including Canada, to renew the Kyoto
At a news conference on Tuesday, chief U.S. negotiator Todd Stern said the United-Nations-sponsored talks are in peril as countries have failed to make much
progress in key areas of U.S. concern. (Globe and Mail)
Dec. 8 -- A single, legally binding global climate treaty is impossible to craft and the United Nations should give up trying, focusing instead on measures
to reduce global warming, former U.S. climate negotiators said.
“It’s completely unrealistic to continue talking about a single, overarching treaty at least for the next 15 or 20 years,” Tim Wirth, a lead U.S.
negotiator at the Kyoto Climate Conference in 1997, said in an interview in Cancun, Mexico, where 193 countries are debating a new accord to cut global
greenhouse-gas emissions. (Bloomberg)
Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is being pressured not to walk out of key climate change talks to save his party back home.
Both Mr Huhne and Greg Barker, the Tory climate change minister, are on stand by to fly back home from Mexico, where they are representing the UK in key United
Nations climate change talks.
Environmentalists say the crisis could not come at a worse time.
The talks are at a crucial moment, with ministers from different countries holding face-to-face talks to try to try to find a way forward on a crucial deal to
halt global warming.
“For the Climate Minister of the self-proclaimed greenest government ever to fly home in the midst of key negotiations, where the UK has been given a vital
role in securing a deal, is completely unacceptable and something he could come to regret,” warned Joss Garman of Greenpeace. (TDT)
CANCUN, MEXICO - For years, policymakers and scientists alike have spoken of the need to save tropical forests as a way of curbing climate change. By week's
end, U.N. negotiators may finally set the rules of the road for doing it.
If all goes according to plan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will establish a global mechanism allowing developing nations to receive
financial compensation for curbing deforestation, which accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions. (Washington Post)
CANCUN, Mexico: Scientists have estimated that planned cuts in global emissions will fall well short of the level necessary to cap temperature rises at 2
degrees. The shortfall, about 5 gigatonnes a year of CO2 equivalent, is equal to the emissions of all the world's cars, trucks and buses.
Even then, that outcome is dependent on all countries meeting pledges from last year's Copenhagen summit. Deeper cuts still would be required to hold
temperature rises on the earth's surface to 1.5 degrees.
The statistic, issued by the UN Environment Program, underscores the monumental task facing the world and negotiators racing to reconcile the disparate needs of
192 nations meeting in Cancun, where world-renowned coral reefs have been endangered by the effects of pollution and warmer water. (SMH)
We used the UN's own figures to examine the feasibility of CCS and found by
the UN's own numbers the world is remarkably insensitive to CO2 emissions. Completely shutting down all coal-fired electrical generation in the US
for 90 years (i.e., to the year 2100) can "save" at most 0.15 °C hypothetical warming (it can't really, since that relies on absurdly, magically
high sensitivity that should have seen the world warm more than 3 times more than has been estimated since the Industrial Revolution). Almost a century of
current US coal-fired electrical generation has a potential to raise the planet's temperature by a paltry 0.05 °C from enhanced greenhouse effect, an
effect which declines in potency with every molecule emitted. To even achieve their +2 °C from pre-IR estimates requires driving atmospheric carbon
dioxide levels to roughly triple what they are now (always provided there are no negative feedbacks) and we have precious little chance of achieving that. There
is no realistic risk of achieving that which they demand extreme measures to avoid. Get real and start dealing with real problems.
At a time of great doubt about climate change, policymakers must magic up more ‘evidence’ of manmade mayhem.
Conventional climate wisdom has it that once ‘the science’ is put before politics, politicians will respond to the imperative to save us from Gaia’s
revenge. So each year, representatives from each country that has signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) assemble to
turn it into an agreement to limit CO2 emissions.
But science is a slow process; politics happens much faster. In the rush to get the most recent research under the noses of policymakers, those engaged in the
climate debate show that climate politics exists before climate science has even got its thermometer out.
The problem for those seeking a deal at this year’s Cancun COP meeting (Convention of Parties [to the UNFCC]) has been that the climate change debate has
changed. The COP15 meeting in Copenhagen was a disaster. It revealed disagreement about how best to respond to the science, and showed that the ostensible
desire to save the planet barely conceals the same ruthless agendas which have always dominated global politics. The ‘Climategate’ emails revealed that
scientists are as human as the rest of us. And just to prove it, the IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri branded as ‘voodoo science’ any criticism of the
mainstream view of climate change and its consequences. But the criticisms turned out to be valid. More troubling still, the rate at which the world was warming
seems to have slowed considerably, leading sceptics to ask whether global warming is still happening.
The trouble with evidence-based policymaking is that, when doubt about the evidence emerges, the policymaking grinds to a halt. In order to continue with the
creation of environmental bureaucracies and political institutions, fresh certainty has to be supplied. As the talks in Cancun opened, so ‘new’ evidence
emerged from two of the UK’s biggest climate-research organisations, the Tyndall Centre and the Met Office, amidst a flurry of headlines. (Ben Pile, spiked)
More than 1000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by
the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 2010 320-page Climate Depot Special Report --
updated from 2007's groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” --
features the skeptical voices of over 1000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN
IPCC. This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in
March 2009. This report's release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit being held in Cancun.
The more than 300 additional scientists added to this report since March 2009 (21 months ago), represents an average of nearly four skeptical scientists a week
speaking out publicly. The well over 1000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007
Summary for Policymakers. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)
Donna Laframboise has an article introducing the release of
an unofficial annotated version of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report - all three volumes of it.
Canadian blogger Hilary Ostrov and Australian computer programmer Peter B. have given the climate change world a gift this week. Since March
they’ve been hyperlinking and annotating the 3,000-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in 2007. The result is AccessIPCC.com.
Those of us who’ve been taking a close look at the 2007 report (also known as AR4) have identified numerous concerns. Now we have a tool to analyze it more
comprehensively than ever before.
The results are very interesting. I'm sure some people will take issue with some of the tags applied to papers, but this shouldn't detract from the overall
effect, which is to illuminate our understanding of the AR4 process. Well done Hilary and Peter. (Bishop Hill)
Beetles killing trees in North America, blue tongue disease ravaging livestock in Europe, and borers destroying African coffee crops are examples of
migrating invasive species not getting enough attention at global climate talks, scientists said on Wednesday.
Invasive pests have plagued agriculture and nature for thousands of years as mankind's migrations brought them to places without natural enemies. But the price
tag to battle them, now estimated at $1.4 trillion annually, may go up as rising temperatures and more storms and floods unleash species to new areas.
"The problem of invasive species has been all but omitted from the U.N. talks here in Mexico," A.G. Kawamura, the secretary of California's Department
of Food and Agriculture, told Reuters.
Oh dear, some of these folks aren’t the brightest CFL’s in the room.
Readers may remember this famous Penn and Teller video from 2006 where they get well meaning (but non thinking) people to sign up to ban “dihydrogen
monoxide” (DHMO), which is an “evil” chemical found in our lakes, rivers, oceans, and even our food!
Yeah, they signed up to ban water. Now watch the video from the Cancun climate conference, you’d think some of these folks would be have enough science
background (from their work in complex climate issues) to realize what they are signing, but sadly, no.
You’re unlikely to find any “mainstream science blogger” admitting it, but the backlashagainstNASA’s hyped-up “arsenic life” press-conference-cum-discovery is not similar, rather pretty much identical
(apart from a “tiny” detail I’ll talk about in a moment) to what many AGW skeptics have been saying about that other NASA’s hyped-up field,
(catastrophic) climate change.
Take these words by
Chris Rowan and tell me why they couldn’t be written as critique to the Hockey Stick or any other Climategate-related bodging or fudging:
[...] That’s what I consider to be real peer review. The pre-publication stuff is just a quality filter, a check that the paper is not obviously wrong
– and an imperfect filter at that. The real test is what happens in the months and years after publication. Sometimes, after further research, the ideas in
the paper do stand the test of time, and form a firm foundation for further research in that area. Sometimes it turns out to be wrong, but in interesting ways
that increase our understanding of how that little bit of the world works. Sometimes it turns out to be simply wrong.
[...] the discussion is taking place in a much more public manner than is usually the case – something that NASA and the authors of the paper don’t
seem to like very much. Well, tough cookies. You wanted the publicity. If you’re presenting your research at a NASA press conference in the wake of a
firestorm of excitable media speculation, you definitely wanted the publicity. It’s a bit late to claim that you want discussion of your research limited to
the peer-reviewed literature.
[...] I’ve actually written before about the real issue here: in this new media world of blogs and twitter streams, it’s much harder to control a
story, because other scientists now have the tools to make their criticism just as public as your press releases.
[...] burying one’s head in the sand is counterproductive; you should robustly engage the criticisms, just as you would if it were a comment-and-reply
in a journal, or a challenging question at a conference. The new reality is this: if you announce the research in a public venue, the debate should – and
increasingly will – take place in that same public venue. The real challenge is how to have these debates – and report them – effectively.
So what is different? Why can’t Rowan make the link between the above and the obtuse behavior by so-called “leading climatologists” that to this day
refuse to make their raw data public? Here’s why: because “climate change” is not a scientific debate, and so it is impervious to scientific skepticism.
As von Storch (no climate skeptic, him) wrote more than five years ago:
The concern for the “good” and “just” case of avoiding further dangerous human interference with the climate system has created a peculiar
self-censorship among many climate scientists. Judgments of solid scientific findings are often not made with respect to their immanent quality but on the basis
of their alleged or real potential as a weapon by “sceptics” in a struggle for dominance in public and policy discourse.
Everyone loves to bag the weatherman. But the cold, hard truth of the matter is that weather forecasts have become extremely reliable. It’s everyone else
who gets it wrong.
By “everyone else” I mean both the general public and the media. As messengers, the media often over-simplify the bureau’s raw data to the point of
abstraction, while the public takes the game of Chinese Whispers a step further, wildly misinterpreting the media’s already-distorted forecasts.
It happens every day. A forecast that says “slight chance of a shower” becomes an umbrella icon on a ditzy weather presenter’s weather chart, which the
public then read as a certain deluge.
Conversely, when a forecast reads mostly fine, out come the little icons of the sun wearing sunnies, and out come the whinges when a brief downpour ruins
Occasionally, of course, the bureau gets a forecast dead wrong. When that happens, the myth of forecasters being about as accurate as racing tipsters or a 1-800
astrology line is perpetuated. (The Punch)
Indeed, out to 72 hours forecasts are generally pretty good. What are complete fallacies are the seasonal and longer forecasts (incidentally,
these were significantly better in the days of meteorological observer stations, experience and intuition than in the modern era of satellites and really badly
programmed general circulation models). The pathogen of global warming hysteria has infected meteorology, severely in Australia, apparently terminally in the UK
and EU and seems quite virulent in the US and Canada. It is time for a do over with all the absurd expectations of enhanced greenhouse warming stripped out so
that real influences on our weather drive the models and then we might again get a little useful forewarning of adjustments required for the coming crop
rotation or likely energy requirements. Carbon claptrap is causing real harm and costing lives now.
As in past months, Phil Gentry, who works with John Christy and Roy Spencer, has provided the November 2010 discussion of the lower tropospheric temperature
anomalies. It is reprodiced below with their two figures.
Dec. 6, 2010
Vol. 20, No. 7
For Additional Information:
Dr. John Christy, (256) 961-7763
Dr. Roy Spencer, (256) 961-7960
Global Temperature Report: November 2010
Third warmest November leaves 2010 behind ’98
Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade
November temperatures (preliminary)
Global composite temp.: +0.38 C (about 0.69 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for November.
Northern Hemisphere: +0.51 C (about 0.92 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for November.
Southern Hemisphere: +0.25 C (about 0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for November.
Tropics: -0.07 C (about 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) below 20-year average for November.
October temperatures (revised):
Global Composite: +0.43 C above 20-year average
Northern Hemisphere: +0.37 C above 20-year average
Southern Hemisphere: +0.48 C above 20-year average
Tropics: +16 C above 20-year average
(All temperature anomalies are based on a 20-year average (1979-1998) for the month reported.)
Notes on data released Dec. 6, 2010:
November 2010 came in as the third warmest November in the 32-year satellite temperature record, but still warmer than November 1998, according to Dr. John
Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. From January through
November, that leaves 2010 only 0.012 C (0.022° F) cooler than 1998, which was the warmest year in the satellite record.
“The globe was cooling in late November, with daily anomalies around +0.1 C,” said Christy. “It looks like 1998 might stay the warmest year in the
record, but will most certainly be within 0.1 C — an amount that isn’t significant in terms of measurement precision. It would be a statistical tie.”
2010 will be the 13th consecutive year with global average temperatures that were warmer than their seasonal baseline norms.
November temperatures in the tropics were more than 0.8 C (about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than the +0.79 C peak in February 2010.
Beginning with the December 2010 Global Temperature Report, the baseline period used to determine seasonal norms will change. It has been the 20-year (1979
to 1998) period at the beginning of the satellite record. Starting next month the report will use a new 30-year (1981 to 2010) reference average to match the
climatological period normally used with climate data by the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization.
This will not affect the long-term trend, but will “reshuffle” the anomalies to reflect the new base period. Color maps of local temperature anomalies
may soon be available on-line on the new site at:
The processed temperature data is available on-line at:
As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the ESSC, use data
gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This
includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.
The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once
the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S.
Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special
interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
Sudden changes in the volume of meltwater contribute more to the acceleration – and eventual loss – of the Greenland ice sheet than the gradual increase
of temperature, according to a University of British Columbia study.
The ice sheet consists of layers of compressed snow and covers roughly 80 per cent of the surface of Greenland. Since the 1990s, it has been documented to be
losing approximately 100 billion tonnes of ice per year – a process that most scientists agree is accelerating, but has been poorly understood. Some of the
loss has been attributed to accelerated glacier flow towards ocean outlets.
Now a new study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature, shows that a steady meltwater supply from gradual warming may in fact slow down glacier flow,
while sudden water input could cause glaciers to speed up and spread, resulting in increased melt. (University of British Columbia)
Actually we have pointed out many times, meltwater represents a net heat export from glaciers, slowing warming and thaw. Nor is surface
warming and meltwater drainage required to get liquid water at the bedrock interface - pressure and friction are quite up to that task.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the world’s foremost experts on climate change is warning that if humans don’t moderate their use of fossil fuels, there is a
real possibility that we will face the environmental, societal and economic consequences of climate change faster than we can adapt to them.
Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University, posed that possibility in a just-released special
climate-change edition of the journal The Behavior Analyst.
He also discussed how the rapid and accelerating retreat of the world’s glaciers and ice sheets dramatically illustrates the nature of the changing climate.
It appears the warming of the 20th Century has been done before. It’s just business as usual for the planet.
Frank Lansner has been hard at work again, and we’ve been discussing the Vostok ice cores. This time Lansner was looking to see
if the current warming trend was unusual, and if there was evidence to support the high climate sensitivities the models suggest. As it happens, most of those
high climate sensitivities that the models “estimate” come not from carbon dioxide directly, but from the feedbacks (the way the planet responds to
any small change in temperature).
The models assume the net feedbacks are positive. These same feedbacks ought to have been working 100,000 years ago, and
if so, there should be some hint of it in the ice cores. Lansner has been hunting for large swings in temperature during the periods when Earth was at a similar
temperature to present day conditions — but what he finds is that the current claimed rise of 0.7 degrees C over the last century, even if it were true (and
not exaggerated by thermometer siting, the UHI, inexplicable adjustments, or selective use of records) would still be a dog-standard rise.
The Vostok ice cores sampled temperature at 20 – 60 year intervals. At least three times in the last 350,000 years temperatures
have been warmer than they are today. If positive feedback was a real factor we ought to see sudden rises that then rapidly increased another 3 degrees within
100 years. That is exactly what Hansen, Gore and the IPCC are telling us is likely to happen. If water vapor rises, sticks around and makes the upper
troposphere more humid, then surely we would see it happening in records from the Pleistocene world which had much the same oceans in the tropics as we do
today. We can’t measure water vapor back then, but we can see if any natural bursts of warming were amplified. Instead Frank finds that there are often rises
of a degree in 100 years, but that it almost never goes on to be amplified into a larger rise.
This fits with the other empirical evidence we have for negative feedbacks. It’s exactly what we would expect given that the
radiosondes don’t find warming or more humidity in the upper troposphere (that hot spot is missing). The pieces of the jigsaw fit together.
Frank ignores the times when temperatures were much colder than today. That’s because the feedbacks could be quite different in
a cooler world, and what we are really interested in is the current conditions on Earth. Will the CO2 we put out there mean a small warming is magnified into a
big one? Feedbacks like the melting icecaps, vegetation changes, and release of CO2 from warming oceans — would work in similar ways no matter what caused the
initial rise in temperature. The icecaps don’t care what caused the warming…
Guest Post by Frank Lansner, Civil engineer, Biochemistry
Is the warming in the 20th century extraordinary?
I have examined high quality Vostok temperature ice core data from the interglacial periods of the last half million years. These warm periods are the best
evidence we have from Earth to examine the dynamics of present day climate on Earth.
We are looking for other huge temperature rises of 3K – 6 K that should result from just minor temperature rises.
Below I have identified all temperature rises of the Vostok data fulfilling the following criterion: “Temperature at the beginning of temperature rise must
be at most 1 K below today’s temperatures indicated by -1K anomaly in the Vostok data. Next, the examined periods must be at most 300 years in length (we want
to focus on the warming effect of one century time intervals) and finally, the initial temperature increase from glacial to interglacial is not included”: More » (Jo Nova)
Raimund Muscheler is a researcher at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University in Sweden. In the latest issue of the journal Science,
he and his colleagues have described how the surface water temperature in the tropical parts of the eastern Pacific varied with the sun's activity between 7 000
and 11 000 years ago (early Holocene). Contrary to what one might intuitively believe, high solar activity had a cooling effect in this region.
"It is perhaps a similar phenomenon that we are seeing here today", says Raimund Muscheler. "Last year's cold winter in Sweden could intuitively
be seen to refute global warming. But the winter in Greenland was exceptionally mild. Both phenomena coincide with low solar activity and the sun's activity
probably influences the local climate variations."
Today there is a lot of debate about whether the sun's activity could have influenced the earth's climate over thousands or millions of years.
"The key processes in this influence are still mostly unclear. This is why the present climate models probably do not include the full effect of solar
activity", says Raimund Muscheler. (Lund University)
In our book, “The Energy Imperative” earlier this year, my co-authors (Leonard Kalfayan and Michael Economides) and I commented on the Deepwater Horizon
disaster, which was unfolding at the time. [Read More] (Phil Rae, ET)
ABOARD SEAHAWK 2007, Gulf of Mexico — For the 31 workers on this jackup oil rig, the waiting is finally over.
In recent weeks, they have been doing basic chores like painting handrails and scrubbing the deck while the federal government reviewed Castex Energy’s
application to drill a natural gas well in 150 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico — a normally quick process that turned glacial after the BP oil spill on
April 20 prompted regulators to shut down almost all new drilling in the region. (NYT)
The American Petroleum Institute reports that the United States produced more crude oil in October than it has ever produced in a single month, “peak
oil” or not.
This reversal of trend helps explain why U.S. domestic production for the year will be 140,000 barrels a day higher than last year (which was 410,000 barrels a
day higher than 2008). Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says U.S. production will decline next year, who knows?
Could these numbers reflect the beginning of the end for U.S. dependence on Mideast oil? Well, in fact, they could be. As Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes
optimistically asserted the other day, the whole world is “awash in energy.”
Mr. Forbes isn’t the only one to notice. As an article last month in The New York Times observed: “Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes,
giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more
oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation.” Further still: “Another
wave of natural gas drilling has taken off in shale rock fields across the United States, and more shale gas drilling is just beginning in Europe and Asia.”
(Globe and Mail)
Chicago-based utility Exelon is now funding efforts to help out the endangered Obama EPA in its jihad against the coal industry.
Last July, the EPA proposed its so-called “Clean Air Transport” rule to further regulate air emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s alleged
concern is that the emissions travel interstate and reduce air quality (fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone) in 31 downwind states.
The rule was finalized in October and is scheduled to go into effect sometime in the spring — except that some coal-burning utilities are getting concerned
about the timing of the rule and there is a new sheriff in D.C. (i.e., the GOP-controlled House with power over the EPA’s budget and the inclination to
investigate the EPA).
The EPA estimates that the rule will provide anywhere from $120 billion to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits and avoid 14,000 to 36,000
premature deaths annually. (It’s too bad that these estimates are entirely bogus, otherwise the EPA could solve our deficit problems almost singlehandedly.
But that is a story for another day).
The transport rule, of course, is in addition to the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations that take effect on January 2, 2011 and the EPA’s January 2010
proposal to further ratchet-down the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone. This is a lot of expensive anti-coal regulation that places the EPA
high on the new Congress’ “to do” list. So the Obama EPA has reason to be nervous.
Riding to the EPA’s assistance now is the Pacific Economics Group which just issued a report claiming that the EPA has actually underestimated the economic
harm caused by interstate transport of coal plant emissions. According to the report:
Pollution from power plants that have failed to install pollution controls is causing nearly $6 billion in annual costs, because of higher labor expenses,
lost work days, lost productivity, and higher insurance costs.
As a result of uncontrolled pollution in downwind regions, between 2005 and 2012:
Businesses will suffer over $47 billion in costs;
Over 360,000 jobs will be lost;
State and local governments will lose almost $9.3 billion in tax revenue; and
Families and businesses in polluted areas will pay $26.0 billion more for reformulated gasoline as a result of ongoing pollution.
Though the report was prepared on behalf of several no-name Pennsylvania-based “public interest” groups, it was funded by Exelon Corp., the operator of
the largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the U.S. — the very same Exelon that is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and that lobbied for
Exelon and its bobbleheaded CEO John Rowe had planned to make
billions of dollars off cap-and-trade, bought John Deere’s wind operation for $860 million in August and hope to advance its nuclear power capabilities at the
expense of the coal industry.
Exelon’s new report not only attempts to advance its anti-coal objectives by supposedly validating the EPA’s transport rule, but it also no doubt scores
political points with the Obama administration for helping out the soon-to-be-embattled EPA. And then there is that Chicago connection… Oh and did I fail to
mention that John Rowe is one of the signatories to a letter in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled, “We’re OK With the EPA’s New Air-Quality Regulations“. Rowe is a
This blog will soon begin a series exposing the junk science behind the EPA transport rule — which is perhaps even more appalling than EPA’s endangerment
finding for greenhouse gases. Stay tuned! (Green Hell Blog)
Germany and other European coal-mining countries looked set on Wednesday for a victory over environmentalists by securing an extension of coal subsidies
The European Commission, the EU's executive, had proposed in July that the coal mining industry should only get four more years of state aid before subsidies
are phased out in 2014, the sixth such extension of state aid since 1965.
But with thousands of jobs on the line, Germany led other coal-mining countries such as Spain in pushing hard to extend subsidies to 2018, to fit around
Berlin's own national laws. That position looks to have won the day. (Reuters)
Gasoline and diesel dominate because they are energy-dense
By Peter Boag
There is a more sustainable energy future for Canada, but wishful thinking will not get us there.
The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) is becoming increasingly concerned that some policymakers believe there is an easy fix — that we can get
“off oil” by simply mandating alternative fuels and putting in place regulations that make it so. The federal government’s apparent intention to mandate a
national 2% biodiesel requirement before the necessary blending infrastructure can be put in place is a prime example or this flawed thinking.
CPPI believes that a parallel track of pursuing new fuel alternatives while maintaining and improving existing supply is a smarter course. There is
absolutely no question that alternative fuels can and will play an increasingly important role in meeting the needs of Canadians. But we are not there yet.
An extension of the major U.S. ethanol subsidy "is part of the deal at the moment" in negotiations for an omnibus tax bill, but the size and
lifespan of the subsidy are not set yet, a trade group said on Wednesday.
The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee told reporters ethanol "was in a separate section of things to be resolved" and there was no decision on a
subsidy rate. Chairman Kent Conrad discussed the issue with fellow Democrats.
The 45-cent-a-gallon excise tax credit for ethanol is scheduled to expire on Dec 31. So would a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol and a
10-cent-a-gallon credit for small producers of ethanol.
In a statement, the Renewable Fuels Association said an extension of the credit "is part of the deal at the moment," according to congressional and
Obama administration sources. (Reuters)
Two weeks ago, my colleague Chris Horner and I coauthored an oped about the renewable
energy industry’s dependence on taxpayer subsidies. To make our point, we listed a number of examples of renewable energy executives warning that massive
layoffs were imminent, unless the Congress passed or renewed green energy giveaways.
-Biomass Power Association President Robert Cleaves (February 2010): “Thousands of jobs in the biomass power industry could be lost if Congress fails to
extend the production tax credit.”
-American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode (July 2010): “Manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn’t act now”
to impose a federal mandate for electricity produced by AWEA members.
-Solar Energy Industry Association President Rhone Resch (September 2008): “Unless Congress promptly…
[Editor note: Part II's video on Jane talking about wind energy with her town supervisor [follows].]
In my thirty plus years of working on environmental issues, I’ve learned a few things. One is that our “representatives” are often anything but.
Another is that government bureaucrats have little interest in taking initiative, no matter how much sense it might make.
Yet another is that “environmental” organizations are much less interested in the environment then they might lead you to believe.
Yet still another insight is that active support from a sufficient number of citizens can be enough to offset these other liabilities. Put another way, if
we do not get sufficient support from fellow citizens, our campaign objective has little chance for success. Phrased differently: the success of our
campaign has more to do with the support we get, than the merits of what we are trying to do. Once this reality has sunk in, it should be clear that educating
the public is of paramount importance.
So how to best do that is the $64,000 question. (Remember when that was a LOT of money?)
My New Video
I’m a scientist, not a PR expert, so this is not my field of expertise. However, through trial and error I have picked up some ideas over the last thirty
plus years. For one thing, I have found it best to be FOR something, rather than AGAINST something else. Taking a positive approach resonates with most people.
Another key ingredient is the KISS principle — to keep it simple stupid.
Putting things into perspective, using some humor, and employing analogies are also powerful and useful in getting a message out. Then there is the question:
HOW do you get your well-expressed good ideas out to the public? Clearly using the widest variety of media would seem to be the way to go. Exactly how
to do that is what I have been investigating for awhile now.
My latest forage is into animated (avatar?) videos. My first one is addressing one of the most common queries I get: Please give me a simplified overview
of the industrial wind energy situation!
So here is my attempt to write a script and then produce, direct and edit a corresponding
video — all within the fairly narrow constraints of the software (about 7 minutes).
Viewers are asking good questions about why I did or didn’t do such-and-such with the initial animated video. So here’s some background on making such a
video as a teaching tool for wind activists around the country.
Making a Video
There are severe software restrictions when making these seemingly simple videos. For instance: [Read more →] (MasterResource)
When an antibiotic is consumed, researchers have learned that up to 90 percent passes through a body without metabolizing. This means the drugs can leave the
body almost intact through normal bodily functions.
In the case of agricultural areas, excreted antibiotics can then enter stream and river environments through a variety of ways, including discharges from animal
feeding operations, fish hatcheries, and nonpoint sources such as the flow from fields where manure or biosolids have been applied. Water filtered through
wastewater treatment plants may also contain used antibiotics.
Consequently, these discharges become "potential sources of antibiotic resistance genes," says Amy Pruden, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award
recipient, and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.
The bigger problem is doctors handing them out like candy:
A move to reduce prescription of antibiotics by Australian GPs has stalled, despite official vows to tackle the rising global problem of antibiotic-resistant
The latest figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show the amount of antibiotic drug prescription has not budged since
2003/04, after declining from a high in 1998/99.
"Over the past decade major efforts have been made by governments and professional organisations to discourage antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory
infections," said Professor Helena Britt, from the AIHW's Australian General Practice Statistics and Classification Centre at the University of Sydney.
"This was because they are seen as generally ineffective against viral infections such as the common cold. (AAP)
CONCERNS over mobile phone safety have been raised again.
A new study has found pregnant women who regularly used the devices were more likely to have children who later developed behavioural problems.
The findings, based on an analysis of nearly 29,000 Danish children, found that children whose mothers used mobile phones while pregnant, and who also used
mobile phones themselves as children, were 50 per cent more likely to have behavioural problems. (The Australian)
PREGNANT women who regularly use mobile phones may be more likely to have children with behavioural problems, particularly if their children start using
mobile phones in their first seven years, new research suggests.
American scientists reported that foetuses regularly exposed to mobile phones in the womb had a 30 per cent greater chance of behavioural difficulties at the
age of seven.
But Australian experts yesterday rejected the suggestion and said women should not change their behaviour. (SMH)
MEDICAL experts have cast doubt on a study that found pregnant mothers who regularly used mobile phones were more likely to have children with behavioural
The survey, reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that kids who had been exposed to mobile phones both before and after birth were
50 per cent more likely to have problems.
But doctors have said they are sceptical of the study, which used data from Danish couples, and the results were “over-interpreted”. (news.com.au)
Scientists leading the battle against cancer say they are on the verge of acquiring their most valuable weapon yet.
Leading international cancer researcher Michael Stratton said obtaining the genetic make-up of the disease, expected in the next five to seven years, would give
scientists the key to unlocking the secrets of what causes it. (SMH)
Children infected with hookworm or other intestinal parasites may be less likely than uninfected children to have allergies, a new research review finds.
The study, published in the journal Allergy, gives some support to the idea that our increasingly germ-free surroundings may be contributing to a worldwide
increase in allergies and asthma in recent decades -- a theory known as "the hygiene hypothesis." (Reuters Health)
They never seem to consider the possibility that those with a parasite load mount a generally less vigorous immune response - how is their
response to pathogens generally?
JUST one in three Australians could tip the scales at a healthy weight within 15 years, according to latest forecasts of the nation's rising rate of obesity
Figures to be released at an obesity summit today indicate 72 per cent of people aged over 25 will have a weight problem in 2025.
Just 28 per cent of the population would be of healthy weight while 38 per cent would be overweight and 34 per cent would be obese, in a scenario researcher Dr
Dianna Magliano said was hard to visualise. (AAP)
Scientists see fatal flaws in the NASA study of arsenic-based life.
On Thursday, Dec. 2, Rosie Redfield sat down to read a new paper called, "A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus." Despite
its innocuous title, the paper had great ambitions. Every living thing that scientists have ever studied uses phosphorus to build the backbone of its DNA. In
the new paper, NASA-funded scientists described a microbe that could use arsenic instead. If the authors of the paper were right, we would have to expand our
notions of what forms life can take.
Redfield, a microbiology professor at the University of British Columbia, had been hearing rumors about the papers for days beforehand. On Monday, NASA released
a Sphinxlike press release: "NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the
search for evidence of extraterrestrial life." Like a virulent strain of bacteria, speculation exploded over the next three days. "Did NASA Discover
Life on One of Saturn's Moons?" asked Gawker, a Web site that does not often ask questions about astrobiology.
The truth was revealed on Thursday. At NASA's press conference, the scientists described their research, which was just then being posted on the Web site of the
journal Science. They had not found life on one of Saturn's moons; instead, they had gone to the arsenic-laced waters of Mono Lake in California and isolated a
strain of bacteria they dubbed GFAJ-1.
Back at the lab, they grew the bacteria in a broth of nutrients. When they gradually reduced the supply of phosphate (a molecule composed of one phosphorus atom
and four oxygen atoms) and replaced it with arsenate (one arsenic and four oxygen atoms), the bacteria still managed to grow. The scientists examined the DNA of
these hardy microorganisms and inferred that it contained arsenic.
As soon Redfield started to read the paper, she was shocked. "I was outraged at how bad the science was," she told me. (Carl Zimmer, Slate)
A simmering bowl of alphabet soup stirs childhood memories of finding culinary comfort on a cold winter day. But as outside temperatures begin to drop and
the rhetoric begins to heat up in our nation's capital, the dangers lurking in the alphabet soup of our federal government's regulatory agencies (EPA, OSHA,
NLRB, and FCC to name just a few) could spell something far different for our nation’s economy: t-r-o-u-b-l-e. (Adam Hasner, Townhall)
Environmentalism began as a religion. Certainly that's how paleo-greens like John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, would have seen it. Muir was awakened to
nature when he first explored Yosemite in the 1860s, and he felt it in a religious way — he called what would become one of the nation's first national parks
"the grandest of all special temples of Nature."
Muir's biographer, Donald Worster, has written that Muir saw his mission as "saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism." David
Brower, a spiritual successor to Muir who would found Friends of the Earth, would say of his staunchest green allies that they had "the religion."
Environmentalism — rooted in nature and the outdoors — was an antidote to secular, technological modern life. (Bryan Walsh, Time)
Wheat futures fell after Australia raised its forecast for domestic production, ending a two-week rally spurred by persistent rainfall that threatens to
erode the nation’s crop quality.
The Australian government said output may reach a record 26.8 million metric tons because of favorable growing conditions early in the season. After the wettest
September-to-November period ever, prices in Chicago rose 16 percent over two weeks through yesterday. Global supplies have dwindled as drought cut output in
Russia and Eastern Europe this year.
The Australian forecast “took the wind out of our sails a little bit, but the market is focused on the quality of the wheat, not necessarily just quantity,”
said Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst for Prudential Bache Commodities LLC in Chicago.
Wheat futures for March delivery slipped 8.25 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $7.8475 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the first drop
since Nov. 23. Earlier, the price reached $8.11, the highest since Aug. 6. The commodity has surged 63 percent since the end of June.
The U.S. is currently the world’s largest exporter, followed by France, Canada and Australia, according to estimates by the International Grains Council and
Scams die hard, but eventually they die, and when they do, nobody wants to get close to the corpse. You can get all the hotel rooms you want this week in
The global-warming caravan has moved on, bound for a destination in oblivion. The United Nations is hanging the usual lamb chop in the window this week in
Mexico for the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, but the Washington guests are staying home. Nobody wants to get the smell of the corpse on their
Everybody who imagined himself anybody raced to Copenhagen last year for the global-warming summit, renamed "climate change" when the globe began to
cool, as it does from time to time. Some 45,000 delegates, "activists," business representatives and the usual retinue of journalists registered for
the party in Copenhagen. This year, only 1,234 journalists registered for the Cancun beach party. The only story there is that there's no story there. The U.N.
organizers glumly concede that Cancun won't amount to anything, even by U.N. standards. (Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times)
The United States must learn from Europe’s mistakes – not repeat them
ROGER HELMER, MEP
Senator Harry Reid has repeatedly denounced opposition to carbon trading as “dangerous.” Senator Reid is wrong. It is the House and Senate climate and
renewable energy bills that are dangerous. Fortunately, the recent elections and the ongoing dissension at the Cancun climate summit could bode ill for carbon
trading, any successor to Kyoto – and renewable energy standards. (CFACT EU)
From the “Kyoto II” talks in Cancun, National Journal reports a surprising story, if one almost predictable, as well, given President Barack Obama’s
current unraveling and fast-fading loyalty to campaign promises. Specifically, in “U.S. Tells the World It Will Pass Climate Bill,” we read that the Obama
administration is seeking to forge an international “global warming” commitment on the premise that the administration will then coerce Congress into
passing domestic legislation consistent with treaty promises made to China, Europe, et al.
Along the way, or so the argument goes, the Senate will ratify an agreement to ration Americans’ access to energy sources that work. In conclusion, these
parties should take Team Obama at their word and agree to Kyoto II while there’s still an administration in town foolish enough to consider the prospect. Let
the administration worry about the public and Congress (and, as necessary, minor constitutional impediments).
The desperation is palpable. (Chris Horner, Daily Caller)
With cap and trade out of the realm of possibilities, Members of Congress have turned their attention to mandating so-called clean energy.
Some Members hoped for a lame duck vote on a renewable electricity standard (RES), which would require that a certain percentage of our nation’s
electricity production come from wind, solar, biomass, and other government-picked renewable energies. With that looking less likely, Department of Energy
Secretary Steven Chu mentioned a clean energy standard that includes other carbon-free sources of energy as a possible compromise between Democrats and
Republicans next year. The Hillreports: Continue reading...
World Bank President Robert Zoellick is set to launch a new multi-million dollar fund in Mexico on Wednesday to help emerging market countries set up their
own carbon markets, the bank said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Few will be surprised if the United Nations Cancun climate talks end in failure. The real surprise is that for the last two decades people seriously believed
there was a realistic prospect of securing broad international agreement to restrict CO2 by all the major emitters.
Ever since the West first raised concerns about environmental degradation (specifically acid rain) in Stockholm at the 1972 U.N. Conference on the Human
Environment, the position of developing nations has been the same: They would not agree to anything that compromised their economic development. To avoid a
Third World boycott, the organizers of the Stockholm conference came up with a political formula: In the developed world, environmental degradation was caused
by excessive development but in the Third World it was caused by underdevelopment.
A straight line runs from the 1972 Stockholm conference to last December's Copenhagen Accord, which—while it failed to reach a binding agreement on carbon
emissions—stated that the world's developed nations should take the lead in raising $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries cut their
In 1981, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher stood shoulder to shoulder at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in Cancun, which was billed as the first
international North-South summit. They both argued against the proposed "New International Economic Order," which was designed to institutionalize
huge aid transfers from the North to the South. Mrs. Thatcher told the summit that she wasn't going to put British money into a bank run by those on overdrafts.
In 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen published his findings that the four warmest years on record were all in the 1980s, global warming took center stage.
But the bottom-line negotiating position of developing countries remained unaltered. (WSJ)
Any commitment by Japan to a Kyoto 2 would be substantively meaningless, even if politically popular among some well-meaning but deeply misguided activists.
Japan should be applauded for its refusal to go along with a charade. Of course, in the climate debate nothing is ever so simple. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
Federal Environment Minister John Baird arrives at the global climate summit Tuesday looking to administer last rites to the Kyoto Protocol, at least in its
current form. But the funeral may have to wait for next year’s session in South Africa.
For Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the end of Canada’s commitment to Kyoto would achieve a long-standing goal, as he has opposed the accord since its
inception in 1997 and distanced his government from it since taking office five years ago.
Canada remains the only country to ratify Kyoto and then publicly renounce its 2012 emission targets – a move the Harper government took almost immediately
after taking office when then-environment-minister Rona Ambrose told an international gathering there was no chance of lowering emissions to 6 per cent below
Officially, the government denies it is aiming to kill Kyoto. However, it vocally supports the political deal reached last year in Copenhagen that would change
key elements of Kyoto by demanding binding emission targets from major developing countries. (Globe and Mail)
Britain needs to go back to old-style central planning of its electricity market, with the Government deciding who builds power stations where, so that it
can take on the world’s toughest target to cut its emissions of the greenhouse gases causing global warming, the independent Committee on Climate Change tells
the Government today. (Independent)
Consumers can expect to see the price of domestic gas and electricity increase by as much as 25% over the coming decade, power company bosses have predicted.
The rise - equivalent to £275 on top of the £1,100 average annual energy bill, at today's prices - will be driven not only by rises in wholesale prices but by
volatile international markets and the cost of investing in "green" energy, they told MPs. (PA)
Britain is set world-leading carbon emissions cut target requiring complete overhaul of energy, farming and motoring
The UK would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 under world-leading proposals from the government's advisers on climate change.
Achieving the target proposed by the Committee on Climate Change requires a complete revamp of the nation's electricity market, making it virtually zero-carbon,
as well as an overhaul of heat-leaking homes and the replacement of petrol-driven cars with 11m electric or plug-in hybrid models.
The CCC's 2030 target, if passed into law as previous CCC targets have been, would be the first legally binding 2030 target in the world. The target – which
is a cut relative to 1990 emissions levels – is intended to lead the way to a legally binding 80% UK cut by 2050. (Guardian)
They'd be better cutting the CCC. Imagine what a pickle they'll be in should there actually be a repeat of the Dalton Minimum (or worse).
I am in the plenary session hall at the Moon Palace, where diligent readers of this humble blog will recall that Ms. Figurehead, the president of the UN
climate conference here in Cancun, opened these quaint proceedings last week with a prayer to the Moon Goddess of the ancient dwellers in what is now Mexico.
The vast, characterless session hall is known – appropriately enough – as the Cenote hall. Those familiar with the Spanish dialects of the New
World will recognize the appropriateness of this designation. For a cenote is a sinkhole. Cenotes are widespread in the Mexican jungle,
beneath great limestone caps. They were regarded as sacred by the “first nations”, as the indigenous peoples are now coyly called, and archaeologists have
had much fun diving beneath the waters in the cenotes to recover all manner of pre-Columbian artefacts and assorted archaeological knick-knacks.
It is in the Sinkhole Hall that the President of Mexico, Señor Felipe Calderon, has just announced to admiring gasps from 1000 gaping enviro-zombs that he
is to launch a Grand Initiative To Smash Global Warming And Make It Go Away, So There. And what, you may ask with a trembling frisson of salivating
anticipation, was the President’s Grand Initiative?
Protecting the world's rainforests is a central issue at this month's Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Huge sums are to be offered to countries that
protect their forests. However, experts fear that these rewards could be misused, and that they could actually promote deforestation. (Spiegel)
For years climate alarmists have terrorized the public with frightening tales of impending disaster, a coming climate apocalypse. Because of global warming
fertile croplands will become arid and barren while desert areas will experience torrential rain and uncontrollable flooding. Tropical rainforests will wither
in the heat and polar ice will melt. Coastal areas and islands will disappear beneath the ocean and the world's great cities will huddle behind great seawalls
to avoid the flood. Nature's furry will drive millions of refugees to migrate to less blighted lands, followed by plague, pestilence and war. Because of human
hubris our civilization will collapse, as has happened so many times in the past. Or maybe not. A quiet revolution among anthropologists and archaeologists has
overturned the scientific dogma surrounding failed ancient civilizations, with some lessons for those who currently preach climate catastrophe. (Doug L.
Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
A recent and important paper in GRL discussed the role of climate in the observed increase in African flood losses over the past century. The paper
concluded that climate has had an inconsequential role -- from the paper:
Based on the results of both continental and at‐site analyses, we find that the magnitude of African floods has not significantly increased during the
Twentieth Century (Figures 2 and 3), and that climate has not been a consequential factor in the observed increase in flood damage. This is consistent with the
results previously obtained [Kundzewicz et al., 2005; Bates et al., 2008; Petrow and Merz, 2009; Lins and Slack, 1999; Mudelsee et al., 2003] in different
areas, such as North America, Europe, and Australia.
So if floods haven't increased, the cause of increasing damage must lie in factors other than climate:
. . . the intensive and unplanned urbanization in Africa and the related increase of people living in floodplains [Hardoy et al., 2001; Douglas et al., 2008]
has led to an increase in the potential adverse consequences of floods and, in particular, of the most serious and irreversible type of consequence, namely the
loss of human lives [Jonkman, 2005]. This can be shown, at the continental scale, by analyzing the dynamic of African population and the most recent deadly
floods. For instance, Figure 4 shows the spatial distribution of population growth [Nelson, 2010] and the location of the latest floods, and deadly floods, in
Africa (Dartmouth Flood Observatory, Global Archive of Large Flood Events, 2010). It can be seen that most
of the recent deadly floods have happened where the population has increased more.
Residents of the Himalayas and other mountain areas face a "tough and unpredictable future" as global warming melts glaciers and threatens worse
floods and water loss, officials said during U.N. climate talks on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Warmer and Wetter Winters in Europe and Western North America Linked to Increasing Greenhouse Gases
June 2, 1999
Why are winters warming up so much faster over Northern Hemisphere continents than over the rest of the globe? A new study by NASA researchers in the
June 3 issue of the journal Nature is the first to link the well-documented large degree of North America and Eurasia winter warming and the
associated wind changes to rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
Using a computer climate model to try and understand where the warming over the past three decades is coming from, Shindell and colleagues discovered
that in the model, increasing greenhouse gases cause stronger spiraling winds over the North Pole, a phenomenon called the polar vortex, that change the normal
Northern Hemisphere climate. “Northern Hemisphere winters have been warming up for the past 30 years,” Shindell said. “It’s a big concern to know why
GREENBELT, Md. -- A new NASA computer modeling effort has found that additional growth of plants and trees in a world with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide
levels would create a new negative feedback – a cooling effect – in the Earth's climate system that could work to reduce future global warming.
The cooling effect would be -0.3 degrees Celsius (C) (-0.5 Fahrenheit (F)) globally and -0.6 degrees C (-1.1 F) over land, compared to simulations where the
feedback was not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Bounoua is lead author on a paper detailing the results that
will be published Dec. 7 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Without the negative feedback included, the model found a warming of 1.94 degrees C globally when carbon dioxide was doubled.
Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is
expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will chip away at the uncertainty
range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate.
"This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming," Bounoua said.
To date, only some models that predict how the planet would respond to a doubling of carbon dioxide have allowed for vegetation to grow as a response to higher
carbon dioxide levels and associated increases in temperatures and precipitation. (NASA/GSFC)
In a world first, a new 'state-of-the-art' climate change experimental facility has been completed at the University of Queensland's Heron Island Research
Station on the Great Barrier Reef
In a world first, a new 'state of the art' climate change experimental facility has been completed at the University of Queensland's Heron Island Research
The Climate Change Mesocosm (CCM) project led by Associate Professor Sophie Dove and Dr. David Kline from the Global Change Institute's Coral Reef Ecosystems
Laboratory is one of the largest and most accurately controlled ocean acidification and warming experimental systems in the world and simulates ocean
temperatures and acidification levels predicted to occur on coral reefs in the next 50 to 100 years.
Able to regulate both temperature and CO2 levels prescribed by the 2100 IPCC scenarios in a highly controlled environment, the CCM system allows studies of
climate change from the molecular to the ecosystem level. (Global Change Institute)
Though Earth and its climate are billions of years old, climate science is still very young. So young that surprising new discoveries are constantly being
made. One such discovery in the field of paleoclimatology—the study of Earth's climate in the distant past—was the uncovering of a period of great warming
around 40 million years ago, in the middle of the Eocene Epoch. In the midst of a general cooling trend beginning at the end of the preceding Paleocene Epoch
(~55 mya) there were a number of dramatic, sudden bursts of global warming. The most celebrate of these is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM, when
surface temperatures rose by 5-7°C. Recently, science has discovered another hot interval 15 million years later during the Middle Eocene. Named the Middle
Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO), it marked a time when deep sea temperatures rose about 4-5°C and atmospheric CO2 levels peaked. As new information
is uncovered, climate scientists are scrambling to interpret what caused this second, more sustained period of warming and what it may mean for current climate
conditions. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
There is a very important paper on the use of the vulnerability bottom-up, resource-based perspective to more effectively evaluate threats to the environment
and society, than the IPCC top-down global climate centric approach to assessing these threats.
“The scientific community is developing regional climate downscaling (RCD) techniques to reconcile the scale mismatch
between coarse-resolution OA/GCMs and location-specific information needs of adaptation planners……It is becoming apparent, however, that downscaling also
has serious practical limitations, especially where the meteorological data needed for model calibration may be of dubious quality or patchy, the links between
regional and local climate are poorly understood or resolved, and where technical capacity is not in place. Another concern is that high-resolution downscaling
can be misconstrued as accurate downscaling (Dessai et al., 2009). In other words, our ability to downscale to finer time and space scales does not imply that
our confidence is any greater in the resulting scenarios.”
‘Here we propose a framework that sifts for robust adaptation measures that are low regret, or reversible, incorporate safety margins, employ ‘soft’
solutions, are flexible and mindful of actions being taken by others to either mitigate or adapt to climate change (Hallegatte, 2009). Assuming that the most
significant risks posed by climate (and non-climatic) hazards have been identified, the first step is to construct an inventory of all such adaptation options (labelled
A, B, C…) (Figure 3). This set could include hard engineering solutions and retrofit to existing infrastructure, as well as soft solutions involving
re-allocation of resources, behaviour change, institutional and/or sectoral reform/restructuring, awareness-raising, or risk spreading via financial instruments
(Wilby et al., 2009).”
“We suggest that significant benefits may accrue by allowing adaptation options appraisal to take centre stage, rather than climate change scenarios. In
the majority of cases, simple steps can be taken to review options that make sense today and are likely to be beneficial in the future, whatever the climate
This excellent paper provides a framework (e.g. see their Figure 3) to move forward beyond the inappropriately limiting constraints of the 2007 IPCC
downscaling framework. This vulnerability, bottom-up, resource-based approach is also reported in
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski,
E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol.
90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.
After ten months of reviews and rewrites we have successfully published an improved version of Steig et al. 2009. While we cannot publish the paper
here, we can discuss the detail. Personally I’ve never seen so much work put into a single paper as Ryan did and it’s wonderful to see it come
to a successful conclusion. This is the initial post on the subject, in the coming weeks there will be more to follow.
Guest post by lead author Ryan O’Donnel. (The Air Vent)
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 49: 8 December 2010
Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment is Bryozoan [Myriapora
truncate]. To access the entire database, click here.
Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Red Ironbark (Ghannoum et al., 2010) and Sydney Blue Gum (Ghannoum et al., 2010).
Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 914
individual scientists from 542 separate research
institutions in 43 different countries ... and
counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Lake Lehmilampi,
Finland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)
Last week the FT had a special section on South African Power and Energy. The report
included the excellent graphic shown above (click on it to enlarge). The graphic shows that in the very near term -- perhaps in the current decade --
South Africa has a huge gap between what it needs in energy supply and what it currently has planned to meet those needs, which are projected to just about
double in the next 20 years or less.
South Africa might be considered as representative of the broader global situation, where energy demand growth is being driven by the so-called
"developing" countries. South Africa is going to have enough of a challenge keeping the lights on, much less decarbonizing its economy at a rapid rate. Energy innovation and
consequent decarbonization are much broader issues than simply climate change. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
The UK comes a step closer to using a brand new energy source after "substantial" flows of shale gas are found just a few miles inland from
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, writes Siobhan Kennedy. (Channel 4)
Move follows rise in unconventional gas production in US and other countries
Arab countries are set to embark on a drive to tap their massive unconventional gas resources following a sharp rise in production in the United States and
development plans in other nations, according to an Arab study.
Gas producers in the Arab world and other countries are already following with strong interest what is commonly described as the "revolution"
represented by the breakthrough of unconventional gas, including shale gas, tight gas and coal-bed methane, the first of these forms being the most developed at
present in the United States, the Paris-based Arab Oil and Gas magazine said.
"But following these developments is obviously not enough when the spectacular growth in unconventional gas production is having a major impact on
international gas balances, as the recent past has illustrated very well," said the magazine, which is published by the Arab Petroleum Research Centre,
which acts as an adviser to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. (Zawya)
Cars that run on batteries will begin to be competitive with ones that burn petroleum fuels in about five years, the U.S. energy secretary said at the annual
U.N. climate talks.
"It's not like it's 10 years off," Secretary Steven Chu said at a press conference on U.S. clean energy efforts on the sidelines of the climate talks.
"It's about five years and it could be sooner. Meanwhile, the batteries we do have today are soon going to get better by a factor of two," said Chu, a
Nobel Prize-winning physicist. (Reuters)
Chu seems well suited to politics, he sure is full of it.
Billions in federal subsidies for manufacturers of solar panels and wind- and solar-power facilities will end Jan. 1, 2011, unless lawmakers who negotiated a
deal to extend tax cuts back down from their positions.
The clean-energy incentives were created by 2009 economic stimulus legislation. Republicans are taking a firm stand that they aren't part of a deal reached with
the White House, and shouldn't be a part of broader legislation to extend tax cuts for individuals and businesses, according to GOP aides.
Democrats have sought to extend the programs, most recently in legislation from Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) that failed in the Senate last week. (WSJ)
In line with conservative values, and with the passion of a local Tea Party leader, U.S. Senator LeMieux (R–FL) is behind his state’s lawsuit against the
federal government’s healthcare reform law. He also has a national debt clock on his WEB SITE,
and his headline platforms include reducing government waste and improving transparency and accountability from soup to nuts.
So can we feel assured this senator upholds these values across the board?
No, unfortunately, when it comes to the failed government experiment with politically correct renewable energy.
Senator LeMieux has co-sponsored a bill–along with 25 of his closest friends across the aisle–to extend the ARRA 1603 tax credits, doling out 30% of project costs up front to so-called
So what goes? Florida is not a big renewables state. Florida voters are rebelling against Big Government, as recently shown at the polls. Florida is
also a marginal solar state and has dismal wind resources.
The wind industry is urging Congress to extend a cash grant program for production of renewable energy, claiming tens of thousands of jobs are at stake.
Meanwhile, a bird advocacy group is cautioning lawmakers to limit grant recipients to those who take steps to protect wildlife. The American Bird Conservancy
says that's necessary to prevent avoidable bird fatalities at windmills.
The flurry of lobbying comes as Congress takes up a tax package that includes President Barack Obama's compromise with Republicans on tax cuts.
The American Wind Energy Association wants the package to include renewal of the cash grant program for development in wind, solar and other renewable energy.
It is set to expire at the end of this month. (Associated Press)
Wind has been used for stationary power for centuries and is most assuredly a "mature technology" - give 'em nothing.
Proposal defines demanding compliance as felony with penalty of 5 years, $5,000
Texans take their rights seriously.
A bill that has been prefiled for the 2011 state legislative session creates penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in jail for anyone guilty
of the "felony" of attempting "to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation" of Obamacare, the president's plan that
effectively nationalizes the health-care decision making process.
China is implicated in key fake-drug rings recently broken up across the Middle East and Latin America. Beijing must do more to clamp down on the entire fake
industry, which flourishes within its borders. (Roger Bate and Tom Woods, The American)
There have been numerous developments on this front, and most of them are not good for consumers. Somehow, though, too many people—and media outlets—have
been fooled. My latest HND piece examines the situation.
Included in this update are two high profile so-called "settlements," tainted forever since the plaintiff's lawyers got their fees based on a side
deal with the defendants. Thus, there should be no surprise that the plaintiffs got screwed. Under normal circumstances this sort of thing would get you
disbarred, but in these cases, it was legal.
Most others in the legal profession consider plaintiff's attorneys to be about one (very small) step up from prostitutes, but even my friends in the
profession were incredulous when I told them the circumstances of these particular cases.
Thankfully, there is also a bit of good news for affected homeowners, at least in Florida. And, there are also a few good guys out there.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Experts warned Friday that treating dengue, a potentially fatal disease caused by a mosquito-borne virus, will become more difficult in
the future as more people around the world become overweight and obese.
If you need more evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is out-of-control, consider the comments of EPA senior counsel Bob Sussman as
reported by Energy & Environmental Daily last week.
But Bob Sussman, who was EPA’s deputy administrator under President Clinton and returned to the agency to be Jackson’s senior counsel, said the agency
has no choice but to carry additional weight these days because of inaction in Congress.
“After two decades of very active legislative activity on the environment, we’ve had 15-plus years in which the consensus and political will to overhaul
our environmental statutes has been lacking,” Sussman said.
“It’s a situation which is going to continue because I think Congress is fundamentally divided on the future direction of environmental protection. The
statutes that we have, imperfect as they may be, are the statutes that we’re going to have to continue to live with.”
Hello… America-to-Bob-Sussman… under our Constitution, the legislative branch makes the laws and the executive branch executes them. EPA has no
constitutional authority to take any action that has not been not previously authorized by Congress. Contrary to Sussman-think, the EPA cannot take action that,
in effect, “overhauls our environmental statutes” and it cannot “carry additional weight” on its own initiative.
For all the administration’s talk about job creation being priority one, the President has targeted a number of occupations for elimination because
environmentalists don’t like them. As my New York Post article
sets out, oil industry workers, factory workers, miners, and fisherman are all being subjected to environmental regulations that are putting these people out of
work. (I could have added loggers, ranchers, and others as well). The worst is yet to come, especially with EPA’s global warming agenda to take effect in
January of 2011, not to mention the President’s recent announcement that he is shutting down nearly all offshore oil and gas leasing. When the wishes of
environmental activists clash with the need to save and create jobs, the…
For some greens, the problem with the recession is that it just isn’t deep enough to force people into eco-poverty.
Just three years ago, some politicians and commentators advocated austerity measures, including 1940s-style rationing, to tackle the alleged obesity epidemic
and overconsumption. Some even argued that an age of austerity could help renew conventional family life and community spirit. Now, some eminent British
scientists are suggesting that such rationing is the only way to combat runaway climate change.
In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, scientists from some of Britain’s most esteemed institutions, including the University of Oxford and the
Met Office, have argued that it is imperative to halt economic growth in wealthy countries over the next 20 years. At a time when large swathes of the
population are suffering from redundancies and pay cuts, such a suggestion appears particularly insensitive and distasteful. (Neil Davenport, spiked)
Researchers in South America have studied the viability of using earthworms to process hazardous material containing high concentrations of heavy metal for
the bioremediation of old industrial sites, landfill and other potentially hazardous areas. They provide details of a possible approach in the International
Journal of Global Environmental Issues this month.
After pollinating insects, worms are probably the gardener's best friend and they have been encouraged to process garden waste and soil for generations. The
common earthworm, Eisenia fetida, could also become a useful tool in the processing and safe management of hazardous solid and liquid wastes with high metal
content, according to chemist Lué Merú Marcó Parra of the Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado in Cabudare, Venezuela, and colleagues there and in
Argentina. (Inderscience Publishers)
But what happens to said heavy metals? Are the worms burying it deeper? Dispersing it by other means? It isn't at all clear to me from:
"The second [team] used earthworms directly for remediation of arsenic and mercury present in landfill soils and demonstrated an efficiency of 42
to 72% in approximately two weeks for arsenic removal and 7.5 to 30.2% for mercury removal in the same time period." just what happened to the arsenic
& mercury. Did they concentrate it in castes which were then skimmed & removed?
December 2, 2010
Scientists studying a column of Antarctic ice spanning 650 years have found evidence for fluctuations in biomass burning--the consumption of wood, peat and
other materials in wildfires, cooking fires and communal fires--in the Southern Hemisphere.
The record, focused primarily on carbon monoxide (CO), differs substantially from the record in the Northern Hemisphere, suggesting changes may be necessary for
several leading climate models.
The research appears online in Science Express on Dec. 2, 2010.
The scientists studied variations in stable (non-radioactive, non-decaying) isotopes of carbon and oxygen, the first such measurements for carbon monoxide
collected from ice-core samples.
"Combined with concentration measurements of CO, this record allows us to constrain the relative strength of biomass burning activity over the 650-year
period in the Southern Hemisphere," said co-author and research lead John Mak, a geoscientist at SUNY Stony Brook.
"What we find is that the amount of biomass burning has changed significantly over that time period," Mak added, "and that biomass burning was in
fact a significant source of CO during pre-industrial times."
The biomass burning trends indicated by the CO largely agree with Southern Hemisphere records tracking charcoal particles in sediments and with measurements of
methane from trapped ice.
Unexpectedly, the researchers found that biomass burning appears to have been more prevalent 100 to 150 years ago than it was during the 20th century.
"While this is consistent with previous findings," added Mak, "there is still a common mis-perception that biomass burning rates are much
higher today than in the past. This is significant since many researchers assume that human-induced biomass burning is much greater than 'naturally' occurring
biomass burning. While this may still be the case--there were people around in the 18th century--the fact that today's rates of [Southern Hemisphere]
biomass burning seem to be lower than one to two centuries ago calls for a re-evaluation of sources."
The research was supported by NSF grant OCE-0731406.
The full reference for the paper is: Z. Wang, J. Chappellaz, K. Park, J.E. Mak, "Large variations in Southern Hemisphere biomass burning during the last
650 years", Science, Dec. 2, 2010.
Unique open-air laboratory enables study of a complete ecosystem in the making
How do ecosystems develop? No one really knows, yet. There is however one project, unique in the world, seeking to answer this question. In a former open-pit
coal mining area in Brandenburg, Germany, a surface of six hectares was partitioned off and then left to its own resources. Scientists from the Technische
Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in collaboration with researchers from other institutions, are studying the development of soil, flora, and fauna there. With this
research they aim to establish the factors that have a particularly strong influence on developing ecosystems. (Technische Universitaet Muenchen)
If the world doesn't act now, it faces a catastrophic global food shortage by mid-century.
As negotiators sat down this week for another hard round of bargaining at the climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico, new warnings emerged of potential
catastrophe ahead. (NZ Herald)
The easy answer is stop locking up land for greenie playgrounds, get busy with biotech, eliminate biofuel mandates and subsidies and, well,
basically get the green loons and their misanthropic actions out of the way so we can feed as many people as there are or will be.
Even in a season characterized by candy canes and cookies waiting for Santa, protectionism, specifically the U.S. sugar program, hurts American consumers and
workers. The U.S. sugar program provides a classic example of a special interest group benefiting from political connections, to the detriment of American
The sugar program imposes trade barriers that force American consumers to pay approximately double the world’s sugar price. The jobs “saved” by the
program come at a high price. U.S. consumers pay an extra $826,000 for each sugar production
job saved. Sugar farmers, often collectively known as “Big Sugar,” contribute extensively to political campaigns, with the nine main sugar farms or
refinery groups contributing nearly $1.5 million to candidates in
2007 to maintain this overt corporate welfare. Continue
reading... (The Foundry)
For many Americans, few things seem more wholesome than a glass of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, the original "natural food." As former
beauty queen Anita Bryant chirped more than four decades ago, in what remains a fondly remembered tagline: "A day without orange juice is like a day
She wasn't talking about green oranges or genetically altered ones, but that was then.
We live in a "world of nasty bacteria now," says Calvin Arnold, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An insect-borne bacterial disease
that is ravaging Florida's citrus crop means the juice squeezed from the Sunshine State's fruit may soon come from trees that have had their genetic makeup
The blight, commonly known as "greening," is the world's most destructive citrus disease.
GMO juice would likely be reviled by critics of the biotech industry as "Frankenfood." But Arnold and other experts say there simply may be no other
choice in the battle against greening.
"It's the most serious disease threat that the Florida citrus industry has ever faced," said Arnold, a 67-year-old official with the USDA's
Agricultural Research Service.
As the director of the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, in the prime Indian River region of Florida's citrus belt, Arnold is on the
frontlines of what he and others describe as an all-out push by the biotech industry, and geneticists in particular, to develop an effective weapon against
Most scientists who have studied the problem seem to agree that genetic modification, and the cultivation of trees resistant to the bacteria that causes
"greening" disease, currently hold out the only real long-term hope of fighting it. (Reuters)
U.S. President Barack Obama made a “big mistake” in pushing health-care legislation before climate change, billionaire Ted Turner said today.
“We would have an energy climate change bill in the United States if President Obama had made that his top priority and brought that to the American people
and Congress first rather than the health-care bill,” Turner, founder of Time Warner Inc.’s CNN, said today at a conference in Cancun, Mexico. “But he
didn’t, and I think it was a big mistake.”
Obama, who campaigned on a promise to fight climate change, made the economy, health care, energy and education his top priorities after taking office.
Health-care legislation was signed into law earlier this year after contentious debate while a “cap-and-trade” bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions
stalled in the Senate. Obama now says he doubts such a measure can win passage until 2013 at the earliest.
“The climate bill is much more important than health care because the climate situation is about life and death whereas the health-care bill was much more
limited,” Turner, 72, said. (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it would hear an appeal by four big coal-burning utilities of a ruling that a group of states and New York City
can proceed with a global-warming lawsuit seeking to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the power companies.
The justices agreed to review a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that reinstated a 2004 lawsuit by eight states, New York City and three land trusts claiming the
utilities have created a public nuisance by contributing to global warming.
American Electric Power Co Inc, Southern Co, Xcel Energy Inc and Cinergy Corp, which Duke Energy Corp acquired in 2006, said in the appeal that the case
involved political questions for Congress and the president, not the judiciary.
The states -- California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin -- and the other plaintiffs urged the top court to reject
the appeal by the utilities. That would have allowed the lawsuit to go forward. (Reuters)
Scam artists from around the world, capitalizing on lax
regulations at the Danish emissions trading registry, have made off with an estimated $7-billion over the last two years, according to Europol. Denmark’s
Office of the Auditor General is now investigating the fraud, which occurred after the Danish registry dropped requirements that carbon traders be documented.
While allowing a free-for-all served the carbon market on the short term, by appearing to inflate the interest in carbon as a commodity, it ultimately backfired
when much of the trading proved to be phony.
Aided by lax rules, the Danish emissions registry became the world’s largest, with 1256 registered permit traders, most of them fake. As one example, a
registered trader used a London parking lot as his address. Following the discovery of the scam, some 1100 of these have been de-registered, leaving scant few
traders in the Danish market.
The Danish Minister of Climate and Energy who oversaw the illusory growth in the carbon market, Connie Hedegaard, has since been promoted to the post of EU
Climate Commissioner. She is now in Cancun, representing the EU’s interests and arguing for steps that the global community needs to take for the carbon
industry to regain credibility.
This story, greatly underreported, came to me via a Norwegian reader, Geir Hasnes, who has translated one of the few press reports to have appeared. His
translation appears here.
Blam! Kapow! Smack! The bell has rung for the latest round of climate talks, but the battle continues among climate scientists too, making only one thing
truly clear -- the science of global warming simply isn't settled.
Climate science suffered a black eye over the past 12 months, following revelations that the latest report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) contained numerous errors and relied too heavily on questionable sources. At the latest climate conference in Cancun, the group will stress that
its research must continue.
But while governments try to push through an accord, the fighting over the science -- and the IPCC's role -- continues unabated. And the body blows seem as
violent as ever.
"The corruption within the IPCC revealed by the Climategate scandal, the doctoring of data and the refusal to admit mistakes have so severely tainted the
IPCC that it is no longer a credible agency," Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, declared in an interview with
FoxNews.com. "Thus, it is no longer in a position to claim to speak for climate scientists." (Blake Snow, FoxNews.com)
A year ago tomorrow, just before the opening of the UN Copenhagen world climate summit, the British Meteorological Office issued a confident prediction. The
mean world temperature for 2010, it announced, 'is expected to be 14.58C, the warmest on record' - a deeply worrying 0.58C above the 19611990 average.
World temperatures, it went on, were locked inexorably into an ever-rising trend: 'Our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications that about
half the years 2010-2019 will be warmer than the warmest year observed so far - 1998.'
Met Office officials openly boasted that they hoped by their statements to persuade the Copenhagen gathering to impose new and stringent carbon emission limits
- an ambition that was not to be met.
Last week, halfway through yet another giant, 15,000delegate UN climate jamboree, being held this time in the tropical splendour of Cancun in Mexico, the Met
Office was at it again.
Never mind that Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to
minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.
Globally, it insisted, 2010 was still on course to be the warmest or second warmest year since current records began.
But buried amid the details of those two Met Office statements 12 months apart lies a remarkable climbdown that has huge implications - not just for the Met
Office, but for debate over climate change as a whole.
Read carefully with other official data, they conceal a truth that for some, to paraphrase former US Vice President Al Gore, is really inconvenient: for the
past 15 years, global warming has stopped. (David Rose, Daily Mail)
Friday, 03 December 2010 13:37 Dr David Whitehouse
If the media headlines are to be believed 2010 is heading to be either the warmest or in the top three warmest years since the instrumental global temperature
records began 150 years ago, and proof that the world is getting ever warmer. But looking more closely at the data reveals a different picture.
2010 will be remembered for just two warm months, attributable to the El Nino effect, with the rest of the year being nothing but average, or less than average
With November and December¹s data still to come in (that will account for 16% of the year¹s data) the UK Met Office estimates the temperature anomaly (with
respect to the end of the 19th century) for 2010 so far as 0.756 deg C. As it has been cooling for the past 4 months we can expect that figure to decline below
the 2005 0.747 deg C level and the El Nino influenced 1998 of 0.820 deg C.
2010 will therefore be no higher than the third warmest year, possibly lower. (GWPF)
Update, RSS: The
RSS AMSU November data are out, 0.312 °C, coolest in 2010 so far. The average temperature anomaly 0.551 °C recorded in 1998 will only be beaten by 0.489 +
Dec/12 in 2010 if the December 2010 anomaly, Dec, will exceed 0.738 °C which is virtually impossible.
With the likely December value around 0.3 °C, 2010 will stay a marginally significant 0.035 °C cooler than 1998 but safely (by 0.14 °C) beating the bronze
year, 2005. A near-record 2010 seems to be a purely UAH AMSU result. RSS AMSU will conclude that the 1998 leadership will stay unchallenged by 12th following
year in a row.
UAH: December anomaly above 0.42 °C would make 2010 hottest
Roy Spencer has released the November 2010
UAH AMSU temperature anomalies. The global temperature anomaly is 0.38 °C, the coolest month of 2010, which is followed by the previous month, October 2010.
The tropics have significantly cooled down during 2010 - by 0.7 °C or so - but the two hemispheres dropped by 0.2 or 0.3 °C per year only.
The tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly for November continued its cooling trend, finally falling below the 1979-1998 average…but the global anomaly
is still falling slowly:+0.38 deg. C for October November, 2010.
2010 is now in a dead heat with 1998 for warmest year, with the following averages through November:
December will determine the outcome, but remember that the difference between the two years is not statistically significant.
FOR THOSE TRACKING OUR DAILY TEMPERATURES: Since I’m getting many e-mails about quirks in the daily channel 5 temperature updates at the Discover website, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1: The Discover website is an automated process and there is little quality control.
2. A few of the orbit files end up coming in several days late, in which case some day’s averages can be missing for several days. We fix it manually as
3: If a daily temperature difference between this year and last year is 100’s of degrees, it’s because one of the days has missing data. It’s not
because we’ve been hacked by Earth First! Check out the text data…you’ll figure it out.
4. During spring there can be strong warming trends, and (as has happened in the last couple of weeks) in the fall there can be strong cooling trends. This
is partly because the seasonal cycle has not been removed from the data. Click the “Average” box and “Redraw” to see how what’s happening compares to
what’s normal for that time of year.
[note: These satellite measurements are not calibrated to surface thermometer data in any way, but instead use on-board redundant precision
platinum resistance thermometers (PRTs) carried on the satellite radiometers. The PRT's are individually calibrated in a laboratory before being installed in
the instruments.] (Roy W. Spencer)
Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is Congress’s most outspoken skeptic on climate change, has sent his regrets to the thousands of
delegates and global warming campaigners who are in Cancún, Mexico, for the annual United Nations climate change conference, saying he was sorry he would not
be able to make an appearance. (NYT)
International Relations: Leaked embassy dispatches show an America bribing some and threatening others to get support for a climate change accord, revealing
just how weak the case for such a treaty really is. (IBD)
Last year at this time, the United Nations was coming to grips with the fact that the Copenhagen climate change summit would not produce a legally binding
climate pact to succeed the failed Kyoto Protocol. In retrospect, nearly everyone acknowledges that the Copenhagen conference failed utterly to achieve its
objectives. A year later, nations are again huddled together at a U.N. conference—this time in sunny Cancun, Mexico, rather than blustery Denmark—to try to
get the global warming treaty train back on the rails.
In the lead up to the Copenhagen conference, I wrote an article questioning the central role played
by the U.N. in setting the tone and direction for global warming negotiations because that organization had moved from a position of “neutral broker” to
that of a clearly biased party. By consenting to negotiate a global warming agreement through the U.N., the U.S. placed its negotiators in a position of
weakness. Nations with little direct stake in the outcome of negotiations as well as U.N. officials manipulated the process to focus on an ineffective, costly
agreement that unduly burdened the U.S. and other developed countries without any real assurance that such sacrifices would address the issue of global warming.
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
To hear the good and the great at Cancun, the sustainability issue of energy poverty is hidden. Occasionally, one of the climate-change grandees slips
up and admits that this the real subject
is wealth redistribution, not climate. But that is about as close as it gets.
All the more reason that the international forums on climate change, energy environment, and the like should get to first principles and study this map:
The World At Night (courtesy of Bert Christensen)
When you fly overnight from Johannesburg to Europe the lights thin out just north of Lusaka, Zambia, a few more in Zambia’s Copper Belt and then nothing
(and I mean nothing) until the North African coastline. For most of this 11-12 hour flight there are no artificial lights below.
From the Sahara on south, but excluding South Africa, a region that is home to more than 400 million people consumes less electricity than New York City.
Studies show that oil, gas and coal will dominate energy use for decades
The UN climate-change war machine, on the brink of self-destruction in Cancun, Mexico, keeps cranking out scenarios, reports,
research and propaganda on the evils of a carbon-based economy. No stat or concept is too trivial to be manipulated and hyped into a news item or factoid of
alleged proof of past or coming disaster. “Britain’s salmon at risk from ocean acidification,” “2010 on track to be warmest year for Canada,”
“Climate change to worsen food security, UN talks told.”
That’s just some of Friday’s offerings. Never mind the other headlines (Deep freeze kills 30 in Poland; Britains up to knees in snow). It’s all part of
a never-ending stream of material that is intended, presumably, to galvanize nations and negotiators meeting in Cancun into signing a replacement for the
absurdly impractical Kyoto Protocol carbon-emission targets. The Cancun meetings still have a few days to go, which means the next week will consume increasing
amounts of media attention and produce volumes of overheated rhetoric about the need to slash fossil-fuel use and dramatically reduce global carbon emissions by
some impossible target date.
This global-warming/climate-change stuff is a great racket.
Over in England right now, they’re locked in the jaws of a very early freeze-up. The roads are iced, the plows overworked, and people are angry. But there’s
a precious subset of the English population that are not enduring the frigid and premature torments of a northern winter. They’re the climate-change
activists, bureaucrats, politicians, puppeteers and NGOs — the class of professional alarmists who’ve been banging on about global warming for close on two
decades now. This bunch has exempted itself from the rigors of English November, traded their sackcloth and ashes for sun-wear and tropical breezes.
They’re toasting their pasty, righteous, caterwauling epidermi on the golden hot sands of Cancun, Mexico, flopped out amid the bikinis and barbeques while
they attempt to spell out a future of rationing and want for all the rest of us. Flown there on taxpayer or foundation money, meeting up with all their buddies
from the bust that was Copenhagen, the grim, grey priesthood of “sustainable” living are convening in one of the great sybaritic strips of the entire
Western world. The monks are in the cathouse.
But hey, if you’re going to do Armageddon — do it in Cancun. The Apocalypse at the All You Can Eat Buffet. Parasailing to Armageddon.
Does not one of the great minds decoding next century’s weather see the brain-splitting contradiction of holding a conference warning of the imminent threat
of global warming in a venue that mainly exists because people fly there to get warmer. That’s right, people spend money to fly to Cancun mainly because
it’s warmer there, than where they live. In essence, Cancun is what the global warming crowd are, otherwise, warning us about. (National Post)
UN offers assurances that rich countries will not attempt to force agreements with developing nations at the talks (Guardian)
Who finds UN assurances to be at all reassuring? Actually we do because the UN couldn't assure a shindig in a brewery even if someone else
supplied the glasses and music. The more UN assurances there are about a deal the less likely there'll ever be one, which works for us.
Environmentalism: Still think those who continue to push the idea of man-made climate change are well-grounded and rational? Think again.
Consider Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She opened the U.N's global warming conference
last week with a prayer to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of the moon.
This mythological supreme being of fertility is supposed to be good for sending rain for crops. Maybe that's the sort of blessing Figueres had in mind when,
from Cancun's — no joke — Moon Palace, she called Ixchel "the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving" and hoped delegates would be inspired by
And did we mention that the multitasking Ixchel is also some kind of jaguar? Given her many roles, is it really reasonable to ask her to also save the planet
from global warming?
But then if she did that, the alarmists wouldn't have to take junkets to balmy resorts in December to save the world from mankind.
One might think the climate change conference silliness would have a limit. But one would be wrong. (IBD)
China is prepared to make its voluntary carbon emissions target part of a binding U.N. resolution, a concession that may pressure developed countries to
extend the Kyoto Protocol, a senior negotiator told Reuters.
The nation, however, overwhelmingly believes climate change is caused by mankind.
This is a huge fall from three years ago, when a massive 77 per cent of people polled told Newspoll they’d love to pay more, and
only 18 per cent said no. Which means the Gillard Government will be flirting with death if it makes the next election a referendum on the threatened carbon
tax, especially with the polls on a knife-edge, and Labor’s primary vote so dangerously low:
According to the latest political Newspoll survey for the year, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, support for the ALP with Greens’
preferences is equal to the Coalition, on a 50-50 split.
The Coalition has ended the year ahead of the government on primary vote, 41 per cent to Labor’s 34 per cent, with the Greens’ primary vote ending the
year on 14 per cent.
And former Labor national president Barry Jones seems not have kept up with the polling trends:
‘’The electorate appears to want, or is at least prepared to tolerate, action such that sound decisions, even if tough, will come to be accepted,’’
he writes in an essay, Democratic Challenges in Tackling Climate Change, published today by the Whitlam Institute.
The Carbon Sense Coalition today said that Australia must not renew its Kyoto Agreement. The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the
current failing agreement was signed without due diligence by Kevin Rudd and should be referred to as “Rudd’s Folly”.
“Appropriately, the death notice for the Kyoto mis-adventure was posted by Japan, the birthplace of Kyoto, when their representative at Cancun Resort
“Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances.”
“Thus the four biggest economies in our region (USA, China, Japan and India) will not sign; nor will Australia’s big competitors in Brazil (iron and beef),
Indonesia (coal), Chile (copper) or Canada (wheat).
“If Australia is foolish enough to renew its Kyoto liabilities it will find itself isolated in the Pacific with only gullible Kiwis and faraway Europeans for
Those who have studied the UN process on “Global Warming” aka Climate Change, know full well that it is little to do with
climate but everything to do with advancing the interests of global corporations and international financiers. The WikiLeaks revelations detailed in the
Guardian demonstrate the accuracy of that assessment.
The Great Myth revealed in the leaks, is the long held and deliberately promoted belief that the US is opposed to any measures designed to “control
climate.” Nothing could be further from the truth because behind the scenes it has been promoting and engineering the process for many years, driven by
NGO’s and their funders, the “eco” billionaires.
The other Great Myth is that the be-all and end-all for climate negotiation is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), when in
fact there are numerous private and pseudo-governmental operations taking place all the time, particularly in terms of gaining a foothold in the vast energy
markets of China and India. Read the rest of this
entry » (SPPI)
Thanks to Wikileaks, everyone here in the Mañana Republic of Mexico now knows just how much bullying and arm-twisting the administration of Barack Obama in
the United States applied to various countries around the world so that they would (and did) sign up to the Copenhagen climate accord.
Without that pressure, nothing at all would have happened at Copenhagen this time last year, and “the Process” – the interminable round of flatulent
annual climate conferences in exotic locations at taxpayers’ expense – would have tipped into the gulch forever. Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)
People's Newspapers (Peopers) - or Lidové noviny (Lidovky) in Czech - is a leading, liberal conservative Czech daily whose circulation is
75,000. It was founded in 1893, banned by the Stalin-Gottwald leftists in 1952, and resuscitated by the dissent in 1987. Two years later, it would become legal
On Saturday, they printed a long interview with Stefan Rahmstorf of RealClimate.ORG and the Potsdam Fearmongering Institute (PFI). The title is somewhat
Has ‘skeptical environmentalist’ and scourge of Greenpeace Bjorn Lomborg really had a change of heart and turned green? Er, no, he tells spiked.
‘“Skeptical environmentalist” and critic of climate scientists to declare global warming a chief concern facing world’, declared the front page of a
British broadsheet newspaper in August this year. It suggested that recent comments made by the Danish author Bjorn Lomborg were ‘an apparent U-turn that will
give a huge boost to the embattled environmental lobby’.
Really? Did Lomborg, long known as a critic of the crankier wing of environmentalism, really have a massive change of heart? ‘In reality, what I’ve always
said is that global warming is real’, he tells me. ‘I’ve always pointed out that it is often exaggerated for effect, to create panic, and that’s why
we’re making bad decisions. I’ve always pointed out that Kyoto Protocol-style efforts to tackle global warming are a bad idea.’
So what’s new, then? Lomborg explains that recent research, elaborated both in his 2007 book Cool It and in his new film of the same name, shows that
‘investing in green energy research and development rather than investing in green energy technology provides a big difference in policy efficacy’.
But perhaps this illustrates a subtle difference that climate campaigners won’t be able to comprehend. While debate rages about whether or not we should trust
the science behind the belief that the planet will get a lot hotter in the future, Lomborg is trying to engage public and political opinion on an entirely
different discussion: if global warming is real and likely to be a significant problem in the future – as Lomborg has consistently argued – then what is the
best way of tackling it? (Rob Lyons, spiked)
Tomorrow's march by the Campaign Against Climate Change takes place against a backdrop of financial hardship for the group, campaigner Phil Thornhill
After 10 years of campaigning on climate change, and bang in the middle of preparations for tomorrow's Campaign Against Climate Change march, Phil Thornhill is,
as usual, in a fairly Eeyore-ish frame of mind.
He's worried, naturally, about climate change, the backlash after the Copehagen climate talks, and the fact that the movement is in "a bit of a downturn,
just like after 9/11". He's worried about the fact that "the NGOs have just given up on popular demos around climate change and decided that they're
just going to lobby on the subject. They think they can do what they need to do through lobbying government, but one of the major problems with this issue is
what's going on in people's psyches."
And he's worried about his organisation, Campaign Against Climate Change, which is, he says frankly, "running out of money massively. I'm exhausted, we've
been running on risible funds for years now, and to be honest I don't know what we're going to do." (Guardian)
Doesn't know what he's going to do? Might we suggest trying to find a real job?
The bigwigs in Cancun appear to have agreed that global warming propaganda will become compulsory in schools worldwide. That appears to be the gist of this story:
The 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP16) on Saturday reached its first consensus by approving a proposal on education, training and
consciousness as part of efforts to mitigate climate change.
The proposal commits signatories to promote formal and informal education strategies covering the climate change phenomenon.
In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, told the UK Independent that snowfall will become “a very
rare and exciting event” within a few years due to global warming.
This week, as an unseasonal snow blanketed Northern Europe and caused more than 60 fatalities, University of College London Professor Mark Maslin told the UK Telegraph that the snow was
likely due to global warming.
Climate change could bring Britain ever more extreme weather, says Roger Highfield.
As a blanket of snow settles across the country, train services grind to a halt and roads become impassable, you could be forgiven for thinking that global
warming seems more remote than ever. But yesterday, the World Meteorological Organisation announced that 2010 is almost certain to rank among the three warmest
years since records began in 1850 – and it has long been accepted that one of the effects of climate change could be an increase in the frequency of harsher,
So which is it? Is it the vagaries of the elements that we should be cursing through our chattering teeth, or the carbon emissions from Chinese smokestacks?
Well, the most alarming way in which temperatures in Britain could fall significantly is through a decline in the warm Atlantic current that maintains our mild
climate. Although our weather depends on turbulent events in the atmosphere, these are shaped – in the long term – by the oceans, whose currents transport
vast amounts of heat around the planet. Ancient records show that if these slowed or stopped, temperatures could drop by up to 10C within decades. (Roger
Question; How and why can a year be claimed as the warmest on record two months before it is over? Answer: To help participants in Cancun Climate Conference
desperate because the public don’t believe, funding and power is being lost, as their deceptions are exposed. (Tim Ball, CFP)
To those who are convinced that the science of global warming is sound, as well as to those on the fence, the refusal of climate scientists to attribute any
single episode of extreme weather to greenhouse-induced climate change has been either exasperating … or suspicious.
You mean you guys can’t definitely say human-caused climate change is why 135 daily rainfall records were broken along the East Coast during September’s
deluges (Wilmington, N.C.: 19.7 inches over three days)? You can’t say climate change is why 2010 is eclipsing 1998 as the hottest year on record, or why in
August an ice island four times the size of Manhattan broke off from a Greenland glacier? How about why 2000–09 was the warmest decade on record, that 153 of
the 1,218 U.S. weather stations recorded their hottest summer since 1895, why Moscow suffered a once-in-centuries heat wave this summer, or why one fifth of
Pakistan flooded? (Newsweek)
A new study discovers climate change is causing wildfires to burn more fiercely, pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than previously thought
Climate change is causing wildfires to burn more fiercely, pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study
to be published in Nature Geosciences this week.
This is the first study to reveal that fires in the Alaskan interior - an area spanning 18.5 million hectares - have become more severe in the past 10 years,
and have released much more carbon into the atmosphere than was stored by the region's forests over the same period.
"When most people think of wildfires, they think about trees burning, but most of what fuels a boreal fire is plant litter, moss and organic matter in
surface soils," said University of Guelph professor Merritt Turetsky, lead author of the study.
"These findings are worrisome because about half the world's soil carbon is locked in northern permafrost and peatland soils. This is carbon that has
accumulated in ecosystems a little bit at a time for thousands of years, but is being released very rapidly through increased burning." (University of
Met Office Hadley Centre warns of drought risk and role of deforestation in global warming
The chances of northern Europe facing a new ice age, or of catastrophic sea-level rises of almost four metres that swamp the planet over the next century, have
been ruled out by leading scientists.
But the risk of tropical forests succumbing to drought brought on by climate change as well as the acceleration of methane emissions from melting permafrost, is
greater, according to the Met Office Hadley Centre, in its latest climate change review.
The government-run climatology centre also suggests that, by the latter half of this century, the Arctic could become largely ice-free in summer, given new
evidence of a slightly faster rate of decline. (The Guardian)
Many studies of global climate have used air temperature measurements to characterize recent warming trends. A new study shows that inland water bodies such
as lakes and wetlands have also been warming steadily in recent decades. Schneider and Hook analyze satellite nighttime thermal infrared imagery of 167 large
inland water bodies around the world during the period 1985-2009. They find that mean nighttime surface water temperature for these inland water bodies has been
rising at an average rate of about 0.045 degrees Celsius (0.081 degrees Fahrenheit ) per year, with rates as high as 0.1 degrees Celsius (0.18 degrees
Fahrenheit) per year in some places. The greatest warming has taken place in the mid and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and in some regions, water
temperature warmed faster than regional air temperature. The researchers suggest that the study provides a new data source for assessing the effects of climate
Flood-related fatalities in Africa have increased greatly over the past several decades. Has the intensity of flooding increased, perhaps owing to global
climate changes? Or have human activity, population growth, and development patterns led to increased human vulnerability? To find out, Di Baldassarre et al.
analyze large data sets of floods in Africa. The authors consider trends in flooding as well as population dynamics and land use changes. They find that the
magnitude and frequency of African floods have not increased significantly during the past century, but increased unplanned human settlements in flood-prone
areas have been a major factor in increasing the risk of fatalities and economic damage. They suggest that settlements in flood-prone areas should be
discouraged. Early warning systems could also help reduce fatalities.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest issues of climate science skepticism is the criticism of over-reliance on computer model projections to
suggest future outcomes. In this paper, climate models were hindcast tested against actual surface observations, and found to be seriously lacking. Just have a
look at Figure 12 (mean temperature -vs- models for the USA) from the paper, shown below:
Fig. 12. Various temperature time series spatially integrated over the USA (mean annual), at annual and 30-year scales. Click image for the complete
The graph above shows temperature in the blue lines, and model runs in other colors. Not only are there no curve shape matches, temperature offsets are
significant as well. In the study, they also looked at precipitation, which fared even worse in correlation. The bottom line: if the models do a poor job of
hindcasting, why would they do any better in forecasting? This from the conclusion sums it up pretty well:
…we think that the most important question is not whether GCMs can produce credible estimates of future climate, but whether climate is at all predictable
in deterministic terms.
Selected sections of the entire paper, from the Hydrological Sciences Journal is available online here as HTML, and as PDF ~1.3MB are given below:
A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data
Anagnostopoulos, G. G. , Koutsoyiannis, D. , Christofides, A. , Efstratiadis, A. and Mamassis, N. ‘A comparison of local and aggregated
climate model outputs with observed data’, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 55:7, 1094 – 1110
They have a win with the predicted wet in SE Qld-NE NSW – I will not quibble over the tiny green patch near Glen Innes which really should be in darker blue.
The predicted dry in Victoria & Tasmania turned out wet or average.
The predicted dry in Nth Qld turned out really wet.
Vast areas of the continent predicted to be sl dry or average turned out REALLY REALLY WET. All n all – a waste of taxpayers money.
Maximum temperatures were correctly predicted in that same SE Qld-NE NSW zone where the rain Outlook had a win.
The West WA warmth was not predicted – a few points for the little win around Broome – then the predicted warmth in SA-Vic-Tas turned out to be non-existent
– like the huge predicted hot patch across north Australia. Large areas of the continent centre were predicted average and warm but turned out anomalously
cool to varying degrees – (added 4th Dec) – I would award a few points for the E-W trough shape in the Outlook which is partly copied by the two cool
patches. IMHO – overall a pretty miserable and useless failure.
The Outlook for minimum temperatures (nights) suggest there must be a serious lack of reality in the BoM – how could you go with a model predicting such a
hot result ? – in the face of months of failures. I think AGW has got to their collective judgment. Did nobody raise a hand to say that the real Australia was
unlikely to have this extent and degree of hot nights ?
The wins in WA, SE Qld-E NSW, Top End and far nth Qld are outweighed by the negatives over the remaining large areas. I like the way the largest area with a 75%
prediction to be above average – turned out to approximate the largest area of cool anomaly. (added 4th Dec) – note how in the minimum Outlook the contours
have a broadly domed shape with the red hot peaks in the NT and Nth WA – while the actual weather results are exactly opposite with the major cool area
representing a “topographic low” in the contouring. Another example of the BoM being EXACTLY wrong.
Just lately after our 8 days of the Great 2010 East Coast Monsoon – I am getting a bit weary of TV news interviews of people from flooded towns making
variants of this standard “knee jerk” claim; “..ten years of worst ever drought and now we get flooded out..”. A woman from Dubbo has been all over TV
news on the weekend with this sort of statement. It puzzles me that TV news journalists or editors can not be bothered to make basic checks on the net that take
seconds using Google.
That post included drought maps for NSW and you can see there was no drought for the northern half of NSW from 1st Nov 2005 – to 30 Oct 2008. Making drought maps now
at this BoM site and you can see there is no drought over the vast areas of most of Australia for 36 months, 1st Dec 2007 to 30 Nov 2010.
So I think people claiming “ten years of drought” or a “decade of drought”, should be careful to check facts about exactly what it is they are claiming.
“But the soaking has done little for Sydney’s dams, with only one millimetre falling over Warragamba in the seven days to yesterday morning.”. I take
their yesterday morning to mean the 4th. Taking a quick look at daily rain data for 28th November – 4th December for stations in the huge Warragamba
catchment, I find, Lithgow recorded 129.2, Bowral 112 and Taralga 85.
All useful rain that falls free from the sky and will run down creeks to Warragamba Dam. Simply stunning misinformation from a huge media company.
They could have also checked the Sydney Catchment
Authority website to find this, 100mm rain for the week ended 2nd Dec. (Warwick Hughes)
There’s a media war going on here in Australia. At stake is free speech — but the discussion about it is completely disguised and parades instead as a
debate about “balance” in science reporting.
It’s reached the point where our national masthead felt the need to issue a whole feature article rebutting their critics (Climate debate is no place for hotheads) which includes quote after quote of The
Australians pro man-made-global-warming editorials. But why under the Goddess of Free Press should any serious newspaper feel required to declare their belief
in a particular scientific theory?
The Australian has been taking heat from the rest of the Australian media (notably Fairfax and ABC employees, and a couple of book writing
academics). It’s not that The Australian has held back on publishing the illogical, unreasonable PR, and baseless posturing of
vested-carbon-scare-interests, no sir. They are just as ready as anyone to publish the unscientific Lomborgs, Orsekes, and Hamilton’s.
The real issue at stake is censorship. The rest of the media thinks The Australian should do more of it. They disparage The Australian in
scathing terms, not for what it won’t publish, but because it does not shield the dumb punters enough. The Australian commits the sin of giving some
column space to people who don’t hold UN-approved-views.
Censorship is the single most important tool of those who want to scare the masses. (Money, of course, would trump that, but there is no shortage of whole
government departments devoted to pumping the climate gravy, so while money is theoretically vital, in this case it’s guaranteed. Censorship, though, is an
entirely different story: it could “disappear” in an instant, and once gone, it’s hard to get back.)
So the climate-establishment and their willing minions crave censorship — and why wouldn’t they, they’re practical people. They know that if skeptical
writers were allowed to publicize their opinions along side the professors who keep spouting logical errors and baseless insults, then the grand facade of the
carbon scare would be cremated by Christmas, captured in comedy by New Year, and forgotten by Australia Day. More » (Jo Nova)
A team led by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre have measured the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide in the open ocean at higher wind speed then
anyone else has ever managed. Their findings are important for understanding how interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere influence climate.
“Evaluating the factors influencing the transfer of gases such as carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean is needed for a full understanding of
Earth’s climate system,” explained researcher John Prytherch of the National Oceanography Centre.
The transfer of carbon dioxide across the sea surface depends on many factors and has been difficult to study over extended periods at sea. Understandably,
therefore, there has been a lot of uncertainty about actual oceanic carbon dioxide fluxes, especially at high wind speeds. (NERC)
What do you know? The Medieval Warm Period, which either “didn’t exist” or “only happened in Europe”, also hit Western Antarctica.
Booth Island and Mount Scott
are also on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Stan Shebs.
The climate models don’t know why the world was warmer 1000 years ago. They don’t know why it cooled into the Little Ice Age either. The models don’t
do regional projections well, and they don’t do seasonal projections with any skill, and they (in the last ten years) don’t work on short decadal timeframes
either, but surely when it comes to big global temperature changes the models have got all the major forces figured out? Surely they’d be able to predict
large movements across the entire globe eh? — but the first test we come to, a mere thousand years ago, shows the models have a predictive ability not
significantly different from a coin toss.
Just because it was warmer 1000 years ago (due to some other reason), doesn’t mean that CO2 isn’t responsible for this warming cycle, but when all the
evidence for CO2′s guilt comes only from models that can’t get the last warming cycle right, and from argument from ignorance (“Our models
don’t project this warm period without putting CO2 in!”) then we know that the “evidence” (such as it isn’t) is very weak. The mysterious forces
that warmed us a thousand years ago could easily be at work right now. Worse, some entirely different factor could be too. The unknown unknowns eh?
During the “perfect stable idyllic climate” before SUV’s and power stations were invented and while the global
population was one 20th of what it is today, ice on the Western Peninsula was at least as degraded as it is now, or possibly was even more so. More » (Jo Nova)
Observations have shown differences in altitude and brightness between polar mesospheric clouds (clouds made of ice crystals in the upper mesosphere) in the
Northern Hemisphere and those in the Southern Hemisphere. Various mechanisms have been suggested to explain the differences; a new study shows that the ozone
hole in the stratosphere above Antarctica could be playing a key role in the temperature and circulation patterns in the mesosphere (an atmospheric layer that
begins 50 kilometers above Earth's surface, just above the stratosphere), leading to differences in polar mesospheric clouds.
Using climate model simulations, Smith et al. show that the ozone hole causes a decrease in temperature in the lower stratosphere that persists into the summer.
These temperature changes are accompanied by wind changes that modify the upward propagation of small-scale waves, which in turn alter the atmospheric
circulation in the mesosphere in the Southern Hemisphere.
The researchers find that the hemispheric asymmetry was small before 1980 but increased at about the same time as the onset of the ozone hole. A model run with
no ozone loss showed no increases in the hemispheric asymmetry in mesospheric circulation and temperature, confirming that ozone loss is a likely cause of the
hemispheric differences. They suggest that as the ozone hole recovers in upcoming decades, these trends in mesospheric temperature and circulation may change.
Title: Simulations of the response of mesospheric circulation and temperature to the Antarctic ozone hole
Authors: Anne K. Smith, Rolando R. Garcia, Daniel R. Marsh, and Douglas E. Kinnison: Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research,
Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Jadwiga H. Richter: Chemistry and Global Dynamics, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Although smart phones and computers make it easier to remember, last month Americans endured the semi-annual hassle of changing their clocks an hour.
“Daylight Saving Time” (DST) was originally started during World War I to allegedly save energy. Jimmy Carter gave it to us in peacetime as part of his
National Energy Plan. In practice, DST causes needless headaches—and even heart attacks!—and arguably doesn’t even save energy.
Chalk it up to yet another failed government intervention.
The Hubris of DST
Joe Romm is not afraid to recommend society-changing government intervention in order to achieve a conservation goal, and he proposes drastic carbon
legislation to prevent what he sees as “hell and high water.” Yet even this
central planner hit the nail on the head when he complained: “You
can’t save daylight by moving around the hands on your clock, of course. So daylight saving time remains as absurdly named as it ever was.”
For those who are skeptical of the current suite of climate models, Romm’s complaint is ironic. The same mindset that led government wartime planners to
alter time, leads today’s planners to project what the global temperature will be in the year 2080.
The Harm of DST
There are many harms to DST. Most obvious, there is the hassle every household endures in actually changing the numerous clocks (microwaves, nightstand,
watch, car, etc.). Although this doesn’t seem like a big deal, imagine if the federal government mandated that every U.S. citizen sit in a timeout corner for
15 minutes twice a year. Multiplied over hundreds of millions of people, that would add up to a significant waste of time, unless there were some corresponding
benefit to the practice. [Read more →]
Consumer protection organisations have demanded a suspension of the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs, citing official tests that showed the new compact
fluorescent lamps to be dangerous if broken.
The energy saving bulbs show mercury levels 20 times higher than regulations allow in the air surrounding them for up to five hours after they are broken,
according to tests released Thursday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). (The Local)
In our book, “The Energy Imperative” earlier this year, my co-authors (Leonard Kalfayan and Michael Economides) and I commented on the Deepwater Horizon
disaster, which was unfolding at the time. [Read More] (Phil Rae, ET)
Frack is not a pleasant word. Nor a popular one. It has obvious negative connotations. Even the spelling is contested. The industry that invented and uses
the term prefers the spelling ''fracc''. Either way, you wouldn't want to be fracked, or fracced.
This could change. Money always changes things. Hydraulic fracturing - fracking (Herald style), or fraccing (used by the natural gas industry) - represents a
potential goldmine for Australia. It is the key to developing energy resources potentially much bigger than the natural gas deposits off Western Australia that
have been part of the resources export boom that protected Australia from the global recession and is beginning to change the entire economy. (SMH)
Echoing President Barack Obama’s recent statements, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hosted a forum in D.C. this week to discuss the important role
natural gas stands to play in America’s energy future. At the exact same time the meeting’s participants were detailing the economic and environmental
advantages of cultivating this vast resource, the New York State Assembly was voting to ban the drilling process to extract gas until at least May 2011. These
two events illustrate a growing political divide in what should otherwise be a straightforward issue.
Much of this wedge is being driven by activists who oppose all fossil fuels and lobbyists for other energy sources eager to make natural gas less
competitive. The situation suggests that this fight is about politics and money rather than consumer safety, as natural gas opponents claim. In fact, the EPA
declared the hydraulic fracturing drilling process safe as recently as 2004.
(Michael Economides, ET)
BY MICHAEL R. FOX PHD - Well now he tells us. As reported recently in the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) ( http://tinyurl.com/36tscyk
), Al Gore came clean on his fantasies of the benefits of biofuels. Well away from the American people whom he helped skewer, his recent confessional speech in
Greece was missed by a lot of American media and millions of Americans. His tie-breaking 1994 vote in the U.S. Senate 16 years ago to support ethanol subsidies
was, he says, for political purposes, and not for any actual breakthrough in alternative energy production. (Hawaii Reporter)
A left-right coalition is emerging against this energy boondoggle.
The political class inevitably invokes the moon shot or Manhattan Project as a model for every unrealistic energy goal, but for once maybe that hyperbole is
apt: A left-right coalition is emerging to end ethanol subsidies. (WSJ)
Across the world, unsustainable subsidies for wind and solar are being cut back. Ontario is next
The Ontario government paints itself in extreme green. It has outlawed coal — the only jurisdiction on the continent to have
done so. It boasts the world’s biggest solar plant. It boasts the western world’s biggest subsidies to the renewables industry. And now, it also boasts the
western world’s fastest-growing renewables industry.
But Ontario’s new-found status didn’t arise because Ontario newly increased its level of its subsidies. It arose because the world’s other extreme
green jurisdictions — to avert the economic and political ruin that comes of unaffordable green power — recently swallowed their pride, slashed their
subsidies and backstabbed their renewables industries. Like its extreme green counterparts elsewhere, Ontario will follow suit soon enough.
BRITISH households will have to pay an estimated £450 a year each to fund the Government’s ambitious green power plans according to calculations by
uSwitch.com, the price comparison service.
The Government is set to announce a raft of consultations before Christmas on measures designed to help the UK meet its onerous renewables targets and to fund
much-needed new power infrastructure. (Express)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that wind power can pose environmental risks, casting doubts over plans to develop this alternative
energy source in the oil-rich country.
Putin, who has overseen all major energy deals Russia made in recent years, is keen for the country to maintain its role as a major oil and gas producer. He has
repeatedly expressed his skepticism about alternative energy.
"Windmills, which are so widespread in many European countries seem to be an environmentally friendly kind (of energy), but in fact they kill birds,"
Putin told a conference of his United Russia party in the Far East.
"Vibration there is such that worms come out of the ground, not to mention moles. This is a real environmental problem," he said, adding that solar
energy was the only alternative source that was entirely harmless. (Reuters)
Who says solar is "harmless"? What about the components and manufacture? What about the enormous footprint of attempting to harvest
such dispersed energy?
Many people have a poor grasp of the hierarchy of risks to life and limb.
Risk experts sometimes joke sardonically about an apocryphal, but illustrative, scenario in which a guy on the beach of Lake Michigan hears a rumor about a
shark sighting and decides to split, so he quickly polishes off his six-pack, lights up a cigarette and, without fastening his seat belt, speeds off in a
top-heavy SUV with bald tires while texting his girlfriend.
(There are no sharks in the Great Lakes, by the way.)
Those of us devoted to raising the health and science IQ of the American public are clearly failing; how else to explain the plethora of common, serious
mistakes of omission and commission. Consider these extraordinarily anti-social or self-destructive examples: (Henry Miller and Gilbert Ross, IBD)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Exposure to polluted air early in life led to an accumulation of abdominal fat and insulin resistance in mice even if they ate a normal
diet, according to new research.
Animals exposed to the fine-particulate air pollution had larger and more fat cells in their abdominal area and higher blood sugar levels than did animals
eating the same diet but breathing clean air.
Researchers exposed the mice to the polluted air for six hours a day, five days a week for 10 weeks beginning when the animals were 3 weeks old. This time frame
roughly matches the toddler years to late adolescence in humans.
The exposure levels for the animals subjected to polluted air resemble the fine-particulate pollution that can be found in urban areas in the United States.
Um... why aren't people in south Asia and Africa shaped like beach balls then? After all, their exposure to indoor air particulate loads is
far greater than urban Americans. And the same goes for previous denizens of larger cities (who could forget the killer smogs of the relatively recent past?),
why wasn't abdominal obesity and diabetes more prevalent when pollutant levels were so much higher?
U.S. researchers are closing in on an accurate test for autism, a finding that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
The test, which uses conventional magnetic resonance imaging or MRI machines, detected 94 percent of individuals with a high-functioning form of autism, they
reported on Thursday.
"These results are the best yet in the search for a biological basis in terms of being able to distinguish those with and without the disease," said
Nicholas Lange of Harvard Medical School, who directs the Neurostatistics Laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.
He said the findings, published in the journal Autism Research, were very preliminary, but if confirmed in several more and larger studies, they might replace
current subjective tests now used to diagnose the disorder. (Reuters)
AUTISM is a puzzling phenomenon. In its pure form it is an inability to understand the emotional responses of others that is seen in people of otherwise
normal—sometimes above normal—intelligence. However, it is often associated with other problems, and can also appear in mild and severe forms. This
variability has led many people to think of it as a spectrum of symptoms rather than a single, clear-cut syndrome. And that variability makes it hard to work
out what causes it.
There is evidence of genetic influence, but no clear pattern of inheritance. The thought that the underlying cause may be hereditary, though, is one reason for
disbelieving the hypothesis, which gained traction a few years ago but is now discredited, that measles vaccinations cause autism.
One suggestion that does pop up from time to time is that the process which leads to autism involves faulty mitochondria. The mitochondria are a cell’s
powerpacks. They disassemble sugar molecules and turn the energy thus liberated into a form that biochemical machinery can use. Mitochondrial faults could be
caused by broken genes, by environmental effects, or by a combination of the two. (Economist)
Birds are being turned gay because there is too much mercury in their diet, scientists have revealed. (TDT)
I really don't think a lot of these feeding experiments. I'd possibly be impressed if they could tell us about the the health of the wild
birds whose breeding success is supposedly of concern but captive birds on synthetic diets? Meh...
A judge on Thursday denied a request by five U.S. states to close off man-made waterways that connect the Great Lakes to inland rivers, ruling there was no
imminent threat of Asian carp entering the lakes.
Five states bordering the lakes, led by Michigan, had sought a preliminary injunction that would have required the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately
shut off the waterways, arguing action was necessary to head off a disaster for the lakes' $7 billion fishery.
But U.S. District Court Judge Robert Dow disagreed, saying the states were unlikely to win their lawsuit against the Army Corps and had not proven the threat of
a carp invasion was imminent. (Reuters)
(CNSNews.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency, marking its
40th anniversary this week, announced that ”sustainability concepts” will govern its programs from now on.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said her agency has commissioned a “groundbreaking” National Research Council study that will help the agency
“incorporate sustainability into the way the agency approaches environmental protection.”
The announcement signifies an important step toward building a society that can meet its needs while preserving the ability of future generations to meet
their needs, the EPA said in a Nov. 30 news release.
Historically, environmental programs have focused on reducing air pollution and water pollution and identifying and monitoring chemical and environmental
risks to human health and the environment. But, the EPA explained, today’s challenges involve the sustainable use of energy, water, materials and land –
“and require solutions that stress the linkages between energy use, water use, environmental protection, human health, quality of life, and the global
economy.” Read the rest of this entry »
With almost one billion people lacking access to clean, safe drinking water, scientists are reporting development and successful initial tests of an
inexpensive new filtering technology that kills up to 98 percent of disease-causing bacteria in water in seconds without clogging. A report on the technology
appears in Nano Letters, a monthly American Chemical Society journal.
Presidents of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi receive landmark study at retreat on African food security and climate change
Africa can feed itself. And it can make the transition from hungry importer to self-sufficiency in a single generation.
The startling assertions, in stark contrast with entrenched, gloomy perceptions of the continent, highlight a collection of studies published today that present
a clear prescription for transforming Sub-Saharan Africa's agriculture and, by doing so, its economy.
The strategy calls on governments to make African agricultural expansion central to decision making about everything from transportation and communication
infrastructure to post-secondary education and innovation investment.
The approach is outlined in an independent study, "The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa," led by Harvard University professor Calestous
And it is gathering political momentum, with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to launch the report at a retreat of East African Community (EAC) Heads of State
in Arusha, Tanzania, Thurs., Dec. 2. Following a presentation by Prof. Juma, President Kikwete will chair a discussion with Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda,
Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, on policies and strategies to address persistent food insecurity in the East
Africa in light of climate change. (See also an EAC news release online at www.eac.int/about-eac/eacnews/520.html?task=view)
(Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs)
While the rich parts of the world are covered in snow and ice, the rest of the world cooks
Is the divine presence a Republican? Or is He/She/It running an inter-galactic fossil fuel conglomerate? As His name doesn't feature on the exxonsecrets site,
the Congressional funding database or any of the other sponsored denier lists, we'll never know, but whatever the explanation may be, the Paraclete appears to
be as determined as any terrestrial corporate frontman to prevent a successful conclusion to the climate talks.
How do I know? Because every time anyone gets together to try to prevent global climate breakdown, He swaths the rich, densely habited parts of the world with
snow and ice, while leaving obscurer places to cook. (Guardian)
Hey George! If you think the Supreme Being is deliberately sabotaging your efforts or even... [Gasp!] a Republican, has it occurred to you
that maybe you are trying to do the wrong thing? Maybe in His wisdom He wants a warmer world with abundant affordable energy for His children and you are trying
to screw things up. Considering Gore Effect perhaps He is a Republican and [the]
Right really is on our side ;-)
I guess all the hotels in Moose Jaw are booked this time of year.
That might explain why they're holding that international climate summit in Cancun instead.
Or perhaps they just don't like the idea of single digit temperatures as well as headlines in the local news reading "Cold, stormy winter with lots of snow
expected for Saskatchewan."
The article goes on to explain that a "La Nina" event in the South Pacific is expected to cause a cold winter in Canada. Such events are part of the
so-called "Pacific Decadal Oscillation." This is a phenomenon that causes huge temperature swings all over the globe but remains only dimly understood
by climate scientists.
They're too busy studying manmade global warming. That's where the money is, and there's a lot of it. A study by the Science and Public Policy Institute states
that the U.S. government has spent $32 billion on climate research over the past 20 years.
Spending so much on studying on greenhouse gases is a misuse of resources, says William Happer a Princeton physicist who has a habit of injecting realism into
the debate over global warming.
"I think most of the current climate change is natural, but people have become so fixated on CO-2 that people no longer look at natural causes,"
Happer said a reasonable estimate is that perhaps 20 percent of the change is anthropogenic, with the rest caused by such natural phenomena as ocean currents
and sunspots. That means that even a big reduction in CO-2 levels would mean just a tiny reduction in warming, he said. And that's a great argument for doing
"Whatever you do has almost no effect on temperatures but has very negative effects on people's jobs and their welfare," he said. (Paul Mulshine, The
Cancun, Mexico, may be the center of the global warming universe this week. But members of Congress say their thoughts are a world away from the
international treaty talks.
From "the House is in session" to "I haven't thought about it," Republicans and Democrats alike have excuses aplenty for skipping the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change talks. The conference opened yesterday and goes through Dec. 10.
The apathy is palpable, and a far cry from the atmosphere last year when President Obama and the leaders of more than 100 other nations descended in droves upon
the chilly Danish capital of Copenhagen to hawk their views at the climate circus. That conference saw U.S. congressional champions of cap-and-trade legislation
as well as skeptics jostling to share their views on the prospects for American domestic action and a new international treaty. (ClimateWire)
General Motors has apparently had an epiphany. GM now “realizes” that it “shares the planet with everyone” and wants “to do more to help keep it
clean.” So GM has pledged to buy carbon offsets representing one year’s worth of greenhouse gas emissions from the 1.9 million Chevys projected to be sold
First, while GM describes the program’s cost as “substantial,” it’s really not. GM expects to sell about 10 million Chevys over the next five years
— so the actual expenditure works out to about $4 per car. That triviality will be matched by the program’s environmental impact.
Human activities emit about 40 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually. So if all goes as planned, GM’s program will reduce global human greenhouse gas
emissions by about 0.004 percent over the next five years. GM calls this “a start” and denies that the program is “greenwashing.”
In fact, GM states on its web site that, “This is really about making a positive statement to our customers. And letting them know that we are committed to
doing the right thing.” But merely claiming green-ness while accomplishing nothing tangible for the environment fits the definition of greenwashing perfectly
— “the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products are environmentally
friendly,” according to Wikipedia’s definition of the term.
And it’s quite possible that the Chevy Carbon Reduction program will accomplish even less than the company believes since it involves the purchase of
so-called “carbon offsets.” GM’s $4-per-Chevy expense will be directed to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, an Oregon-based non-profit that will
“invest” the money in purportedly climate-friendly projects like planting trees, and solar and wind power.
But carbon offsets can be murky endeavors — so much so than when the Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported on them in 2008, concerns about their
legitimacy overflowed into the report’s title, “Carbon Offsets: The U.S. Voluntary Market Is Growing, but Quality Assurance Poses Challenges for Market
The basic problem with offsets is that buyers can be ripped-off fairly easily. Offset sellers claim the proceeds go toward efforts to prevent the
accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But as greenhouse gas emissions are invisible, challenging to estimate, and the accounting for these
projects is typically not open to public scrutiny, buyers must rely on the credibility of the brokers and project operators. The GAO found that “the
information provided to consumers by retailers offered limited assurance of credibility.” In other words, buyers beware.
Aside from any schemes and scams run by individual offset brokers and project operators, there is the overlay of the radical environmental agenda on the
offset industry. GM’s offset broker, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), is run by a former employee of the radical Natural Resources Defense
Council (NRDC). BEF’s offsets are “certified” by an organization called Green-e, the board of directors of which includes members of NRDC and the radical
Union of Concerned Scientists — as well as BEF’s senior vice president. So, not only are BEF and Green-e not independent of one another at the management
level, they are threaded together ideologically by ties to radical environmentalism, a movement whose members will say and do almost anything to advance their
social and political agenda. And GM is going to rely on assurances from BEF and Green-e about offsetting invisible greenhouse gas emissions.
Should any of this matter to consumers? Who cares whether GM scams and gets scammed for a few dollars per car? Bailouts aside, taxpayers and consumers should
already be angry with the “Big Three.” Chrysler, Ford and GM are all members of the NRDC-run U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a big business-radical
environmentalist coalition that lobbied for cap and trade. If the Big Three and their green buddies had succeeded in foisting cap and trade upon us during the
111th Congress, millions of U.S. jobs and trillions of dollars in GDP would have vanished during the ensuing years.
What separates Chrysler and Ford from GM presently is that, cutting through all the nonsense, the Chevy Carbon Reduction program is little more than a $40
million wealth transfer from consumers via GM to anti-consumer radical environmentalists and their allies. The good news for GM is that when I get a new car in
2011, no one will need to worry about any emissions from a Chevy.
As the FT reports today, the EU is still demanding that it's not fair that the U.S. not do the same harm to ourselves that they did to themselves, and can't
undo. Only they've tweaked their rationale slightly for why we should hobble ourselves and, effectively, commit to buying their stuff to bail out their bubble
industries (see those billions in 'stimulus' money going to Iberdrola et al.). That whole end is nigh business is just so pre-ClimateGate. Now it is that we
will fall behind economically if we don't. (American Spectator)
Top-ranking Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to freeze all future
requests for climate-related spending, saying that it is inappropriate to transfer money to developing nations while the U.S. economy is struggling.
The letter — signed by Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, David Vitter of Louisiana,
George Voinovich of Ohio and John Barrasso of Wyoming — warns U.S. negotiators not to give away too much during the U.N. climate conference that is under way
in Cancun, Mexico.
“We simply cannot afford any massive spending programs with such debt owed by America’s future generations,” it says.
The man in charge of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has revealed that not enough work is being put into research to understand how
quickly the world will warm over the next few decades.
Rajendra Pachaur, IPCC chairman, told The Associated Press: "There are huge gaps in the effort as far as scientific research is concerned." (PS)
Agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions and vulnerability to climate change impacts are far too big to ignore, say scientists
CANCUN/MEXICO, 2 December 2010—Not content to see farming remain outside the international climate change negotiations under way in Mexico, a broad coalition
of 17 organizations will bring together more than 400 policy makers, farmers, scientists, business leaders and development specialists on Saturday, December 4
to define steps for opening the door to agriculture within the next six months, permitting its full inclusion in both national action plans as well as the
global climate agenda. (Agriculture & Rural Development Day)
UMD Study Advises State on Creation of 'Nutrient Trading Market'
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Financially rewarding farmers for using the best fertilizer management practices can simultaneously benefit water quality and help combat
climate change, finds a new study by the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER).
The researchers conclude that setting up a "trading market," where farmers earn financial incentives for investing in eco-friendly techniques, would
result in a double environmental benefit - reducing fertilizer run-off destined for the Chesapeake Bay, while at the same time capturing carbon dioxide headed
for the atmosphere. (UM)
More efficient farmers are already rewarded for not wasting fertilizers and CO2 is an environmental asset. Why should we create
yet another fake market to benefit only bankers and traders?
How Britain’s cold winters fit into climate change
WITH unerring irony, this week the British weather delivered an early and spectacular cold blast to mark the start of the climate-change talks in Cancún,
Mexico. Snow fell heavily in much of the country, and lightly over all of it; temperatures dropped to below -10°C. The chill might not presage another
enduringly severe winter like that of 2009-10, but it has already brought a familiar crop of stories about traffic turmoil and closed schools. It might also add
to Britain’s scepticism about climate change (already more widespread than in many other European countries).
It might be hard to believe with the snow falling outside but 2010 was globally the hottest year on record, according to the Met Office. (TDT)
But who believes the Met Office anymore? The Central England Temperature record last 12-month running mean is almost a full degree cooler
than the mean for 2009 (9.15 °C as opposed 10.11 °C for calendar '09). Actually that's unfair because the satellite record also shows this to be
globally one of the warmer years of the last 30:
That said, a December like 1950, when the world was also warm, would see calendar year 2010 drop out of the warmest 200 in the CET record.
Climate change is expected to cause sea levels to rise -- at least in some parts of the world. Elsewhere, the level of the ocean will actually fall.
Scientists are trying to get a better picture of the complex phenomenon, which also depends on a host of natural factors.
When presented as a globe, the Earth looks as round and smooth as a billiard ball. To anyone standing on a beach, the ocean looks as flat as a pancake.
But perception is deceptive. "In reality, the water in the oceans wobbles all over the place," says oceanographer Detlef Stammer. He isn't talking
about waves, but large-scale bulges and bumps in the sea level. (Spiegel)
It's even less certain than they suggest -- each year has an equal chance of being warmer or cooler than the preceding one and no one knows
whether there will be any net warming in the future.
Better understanding of the long-term history of El Nino will help enhance short-term prediction of this global climate phenomenon and help mitigate
associated natural disasters
For more than a decade, Dr. Joseph Ortiz, associate professor of geology at Kent State University and part of an international team of National Science
Foundation (NSF)-funded researchers, has been studying long-term climate variability associated with El Niño. The researchers' goal is to help climatologists
better understand this global climate phenomenon that happens every two to eight years, impacting much of the world.
El Niño is the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters. The last El Niño occurred in 2009, Ortiz said, and its impact was felt in the
United States with flooding in the south and wildfires in California. The research team looked at El Niño-Southern Oscillation (which is often just called
"El Niño"), reconstructing sea surface temperature of the equatorial Pacific over the past 14,000 years.
"If we understand how El Niño changes over thousands of years, we can better predict climate changes on societal time-scales of years to decades,"
Ortiz explained. "El Niño variations lead to drought, famine, landslides, fires and other natural disasters, depending on where in the world you happen to
be. Our findings can help lead to better ways to predict El Niño-Southern Oscillations, mitigating the natural disasters associated with it." (Kent State
My article with Ray Garnett from CMOS Bulletin
December 2010 is a preliminary analysis of extensive flooding on the Canadian Prairies (and to some extent on the US Prairies as well) this past summer
2010. In our assessment, the summer 2010 deluge on the Prairies was a result of a favourable combination of several large-scale forcing factors like SST in
equatorial Pacific- El Nino phase since last December 2009 providing the primary forcing, NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) phase during Spring &
Summer 2010 which enabled moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to reach eastern Prairies and low sunspot activity for the past several months. The linkage between
the Canadian/American Prairie drought and solar variability has been studied for the last 30 years or more and there is now a growing conviction that solar
variability does indeed influence a Prairie drought (or flood). The precise mechanism for the sun/drought linkage is not well understood at this
point, however a simple algorithm using sunspot activity can be used to foreshadow Prairie summer weather & climate and impact on grain yield. This simple
algorithm has operational utility.
The abstract of the article reads
The May-July period over the Canadian Prairies in 2010 was the wettest in 60 years and possibly 100 years. in July the federal and three prairie provincial
governments announced $450 million in funding to assist waterlogged farmers. Causal factors are considered to be El Niño conditions during the past winter and
spring months, below normal North American snow cover in April and extremely low sunspot activity.
AUSTRALIA has recorded its wettest spring in 111 years of records as the Weather Bureau warns of heavy rain on Saturday for much of Queensland's southeast.
The nation recorded an average 163mm over spring, up on the previous record of 140mm set in 1975.
It comes as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt raises concerns about the impacts of the wet on the reef.
Dr Reichelt said on Thursday that although cloud cover could help keep sea surface temperatures down and reduce bleaching, cyclones and flood run-off could
Environment Department staff and tourism operators would be involved in monitoring reef health. (Courier-Mail)
Oh, for goodness sake! The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has survived ice ages and warm periods, drought and major flood events without needing
people to worry about it and it actually needs tropical cyclones and associated onshore flooding to transfer nutrients across the lagoon. GBRMPA (the GBR Marine
Park Authority) is a nest of rampant misanthropic empire-building eco-zealots that should have been shut down long ago.
All the scares generated by the false climate science promoted by political agendas disappear from the mainstream media and are rarely heard of again.
There’s no follow up in the mainstream media, no apologies for providing false or inadequate information.
Nasty old Mother Nature causes the demise by going about her normal business. As the old advertisement said, it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. The
Northern Hemisphere winter is already proving once again that global warming is another undelivered government promise.
The sequence begins with identification of an issue. This occurs in several ways including reporters scanning science journals for articles to sensationalize; a
scientist or Environmental group publicizing an issue. If the story catches, they’ll push it from various angles. If it loses traction, they bring in a
different scientific angle or raise the level of potential damage. (Tim Ball, CFP)
Over at Judith Curry’s excellent blog she has a post on how to
test the climate models. In response I wrote a bit about some model testing I did four years ago, and I thought I should expand it into a full post for WUWT. We
are being asked to bet billions of dollars on computer model forecasts of future climate catastrophe. These global climate models, known as GCMs, forecast that
the globe will warm extensively over the next century. In this context, it is prudent to take a look at how well the models have done at “hindcasting”
historical temperatures, when presented with actual data from historical records.
In that study, results were presented for the first time showing two sets of observational data plus 9 separate GCM temperature “hindcasts” for the
temperatures at the surface, troposphere, and stratosphere of the tropical region (20°N to 20°S) from 1979 to 2000. These models were given the actual
1979-2000 data for a variety of forcings (e.g., volcanic eruptions, ozone levels, see below for a complete list). When fed with all of these forcings for
1979-2000, the GCMs produced their calculated temperature hindcasts. I have used the same observational data and the same model results used by Santer. Here’s
what their results look like:
Results from Santer05 Analysis. Red and orange (overlapping) are observational data (NOAA and HadCRUv2). Data digitized from
Santer05. See below for data availability.
The first question that people generally ask about GCM results like this is “what temperature trend did the models predict?”. This, however, is the wrong
The White House oil spill commission on Thursday challenged offshore drillers to boost safety standards, detailing proposals for the creation of an
independent, self-regulating industry group and reformed government oversight.
Created in the aftermath of the BP drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the commission said the entire offshore oil industry needed to increase its focus on
safety and such an industry group could hold firms accountable. (Reuters)
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it had rescinded its decision to expand offshore oil exploration into the eastern Gulf of
Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast because of weaknesses in federal regulation revealed by the BP oil spill.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that a moratorium on drilling would be in force in those areas for at least seven years, until stronger safety and
environmental standards were in place. The move puts off limits millions of acres of the Outer Continental Shelf that hold potentially billions of barrels of
oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.
The decision essentially reverses the much-disputed drilling plan announced in March, which would have initiated environmental studies and exploration activity
in previously untouched areas off the Gulf Coast of Florida and along the East Coast from Florida to Delaware. (NYT)
President Obama’s reversal yesterday on offshore drilling should surprise no one.
When he announced plans for more drilling last March, President Obama was really offering it as a carrot to get the oil industry to sign on to
cap-and-trade. That gambit failed. Cap-and-trade is dead and so now is his offer of more offshore drilling.
The administration’s reference to the Gulf oil spill as a reason for the reversal is simple camouflage for the withdrawal of an offer that was never
sincere in the first place.
On balance, President Obama is the loser. Cap-and-trade is dead forever, while offshore drilling opportunities could expand as early as January 20, 2013.
(Green Hell Blog)
[Editor note: Robert L. Bradley Jr.'s book review of Charles Koch's The Science of Success (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2007)
appeared in the August/September 2008 issue of The New Individualist (Atlas Society). It is reprinted below to better publicize the worldview of the
individual who has been behind a number of free-society initiatives across the country for several decades--and is now a target of Al Gore and the anti-free-market Left).
In 1859, the first treatise on “best practices” appeared: Self-Help, With Illustrations of Character, Conduct, and
Perseverance, by Samuel Smiles. Motivational self-improvement books were not new, but Smiles’s 400-page opus was persuasive. Profusely illustrated with
stories of men-made-good in industry, engineering, the arts, and music, Self-Help combined age-tested wisdom with knowledge of the industrial present.
From Self-Help to Organizational Success
Nearly 150 years later, the most recent addition to the self-help literature is The Science of Success by Charles G.
Koch: businessman, philanthropist, and applied intellectual. Koch’s book has all the earmarks of a classic, but not because it is a tome (the 166-page main
text is quite brief for the material covered) or because it is the last word on the subject (it is really just the beginning, despite two monographs published
by Koch disciples a decade or more ago). The book’s seminal potential is that it presents what could be the most logical, systematic framework for
organizational success articulated to date.
Applying primarily to business but also to nonprofits and government, the book offers the outlines of a tested framework for
organizational success. Koch draws upon his forty years of experience in building what Forbes calls America’s largest privately held business (80,000
employees, $90 billion in annual revenue), studying and applying what is called “The Science of Liberty,” and founding and nurturing dozens of
Charles Koch deserves an audience. The family company he took over in the 1960s that had an enterprise value of perhaps tens of
millions of dollars (inflation-adjusted) is worth, again according to Forbes, tens of billions. Koch Industries has never suffered a yearly loss. And
in relative terms, a dollar invested in Koch in 1967 (the year Charles took over from his father) would be worth $2,000 today, outdistancing the same investment
in the S&P 500 index ($500 today) or Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway ($1,400).[Read more →] (MasterResource)
Offshore wind power projects pave the way to frequent blackouts
EDGAR L. GAERTNER
Thousands of bureaucrats are preparing for another cushy climate confab in Cancun — while U.S. Senators Bignaman, Brownback and Reid are contemplating how to
ram renewable energy standards through a lame-duck session of Congress. If they’re wise, American voters and congressmen will pay extra careful attention to
the awful dilemma of German climate and energy policy, as exemplified by recent events and make sure their country doesn’t make the same “green” mistakes
Barely two months after the inauguration ceremony for Germany’s first pilot offshore wind farm, “Alpha Ventus” in the North Sea, all six of the newly
installed wind turbines were completely idle due to gearbox damage. Two turbines must be replaced entirely, the other four repaired.
Friends of the project, especially Germany’s environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, talked of “teething problems.” The problem is far more serious than
that, for wind turbines in the high seas are extremely expensive for power consumers, even when they run smoothly. When they don’t the problem intensifies.
Germany could face blackouts — a new dark age. (CFACT EU)
A federal judge in Virginia on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the landmark healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, upholding key
provisions that require health insurance coverage.
The challenge, one of several attempting to strike down the law passed earlier this year, was brought by the conservative Christian Liberty University and
individuals who said the law would violate several parts of the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ruled that the law requiring individuals to buy health insurance coverage as well as requiring employers to buy coverage for
their employees was legal under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters)
House Republicans are pushing full speed ahead for the repeal of Obamacare. Rather than trying to sift through the president's "comprehensive"
overhaul and separate the morsels of wheat from the warehouses of chaff, the Republicans will wisely repeal the whole thing and start over. If there's anything
worth keeping from the 2,700-page monstrosity, the GOP will include it in its separate replacement legislation. (Weekly Standard)
Should bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., set rules for the Internet? Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), thinks
so. In remarks today, he stated that he had developed a new plan to impose
so-called “net neutrality” rules on Internet service providers, setting a vote on the issue for December 21.
Details of the plan are yet to be released, but the chairman indicated that the plan was based on a legislative proposal floated a month ago by
Representative Henry Waxman (D–CA). That plan, however, was soundly rejected by Congress. Genachowski’s plan—which the FCC would adopt without specific
approval by Congress—should be rejected as well.
The Waxman proposal would have banned
Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast from managing the flow of traffic on their networks in a way that “unjustly or unreasonably” discriminates
against particular types of content. The new rules would have been enforced on a case-by-case basis by the FCC. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Regulation: In the name of fairness, a Federal Communications Commission plan to impose "net neutrality" without any legislative or legal authority
will in effect be silencing a conduit for the truth that keeps us free.
The Internet is once again under attack, not from hackers intent on spilling secrets or causing mischief, but by an administration intent on controlling the
free flow of information that it views as a threat to its expanding power.
According to the Hill, which obtained a copy of the FCC's tentative December agenda just after midnight Wednesday, the government agency will seek to impose
rules concerning "net neutrality" at a Feb. 21 meeting. The announcement says these "rules would protect consumers' and innovators' right to know
basic information about broadband service, right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic, and right to a level playing field."
Regulation now is done by Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web sites that sprout up like weeds. A lot of nonsense is online, as well as a lot of valuable
facts and information. Information's former gatekeepers, such as the mainstream media and the federal government, find this free flow of ideas inconvenient.
Note the announcement's emphasis on "lawful Internet traffic" and a "level playing field." This is government-speak for controlling what
gets said and who gets to say it. The Internet is already open to all, but in the marketplace of ideas, as in other areas of endeavor, some ideas win out over
others. The FCC wants to decide what and whose ideas get heard. (IBD)
Pregnant women who live near busy roads may be at a greater risk for delivering before term, suggests a new study from Japan.
However, the researchers say it's too early to know for sure if traffic-related air pollution can actually cause preterm births. (Reuters Health)
Still doesn't tell us whether proximity to major thoroughfares is simply a socioeconomic marker (those who can afford a more des-res probably
also have more health-care affordability, less physically demanding employment...) and doesn't consider actual exposures (OK, there's a road X distance away but
what are the prevailing wind conditions around peak hours? If it's a coastal city then afternoon/evening onshore winds may mean residents on one side of the
target road may be exposed to many multiples of the pollutant levels as those on the windward side - distance from potential source ≠ actual exposure.).
Big Government: A questionable food safety bill in search of a crisis passed the Senate, but may hit a snag in the House. This power grab of the nation's
food supply may end up benefiting a certain Hungarian billionaire.
Why would the Senate take up precious time in the lame duck session considering a food safety bill?
Just as ObamaCare wasn't really about health care reform but about government power, S510 is not really about food safety but about government control of
agriculture and the nation's food producers. The Food Safety Modernization Act would give the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented power to govern how
farmers produce their crops. The FDA would be able to control soil, water, hygiene, and even temperature, on farms. Through the law, the agency could regulate
animal activity in the fields. (IBD)
Less than 24 hours after declaring victory in his quest to vastly expand the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—for the
children—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) is mired in a procedural misstep that may well kill the legislation.
Despite the time constraints of the waning session, Reid focused Senate attention on passage of S. 510, the Food Safety Protection Act, which was approved on
Tuesday by a vote of 73–25.
Spanning some150 pages, the act authorizes the FDA to dictate how farmers grow fruits and vegetables, including rules governing soil, water, hygiene,
packing, temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It would also increase inspections of food “facilities” and tax them to do so.
That’s the rub. The House version of the bill does not contain the “revenue raiser” in the Senate bill. But the Constitution calls for all tax
provisions to originate in the House. Consequently, House Democrats are threatening to block the bill, which would force Reid to waste even more time on a
legislative fix or simply admit defeat. Continue
reading... (The Foundry)
Any emergence from recession may erode shift towards more sustainable lifestyles, warns EU report
The hoped-for emergence of the UK from its economic crisis might erode a shift towards more sustainable lifestyles, according to an EU report published this week.
A growing population, coupled with demand for more and larger homes, is threatening the UK's security of water supplies and wildlife, said the European
Environment Agency (EEA). (Ecologist Misanthropist)
First species to go extinct in an ecosystem tend to be those that reduce disease transmission, research suggests (Guardian)
I can think of one plausible mechanism -- impoverished people stripping the food chain and coming into contact with pathogen reservoirs but
that has everything to do with poverty and nothing to do with "biodiversity" (itself an absurd construct if you are trying to manipulate people's
emotions since a turd, for example, is biodiverse, bearing a wealth of pathogens, gut flora and fauna of extraordinary diversity and multitude in an all natural
ecology - not the image they are trying to conjure though).
Expect to see a lot more of these "biodiversity good, people bad" pieces and "studies" as the global warming gravy train derails.
Marginally-less alkaline oceans don't seem to be capturing the public's imagination nor causing suitable fundraising fear so "biodiversity" looks like
being "the next big thing".
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the destruction of plantings of genetically modified sugar beets developed by Monsanto Co after ruling previously the U.S.
Agriculture Department illegally approved the biotech crop.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in August banned the planting and sales of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" biotech sugar beets after determining
that their approval in 2005 by the USDA was illegal. He said the government must conduct a thorough environmental review before approving the crop to comply
with the law.
But shortly after the ruling, the USDA issued permits allowing companies to plant seedlings to produce seed for future GMO sugar beet crops.
In his ruling Tuesday Judge White said those seedlings "shall be removed from the ground."
Earthjustice, a consumer group that brought the case against the USDA and had asked the judge to order the young plants be destroyed, said the action was the
first court-ordered destruction of a GMO crop. (Reuters)
Get ready for a string of up-or-down votes on the Obama administration’s environmental record.
Republicans plotting their offensive against the Obama administration’s environmental policies are eyeing a powerful weapon that would force the
Democratic-held Senate to schedule votes on nullifying controversial regulations.
GOP lawmakers say they want to upend a host of Environmental Protection Agency rules by whatever means possible, including the Congressional Review Act, a
rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to essentially veto recently completed agency regulations.
The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don’t have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure
the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate.
The House doesn’t have the same expedited procedures, but it’s assumed the GOP majority would have little trouble mustering the votes needed to pass
A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission
limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste.
“We’re not going to let EPA regulate what they’ve been unable to legislate. And if I’m chairman, we’re going to have a very aggressive, proactive
schedule,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told POLITICO.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said he may be less popular than Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), but the California Republican claims he is the more aggressive and better
candidate to combat climate advocates and otherwise lead the Science and Technology panel under Republican rule.
Rohrabacher gave his roughly 25-minute pitch to the House GOP steering committee Monday and said the Science panel should be used to spur the next generation of
nuclear energy and give a platform to those that question or outright reject science suggesting that humans are causing global warming.
The panel “needs to be used as a bully pulpit because many of the issues brought up by the Democrats is based on phony science,” Rohrabacher told POLITICO.
This especially is true of global warming, “which is a total fraud,” he said. “We need to make sure that the Science Committee has a debate which both
sides can equally present their sides.” (POLITICO)
Global Warming: The secretary of energy says the U.S. doesn't need to be 100% certain humans are heating the planet to enact policies to mitigate climate
change. Apparently just a hunch will do.
Speaking Monday at the National Press Club, Steven Chu said "you don't need 100% certainty" to put solutions in effect. A mere 80% or 90%, he said, is
enough. The secretary's not-so-startling comment is revealing on two levels.
First, he admits that, despite the political left's claims that human-caused global warming is occurring and the debate is over, it is not an established fact.
It is, at best, speculation. (IBD)
Today, Nov. 29, marks the beginning of the Cancun COP (Conference of the Parties [to the Kyoto Protocol]). This is the 16th meeting of the nearly two hundred
national delegations, which have been convening annually since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997 at COP-3.
This conference promises to be another two-week extravaganza for some 20,000 delegates and hangers-on, who will be enjoying the sand, surf, and tequila-sours --
mostly paid for by taxpayers from the U.S. and Western Europe. For most delegates, this annual vacation has become a lifetime career: it pays for their
mortgages and their children's education. I suppose a few of them actually believe that they are saving the earth -- even though the Kyoto Protocol (to limit
emission of greenhouse [GH] gases, like CO2, but never submitted for ratification to the U.S. Senate) will be defunct in 2012 and there is -- thankfully -- no
sign of any successor treaty.
But never fear: the organizers may "pull a rabbit out of a hat" and spring a surprise on the world. They will likely announce that they have conquered
the greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). Now, HFCs are what replaced HCFCs, which in turn replaced CFCs, thanks to the Montreal Protocol of 1987. This
succession of chemical refrigerants has reduced ozone-destroying potential; but unfortunately they are all GH gases. So now HFCs must be eradicated, because a
single molecule of HFC produces many thousand times the greenhouse effect of a molecule of CO2. What they don't tell you, of course, is that the total forcing
from the HFCs is less than one percent of that of CO2, according to the IPCC (see page 141). So "slaying the dragon" amounts to slaying a mouse -- or
something even smaller. But you can bet that it will be trumpeted as a tremendous achievement and will likely invigorate the search for other mice that can be
Of course, industry has no objection to this maneuver of invoking the Montreal Protocol as a means of reducing the claimed GH-gas effects of global warming. It
means more profits from patents, new manufacturing facilities, and sales -- and it will eliminate the bothersome competition from factories in India, China, and
Brazil that are still manufacturing HCFCs, and in some cases even CFCs. Very likely, these nations will oppose the maneuver. But so should consumers. It will
mean replacing refrigerants in refrigerators, air conditioners, and automobiles -- at huge cost and to little effect. We don't even know yet what chemical will
replace HFC and how well it will work in existing equipment.
But nobody is supposed to notice this, it is hoped, amid the clamor for an international agreement, or any kind of agreement, really -- even if it means
misusing the Montreal Protocol. Remember that HFCs have no effect on ozone and therefore are not covered by the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
At this point, it is worth remembering how little has been accomplished by the Montreal Protocol -- that "signal achievement" of the global
environmental community. As U.S. negotiator Richard Benedick brags (in his book Ozone Diplomacy), the Montreal agreement was achieved by skillful diplomacy
rather than by relying on science. (S. Fred Singer, American Thinker)
The attempt to reduce human carbon dioxide emissions to control global warming is completely and utterly pointless and doomed to failure. Well, perhaps I
should qualify that statement a bit. [Read
More] (Art Horn, ET)
CANCUN, Mexico, Nov. 30 -- Participants of the United Nations Climate Change Conference agreed on Monday that climate change is threatening the survival of
human beings and actions are needed to tackle the problem. (Xinhua)
Dr Vicky Pope – the Göbbels of the Met Office - puts this current freezing weather down to "climate variability", telling us that our senses are
deceiving us. If you look at the long term trends, we are in fact experiencing fewer freezing winters and more heatwaves, she says.
This follows suggestions from the self-same Met Office, offered at the end of October, that we should expect an
"unusually dry and mild winter" – a prediction which famously relies on the same computer systems which produce the models for global warming
Now, as Britain grinds to a halt, we hear that the government has ordered "an urgent audit of the country's snow-readiness". Amongst other things,
transport secretary, Philip Hammond, says there is "no excuse" for poor communication with stranded motorists and passengers.
What might be more productive to investigate, however, is the degree to which the various authorities have been totally misled by the fools in the Met Office
(again), and how much winter budgets have been trimmed as money is siphoned off into "climate change" projects. (EU Referendum)
The annual climate summit opened in Cancun, Mexico, this week. A few days earlier, while releasing a new report, Climate Change and India: A sectoral and
regional analysis for the 2030s, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh emphasised, “It is imperative” that India has “sound, evidence-based
assessments on the impacts of climate change”. The report claims that India will soon be able to forecast the timing and intensity of future monsoons that are
so critical to its agricultural base.
Could 250 of India’s top scientists be wrong when they say their computers will soon be able to predict summer monsoon rainfall during the 2030s, based on
projected CO2 trends? Do scenarios generated by climate models really constitute “sound, evidence-based assessments”? We do not believe it is yet possible
to forecast future monsoons, despite more than two centuries of scientific research, or the claims and efforts of these excellent scientists. The Indian summer
monsoonal rainfall remains notoriously unpredictable, because it is determined by the interaction of numerous changing and competing factors, including: ocean
currents and temperatures, sea surface temperature and wind conditions in the vast Indian and Western Pacific Ocean, phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation
in the equatorial Pacific, the Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow covers, solar energy output, and even wind direction and speed in the equatorial stratosphere
some 30-50 km aloft.
Relying on computer climate models has one well-known side effect: Garbage in, gospel out. Current gospel certainly says CO2 rules the climate, but any role
played by CO2 in monsoon activity is almost certainly dwarfed by other, major influences. Computer climate models have simply failed to confirm current climate
observations, or project future climatic changes and impacts. (Financial Express)
Report warning comes as many countries fear instability caused by rising food prices and shortages (Guardian)
The real threat is from misguided action allegedly to address an imaginary problem. Carbon superstition is driving massive increase in energy
and food costs, which certainly suits the misanthropists but does nothing for humanity or the environment.
Southampton researchers have estimated that sea-level rose by an average of about 1 metre per century at the end of the last Ice Age, interrupted by rapid
‘jumps’ during which it rose by up to 2.5 metres per century. The findings, published in Global and Planetary Change, will help unravel the responses of
ocean circulation and climate to large inputs of ice-sheet meltwater to the world ocean. (NERC)
Many coastal wetlands worldwide — including several on the U.S. Atlantic coast — may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and
sea-level rise projections for the 21st century.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists made this conclusion from an international research modeling effort published today in the journal Geophysical Research
Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Scientists identified conditions under which coastal wetlands could survive rising sea level.
Using a rapid sea-level rise scenario, most coastal wetlands worldwide will disappear near the end of the 21st century. In contrast, under the slow sea-level
rise projection, wetlands with low sediment availability and low tidal ranges are vulnerable and may drown. However, in the slow sea-level rise projection,
wetlands with higher sediment availability would be more likely to survive. (USGS)
Successful prediction of levels of solar activity suggests that prediction of other phenomena driven by solar activity might also be successful, and useful.
Sea level rise is a concern of some people. President Obama said in June 2008 that his nomination in the Democratic primaries was “the moment when the rise of
the oceans began to slow”.
The above graph shows the satellite data from the University of Colorado from late 1992. A change of trend is evident in 2004. Prior to that, sea level was
rising at 4.2 mm/annum, and after 2004 at 1.5 mm/annum. 2003 was the recent peak in solar activity in terms of flares, F10.7 flux and proton flux. It is likely
that the lower rate of rise post 2004 is due to lower subsequent solar activity.
Unseasonal warm temperatures caused by El Niño have a profound effect on the fish populations of coral reefs in the South Pacific, scientists have found. An
international team of biologists studied the arrival of young fish to the atoll of Rangiroa in French Polynesia for four years and compared their results with
satellite and oceanographic data. They found that the El Niño event caused a sudden collapse in the plankton community and this led to a near absence of the
young fish that are required to replenish adult stocks. (University of Bristol)
Quite an extrapolation considering all their data really says is that El Niño conditions do not suit juvenile fish recruitment at one
location in the South Pacific. They neglect to mention that the El Niño Southern Oscillation causes considerable deformation of the ocean surface lens, with an
oscillation of as much as a meter through the cycle in some locations. Changing the depth of water over shallow fringing reefs by just a couple of hundred
millimeters has an enormous temporary effect on recruitment. With some reefs gaining and others losing according to phase of the cycle there is no plausible
means of extrapolating forward from one event in a four year sampling window. They mention satellite and oceanographic data, what was the local tide gauge
series? Did the sampling point exhibit a change in mean sea level which would signal a change in local currents with the ENSO phase? Data from the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Authority's reef recruitment experiments indicate enormous variation in recruitment according to local current conditions, do Bristol's results
compliment or contradict these prior observations? Looks sadly like an opportunistic release to catch a bit of publicity with the Cancún echo chamber in
“….Angela Marinoni of the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate in Bologna explained to an audience at the 2nd Third Pole Environment Workshop in
Kathmandu on October 27th, the high Himalayas are also under an onslaught from this sort of pollution. Even at altitudes above 5,000 metres (16,400 feet), soot
is widespread. And when it lands on glaciers it accelerates their melting.
Dr Marinoni and her colleagues have been examining Himalayan soot since 2006. In that year the Nepal Climate Observatory – Pyramid, in the Khumbu valley,
began a full-time study of aerosol particles, soot among them. The researchers’ initial intention was to take advantage of what they assumed would be the
pristine conditions found at such high altitude (the observatory is 5,079 metres above sea level) to measure typical background conditions of the atmosphere.
Instead, they were surprised to find a thick haze, loaded with soot, smothering the mountain slope. In the rainless pre-monsoon months between January and May,
about one day in five saw the Khumbu valley blanketed in a dense brown cloud.
By analysing atmospheric circulation patterns, Dr Marinoni and her colleagues found that winds could bring soot and dust from as far away as Europe, the
Middle East and North Africa. And if that were not bad enough, the Himalayan valleys act as chimneys, pumping pollutants from the Indian plains to the mountain
peaks. Dr Marinoni estimates that the combined effect of this crud could reduce the glaciers’ ability to reflect light by 2-5% and increase the amount of
melting by 12-34%.
Those suggestions are corroborated by a study led by Xu Baiqing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, in Beijing. His
team drilled cores from the ice of five Tibetan glaciers in order to examine the past few decades’ worth of pollution. These cores show that the level of
pollution, especially soot, in Himalayan glaciers correlates with emissions in Europe and South Asia.”
We have reported on several studies that document a significant role of soot (black carbon) from industrial emissions and biomass burning on the climate
system; e.g. see
The new Economist article is another confirmation of our conclusion in the article
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski,
E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol.
90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union
where we wrote [higlight added]
“In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first- order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of
Earth’s climate. These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g.,
Rosenfeld et al., 2008], the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway
et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean
circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005].”
Royal Dutch Shell Plc has applied for a C$1.35 billion ($1.31 billion) carbon capture project to cut emissions from the company's Alberta oil sands
processing operation with the aid of government funding, it said on Tuesday.
Shell and its partners hope to build a project that would gather emissions from the Scotford upgrading plant near Edmonton and pipe it into a geological
formation more than 2 km (1.2 miles) underground. (Reuters)
The Obama administration said on Wednesday it will not allow drilling in Atlantic Coast waters or off Florida's Gulf shoreline as part of a new five-year
offshore energy exploration plan.
The 2012-2017 drilling plan reverses President Barack Obama's pledge made last spring to open up more offshore tracks, but the move would not be seen as a
surprise given the administration's new concern over offshore exploration since BP's massive oil spill earlier this year. (Reuters)
As the rest of the world continues to drill off its respective coasts, the United States is heading in the opposite direction.
The Obama Administration announced that the eastern
Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will not be part of the government’s 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf program, effectively banning
drilling in those areas for the next seven years.
The decision is a reversal from the President’s announcement in March in which he opened access to waters for offshore drilling in the Atlantic and eastern
Gulf of Mexico. But even that decision did more to tighten offshore oil and gas explorations than open it. Continue reading... (The
Just one day after meeting with the oil and gas industry in Houma, La., last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled the Obama administration’s
“Smart from the Start” initiative to speed up the permitting process. Only this wasn’t permitting for offshore oil drilling, but wind farms off of the
“To fully harness the economic and energy benefits of our nation’s vast Atlantic wind potential,” Salazar said, “we need to implement a smart
permitting process that is efficient, thorough, and unburdened by needless red tape.”
If only Salazar would apply this regulatory philosophy to offshore drilling, then perhaps the Gulf Coast region’s economy could begin to recover.
Just one new deepwater drilling permit has been approved since the administration’s drilling moratorium was lifted in October — a sharp decline compared
to one year ago.
THE Tasmanian Government has been told it needs to pray for wind of "biblical proportions" to return Hydro Tasmania's wind-farm business to
A parliamentary committee scrutinising the operations of Hydro Tasmania was told yesterday that Hydro's wind-farm business, Roaring 40s, had run at a loss for
the past five years because there had not been enough wind. (The Mercury)
Thousands of bureaucrats are at another cushy climate confab–this time in Cancun–while Senators Bingaman, Brownback and Reid are contemplating how to ram
a federal renewable energy quota through a lame-duck session. Their prospects are not good, which should give them more time to consider the experiences of
Europe and windpower. The results of this experiment in energy coercion are humbling.
Germany, specifically, is in the throws of a windpower boondoggle that should be heard the world over. The general lesson is that energy forcing brings
with it technological risk that must be factored into the public policy equation.
A North Sea Boondoggle
Barely two months after the inauguration ceremony for Germany’s first pilot offshore wind farm, “Alpha Ventus” in the North Sea, all six of the newly
installed wind turbines were completely idle, due to gearbox damage. Two turbines must be replaced entirely; the other four repaired.
Friends of the project, especially Germany’s environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, talked of “teething problems.” The problem is far more serious
than that, for wind turbines in the high seas are extremely expensive for power consumers, even when they run smoothly. When they don’t, the problem
intensifies. Germany could face blackouts – a new dark age.
The Alpha Ventus failures created intense pressure for Areva Multibrid, a subsidiary of the semipublic French nuclear power company Areva. Every
“standstill day,” with the expensive towering turbines standing idle and not generating a single kilowatt hour of electricity, causes lost revenue.
Environmental economist and meteorologist Thomas Heinzow of the University of Hamburg estimated the operator’s revenue shortfall at almost $6,500
(€5,000) per turbine per standstill day. Instilling additional consternation within Areva was the certainly not unreasonable fear that already skittish
investors could get cold feet, and wander off in search of less risky ventures. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
By Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H.
Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It is that time of year: parties, presents, family gatherings — and dining-room tables laden with a tempting array of mouthwatering seasonal chemicals.
We live in an intensely chemical-phobic society, one where labels and menus advertise foods as being “all-natural” and “purely organic.” Poultry
sections offer fryers from “happy, free-range chickens.” “Chemical fr ee” cuisine is in.
So it may come as a shock to you that even an all-natural holiday feast (and every other meal you consume throughout the year) comes with chemicals, including
some that are poisonous, others that cause cancer in rats at high doses, and lots with unpronounceable names. (ACSH)
"Hands-only" CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is usually as effective as traditional CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth breathing - but the odds
that cardiac arrest victims will survive with minimal brain damage are still quite low, a large study from Japan finds.
Researchers say the findings support statements from the American Heart Association and other groups that compression-only CPR can be a comparable alternative
to the traditional technique of alternating chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth breathing.
Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended that when an adult suddenly collapses and isn't breathing, bystanders should perform hands-only CPR
-- strong, steady chest compressions, at a rate of 100 per minute -- unless they are confident in their ability to perform conventional CPR.
The reasoning is that hands-only CPR is easier for a layperson to learn and remember, and that people are more likely to administer CPR to a stranger if
mouth-to-mouth contact is not required.
Moreover, studies in recent years have shown that hands-only CPR can be as effective as the traditional version for cardiac arrest caused by heart problems.
(Cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping blood to the rest of the body, can also result from drowning, drug overdose or breathing problems; in those
cases, CPR with rescue breaths is still recommended.)
But these latest results, published in the journal Resuscitation, also underscore the fact that regardless of CPR technique, the chances of surviving cardiac
arrest, with or without significant brain damage, are still low. (Reuters Health)
Most people in the United States and Canada get plenty of vitamin D and calcium, and may damage their health by taking too many supplements, experts advised
Contrary to popular wisdom, many Americans and Canadians get plenty of calcium and vitamin D and most do not need extra supplements to keep their bones strong,
the Institute of Medicine committee said.
"National surveys in both the United States and Canada indicate that most people receive enough calcium, with the exception of girls ages 9-18, who often
do not take in enough calcium," the report reads.
"In contrast, post-menopausal women taking supplements may be getting too much calcium, thereby increasing their risk for kidney stones."
Many foods in North America are fortified with vitamin D and calcium, from milk to breakfast cereal and orange juice. (Reuters)
I wish to congratulate the anti-fluoride group on their campaign to end the 50-year practice of fluoridating Waterloo’s drinking water. There vigorous efforts
resulted in a clear answer from the citizens of Waterloo, with 50.3 per cent voting to discontinue the addition of this micronutrient to the water supply. This
decision will have little or no impact if one assumes that every child in Waterloo grows up with excellent oral hygiene and a good dental plan. For those
fortunate to live in areas supplied by wells rich in natural fluoride, this will also be a non-issue.
After this victory, the anti-fluoride faction can now dedicate their time to saving us from other toxins and unwanted “medications” being slipped into our
food chain. As they are no doubt aware, it is law in Canada that all milk be supplemented with Vitamin D. As we were told in the anti-fluoride campaign, people
should be able to choose the nutrients they consume rather than having them forced upon them. In this case, they should be particularly concerned about
children, who often consume large amounts of milk products.
In launching the anti-vitamin D campaign, they would be advised to ignore the fact that rickets due to vitamin D deficiency has all but disappeared in this
Similarly, as a result of mandatory addition of iodine to table salt, the iodine deficiencies that earned this region the nickname the “goitre belt” have
become historical lore. Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation, but surely
this does not justify sneaking iodine into our salt shakers.
And by law, all margarines are supplemented with Vitamins A and D. It is well established that excess Vitamin A can cause cancer. Clearly, this is a dangerous
practice that must be stopped.
Also by Canadian law, infant formula must be supplemented with numerous macro- and micronutrients, including copper, chromium, iron, molybdenum, selenium and
zinc. Given the narrow safety margin between effective and toxic quantities of these essential trace minerals, Waterloo mothers who, by necessity or choice, are
feeding formula, would no doubt relish the opportunity to make their own decisions on what levels their babies should be consuming.
Finally, the issue of mandatory supplementation of flour should not go unchallenged. Canadian law dictates that all flour be supplemented with folic acid (a
synthetic precursor of vitamin B9 or folacin). Supplementary folic acid is highly recommended for women before and during pregnancy. But does this justify
exposing every man, woman and child to this chemical? In preparing the anti-folate campaign, be sure to find alternative explanations for the declines in neural
tube defects (spina bifida, anencephaly), congenital heart defects and neuroblastoma (a childhood cancer) since mandatory folic acid supplementation began in
Canada in 1997.
The 41 per cent of eligible voters that voiced their opinion have spoken: Waterloo does not want scientists and health care professionals advising government on
preventive health policy.
Speaking personally, I am glad that my children are past their “cavity-prone” years.
Heidi Engelhardt is a faculty member in the department of biology at the University of Waterloo. Her research involves the effects of maternal nutrition on
the developing fetus, particularly how dietary protein and amino acids affect maternal and fetal folate metabolism. The views expressed are her own, and are not
meant to represent those of the University of Waterloo. (The Record)
Any close analysis of the
injecting room evaluations shows an almost diametrically opposite picture to that given.
Rather, the concerns expressed by many in the community are evidenced—increased illicit-drug use and increased drug trafficking.
Fears of a “honey-pot” effect were indeed realised.
And the 180-degree media spin of injecting room supporters is not entirely to blame for the dissonance between data and declared outcome, with the evaluators
themselves often providing misleading or totally erroneous conclusions or otherwise failing to make the necessary conclusions from negative data.
Yet so large were the blind-spots of the various evaluation teams that they could not, or would not, countenance any troubling conclusions which failed to
accord with Australia’s dominant drug policy orthodoxy of harm minimisation.
This oddly occluded research optic, along with absurdly inflated claims about lives saved, has combined to snatch injecting room victory from the jaws of its
inevitable demise, and so it continues today.
The injecting room evaluation is just the tip of an Australian drug policy iceberg which stands embedded in our social and political landscape, monolithic
and uncompromised under the warm Australian sun. Australia’s illicit-drug use, the highest in the developed world, is very possibly a result.
Read Gary Christian’s Quadrant essay “Blinded by the Dominant Ideology” here… (Quadrant)
The anti-tobacco brigade have always been the vanguard of the army of zealots who abuse science to
spread alarmism and impose political correctness upon the world. Their numbers grow bigger and bigger, while their actual evidence grows smaller and smaller.
It is known that direct inhalation of cigarette smoke correlates with a dramatic increase in the relative risk of lung cancer. That was established in the
first (and probably the last) rigorous statistical study carried out on the subject by Sir Austin Bradford Hill, though the establishment find it more
convenient to grant the acclaim to his assistant Sir Richard Doll, who was more amenable to
indulging in the subsequent statistical shenanigans they required. For it was not enough just to establish that inhaling smokers were causing self harm. The
elimination of tobacco, the evil icon of political correctness, however, required that they be shown to be harming others. That this was untrue was demonstrated
by the failure of the EPA to achieve anything like statistical significance despite resorting to at
least five clear statistical frauds.
Now they don’t even pretend to do any statistics at all – they just make up the numbers and keep increasing them.
As we have pointed out many times, there is ample evidence that passive smoking is not correlated with childhood asthma. In the 50s we children had more
exposure to tobacco smoke in each weekly visit to the cinema than modern children get in their whole lives. Yet childhood asthma was virtually unknown. It has
increased steadily ever since and is now a major health problem. Just see the little ones climbing onto the school bus clutching their inhalers. Now we are told
that passive smoking kills 1,150 children worldwide from asthma and 165,000 from respiratory infections. Where is the evidence?
Millions of children are dying all over the world from avoidable diseases. They are real people with real names and some of them even get post mortems and
death certificates. They have been betrayed by establishment organisations such as the WHO through policies like the DDT ban and, even worse, simple neglect.
The trillions of dollars going into the fraudulent Climate Change Industry could quickly eliminate these diseases for once and for all, but there is too much
money on that particular bandwagon to stop it from rolling.
So instead we are regaled with these turgid establishment media stories about imaginary deaths of imaginary people. Name one!
Study is first to show large-scale immediate results of 'mass poisoning'
The well-reported arsenic contamination of drinking water in Bangladesh – called the "largest mass poisoning of a population in history" by the
World Health Organization and known to be responsible for a host of slow-developing diseases – has now been shown to have an immediate and toxic effect on the
struggling nation's economy.
An international team of economists is the first to identify a dramatic present-day consequence of the contaminated groundwater wells, in addition to the
longer-term damages expected to occur in coming years.
According to research published online in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, exposure to arsenic in rural Bangladesh is poisonous to the nation's
economy, reducing the labor supply by 8 percent. (University of California - San Diego)
In case you haven't heard, the Earth is getting hotter, and most scientists blame mankind. The average global temperature has risen 1.3 degrees in the last
century, and the future might be quite a bit warmer. As international climate negotiators convene in Cancun, Mexico, this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change is projecting that the temperature could rise as many as 10 degrees more by the year 2100 if we do nothing to stop it.
Is there any way to get ourselves back to those 19th-century temperatures in a hurry?
Not without extraordinary risk. Even if we immediately stopped burning fossil fuels and all became vegans, average temperatures probably wouldn't drop much for
about 500 years, according to Ken Caldeira, a climatologist at the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University.
There are two reasons for that. First, carbon is really persistent. For every four molecules we release into the atmosphere, one will still be there five
millennia later. Second, the oceans have been absorbing extra heat for a long time, and it would take more than a century for all of it to radiate through the
atmosphere and into space. (Brian Palmer, WaPo)
Where to start with this appalling crap? How about querying why, if one-fourth of anthropogenic carbon emission is persistent for 5,000 years, does just 40% of
said emissions remain in the atmosphere in one year? It's a very lossy system and according to CDIAC 60%
our emissions are absorbed by photosynthesizing plant life and/or oceans in the year of emission. How does he propose 25% would persist for 5 millennia?
And would temperatures persist long as enhanced forcing declined? I don't think so. Consider how rapidly cooling occurs with increasing insolation obliquity -
air temperatures begin to fall before nightfall, no? Each year the Earth gains and loses almost 4 °C through the northern hemisphere summer and
Note that even mean sea surface temperatures vary as much as the net estimated change in global temperature since 1750.
What about "special events" superimposed over the seasonal variations? Again, we have multiple time series showing the Earth cooling rapidly after the
1997/98 "super" El Niño:
The claims of irrevocable or even persistent warming are frankly bizarre and make no physical sense whatsoever.
The United States will keep a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions made last year perhaps with help from a domestic boom in cleaner-burning natural gas,
Washington's lead negotiator said at the U.N. climate talks.
At last year's climate talks in Copenhagen, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged the United States would cut emissions in a range of 17 percent below 2005 levels
"We must stand behind the underpinnings of what our leaders agreed to last year," Jonathan Pershing, the head of the U.S. delegation, told reporters
on the first day of the annual two-week talks, held in Mexico this year. (Reuters)
'Cancun" doesn't rhyme with "Copenhagen." But the results of the meeting on global carbon dioxide emissions in the Mexican resort town that
runs through Dec. 10 will undoubtedly look and sound the same as the results of the meetings held in Denmark a year ago.
Last year's much-ballyhooed meeting in the Danish capital was seen as the best opportunity to finally get a binding international agreement on limits on carbon
emissions. But after days of wrangling, posing and activists prancing around in polar-bear suits, the result was ... nothing. And that's exactly what will
happen in Cancun.
The reasons to expect no action this year can be seen by looking at the numbers contained in the latest edition of the International Energy Agency's World
Energy Outlook, which was released earlier this month. (Robert Bryce, IBD)
...than the freezing mess in Eurasia and America we will describe...
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), made an unusually honest statement for a U.N. climatic crook
while vacationing in Cancún, Mexico:
At least the weather will be better.
And Spiegel even managed to leak this sensitive diplomatic cable.
;-) Given the fact that the climate is nothing else than the weather scrutinized over longer timescales, one may also conclude that the climate would be better
in a hypothetically warmer world.
Together with her fellow climatic bureaucratic parasites, Figueres is enjoying 28 °C which is, helpfully, equal to 82
°F in the Moon Palace resort above. The Europeans and Americans may compare "her weather" with the weather they are experiencing right now.
Rising sea levels caused by climate change are set to cause damage of billions of dollars to the islands states of the Caribbean by the middle of the
century, including wiping out more than 300 premium tourist resorts, a remarkable new report suggested yesterday.
Airports, power plants, roads and agricultural land in low-lying areas, as well as prime tourist locations on islands from Bermuda to Barbados, and from St
Kitts and Nevis to St Vincent and the Grenadines, will be all be lost or severely damaged, with dire implications for national economies and for the welfare of
hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people, according to the report.
Released yesterday at the UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, the report paints an astonishing picture of West Indies-wide devastation caused in the
decades to come by rising seas. Sea levels mount in association with global warming because warming water expands in volume, and melting ice from land-based ice
sheets and glaciers adds to the rise. (Independent)
The bigger threat, in fact the only realistic threat, is that travel tourism could be priced beyond most people's reach by idiotic moves to
curb energy use in the name of "addressing global warming".
Bias: When leaked e-mails exposed the global warming hype to be a concocted fraud, the "newspaper of record" was in high dudgeon. When stolen
classified information appears on its front page, that's another story.
Given its track record of exposing U.S. secrets on its front pages, we may be thankful that the New York Times did not have the plans to the Normandy invasion
before D-Day. It might have justified printing them, using Executive Editor Bill Keller's explanation in the WikiLeaks fiasco.
We have come a long way from the patriotic slogan "loose lips sink ships." Today they sell newspapers and win Pulitzer Prizes.
Keller explained that in printing the purloined classified WikiLeaks documents, other outlets had the same information that would have gotten out anyway and
that "it would be presumptuous to conclude that Americans have no right to know what is being done in their name." Right.
That rationale was nowhere in sight when the administration pushed for cap-and-trade legislation, and a climate change treaty at Copenhagen was derailed by the
unearthing of e-mails from Britain's Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
When Climate-gate broke, and e-mails revealed that scientists worldwide were deleting and doctoring data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures
and engaging in an organized campaign to discredit climate-change skeptics and deny them publication in scientific journals, the Times pompously declined to
print any of them or even give them credence.
As Times Environment Editor Andrew Revkin explained in November 2009: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of
private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here." Oh. The fact that they shredded the Times'
editorial position in support of fighting global warming had nothing to do with it.
The WikiLeaks documents were obtained illegally in a clear-cut case of espionage. They contained private information and statements never intended for public
viewing. That they also damage America's national security interests does not matter to the New York Times.
Perhaps Keller, Revkin and others at the Times do not understand the difference between not exposing the fraudulent basis for job- and economy-killing
legislation and publishing revealing information that undermines U.S. security worldwide. (IBD)
LABOR and the Greens have split over emissions-reduction targets in a brawl that could force Julia Gillard to introduce an interim carbon tax.
This would meet her self-imposed deadline of pricing carbon by next year.
In the most serious row between the government and the Greens since they signed a power alliance in September, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Greens
deputy leader Christine Milne yesterday traded blows over Australia's greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Mr Combet said the government's target remained a cut of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 because international conditions for lifting the threshold towards
15-25 per cent had not been met, and he told the minor party to come on board the government's bid to price carbon.
He warned the Greens, who will hold the Senate balance of power from July, they must "prove themselves capable of playing a pragmatic and constructive hand
to achieve fundamental environmental and economic reform".
But Senator Milne hit back, rejecting Mr Combet's target and demanding that the government lift its cuts if it wanted a deal on a greenhouse gas reduction
regime. (The Australian)
This appeared as a comment on the Louise Gray article
in which we were told that rationing was being proposed as a solution to the world's ills. Hat tip to Messenger.
This article is the last straw. For six years I have had to bit my tongue while force-feeding this climate anthropogenic global warming nonsense into the
increasingly sceptical minds of my science school learners. They all know it's a scam. I know it's a scam. They all know that we will be notionally 1010ed if we
don't all toe the party line, give the "government approved" answer in the exams, fill in the approved plans, but carry on as normal. I cannot
seriously go into a school next term and carry on like this.
Consequently I hereby declare that, metaphorically, the next parent, head of science, head teacher, school governor, local education authority jobsworth,
central government apparatchik, or UK energy minister who tells me have to teach this climate porn to under-16s or lose my job will be kebabed on a hockey stick
and fed to the polar bear packs currently massing under my window seeking warmth. And any kid who dares to submit an assignment consisting of material
cut'n'pasted from these Louise Gray's WWF press releases will be spreadeagled on a stationary wind turbine in the North Sea.
I call upon all teachers to join me in this declaration, and to organise a welcome back party to all UK attendees from Cancun.
The third busiest Atlantic storm season officially drew to end on Tuesday but the U.S. shoreline and its key energy producing hubs were mostly untouched by
any of the year's major storms.
Local weather conditions that developed during the season thwarted meteorologists predictions that as many as five storms would strike the U.S. coastline.
"There's no way we could tell that we would see that," said William Gray, who founded Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project.
The 2010 season spawned 19 named storms, tying for the third most active season with 1897 and 1995, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Of those
storms, 12 became hurricanes, tying the second highest season in 1969. There were five major hurricanes in 2010.
Most forecasters had predicted between 14 and 21 named storms, eight to 12 of which were expected to be hurricanes, with as many as six of those major
Only one tropical storm, Bonnie, made landfall in the United States, striking south Florida in July.
"We were at the bottom end of the range of impacts on the U.S. coast," said Joe Bastardi, chief long-range meteorologist and hurricane forecaster for
On average, 25 percent of storms in a given year are expected to make landfall, Gray said.
"This year it was more like 2 to 3 percent," he said. "We were very lucky." (Reuters)
Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy [ACE] remains near decades low ... See more in the NewsBlog
Figure: (Updated) Last 4-decades of Global and Northern Hemisphere Accumulated Cyclone Energy: 24 month running sums through November 22, 2010. Note that the
year indicated represents the value of ACE through the previous 24-months for the Northern Hemisphere (bottom line/gray boxes) and the entire global (top
line/blue boxes). The area in between represents the Southern Hemisphere total ACE. Data for the graph: File (Ryan Maue, FSU)
There are no trends in normalized damage since 1900 because there are no trends in either hurricane landfall frequency (data from NOAA) or intensity (data from
Chris Landsea through 2006) over that same period (but rather, a very slight decline in both cases). If our normalization were to show a trend then it
would actually have some sort of bias in it. It does not, thus we can have confidence that the societal factors are well accounted for in the
normalization methodology. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
The paper finds no evidence of upward trends in the normalized data. From the paper (emphasis added):
"Independently of the method used,we find no significant upward trend in normalized disaster loss.This holds true whether we include all disasters or take
out the ones unlikely to be affected by a changing climate. It also holds true if we step away from a global analysis and look at specific regions or step away
from pooling all disaster types and look at specific types of disasters instead or combine these two sets of dis-aggregated analysis. Much caution is required
in correctly interpreting these findings. What the results tell us is that, based on historical data, there is no evidence so far that climate change has
increased the normalized economic loss from natural disasters."
Yet claims that global warming has led to increased disaster losses are a siren song to the media and advocates alike, with the most
tenuous of claims hyped and the peer reviewed literature completely ignored. I don't expect that to change. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
BY MICHAEL R. FOX PHD. – A press release from the University of Hawaii at Manoa on November 23, 2010 announced the results of a computer study by UH
climatologists which portends greater global warming in the future. Even though this was a computer study of other computer studies, the authors were correct in
pointing out that there has been great disagreement between the many existing global climate models. In most of these cases the computer models have
consistently overstated future global temperatures. We also know that estimates of future atmospheric CO2 have also been overestimated.
We also need to acknowledge that science is driven by actual observable, measurable, replicable evidence. Consensus is not evidence, computer models do not
produce evidence, hearsay is not evidence, and appeals to authority are not evidence. Desired outcomes are often distractions from actual science. As Nobel
physicist Richard Feynman stated “It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the
guess, or what his name is—if it (the guess, the hypothesis) disagrees with experiment it is wrong.”
We have reached a dangerous stage in our nation’s understanding of science, where computer models, no matter how incomplete, how primitive, how inappropriate,
we have lost sight of the fact that such models are little more than guesses of the computer operators. (Hawaii Reporter)
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski,
E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol.
90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.
The need to broaden out the assessment of the human role on the climate system, as well as to more accurately consider natural climate forcings and feedbacks
has received important new confirmation from a new article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
“Integration of physical, biogeochemical, and societal processes would accelerate advances in Earth system prediction”
with the following excerpts from the text
“Earth system science addresses natural and human-driven processes affecting the evolution and ultimately the habitability of the planet. We must recognize
that the Earth system encompasses interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, ice, land, biochemistry, and humanity. Humanity has advertently and inadvertently
perturbed the entire system, with both positive and negative consequences. Thus, the accelerated development of a monitoring and prediction system that
integrates physical, biogeochemical, and societal processes is essential if we are to provide quantitative information that can initiate and guide the
mitigation of, and adaptation to, future changes in the Earth system.”
“The role of the biosphere. The biosphere is the “life zone” of Earth system. It is composed of living beings and their multi-way interaction with the
geophysical and biological elements within the lithosphere (solid Earth), hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Until recently, the biosphere was primarily studied
within the context of its response to geophysical influences, with less attention to the feedback of biospheric processes on weather and climate. However, this
is beginning to change with new components of land cover, including urban areas (e.g., Oleson et al. 2008) and fire (e.g., Golding and Betts 2008), being
implemented in the global models.”
“Many active biogeochemical feedback systems exhibit highly nonlinear behavior. Changes of system dynamics can be initiated by both natural and human
activities. These changes can be abrupt “tipping points” between significantly differing states of the Earth system that society might not want to
transgress (Steffen et al. 2003; Lenton et al. 2008; Rockström et al. 2009). The biosphere is also intertwined in the geochemical cycling that can contribute
to natural and anthropogenic contributions to climate variability and change. The examples below illustrate this for anthropogenic changes in global nitrogen
and ocean carbon cycles.”
The excellent Nobre et al 2010 paper provides further evidence that the 2007 IPCC WG1 report was much too narrow in terms of its assessment of
the climate system. While we first need to assess the predictability of the Earth system (as a necessary condition before we can possibly provide accurate
forecasts (predictions), the recognition that
“…. the Earth system encompasses interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, ice, land, biochemistry, and humanity. Humanity has advertently
and inadvertently perturbed the entire system, with both positive and negative consequences.”
is an important major step forward in better reporting on the climate system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 47: 24 November 2010
Medieval Warm Period Project:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Lake Pieni-Kauro, Kuhmo, Kainuu
Province, Eastern Finland.
Ocean Acidification Project:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment is Blue Mussel [Mytilus edulis].
To access the entire database, click here. (co2science.org)
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 48: 1 December 2010
Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2
enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Red Ironbark (Ghannoum et al., 2010) and Sydney Blue Gum (Ghannoum et al., 2010).
Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 912
individual scientists from 542 separate research
institutions in 43 different countries ... and
counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Donard Lake, Cape Dryer
Region, Baffin Island, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.
Brazilian government controlled oil and gas corporation Petrobras announced the discovery of a new crude deposit in the Amazon region, where the energy
company already is developing large natural gas reserves. (MercoPress)
Part I yesterday introduced the latest version of the
Calculator (14.2), which continues to illustrate the futility of wind as a means of reducing fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This post
provides more detail about the approach taken by the Calculator.
As important as the subject is, there are no extensive analyses of real-time information (finely grained time intervals for long periods of time) assessing
all the variables affecting electricity system behaviour as wind penetration increases. Existing analyses have some or many of the following important limiting
characteristics (not necessarily an exhaustive list):
· Are based solely on annual electricity production and annual averages (even statistical averaging is suspect in terms of real-time operation) of
· Use unrealistically high wind capacity factors, including offshore projections, which in practice deliver at about the same capacity factor as assumed at
the high end for onshore.
· Are conducted at a macro level, say for a country or even a state, ignoring lower level considerations (eg local grid considerations)
· Assume that the production from intermittent sources offsets fossil fuel consumption (and thus CO2 emissions) on a MWh basis. Some studies
admit to some reduction in savings but suggest that this is small.
· May do valid, but incomplete, modelling, for example short time periods, using limited fossil fuel plant performance data and ignoring the need to change
fossil fuel plant types to meet the requirements of balancing wind.
· Do not take into account the reduced capacity factor of wind-balancing fossil fuel plants
· Assume that normal reserves are available to meet continuous intermittent wind production variations regardless of wind penetration.
· Assume intermittent production is no different from short term demand changes.
· Assume better wind forecasting will reduce the impact on wind balancing requirements.
· Ignore seasonal and year-to-year wind conditions.
· Assume grid upgrades (typically substantial capacity upgrades but sometimes disguised as “smart grid” considerations, such as smart meter
implementations and demand management) will allow the introduction of extensive wind plants in a manageable manner.
· Do not provide a convincing causation link between any changes in CO2 emissions and wind implementation.
There are many studies with these limitations, and unfortunately, these are largely the accepted body of knowledge on the subject. In response, I developed
the Calculator in an attempt to estimate these affects in a relatively simple way. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Ontario claims huge power capacity from ‘conservation’
By Parker Gallant
Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, released his much-touted Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) on Nov. 23. It promised great
things, as one would expect from an expenditure of $87-billion, including no more coal plants and a wonderful world of clean energy. Ontario would be the first
and possibly only jurisdiction to eliminate coal from the electricity grid!
A quick trip through the plan brings you to the “Installed Capacity” chart on page 65, which shows that in 2003 the Ontario electricity system had
installed capacity of 30,000 megawatts. By 2010 this had increased to almost 37,000 MW under the watch of Premier Dalton McGuinty. Looking ahead 20 years to
2030, Ontario will have 48,000 MW available to power the province. “Good things grow in Ontario” — or do they?
Following my recent essay on the elimination of the VEETC, the major ethanol subsidy in the U.S., some ethanol supporters argued for continuing the subsidies
because oil companies receive subsidies. [Read More]
(Robert Rapier, ET)
I came across an interesting brochure from BMW that is titled “Beyond octane: How additives in gasoline are affecting your BMW’s performance”. We have
scanned and posted the one side of this brochure below (click on image for a larger view).
The text that reads
“In combustion, ethanol provides less energy than gasoline, resulting in reduced fuel economy. When ethanol burns inside the engine, it tends to form a
weaker mixture that may cause misfire, rough idle and cold start issues in your vehicle. In addition, engine components may deteriorate over time when in
contact with ethanol”.
This is hardly an endorsement for this fuel component that is promoted as one way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. (Roger Pielke Sr.,
In Greece earlier this month, Al Gore made a startling admission: "First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake." Unfortunately, Americans have
Gore to thank for ethanol subsidies. In 1994, then-Vice President Gore ended a 50-50 tie in the Senate by voting in favor of an ethanol tax credit that added
almost $5 billion to the federal deficit last year. And that number doesn't factor the many ways in which corn-based ethanol mandates drive up the price of food
and livestock feed.
Sure, he meant well, but as Reuters reported, Gore also said, "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in
my home state of Tennessee and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."
In sum, Gore demonstrated that politicians are lousy at figuring out which alternative fuels make the most sense. Now even enviros like Friends of the Earth
have come to believe that "large-scale agro-fuels" are "ecologically unsustainable and inefficient." That's a polite way of saying that
producers need to burn through a boatload of fossil fuels to make ethanol.
Gore also showed that most D.C. politicians can't be trusted to put America's interests before those of Iowa farmers. But there is one pursuit in which homo
electus excels: spending other people's money. (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)
Farmers in this iron-roof village in Sierra Leone say they didn't know what they were getting into when they leased their land for a biofuel crop they now
fear threatens their food harvests.
Addax Bioenergy, part of privately-owned Swiss Addax & Oryx Group, says it went through long consultations with locals when it won a lease for around 50,000
hectares (123,600 acres) for ethanol sugarcane in the poor West African country's center.
Despite that, a land dispute has flared up, one that highlights a major obstacle to efforts to tackle climate change by growing fuel in some of the world's
"We were tricked. We feel the way we're being treated is not in line with our agreement," said rice farmer Alie Bangura, 68. "They promised
things when we gave up our land that didn't happen." (Reuters)
Nuclear is more expensive than coal-fired power, but it’s a fraction of the cost - and infinitely more reliable - than solar and wind.
Just how deceitful is Gillard’s response? Martin Nicholson, Tom Biegler and Barry Brook conducted a meta-review of 25 peer-reviewed studies of
electricity generating technologies published in Energy and say nothing beats nuclear if you want to slash the emissions now caused by coal-fired
power. Just compare:
It might come as a surprise to some that wind, solar photovoltaic and engineered geothermal systems (EGS), also known as hot rocks, did not qualify to be
fit-for-service for baseload. Wind and solar PV need either extensive gas backup or large-scale energy storage for baseload operation…
The wind/storage solution could only compete at a carbon price above $350 a tonne of carbon dioxide (to make it competitive with coal-fired power), well
above anything being contemplated. EGS is a possible future baseload technology, but it is still too early to estimate performance and costs with the degree of
reliability we required…
Leaving aside nuclear for the moment (as it is presently banned in Australia), the cheapest solution is combined cycle gas turbine (natural gas) with carbon
capture and storage, which needs a carbon price of just over $30. To justify building either of the coal technologies (PF or IGCC) with carbon capture and
storage for new plants would require a carbon price over $40. Retrofitting existing coal plants with carbon capture and storage might have different costs.
The problem is, carbon capture and storage may only make sense if you take a short-term view of emission reductions. While it can deliver the probable
reduction targets until 2030, the current technology will not deliver the tougher emission targets recommended for 2050…
The only renewable technology that met our fit-for-service criteria was solar thermal with heat storage and gas backup for cloudy days… (U)sing solar
thermal power to replace coal would require a carbon price over $150.
The standout technology, from a cost perspective, is nuclear power. From the eight nuclear cost studies we reviewed (all published in the past decade, and
adjusted to 2009 dollars), the median cost of electricity from current technology nuclear plants was just above new coal plants with no carbon price. Having the
lowest carbon emissions of all the fit-for-service technologies, nuclear remains the cheapest
solution at any carbon price. Importantly, it is the only fit-for-service baseload technology that can deliver the 2050 emission reduction targets.
A billion dollars that could have
been used for housing, schools, hospitals and health programs was drawn into solar subsidies to provide electricity that could have been produced in far cheaper
There is no sunnier first world country than Australia. If solar was going to be a raging success anywhere, surely it would be in the land of the Sunburnt
Country. Instead the Australian government has poured in more than a billion dollars to install solar panels
on the roof tops of private homes. It’s a text book case of misdirected spending.
In the end the government drew money from the population-at-large to help Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and to provide “cheap” electricity
to 107,000 households in mostly medium-high wealth areas. It reduced Australia’s emissions by a piddling 0.015 per cent, at an exorbitant carbon price of
Solar power is clearly not viable yet. So that billion dollars could have been spent on research to make solar power economic (in which case no subsidies
would be needed). It could have made us world leaders with a product to patent and sell (or it might not). Instead governments of both major parties chose to
pour a billion dollars into a program that never had any chance of helping the environment, or our export industry. Mere feel-good window dressing.
The program gifted up to $8,000 dollars as a rebate to encourage people to install solar panels on their roofs, but it had to be canceled suddenly last year
because the bill for the overly generous scheme was blowing out. Another different rebate for solar generated electricity promised to pay 60c a kwhr (compared
to the usual 20 c/kwhr) and met the same fate. It too was suddenly canceled. In both cases the local solar industry had to deal with rapidly changing rules and
rewards, leading to bubbles and overnight busts. It makes a mockery out of the “free market” driving small businesses to the wall, and discouraging long
term planning and employment.
Renewable energy makes up only 6% of Australia’s energy needs, and fossil fuels, 94%. Solar PV panels provide 0.1% of all our electricity. There is no
nuclear energy industry here, despite Australia having one third of the worlds uranium. Roger Pielke, Jr. has looked closely at Australia’s emission targets and
calculated that it would need 35 nuclear plants, or 8,000 “Cloncurry plants”, finished and operating in nine years time in order to meet the targets. Ponder
that the single Cloncurry “plant” those numbers are based on, has been beset with set-backs.
After three years in development, when I last looked, the project had only 4 mirrors of the 8,000 it was supposed to have. It was due to be finished in early
2010. Possibly not the raging success it was hoped to be.
Having a solar panel on the roof used to be a badge of pride for the green-minded. But as people realize the panels took money from the poor to give cheap
electricity to the wealthy and achieved almost nothing for the Australian environment or economy, surely they will become seen as the mark of the parasitic, the
selfish or at best, the silly…
Even progressive activists know that this doesn’t make sense. D. Brady Nelson explains that a left-leaning group at the ANU, which accepts all the
assumptions of the man-made global warming (government funded) “science”, just can’t justify the exorbitant waste for so little gain. More » (Jo
Banks are turning negative on German solar, predicting demand will fall as subsidies are cut, in an environment of rapidly expanding supply of solar panels.
Bloomberg, in this story, talk about ‘Supply-glut
armageddon’. Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch, in a note to investors dated November 30th, report on a FT Deutschland story:
‘CDU (ruling party) energy policy advisor Thomas Bareiss has written to the Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, advising that there should be additional
solar subsidy cuts next year.’
‘We calculate the average German household is paying roughly €200 per year for solar subsidies at present. The feed in tariff for new installations is
set to fall 13% in January but if demand remains strong in H1 2011, which we think it will, then there could be an additional cut in July, just like what happened
this year. Germany accounts for roughly 60% of the global solar market and is therefore crucially important for driving utilisation, pricing and profitability
of the manufacturers.’
Germany produces some 600 billion kwh per year of electricity. Solar produced 1% of that in 2009.
That’s about the most expensive way of reducing CO2 emissions one can think of.
To date Germany has installed circa 18 GW of solar capacity, and have a target of 52 GW by 2020. A trebling of installed solar might imply, one would
think, at least a doubling of the cost per household, from €200 to €400 per year.
Good luck with that, Angela. (And don’t forget the wind tariffs too.)
Germany dominates global solar - people talk about China, but Germany took 46% of world installation in 2007, 35% in 2008, 56% in 2009, and an estimated 55%
in 2010 – over 50% in total. The truth is, no-one else cares, Germany has created the global pv industry almost single-handed, in one of the least
likely geographies, because of its peculiar green political history. It’s an aberration, not a sensible economic or environmental policy in any way.
As Merrill go on to say:
‘Germany has under-estimated... that few other countries care about solar, meaning Germany remains a large market of last resort. This will be the case
more than ever in 2011…’
In related news, Citibank's thinking is turning the same way:
Cost conscious governments and consumers are increasing the risk of cuts in subsidies for solar photovoltaics through their increasingly negative sentiment
towards the sector. In Germany the cost of electricity is expected to increase by 15% next year as solar installers reap the benefits of generous IRR’s this