Archives - February 2009

February 27, 2009

Obama's Climate Rip-off - President Obama wants to pay you to support global warming regulation. What he isn't saying, however, is that his enticement won't come close to covering what the regulations will cost you. (Steve Milloy,

Obama Plan Has $79 Billion From Cap-and-Trade in 2012 -- President Barack Obama’s budget plan assumes $78.7 billion in revenue in 2012 from the sale of greenhouse-gas emission permits to polluters, putting pressure on Congress to pass legislation by early next year.

A “cap-and-trade” program would generate a total of $645.7 billion by 2019, according to the budget blueprint Obama sent to Congress today. Initial funds would be used to invest in “clean” energy, help finance Obama’s tax credit for workers as well as offset higher energy costs for low- and middle-income people and clean up costs for small businesses. (Bloomberg)

Obama's $646 Billion Cap-And-Trade Green Tax - As I see it, the most important single item in President Obama's budget is his commitment to a cap-and-trade plan (to limit and reduce carbon emissions). It represents nothing less than an absolutely breath-taking attempt at reengineering the entire American economy. The White House expects the system will begin generating revenue for the government in 2012. By auctioning off carbon permits, the White expects the plan to bring some $80 billion a year between from 2012 to 2019.

1) What this is, of course, is a de facto business tax that will get passed along to workers and consumers. (Not to mention the impact on economic growth.) And not a small tax, at that. Over that same period, the White House expects regular corporate taxes to bring in some $3.8 trillion dollars. So the cap-and-trade auction impose an additional 20 percent tax or cost above that level. And remember that we already have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world.

2) Of that $80 billion, $15 billion would go toward "clean" energy investment. The rest would pay for his Making Work Pay tax credits. So what we have is, in essence, an enormous wealth transfer from job creators to consumers. (James Pethokoukis, Capital Commerce)

Obama Budget Realistic On Climate Revenue: Analysts - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's estimate of $646 billion in revenue for the first years of a carbon-capping program to curb climate change is realistic or possibly a little low, policy analysts said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Obama’s Cap on Carbon Pollution Is A Huge Tax Increase, Republican Lawmaker Says – In his speech to Congress Tuesday night, President Barack Obama “committed himself to the largest annual tax increase in the history of America,” warns a Republican congressman.

The implementation of a cap-and-trade system, something Obama favors, would raise $300- to $330-billion a year, said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

“As bad as the stimulus spending bill was, this would be much worse because instead of being one-time spending, the cap-and-trade tax increase would keep occurring year after year,” Inhofe said.

In his speech to Congress, Obama mentioned cap-and-trade indirectly, asking Congress “to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”

During his presidential campaign, however, Obama was more specific. He called for an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

A cap-and-trade program essentially creates a tax where none exists. Industries would be forced to pay for every ton of emissions they release – and those who pollute more could purchase “carbon credits” from businesses that pollute less. (

Battle Lines Drawn In Capitol Hill Climate Debate - WASHINGTON - One day after President Barack Obama asked Congress to craft a law to cap carbon emissions, battle lines were drawn in Congress on Wednesday over how to deal with human-spurred climate change.

Testimony at two congressional hearings was starkly divided between such experts as R.K. Pachauri of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who called for quick action to curb emissions, and Princeton physicist William Happer, who said increased carbon dioxide emissions "will be good for mankind."

Happer likened the push to limit greenhouse pollution now to the prohibition of U.S. liquor sales in the early 20th century, a constitutional amendment that was later repealed.

"Prohibition (of liquor) was a mistake and our country has probably still not fully recovered from the damage it did," Happer told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "Institutions like organized crime got their start in that era. Drastic limitations on CO2 are likely to damage our country in analogous ways." (Reuters)

The Worst Option on Greenhouse Gases - Eighty-five percent of everything Americans do with energy might soon be regulated by the EPA.

Throughout the presidential campaign, and into the early days of the Obama presidency, one thing has been crystal clear: the administration is determined to establish strict controls over the emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The administration has set highly aggressive targets, declaring a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 to 80 percent of the level emitted in 1990.

So it is no surprise that two Obama appointees, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson and former EPA administrator Carol Browner, are eager to regulate greenhouse gases under the auspices of the Clean Air Act. Sadly, of all the many ways in which one might control greenhouse gases, this approach is the worst by far. (Kenneth P. Green, The American)

Some are seeing the light: Bill urging exit from climate initiative passes - SALT LAKE CITY -- State lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a resolution that calls on Gov. Jon Huntsman to get Utah out of the Western Climate Initiative, a coalition formed to roll back greenhouse-gas emissions.

House Resolution 3, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, passed the Utah House 51-9. The resolution is nonbinding, but sends Huntsman a message. (Associated Press)

Business wants emissions trading delayed - Plans to start emissions trading next year are in trouble after a powerful business group withdrew its support.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has called for the scheme to be delayed until 2012 because of the economic crisis.

This caps off a horror stretch for the federal government's scheme.

Industry groups, farmers and green groups are all ramping up their opposition to the scheme. (AAP)

Nir Shaviv: Solar fluctuations are amplified - In this dose of skeptical peer-reviewed climatological literature, we follow a kind recommendation by Werdna and look to Journal of Geophysical Research, Space Physics. Nir Shaviv wrote an article called Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing. By using three independent records linked to the heat in the world's oceans, he deduces that a mostly unknown mechanism amplifies the total radiative forcing connected with 11-year solar cycles by a factor between 5 and 7. [CO2 Science story] In other words, the Sun is much more important for the energy budget than what you would think by looking at the small variations of the total power of our beloved star. (The Reference Frame)

California air regulators target tech industry emissions from semiconductor plants - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California air regulators on Thursday broadened their reach into Silicon Valley, implementing rules intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions from semiconductor plants.

The state Air Resources Board voted unanimously to regulate some of the most potent gases produced by the semiconductor industry, which makes chips for cell phones, computers and cars.

By Jan. 1, 2012, more than a dozen California chip manufacturers must reduce their use of fluorinated gases. Scientists say such emissions trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere at a rate 23,000 times higher than carbon dioxide.

"The chemicals are highly potent greenhouse gases. It's important that we begin the process of phasing them out," board chairwoman Mary Nichols said. (Associated Press)

Carbon Capping Already Killing California Jobs - President Barack Obama reiterated his promise to impose invasive and strict carbon caps on our nation’s economy last night. He failed to mention what effect they would have on our nation’s economic recovery. Fortunately for the rest of the nation, but unfortunately for them, California has already adopted strict new carbon capping rules. The result? They are a jobs killer. The New York Times reports: (The Foundry)

Leave Falling Carbon Prices Alone, Say Experts - LONDON - Falling carbon prices should not be supported through artificial price floors or direct government intervention, as this may deter new players and stunt the still-nascent market's growth, carbon market experts said.

"Price floors do not exist in any other markets," said Emmanuel Fages, a carbon analyst at France's Societe Generale and subsidiary orbeo, on Wednesday.

"Creating one in carbon would point out this market as an outlier and discourage regular market players, whom we depend on for the market's ultimate success." (Reuters)

We agree but for different reasons -- the true value of this "market" is absolute zero, zip, nada, not a thing. That clear it up any?

Eye-roller of the moment: Britain will become one big city in order to cope with climate change refugees - Britain could be one high rise city by the end of the century due to the number of migrants who will move here because their own countries have become too hot, scientists have predicted.

If the world warms by an average of 4 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years, the worse case scenario suggested in certain climate change models, it is expected many areas in the south of the world will become too dry to support human life. (Daily Telegraph)

II: Risks of global warming have been underestimated - 'Today, we have to assume that the risks of negative impacts of climate change on humans and nature are larger than just a few years ago,' says Hans-Martin Fuessel from the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK). Risks would increase drastically with only small increases in global mean temperature exceeding the 1990 level. Many ecosystems like tropical coral reefs prove to be much more susceptible to global warming and the rising concentration of carbon dioxide than assumed in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) by the IPCC in 2001. Extreme weather events as droughts, heat waves or tropical cyclones occur more frequently and cause larger damages than assessed at the beginning of this decade. (Science Centric)

III: "Gaia" Scientist Says Life Doomed By Climate Woes - LONDON - Climate change will wipe out most life on Earth by the end of this century and mankind is too late to avert catastrophe, a leading British climate scientist said.

James Lovelock, 89, famous for his Gaia theory of the Earth being a kind of living organism, said higher temperatures will turn parts of the world into desert and raise sea levels, flooding other regions.

His apocalyptic theory foresees crop failures, drought and death on an unprecedented scale. The population of this hot, barren world could shrink from about seven billion to one billion by 2100 as people compete for ever-scarcer resources.

"It will be death on a grand scale from famine and lack of water," Lovelock told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. "It could be a reduction to a billion (people) or less."

By 2040, temperatures in European cities will rise to an average of 110 Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) in summer, the same as Baghdad and parts of Europe in the 2003 heatwave. (Reuters)

Significant because people generally overstate willingness to pay for intangibles and because ANU is a bastion of Socialism: Carbon scheme a high price to pay: Survey - Australians are willing to put their money where their mouth is to address climate change, but not to pay anywhere near the expected costs of the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), according to a survey from researchers at The Australian National University.

The study by PhD student Sonia Akter and Professor Jeff Bennett of the ANU Crawford School of Economics and Government investigated the benefits of the CPRS and compared them to the costs of the scheme. The pair surveyed 600 Sydney residents to find out their willingness to pay the extra household costs the CPRS is likely to generate.

The study results show that Australians are concerned about climate change and they are willing to pay for action. However, those levels of concern and willingness to pay are significantly less than the expected costs from Treasury modelling.

“The survey respondents were willing to pay an extra $135 per household each month towards the CPRS,” said Professor Bennett. “But when aggregated across the nation, this represents $8.46 billion per annum – significantly less than the Treasury estimated cost of $14.7 billion per annum.

“Does this mean that the Australian public is ill-informed about climate change? To the contrary, the study shows how clearly the Australian public is thinking through the matter. The results show that the uncertainties surrounding both climate change and the effectiveness of climate change policy weigh heavily on people’s minds.

Professor Bennett said that debates about the relative merits of an emission trading scheme, such as the CPRS, and a tax on carbon emissions are misplaced – because both will leave the country poorer. (Australian National University)

Top Solar Companies Offer Dour View Of 2009 - LOS ANGELES/FRANKFURT - Three of the world's top solar power companies on Tuesday offered a dour view of the industry as it struggles with a dearth of funding options for new projects that has driven up supplies and sent prices on solar panels falling. (Reuters)

Oops! They've done it again (wonder if they'll notice?): North Atlantic Climate Shift See-Saws On South: Study - OSLO - Any abrupt climate changes in the North Atlantic region have a quick see-saw effect on the South Atlantic and affect weather around the globe rather than just locally, scientists said on Wednesday.

A study of ocean sediments from the last Ice Age in the South Atlantic backed theories that a sudden cooling or warming of the Northern Hemisphere causes an opposite effect in the south, they said.

Until now, scientists studying rapid temperature swings, caused by natural variations during the Ice Age that ended 10,000 years ago, lacked clear evidence of the see-saw link. Study of the chemical makeup of ocean sediments helped reconstruct ancient temperatures.

"Very large and abrupt changes in temperature recorded over Greenland and across the North Atlantic during the last Ice Age were actually global in extent," Cardiff University said of the study. (Reuters)

Remember all that nonsense about "don't worry about the Medieval Climate Optimum, it was strictly a North Atlantic event"? Now they admit these are global events. Moreover, research from around the world has shown that, while heat transfer is apparently initially concentrated to one hemisphere or the other, the warm (or cold) event sweeps the globe and may take a matter of centuries to traverse the hemispheres. Despite all the hand waving Earth's relatively recent past has been alternately warmer and cooler and now we are in a warmer phase. Inevitably it will cool again and may already be doing so.

The Human Effect On The Climate System Involves A Diverse Set Of Heterogeneous Climate Forcings - A Focus On Carbon Dioxide Is Too Narrow - There continues to be a focus on carbon dioxide as the dominate human climate forcing (e.g. see). This is too narrow an approach to how society should reduce its risk to climate, and will have little actual affect on the weather and climate.

In July 2005, Climate Science published a weblog that highlighted the importance of spatial variations in climate forcings on the weather and climate that we experience. This perspective emphasized that the correct approach to climate policy is to recognize and respond to the actual diversity of human climate forcings. The scientific literature supports the conclusion given below:

The human influence on climate is significant and involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to the human input of CO2. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Energy secretary throws himself into climate debate, guns blazing - SAN FRANCISCO -- When it comes to climate change, apparently Al Gore isn't the only Nobel laureate intent on shaking up the American public.

Enter Steven Chu, the new Energy secretary, who won the Nobel Prize as a physicist before getting into national politics. In his first interview as a Cabinet secretary earlier this month, Chu warned of a pending climate catastrophe that could see California's farm industry vanish and its snowpack nearly eliminated.

Chu was in office for less than two weeks when he sat down with the Los Angeles Times to convey an aggressive, home-grown view of global warming (Greenwire, Feb. 4). A Californian, Chu said his home state is in serious trouble over the next century unless action is taken to halt greenhouse gas emissions.

In jeopardy, he seemed to say, is not only a massive economic engine but a way of life. "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California," Chu told the L.A. Times, adding that up to 90 percent of the vital snowpack in the Sierra Nevada could disappear by the end of the century.

His intent in making the dire projections was clear: "I'm hoping that the American people will wake up," Chu said in the interview.

But how true are these predictions? As with most things related to climate science, that depends on whom you ask. (Colin Sullivan, ClimateWire)

Rich-Nation 2020 Greenhouse Gas Cuts Seen At 15 Percent - OSLO - Rich nations have converged on targets of around 15 percent for cutting greenhouse gases by 2020, but recession across much of the world could impede efforts to agree a new U.N. climate pact by the end of the year.

Cuts of 15 percent from current levels would fall far short of reductions advised by U.N.-backed scientists, but the recession is limiting government ambitions, analysts say.

"We're beginning to see a rough alignment for the numbers for developed countries," said Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Washington, of proposals for cuts of around 15 percent.

The United Nations said deeper cuts were needed. (Reuters)

Obama Budget Seeks To End Oil, Natgas Tax Breaks - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's budget outline on Thursday called for eliminating substantial tax breaks and increasing fees for the oil and natural gas industry, while boosting funding for cleaner fuel development.

Obama has made transforming the way Americans use energy a priority for his presidency. He has pledged to double U.S. renewable energy production in three years and wants 10 percent of electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2012. (Reuters)

The Coen Brothers Do Clean Coal - Even as President Obama continues to push for development of “clean coal” — a broad term used widely by the coal industry to describe traditional coal energy generation outfitted with a variety of emissions-capturing technologies — the effort to portray that idea as mere greenwash continues apace.

The latest salvo (above) enlists the directorial expertise — and no doubt the dry wit — of brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, the creators of popular oddball films like “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.” The duo took part at the invitation of the Reality Coalition, a partnership of big-hitter environmental groups spearheaded by the Alliance for Climate Protection and dedicated to the proposition that the idea of “clean coal” is, at least for now, bunkum. (Green Inc.)

But carbon dioxide is an essential trace gas in historically low supply, it is not an atmospheric "pollutant" by any rational definintion.

E.ON Explores New Technology For Dutch Coal Plant - FRANKFURT - German utility E.ON said on Wednesday it has teamed up with a Dutch public sector partner to equip a planned coal-fired power station in Rotterdam with technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. (Reuters)

Crude Stimulus - Shovel-ready stimulus? How about one that'll create at least a million jobs, give our economy a multitrillion-dollar boost, make our nation energy-secure and won't cost us a penny?

Not surprisingly, oil company CEOs are alarmed at U.S. refusal to drill for new energy sources badly needed to fuel our economy into the middle of this century and beyond.

In testimony before Congress this week, they drove home the point that the U.S. is making a huge mistake in ignoring its own vast energy resources, imperiling our economic future. (IBD)

Chevron Executive Speaks to Congress About the Outer Continental Shelf - Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Hastings and members of the Committee: My name is Gary Luquette, President of Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company. I have the honor today of representing Chevron's 28,000 employees that live and work in the U.S. before your committee today.

Our nation is confronting serious economic challenges. I appreciate this opportunity to share with your committee how the oil and gas industry and Chevron can assist our nation in the economic recovery process. There are two ways the industry can help: By enhancing America's energy security and by creating more jobs and more revenue for federal, state and local governments.

To the urgent goal of addressing both energy and economy, I'll speak briefly about two things: Why the development of the Outer Continental Shelf [OCS], including the former moratoria areas, is essential, and how we can do it in a responsible and sustainable way. (Oil & Gas News)

Meanwhile in the Russian Arctic, GazProm are busy: The Shtokman gas condensate deposit lies in the Barents Sea, in the north of Russia. The timing of the project is intended to coincide with an increase in demand for LNG, principally from the US market and the search for operational partners focuses on the need for external expertise in LNG transport and deep water / long distance gas production.

Oil Execs Push Congress For Offshore Drilling - WASHINGTON - Executives from major oil companies told Congress on Wednesday that more offshore areas should be opened to drilling to boost domestic energy supplies and reduce America's reliance on petroleum imports.

Oil companies have their best shot in nearly three decades to search for energy supplies in new offshore areas after both congressional and presidential bans on expanding offshore drilling expired last year.

President Barack Obama has said he could support some expanded offshore drilling as part of a comprehensive plan to help solve America's energy problems.

"The need for making more oil and natural gas available to Americans is clear. The United States' continued economic growth and prosperity depend on access to reliable and affordable supplies of energy," Tim Cejka, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Co, testified at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on offshore drilling.

"Here in the U.S., we have deliberately constrained our own supply by limiting access to promising areas for leasing, exploration and development," said Lamar McKay, president of BP America.

McKay pointed to government estimates that predict the offshore areas that have been off limits to exploration could hold 17.8 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The United States must import about 65 percent of its petroleum supplies. (Reuters)

Real energy jobs: Toshiba awarded nuclear plant design-construction contract - STP Nuclear Operating Co., the entity responsible for managing the South Texas Project, has awarded Toshiba Corp. an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the delivery of two advanced boiler-water reactor nuclear power units. (Nuclear News)

U.S. Gas Drilling Boom Stirs Water Worries - HICKORY, Penn - On a snowy hillside in rural southwest Pennsylvania, Larry Grimm drives his truck up a steep gravel track to a hilltop reservoir surrounded by orange plastic fencing and "keep out" signs.

The pond supplies water pumped from a local creek to the natural gas wells that are springing up throughout Mount Pleasant Township, where Grimm is the municipal supervisor.

Range Resources Corp, the Texas company that has drilled 68 wells in the township, needs millions of gallons of water for "hydrofracking," a process that forces a chemical-laden solution deep into the rock, allowing natural gas to be released.

The technique is being repeated at hundreds of other sites in Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states as energy companies scramble to exploit the Marcellus Shale, one of America's biggest natural gas formations, which some geologists believe contains enough recoverable gas to meet total U.S. needs for a decade or more.

At a time when America is stepping up efforts to reduce its dependence on foreign energy, the Marcellus appears to offer an abundant alternative close to America's biggest natural gas market, the northeast. (Reuters)

U.S. Interior Scraps Bush Research Oil Shale Leases - WASHINGTON - A Bush administration plan for more research, development and demonstration oil shale leases will be scrapped because the proposal is flawed and royalties to the government are too low, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday.

"If oil shale technology proves to be viable on a commercial scale, taxpayers should get a fair rate of return from their resource," he said.

Salazar also took issue with the size of the oil shale leases offered in January, which covered areas four times larger than six parcels currently leased for research. (Reuters)

Study Zeroes In on Calories, Not Diet, for Loss - For people who are trying to lose weight, it does not matter if they are counting carbohydrates, protein or fat. All that matters is that they are counting something.

That is the finding of the largest-ever controlled study of weight-loss methods published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. More than 800 overweight adults in Boston and Baton Rouge, La., were assigned to one of four diets that reduced calories through different combinations of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Each plan cut about 750 calories from a participant’s normal diet, but no one ate fewer than 1,200 calories a day.

While the diets were not named, the eating plans were all loosely based on the principles of popular diets like Atkins, which emphasizes low carbohydrates; Dean Ornish, which is low-fat; or the Mediterranean diet, with less animal protein. All participants also received group or individual counseling.

After two years, every diet group had lost — and regained — about the same amount of weight regardless of what diet had been assigned. Participants lost an average of 13 pounds at six months and had maintained about 9 pounds of weight loss and a two-inch drop in waist size after two years. While the average weight loss was modest, about 15 percent of dieters lost more than 10 percent of their weight by the end of the study. Still, after about a year many returned to at least some of their usual eating habits.

The lesson, researchers say, is that people lose weight if they lower calories, but it does not matter how. (New York Times)

To Pay for Health Care, Obama Looks to Taxes on Affluent - WASHINGTON — President Obama will propose further tax increases on the affluent to help pay for his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable, calling for stricter limits on the benefits of itemized deductions taken by the wealthiest households, administration officials said Wednesday.

The tax proposal, coming after recent years in which wealth has become more concentrated at the top of the income scale, introduces a politically volatile edge to the Congressional debate over Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities.

The president will also propose, in the 10-year budget he is to release Thursday, to use revenues from the centerpiece of his environmental policy — a plan under which companies must buy permits to exceed pollution emission caps — to pay for an extension of a two-year tax credit that benefits low-wage and middle-income people. (New York Times)

World Lags In Breeding Climate-Proof Crops: Experts - OSLO - The world is running out of time to develop new seed varieties to confront climate change and head off food shortages that could affect billions of people, experts said.

Marking the first anniversary on Thursday of the opening of a "doomsday" seed vault on the island of Spitsbergen in the Norwegian Arctic, they said that people in Africa and Asia were most at risk from a lack of climate-proof crops. (Reuters)

So stop paying undue attention to antibiotech whiners then.

Report: Companies should disclose water use - FRESNO, Calif. -- As more companies become conscious of their carbon footprint, a new movement is urging corporations to track their "water footprint" as well, or risk financial losses as freshwater supplies dry up around the globe.

Major corporations such as Coca-Cola Co. now disclose the amount of water they use in financial reports, in an attempt to show investors they can confront threats to their water supply, according to a study released Thursday by the nonprofit Pacific Institute. (Associated Press)

February 26, 2009

Obama Scores Zero on Econ 101 - In his first address to Congress, President Obama said that the “stimulus” legislation and other short-term economic policies were necessary to prevent a decade-long recession. He then went on to advocate energy and global warming policies that will foster a perpetual recession. First, he promised that federal funding and mandates will make the United States the world leader in renewable energy technologies. As an article that might have been published in the Onion but actually appeared in the Los Angeles Times last week noted, the only thing holding renewable energy technologies back is a number of necessary technological breakthroughs that will make them work. Apparently, our President is too young to have learnt that the federal government has been throwing taxpayer money at renewables since the 1970s.

The President then called on the Congress to send him cap-and-trade legislation that would make renewable energy profitable by raising the price of conventional energy produced from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Yes, renewable energy will become profitable, many jobs will be created, and we’ll have to settle for a significantly lower standard of living as a result. The sad fact is that the new Administration has some highly-regarded establishment Democratic economists in it, but is for some reason pursuing economically illiterate and consequently disastrous policies. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads)

Really? Barack Obama adds fuel to carbon debate - INTERNATIONAL momentum towards an agreement on climate change was boosted yesterday when US President Barack Obama urged Congress to draft legislation for a cap-and-trade emissions trading system.

Australian observers said the speech had "breathed life" into international talks for a climate change deal, even though White House officials said the US legislation might not pass Congress before negotiations in Copenhagen later this year.

The Climate Institute of Australia's chief executive, John Connor, said: "Obama breathed new life into a global approach and he rang the bell on the way clean energy can be part of the economic stimulus."

The Rudd Government has been under attack for moving too quickly with its emissions trading plans, while the rest of the world has second thoughts because of the global economic crisis.

Recent comments by new US Energy Secretary Steven Chu floating the idea of a carbon tax added to concerns that Australia could be isolated. (The Australian)

Climate change timetable slips as Obama backtracks on 2008 deadline - Campaign pledge to quickly pass laws to cut emissions faltering in the first weeks of his presidency

Barack Obama has been forced to slow down early legislation to reduce the CO2 emissions that cause global warming, a key green objective of his presidency.

Officials conceded that Congress is unlikely to pass such legislation by the end of 2009, a delay that could hurt efforts to reach a global treaty at the climate change conference in Copenhagen this December.

It also frustrates hopes that last week's huge infusion of green investment in the $787bn (£546bn) economic rescue plan would give momentum to efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (The Guardian)

More hot air needed - The debate on how to reduce greenhouse emissions isn't over

BY committing Australia to a carbon trading scheme before the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December, the Government is setting its strategy in stone without knowing what the rest of the world will do. This does not bother Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who is adamant her carbon pollution reduction scheme will go ahead and that anybody who wants to argue is either a job destroyer or a climate change sceptic. But while Senator Wong is obviously enamoured of her plan, opponents of the CPRS, including discrete critics in the Government's ranks, are not so easily dismissed. (The Australian)

Warming panic not so cool - Steven Hayward reviews nine of the latest green books, and detects the beginning of the end of eco-alarmism:

“On what principle is it,” wondered Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1830, “that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?” Environmentalism didn’t exist in its current form in Macaulay’s time, or he would easily have discerned its essential pessimism bordering at times on a loathing of humanity. A trip down the environment and earth sciences aisle of any larger bookstore is usually a tour of titles that cover the narrow range from dismay to despair…

Yet some cracks are starting to appear in their dreary and repetitive story line. Although extreme green ideology won’t go away any time soon—the political and legal institutions of the environmental movement are too well established—there are signs that the public and a few next-generation environmentalists are ready to say goodbye to all that…

Opinion surveys show that the public isn’t jumping on the global warming bandwagon despite a multi-million dollar marketing campaign and full-scale media hysteria. More broadly there are signs that “green fatigue” is setting in. Magazine publishers recently reported that their special Earth Day “green” issues generated the lowest newsstand sales of all issues published in 2008.
(Andrew Bolt Blog)

‘We have an extremely selfish population’ - Ben Pile talks to a member of the UK Climate Change Committee — and to one of its staunchest critics.

In November 2008, the UK’s Climate Change Act was passed, committing the country to an 80 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2050. Politicians, NGOs, journalists and activists welcomed the target, but to meet it many far-reaching changes in our working- and day-to-day lives will be necessary, the extent of which is rarely discussed. (Ben Pile, sp!ked)

The End of Journalism and the Death of Science - James Lovelock, the British chemist and alleged expert on climate change, suggests that 80% of mankind will be wiped out by climate change and that the hot planet will last for 100,000 years. So persuasive is his assertion that it was asserted on BBC World’s HARDtalk as a fact today. What ever happened to science and to journalism? (The Murgatroyd Blog)

Stars Come Out for House and Senate Hearings - The House and the Senate held competing A-list hearings on global warming on Wednesday at 10AM. Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee was Dr. James E. Hansen, whom the committee described as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He is of course also Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. I tried to watch both hearings on the internet and thereby undoubtedly missed a lot of good stuff as I switched back and forth. Interestingly, Pachauri, an economist and engineer, talked mostly about global warming science, while Hansen, an astronomer, talked mostly about economics. Pachauri was utterly dreary. Hansen was an interesting mix. He inveighed against cap-and-trade as an ineffective scam designed to pay off big business. He instead endorsed a stiff carbon tax with 100% of revenues rebated to consumers.

When asked by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) about what would happen to North Dakota and its near-total reliance on brown coal for producing electricity, Hansen said that employment in the coal industry would go down, but that North Dakota had lots of potential for wind power and potentially for growing well-designed bio-fuels. He observed that these new industries might create more jobs than would be lost in the coal industry. That is true. One of the ways to create jobs is to make production and use of capital less efficient. For example, there would be tens of millions, probably even hundreds of millions, of new jobs in North Dakota and throughout rural America if mechanized agriculture were banned. Then the federal government could throw billions of dollars of taxpayer money into improving farming technology. Think of the breakthroughs that could be made with revolutionary new horse-drawn plows, etc.

The Republican witnesses—Professor William Happer at the Senate hearing and Professor John Christy at the House hearing—were articulate, intelligent, and scientifically accurate. Christy made a strong case against energy poverty. Naturally, most Senators and Representatives were unimpressed and unhappy with them. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads)

Scientist Tells Congress: Earth in ‘CO2 Famine’ - ‘The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind’

‘Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science’

Washington, DC — Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears “mistaken” and noted that the Earth was currently in a “CO2 famine now.” Happer, who has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, made his remarks during today’s Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing entitled “Update on the Latest Global Warming Science.

“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) – 280 (parts per million - ppm) – that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee. To read Happer’s complete opening statement click here. (EPW Blog)

In debate on climate change, exaggeration is a common pitfall - In the effort to shape the public's views on global climate change, hyperbole is an ever-present temptation on all sides of the debate.

Earlier this month, former Vice President Al Gore and the Washington Post columnist George Will made strong public statements about global warning from starkly divergent viewpoints.

Gore, addressing a hall filled with scientists in Chicago, showed a slide that illustrated a sharp spike in fires, floods and other calamities around the world and warned the audience that global warming "is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented."

Will, in a column attacking what he said were exaggerated claims about global warming's risks, chided climate scientists for predicting an ice age three decades ago and asserted that a pause in warming in recent years and the recent expansion of polar sea ice undermined visions of calamity ahead.

Both men, experts said afterward, were guilty of inaccuracies and overstatements. (Andrew C. Revkin, IHT)

Andy has this at least partly right, although he's still a believer. So what do we actually know? Not as much as most people seem to think.

  • We don't really know the Earth's global mean temperature
  • We don't know what the Earth's temperature "should be"
  • We don't know if any optimum mean temperature exists
  • We don't know what would constitute an optimum mean temperature
  • We don't know if a mean temperature is even a valid climate metric
  • We do not know if doubling or even quadrupling atmospheric carbon dioxide is capable of making an observable difference in the climate system
  • No one has demonstrated any evidence an increase in the essential trace gas carbon dioxide is anything but beneficial

Ever-worsening hysteria and nonsense: Polar regions found warming fast, raising sea levels - GENEVA - The Arctic and Antarctic regions are warming faster than previously thought, raising world sea levels and making drastic global climate change more likely than ever, international scientists said on Wednesday.

New evidence of the trend was uncovered by wide-ranging research in the two areas over the past two years in a United Nations-backed program dubbed the International Polar Year (IPY), they said.

"Snow and ice are declining in both polar regions, affecting human livelihoods as well as local plant and animal life in the Arctic as well as global atmospheric circulation and sea-level," according to a summary of a report by the researchers.

An assessment of the findings of the research was still being refined, said the IPY's "State of Polar Research" report.

"But it now appears certain that both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and thus raising sea level, and that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is growing," it said.

"New data also confirm that warming in the Antarctic is much more widespread than it was thought prior to IPY." (Reuters)

Apparently they haven't caught up with the errors that lead to the one false (and model-generated) conclusion of general Antarctic warming being used to overturn a half-century of observation. Nor, apparently, are they aware of apparent mass increase in Antarctic snow and ice volume (sometimes offered as "proof" of atmospheric warming and moistening), same for the bulk of the Greenland ice shield with some regional peripheral ice loss and increase inland and at altitude. There is no evidence of accelerated ice loss nor of long-term change in the rate of sea level rise (it has been rising since the end of the last great glaciation although much more slowly now than say, 10,000 years ago).

Oh dear... misperceptions abound: Apple shareholders vote down 'say on pay,' criticize handling of Jobs' health disclosure - Apple shareholders generally approve of the way its board and executives are running the company, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't improve a few things.


Still, underneath the amity of the voting results were some signs of discord. Given the chance to speak at the meeting, individual investors and shareholder activists criticized the company's leaders for Apple's environmental policies, the way they handled disclosures about Jobs' health and for the company's decision to pull out of the Macworld trade conference.

Al Gore, the former vice president and current Apple board member, drew particular scrutiny. Gore, a Nobel Prize laureate for his activism on climate change, drew particular criticism for not forcing Apple to make a stronger stand on the issue.

There's a disconnect between Apple having on its board one of the world's foremost authorities on global warming and the company's lack of commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, noted Conrad MacKerron, director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Program at As You Sow, an activist group. (Troy Wolverton, Mercury News) [em added]

EU signals end of ‘free lunches’ on climate finance - China and India must play their full part in fighting climate change and accept that programmes financed by the West to modernise their industries will only come in return for making genuine efforts at home, warns the EU's chief climate negotiator in an interview with EurActiv.

Artur Runge-Metzger, head of international climate change negotiations at the European Commission, said carbon markets are going to play a central role in the transition to a low-carbon economy in the developing world too.

But he stressed that advanced developing countries need to raise their game, as the number of Western-backed projects financed under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will be limited.

"Some have had a very good experience with the CDM, and they benefited a lot from it, like China, India and Brazil," said Runge-Metzger. "They would certainly like to keep that instrument."

Western countries, he argued, should request the most advanced developing nations to make commitments in exchange for much-needed technologies such as carbon capture and storage. "Of course, if there is a free lunch, why should you not ask for three or four free lunches?," asked the EU official. (EurActiv)

Plenty of conspiracy theories in the comments :) NASA's Carbon Satellite Fails & NASA Rocket Crash Claims The Life of First Global Warming Research Satellite -- thanks to everyone who sent links.

Japan's boffins: Global warming isn't man-made - Climate science is 'ancient astrology', claims report

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan's native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document - the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you'll find some of the key findings - but first, a summary. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)

Everyone needs a laugh: Forget the economy: British scientist says global warming will kill most life on Earth - Here is a little something to take your mind off of the recession.

A British climate researcher says that by the end of this century most of life on Earth will be gone. And there is nothing we can do to stop it.

James Lovelock, well-known for his Gaia theory of the Earth, told Reuters that rising temperatures will cause rising sea levels and worldwide drought.

Lovelock predicts that the human population could drop down to less than one billion from the seven billion alive now.

"It will be death on a grand scale from famine and lack of water," he said.

Lovelock says that even if we could get carbon dioxide emissions to zero, it is too late to stop the apocalypse.

"It is a bit like a supertanker. You can't make it stop by just turning the engines off," he told Reuters.

There, the economy doesn't seem like such a big deal now, does it? (Scott Maniquet, National Post)

Disappearing Arctic Ice Is Latest Climate Falsehood - In May, 2008, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) predicted that the North Pole could be ice free during last years melt season. The disappearing northern sea ice has been pointed to by global warming alarmists as visible proof that the Earth was doing a melt down. Today, however, the NSIDC announced that they have been the victims of “sensor drift” that caused them to underestimate the Arctic ice extent by as much as 500,000 square kilometers. It turns out that the demise of the arctic ice was greatly exaggerated. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

Will Climate Go Over The Edge? - Even a miracle of diplomacy wouldn't put global warming back in its box.

There is something compelling, in a ghoulish sort of way, about the notion that earth's climate may be headed toward a tipping point. The idea gained broad currency in 2007, when a panel of scientists, including Harvard environmental expert John Holdren—now the White House science adviser—warned that the planet is approaching a threshold beyond which damage to the environment would be irreversible. As policymakers work toward a climate treaty in Copenhagen in December that will include new limits on emissions, the question in the back of everyone's mind is whether an agreement can halt the warming trend, or at least stave off the worst consequences. Or is it already too late? A definitive answer isn't forthcoming, but the signs in recent months have been gloomy.

The truth is shrouded by a big scientific unknown: how quickly does climate respond to changes in carbon levels? After 30 years of research, the link between the two is still imprecise. That's why temperature trends are expressed within wide confidence intervals. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N. group, puts the odds at two in three that a doubling of carbon levels in the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels would raise average temperatures anywhere from 2 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C. The difference between the top and bottom of this range, according to the 2007 report, spells the difference between bad and catastrophic. (Some scientists believe, for instance, that crop yields decline 10 percent for each degree rise in temperature.) Where future generations wind up on the scale—or even if they fall on the scale at all—is still a roll of the dice. (Fred Guterl, NEWSWEEK)

Droughts 'may lay waste' to parts of US - The world's pre-eminent climate scientists produced a blunt assessment of the impact of global warming on the US yesterday, warning of droughts that could reduce the American south-west to a wasteland and heatwaves that could make life impossible even in northern cities.

In an update on the latest science on climate change, the US Congress was told that melting snow pack could lead to severe drought from California to Oklahoma. In the midwest, diminishing rains and shrinking rivers were lowering water levels in the Great Lakes, even to the extent where it could affect shipping. (The Guardian)

Failing to address forest loss may prove catastrophic - Ignoring issues like deforestation and global warming will prove more costly than attempts to bail out the global banking system, writes JOHN GIBBONS. (Irish Times)

'Global Warming Is Not a Crisis' - Climate change is big news these days, from melting mountain glaciers to warming seas. But is the buildup of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere leading to a crisis?

That was the question at the core of a recent Oxford-style debate called Intelligence Squared U.S. The series is based on the Intelligence Squared program that began in London in 2002. Three experts argue in favor of a motion; three others argue against it.

In this debate, the proposition was: "Global Warming Is Not a Crisis." In a vote before the debate, about 30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided. The debate seemed to affect a number of people: Afterward, about 46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided. (NPR)

Gore business: 2340 climate lobbyists - After years of resistance from the Bush administration, global warming advocates are convinced the time has come for passage of major climate change legislation.

But even with a sympathetic White House and Congress, the years of delay might well have complicated their task as an army of lobbyists assembled to do battle over the issue.

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change in the past year, as the issue gathered momentum and a bill came to a vote in Congress.

That’s an increase of more than 300 percent in the number of global warming lobbyists since 2003, when Congress previously voted on climate change legislation, and means that Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress.

It also means that 15 percent of all Washington lobbyists spent at least some of their time on global warming last year, based on a tally of the total number of influence peddlers on Capitol Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The center estimates that lobbying expenditures on climate change last year topped $90 million. About 130 businesses and interest groups spent more than $23.5 million on lobbying teams solely focused on climate, but that vastly understates the money devoted to the effort. (Marianne Lavelle - Center for Public Integrity)

Some people are seriously against lobbying, although I have no particular issues with it -- often times there is no other way for interested parties to be heard. The flaws in the system are exposed when non-issues like gorebull warming are absurdly elevated like this. That's just the way the biscuit breaks though: I may not agree with what they say but I will defend to the death their right to hold and expound such stupid opinions.

Obama calls for carbon cap legislation - WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama urged Congress to draft legislation setting market-based caps on the emissions of carbon gases in a landmark move in the United States to combat global warming.

"To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy," Obama told lawmakers in his maiden speech to Congress.

"So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America." (AFP)

Obama counting on cap-and-trade - President Obama is banking on $300 billion to come in by 2022 from a cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gases, according to a source with knowledge of the president's proposed budget.

Mr. Obama expects money from the climate-change proposal to start rolling in by 2012, and that amount would come in over the subsequent 10 years as companies purchase carbon offsets, according to the source.

The budget's assumption of money from a revenue stream that does not yet exist provides a concrete indication that Mr. Obama expects a cap-and-trade system to be in place soon although Congress still must shape, write, debate and decide on a timetable for legislation that likely will be divisive even among Democrats.

"As someone who is very involved in the legislative debates on this, it's just very premature to be having any number like that," said Jeff Holmstead, Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator during the Bush administration.

"I do think it will be eye-opening to a lot of people to find out that cap-and-trade is really about raising taxes," said Mr. Holmstead, who now works with the energy lobbying firm of Bracewell and Giuliani. (Tom LoBianco, Washington Times)

Carbon: Europe's Lessons for the U.S. - The economic downturn is undermining Europe's effort to cut CO2 emissions—and particularly its four-year-old carbon-trading system

This is supposed to be the year of the green economy. U.S. President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package has earmarked billions of dollars for renewable energy and efficiency projects. Pundits expect America to reverse its hostility to the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and lead this year's negotiations for its successor. And some form of federally mandated U.S. carbon dioxide credit-trading scheme is expected by the end of 2010.

Yet before investors get carried away over clean tech, they should heed a few sobering lessons from Europe's almost decade-long experiment to create a more climate-friendly economy. Sure, the region's eco-innovation has won global plaudits, but the economic downturn is quickly taking the shine off Europe's effort to cut CO2 emissions. Widespread government subsidies, for instance, made countries such as Denmark, Germany, and Spain into global leaders in renewable energy. But now, lower subsidies and a lack of project financing from banks due to the credit crisis are whacking investment in clean energy. European green energy investments fell by 13.7% in the second half of 2008 from the same period in 2007, to $21.2 billion, according to researcher New Carbon Finance. In North America, the toll is far worse: Over the same period, clean energy investment there fell by nearly half, to $10.7 billion. (Business Week)

What if there is no Man-Made Global Warming? What then? - Here are some questions every American should ask their elected officials – especially those supporting “climate change” legislation: If it is proven that climate change is not man-made, but natural, will you be relieved and excited to know that man is off the hook? Will you now help to remove all of the draconian regulations passed during the global warming hysteria, since it was all wrong headed and harmful to the economy and our way of life?

Their answers to these questions should be very illuminating as to the true agenda they seek to impose. Is their agenda really about helping to protect the environment, or is it about creating a new social and economic order, using the environment as the excuse? (Tom Deweese, Canada Free Press)

Climate change and the return of original sin - Officials want us to observe a ‘carbon fast’. It’s further evidence that environmentalism is about managing human behaviour rather than nature. (Frank Furedi, sp!ked)

A nuclear 'coming out' for Greens - TWO GREEN Party members from Oxford are among a small group of leading environmentalists who this week came out in support of nuclear power.

Mark Lynas, the author of the award-winning Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, and Chris Goodall, the activist and prospective Parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, told The Independent newspaper this week that they had changed their minds on nuclear power.

Mr Lynas and Mr Goodall joined Stephen Tindale, the former director of Greenpeace, and Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, the chairman of the Environment Agency, in formally announcing a change of position on nuclear energy. (Oxford Times)

Pleasing to see them becoming slightly more rational about nuclear power but gorebull warming is not a valid reason for anything.

New research few American women heard about breast cancer screening - Nearly two dozen medical professionals in the UK took bold action this past week. They joined together to speak out and confront the National Health Services and call for patients to be given the full facts about preventive health screening. Public health recommendations and information women receive about breast cancer screening is not only unsupported and one-sided, they said, but denying women their right to give informed consent before submitting to a medical procedure that has been shown to harm ten times more women than it may help.

The bottom line, none of the information women receive about breast cancer screening “comes close to telling the truth,” they wrote in The Times. As a result, they said, women are being manipulated to undergo mammography. (Junkfood Science)

Another look at the science of wellness - Whether they call themselves health or lifestyle coaches or wellness practitioners, the person at the other end of the telephone of the wellness program offered by your employer or healthplan could be anyone. Wellness is not a recognized or licensed medical discipline. (Junkfood Science)

Compounding stupidity: After trans fat victory, salt is next - In a victory for public health after a decades-long campaign by consumer advocates, artery-clogging trans fat has all but disappeared from packaged foods in the U.S.

New and threatened state and federal laws and regulatory actions forced food manufacturers to find ways to get the trans fat out.

It wasn't easy.

Food companies worked hard to find suitable replacements for the manufactured fat that made pie crusts flaky and gave the right mouth feel to our favorite store-bought cookies and crackers.

So trans fat is out. Mostly.

However, that nutrition-policy success seems like little more than the warm-up for a movement to take on a much tougher target: salt.

Just as in the case of trans fat, political will appears to be building for increased government pressure on the food industry to radically reduce the sodium added to our food. (News & Observer)

Oh... CDC Testimony on Energy and Public Works United States Senate - Update on the Latest Global Warming Science: Public Health

Statement of: Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Presumably this is a straight-out departmental grab for cash. "Currently CDC supports efforts to: (1) incorporate climate change concerns into ongoing global health programs, (2) strengthen the evidence base, and (3) collaborate with key agencies addressing climate change."

What "evidence base"? How does anyone realistically anticipate "addressing climate change"? And why no statement on the reduction in "excess mortalities" that comes with less-cold conditions? Total crock from go to whoa.

Political payoff for organized labor: $4.5 Billion ‘Green Building’ in Stimulus Is Wasteful Partisan Spending, Critics Say – The Democrats’ $787-billion stimulus package includes $4.5 billion designated to help transform functioning federal government facilities into “high-performance green buildings.”

Advocates for green policy in the U.S. told that the spending is both a sound investment and environmentally responsible, but conservatives watchful for government waste said the expenditure is an example of partisan spending in the stimulus package.

According to the bill’s language, “not less than $4,500,000,000 shall be available for measures necessary to convert General Services Administration (GSA) facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings.” (

FACT CHECK: Obama glosses over complex realities - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama glossed over some complex realities Tuesday in delivering his to-do list to Congress and a nation hungry for economic salvation.

A look at some of his assertions: (Associated Press)

Senator echoes Tea Party rally cry - 'People have to show that they're not going to take it anymore'

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a staunch opponent of the federal government's increase in size and spending legislated by President Obama's stimulus package, has issued a call for Americans to stand up – literally – and take back their freedom.

"I would think it's time to start thinking about peaceful demonstrations," DeMint said in an interview with Georgia's Augusta Chronicle. "The power of the people is there. Freedom is in the people's hands right now, and it's about to slip through."

DeMint lobbied his fellow Senators to resist the $787 billion stimulus package's new federal regulations in the areas of education, medicine, welfare spending and other arenas – all to no avail, as three of his fellow Republicans joined all the Democrats in the Senate to approve the massive spending bill by a vote of 60-38.

Disappointed by the outcome on Capitol Hill, DeMint is now calling on the common people to resist government actions he sees overflowing constitutional bounds. (WND)

February 25, 2009

Defend George Will and the right to question climate alarmism! - Please help defend nationally syndicated columnist George Will from the greens… you made be defending your own right to question green orthodoxy!

Here’s the story. On Feb. 15, the Washington Post published Will’s column “Dark Green Doomsayers.”

Not surprisingly, green groups (Center for American Progress Action Fund, Media Matters and Friends of the Earth) have gone ballistic. (Green Hell)

When it Comes to Climate Change, Errors Abound - “A Matter of Fact,” a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, challenges the Washington Post to correct George F. Will’s “Dark Green Doomsayers” column, published February 15th. The report, by CAP’s Brad Johnson, asserts that George Will made three factual errors:

Current “global sea ice levels” equals those of 1979

There hasn’t been warming in “more than a decade”

“Global cooling” joins a list of well publicized “planetary calamities that did not happen.”

Will’s column is not perfect, and Johnson raises some valid questions. For the sake of intellectual honesty, however, Johnson should broaden his fact-checking scope to incorporate misstatements on both sides of the global warming debate—including his own fudging of the truth. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Despite lack of warming, alarmists predictably predict warming worse than predicted - As you may have heard, there has been no net warming of the planet since 2001, and no subsequent year was a warm as 1998 (admittedly a year with a major El Nino). A recent study by Keenlyside et al. (2008) concludes that “global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade” due to natural oscillations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

As Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute explained at a recent congressional hearing, the suite of 21 climate models used in the IPCC’s mid-range emissions scenario (A1B) are on the verge of failing to reproduce actual climate data.

During the past 5 to 20 years, the observed trend in the average global temperature has been so low that it is starting to push the lower bounds of the climate models’ range of temperature predictions for that period. If 2009 is as cool as 2008 (with a La Nina brewing in the Pacific Ocean, that is not unlikely), then even the least sensitive of these models will be overestimating the actual amount of warming. And if Keenlyside is correct, and another decade elapses without significant warming, the models will have clearly failed.

The most important point for policymakers and citizens, as Michaels notes, is that if the models predict too much warming, then all model-based assessments of global warming impacts on agriculture, human health, extreme weather, etc. will be similarly overestimated. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Politics in the Guise of Pure Science - Why, since President Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place” in Washington, do some things feel not quite right?

First there was Steven Chu, the physicist and new energy secretary, warning The Los Angeles Times that climate change could make water so scarce by century’s end that “there’s no more agriculture in California” and no way to keep the state’s cities going, either.

Then there was the hearing in the Senate to confirm another physicist, John Holdren, to be the president’s science adviser. Dr. Holdren was asked about some of his gloomy neo-Malthusian warnings in the past, like his calculation in the 1980s that famines due to climate change could leave a billion people dead by 2020. Did he still believe that?

“I think it is unlikely to happen,” Dr. Holdren told the senators, but he insisted that it was still “a possibility” that “we should work energetically to avoid.”

Well, I suppose it never hurts to go on the record in opposition to a billion imaginary deaths. But I have a more immediate concern: Will Mr. Obama’s scientific counselors give him realistic plans for dealing with global warming and other threats? To borrow a term from Roger Pielke Jr.: Can these scientists be honest brokers? (John Tierney, New York Times)

Obama prefers Congress to EPA in tackling climate -- Browner - President Obama would prefer to tackle global warming through a cap-and-trade bill but remains open to setting rules for cars and power plants as a backstop, his top energy and climate adviser said yesterday.

"The president continues to believe the best path forward is through legislation, rather than through sort of the weaving together the various authorities of the Clean Air Act, which may or may not end in a cap-and-trade program," Carol Browner told the Western Governors Association during its winter meetings in Washington yesterday. "You can get the clearest instruction by passing legislation."

U.S. EPA administrator for eight years under President Bill Clinton, Browner reminded the governors that federal climate rules are forthcoming under Supreme Court precedent set in April 2007 in Massachusetts v. EPA.

"If [Administrator] Lisa Jackson from EPA were here, she'd remind all of us that EPA is sitting on some authorities to regulate greenhouse gases, whether it be greenhouse gas emissions associated with automobiles or with smokestacks," Browner said. "There's a Supreme Court decision and we're coming up, I think, on the second anniversary of that decision that told EPA to do a set of things and the administration and the president has been very clear that we're going to comply with the law and we're going to comply with the science." (Darren Samuelsohn, ClimateWire)

Dems Cool On Climate Change As Economic Pressures Escalate - To environmentalists, there is no more urgent question than addressing global climate change. The new Democrat-led Congress has vowed to pass major cap-and-trade legislation in response.

Later this year. Maybe.

While President Obama said in Canada last week that climate change remains a priority, Congress appears in no hurry to act.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last week promised a bill "hopefully" by late summer. The House is unlikely to even attempt to pass a major bill until December at the earliest, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (IBD)

Budget To Have CO2 Revenues By 2012: White House - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's budget accounts for revenues from an emissions trading system in 2012, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday.

"That's true," Gibbs said when asked whether a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases would be in place in time for revenues to be generated by 2012.

The president, a Democrat, has said he wants the United States to take the lead in fighting climate change. (Reuters)

World CO2 Market Volume Seen Up, Value Down In '09 - LONDON - The volume of carbon dioxide traded globally this year will increase by 20 percent to 5.9 billion metric tons from 4.9 billion in 2008, research group Point Carbon said on Tuesday.

But the global carbon market's value will drop 32 percent to 62.6 billion euros ($79.76 billion) from 92 billion last year, due to the falling prices of carbon emissions permits, the group forecast in a report.

The price of carbon permits called European allowances (EUAs) traded at 9.39 euros a metric ton on Tuesday.

EUAs have lost over two thirds of their value since July 2008 and have almost halved in price since January 1 as participants have monetized assets in the economic downturn. (Reuters)

Committee guts Gregoire's emissions-cap plan - Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases linked to global warming is facing serious challenges in the Legislature. The Senate Committee on Environment, Water and Energy today passed a version that gutted the heart of the plan by making it voluntary for businesses to participate.

Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases linked to global warming is facing serious challenges in the Legislature.

The Senate Committee on Environment, Water and Energy today passed a version that gutted the heart of the plan by making it voluntary for businesses to participate.

The governor's proposal would require major industries, from Boeing to Kimberly-Clark, to limit the greenhouse gases they emit, starting in 2012. The plan would create a regional market to let polluters buy and trade pollution credits.

The goal is to reduce overall carbon dioxide and other emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020, and to half that level by 2050. The state adopted those targets in 2008.

The Senate bill is significantly different from the governor's plan. It asks the state Department of Ecology to design voluntary emission targets and a voluntary emissions reduction registry and report back to the Legislature. (Associated Press)

Well, yes, kind of: China's increasing carbon emissions blamed on manufacturing for west - New research shows extent of 'offshore' emissions as Chinese manufacturing for US accounts for 6% of total

The full extent of the west's responsibility for Chinese emissions of greenhouse gases has been revealed by a new study. The report shows that half of the recent rise in China's carbon dioxide pollution was caused by the manufacturing of goods for other countries — particularly developed nations such as the UK.

Last year, China officially overtook the US as the world's biggest CO2 emitter. But the new research shows that around a third of all Chinese carbon emissions are the result of producing goods for export.

The research, due to be published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, underlines "off-shored emissions" as a key unresolved issue in the run up to this year's crucial Copenhagen summit, at which world leaders will attempt to thrash out a deal to replace the Kyoto protocol.

Developing countries are under pressure to commit to binding emissions cuts in Copenhagen. But China is resistant, partly because it does not accept responsibility for the emissions involved in producing goods for foreign markets. (The Guardian)

In the same manner that the US generates roughly one-fifth of global anthropogenic GHG emissions while generating more than one-fourth of the world's wealth and even negligibly-populated Australia generates a couple of percent producing grains and mining ores and coal for the world market then certainly China produces emissions for and on behalf of others. So what?

It's great to see China developing and enriching its people. It is also particularly good for people (everywhere) and wildlife since the free atmospheric replenishment of the essential resource (carbon dioxide) boosts the biosphere's productivity (including crops) and means wild critters can be accommodated rather than humans needing to put vastly larger regions under the plow just to survive.

Helping restore seriously depleted atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is arguably the best things humans have or will ever do for life on Earth.

Will carbon market woes tilt U.S. pols towards carbon taxes, CAA regulation? - In today’s Guardian, Juliana Glover reports that carbon permit prices in Europe’s Emission Trading System (ETS) have crashed from €31 last summer to €8 today. This price is too low to create any incentive for covered entities to invest in ‘green’ technology.

Glover identifies two causes for the collapse of carbon permit prices. First, the recession has reduced demand for energy and, thus, for carbon permits. Second, European governments handed out “luxurious quantities” of carbon permits, free of charge, to big emitters, claiming that economic growth “would soon see them bumping against the ceiling.” (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Is cap-and-trade inherently protectionist? - Yes, for three reasons.

(1) Companies in carbon-constrained countries will demand carbon tariffs to “level the playing field” vis-a-vis firms in non-carbon constrained countries.

(2) Cheating will be rampant unless deterred and punished by credible trade sanctions.

(3) The EU-IPCC-Al Gore goal of achieving a 50% reduction in global emissions by mid-century is impossible absent deep emission cuts in developing countries, which in turn won’t happen unless developing countries are bullied into limiting their consumption of coal and oil.

For further discussion, see my post on Masterresource.Org. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

More on Environmental Policies and Protectionism - Marlo made three interesting arguments yesterday contending that cap-and-trade would generate protectionist outcomes. I want to add another, pervasive, yet oft-neglected reason.

Environmental regulation spurs the businesses who feel cheated to lobby for other forms of protectionism for their industries. This is a very different mechanism from Marlo’s identification of particular measures with protectionist policies. It doesn’t matter what the content of the regulation is; as long as businesses perceive it as hurting them, they will lobby for and get protectionist measures to help them in other ways. Just think what the auto industry would do if Congress tried to increase CAFE significantly or require drivers or manufacturers to buy carbon credits; they’d probably log-roll and get tarriffs against foreign manufacturers as part of the package deal. Something for you, something for me, less for the consumer.

There is good empirical support for this proposition. Western Washington University economist Steven Globerman made the argument back in 1999, hidden within a broader book arguing that trade is actually good for the environment. (Alex Harris, Cooler Heads)

Southern Ocean sequesters carbon dioxide monitors, too: Botched launch ends U.S. satellite's mission - CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - The U.S. government's first attempt to map carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere from space ended early on Tuesday after a botched satellite launch from California, officials said.

The $278 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory blasted off aboard an unmanned Taurus rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:55 a.m. EST (0955 GMT), headed for an orbital perch about 400 miles above the poles.

The 986-pound (447-kg) spacecraft was tucked inside a clamshell-like shroud to protect it during the ride into space. But three minutes into the flight, the cover failed to separate as expected, dooming the mission.

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight we could not make orbit," said John Brunschwyler, the Taurus program manager with manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corp.

The spacecraft, also built by Orbital Sciences, fell back to Earth, splashing down into the southern Pacific Ocean near Antarctica. (Reuters)

Actually, I've been looking around some of the AGW sites for the first accusation the satellite launch was sabotaged or the satellite brought down by evil planet cookers in an attempt to hide gorebull warming emissions. Anyone finding such assertions please let us know.

Americans Tell Obama What They Want to Hear in Speech - Economy is dominant issue, with jobs the top specific economic concern

PRINCETON, NJ -- As President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, three in four Americans -- 74% -- say they are most eager to hear what he has to say about the nation's economic challenges. That includes 18% who specifically want to hear his ideas about the jobs situation. (Gallup)

Ranking last @ 1%? Environment/Climate change.

Media infatuation persists: Obama calls on Americans to embrace reforms - Confronted with an economic crisis unmatched in generations, failing banks, an insurgent Wall Street and a hostile Republican opposition, Barack Obama challenged the Congress and the American people last night to embrace revolutionary reforms in the nation's affairs.

And, yet again, he invoked this call to service in bold oratory masterfully delivered.

“The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation,” the U.S. President told Congress. “The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach.”

The difference between this president and many that came before is that he invested those words with a tangible determination to lead through action on a broad range of fronts, all of which he plans to attack simultaneously.

The speech subtly shifted Mr. Obama's narrative of our times. The grave invocation-to-struggle embedded within his inaugural address has evolved into an emphasis that there is light on the economic horizon. (Globe and Mail)

Alp-Sized Peaks Found Entombed In Antarctic Ice - OSLO - Jagged mountains the size of the Alps have been found entombed in Antarctica's ice, giving new clues about the vast ice sheet that will raise world sea levels if even a fraction of it melts, scientists said on Tuesday.

Using radar and gravity sensors, the experts made the first detailed maps of the Gamburtsev subglacial mountains, originally detected by Russian scientists 50 years ago at the heart of the East Antarctic ice sheet.

"The surprising thing was that not only is this mountain range the size of the Alps, but it looks quite similar to the (European) Alps, with high peaks and valleys," said Fausto Ferraccioli, a geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey who took part in the research. (Reuters)

New Paper By Lee et al. 2009 on the East Asian Monsoon and the Role of Land Surface Processes - There is yet another paper on the role of landscape as an important weather and climate forcing on the regional scale (and, in this case the global circulation, since the Asian monsoon significantly affects global patterns.

The paper is Lee, E., T. N. Chase, and B. Rajagopalan (2008), Highly improved predictive skill in the forecasting of the East Asian summer monsoon, Water Resour. Res., 44, doi:10.1029/2007WR006514 (subscription required for full paper). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

More Evidence for Solar-Driven Climate Change: What is it? ... and how sound does it appear to be?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 670 individual scientists from 391 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Tebenkof Glacier, Northern Kenai Mountains, Souther Alaska, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Coral Reefs (Responses to Solar Radiation Stress): Life everywhere must struggle against the elements; and corals are no exception. In fact, they possess numerous adaptive capacities that enable them to blunt the negative impacts of environmental extremes, such as high values of solar irradiance.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: American Pokeweed, Calcareous Grassland, Douglas Fir, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
Natural and Anthropogenic Influences on Earth's Climate: What warmed the world between 1889 and 2006?

Droughts of East-Central North America: What drives their periodic occurrence?

The Tide Gauge Record of Brest, France: What do the data imply about the role of CO2 in sea level change?

Grape and Wine Responses to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: What can a 50% increase in the air's CO2 content do for grape quantity and wine quality?

Wheat Seedling Flavonoid Concentrations: How are they impacted by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations? (

An End Run Around Congress To a Regulatory Morass - The ultra powerful enviro-lobby has a big problem: So far, it hasn’t been able to convince the Congress to enact energy-rationing policies to fight “global warming” (I am using quotation marks because it hasn’t warmed in 7 years, despite a steady increase in global greenhouse gas emissions).

Last year, a bi-partisan group of Senators spurned a cap-and-trade scheme written by California Senator Barbara Boxer’s staff because they couldn’t countenance imposing higher energy costs on their constituents at a time when gas cost $4/gallon. Given current economic woes, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme is even more unlikely to make it through the Congress.

Faced with this political and economic reality, the eviros have adopted a new strategy. They want to pull an end run around Congress by having the executive branch regulate green house gases without a legislative mandate. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Stiff "Green" Rules Seen Hurting U.S. Public Utilities - NEW YORK - Tougher "green" rules coupled with the economic downturn could dim the currently stable outlook of U.S. public power electric utilities, Moody's Investors Service said in a report on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Greens see the light on nuclear power - It has been a long time coming but environmentalists now see the benefits of reactors.

The resistance of the green movement to nuclear energy has always been a puzzle. It is by far the cleanest method of dependable large-scale power generation (renewables tend to be both small-scale and unreliable) yet environmentalist have been implacably opposed to its use.

They tend to cite safety considerations - yet nuclear generation has proved astonishingly safe over the half century it has been used commercially. There have been two major incidents – at Three Mile Island in 1979 (no casualties) and Chernobyl in 1986 (a total of 56 fatalities by 2004).

But the green lobby – or at least an important part of it – appears to have had an epiphany. Four prominent environmentalists, led by the former Cabinet minister Lord Smith of Finsbury, the chairman of the Environment Agency, have today "come out" as lobbyists for nuclear power.

They argue that a new generation of nuclear reactors is essential if Britain is to meet its carbon emission targets. Indeed, so zealous are these converts that they insist there should be no unnecessary delays imposed on this programme through lengthy planning inquiries or legal challenges. (Daily Telegraph)

Environmentalists change minds over nuclear - Britain must build new nuclear power stations if it is to meet climate change targets, according to leading environmentalists. (Daily Telegraph)

Letter of the moment: Province ignoring wind turbine risks - Editor:

I am dismayed about the constant news barrage daily by the media giving us the latest insight into the rollout of the Green Energy Act by the province. I sent the following letter to the premier.

Premier McGuinty:

Once, I voted for you, but never again. I have tried to reason with you and your government, but I met only a stonewall of silence. How can I support a government that continues to use my tax dollars to continue to champion industrial wind turbines when it has consistently refused to acknowledge the risk to the public that you are creating?

As a professional engineer, trained at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Risk Assessment I was trusted to develop and approve the risk assessment for the Bruce Power restart of nuclear reactors in Units 3 and 4. I trained the staff doing the assessment. I used my experience of 30 years in power systems to show the risk sensitive points and to ensure they were included in the risk assessment.

Yet, when I write to you, to the Minister of Energy, to the Minister of the Environment, to the Minister of Transport, to the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, to identify the risk your government is perpetuating, I receive no response, or am "blown off."

You say no "special interest group" will again delay the planting of industrial wind turbines in Ontario. You call me a "NIMBY" for using my professional experience to identify the risk to the lives of citizens. Disrespect breeds disrespect, sir.

You say we need the 50,000 jobs that will be created in three years by the Green Energy Act. Then you say that 492 MW in six wind farms will create 2,222 jobs -- yet Enbridge Ontario Wind Project says their 199.5 MW installation will create only 7 jobs -- so 492 MW would make 18 jobs. Where are the other 2,204 jobs coming from for these wind farms? Where are the rest of the 49,982 jobs from the Green Energy Act coming from in three years?

You say only failure to meet safety and environmental standards will be reason to deny the installations. Yet, your government has no safety standards for industrial wind turbines to protect them from known failure modes. A letter written to me on behalf of your Minister of the Environment states, "I would like to make it clear that the ministry does not have standards for setbacks from wind turbines . . . The Ministry does not intend to introduce setback requirements for wind turbines." ... (The Sun Times)

Brazil/China sign long term oil supply and funding accord - Brazil signed an agreement to supply China with 100,000 to 160,000 barrels of oil per day at market prices in exchange for a loan from the China Development Bank to help develop its huge oil reserves. (Mercopress)

Carbon dioxide gets new life as it's recycled into gasoline - Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is public enemy No. 1 to environmentalists. CO2 emissions from vehicle tailpipes have helped spawn a multibillion-dollar ethanol industry as the nation fights global warming and strives to import less foreign oil.

But at least a handful of companies and scientists are turning that battle on its head: They're finding ways to recycle CO2 and turn it back into gasoline and other transportation fuels. (Paul Davidson, USA TODAY)

Unless carbon is sequestered and lost to the biosphere it is always recycled (otherwise known as the carbon cycle).

We think they meant this to be a serious item: Study: Proximity to fast-food restaurants linked to stroke risk -- A person's risk of stroke is associated with the number of fast-food restaurants near their residence, according to a study presented Thursday at a stroke conference in San Diego, California.

Researchers led by Dr. Lewis B. Morgenstern at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor counted 1,247 strokes caused by blood clots in 64 census tracts in Nueces County, Texas, which includes Corpus Christi, from January 2000 through June 2003.

They also mapped the county's 262 fast-food restaurants and then adjusted for socioeconomic status and demographics and found a statistically significant association.

"The association suggested that the risk of stroke in a neighborhood increased by 1 percent for every fast-food restaurant," the authors wrote in a poster presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference. (CNN)

I am with Rick! - No one has said it better than Rick Santelli of CNBC when, on the floor of the Chicago Exchange, ground zero for American capitalism and free market commerce, he called for a “Taxpayer Tea Party” in the wake of efforts to enact a new, multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded housing bailout.

In the new Obama Administration the bailout train continues to run full steam towards the destruction of our American capitalist system and ultimately to outright socialism. It must be stopped!

FreedomWorks and others in the limited government community stand with Rick and want to make this modern day taxpayer revolt a reality. (FreedomWorks)

Climate Czar Will Reign Like Caesar Of Old - President Obama vowed to set a new direction of ethics and transparency in government and with his selection of Carol Browner as climate control czar. Unfortunately, her steadfast belief in the far-left policies of extreme environmentalism make that vow impossible to achieve.

An environmental zealot, Browner has so much baggage she could be an airline. But then, maybe not. For despite Browner's best efforts, some of her baggage simply won't stay lost.

The Washington Examiner recently discovered that she was one of 15 original members of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, a branch of the Socialist International, an organization linking socialist and labor parties throughout the world.

Among other things, its Declaration of Principles "demands compensation for . . . social inequities." That's another way of saying that if you've prospered because of ingenuity or hard work, be prepared to give a lot of it away to those who haven't.

The issue isn't that Browner is a socialist. We crossed the socialism bridge — a real bridge to nowhere — when we sent a man to the White House who promised to spread our wealth around.

The real issue is the attempt to hide this fact from the public. Browner's photograph, which once appeared alongside that of close Vladimir Putin ally Sergei Mironov, was quietly removed from the Socialist International's Web site after the Examiner's story broke. Much like the trillions of dollars in bailouts and economic stimulus, it's as though Browner never existed.

This isn't transparent government, but all-too-transparent politics. Browner has a lot more baggage, too. (David A. Ridenour, IBD)

Just for poops & giggles: New Directions in Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts, and Adaptation Assessment: Summary of a Workshop - With effective climate change mitigation policies still under development, and with even the most aggressive proposals unable to halt climate change immediately, many decision makers are focusing unprecedented attention on the need for strategies to adapt to climate changes that are now unavoidable. The effects of climate change will touch every corner of the world's economies and societies; adaptation is inevitable. The remaining question is to what extent humans will anticipate and reduce undesired consequences of climate change, or postpone response until after climate change impacts have altered ecological and socioeconomic systems so significantly that opportunities for adaptation become limited. This book summarizes a National Research Council workshop at which presentations and discussion identified specific needs associated with this gap between the demand and supply of scientific information about climate change adaptation. (NAP)

Oh... Stay Married And Save The Planet - CANBERRA - Staying married is better for the planet because divorce leads the newly single to live more wasteful lifestyles, an Australian lawmaker said Tuesday.

Senator Steve Fielding told a Senate hearing in the Australian capital Canberra that divorce only made climate change worse.

When couples separated, they needed more rooms, more electricity and more water. This increased their carbon footprint, Australian Associated Press (AAP) quoted Fielding as telling the hearing on environmental issues.

"We understand that there is a social problem (with divorce), but now we're seeing there is also environmental impact as well on the footprint," AAP quoted him as saying. (Reuters)

Of all the reasons that spring to mind for being married, "Gaia-worship" didn't make an appearance.

Many Plans to Curtail Use of Plastic Bags, but Not Much Action - SEATTLE — Last summer, city officials here became the first in the nation to approve a fee on paper and plastic shopping bags in many retail stores. The 20-cent charge was intended to reduce pollution by encouraging reusable bags.

But a petition drive financed by the plastic-bag industry delayed the plan. Now a far broader segment of Seattle’s bag carriers — its voters — will decide the matter in an election in August.

Even in a city that likes to be environmentally conscious, the outcome is uncertain.

“You have to be really tone-deaf to what’s going on to think that the economic climate is not going to affect people,” said Rob Gala, a legislative aide to the city councilman who first sponsored the bill for the 20-cent fee. (Reuters)

For no realistic purpose.

Hmm... Snowshoe Hare May Take Role of Climate Change Poster Child - On an unseasonably warm May afternoon, University of Montana wildlife biology Professor Scott Mills treks into the shadowy forests above the Seeley-Swan Valley in pursuit of his quarry. He skirts the rivulets of water melting from snow patches. In one hand he holds an antenna and in the other a receiver that’s picking up signals from a radio-collared snowshoe hare. The beeps increase in volume as he draws nearer. Mills picks his way over downed branches, steps out from behind a western larch and spots the white hare crouched on the bare brown earth.

“That’s just an embarrassing moment for a snowshoe hare to think that it’s invisible when it’s not,” said Mills with a grin, quickly adding that seeing such mismatched colors is becoming all too common and disturbing. (CleanTech)

... I was under the impression not all snowshoe hares turned white in winter anyway.

Urban Stormwater Management in the United States - The rapid conversion of land to urban and suburban areas has profoundly altered how water flows during and following storm events, putting higher volumes of water and more pollutants into the nation's rivers, lakes, and estuaries. These changes have degraded water quality and habitat in virtually every urban stream system. The Clean Water Act regulatory framework for addressing sewage and industrial wastes is not well suited to the more difficult problem of stormwater discharges.

This book calls for an entirely new permitting structure that would put authority and accountability for stormwater discharges at the municipal level. A number of additional actions, such as conserving natural areas, reducing hard surface cover (e.g., roads and parking lots), and retrofitting urban areas with features that hold and treat stormwater, are recommended. (NAP)

Ethanol plants do not impact land use changes - A new study on ethanol land use impact found that a modern ethanol plant does not meaningfully change farmland use, neither the amount of land farmed nor the mix of crops planted.

Rod Weinzierl, executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, which commissioned the study, said the study demonstrates that corn ethanol is not a central driver in the conversion of non-corn farmland to corn production.

The findings dispute those in earlier, more limited studies, that suggest corn ethanol creates an indirect land use effect that results in ethanol having a worse global warming impact than gasoline. (Farm Weekly)

And yet the plant did significantly affect corn plantings...

Review of Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research - his new book from the National Research Council finds serious weaknesses in the government's plan for research on the potential health and environmental risks posed by nanomaterials, which are increasingly being used in consumer goods and industry. An effective national plan for identifying and managing potential risks is essential to the successful development and public acceptance of nanotechnology-enabled products.

The book recommends a robust national strategic plan for addressing nanotechnology-related EHS risks, which will need to focus on promoting research that can assist all stakeholders, including federal agencies, in planning, controlling, and optimizing the use of engineered nanomaterials while minimizing EHS effects of concern to society. Such a plan will ensure the timely development of engineered nanoscale materials that will bring about great improvements in the nation's health, its environmental quality, its economy, and its security. (NAP)

February 24, 2009

The Crone still seeks to disarm the populace: Two Early Tests on Guns - The Obama administration has chosen to defend a bad rule rushed through during former President George W. Bush’s final days in office that allows concealed, loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The rule is a gift to the gun lobby.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has asked for a 90-day internal assessment of the rule’s environmental impacts, offering some hope that the administration might later reverse an unwise policy. But for now, the administration’s operating position is contained in a Justice Department brief filed last Friday. It seeks to block a preliminary injunction of the rule sought by gun control and environmental groups.

Although concealed, loaded weapons obviously have no place in the national parks, the Justice Department brief asserts that the rule “will not have any significant impacts on public health and safety.” We can only hope that the Justice Department’s position does not reflect a broader weakening of President Obama’s stated commitment to sensible gun control policies. (New York Times)

Ms. Jackson Makes a Change - Less than a month into the job, and with only a skeleton staff, Lisa Jackson, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has already engineered an astonishing turnaround.

She has pledged to reverse or review three Bush administration directives that had slowed the government’s response to global warming and has brought a new sense of urgency to an issue that President Bush treated indifferently. She has also boosted morale at an agency badly demoralized after eight years of political meddling.

This sea change would not have been possible, of course, without White House backing. Indeed, it was President Obama who announced the first big change in Bush policy. This was a decision to reconsider (and almost certainly approve) California’s request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, which the Bush administration had denied. (New York Times)

A change for the very worst junk science is nothing to be happy about, unless you are a people-hating old crone, maybe.

Warming leads to more rules - Pending legislation illustrates how liberty may fall victim to climate change

A bill pending in the Oregon House would empower the state government to make rules to help the state achieve “greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.” It’s a good example of why people who love freedom more than other things are skeptical of global warming.

Conservatives have no reason to doubt accurate measurements of the physical world, including changes in actual temperatures over time. (Average temps are another matter, because they can be manipulated.)

But what conservatives fear far more than climate change is that freedom goes out the window when bureaucrats use the fear of warming to extend their control over everyday life. In that light, check out House Bill 2186, introduced in the legislature at the request of Governor Kulongoski.

The bill would authorize the state Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Those rules would then be the same as laws.

The legislation relates to motor vehicles, but it sounds more sweeping than that. An enterprising administrator might be able to extend its provisions to other aspects of life in years to come. (Hasso Hering, Albany Democrat Herald)

In global warming we trust - Today, we are urged to believe that within the next few decades the globe will become intolerably warmer. The world as we know it will be drastically altered unless we act now to reverse our wayward lifestyles, especially our wasteful energy practices.

But wait. Aren't we all just essentially being pressured to believe in a long-range climate forecast? (Anthony Sadar and Susan Cammarata, Washington Times)

Climate change rhetoric spirals out of control - Christopher Booker says that the Government must be absolutely sure that their data on climate change is accurate.

It was another bad week for the "warmists", now more desperate than ever to whip up alarm over an overheating planet. It began last weekend with the BBC leading its bulletins on the news that a "leading climate scientist" in America, Professor Chris Field, had warned that "the severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed". Future temperatures "will be beyond anything predicted", he told a Chicago conference. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had "seriously underestimated the size of the problem".

The puzzle as to why the BBC should make this the main news of the day only deepened when it emerged that Prof Field was not a climate scientist at all but an evolutionary biologist. To promote its cause the BBC website even posted a video explaining how warming would be made worse by "negative feedback". This scientific howler provoked much amusement and derision on expert US blogs, such as Anthony Watts's Watts Up With That – since "negative feedback" would lower temperatures rather than raise them. The BBC soon pulled its video.

This was followed on Sunday by yet another outburst from the most extreme of all the scientists crying wolf on global warming, Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In The Observer he launched his most vitriolic call yet for the closing down of the coal-fired power stations which are the world's main source of electricity, repeating his claim to a British court last year that the new coal-fired plant at Kingsnorth will alone be responsible for "the extermination of 400 species". (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Look what that fool Stern has said now: Mass migrations and war: Dire climate scenario - CAPE TOWN, South Africa - If we don't deal with climate change decisively, "what we're talking about then is extended world war," the eminent economist said.

His audience Saturday, small and elite, had been stranded here by bad weather and were talking climate. They couldn't do much about the one, but the other was squarely in their hands. And so, Lord Nicholas Stern was telling them, was the potential for mass migrations setting off mass conflict.

"Somehow we have to explain to people just how worrying that is," the British economic thinker said.

Stern, author of a major British government report detailing the cost of climate change, was one of a select group of two dozen _ environment ministers, climate negotiators and experts from 16 nations - scheduled to fly to Antarctica to learn firsthand how global warming might melt its ice into the sea, raising ocean levels worldwide. (Associated Press)

Big deal: Gore Pulls Slide of Disaster Trends - Former Vice President Al Gore is pulling a dramatic slide from his ever-evolving global warming presentation. When Mr. Gore addressed a packed, cheering hall at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago earlier this month, his climate slide show contained a startling graph showing a ceiling-high spike in disasters in recent years. The data came from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (also called CRED) at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels.

The graph, which was added to his talk last year, came just after a sequence of images of people from Iowa to South Australia struggling with drought, wildfire, flooding and other weather-related calamities. Mr. Gore described the pattern as a manifestation of human-driven climate change. “This is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented,” he said. (The preceding link is to a video clip of that portion of the talk; go to 7th minute.)

Now Mr. Gore is dropping the graph, his office said today. Here’s why. (Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times)

If Al retained the slightest shred on integrity he'd yank the lot and spend his remaining days apologizing for having spread his hysterical nonsense in the first place.

We really expect better of public health officials: Health fear as climate heats up - TASMANIA faces an ominous and burgeoning epidemic of chronic disease in its climate change future, the State's Director of Public Health said yesterday.

Dr Roscoe Taylor said the spectre of an influenza pandemic was also very real.

The foreseeable risks to health worldwide had been documented, he said, but Tasmania faced its share of public health concerns brought about after events that could only be attributed to climate change.

He said the increased frequency of extreme weather would cause physical injury and psychological instability, as the population became anxious about storm, drought or extreme heat events. (The Examiner)

Several Issues Being Explored by Congressional Hearings - Energy, environment and finances are all being examined this week.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. pushing for energy legislation in the spring and climate change legislation possibly in the summer, key Senate committees are holding hearings this week to further the discussions of both topics.

Also an energy forum hosted by the Center for American Progress will be attended by Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Bill Clinton and senior Obama administration officials among others Monday.

On Wednesday a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will get an update on the latest global warming science. Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., plans to offer cap-and trade program in a bill limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, refineries and other sources. She has offered few details, other than the promise that it will be a simplified version of one that fell to a Senate filibuster in the summer. R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will also be appearing before the committee. (Farm Futures)

Global Warming Has Its Own Press Agent -- It's Called "The Press" - I was going to make another Al Gore graphic, but hilarity on this blog has reached dangerous levels and I think for everyone's safety it's best that I throttle back on the jackanapery.

So I'm searching through Google News trying to find this story on how Global Warming is making kids nutty with "climate change delusion," when I follow a link to this story instead. It's on MSNBC's website with the title Storm Chaser Believes Global Warming Responsible for Early Activity in Tornado Alley. (Global Village Idiot)

Asia Needs To Change Climate Policy Game -Expert - SINGAPORE - Asia needs to wake up to the threat of global warming and take a leading role in climate change negotiations or risk having rich nations dictate policies to curb carbon emissions, a leading policy expert said on Friday.

Simon Tay, Schwartz Fellow of the US-based Asia Society, said the current UN climate negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol had become bogged down because of deep differences between rich and poor nations on how to fight climate change.

"My impression is that it has become a dialogue between the deaf and the dumb," he told a conference on sustainability in Singapore.

"When we look at the Kyoto regime it cannot seem to work just because it is limited to only Annex 1 developed countries," said Tay, who is also chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Under Kyoto's first phase, only 37 industrialised nations are committed to cutting emissions by an average of about 5 percent from 1990 levels between 2008-2012. (Reuters)

Don't Judge States On Wealth, Emissions - Climate Envoy - SINGAPORE - Judging small, rich island nations purely on their wealth and emissions is unfair in climate change negotiations, Singapore's climate envoy said on Saturday, as pressure builds on more countries to curb carbon pollution.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the UN's main weapon to fight climate change, only 37 industrialised nations are committed to curbs on greenhouse gas pollution between 2008-2012.

But the UN list in Kyoto's parent pact that defines rich and developing nations dates from 1992 and wealthy nations such as Argentina, Singapore, South Korea and Malta are still deemed to be developing states under the UN's climate treaties.

Under Kyoto, developing nations are exempt from any binding emissions curbs but recent studies show poorer states now contribute more than half of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia and the European Union say the 1992 list doesn't reflect economic reality and should be updated. They say rich nations outside of Kyoto must commit to binding curbs as part of a broader climate pact likely to be agreed in December in Copenhagen. (Reuters)

Um, no: Changing Climate Numbers - In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fourth assessment report, summarizing evidence collected and weighed by scientists around the world. At the time, it was the best estimate of where the planet was, climatically speaking, and where it was likely to be going, and the news the report offered was daunting.

There was unequivocal evidence of a warming climate, with human activity the dominant cause. The panel warned that further warming could have devastating consequences for societies around the world, including rising seas and widespread drought. (New York Times)

Here's representatives of the major temperature time series, including runaway outlier GISTEMP, showing a flat/declining trend since 2002. Curiously, The Crone manages to deduce this means things are worse than the blatantly alarmist AR4 imagined. Globally, sea ice extent is remarkably consistent despite winds pushing Arctic sea ice to lower latitudes because Antarctic ice extent has increased. This is such a stupid game.

Arctic Sea Ice Underestimated for Weeks Due to Faulty Sensor -- A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said. (Bloomberg) Satellite sensor errors cause data outage (NSIDC)

MPs in attack of nerves over climate change - DEMANDS from Opposition MPs that Australia's proposed emissions trading scheme be shelved because of the global financial crisis have overshadowed growing unrest in government ranks about climate change policy.

As pressure on Malcolm Turnbull over the issue escalated yesterday, Kevin Rudd renewed his pledge to introduce an ETS amid tension among some of his key political allies in the Labor Party's NSW Right faction who fear the scheme will be political poison and cost jobs. (The Australian)

Scrap the emissions trading scheme - THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and the Minister for Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, have gone so far out of their way to outflank the Coalition on climate change by coming up with a low carbon reduction target that they themselves are the ones most exposed in a political no man's land.

They have got themselves in this position by treating global warming as a political issue that could be manipulated to do damage to their opponents. (Kenneth Davidson, The Age)

Storm brews over emissions - Getting the climate plan through the Senate is as vital for Rudd as the GST was for Howard, writes Michelle Grattan.

SUDDENLY, climate change has turned into Kevin Rudd's perfect storm. The issue that worked so strongly in his favour in 2007 threatens to be a political nightmare.

The Prime Minister remains committed to his emissions trading scheme (ETS). But he's had to lower his aspirations: the proposed plan has very modest targets, but even so it is at risk of being sunk by a Senate divided between critics who will variously attack it for going too far and not far enough. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Looks like poor Julian is actually a believer: A collapsing carbon market makes mega-pollution cheap - Europe's system to edge up the cost of emissions and boost green energy has backfired. There isn't much time to rescue it

'Roll up for the great pollution fire sale, the ultimate chance to wreck the climate on the cheap. You sir, over there, from the power company - look at this lovely tonne of freshly made, sulphur-rich carbon dioxide. Last summer it cost an eyewatering €31 to throw up your smokestack, but in our give-away global recession sale, that's been slashed to a crazy €8.20. Dump plans for the wind turbine! Compare our offer with costly solar energy! At this low, low price you can't afford not to burn coal!"

Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. Europe's carbon markets are in collapse. (Julian Glover, The Guardian)

They don't get it: Squabbling derails greenhouse gas efforts, says ex-minister - Britain's efforts to cut carbon emissions have been hampered by government infighting and a reluctance to stand up to industry, according to the UK's former climate change minister.

Elliot Morley, head of the new energy and climate change select committee, said tensions between different government departments had undermined moves to cut greenhouse gas pollution. Policies to cut carbon and help the environment were dismissed inside Whitehall as "idealistic and not giving enough attention to the pragmatic needs of industry", he said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Morley, a minister in the environment department Defra from 2003 to 2006, said: "I think there has been a failure to get complete cross-government buy-in." He added: "Defra did its best, but unless you get action from all the other ministries including the Treasury, you're never going to get anywhere." Crucial changes to building standards to make homes more energy efficient were delayed because of industry lobbying, he said. (The Guardian)

Ministers are not expected to actually attempt to deal with the array of imaginary hobgoblins, just to pretend they threaten the populace unless government "saves" them.

Another one cashing in on fear-generating scams: The Global Warming Survival Kit - The Global Warming Survival Kit, by popular science author Brian Clegg, is the must-have guide to overcoming extreme weather, power cuts, food shortages, and other climate change disasters. It provides clear-headed practical guidance so that you, your family and loved ones can prepare for for the end of the world as we know it. Taking a hard scientific look at the likely scenarios, it includes:

* How to keep safe when all power is lost and all hell breaks loose.
* How to get drinkable water.
* How to keep cool and/or warm.
* What to eat to stay alive.
* Essential survival equipment.
* Where to live to minimize the impact of climate change.
* How to use your natural creativity to enhance your chances of survival.

Don't wait until it's too late: your survival could be at stake. (GWSK)

Ecotheology even subverts [perverts?] mainstream religions: Church Risks Complicity in Climate Change, Warns Theologian - The church will be complicit in the destruction, poverty and injustice caused by climate change if it does not take radical and united action to demand cuts in the carbon emissions that threaten God’s creation.

This is the message of a provocative new book by Paula Clifford, Head of Theology at Christian Aid, who recently served a year-long secondment to Lambeth Palace as Special Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Climate Change.

'Angels with Trumpets: The Church in a Time of Global Warming' is published by Darton, Longman and Todd this week. In it Dr Clifford draws heavily on the book of Revelation to provide a theological critique of the church’s approach to climate change – and finds the actions of the Christian community to date less than adequate.

"The science of climate change is not in dispute. Christians cannot close their eyes to it – for indifference is as dangerous as denial," she says. "Instead, we must look at what ‘Love thy Neighbour’ really means at a time of global warming. (Christian Today)

Global Warming - is it real and what should we do? - Meteorologist Sir John Houghton predicts that disaster awaits if action is not taken to combat man-made global warming. He will explore the moral and theological obligations that he believes we should all address. (

Carbon Offset Companies Depend On Hedge Contracts - LONDON - Companies which cut greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries to sell carbon offsets in rich nations are hoping hedge contracts and staff cuts will protect them against record low carbon prices.

Carbon project developers sell carbon offsets in the developed world, especially Europe and Japan, to companies and countries struggling to meet official carbon caps or to people voluntarily seeking to cut their contribution to climate change.

They had appeared to be sitting on big profits after several years of buying or generating offsets in China, India and Brazil at less than half the sale price in Europe, the biggest demand market.

Now European carbon prices are near record lows, similar to purchase prices in China, the biggest supply market.

That means developers are depending on cash reserves and forward sales, made last year, to sustain them until carbon prices recover. (Reuters)

Updated CO2 Emission Inventory Provided By Kevin Gurney Of Purdue University - Kevin Gurney of Purdue University has alerted us to a valuable source of information on the emission inventory of CO2 into the atmosphere. Climate Science has weblogged on this Vulcan project previously (see). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

This would be really significant -- if atmospheric carbon dioxide were a significant determinant of global mean temperature and/or climate. The bottom line, however, is that there has been more than enough carbon dioxide to absorb all available outgoing longwave radiation since before Man learned to manipulate fire:

Partly because the infrared absorption bands of the various components of the atmosphere overlap, the contributions from individual absorbers do not add linearly. Clouds trap only 14 percent of the radiation with all other major species present, but would trap 50 percent if all other absorbers were removed [V. Ramanathan and J.A. Coakley, Jr., “Climate Modeling Through Radiative-Convective Models,” Review of Geophysics and Space Physics 16 (1978):465.] (Table D2 and Figure D1). Carbon dioxide adds 12 percent to radiation trapping, which is less than the contribution from either water vapor or clouds. By itself, however, carbon dioxide is capable of trapping three times as much radiation as it actually does in the Earth's atmosphere. Freidenreich and colleagues [S.M. Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264.] have reported the overlap of carbon dioxide and water absorption bands in the infrared region. Given the present composition of the atmosphere, the contribution to the total heating rate in the troposphere is around 5 percent from carbon dioxide and around 95 percent from water vapor. (Greenhouse Gas Spectral Overlaps and Their Significance, Energy Information Administration)

What does all that mean? Of the fraction of atmospheric heating due to greenhouse gases in the region of interest, the troposphere, carbon dioxide is responsible for 1 part in 20 (5%). It theoretically could provide significantly greater heating effect but does not due to "competition" for available infrared radiation by water vapor and clouds. Moreover, Earth's restless atmosphere bypasses significant greenhouse effect both through convective towers and poleward transport (winds which also drive warm water currents from the equator to high latitude regions), mechanisms which accelerate heat loss to space.

Dramatically increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere could adjust the proportion of heating rate contribution but it makes no meaningful difference to net heating whether the total absorption is a 95:5 ratio or 90:10.

Another Failure At A Comprehensive Assessment of Climate - The Revised CCSP Report By Karl Et Al 2009 - The Second Public review draft of the Unified Synthesis Product (Global Climate Change in the United States) is posted. Comments will be accepted from 13 January through 27 February 2009. See also Federal Register notice. (posted 13 January 2009). The full CCSP report is available.

Climate Science has posted on the first draft of this report; see

Comments On CCSP Report Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States By Roger A. Pielke Sr.

CCSP Draft Report Comments as Submitted by Professor Ben Herman of the University of Arizona

Guest Weblog: A Comment On The Report “Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States” By Joseph D. Aleo

 The Co-Editors are

Thomas R. Karl,
NOAA National Climatic Data Center

Jerry M. Melillo,
Marine Biological Laboratory

Thomas C. Peterson,
NOAA National Climatic Data Center

The comments that we provided were not responded to [at least that we can find]. This CCSP report is nothing more than a rehash of the same material as presented in the first version.  If you accept the perspective of the Editors, you can use this report to promote your political agenda.

However, if you want a true balanced perspective of climate issues in the United States, it is not going to satisfy that need. 

The Report is a failure in presenting the diversity of viewpoints that appear in the peer reviewed literature. Policymakers who use this report to promote particular policy actions are either cherry picking for their own advocacy or remain oblivious that there are other scientifically well supported perspectives.

Interested readers can look at the Public Comment that I submitted for the first CCSP report, where the comments regarding how Tom Karl handled that report are certainly applicable to the current report also;

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences“. 88 pp including appendices.

Also, for an overview as to what is missing in the Karl et al 2009 perspective, see

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

Hmm... Fire James Hansen - NASA Climate Chief - James Hansen, the NASA Climate Chief, has produced the following on YouTube: "A Call To Action On Global Warming".

This is a direct attempt to incite civil disobedience in order to promote his "Man Made Climate Change" theory that has NO scientific basis.

In the past two years the Earth has started to show "Global Cooling" and NOT "Global Warming", and this "coal" protest is to try and boost the Hansen claim that extra CO2 in the atmosphere, allegedly from "Man", will result in Armageddon.

This man is a not fit for purpose, and should be removed from office, we need to show a high number of FaceBook users that support this motion.


I wouldn't normally support calls for having anyone removed -- a form of censorship -- but I admit Jimmy has made a pretty compelling case against himself.

Northern lights are quietest in decades - FAIRBANKS — Ester photographer LeRoy Zimmerman made the switch to digital cameras this year to better capture the phenomenon known as the aurora borealis.

Now he just needs some aurora to work with.

“There’s nothing; it’s really disappointing,” Zimmerman said. “I’ve got my digital camera. I’m ready. Let’s go.”

Zimmerman isn’t the only one wondering where the aurora borealis, commonly referred to as northern lights, are this winter. The Interior’s normal wintertime light show has been noticeably absent this winter.

“I talk to people in town and everybody who knows what I do asks me, ‘Where is the aurora? What’s happening?’” said Dirk Lummerzheim, a research professor who studies the aurora borealis for the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

It’s a legitimate question, and Lummerzheim has the answer.

“We are at the solar minimum,” the UAF professor said. “When solar activity dies down like this, the aurora activity also diminishes in the north.”

Aurora borealis, a curtain-like, luminous glow in the upper atmosphere, is caused when energy particles from the sun collide with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Solar activity runs on a 22-year cycle — 11 positive years and 11 negative years. The cycle is at the bottom of the negative cycle, Lummerzheim said.

This is the second winter in a row the aurora has been “quiet,” as Lummerzheim put it. Normally, the low in the solar cycle only lasts about a year, he said. Lummerzheim described the current solar minimum as “very long, very deep.”

“I think the last time we had a minimum this low was early in the 20th century,” he said. (Daily News-Miner)

Obama Eyes Climate Bill This Year Or Next - White House - WASHINGTON - The White House signaled on Monday it could wait until 2010 for major climate change legislation to move through the U.S. Congress as long as it fulfilled President Barack Obama's criteria for tackling global warming.

When asked when the president wished to see movement on a climate bill, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs left a time frame wide open. (Reuters)

Is Obama a closet conservative? - Canadians going gaga over Barack Obama need to get a grip. He is not going to change the world. He is not going to right all wrongs. Indeed, his whirlwind visit to Ottawa this week underlines the new U.S. president's innate conservatism.

Take the one concrete measure that came out of his Thursday meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper – a Canada-U.S. decision to look into carbon capture as a solution to global warming.

This does not signify Harper's willingness to endorse an Obama-sponsored get-tough approach to climate change. Rather, it represents the opposite – Obama's willingness to sign on to Harper's search (much criticized by Canadian environmentalists) for a miraculous new technology that would allow oil refineries and coal plants to keep polluting and then permanently store the resultant carbon emissions underground.

The U.S. president, in a veiled criticism of the Kyoto Accord on climate change, also noted that no solution to global warming can be found unless China and India are drawn in.

This has been Harper's position all along. It was also that of former U.S. president George W. Bush. (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)

Truth and Reality Exiting Stage Left - “When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” Mark Twain’s comment helps me understand the absolute contradictions presented as truth, sense and reality. Consider just a short list.

* Warming is causing global cooling.
* The sun has virtually nothing to do with global temperature change.
* Carbon dioxide, a harmless gas essential to life on Earth is labeled a toxic substance and a pollutant and must be reduced.
* Rewarding failures will reduce the number of failures.
* Punishing success will encourage more success.
* You can have more freedom by letting the government control more of your life.
* You get out of debt by going further into debt.
* The best people to get you out of trouble are the ones who got you there.

The list of absolute contradictions about environment and economies gets longer every day as we drift further from logic and reason. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Check out the amazing rubbish in this: Evidence that humans cause global warming - This is a response to Mr. Darryl Smith's question on global warming published Jan. 9, 2009, in the Record-Bee.

Thank you Mr. Smith for a reasonable question on global warming. I have delayed my response for scientific reasons. I apologize for my failure to explain in my prior writings why we call it anthropogenic (human-induced) warming. (John Zebelean, Record-Bee)

At the present time the CO2 is above any previous occurrences, where CH4 is somewhat lower. But, the Artic is melting and is full of carbon and CH4 in the permafrost, mostly deposited by us humans, not by nature. (sic) (sic) (sic) (sic) Well may Zebelean have worked extensively in the fields of nuclear physics, jet propulsion and laser technology because he obviously knows nothing about geology, geography, climate or Earth in general...

So What Does He Think of Cap & Trade? - Good news and bad news for drivers from federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The good news is: LaHood said he firmly opposes raising the federal gasoline tax in the current recession.

The bad news is that, because people are using less gas as they switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles and just plain drive less, LaHood is thinking of taxing us according to how many miles we drive - a VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) Tax. Now in some ways, this is a more equitable taxation scheme to fund road maintenance than the gas tax - it’s more reflective of the amount you use the road - and is therefore less objectionable, especially if it replaces rather than supplements the gas tax. However, it comes with a host of ramifications. (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

EPA orders review of Northern Michigan U. permit - TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A federal panel wants state regulators to take another look at a permit issued to Northern Michigan University in Marquette for a power plant fueled partly by coal.

An appeals board with the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the state to consider setting limits on emissions from the plant of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. They are greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming.

The board also ruled this week that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality erred in the way it limited emissions of sulfur dioxide from the boiler.

The DEQ issued an air quality permit to the university last May for the plant, which would provide heat and electricity by burning a combination of coal, wood and natural gas.

The Sierra Club challenged the permit before the EPA. (Associated Press)

Protest against keeping the lights on: Call for Mass Civil Disobedience Against Coal - Dear Friends,
There are moments in a nation’s—and a planet’s—history when it may be necessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We think such a time has arrived, and we are writing to say that we hope some of you will join us in Washington D.C. on Monday March 2 in order to take part in a civil act of civil disobedience outside a coal-fired power plant near Capitol Hill. (Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry, Yes Magazine)

Total, the French Oil Company, Places Its Bets Globally - IT’S been a tough first year for Martin Deffontaines in this arid, impoverished and secluded country on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.

Since moving here 13 months ago as the local manager for Total, the French oil giant, Mr. Deffontaines has seen his main export pipeline damaged by terrorists, endured devastating flash floods and sent expatriate families back home because of security concerns.

Despite these challenges, Mr. Deffontaines, a lanky, 43-year-old Parisian, doesn’t appear overly anxious. Indeed, Yemen is a showcase for Total, whose experience here shows how far an oil company will go these days to unearth new energy supplies.

Because of the endlessly complicated interplay of geology and geopolitics, access to petroleum resources is increasingly constrained, costs have soared and energy projects are becoming more complex. Add the recent, dizzying collapse in oil prices to that picture, and you have a raft of companies rethinking their investments and scurrying to cut costs. (New York Times)

The pluses and (mostly) minuses of biofuels - Speakers at last week’s AAAS meeting presented abundant evidence that tropical rainforest destruction has accelerated in recent years, at least in part because of the worldwide push to produce more biofuels.

As Europe and America rush to supplant polluting fossil fuels with plant-derived fuels like ethanol, soy and palm oil, farmers in the tropics are accelerating forest clearing to plant more sugarcane, soybeans and palm trees to meet the demand. What should be carbon-neutral biofuels - the carbon dioxide these plants take in while growing is returned to the atmosphere when they're burned, resulting in zero net carbon release - end up spewing more CO2 into the atmosphere as forests are slashed and burned.

Carbon dioxide is such a potent greenhouse gas that one recent study estimated it will take hundreds of years to recoup the greenhouse gas damage of clearing rainforests to grow and harvest plants for biofuels. (UC Berkeley)

Actually burning food or diverting land from food production is a bad idea for any reason. To do so for such a ridiculous non-reason as gorebull warming is criminal.

U.S. Renewable Energy Faces Weak Economy, Old Grid - WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama set the goal: double U.S. renewable energy production in three years. Congress provided the incentives as part of the $787 billion stimulus package.

Still, it may take awhile for solar and wind energy companies to get new business and the smart grid to transmit those power supplies. (Reuters)

Reid Proposes Plan to Speed Approval of Power Lines -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will introduce legislation this week to speed approvals of transmission lines that send renewable power across the U.S.

“My legislation will require the president to designate renewable energy zones with significant clean energy-generating potential,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said at a conference in Washington today sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The federal government would gain new authority to site power lines under Reid’s proposal, an idea that drew opposition from state regulators. (Bloomberg)

Update: Stimulus Bill  - As everyone knows, H.R. 1 was signed into law this past week. The full text of the final stimulus bill is available here. Readers might be interested to learn that the $1 billion “Prevention and Wellness Fund,” discussed here, did find its way back into the final version.

Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy and founder of NANA’s nutrition policy initiatives, sent out a CSPI Action Alert email thanking everyone who lobbied for these provisions. As she noted, the final Stimulus package also includes an additional $100 million for the National School Lunch Program. It has a provision giving priority in the distribution of the funds “to schools purchasing equipment for the purpose of offering more healthful foods and meals, in accordance with standards established by the Secretary.”

For months, mayors across the country have been scrambling, as we’ve all read in our local newspapers and heard on our television news, to garner as much of that free money for their projects as possible. The U.S. Conference of Mayors compiled a list of their stimulus projects and met with the Administration last week to present their formal requests. To see exactly how political leaders hope to spend our money, we can examine their list of projects, listed by state, here. Each of us can then decide for ourselves how many we think will stimulate economic development in our city and state. (Junkfood Science)

Behind closed doors - How many Americans knew that since last fall, key stakeholders in the health insurance industry and lobbyists for a wide range of interests in managed care have been secretly meeting with Democratic staff of Senator Edward Kennedy, working to develop the terms for legislating universal health insurance? As the New York Times reports, the talks taking place behind closed doors are unusual. Staff aides said that anyone who revealed the details of the group’s plans outside the secret meetings have been threatened with expulsion. (Junkfood Science)

Pudge Police coming - As we’ve known was coming, employers and state governments providing health insurance to employees are increasingly requiring American workers to undergo regular metabo check and evaluations of their diets and lifestyles, and to participate in corporate “wellness” programs… or else.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports this week that city employees of Kennesaw, Georgia who are fat, smoke or have been “identified by the company’s wellness consultant as being at high risk of health complications” are looking at their health insurance premiums doubling under a plan scheduled for a vote on Monday. The city’s health insurance program is underwritten by LifeWell, a managed care company focused on ‘wellness’ coaching and disease management, as part of the growing field of “lifestyle medicine.” It incorrectly tells its corporate clients: “The majority of chronic illnesses are lifestyle related and can therefore be diagnosed early and prevented.” (Junkfood Science)

We wish... CDC: ‘Science’ will count now, acting chief says - The acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that comments by President Barack Obama have encouraged him to believe that science will play a major role in crafting policy on public health.

“It was very exciting to hear President Obama say that science will have a seat at the policy table,” said Dr. Richard Besser, who has been the CDC’s acting director for a month. “The signals are there that science is respected and will be heard.”

Besser replaced Dr. Julie Gerberding, whose six-year tenure was marked by criticism that she sacrificed science for politics and carried the Bush agenda on global warming and other issues into the world of scientific research.

Gerberding and her defenders countered that she was an independent leader dedicated to science. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Antibodies Offer a New Path for Fighting Flu - In a discovery that could radically change how the world fights flu, researchers have engineered antibodies that protect against many strains of influenza, including even the 1918 Spanish flu and the H5N1 bird flu.

The discovery, experts said, could lead to the development of a flu vaccine that would not have to be changed yearly. And the antibodies already developed can be injected as a treatment, targeting the virus in ways that drugs like Tamiflu do not. Clinical trials to prove they are safe in humans could begin within three years, a researcher estimated.

“This is a really good study,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was not part of the study. “It’s not yet at the point of practicality, but the concept is really quite interesting.” (New York Times)

The Water Wizards of Oz - It is near impossible to imagine any private company not enjoying the "problem" of high demand for its products and services. Yet there are some products that are repeatedly reported as shortages. There is one thing these products have in common: government intervention, typically in the form of price controls.

This is especially the case with water in Melbourne, Australia, and has been for at least a decade. While supply of water is in many ways a complex issue, understanding economic shortages is not.

The government has blamed the shortage of water on drought and climate change. And while droughts may be created by a shortage of water, water shortages are created by an abundance of government rein. Despite almost yearly decreases in water storages in Melbourne (see figure 1), real prices have not increased significantly. And currently the "Essential Services Commission" will be setting prices for the next five-year period. This means, regardless of supply or any number of variables and uncertainty, (real) prices will remain roughly the same for five years. In other words, expect continued shortages.

Instead of economical pricing there is political pricing, where pressure groups and special interests are given "rights" to use water during droughts, and at subsidized pricing. Businesses are able to use water for irrigation in the name of boosting GDP, while individuals are asked (or forced) to consume less and less. Government as the friend of the little guy is simply a myth. (Mises Daily, Chris Brown)

EU Prepares For Battle Over Growing GM Maize Crops - BRUSSELS - European Union biotech experts will discuss next week whether to allow more cultivation of genetically modified crops but little progress is expected to break years of EU deadlock on biotechnology.

Two GM maize types are to be considered at the Wednesday meeting. If the experts fail to agree, which officials and diplomats say is the most likely outcome, both applications will be escalated to EU ministers for a decision.

The crops are Bt-11 maize, engineered by Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta, and 1507 maize -- jointly developed by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a unit of DuPont Co and Dow AgroSciences unit Mycogen Seeds.

"It's almost certain to be a non-opinion," said one official at the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, meaning that there was unlikely to be enough majority under the EU's weighted voting system to approve or reject the applications: stalemate.

The European Union has long been split on GMO policy and its 27 member countries consistently clash over whether to approve new varieties for import but without ever reaching a conclusion. GM crop cultivation is the "big one," diplomats say, in that no new modified crops have been approved for growing since 1998. There has been a string of GM approvals since 2004, however, but only as imported products for use in food and feed.

While diplomats say approving a new GM crop for growing is nigh on impossible in the EU's current climate, if next week's GM applications get sent to ministers and then there is a second voting stalemate, they would then return to the Commission.

If that happens, the Commission would -- probably -- end up issuing standard 10-year licenses. But that may take some time.

Even now, more than 10 years later, only one GM crop has won EU approval for commercial cultivation: a gene-altered maize made by U.S. biotech company Monsanto, known as MON 810. (Reuters)

February 20, 2009

Will Lisa Jackson turn the Clean Air Act into a gigantic de-stimulus package? - Earlier this week, in a letter to Sierra Club climate council David Bookbinder, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the Agency would reconsider, via a notice-and-comment rulemaking, a Bush-EPA memorandum interpreting regulations that determine whether carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently subject to emission controls under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permitting program. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

E.P.A. Expected to Regulate Carbon Dioxide - WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to act for the first time to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists blame for the warming of the planet, according to top Obama administration officials.

The decision, which most likely would play out in stages over a period of months, would have a profound impact on transportation, manufacturing costs and how utilities generate power. It could accelerate the progress of energy and climate change legislation in Congress and form a basis for the United States’ negotiating position at United Nations climate talks set for December in Copenhagen.

The environmental agency is under order from the Supreme Court to make a determination whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant that endangers public health and welfare, an order that the Bush administration essentially ignored despite near-unanimous belief among agency experts that research points inexorably to such a finding.

Lisa P. Jackson, the new E.P.A. administrator, said in an interview that she had asked her staff to review the latest scientific evidence and prepare the documentation for a so-called endangerment finding. Ms. Jackson said she had not decided to issue such a finding but she pointedly noted that the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts v. E.P.A., is April 2, and there is the wide expectation that she will act by then. (New York Times)

New Plans To Regulate CO2 As A Pollutant - There is renewed emphasis on the need to regulate CO2 as a pollutant; e.g. see

US EPA To Reconsider Pollution Ruling On CO2

BREAKING: Obama Pledges to Regulate CO2 from Coal Plants

Climate Science has weblogged in the past on this issue:

Comments On The Plan To Declare Carbon Dioxide as a Dangerous Pollutant

A Carbon Tax For Animal Emissions - More Unintended Consequences Of Carbon Policy In The Guise Of Climate Policy

Will Climate Effects Trump Health Effects In Air Quality Regulations?

Supreme Court Rules That The EPA Can Regulate CO2 Emissions

Science Issues Related To The Lawsuit To The Supreme Court As To Whether CO2 is a Pollutant

The regulation of CO2 will open a pandora’s box with respect to government regulation. The text in the most recent weblog on this subject stated that

What the listing of carbon dioxide as a pollutant would do is to implicitly declare that any human activity that affects climate could be considered a pollutant. This would logically mean, for instance,  that the EPA could regulate land use since, as extensively documented in the peer reviewed literature (e.g. see), landscape change is a human climate forcing.

This plan to regulate CO2 as a pollutant (since it is a human climate forcing) would give them the legal rationale to permit the implementation of additional federal regulations for other human climate forcings including the zoning of how land is developed.  Everyone should realize the implications and significance of this potential expansion of federal authority.  There may be societal benefits to such broad climate regulation authority, however, this issue should be more effectively discussed and debated than it has been up to the present. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Rudd blinks as carbon plan hits fan - This white elephant is limping badly. Just hope that when it crashes it doesn’t hurt too many of us:

THE Federal Government will pledge today to crash through on its emissions trading scheme even though the policy is in peril, as both the Coalition and the Greens harden their opposition and their supporters demand a radical overhaul.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, will tell a business lunch in Sydney the global financial crisis was no excuse for backing away from implementing the scheme next year.

And a sign of cluelessness and panic - not “resolve”:

To underscore its resolve, last night the Government scrapped a parliamentary inquiry commissioned last week to examine the scheme. The decision had been interpreted internally and externally as a sign the Government was getting cold feet and looking for an excuse to delay or water down the trading scheme. Senior sources maintained this was never the case and it was easier to scrap the inquiry rather than allow that perception to fester.

If people are so eager to Do Something about our gases, why worry about this silly “perception”? Let’s hope that Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt drop their evangelism and pick up a bat, as Andrew Robb would seem to prefer:

The senior Liberal Andrew Robb said the Government was in disarray and he hinted emissions trading should be dumped altogether. Mr Turnbull, however, did not rule out a compromise, but not without major concessions. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Al Gore urges scientists to be political to face a threat to 'the entirety of human civilization' - Speaking this past Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, former Vice President Al Gore urged scientists to get involved politically to push the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. Touting the need for swift and immediate action to avert what he believes is a climate crisis, Gore urged scientists to use what he feels is a changing political environment to push the agenda of those that believe man is on the brink of destruction.

During his 50 minute presentation, the self-appointed head of the AGW movement spoke to a “rapt” audience describing a scary picture of Earth’s future. Ice caps melting, droughts in many parts of the world, an “extraordinary” death of trees in our own American west. He pointed to many recent natural disasters as evidence of manmade climate change such as the floods in Cedar Rapids and wildfires in Greece and Australia. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Financial crisis sparks concern over climate change funds - U.N. - NEW DELHI - Funds pledged by rich countries to help developing nations adapt to the impacts of climate change are at risk from the global credit crunch and economic downturn, the United Nations has warned.

Deirdre Boyd, country director for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India, told AlertNet financing must be made available to help countries like India deal with hazards caused by global warming, such as rising seas and melting glaciers. But she warned the global financial crisis could jeopardise these crucial funds.

"What had happened in recent international meetings was that there was a commitment from donors that they would provide new money for adaptation," said Boyd. "There is now a question mark hanging over the impact of the financial crisis on making available new money for adaptation." (AlertNet)

U.S. Has Dual Task On Climate Change - Persuade Both Congress, Other Nations To Approve Cuts in Greenhouse Gases

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision to make her first overseas trip to China, where she arrives today, highlights the daunting tasks the new administration faces as the world scrambles to forge a new climate-change treaty this year: trying to persuade the emerging economies to make deep cuts in greenhouse-gas releases that they have long resisted while coaxing Congress to adopt first-ever limits on the United States' own emissions. (Washington Post)

Rope-a-dope: China Says Crisis Won't Stop Its Climate Action - BEIJING - The global financial crisis will not affect China's resolve to tackle global warming, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, ahead of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Climate change is a theme of Clinton's trip to Asia, which has also included stops in Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. China has exceeded the United States as the world's leading emitters of greenhouse gases. "We have all along paid great attention to the problem of climate change, and have, with a responsible attitude, taken a series of helpful policy measures," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing. (Reuters)

Organic particles aid cloud growth - How do you make a cloud? New research is showing that the recipe for clouds is more complex than previously assumed and that organic particles play an important role. The findings will help improve climate models, by better understanding the way clouds affect climate.

Aerosols help clouds to grow by acting as a seed for water droplets to latch on to. But not all aerosols are good at attracting water. Historically scientists have focused on soluble inorganic particles, such as sulphate and sea salt, as the main contributors to cloud droplet growth. However, clouds still grow even when there are few soluble inorganic aerosols around. The most plausible explanation is that organic aerosols – particles containing carbon and oxygen atoms – are acting as cloud seeds. (EnvironmentalResearchWeb)

Past Climate May Give Clue To Modern Change: Expert - OSLO - Abrupt shifts in the climate such as the end of Ice Ages could provide an early warning system for modern changes such as prolonged droughts, a leading scientist said on Monday.

The sudden desertification of North Africa 5,500 years ago or a warming at the end of the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago were preceded by signs of a less stable climate, according to Marten Scheffer of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

That insight, reported last year, is now being applied to try to detect shifts in the modern climate that might herald ever more droughts and other changes in nature.

"It's a whole rich field that's opening," Scheffer told Reuters, adding it could have applications for predicting when irreversible shifts, or "tipping points," were approaching.

"We are working on the recent climate now as well," said Scheffer, head of Aquatic Ecology and Water Management group at the University. (Reuters)

This stupidity, again: Warmer Climate Gives Malaria New Hunting Grounds - CHICAGO, U.S., Feb 19 - Climate change is bringing malaria to regions of Africa where the disease was previously unknown, researchers report from the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago this week.

Interestingly, the Arctic, where climate change is happening fastest, is the best place to study how warming temperatures are affecting infectious disease transmission.

Insect-transmitted diseases, primarily malaria, kill 3,000 people in Africa each day, said Andy Dobson of Princeton University in the United States. (IPS)

Malaria was endemic to the Arctic Circle (so much for temperature dependence) and was controlled or eliminated by drainage works and pesticide use throughout Europe, most of North America and the former USSR. Human alteration of terrain (irrigation, rainwater harvesting, drainage ditches...) provides new habitat for malarial mosquitoes and so malaria can indeed appear in novel regions but this is not dependent on or even associated with gorebull warming. Check out "From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (Paul Reiter, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for a little perspective on that malaria thing.

The Greens Can Take Away My Steak the Moment They Pry It from My Cold, Dead Hands - I have been a steak snob ever since I apprenticed under a master butcher in Ojai Valley, California a few years back. Indeed, I’m the kind of guy who orders his steak so rare that the people dining at the table next to me get uncomfortable. So it is with rising dread that I witness the greenies’ assault on the beef industry. Enviro-types have long hated cattlemen for treating cows like animals, but recently, they’ve found a new motive to attack providers of delicious red meat: climate change. According to the latest in the “It’s easy being green” series run by the Center for American Progress, “it’s worth taking a closer look” at beef production, for “the planet’s sake,” because industrial scale livestock farming has a big carbon footprint. The piece references a 2006 study that compares “a Toyota Prius, which uses about one fourth as much as fuel as a Chevrolet Suburban SUV, to a plant-based diet, which uses roughly one-fourth as much energy as a diet rich in red meat.” How about a steak tax, America? After all, the greens put gas-guzzling SUV’s (God bless ‘em) in their cross-hairs, and came out on top-they forced through new fuel efficiency regulations that have saddled an ailing Detroit with a $100 billion burden. Can the cattleman be far behind? (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Is technology pulling its weight in the fight against climate change? - The IT industry's carbon footprint may be rising, but according to Intellect's Emma Fryer any increases will be dwarfed by the emission savings the sector can deliver for the wider economy (BusinessGreen)

China's Artificially Induced Snow Closes 12 Highways - BEIJING - China closed 12 highways around the capital Beijing on Thursday because of heavy snow brought on after seeding clouds with chemicals, state media said on Thursday.

All outbound highways were closed in Hebei, the drought-hit northern province surrounding Beijing, after heavy snow fell on Wednesday night, Xinhua news agency said.

In all, 12 highways, including one linking Beijing and Shenyang, capital of northeastern Liaoning province, were closed.

Hebei got its first heavy snow of this year on Wednesday. The provincial weather bureau said that snow too was "enhanced" by artificial seeding.

"The snow has brought moisture to the soil, which may help end the drought," Guo Yingchun, a senior engineer of the provincial meteorological observatory, was quoted as saying.

She said that 313 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide were fired into the clouds from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, "a procedure that made the snow a lot heavier."

Hebei forecasters said flurries would continue through Thursday night in the northern part of the province.

Beijing is enduring its longest drought in 38 years, according to weather bureau records. (Reuters)

IPCC report map fails cartography exam - Climate change map doesn't display information effectively, say researchers.

"A picture is worth a thousand words." Certainly this proverb is true when it comes to climate science, where a colourful map can plot millions of data points and convey complex information in just one glance.

But, more often than not, climate maps can be bamboozling, attempting to communicate multiple results, with jazzy colours, cross-hatch shading and lengthy keys competing for attention. Such poor quality maps can be misleading for the viewer, by distorting the information or just making it extremely difficult to understand. Ultimately this can lead to poor decisions being made by policy makers, which is bad news for all of us when it comes to climate change.

Now Jean McKendry and Gary Machlis, from the University of Idaho, US, are taking climate scientists to task. In their paper in the journal Climatic Change they point out some of the common flaws made by people not trained in map design. To illustrate their point they analyse a high profile climate change map that was used in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and discuss how this map failed to follow several cartographic principles and effectively display information, despite its important content. (EnvironmentalResearchWeb)

?!! 100% clean electricity within 10 years - With Obama’s signature on Tuesday of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, the USA is now poised to create over 100,000 jobs in the next two years, in solar energy alone.

“The solar industry is poised to lead the new, clean energy economy and the strong solar provisions in this legislation will help give hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans a job that they can be proud of.”

This is the first step on a plan to achieve 100% clean electricity within 10 years. (Transition Town Farnham)

Someone Please Explain This: UPDATED with Explanation - OK, a diligent reader writes in with the explanation.

Gore and Moon are using misleading, bogus information, as documented by the Christian Science Monitor. Here is an excerpt from the CSM:

Earlier this week, Fortune’s eco-blog, Green Wombat, ran a story under the headline, “Wind jobs outstrip the coal industry.”

Blogger Todd Woody cites new report from the American Wind Energy Association that about 85,000 people are now employed by the wind power industry, up from 50,000 a year ago. Mr. Woody then says that “the coal industry employs about 81,000 workers,” citing a 2007 report from the Department of Energy.

Woody calls this comparison “a talking point in the green jobs debate.”

The story was republished on the Huffington Post, cited by Mother Jones magazine, and has been bouncing around the green blogosphere for the past few days.

But it’s a bogus comparison. According to the wind energy report, those 85,000 jobs in wind power are as “varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.” The 81,000 coal jobs counted by the Department of Energy are only miners. Their figure excludes those who haul the coal around the country, as well as those who work in coal power plants.

It is a good thing that it is not true, as the CSM write, “If it really took that many people to provide so little wind energy, it would never become competitive with fossil fuels.” (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Memo to President Obama: You need Canuck oil - A great deal is riding on President Barack Obama’s visit to Canada today. The decidedly green bent of his new administration has the potential to undercut Canada’s petroleum exports to the United States. Thus, Canadian officials must emphasize to the president the strategic importance of Canada’s oil reserves to America’s security.

Canada is the largest supplier of crude oil to the U.S. market, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico, among others. Crude oil and petroleum product exports from Canada represent about 20 per cent of total American oil imports. A rapidly growing proportion of that supply comes from Canada’s oil sands, which are estimated to contain about 173 billion barrels of recoverable reserves – second only to Saudi Arabia (262 billion) and well ahead of Venezuela (80 billion) and Mexico (12 billion).

This is the same petroleum supply that candidate Obama attacked as "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive." His aides later said it was an "open question" whether oil extracted from Canadian oil sands would "align" with the energy policy of an Obama administration.

Hyperbole aside, Mr. Obama can’t halt the huge flow of oil by decree. However, his policies could significantly raise the costs of supplying the American market. For example, he backs imposition of a "low-carbon fuel standard," which would require gasoline suppliers to reduce the emissions associated with the production of transportation fuels. Such a standard could constitute a market barrier to Canadian petroleum derived from oil sands, which requires more energy (and thus creates more emissions) to produce and refine than crude oil and products from conventional sources. (Chronicle Herald)

Seriously? Manchin urges coal industry to support renewable energy - CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coal producers need to help West Virginia increase renewable energy production to show its commitment to new energy policies, Gov. Joe Manchin said Thursday.

During a speech to the West Virginia Coal Association annual mining symposium, Manchin urged the industry to support his legislation calling for renewable energy sources to generate 10 percent of the state's energy needs by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025.

Coal accounts for about 98 percent electrical production in West Virginia, the nation's No. 2 coal producer behind Wyoming. (Associated Press)

Northern Climate Rush - Rush on UK Coal! - Fresh from their Manchester Airport incursion, Northern Climate Rush is back, and we are paying a visit to the UK's largest coal company! We will be travelling by minibus to the headquarters of UK Coal in Doncaster. Meet in front of the Manchester University Student Union building at 1pm on Thursday Feb 26. Dress in Edwardian fashion (if you so desire) and bring food to share, banners, and musical instruments. (Earth First!)

Oddly ambiguous name, "Earth First!" -- best response I've seen would be "Yep, we can strip mine the other planets later". Curious, too, that the quotation EF! have chosen to highlight on their site is "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about? — Maurice Strong, Head of the 1992 Earth Summit" Does their "Dress in Edwardian fashion" reflect a desire to return to the beginning of 20th Century when coal smoke besmirched everything and horse dung threatened to bury cities?

Is this what they seek?

What is the urban effect on sunshine? This is one aspect of the region's climate that has dramatically changed over the late 19th and 20th centuries. At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the latter half of the 19th century, vast amounts of smoke and soot were emitted into the atmosphere in London. This led to the absorption or blocking of a remarkable proportion of the incoming radiation from the sunshine and hence sunshine amounts were curtailed.

It is difficult to believe today how profound this effect was and how quickly it has changed. In the 1880s, it was estimated that London was 'losing' up to 80% of its winter sunshine. In December 1890 no sunshine was recorded at Westminster. As recently as 1921-50, central London averaged only 50% of the winter sunshine as surrounding rural areas. The effect was concentrated in winter because of the increased emission of smoke and soot associated with the greater use of coal burning to heat houses and offices and also because of the low angle of the sun.

The situation is quite different today - emissions of pollutants that cause a shading effect have dropped dramatically with the switch away from coal as the prime source of energy in industry and in the home, a change well under way before the passing of the Clean Air Acts in the 1950s and 1960s. Not only has this led to a reduction in the frequency of winter smogs and fog (possibly assisted by more mobile, changeable winters in recent decades) but on occasions, central London is now sunnier than the outlying areas because of the urban heating effect evaporating low cloud or fog.
(Roehampton University -- unfortunately they have taken down their "weather" directory altogether. The above was captured September, 2004)

Or maybe this?

DOE To OK Stimulus Energy Projects By Early Summer - WASHINGTON - Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday he hopes the department can begin approving loan guarantees authorized by the stimulus for renewable energy projects by early summer.

"We need to start this work in a matter of months, not years -- while insisting on the highest standard of accountability," Chu told reporters at Platts Energy Podium in Washington D.C.

The stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this week provides $6 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy and electricity transmission projects. (Reuters)

E.ON, Siemens To Build Pilot Carbon Capture Plant - FRANKFURT - German utility E.ON and industrial group Siemens said on Thursday they would build a pilot plant to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning.

It is due to start operations in the summer, a joint statement said. (Reuters)

Novozymes Sees Mixed Prospects For Bioethanol - COPENHAGEN - Novozymes believes next-generation cellulosic ethanol could be profitable in the United States without government subsidies by 2015, provided oil rebounds to $80-120 per barrel, executives said on Thursday.

Prospects for the environmentally friendlier version of the biofuel look much grimmer in Europe, the chief executive of the world's top maker of industrial enzymes said.

"I don't think it's going to fly in Europe," said Steen Riisgaard in a meeting with journalists. "In the U.S., the first-generation bioethanol paved the way. In Europe we don't have the infrastructure. To commit 200 million euros ($252 million) for a second-generation plant here with no distribution system is very difficult."

Riisgaard said the political will to support bioethanol did not exist in Europe as it does in the United States, China and Brazil. (Reuters)

EU Exec Eyes Dumping Duty On U.S. Biodiesel: Sources - BRUSSELS - The European Commission plans to propose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, sources familiar with the proposal said on Thursday.

In a separate move which is also likely to agitate sensitive transatlantic trade relations, a probe by the EU executive into a U.S. clampdown on European online gambling firms is expected to recommend action at the World Trade Organization, sources familiar with the probe's findings said.

But the sources said Brussels, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation bloc, would try to reach agreement with the new U.S. government before taking any case to the global trade watchdog in a bid to avert a possible trade war with Washington.

The anti-dumping duties on U.S. biodiesel would range from 2 euros ($2.50) to 19 euros per 100 kg and the anti-subsidy duties from 23 to 26 euros per 100 kg, the sources told Reuters. (Reuters)

Why Is HuffPo Pimping Ethanol? - Yesterday’s edition of the Internet news juggernaut, The Huffington Post, ran an ethanol love song written by Bob Dinneen, who is identified in his HuffPo biography as “the ethanol industry’s lead lobbyist before the Congress and Administration.” Given that Mr. Dinneen is a professional shill, there’s no need to repeat his self-serving argument. Whatever is his case for ethanol, the bottom line is his bottom line. But it is worth saying a few things about the reality of ethanol. Ethanol is touted as a solution to America’s dependence on foreign oil. It is true that ethanol—an alcohol distilled from corn—can be used to run cars. “Can,” however, does not mean “should.” Indeed, ethanol is a bad idea both economically and environmentally. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Experts work to combat deadly amphibian fungus - Thought to be caused by the exportation of amphibians from their natural habitats, the fungus is killing off amphibians at an accelerated rate, Pessier said. The golden frog, for instance, is believed to be extinct in the wild, when years ago thousands of them inhabited Panama.

People would often find them in the forests and keep them for good luck. Now, the golden frogs and other amphibians are threatened by the spread of the microscopic fungus, which attaches to the animal and thickens its skin, making it more difficult to absorb the water they need.

The problem started off slowly in the 1930s, when frogs were widely transported to other countries for medical purposes, food and pets, Pessier said. By the late 1990s scientists realized a solution was needed. (The Associated Press)

Burn-offs too little, too late from DSE - THE Brumby Government is now taking credit for saving houses from Black Saturday's fire, instead of accepting blame for dooming them.

Its Department of Sustainability and the Environment this week boasted of doing the fuel reduction burns around Bendigo that it had failed to do in the very places where most people died. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Feds: Calif. returning chinook salmon a record low - SAN FRANCISCO -- A record-low number of chinook salmon returned to rivers in California's Central Valley last year, indicating that severe restrictions on salmon fishing are likely again this year, federal regulators say.

In the Sacramento Delta, fishermen and regulators believe large pumps used to move water around for farming and other uses is to blame for the falling numbers. Others say changes in the ocean due to greenhouse gas pollution also are killing the fish.

Environmental advocates argue that California's salmon losses are higher than other regions because of the state's system of canals, dams and pumps, and have sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to impose restrictions to help save fish. (Associated Press)

Scientists Find Genes To Protect Wheat From Rust - LONDON - Scientists have pinpointed two genes that protect wheat against devastating fungal diseases found worldwide, potentially paving the way to hardier wheat strains, international researchers reported on Thursday.

New research published in the journal Science showed how the genes provide resistance to leaf rust, stripe rust and powdery mildew, diseases responsible for millions of hectares of lost wheat yield each year.

"Improving control of fungal rust diseases in cereals through breeding varieties with durable rust resistance is critical for world food security," Simon Krattinger of the Institute of Plant Biology in Zurich and colleagues, wrote in one of the studies.

"The most profitable and environmental friendly strategy for farmers to control wheat rust in both the developing and the developed world is to grow genetically resistant wheat varieties." (Reuters)

February 19, 2009

One-fifth of fossil-fuel emissions absorbed by threatened forests - An international team of scientists have discovered that rainforest trees are getting bigger. They are storing more carbon from the atmosphere in their trunks, which has significantly reduced the rate of climate change.

Globally, tropical trees in undisturbed forest are absorbing nearly a fifth of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels. The researchers show that remaining tropical forests remove a massive 4.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year. This includes a previously unknown carbon sink in Africa, mopping up 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year. (University of Leeds)

Man's Inhumanity to Man of the Day: Keep Africa Poor to Control Climate - A study in this week's Nature (Feb. 19) reports that African forests are an important carbon sink -- and although the researchers acknowledge that they don't really understand the phenomenon, they nevertheless conclude that African forests be put off limits to development.

At the end of the study, the researchers write,

African tropical forests are providing important ecosystem services by storing carbon and being a carbon sink, thereby reducing the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2. With adequate protection these forests are likely to remain large carbon stores in the longer term. Securing this service will probably require formalizing and enforcing land rights for forest dwellers, alongside payments for ecosystem services to those Estimated carbon stocks and their annual increase for African tropical forest living near forested areas. Whether remaining intact forests will continue to sequester carbon, become neutral, or become a net source of carbon in the future is highly uncertain. Improved monitoring and modelling of the tropical environment is required to better understand this trajectory.
But if Africans can't harvest and monetize their own natural resources -- as we in the West have done -- Africa is likely to stay poor and sick.

Nature could have edited this study down to: "Sinks should sink Africa."

War Over The Climate Heats Up Even As Climate Itself Cools Down - President Obama will be hard put to satisfy his several campaign promises: to restore prosperity and jobs, to conduct a foreign policy backed by a strong economy and to satisfy environmental demands to "save the planet." His job will be much easier if he listens to independent advice on climate science. (S. Fred Singer, IBD)

Cap-and-trade means energy bubble - When the housing bubble burst, it exposed an unseemly alliance between special interests and the financial sector. Activists wanted homes for all at any cost, and lenders were happy to oblige despite the inherent risk.

Although the economic devastation this bubble wrought is still not under control, a similar toxic alliance is working on the next one: The green bubble.

Failing companies such as AIG, General Electric and General Motors, already propped up with tax dollars, have partnered with radical environmentalists in a scheme their CEOs believe will allow them to profit on fears about global warming. (Tom Borelli, DC Examiner)

Peter Foster: Lessons from the Governator - Schwarzenegger may have been replaced by a leftist liquid-metal replica

Few things are more dangerous than linking lousy policy with outsized charisma. The Green Keynesianism of President Barack Obama, who is due to visit Ottawa this week, threatens nothing but further job destruction. For a preview, all one has to do is look at the U.S. left coast.

It is uncertain how far oxymoronic green stimulus will feature in this week’s Ottawa talks, but energy security and climate change will certainly be on the agenda. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives called yesterday for a “co-ordinated approach to the management of greenhouse gases,” thus confirming that Big Business long ago gave up fighting climate change policy lunacy and just wants to make sure that all businesses are crippled equally. The Council also called for a “joint strategy” on “improving clean energy technologies,” a politically correct preamble to the very real need for making sure that President Obama doesn’t do anything rash when it comes to restricting imports of “dirty” tar-sands oil. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Jobs terminated as California goes bankrupt - Political stalemate on $12bn deficit forces Schwarzenegger to sack thousands of workers

Arnold Schwarzenegger has sent redundancy notices to 20,000 government employees and shut down California’s last remaining public works projects yesterday, as state politicians failed to pass a budget that will prevent his administration from running out of money.

The Governor of California, who is spending billions more each month than he can raise in taxes, has insufficient funds left to settle outstanding bills and is days away from being forced to start issuing “IOU” notes to creditors and civil servants. (The Independent)

Getting worse by the day: Canada's oilsands 'wild card': NASA director - WASHINGTON - Canada's oilsands are an environmental "wild card," NASA's James Hansen said in an interview before President Barack Obama's trip to Ottawa, where energy and climate change will be on the agenda.

As director of the U.S. space agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, with a focus on climate change, Hansen has long opposed the burning of oil, gas and coal for their contribution to global warming.

And he really objects to the burning of fuels gleaned from tar shale and tar sands in western Canada.

"If we burn all the conventional fuels — oil, gas and coal — we would be heading the planet to eventually an ice-free state," Hansen said in an interview Tuesday, two days before Obama's scheduled visit to Canada, the first foreign trip of his presidency.

"This unconventional fossil fuel is a total wild card on top of that," Hansen said. "You just can't do it, that's what politicians and international leaders have got to understand. You can't exploit tar shale and tar sands without pushing things way beyond the limit. They're just too carbon intensive." (Reuters)

Climate Sceptics Form Own Political Party - Dear Fellow Australians

"Scepticism is the highest of duties, and blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

So wrote Thomas Huxley, one of the great minds of the scientific age.

Anthropogenic or man-made Global Warming (AGW) alarmism is the biggest con, fraud, hoax, swindle, deception and mass hysteria in the history of modern civilization, because climate changes naturally.

The Climate Sceptics support all practical measures to prevent environmental degradation. We support the development of cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. Unfortunately governmental taxes to stop climate change are a colossal diversion of funds from core obligations, and Emission Trading Schemes (ETS) will do absolutely nothing for the Murray-Darling basin, the Great Barrier Reef, or land degradation - just as it will do absolutely nothing to stop climate change.

The Climate Sceptics are here to demand rational debate and responsible leadership. We reject the extremist views that now threaten what Australians have sacrificed to achieve in living standards, rights and freedoms.

If want your own children and grandchildren to enjoy these values as you do, click here to join, and get in touch with your kindred spirits in your local area. There are a lot more of you than some might want you to discover. (Leon Ashby, Climate Sceptics)

Eco-Colonialism Degrades Africa - Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of Earth’s most impoverished regions. Over 90% of its people still lack electricity, running water, proper sanitation and decent housing. Malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and intestinal diseases kill millions every year. Life expectancy is appalling, and falling. (Paul Driessen & Dr. Willie Soon, SPPI)

Quotes of the Day - [Taken from CCNet, a scholarly electronic network edited by Benny Peiser. Every day Peiser sends out the latest news on the science, economics and politics of global warming. To subscribe, and I recommend that you do, send an e-mail to ("subscribe cambridge-conference").] (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

What shameful nonsense: AUSTRALIA: Bushfires Highlight Global Warming Danger - MELBOURNE, Feb 18 - While the bushfires which ravaged parts of the state of Victoria earlier this month - the most devastating in the nation’s history - are not being blamed directly on the effects of climate change, it is clear that global warming was indeed a factor.

"In terms of the temperature component of the fire weather on Feb.7, I think we can say that increases in greenhouse gas conditions are partly responsible," says Kevin Hennessy, leading climate scientist.

Hennessy, who is principal research scientist with the climate change risk, adaptation and policy team at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, told IPS that the fires were due to the extremely hot, windy and dry conditions of early February.

"The very warm conditions are part of a warming trend since at least 1950. The international consensus is that it’s very likely that most of that warming is due to increases in [human-induced] greenhouse gases," says the scientist who was the coordinating lead author of the Australia and New Zealand chapter of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. (IPS)

Lack of fuel load reduction over years of neglect and inappropriate forest management is the reason these fires were so large and intense and that is anthropogenic -- specifically the adherence to misguided green dogma.

This burning issue of life and death - One of the biggest furphies in the supercharged debate in the wake of Victoria's bushfires is the claim by green groups that they are great supporters of hazard reduction burning.

Also known as prescribed burning, this scientific regime creates a mosaic of lightly burned land at regular intervals of five to seven years, thus reducing surface fuel loads by varying amounts within the mosaic.

This reduction of fuel loads is expensive, but Australia's pre-eminent bushfire researchers, such as the CSIRO's Phil Cheney and Monash University's David Packam, say it has been proven to reduce the power and intensity of fire. Every bushfire inquiry since the 1939 Stretton royal commission has recommended increased prescribed burning to mitigate the effects of inevitable wildfire.

It is a matter of public record that green groups have long opposed such systematic prescribed burning, as is evident in their submissions to bushfire inquiries from as far back as 1992. They complain of a threat to biodiversity, including to fungi, from "frequent burning" regimes and urge resources be spent on water bombers and early detection, as well as on stopping climate change - good luck with that. (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

Recycled Poll: Was global warming to blame for the recent heatwave in Australia? Vote now!
The background:

On February 6, ABC News Radio in Australia posted a web poll on their website that asked readers whether they believed if the concurrent Australian heatwave was caused by global warming. There were three possible responses:

1. Global Warming is a myth
2. Yes
3. No

Andrew Bolt noted the poll on his blog the same day and at that time 90.4% of respondents had chosen "myth". Soon, some other AGW skeptic bloggers posted the poll too, including GORE LIED. On February 9, with "myth" having climbed even higher to 94.4% after 15,451 votes, Bolt noted:

The ABC can’t have liked the answer much. The poll, and its emphatic result, has been deleted from the poll archive

ABC apparently said it was because the poll had been "hijacked". Skeptic blog, Australian Climate Madness, is in contact with ABC for further explanation. Meantime, the poll is still missing from the ABC News Radio archives.

So, let's do it again. GORE LIED has recreated the poll in it's entirety, with the only change that the question now reflects the past tense nature of the subject matter. This poll will end at 6:00 PM on Saturday, February 21, 2009, so vote early.

GORE LIED will guarantee that the results of this poll will not be removed, and will be available for all to see as long as this blog exists. (Gore Lied)

Recycled nonsense: Tuvalu PM calls for unity on global warming fight - Tuvalu's prime minister is calling on world leaders to fight global warming to save his nation from disappearing under the sea.

Apisai Ielemia is on an official visit to Taiwan.

He made the call while visiting a Taipei primary school and telling the school children the importance of protecting the environment.

Mr Ielemia says Tuvalu children have little chance of playing on the beach as he did when he was a child.

He called on all countries to unite in fighting global warming by cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Being only four-point five metres above sea level, Tuvalu is one of the first countries to experience the effects of sea level rise caused by climate change. (Radio Australia)

II: Lawmakers to consider pollution reduction measures - WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- With much of this peninsular state situated at or below sea level, parts of Florida could disappear under water if global warming predictions indicating significant sea level rise come true.

It's a state with much to lose and much to protect, from miles of beaches that bring in millions of tourism dollars, to swamps and wetlands, the struggling Everglades, endangered species, already limited freshwater supply and a burgeoning population expected to nearly double to 32 million people by 2050.

Environmentalists say Florida must do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, including increasing the use of renewable energy and tightening emission standards for new automobiles.

The Legislature is set in its upcoming session beginning next month to consider proposed rules approved by state agencies that would do both. (Associated Press)

From Hawaii to an Icecube - Tuesday, February 17th, mid afternoon in Latin America. News wires by the Spanish news agency EFE report a massive collapse of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The news quickly appeared in the front pages of electronic editions of newspapers all over Latin America and Europe. “Iceberg larger than Hawaii has broken off in Antarctica” was the headline. The news said: “A 14,000 square km shelf of ice, almost twice the area of the Basque Country, has broken off the Wilkins Ice Shelf in the Antarctic. Scientists believe the ice shelf is crumbling as a result of global warming. The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has reported today that the resulting giant icebergs are now floating around in the Antarctic Ocean. A team of CSIC scientists have been in the area investigating the impact of the crumbling ice shelf on the ecosystem in the Belinghausen Sea, to the west of the Antarctic peninsula. Over the past two weeks, the scientists have seen the ice shelf on the edge of the Belinghausen Sea recede 550km and have noted that the water temperatures are extraordinarily warm in this area. Experts have warned that the breaking away of this massive ice shelf will ultimately have notable consequences on the sea level. (Alexandre Aguiar - MetSul Weather Center (Brazil) and ICECAP)

Idiots! They are in the carbon business: Shell: cap-and-trade is "a good thing" - Despite falling carbon price, oil giant insists EU emissions trading scheme is driving investments in low carbon technologies (BusinessGreen)

Meeting Summary “Global Warming And The Next Ice Age” By Dubey Et Al 2008 - Climate Science has weblogged about a meeting Global Warming and the Next Ice Age that was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico July 17-21 2006; i.e. see, see, see, and see.

The AMS Bulletin of the American Meterological Society has published a summary of this meeting in its December 2008 issue;

Manvendra K. Dubey, Charlie S. Zender, Chris K. Folland, and Petr Chylek, 2008: Global Warming and the Next Ice Age. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, pp. 1905–1909. DOI: 10.1175/2008BAMS2359.1. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The Trade Winds Drive The ENSO - Guest post by Bill Illis

We have often wondered what really causes the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern. It is generally understood and this post will demonstrate that it is really driven by the Trade Winds over the ENSO region.

The Trade Winds blow East to West at the equator. Most of us living in other latitudes expect the wind and the weather to primarily come from the West but, at the equator, the weather comes from the East.

When the Trade Winds are stronger than average for a sustained period of time, the Trades literally blow or drag the warm surface water across the Pacific and it is replaced by colder upwelling ocean water from below. If the Trades are strong enough for a long enough period of time, we have a La Nina.

When the Trades are weaker than average for a long enough period of time, the ocean surface stalls in place and gets heated day after day by the equatorial Sun and we have an El Nino. Sometimes, this stalling even results in warmer ocean water from the Western Pacific moving backwards into the Nino region and this also contributes to El Nino conditions.

Let’s look at the data to see how true this assertion is. (Watts Up With That?)

Britain’s Lessons From The Winter of 2008-2009 - The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades, and hopefully policymakers have learned a few basic lessons from this. Here is my wish list, which seem painfully obvious. (Steven Goddard, Watts Up With That?)

How to save the world in Copenhagen - A political circus is rolling into Copenhagen ahead of the meeting in December when world leaders will attempt to set new targets for carbon emission reductions.

An "emergency summit" next month will put climate change science in the background and political arguments at the forefront. The summit has attracted such luminaries as Lord Stern, the leader of the Stern Review on the economics of climate change; José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission; and Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The conference organiser, Katherine Richardson, says: "This is not a regular scientific conference. This is a deliberate attempt to influence policy."

While the motives of those gathering in Denmark are honorable, their move is deeply unfortunate at a time when the climate change debate could benefit from more regular science and less politics. (WizFix Environment News)

Exclusive: Private equity raises carbon reporting fears - Industry concerned UK's expanded Carbon Reduction Commitment cap-and-trade scheme will treat private equity portfolios as one group - landing them with a huge administrative headache (BusinessGreen)

Climate change outlook: mild - Tales of our environmental demise are greatly exaggerated – coal reserves are dwindling, and lower emissions will follow

As more and more discoveries are made about global warming, scientists and political organisations have been clamouring for stronger and more immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Amid this rising call for action, there has been surprisingly little attention given to recent work suggesting that future peak carbon dioxide levels may have been overestimated by a factor of four to five.

At the annual December meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, Professor David Rutledge from the California Institute of Technology re-examined estimates of world coal inventories. He concluded that reserves (resources that can be economically produced) – widely assumed to be sufficient for energy use for centuries – are far smaller than usually assumed.

In fact, peak mid-century CO2 levels of about 460 parts per million (ppm, the present level is about 385ppm) estimated by Rutledge represent the maximum amount of CO2 reduction most scientists and organisations can only dream of for any scenario of reducing carbon emissions. It is almost as if nature might do for society what it has been incapable of doing for itself – significantly reducing planetary carbon emissions.

Since coal is almost entirely responsible for the projected rise in CO2 beyond mid-century, the implication is that neither CO2 nor the climate consequences from its use may be nearly as severe as usually assumed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. This conclusion has significant ramifications for those involved in international negotiations for a "post-Kyoto" global agreement on emission reductions in Copenhagen later this year. (The Guardian)

Don't worry guys, Australia has enough coal to keep the world supplied for at least the next century.

Steel chief sounds jobs alarm over carbon scheme - AUSTRALIA'S second-biggest steelmaker says the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme is likely to cause job losses and force new investments offshore.

Onesteel chief executive Geoff Plummer said, that even though the Government had tried to address the industry's concerns, his company "cannot support the carbon pollution reduction scheme based on its current design".

"We understand the Government's intentions, but the practical effect of the scheme as it stands is that we will bear a cost not borne by our competitors," he said. "We would be the only steelmakers in the world to have these costs and that would put us at a material disadvantage." (The Australian)

Price plunge hits carbon trade plan - THE collapse in the international price of carbon is threatening the Federal Government's ability to pay for compensation packages in the emissions trading scheme without drawing on the budget.

Compensation for households, trade-exposed industries and high-polluting coal-fired electricity generators was expected to be drawn from auctioning carbon credits, which the Government estimated would initially generate $12 billion a year.

But the assumed price of carbon — $25 a tonne — is now under threat because the Government's proposal allows polluting businesses to offset an unlimited proportion of emissions by buying international credits.

With the international carbon price hovering around $15 a tonne, carbon trading analysts told The Age the local $25 start-up price was "seriously in doubt".

They said it raised the prospect of the Government dipping into the budget pay for the household compensation package targeted at low to middle-income earners. (The Age)

Government stands by carbon trade plan - CANBERRA - Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the government remains committed to its carbon trading plans, despite growing calls for the scheme to be reconsidered or replaced with a carbon tax.

Australia has promised to introduce carbon trading in July 2010 as part of its efforts to fight global warming and cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least five per cent by 2020.

Some economists, opposition politicians and businesses have stepped up their criticism of the scheme after the government last week announced a new inquiry into the plan, but Ms Wong said carbon trading would go ahead. (Reuters)

Green firms in retreat as vital funds diminish - Green companies are in retreat, with a wave of staff layoffs and production cuts that could have dire consequences for governments' efforts to fight climate change by quickly bringing low-carbon power projects on stream. (Terry Macalister, New Zealand Herald)

The Crone... An $80 Billion Start - Wrapped inside the economic stimulus package is about $80 billion in spending, loan guarantees and tax incentives aimed at promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, higher-mileage cars and coal that is truly clean. As a stand-alone measure, these investments would amount to the biggest energy bill in history.

As ambitious as this measure is, it should not be confused with a global warming bill. Dealing with climate change will require a much broader strategy, even larger federal investments in clean-energy technologies and an effort to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions to unlock private investment on an enormous scale. But this is a useful down payment, which could also help reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.

Eighty-billion dollars is still a lot of money. And the federal agencies overseeing its disbursement must provide strong regulation and firm guidance to ensure that it is spent wisely. Money invested in a modern electricity grid, for instance, will have been badly spent if it is used merely to build transmission towers to move energy from old coal-fired power plants. It will be well spent if it helps move clean energy, such as wind and solar power, from, say, Texas, to distant cities that need it. (New York Times)

First clean coal to be extracted - New "clean" technology is to be used to extract coal from massive untapped seams under Fife and the Firth of Forth for the first time.

Thornton New Energy has been granted the UK's first licence from the Coal Authority to use a process called underground coal gasification (UCG).

The firm plans to drill into coalfields and convert coal into combustible gas while it is still underground.

The gas can then be used for electricity generation.

It can also be used in industrial heating and even the manufacture of hydrogen or ultra clean diesel fuel. (BBC)

It's not at all clear why they don't do this: Coal chief calls for return to deep mining to fuel power-station pledge - THE head of the UK's largest coal producer has said that a return to deep mining north of the Border is essential if the Scottish Government is to follow through on its commitment to coal-fired power stations.

Don Nicolson, the new chief executive of the Scottish Resources Group, which owns several firms, including Scottish Coal, told The Scotsman that there are "perhaps billions of tonnes" of coal in Scotland that could not be accessed by surface mining.

He said: "There are millions of tonnes, perhaps billions of tonnes of coal in Scotland. A small fraction you can get at through surface mining. If coal was to become part of our long-term future, which we think it will, then you need to go deep. That is where the bulk of the coal reserves are." (The Scotsman)

SANC is agin it either way: Underground coal gasification - fuelling the fires (SANC)

The promise of biofuel is a lie - Der Spiegel Exposes the Brazilian Ethanol Madness - For years, the US has been inundated with claims that it should follow Brazil’s lead on biofuels. These arguments have largely been made by a small, but influential group of neoconservatives who claim that the US should quit using oil altogether. They claim that using more ethanol – produced from sugar cane, or corn, or some other substance – will impoverish OPEC and America will once again be returned to prosperity.

But these claims wither in the face of a story by Clemens Hoges in the January 22 issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel. Hoges writes that sugar cane “is considered an effective antidote to climate change, but hundreds of thousands of Brazilian plantation workers harvest the cane at slave wages.” The story is one of several published in recent years that have exposed the brutality of the Brazilian sugar cane fields. But before looking at Der Spiegel’s coverage, let’s do a quick review of the Brazilian ethanol boosters. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Update: Tally of Reports on Ethanol Scam Hits 15, Vilsack Wants More Ethanol - A couple days ago, I published a piece listing 14 studies that have exposed the high costs of the ethanol scam. I overlooked three points: A new study by Cornell University’s David Pimentel, the latest numbers showing the amount of corn ethanol distilling capacity that has been idled due to negative margins, and finally, a story by Bloomberg News which says that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is talking with the Environmental Protection Agency about raising the amount of ethanol blended into the US gasoline supply. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Windmills flap helplessly as coal remains king - Switch on the light. Is the filament glowing because of a heavy gust of wind, or is it nuclear fission?

If you flick a switch today, the light goes on because of coal. Almost half the power generated in Britain on Tuesday came from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations were contributing 17 per cent and windmills provided 0.6 per cent.

It's a day's work in the power industry and it is 16 years since the Kyoto conference on climate change, when this country signed up to a process that would seek to avert global warming by weaning the world off the combustion of oil, gas and coal. Since then we have had two Energy White Papers, one Energy Review, the launch of European carbon trading, the decline of North Sea gas, the promotion of wind farms and the eleventh-hour rescue of Britain's nuclear industry. After all the politics, we are breathless as our bright new whirligigs stand motionless on a beach horizon.

The wind has failed, as it does during periods of intense heat and cold, and although we have built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 per cent of our electricity, no more than 1 per cent is operational when we need it. Like Coleridge's ancient mariner, the nation is becalmed, a painted ship on a painted ocean and we have gone back a century, hewing the same coal that first put Britain on the fast track to the Industrial Revolution.

The reason why we are still stuffing black lumps of carbon into furnaces is simple: it makes economic sense and the financial markets are shouting this message louder than ever before. (Carl Mortished, The Times)

Green Mafia... figures: Italy police arrest 8 in Mafia wind farms plot - ROME — Italian police on Tuesday arrested mobsters, businessmen and local politicians who allegedly used corrupt practices and bribes to gain control of a project to build wind farms in Sicily.

Operation "Aeolus," named after the ancient Greek god of winds, netted eight suspects, arrested in the Trapani area of western Sicily, as well as in Salerno on the Italian mainland and in the northern city of Trento.

Police in Trapani said the local Mafia bribed city officials in nearby Mazara del Vallo so the town would invest in wind farms to produce energy. (Associated Press)

Groups to sue cleaning product makers for ingredient disclosure - Environmental and health activists want lists and research results from such firms as Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.

The makers of Tide, Ajax and other common household cleansers are being asked to come clean about their ingredients.

Environmental and health activists announced plans Tuesday for a lawsuit to make Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co. and two other major firms reveal the chemical ingredients of their cleaning products and their research on the products' effects.

The suit, to be filed today in New York, seeks to use a little-known 1976 New York law passed to combat phosphates in detergent.

The activists "say people deserve to know whether the products they use to wash their dishes and clean their homes could be harmful," said New York lawyer Keri Powell, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest law firm. (Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times) [From this whacky press release]

If it helps them any the answer is undeniably "yes, the products could be harmful" since it it theoretically possible to drown in a vat of dishwashing liquid or be struck on the head by a slippery bar of soap escaping from a high rise bathroom window, which is about as useful information as likely to be extracted even if these suits are successful 9we know, that's not the purpose of the suit which is to harass and coerce industry).

‘Exceptions’ in Stimulus Bill Allow Sale of Health Records – It could become easier to sell and exchange the health information of Americans under the economic stimulus package that awaits President Barack Obama’s signature Tuesday.

The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that passed Congress last week allocates $19 billion to establish centrally linked health data infrastructure to contain the health information of “each American” by 2014 and to set up the new office of the “National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.”

Though the legislation says there is a “prohibition on sale of electronic health records or protected health information,” there are five pages of exceptions to the prohibition that include research, treatment of an individual, or a decision by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive the prohibition. (See Legislation, PDF pages 391-395.) (

Just A Beginning? - Seven-hundred eighty-seven billion dollars apparently doesn't go as far as it used to. Even before the ink was dry on the stimulus bill, the president and his deputies were hinting it may not work as promised. (IBD)

Bailout Begins A New Round Of Shakedowns - Fresh off the trillion-dollar porkulus bill signing in Denver, President Obama immediately launched into his next New Raw Deal expansion: a massive mortgage entitlement program forcing lenders to refinance at an initial cost of $50 billion to $100 billion.

That's in addition to the bipartisan-supported $50 billion in the "stimulus" bill to bail out homeowners underwater on their mortgages and the $2 billion in "neighborhood stabilization" funds to alleviate the foreclosure crisis. (Michelle Malkin, IBD)

John Galt Effect - A hidden effect of the November 4 elections and the national events that preceded them during this past year is perhaps best called the “John Galt Effect” in honor of Ayn Rand's famous character in Atlas Shrugged. It is occurring to a very significant extent.

Our technological civilization stands upon the shoulders of many generations of free Americans and the great accomplishments that they bequeathed to us. Among those Americans and their counterparts in other countries have been a small special group of people whose unusual genius, work ethic, and love for their specialties were especially outstanding. These men, by their examples, their creations, and their leadership of free enterprises, have led our civilization upward. One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to know a few such people. (Arthur Robinson, Human Events)

U.N. Seeks a Green Revolution in Food - UNITED NATIONS, Feb 18 - The food crisis that spilled over from last year could take a turn for the worse in the next decade if there are no explicit answers to a rash of growing new problems, including declining agricultural production, a faltering distribution network and a deteriorating environment worldwide. (IPS)

And yet the UN is the cause of much of the problem by constantly attacking useful chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers at the behest of misanthropic greens.

Green Gone Wrong - In a perverse irony that only progressives may appreciate, eco-group lobbyists and local environmental activists will act to delay and obstruct the physical facilities of Obama’s fanciful “new green economy.” Environmentalists have stopped new nuclear power plants – reliable electric power with no greenhouse gases. Environmentalists have stopped safe, new domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production on our public lands, offshore and in the Alaskan tundra – US petroleum reserves are potentially the third largest in the world. Environmentalists have stopped new petroleum refineries in the US – refined fuels production capacities are little changed in 30 years. Environmentalists have stopped public forest land management and roads that would allow containment of destructive and polluting wildfires. Environmentalists have stopped new border security control facilities. Environmentalists have stopped new public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, pipelines, transport hubs, dams, power plants and power transmission facilities. Environmentalists have even stopped the research and commercialization of genetically-enhanced crop seeds that require less polluting fertilizer, less water, less land and less time to grow the food grains essential for the human diet worldwide. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Aquaculture Awaits Its Heyday - SAN DIEGO, U.S., Feb 16 - With wild fish catches in sharp decline, aquaculture, which now accounts for nearly half of all seafood consumed, is expected to double production over the next two decades. (Tierramérica)

February 18, 2009

JunkScience's George Soros-James Hansen Quiz: Which fact doesn't seem to belong with the others?

  1. "I think we have to stop the increased use of coal if we want to bring climate change under control..." [Source: George Soros to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, BusinessWeek, October 22, 2007

  2. George Soros provided as much as $720,000 to supports James Hansen's anti-coal climate crusade. [Source: "The Soros Threat to Democracy," September 24, 2007]

  3. "The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death." [Source: James Hansen, "Coal-fired power stations are death factories: close them", The Observer (uk), February 15, 2009]

  4. Soros Fund Management, LLC (George Soros, Chairman) owned approximately $112 million in coal stocks (Arch Coal and CONSOL Energy) as of 12-31-08. [Source: Soros Fund Management LLC Form 13F-HR, filed February 17, 2009]

Man's Inhumanity to Man of the Day: Keep Africa Poor to Control Climate - A study in this week's Nature (Feb. 19) reports that African forests are an important carbon sink -- and although the researchers acknowledge that they don't really understand the phenomenon, they nevertheless conclude that African forests be put off limits to development.

At the end of the study, the researchers write,

African tropical forests are providing important ecosystem services by storing carbon and being a carbon sink, thereby reducing the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2. With adequate protection these forests are likely to remain large carbon stores in the longer term. Securing this service will probably require formalizing and enforcing land rights for forest dwellers, alongside payments for ecosystem services to those Estimated carbon stocks and their annual increase for African tropical forest living near forested areas. Whether remaining intact forests will continue to sequester carbon, become neutral, or become a net source of carbon in the future is highly uncertain. Improved monitoring and modelling of the tropical environment is required to better understand this trajectory.
But if Africans can't harvest and monetize their own natural resources -- as we in the West have done -- Africa is likely to stay poor and sick.

Nature could have edited this study down to: "Sinks should sink Africa."

I'm honored: REVEALED: Marc Morano’s Pack Of Climate Denial Jokers

Marc Morano, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)’s environmental aide, sits at the center of the right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine — of fifty-two people. Conservative columnist Fred Barnes recently refused to tell TPM Muckraker who’s informed him “the case for global warming” is falling apart, but all signs point to Marc Morano. Morano’s “entire job,” Gristmill’s David Roberts explains, “is to aggregate every misleading factoid, every attack on climate science or scientists, every crank skeptical statement from anyone in the world and send it all out periodically in email blasts” to the right-wing echo chamber. The Wonk Room has acquired Morano’s email list, and we can now reveal the pack of climate skeptics, conservative bloggers, and corporate hacks who feed the misinformation machine.

Promoted on the Drudge Report and Fox News, Morano’s moronic misinformation enters mainstream discourse through columns by Barnes, George Will, Robert Samuelson, and others. Many in the Morano gang are funded by right-wing think tanks, though a few are committed activists, conspiracy theorists who believe their homebrew interpretations of climate data. Others are aging scientists with strong conservative beliefs, motivating them to challenge action on global warming not because they disbelieve its existence, but because they are ideologically opposed to regulation of pollution: (Wonk Room)

Such illustrious company I find myself in (and with embarrassed apologies to those who didn't make the cut and find a slot in the climate realist list, there are so many equally deserving). There's no justice though, Al & the IPCC got a pot of money for spouting nonsense and all we get for correcting their shoddy work is this lousy list :) I printed a copy to .pdf in case the Wonk Room loses theirs, time of capture is Queensland time (GMT +10:00).

Has NASA's Hansen Finally Lost His Mind? - Even the realization of Al Gore's dream of "capping" carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants wouldn't satisfy NASA's James Hansen. He wants to shut them all down, despite the untold human misery such hysterical action would inevitably bring. And toward that preposterously unattainable end he is now pushing panic buttons with the alacrity of a man truly possessed. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

For I, James Hansen, Scientist, have spoken (William M Briggs, Statistician)

Um... no: Climate Change Solutions - Sen. Boxer is open to everything -- except what might work best.

THE SIX "Principles for Global Warming Legislation" released recently by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) were notable for what they lacked. There were no specific greenhouse gas emissions targets. There was no determination on an auction of pollution permits vs. giving some or most of them away to polluters initially. But Ms. Boxer was clear on one thing: There will be no consideration of a carbon tax. Sure, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee said, "We're willing to look at everything . . . ." But she ended that declaration with ". . . but we believe cap-and-trade is the way to go."

Ms. Boxer's principles include enforceable reductions with periodic review. States and localities should be allowed to forge ahead on their own efforts to fight global warming. A transparent carbon market should be established. The proceeds generated by it would fund clean energy technology and assist the transition by consumers, manufacturers, states and localities to a clean energy economy. (The Washington Post)

Bottom line is that we can not knowingly and predictably alter the global mean temperature (or Earth's climate) by tweaking a minor variable or two. None of the discussed actions can possible work as advertized.

The saboteurs are busy: EPA near ruling on greenhouse gases - WASHINGTON—EPA administrator Lisa Jackson says the agency is moving toward regulating the gases blamed for global warming.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Jackson said the agency will decide whether greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and welfare, the legal trigger for regulation under federal law.

Jackson said the Environmental Protection Agency owes the American people an opinion, after years of the Bush administration not taking a position on the matter—a track record that she referred to as a deafening silence.

"We are going to be making a fairly significant finding about what these gases mean for public health and the welfare of our country," Jackson said.

Recent EPA decisions have hinted that the agency was leaning toward using the Clean Air Act to regulate the gases, a step the Bush administration refused to take despite prodding from the Supreme Court. (Associated Press)

EPA Reconsiders Emissions Rule For New Power Plants - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it will reconsider a Bush administration rule to let new coal-fired power plants open without taking climate-warming carbon emissions into account.

Environmental leaders, who had petitioned the agency to overturn the Bush rule, hailed EPA's move as a step toward the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions and a departure from the Bush administration's stand on climate change.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson granted the environmental groups' request for reconsideration of the rule, and in a letter to the petitioners, called for an unspecified period of public comment before a new rule is put in place. (Reuters)

Oh... Can geo-engineering rebuild the planet? - As global warming worsens, the idea of vast projects to alter the Earth's environment is moving from fantasy to necessity. (Sanjida O'Connell, Daily Telegraph)

Um... what warming? And why would we want to avoid warming anyway?

?!! Research exodus feared as Canada climate funding dries up - Katrin Meissner is determined to be on the forefront of understanding the climate change affecting everything from permafrost to bird migrations.

The celebrated young scientist at the University of Victoria had planned to build her career in Canada. But Ms. Meissner is packing up her young family and heading for Australia.

The University of New South Wales made her an offer she couldn't refuse -- a position as a senior lecturer, research opportunities and guaranteed daycare for her one-year-old son, which was the perk that sealed the deal.

"I didn't really want to leave," says Ms. Meissner, who is walking away from a coveted tenure-track position in Victoria. But she says the opportunities in Australia seem much more promising. "Long-term it looks quite scary in Canada," says Ms. Meissner. (Margaret Munro, Canwest News Service)

What makes her think we want to pay her? Apart from the land down-under not being big on permafrost (we might have a couple of feet of it on what passes for a mountain here but don't bank on it, that means her options are one of the sub-Antarctic islands or Australia's Antarctic Territory). Obviously we are giving UNSW way too much money if they are wasting it like this.

Focusing on R&D a smarter choice in climate talks - This December, global leaders will meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a new climate change pact to reduce carbon emissions. Yet, the way it has been set up, it will inevitably fail. The best hope is that we use this lesson finally to deal with this issue in a smarter fashion.

The US has made it clear that developing countries must sign up to substantial reductions in carbon emissions in Copenhagen. Developing nations — especially China and India — will be the main greenhouse gas emitters of the 21st century — but were exempted from the Kyoto Protocol because they emitted so little during the West’s industrialization period. Europe, too, has grudgingly accepted that without developing nations’ participation, rich nations’ cuts will have little impact.

Some would have us believe that getting China and India on board will be easy.

According to former US vice president Al Gore, “developing countries that were once reluctant to join in the first phases of a global response to the climate crisis have themselves now become leaders in demanding action and in taking bold steps on their own initiatives.”

But Gore’s fellow Nobel laureate, Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is not so sure.

He recently told an Indian audience: “Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions, but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emissions.”

It is likely that Pachauri is right and Gore is wrong: Neither China nor India will commit to significant cuts without a massive payoff. (Bjorn Lomborg, Taipei Times)

India: Climate Billions an Entitlement - I recall being in the room at the Hague in November 2000, when then-French president Jacques Chirac’s opening remarks praised the Kyoto Protocol as “the first component of an authentic global governance" (and I remember my editor with UPI, for whom I was writing from the talks, berating me and refusing to run my piece reporting this as hysterically making up something no one would ever say . . . )

I even more clearly recall Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wisc.) holding an impromptu press availability afterward in the hallway outside the media cubes, instructing European reporters that if there is a better way of making sure that the U.S. stays out of any such pact than praising it as “global governance,” he doesn’t know what it is. (I also remember one of the Brit reporters, from the Guardian I believe, snapping back “Bollocks! Bollocks!” at the congressman.)

With Chirac’s departure to other pastimes such as being “mauled by his own ‘clinically depressed’ pet dog,” I think we may have found that better way to keep the U.S. out of such absurdity.

Sitting down? Good. Here’s a Climate Wire story’s headline and opening today: Climate funding is entitlement, not aid, India says. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

This week's guess: Cooler Pacific To Normalize In Coming Months: WMO - GENEVA - Cooler than usual Pacific sea-surface temperatures should return to normal in the coming months, and no major La Nina or El Nino events are expected, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday.

The United Nations weather agency said that the tropical Pacific Ocean saw temperatures 0.5 degrees Celsius below normal in December, and was now regularizing. La Nina weather results in cooler-than-normal waters in the Pacific Ocean and is believed to spur hurricane formation in the Atlantic basin.

"La Nina-like conditions will most likely dissipate over the next couple of months, returning the tropical Pacific to neutral conditions by March-May 2009," the WMO said in its latest quarterly report. (Reuters)

Tree Rings Tell Of Killer Droughts - SINGAPORE - Along the mountainous spine of Vietnam grow ancient conifers whose tree rings tell of droughts lasting more than a generation that helped push civilizations toward collapse, a climate change conference heard on Tuesday.

Research by scientists from the United States and Japan has revealed a record of drought in Indochina that goes back more than 700 years by studying tree ring core samples from Fokienia hodginsii, a rare species that lives in Vietnam's cloud forests.

What the samples show are two lengthy droughts between the late 1300s early 1400s, around the time the vast and wealthy Angkor civilization in modern-day Cambodia collapsed.

"There was a very significant multi-decadal drought in the early 1400s with the worst drought year being 1417," said Brendan Buckley of the Tree Ring Laboratory at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the United States.

Another major drought lasting at least 30 years hit in the mid-18th century, said Buckley, speaking by telephone from the sidelines of the conference in Dalat, southern Vietnam, that is focusing on climate variability along the Mekong River basin.

"All of the kingdoms in Southeast Asia collapsed, in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos between 1750-80," he said. (Reuters)

UN Infects Science with Cancer of Global Warming - Summary: United Nations politicians, while admitting their lack of evidence, gave birth and nurtured the fraud of Anthropogenic Global Warming (APG). Their Malthusian purpose is to frighten people into accepting the UN as the “centerpiece of democratic global governance” and let the UN, ration our fossil fuel. World temperature records show no evidence of AGW (Fig. 1A). Solar activity in the 20th century was extremely high. Atmospheric CO2 levels rose as the sea surface warmed. Henry’s Solubility Law, coupled with mass balances of carbon and its isotopes, prove the total increase in atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial times is less than 4%. Burning all our remaining fossil fuels, cannot double the CO2, but only increase it by 20%. Beck (2007 cataloged 90,000 chemical measurements of CO2 in the 1800s, some as high as 470 ppm. (Greater than the current Mauna Loa value of 385 ppm). These data exposed as false, the UN IPCC’s 280 ppm ice core values, supposedly measured during the 1800s. IPCC’s ice core measurements of CO2 were incorrect due to their inability to correct for problems with gas solubility and the extreme pressures in glaciers. Not man, but nature rules the climate. (Edward F Blick)

Is this hurricane science ... or SmackDown? - Academic journals, as a general rule, are pretty staid affairs.

But the debate over global warming's impact on hurricane activity has grown heated during recent years, with hurricane scientist Greg Holland emerging as one of the lightning rods. Holland, for his part, has no reservations about declaring the link between increased hurricane activity and climate change as incontrovertible.

Take, for example, a paper he co-authored last year that was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (see .pdf). In the abstract he and Peter Webster wrote:

While there is no trend in the proportion of major hurricanes, the increasing cyclone numbers has lead to a distinct trend in the number of major hurricanes and one that is clearly associated with greenhouse warming.

The paper, from 2007, essentially concludes that Atlantic hurricane activity during the last century has exhibited three distinct regimes, with each regime having 50 percent more tropical storms and hurricanes than the previous one.

In other words, twice during the last century, around the years 1930 and 1995, the average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic jumped by 50 percent. Pretty bold claim, right? Apparently Sim Aberson, of NOAA, thought so. His response was published in January's Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The paper's not your usual staid, academic affair.

While I can't decipher all of the statistical arguments in the paper, I think I get the general gist of it. Aberson is basically saying that the statistics underlying Holland's arguments in the 2007 paper are off. Way off. (SciGuy)

A New Paper “The Impact Of Agricultural Intensification And Irrigation On Land–Atmosphere Interactions And Indian Monsoon Precipitation —A Mesoscale Modeling Perspective by Douglas et al 2009 - We have in press another peer reviewed paper that demonstrates the role of land surface processes as a first order climate forcing as well as an integral component of any assessment of climate variability and change [our study complements the peer reviewed paper by Lee et al which was weblogged on Climate Science on January 30 2009].

The paper is Douglas, E.M., A. Beltrán-Przekurat, D. Niyogi, R.A. Pielke, Sr., and C. J. Vörösmarty, 2009: The impact of agricultural intensification and irrigation on land–atmosphere interactions and Indian monsoon precipitation —A mesoscale modeling perspective, Glob. Planet. Change, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.12.007 [see this link also for the paper]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

Sea Level Response to Global Warming: Is there a reasonably well defined relationship between mean global sea level rise and increases in mean global near-surface air temperature?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 670 individual scientists from 391 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lop Nur, Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Permafrost (Impact of Thawing on CO2): Will global warming soon reach a "tipping point" that leads -- via permafrost thawing -- to the release of massive amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, leading to even more catastrophic increases in temperature?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Douglas Fir, Lambsquarters, Redroot Amaranth, and Tomato.

Journal Reviews:
North Atlantic Deep Water Formation: How has it been behaving lately?

Detecting Change in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: How long will it take to be confident of any deviation from the MOC's relative constancy over the past half-century or more?

Atmospheric CO2 on A Cold Winter's Night in Nagoya City: How high did its concentration rise relative to its daytime low in the Japanese metropolis?

Increasing Climatic Variability: How might its occurrence impact ecosystem biodiversity and resilience?

Responses of the Great Reed Warbler to Global Warming: Has the going been easy or tough for the long-distance migrant bird? (

Drill, Baby, Drill! (To Save the Environment) - When is it OK for an oil slick to coat a pristine beach?

When it’s a “natural occurrence,” of course! (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Oil Sands Producers Gird For Obama's Canada Visit - WASHINGTON - Canada's oil sands industry, battered by collapsing oil prices, also faces the prospect of ballooning costs as the United States and Canada prepare to discuss energy security and efforts to fight global warming.

When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Ottawa on Thursday, energy will be a key topic in his talks with Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who often touts Canada as an emerging energy superpower due to its massive oil sands resources.

Oil sands producers worry that Obama's plan for a cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses could make their operations too costly -- especially at current depressed oil prices. Harper also has voiced support for a cap-and-trade system. (Reuters)

Obama wants to reopen NAFTA but keep trade flowing - OTTAWA, Feb 17 - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he still wants to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite a warning from Canada that this would be a mistake, but he said he did not want to end up curbing trade.

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, shortly before his visit to Ottawa on Thursday, Obama also declined to characterize oil from Canada's vast oil sands region as "dirty oil" which should somehow be curtailed. (Reuters)

Take climate change off the agenda - Canadians and Americans place climate change near bottom of priorities

Barack Obama, on his first foreign trip as President to Canada, will then lecture the United States’ largest trading partner and source of energy imports on the need for a renewed commitment to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Both governments claim to be forging ahead with what’s known as a cap-and-trade system, domestically and internationally, through a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, expected to be signed later this year. (Christopher Horner, Financial Post)

Traders picking your pockets through industry and power generation: Carbon exchanges cashing in amid EU slowdown - LONDON, Feb 17 - Carbon emissions exchanges are thriving, making as much as 2 million euros ($2.55 million) a week in revenues, Reuters data shows, just as European industry struggles to survive in the wake of the economic downturn.

Under the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, heavy industry is allotted an annual quota of emissions permits called EU Allowances (EUAs), and are forced to buy more, often over carbon exchanges, if they emit more carbon dioxide than allowed.

But cash-strapped firms seeking to raise funds in the short-term have been dumping 2008 EUAs on the spot market with a view to borrowing from their 2009 quota in April when last year's permits are due to be handed in.

Spot prices for EUAs trading on Paris-based BlueNext BNXCO2-2, Europe's main spot EUA exchange, have fallen by almost 50 percent so far this year to around 8.30 euros a tonne.

Daily spot volumes, on the other hand, have more than doubled since last November, meaning more revenues for the exchanges that trade them. "With people wanting to hold more liquid positions, the spot market is a natural home," BlueNext's Marketing and Communications Director Keiron Allen said in an interview, adding BlueNext holds a 98 percent share of EUA spot trading.

The recent surge in selling has seen BlueNext's volumes average 7.3 million tonnes so far in 2009, and top 10 million tonnes in each of the past five trading days.

BlueNext, a joint venture between NYSE Euronext (NYX.PA) and France's Caisse des Depots, charges 0.017 euros per transaction.

Two sides to every trade means revenues of 0.034 euros per tonne of CO2 traded, or a daily average of around 250,000 euros. (Reuters)

Algae Oil Developer OriginOil Signs Pact With U.S. DOE - LOS ANGELES - Algae-to-energy developer OriginOil has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to cooperate in research, the company said on Tuesday.

Los Angeles-based OriginOil and the DOE's Idaho National Laboratory will work to validate the company's technology of growing algae for fuel in a "photobioreactor." (Reuters)

Yucks is at it again: UCS Says New Biofuel Product Likely to Contaminate Food Supply - February 13, 2009 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently closed the public comment period for its proposal to permit—for the first time—widespread cultivation of a food crop engineered for biofuel production. If authorized, the new ethanol corn would also be the first genetically engineered industrial crop destined to be planted on millions of acres annually. Grown at such an enormous scale, the ethanol corn would inevitably contaminate corn intended for the food and feed supply, exposing people to new engineered proteins that may pose an allergy risk. (UCS press release)

Smoking out ‘deniers’ and ‘dissidents’ - Anti-smoking activists are now comparing their critics to Holocaust deniers. It is a vile attempt to shut down debate.

In a five-page journal article published online this month, Martin Dockrell, the policy and campaigns manager for the UK’s main anti-smoking campaign, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has launched an extraordinary attack on the journalist and broadcaster Michael Blastland. Calling him a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and a ‘dissident’, Dockrell explicitly compares Blastland to the ‘AIDS dissidents’ who disputed the link between HIV and AIDS. (Christopher Snowdon, sp!ked)

Václav Klaus: The unbearable inability to learn - When communism ended (and I deliberately like to say that it was a collapse, not a defeat), it seemed that the ideas and institutions of that system were so thoroughly discredited that they couldn't return in any foreseeable future. And it seemed that no person could possibly - without blushing - dare to publicly defend them.

It seemed unreasonable to expect that people would prefer to trust the state instead of the markets once again; that they would believe that one can distribute more wealth than what is being produced; that people have a right for high living standards rather than that they must deserve them; that an arbitrarily lustrous doctrine is more important than the human freedom; that the wisdom of the anointed is more than the knowledge of the "ordinary" people.

Who was naive

However, we were not quite naive. During the last two decades, many of us were warning that those attitudes were only partially abandoned in the post-communist part of the world (and some third-world countries), that even those countries were quickly depleting the initial momentum, and that the "first" world was seeing no development of this kind at all. (The Reference Frame)

Oxfam - This Is Not How to Help the Poor - Today I had a flashback to the days when the global health community was divided into two bitterly opposed camps, the pro-public and pro-private. Younger global health professionals may not recall the days when the two camps hurled invective at each other across an unbridgeable chasm that precluded any constructive discussion. It was my anecdote versus yours, underlaid by "my values" (infinitely superior) to yours (highly suspect). The folks at Oxfam, it seems, are feeling nostalgic, and their new report would take us back. The report criticizes the "Blind Optimism" of people and organizations who would work with the private health sector to improve access to health services and mortality reduction in developing countries. It kicks off with the inevitable anecdote of superior performance from a largely public system, in this case Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly old members of the pro-private camp will be tempted to toss back their own stories. But must we slide back to the old unconstructive debates? Must we revert to my anecdote versus yours? The stakes are too high to let this happen. (April Harding, Center for Global Development)

Set healthcare free from bureaucracy - According to WHO, most Health Ministries lack even the basic data and officials sell free drugs

The pressure group Oxfam does not like the growing trend of international donors using the private sector to deliver healthcare efficiently to the poorest parts of the world. According to its new report Blind Optimism, state-provided healthcare is more efficient, more equitable and less corrupt than private healthcare. The report, however, is Oxfam’s: Governments are responsible for providing healthcare in much of Asia, many have been showered with aid and the quality is still atrocious.

The current system in which rich Governments hand over large sums of money to poor Governments in the hope they will spend the money on health (rather than limousines or warfare) has run its course. Aid for health has ballooned from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $14 billion in 2006.

Access to even basic medicines in India remains unacceptably low. Children go without routine vaccinations. Simple anti-infective drugs are out of reach of the majority of the rural poor. Despite the Government’s claims to offer “universal” healthcare, 65 per cent of Indians have no access to essential medicines. (Philip Stevens, The Pioneer)

February 17, 2009

Nuclear Nonsense - How can celebrity anti-nuclear power activists Alec Baldwin and Christie Brinkley try, in good conscience, to scare us about both carbon-free nuclear power and global warming? (Steven Milloy,

Ehrlich's revenge - Paul Ehrlich was of course the Stanford scientist and doomsayer who predicted early in the late 1960's that "the population bomb" would soon result in global starvation. Ehrlich then famously made and lost a bet with Julian Simon based on Ehrlich's predicted scenario of resource scarcity. George Will recalls in his column today on the global warming scare: (Powerline Blog)

Alarmist: Science Doesn’t Matter - As unusual as it has been for global warming alarmists to debate skeptics, I have found it even more rare to find a mainstream news outlet — anywhere — to cover the issue surrounding states’ global warming commissions and the Center for Climate Strategies. Well, after traveling all the way to Anchorage a few weeks ago, I finally found a local TV station who was interested in hearing about it: ABC’s affiliate, which broadcasts throughout Alaska. (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Oh dear... Environment Gridlock - On climate issues America is less a nation than 50 different states, moving at wildly different speeds.

One effect of the new Obama administration's global charm is that America could be let out of the environmental doghouse. The Obama plan to restart the economy is stuffed full of green incentives, and the new president has earned global cheers for his promise to cut the gases that cause global warming. But hope and change are not easy to implement in Washington, and the first big disappointment is likely to come later this year when the world's governments gather in Copenhagen to replace the aging and ineffective Kyoto treaty.

Pundits have been talking down the Copenhagen summit on the theory that the current financial crisis makes 2009 a tough time for governments to focus on costly and distant global goals like protecting the planet. In reality, the greenish tinge on nearly every economic recovery plan, even China's, show that this crisis offers green opportunity. The real reason Copenhagen will be a disappointment is that the new Obama administration can't lead until it first learns what it can actually implement at home. And delivering greenery in the American political system is harder than it looks—even when the same left-leaning party controls both the White House and Congress. (David Victor, Newsweek)

Like You Needed More Evidence - I’ve catalogued a lot of evidence that the Center for Climate Strategies, the so-called unbiased “technical consultant” to states for their global warming policy commissions, is totally controlled by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council alarmism advocacy group. This is despite denials by CCS’s executive director, Tom Peterson. Well, in the research for my American Spectator piece yesterday (which explains how now CCS and PEC are now running away from one another — looks bad, ya know) I discovered yet another clear statement that CCS is totally controlled by PEC. (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Stupid 'report': Model Sees Severe Climate Change Impact By 2050 - LONDON - Current efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions will do little to ease damaging climate change, according to a report issued on Friday that predicts Greenland's ice sheets will start melting by 2050.

A computer model calculated that if carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow at the current rate over the next 40 years, global temperatures will still rise 2 degrees Centigrade compared with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

This would push the planet to the brink, sparking unprecedented flooding and heatwaves and making it even more difficult to reverse the trend, according to the report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Britain. (Reuters)

Climate models have no known predictive skill and these are driven by the flawed assumption atmospheric carbon dioxide is a key determinant of global mean temperature (there is no evidence this has ever or will ever be the case).

Kyoto and Sons of Kyoto: A Few Months, Then The Truth - With minuscule if any expected practical effects, and a prohibitively expensive price tag, no wonder the Kyoto Protocol has elicited little enthusiasm left, right and centre of the climate debate. And at times, it has even looked simply too easy to hijack for many interests that have little to do with climate and/or the environment. For example, the whole European emission trading market scheme has been rather more successful as yet another chance for financial speculation, than as a beaconing example for sustainable development policies. (Guido Guidi, Italian Climate Monitor blog -- English translated version Maurizio Morabito & CCNet)

Christy/Schlesinger Debate, Part II - I had intended to return to this point when I originally posted about this debate last week, but time got away from me. Thankfully, my colleague Roy Cordato brought it up today:

During the question and answer session of last week’s William Schlesinger/John Christy global warming debate, (alarmist) Schlesinger was asked how many members of United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were actual climate scientists. It is well known that many, if not most, of its members are not scientists at all. Its president, for example, is an economist. This question came after Schlesinger had cited the IPCC as an authority for his position. His answer was quite telling. First he broadened it to include not just climate scientists but also those who have had “some dealing with the climate.” His complete answer was that he thought, “something on the order of 20 percent have had some dealing with climate.” In other words, even IPCC worshiper Schlesinger now acknowledges that 80 percent of the IPCC membership had absolutely no dealing with the climate as part of their academic studies.

This shatters so much of the alarmists’ claim, as they almost always appeal to the IPCC as their ultimate authority. Slain. (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Cooler Heads Digest

Thermageddon, the BBC and a giant snake - Science radio off the rails - Listeners to BBC World Service's Science in Action program got a nasty surprise last week. In the midst of a discussion about the large snake fossil, a scientist dropped this bombshell:

"The Planet has heated and cooled repeatedly throughout its history. What we're doing is the rate at which we're heating the planet is many orders of magnitude faster than any natural process - and is moving too fast for natural systems to respond." (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)

Is Global Warming taking over or is it just a bunch of hot-air? - In all the talk and heated debate about global warming, I came across several articles on the subject recently, that made me think, but not change my view on the subject. Regardless of one's opinion, the facts are the facts and they cannot be denied. In this case, I make a case that global warming is simply a political ploy, in order for the news media to persuade the public into a state of panic. Why I'm not sure, but I have to say that I have been a part of that same media for fifteen years now and I get frustrated with the constant ignorance and one sighted reporting from both broadcasters and publishers! (Scott Sumner, DC Weather Examiner)

Glimmer of hope for consensus climate honesty is short-lived

The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena. --Baron Cuvier, 1822

Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately. --Proposed scientific code of ethics

For one giddy, almost magical moment, I thought the “consensus” climate science community, or at least a small portion of it, had finally come to its senses. I should have known better.

The almost-magical moment came on reading a headline in the U.K. Guardian online. It read: “Scientists must rein in misleading climate change claims: Overplaying natural variations in the weather diverts attention from the real issues.” The article was by Dr. Vicky Pope of the British Meteorological (Hadley) Centre, one of the four major centres monitoring climate.

Finally! I thought. The consensus climate scientists who believe, passionately but with almost no scientific evidence beyond computer models, that the planet is warming, that it’s all humanity’s fault, and that we’re heading for oblivion, are willing to admit they’ve been wildly exaggerating the threat of warming to places like the Arctic. (Paul MacRae, CFP)

Hypocrisy in the Environmental Movement - Environmentalists have always possessed a truly maddening idea that anyone who dare oppose their agenda is an unscientific, politically-motivated, oil industry shill. This seems especially true when a scientist or public official comes out against the "consensus" on global warming. The science is settled and all that remain are a handful of privately-funded cranks who value a paycheck more than the environment, so the argument goes. Greenpeace exemplifies this argument on their "Exxon Exposed" website:

"For years, a network of organizations have worked together to block action on global warming […] This network has been consistently funded by ExxonMobil. Since at least 1998, ExxonMobil has spent $17 to $23 million to bankroll these groups."

Hypocrisy is the only word that comes to mind when I come across such statements. (Cameron J. English)

Here they come again: Hamburgers are the Hummers of food in global warming - When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say.

Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week.

That's because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada. (AFP)

SOUTH AMERICA: Tenacious Drought Puzzles Climate Experts - BUENOS AIRES, Feb 13 - For months now, yellowed pastures, cracked soil and dead livestock have been the landscape of what otherwise are the most productive farming areas of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Scientists say it is so far impossible to determine if the drought is a manifestation of climate change processes. (Tierramérica)

Europe To Leave Collapsing Carbon Prices To Market - TOKYO - The European Commission will not intervene to support the market for European carbon emissions where futures prices have nosedived along with the economic downturn, the EC's chief climate change negotiator said on Friday. (Reuters)

Importance Of Land Use Versus Atmospheric Information Verified From Cloud Simulations From The Monteverde Frontier Region of Costa Rica” by Ray et al. 2009 - We have another paper accepted for publication which examines the importance of land use and of atmospheric information with respect to mesoscale and regional weather and climate predictions. It is Ray, D. K., R. A. Pielke Sr., U. S. Nair, R. M. Welch, and R. O. Lawton (2009). Importance of land use versus atmospheric information verified from cloud simulations from a frontier region in Costa Rica, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2007JD009565, in press (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Not A Peep from Scientists - Last week Vicky Pope of the UK Met Service caused a bit of a stir by calling for some restraint in the misrepresentation of climate science in political debates. She wrote:

Overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of the science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening. Both undermine the basic facts that the implications of climate change are profound and will be severe if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically and swiftly over the coming decades.

But to get a sense of how difficult reining in such claims will actually be, consider the reaction of the scientific community to Al Gore’s invited speech at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) last week (a video can be found here). (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Who's afraid of global warming? - The blackboard in Prof. Nir Shaviv's office in the Department of Physics at Hebrew University is covered with equations and graphs. He's hunched over the computer, searching for another illustration, another study that will underscore the subject of our talk: the effect of cosmic rays on the earth's warming. (Haaretz)

Who Cares About the Consumer? - Electricity consumers beware! The so-called-stimulus bill includes provision for something called “decoupling.” E&E Daily reports:

Also included in the final version is a requirement that governors who want additional state energy efficiency grants ensure that their state regulators guarantee revenue to utilities to support efficiency programs.

State regulators and consumer advocates strongly opposed the provision, saying it ties regulators’ hands and is not the best tool to promote efficiency.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners said many regulators cannot assure that “decoupling” requirements will be met. “These ambiguous conditions will create confusion and legal uncertainty and will likely delay or preclude the release of these critical funds,” NARUC said in a statement. “This benefits neither the States the utilities, nor, most importantly, the citizens they serve.”

“Decoupling” is a mystifying-sounding name for an economically terrifying concept. This is how it is described in government/regulatory jargon: (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

US Court Overturns Ban On West Virginia Surface Mining - NEW YORK - A US Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that had banned surface, or mountaintop, mining in West Virginia, according to court documents.

The ruling was hailed by the coal mining companies who have turned to mountaintop mining as an economical alternative to traditional underground mines in Appalachia where production is declining.

The environmentalists who brought the original case said they would assess their next legal move, but vowed to fight on against the mining method which basically slices the top off hills and mountains. (Reuters)

UK And Poland Top Dirty Coal List, Closures Loom - BRUSSELS - Britain, Poland, Spain, France and Romania top the list of countries that will have to retire coal-fired power stations by 2015 to comply with European Union acid rain laws, European Commission data shows.

The EU adopted laws in 2001 aimed at curbing emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides -- which harm human health and lead to acidification of lakes and soil -- from industrial plants that burn fossil fuels.

The European Commission, executive arm of the EU, estimates that if fully implemented its air quality laws could prevent 13,000 premature deaths a year.

The regulation has met resistance from some EU countries including Britain, which argues it could face a gap in power production with 25 percent of its generating capacity closing over the next decade due either to air quality constraints or nuclear reactors reaching the end of their lives.

The issue is due to be debated when EU environment ministers next meet in Brussels on March 2. (Reuters)

Rio Says Cameroon Projects, Hydropower Dam On Track - YAOUNDE - Rio Tinto projects in Cameroon remain on track and the company still aims to build a 1,000 megawatt hydroelectric dam to power a planned aluminium smelter there despite cutbacks elsewhere, it said.

The dam is to be built on the Sanaga River, some 165 km (103 miles) east of Cameroon's economic capital, Douala. It would power a smelter at Kribi, to the south, that would have an initial capacity of 400,000 tonnes of aluminium per year.

Cameroon's current aluminium smelting capacity stands at 90,000 tonnes per year but the country hopes to harness its vast hydroelectic potential to increase this. The Kribi smelter has an eventual potential of 1 million tonnes per year. (Reuters)

FUND VIEW - Schroders Green Fund Waits On Solar Valuations - HONG KONG - Renewable energy stocks are likely to fall further in 2009, with solar stocks particularly vulnerable, although a sharp correction should offer a buying opportunity for long-term investors, a fund manager with Schroders said.

"This is the year that's going to create great long-term buying opportunity for investors in the renewable sector," Simon Webber, manager of the Schroder ISF Global Climate Change Equity fund, told Reuters in an interview.

"There's going to be profit warnings in the best wind and solar companies and this is a good opportunity to begin holding on that weakness," said Webber. (Reuters)

NADA report proves California waiver would create regulatory patchwork - A front-burner issue facing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson is whether to grant a waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement first-ever greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for new motor vehicles. Thirteen other states are poised to adopt the CARB program if Jackson grants the waiver. In all, about 40% of the U.S. auto market would come under the CARB rules. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Obama Is Said to Drop Plan for ‘Car Czar’ to Fix Detroit - DETROIT — President Obama has dropped the idea of appointing a single, powerful “car czar” to oversee the revamping of General Motors and Chrysler and will instead keep the politically delicate task in the hands of his most senior economic advisers, a top administration official said Sunday night.

Mr. Obama is designating the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and the chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers, to oversee a presidential panel on the auto industry. Mr. Geithner will also supervise the $17.4 billion in loan agreements already in place with G.M. and Chrysler, said the official, who insisted on anonymity.

The official also said that Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert who has advised the labor unions in the troubled steel and airline industries, would be named a senior adviser to Treasury on the auto crisis.

The unexpected shift comes as G.M. and Chrysler race to complete broad restructuring plans they must file with the Treasury by Tuesday. The companies’ plans are required to show progress in cutting long-term costs as a condition for keeping their loans.

The administration official said the president was reserving for himself any decision on the viability of G.M. and Chrysler, both of which came close to bankruptcy before receiving federal aid two months ago. (New York Times)

Biofuel From Forestry Waste Is Close - UPM-Kymmene - MUNICH - New types of green fuels produced using waste from forestry may be among the first new generation biofuels to start production, an executive from Finnish forestry and paper group UPM-Kymmenesaid on Thursday.

UPM was planning to expand into biofuel production and was currently conducting trials to produce biodiesel, bioethanol and heavy fuel oils from forest residues including tree bark, twigs and stumps, said vice president corporate relations and development Hans Sohlstrom.

Governments worldwide want second generation biofuels to replace first generation green fuels produced from foods such as corn, sugar and vegetable oils, following bitter controversy about whether biofuel production raises food prices.

"According to our plans we should have the necessary information in our hands to make decisions about the first large scale commercial unit by the middle of this year," Sohlstrom said on the sidelines of a conference on second generation biofuels organised by German commodity analysts F.O. Licht.

"However I am not saying we will make a decision as many things have changed in this financial and economic climate." Any investment could involve hundreds of millions of euros. (Reuters)

Medical Homes and care coordination are tested - Older Americans who, understandably, have more chronic conditions of aging, are sadly also blamed for accounting for “disproportionately” large amounts of Medicare spending. It is sometimes thought that the increased services those suffering from chronic conditions require could be due to inadequate counseling on diet, medication, and self-care or not having ready access to medical care. (Junkfood Science)

U.S. to Compare Medical Treatments - WASHINGTON — The $787 billion economic stimulus bill approved by Congress will, for the first time, provide substantial amounts of money for the federal government to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness. (New York Times)

UN Urges Crackdown On Mercury To Protect Health - OSLO - Environment ministers must crack down on mercury poisoning to protect the health of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Sunday.

"A clear and unequivocal vision of a low mercury future needs to be set," UNEP head Achim Steiner said on the eve of a Feb. 16-20 meeting in Nairobi of environment ministers who will consider a new strategy to limit mercury. "Inaction on the global mercury challenge is no longer an option."

Ministers "can take a landmark decision to lift a global health threat from the lives of hundreds of millions of people" by agreeing a new strategy to tackle mercury after seven years of talks, he wrote in a statement. (Reuters)

Mercury is a natural part of our environment and is very rarely any form of problem. Mercury mania is just another anti-energy, anti-industry tool of the misanthropy brigade.

Economic Downturn Endangers German Birth Rate Rise - BERLIN - The economic crisis could halt the rising birth rate in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has boosted parental benefits to help fend off a looming demographic crisis, experts warned on Monday.

Germany, which is facing its worst recession since World War II, is worried about the strain on the pension, health and welfare systems if its already ageing population shrinks further. Some studies show the population could dip below 70 million by 2050 from about 82 million.

The German government earlier released figures showing a small rise in the number of babies born in 2008, but the pace slowed from the previous year when the country's birth rate rose for the first time in a decade. (Reuters)

The laws of physics still under threat - For those, like Number Watch, who have wondered “Whatever happened to Steorn” our flabber has never been so ghasted to discover that it is still going strong. The bathos of the public demonstration in July 2007, when technical difficulties (in the form of warm lights) caused a postponement of the collapse of physics, appears to have been set aside. There is a new launch going on.

Remarkable! (Number Watch)

States and Cities Angle for Stimulus Cash - Well before President Obama’s stimulus package completed its tortuous path through Congress last week, state and local officials facing multimillion-dollar budget deficits, crumbling infrastructure and the prospect of massive reductions in services were already jockeying for the upper hand in deciding how the money should be spent. (New York Times)

China Urged To Cut Use Of Nitrogen Fertilisers - HONG KONG - Excessive use of nitrogen fertilisers in China in the past few decades has polluted its groundwater, given rise to acid rain, soil acidification and increased greenhouse gas emissions, Chinese experts said. (Reuters)

It also helped feed their billion-plus- strong population...

China's Big Farm Province Says Drought Damage Limited - ZHENGZHOU - The government of one of China's big farming provinces, Henan, said on Saturday that wheat production will probably not fall despite a widespread drought, adding to signs that damage from the dry spell is so far limited.

Liu Mancang, vice governor of Henan responsible for agriculture, told reporters visiting the central province that irrigation and better yields in some areas were likely to offset drought damage elsewhere.

"Provided that our drought control measures are on target, and the drought doesn't continue and worsen, then this year's wheat harvest should be about the same as last year's," Liu told a news conference in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou. (Reuters)

China Vows To Squeeze 60 Pct More Out Of Its Water - BEIJING - China, faced with widespread water shortages exacerbated by its worst drought in decades, aims to cut the amount of water it uses to produce each dollar of national income by 60 percent by 2020, state media said.

The target, unveiled by Water Resources Minister Chen Lei, underlines Beijing's growing concern over chronic water shortages that it fears could undermine its ability to feed itself and crimp economic growth in the long run. (Reuters)

February 16, 2009

Is he starting to drool yet? Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them - The government is expected to give the go-ahead to the coal-burning Kingsnorth power plant. Here, one of the world's foremost climate experts launches an excoriating attack on Britain's long love affair with the most polluting fossil fuel of all

A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this - coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet.

The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible, if we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As the tundra melts, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is released, causing more warming. As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species.

The public, buffeted by weather fluctuations and economic turmoil, has little time to analyse decadal changes. How can people be expected to evaluate and filter out advice emanating from those pushing special interests? How can people distinguish between top-notch science and pseudo-science? (James Hansen, The Observer)

Hansen may once have been a scientist but he sure seems to be more than a few fries short of a meal deal now, doesn't he.

Center for Biological Diversity Declares Legal War on Global Warming - SAN FRANCISCO, California, February 13, 2009 (ENS) - To fight climate change, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity Thursday opened a new law institute in San Francisco and announced the dedication of an initial $17 million to the project.

The Climate Law Institute will use existing laws and work to establish new state and federal laws that will eliminate energy generation by the burning of fossil fuels - particularly coal and oil shale.

Burning these materials emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that have already raised the planetary temperature, threatening the widespread extinction of species, sea level rise and ocean acidity, food and water scarcity, heatwaves, wildfires and floods.

"Global warming is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. It is the defining issue of our time," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center.

"To meet the challenge, the Center for Biological Diversity has created the Climate Law Institute to extend the reach of current environmental and human health laws to encompass global warming, pass new climate legislation, and reinvent America's approach to protecting endangered species and public lands," he said. (Environment News Service)

UN climate chief praises new US administration - TOKYO -- The U.N. climate chief praised President Barack Obama's pledge to tackle global warming and expressed hope Friday that the U.S. policy shift would boost chances for a new international agreement on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.

"It's been a night-to-day change in terms of the U.S. position on this topic," United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer said in Tokyo, adding that he hopes that the more active American approach will encourage China and other developing nations to make further efforts to control their emissions.

De Boer was in Tokyo to attend two days of informal international talks on laying the groundwork for negotiations on a new global agreement on cutting carbon emissions in December in Copenhagen.

The U.S. position is seen as crucial for the outcome of the Copenhagen meeting. (Associated Press)

Media not hysterical enough? Mass Media Often Failing In Its Coverage Of Global Warming, Says Climate Researcher - "Business managers of media organizations, you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this," said climate researcher and policy analyst Stephen Schneider, in assessing the current state of media coverage of global warming and related issues. (Stanford University)

SOWELL: Deprogramming students - Letters from parents often complain of a sense of futility in trying to argue with their own children, who have been fed a steady diet of the politically correct vision of the world, from elementary school to the university.

Some ask for suggestions of particular books that might make a dent in the know-it-all attitude of some young people who have heard only one side of the story in classrooms all their lives.

That is one way of going about trying to de-program young people. There are, for example, some good books showing what is wrong with the "global warming" crusades or showing why male-female differences in income or occupations are not automatically discrimination.

Various authors have written a lot of good books that demolish what is currently believed - and taught to students - on a wide range of issues. Some of those books are listed as suggested readings on my Web site (

Yet trying to undo the propaganda that passes for education at too many schools and colleges, one issue at a time, may not always be the best strategy. There are too many issues on which the politically correct party line is considered to be the only way to look at things.

Given the wide range of issues on which students are indoctrinated, instead of being educated, trying to undo all of that would require a whole shelf full of books- and somehow getting the students to read them all. (Thomas Sowell, Washington Times)

Look what flimflam man is up to now. Everyone line up to sue these dills for damages from cold weather events: Climate Change Campaigner Tim Flannery Joins New Zealand Company To Fix Climate - 16 February 2009 - New Zealand charcoal technology company Carbonscape' announced today that Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year (2007), author of The Weather Makers and international campaigner on climate change, is joining the team as a board director.

"I'm delighted to be joining Carbonscape" says Tim, "The technology developed by Carbonscape is exciting and promises to make a dent in carbon dioxide levels. We have to get greenhouse gas levels down and fast. Carbonscape offers the possibility of doing that."

The most widely discussed method to sequester carbon gases involves injecting compressed carbon dioxide into the earth's crust. Carbonscape is trying an alternative approach by developing a patented world-first industrial microwave charcoal technology that sucks carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping mitigate the impact of global warming. (Voxy)

Getting to the point you have to be embarrassed for them: Global warming seen worse than predicted - CHICAGO - The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India, a top climate scientist said on Saturday.

"The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously," Chris Field, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Field said "the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious" than any of the climate predictions in the IPCC's fourth assessment report called "Climate Change 2007."

He said recent climate studies suggested the continued warming of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions could touch off large, destructive wildfires in tropical rain forests and melt permafrost in the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that could raise global temperatures even more.

"There is a real risk that human-caused climate change will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing a lot of carbon for thousands of years," Field, of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science, said in a statement. (Reuters)

The BBC Attempts to Patch Up the Cracks - botches it, citing AGW could set off “negative feedback” - UPDATE: BBC Can’t even get their reporting correct. The reporter in this video report that accompanies the web article says that “The fear is that increased global warming could set off what’s called negative feedback…..” and that now we are in “scenarios unexplored by the models”. No kidding, it’s that bad. For those of you that don’t know, some alarmists claim that “negative climate feedback is as real as the Easter Bunny, which is what makes this BBC factual error so hilarious. (Watts Up With That?)

Oh... Climate change: 'Feedback' triggers could amplify peril - PARIS — New studies have warned of triggers in the natural environment, including a greenhouse-gas timebomb in Siberia and Canada, that could viciously amplify global warming.

Thawing subarctic tundra could unleash billions of tonnes of gases that have been safely stored in frosty soil, while oceans and forests are becoming less able to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere, according to papers presented this weekend.

Together, these phenomena mean that more heat-trapping gases will enter the atmosphere, which in turn will stoke global warming, thrusting the machinery of climate change into higher gear.

Researchers in Finland and Russia discovered that nitrous oxide is leaking into the air from so-called "peat circle" ecosystems found throughout the tundra, a vast expanse of territory in higher latitudes.

CO2 and methane account for the lion's share of the gases that have driven global temperatures inexorably higher over the last century. (AFP)

If enhanced greenhouse has increased Earth's mean temperature then it has done so trivially and it will not drive catastrophic warming under any realistic scenario.

State not ready for 'climate refugees' - Scientists warn of migration, sickness

"Climate refugees."

It's a term we should get used to, researchers warned on Thursday, predicting a flood of new residents driven north by heat waves, fires and other calamitous effects of global warming.

With one speaker raising the specter of a new migration on the scale of the Great Depression, state and county officials admitted they have barely started getting ready. (Seattle P-I)

Chicken Littles taken to task - A corollary of Murphy's Law ("If something can go wrong, it will") is: "Things are worse than they can possibly be."

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, an atomic physicist, seems to embrace that corollary but ignores Gregg Easterbrook's "Law of Doomsaying": Predict catastrophe no sooner than five years hence but no later than 10 years away, soon enough to terrify but distant enough that people will forget if you are wrong.

Chu recently told the Los Angeles Times that global warming might melt 90 percent of California's snowpack, which stores much of the water needed for agriculture. This, Chu said, would mean "no more agriculture in California," the nation's leading food producer. Chu added: "I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going."

No more lettuce or Los Angeles? Chu likes predictions, so here is another: Nine decades hence, our great-great-grandchildren will add the disappearance of California artichokes to the list of predicted planetary calamities that did not happen. Global cooling recently joined that lengthening list. (George F. Will, Pittsburgh Tribune)

Climate: Warmed or Worshipped - Looks like environmentalism may have become a sort of religion -- revived by secular Madison Avenue eco-marketeers, petulant political panderings, eco-chic media and pop cultural guilt. Surely, not even the graying tree huggers who swooned at the first Earth Day in 1970 will swallow Al Gore's hyperboles in the face of the new debates about global warming in our global economic recession. The green climate crusaders have entertained us with endless apocalyptic theories, mythologies and mysticism to where global warming can now only be taken on faith. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

'CO2 reduction treaties useless' - A new report says treaties aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are useless.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers report says we have to accept the world could change dramatically.

It also says we should start planning our major infrastructure now to accommodate more extreme weather events and sea level rises.

While not against attempts to reduce emissions, the report's authors say we should be realistic about what can be achieved with this approach. (BBC)

:) So much for geoengineering, Part 1: Avoiding the Frankenplanet - [I think that as a climate-saving strategy geoengineering is largely somewhere between a dead end and a hoax — why would you choose chemotherapy that might make you sicker if your doctors told you diet and exercise would definitely work (see “Geoengineering remains a bad idea”)? In retrospect, that analogy isn’t perfect. The “diet and exercise” the country and the world needs is more like what the winner of the reality show “The Biggest Loser” undergoes. And the chemotherapy is actually more like an experimental trial for a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, where you have no idea at all if the treatment will work, as opposed to kill you outright, and you might be on the placebo. I have been planning to do a longer series on geoengineering, and Bill Becker’s post seemed like a good place to start.] (Climate Progress)

The Prince of hypocrites: Charles embarks on 16,000 mile 'green' crusade... aboard a private jet - Prince Charles was accused of hypocrisy last night for using a private jet on an 'environmental' tour of South America.

The prince will travel to the region next month in a visit costing an estimated £300,000 as part of his crusade against global warming.

He will use a luxury airliner to transport himself, the Duchess of Cornwall and a 14-strong entourage to Chile, Brazil and Ecuador on a 16,400-mile round trip. (Daily Mail)

Hotshot greens caught wasting home heat - A survey of the homes of top environmentalists has found they leak energy

THEY may shout their green credentials from the rooftops, but some of Britain’s most prominent environmental champions are living in homes that produce up to half a ton of excess carbon dioxide a year.

An audit of properties, measuring heat loss, has revealed that Chris Martin, the pop star, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, are among those who reside in homes that are “leaking” energy. Some lack even the most basic energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.

Thermal images of the residences of 10 high-profile green campaigners found that their heat loss was either worse or no better than that found in the average family home. (The Sunday Times)

Article By Josh Willis “Is It Me, or Did the Oceans Cool? A Lesson On Global Warming From My Favorite Denier” - There is a candid, honest, and informative article by Josh Willis that appeared in the newsletter U.S. Clivar Variations. It is Is It Me, or Did the Oceans Cool? A Lesson on Global Warming from my Favorite Denier by Josh K. Willis of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology.

It is worth reading. The article chronicles his experience with correcting the error in his original analysis, but also in presenting us with an effective summary of the current science and engineering of diagnosing ocean heat content. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

An Egregious Example Of Biased News Reporting - I was quite stunned this morning to read the following news articles

“Global warming seen worse than predicted” by Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters

”Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates”By Kari Lydersen of the Washington Post.

These news is also reported at 431 other sites according to a search on google.

These articles are based on statements by Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Field as an expert on the carbon cycle [I also have worked with him in the past].

However, while he is credentialed in climate science and certainly can have his own opinion, the selection of his statements to highlight in prominent news articles, without presenting counter perspectives by other climate scientists, is a clear example of media bias.

Dr. Fields is reported to have said “We are basically looking now at a future climate that’s beyond anything we’ve considered seriously in climate model simulations”.

This claim, though, conflicts with real world observations! (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Code Blue: 10.7 centimeter solar radio flux is flatlining - I had written back in July 2008 about the 10.7cm solar radio flux hitting a new record low value. Part of that has to do with the inverse square law and the distance of the earth to the sun, which is at a maximum at the summer solstice. As you can see below there has been a very gradual rise since then as we approached the winter solstice. David Archibald provides an update below and compares our current period to other solar cycles. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

A 'gross' distortion - The spirited debate over the validity of the fabled hockey-stick graph on climate change continues

The hockey-stick graph, an icon of global warming doomsayers that purported to show temperatures on Earth at record levels, in 2006 became the subject of investigations by two high-level scientific panels commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. House of Representatives. The former, chaired by Gerald North of Texas A&M, seemingly vindicated the controversial graph and its creator, scientist Michael Mann; the latter, chaired by Edward Wegman, ironically the National Academy of Sciences’s own Chair of its Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, unequivocally determined the hockey stick to be based on shoddy science. North this week re-enters the debate in a letter to the Post, supporting the views of singer-songwriter Dave Clarke. They are both commenting on an exchange that appeared on this page last Saturday between Mann and Post columnist Lawrence Solomon. The hockey-stick debate continues below with comments by Clarke and North, followed by Solomon’s response. (Comment by Dave Clarke, Guitarist, Singer-Song-writer, Financial Post) with footnote from Gerald North.

Lawrence Solomon: Under oath, North faults Mann too - Gerald North's panel ruled that Michael Mann’s conclusion was right even if his study provided no basis for that conclusion, despite the response above

Of all the scientists who have come to Michael Mann’s defence, none have more impressive credentials than those of Gerald North, a former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. North, a physicist, has not only spent decades addressing the dangers of climate change, he has done so through his work in climate models and his knowledge of statistics, a suite of qualifications that make him particularly well qualified to comment on Michael Mann’s statistics-based work. Because of his background, and because Mann’s hockey-stick graph had become a source of great controversy, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) asked North to chair a panel to investigate the statistical validity of the hockey stick graph. The NAS, like most national academies, backs the man-made global warming thesis. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

FP Letters to the Editor: Mann’s world (Financial Post)

Hey lookit! They've endowed a chair of guesswork :) EDF signs agreement with University of Manchester - EDF, one of Europe's largest energy companies and parent company of EDF Energy, has signed an £800,000 agreement to fund a Chair and a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. (University of Manchester)

Vital Climate Change Warnings Are Being Ignored, Say Experts In Science - Canada's inland waters, the countless lakes and reservoirs across the country, are important "sentinels" for climate change and Ottawa and the provinces are ignoring the warnings. That's the message from University of Alberta biologist David Schindler and colleagues in a paper to be released Feb. 12, 2009, in the prestigious publication, Science. (University of Alberta)

Mattie Price is worried Alaskan gas may be used to extract more useful energy resources: Alaskans should look at where their natural gas may go - Last week Gov. Sarah Palin wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to discuss the proposed Alaska gas pipeline with Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the president visits Canada on Feb. 19. In fact, Prime Minister Harper had already put the issue on the agenda, although not necessarily for good reasons.

The governor's letter used an argument we heard during the presidential election campaign, namely that the proposed pipeline could provide "a clean-burning, abundant and low-carbon footprint source of energy" to consumers. The letter declines to mention the reason it is on the agenda in Ottawa next week, though, which is its relationship to the tar sands in Alberta.

Most Americans have not heard of the tar sands even though they are one of the largest hydrocarbon deposits in the world. Oil does not flow there though. Instead you find a thick tarry substance called "bitumen" that is mixed in with clay and sand and dirt.

Getting the bitumen out of the ground and turning it into something more resembling regular oil takes massive amounts of energy, mostly from burning natural gas. And now that Canadian natural gas is in decline, the tar sands industry is looking to other sources, like Alaska.

When you look at a map of the proposed Alaska pipeline you'll see that it ends in Northwest Alberta, just a short hop to the tar sands. If the pipeline is built by the proposed 2017 completion date, by that time the tar sands could need the equivalent of roughly half the gas coming from Alaska. Delivery of gas to the Lower 48 could be sparse. (Matt Price, ADN)

Is America Ready to Quit Coal? - Last May, protesters took over James E. Rogers’s front lawn in Charlotte, N.C., unfurling banners declaring “No new coal” and erecting a makeshift “green power plant” — which, they said in a press release, was fueled by “the previously unexplored energy source known as hot air, which has been found in large concentrations” at his home.

And so it goes for Mr. Rogers, the chief executive of Duke Energy. For three years, environmentalists have been battling to stop his company from building a large coal-fired power plant in southwestern North Carolina. They say it will spew six million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, in addition to producing toxic gases and mountains of fly ash similar to the muck that engulfed a Tennessee community recently.

All Mr. Rogers asks, he said in jest, is that protesters let him know when they want to camp out on his lawn. “Maybe next time we can have a little notice and ask them to join us for coffee or tea,” he says.

Mr. Rogers and his colleagues may be forgiven for feeling a little under siege these days. The coal industry, which powered the industrial revolution and supplied America with much of its electricity for more than 60 years, is in a fight for its survival.

With concerns over climate change intensifying, electricity generation from coal, once reliably cheap, looks increasingly expensive in the face of the all-but-certain prospect of regulations that would impose significant costs on companies that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

As a result, utilities’ plans for new coal plants are being turned down left and right. In the last two-and-a-half years, plans for 83 plants in the United States have either been voluntarily withdrawn or denied permits by state regulators. The roughly 600 coal-fired power plants in the United States are responsible for almost one-third of the country’s total carbon emissions, but they are distinctly at odds with a growing outlook that embraces clean energy.

A new campaign against coal by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmentalist, and the Waterkeeper Alliance is called “The Dirty Lie.” Other clean-energy advocates are equally passionate. (New York Times)

India: Nuclear power generation to touch 6,000 MW in 1 year - Mr Jairam Ramesh minister of state for commerce & power said that the total nuclear power generation in the country is set to reach 6,000 MW within the next one year.

Addressing a press conference after the MoU signing ceremony between National Thermal Power Corporation, NTPC and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd in Mumbai Mr Ramesh said that the current nuclear power generation is only to the tune of 1,800 MW, against an installed capacity of 4,120 MW as shortage of nuclear fuel has plagued the nuclear power sector.

The Minister said that signing of the Indo US Civil nuclear deal has paved way for the growth of nuclear sector in India. Following the deal, NPCIL has signed an agreement with Russia for supply of 2000 tons of uranium for its nuclear power plants. It has also signed another MoU with French Energy major Areva for supply of two European Pressurized Reactors of 1,650 Mw capacity each, for the nuclear power plant being set up by NPCIL at Jaiapur in Maharashtra.

Mr Ramesh stated that India plans to generate 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020 and the process of identifying the project is on. He, however, ruled out any possibility of private sector players setting up nuclear power plants in the first phase. (Steel Guru)

Officials Say 'Bad Science' Links Vaccines, Autism -- Bitter feuding over a possible link between vaccines and autism won't go away despite a strong rejection of that theory by a special federal court.

Thousands of families were hoping to win compensation and vindication through three test cases presented to the court. They contended that a combination of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine plus other shots triggered autism.

Officials with the U.S. Court of Claims said they sympathized with the families, but there was little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link.
The evidence "is weak, contradictory and unpersuasive," concluded Special Master Denise Vowell. "Sadly, the petitioners in this litigation have been the victims of bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding" of autism.

Attorneys for the families said an appeal is a distinct possibility. They also noted that the court still must rule on another theory that vaccines once carrying a mercury-containing preservative are to blame. (Associated Press)

Government-oversight of healthcare — End of discussion? - As we all know, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1). Whether or not the enormity of this legislation, and what it means for the future of our healthcare, is understood probably depends on whether people have read the 1,434 pages of legislation and get the real meaning of words like quality, cost effective, harmonize, biosurveillance, public health, health disparities, genomics and preventive wellness.

There are seven versions of the legislation at various stages, including the final version the House approved, the Senate’s amended sections, and the most current print version for the public. There are widespread misunderstandings, rumors and healthy doses of doublespeak in the media about what the legislation says. The simplest solution is to go directly to the source.

The sections that will potentially have the most significant impact on our healthcare are those referring to health information technology and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Public Services Act, and the establishment of a Prevention and Wellness Fund. (Junkfood Science)

The realists: Policy critics predicted 'inevitable mega-fires' - A GROUP of forest-fire experts has accused state Environment Minister Gavin Jennings of attempting to deceive the public — and of pre-empting a royal commission — over fuel-reduction burning.

Mr Jennings this week defended the Government over suggestions it had contributed to Australia's worst peacetime disaster by tacitly neglecting its commitment to fuel-reduction burning to appease the green lobby.

Forest Fire Victoria — a group of forestry experts and scientists, including outspoken academic David Packham — claims the Government has sidelined crucial recommendations from its own parliamentary environment and natural resources committee to curry favour with environmentalists. (The Age)

Peter Foster: Green policy arsonists - Some climate alarmists compared the Australian wildfires to 9/11!

The bushfires that swept Australia’s state of Victoria starting last weekend have so far cost close to 200 lives. That this terrible tragedy was immediately leapt upon by global warming fanatics to bolster their political cause is disgraceful, if not surprising. However, a very different picture has been emerging as to the real cause for much of the devastation. Apart from regular arson, there has been policy arson. For years, the green movement in Australia has opposed the controlled burning of bush, and thus bears much responsibility for the past week’s “megafires.”

As culpable as the alarmists’ fixation on climate change has been the eagerness of the usual suspects in the media to promote it. On Monday, CBC’s The National proudly reported that “Canadian researchers were the first to make a link between global warming and more wildfires.” Out was trotted one of Canada’s leading climate alarmists, the University of Victoria’s Andrew Weaver, to make the startlingly obvious point that higher temperatures increase fire risk, and then to predict, “So, yes, we will be seeing forest fires in the future on the scale that they’re seeing there.” (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

The Green Death - Plague is something that resides in history books and little history is taught any more. We now have hygiene, scientific knowledge, antibiotics, pesticides and many other resources to give hope that it is a thing of the past, though evolution will always be a powerful opponent. What has changed in recent times is that there is a new all-pervading political movement that is antihuman, glib and arrogant. Let us just remind ourselves of what plague can mean, from The Epidemiologists: (Number Watch)

Can We Get Angry Now? - Can We Get Angry Now? - I'm not at all particularly keen to write this, I'm still somewhat in shock from the loss of life, homes and livelihoods in Victoria, Australia. The area has been utterly annihilated by fire. I absolutely loathe to make a political point in the face of it, but make it I feel I must. After all, any semblance of propriety and respect for the dead, injured and those who lost family and friends, was completely abandoned, almost immediately, when those most utter loathsome examples of contemporary luddites and chicken littles started pointing the finger at 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' then proceeded to wag said finger in the face of a grieving population.

No one even blinked.

One media report even had an "expert", replete with an animated display, showing how a rise in CO2 emissions had stimulated plant growth, and that all the extra vegetation had exacerbated the disaster by providing more fuel for the fire!

So they want to point fingers? They want to piggy back their "great cause" on the backs of the hundreds of dead? To hell with them, to hell! Can we please start getting angry now? These aren't just sandal-wearing, bearded, gentle folk with a penchant for small furry woodland creatures and organic foodstuffs. They are anti-human, meddling, control freaks with a religious devotion to nature and the planet as deity, and they are dangerous. So dangerous in fact that at least no small portion of the blame for loss of human life can be laid squarely at their feet and at the feet of cowed, ignorant, local government capitulating to this new religion. (Lance Davey, Solo)

'Rush for green vote aids predators' - THE NSW Government has conceded sharks are thriving because of environmental controls and bans on commercial fishing, after two shark attacks in Sydney waters this week.

The admission yesterday came as professional fishing groups claimed government policy had been dictated too much by the chase for green votes at a cost to maintaining a sustainable local industry. (The Australian)

and the complete idiots: It's time we faced up to this harsh, dry reality - ONE of the hardest things for Victorians to accept, is that these bushfires have signalled a new world order. Black Saturday confirmed the planet has now entered a new stage of its existence — the post global-warming period. If we are to survive as a species we need to use this benchmark to make essential changes. (Jonathan King, The Age)

Just gets worse and worse... Eco firm Seventh Generation is riding high in Obama revolution - The boss of Seventh Generation Jeffrey Hollender says the new president gives hope for the future

BEING green isn’t easy, just ask Jeffrey Hollender. The founder of America’s largest distributor of eco-friendy cleaning products spent 20 years struggling to get his brand taken seriously in a political climate that was anything but friendly.

His protests have seen him thrown in prison. In 2007, while taking part in a Green-peace protest against former President George Bush’s stance on global warming, he was carted off to a cell in Washington, where he spent six hours before being charged with a misdemeanour and released.

Today he is one of the leading voices of America’s green-business movement and last month found himself back in Washington – this time as one of Barack Obama’s advisers on the issues surrounding sustainability and environmental friendliness. (The Sunday Times)

Africa Faces Plague of Armyworms: Are We Next? - A vast plague of armyworms has just destroyed the crops of some 50,000 villagers in Liberia. Observers say the billions of inch-and-a-half-long worms can eat a cornfield down to the stalk nubs in a few hours—and then start snacking on the next field. Soon, the adult moths fly off to start new invasions. Without an aerial spraying campaign, the armyworms may spread their famine and crop devastation to neighboring countries as well.

Could this crop devastation spread to Europe and North America? In fact, it could. The main thing standing in the way of an armyworm invasion is our crop protection chemicals—pesticides that are lethal to bugs and fungi, but not to humans.

Unfortunately, it’s been so long since Americans were threatened with plagues of insects that we’ve forgotten to fear them. If the armyworms suddenly infested California or Ontario, would the public react with a flood of phone calls threatening lawsuits against pesticide spraying? We can’t even imagine a crop loss that would cause famine on the Liberian scale, but only because most of our farmers kill the insects in their fields before they reach the critical mass of the armyworms. Or our plant breeders come up with pest-resistant seed varieties.

Thanks to science and technology, we no longer have to dust our crops with lead and arsenic. That vile blue powder was the standard pest control method when I was growing up on a Michigan farm. Lead and arsenic are immediately toxic to virtually every living thing, so “wash your food thoroughly” really meant “do it or risk death”! (Dennis Avery, CFP)

February 13, 2009

OJ Bigger Villian than Fiji Water! - Environmentalist activists must certainly mean well. But, at times, some are so silly that all you can do is laugh. Consider a recent Tree Hugger post comparing bottled water to orange juice and its lament about carbon footprints! The post points out that orange juice has an even bigger footprint than—brace yourself—Fiji water! Fiji water is supposedly the world’s “most wasteful” water because it is shipped across continents.

Alas, if you don’t live in a community that grows oranges organically for locally produced juice, the carbon footprint is just unacceptable. In fact, the post concludes, all citrus products are “an imported luxury” that responsible environmentalists shouldn’t be drinking every day!

What the greens have discovered here is no great revelation. The reality is: Everything in life has a carbon footprint! And bottled water probably has one of the lower ones. Unfortunately for so many well-intended greens, having a light carbon footprint requires considerable self denial. If orange juice is so bad, just consider the carbon footprint of the computers used to produce Tree Hugger posts, the coffee consumed (do they really need coffee anyway?) while writing such posts, and yes, even that morning McMuffin! (Angela Logomasini, Cooler Heads)

Nude Socialist: 'Dark' comets may pose threat to Earth - SWATHES of dark comets may be prowling the solar system, posing a deadly threat to Earth.

Hazardous comets and asteroids are monitored by various space agencies under an umbrella effort known as Spaceguard. The vast majority of objects found so far are rocky asteroids. Yet UK-based astronomers Bill Napier at Cardiff University and David Asher at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland claim that many comets could be going undetected. "There is a case to be made that dark, dormant comets are a significant but largely unseen hazard," says Napier. (New Scientist)

Define 'significant'. 1 in 50,000,000 years major impact risk, maybe? They are right in one respect, I suppose, these things are way more dangerous than gorebull warming.

Very revealing talk by the IPCC's Rutu Dave
Update: That was fast. The videos are no longer publicly available.
There was briefly a "part 3" video, where Dave admits that she was "thrown in" to her IPCC job; her focus had been "trade policy". To learn about climate, she read some books on a train.
I'd be surprised if these two Rutu Dave videos (below) are still publicly available in six months.

Early on, she mentions that she was not the smartest student in her class, and suggests that the "lot of cute guys that were there in suits" made Model UN meetings interesting.

There's no indication whatsoever that she knows anything useful about climate science; she praises Al Gore. She's obviously quite proud of the Nobel Peace Prize that "she" got. (Tom Nelson)

Back in fantasy land... Model sees severe climate change impact by 2050 - LONDON - Current efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions will do little to ease damaging climate change, according to a report issued on Friday that predicts Greenland's ice sheets will start melting by 2050.

A computer model calculated that if carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow at the current rate over the next 40 years, global temperatures will still rise 2 degrees Centigrade compared with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

This would push the planet to the brink, sparking unprecedented flooding and heatwaves and making it even more difficult to reverse the trend, according to the report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Britain. (Reuters)

Big Science Role Is Seen in Global Warming Cure - WASHINGTON — Steven Chu, the new secretary of energy, said Wednesday that solving the world’s energy and environment problems would require Nobel-level breakthroughs in three areas: electric batteries, solar power and the development of new crops that can be turned into fuel.

Dr. Chu said a “revolution” in science and technology would be required if the world is to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. (New York Times)

Just what we don't need, a cure for an imaginary disease.

Battle of the climate scientists - Gray versus Hansen part 3 - The science behind the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or manmade climate change, has been said to be ‘settled’. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Al Gore, and Dr. James Hansen make up a triumvirate of climate change advocates. Wielding studies, computer models, and various charts and analyses, they believe man is heading down the road to self-destruction of we do not reverse course immediately and do everything and anything to stop what they believe is an unnaturally warming climate. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Canada Eyes Climate Deal With "Open-Minded" Obama - OTTAWA - Canada's Conservative government said on Thursday it hopes to reach a climate change deal with the U.S. Obama administration, saying an economic crisis is not an ideal time for Canada to be imposing new costs on industry on its own.

"The election of President Obama presents, I think, a great opportunity for us to work together," Environment Minister Jim Prentice told reporters a week ahead of the summit in Ottawa between Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Reuters)

Tipping point reached: UK Met Office makes blistering attack on those who make ‘Apocalyptic climate predictions’ - Guest post by Steven Goddard

During the past few weeks, there have been several warnings of apocalypse from noted scientists. Dr. Hansen warned in The Guardian that President Obama has “four years to save the planet.” James McCarthy, head of the American Association for The Advancement of Science (AAAS) made a similar statement. Nobel Prize winning scientist Al Gore is going to take it a step further at next week’s AAAS meeting. Steven Chu, President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, warned that California will no longer be able to support agriculture or cities due to drought caused by global warming.

Then something remarkable happened. (Watts Up with That?)

Time to get rid of the fools [mis]running these airlines: Top Airlines Want Aviation Emissions In Climate Pact - SINGAPORE - Four leading airlines called on Thursday for aviation emissions to be included in a broader climate pact, after growing criticism from green groups that the sector was not doing enough to fight global warming. (Reuters)

Travesty–Rep. Inslee’s behavior at Energy & Commerce hearing - I just watched the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “The Climate Crisis: National Security, Public Health, and Economic Threats.”

Committee rules allow the minority one-third of the witnesses. Originally, there were to be four majority witnesses, which works out to only one minority witness, or one-fourth (because two witnesses would equal two-fifths–slightly more than one-third). However, when Chairman Markey learned that Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute was to be the minority witness, he added a 5th majority witness, Prof. Daniel Schragg of Harvard University. So the decks were stacked against Michaels 5 to 1.

However, even that was not enough to satisfy Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA). He attacked Michaels personally, accusing him of not being “forthright” with the Committee, trying to “pull a fast one,” and treating the Members like “chumps.” Inslee demanded to know why it was even necessary to have witnesses like Michaels on the panel, when it’s so obvious that global warming is bad and nothing could be more costly than inaction on climate change. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

State AGs Give EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (recycled) bum advice - In a letter dated 5 February 2009, 17 state attorneys general (AGs) plus three other non-federal officials urge EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to respond to the Supreme Court case of Massachusetts v. EPA (2007) by issuing a finding that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to “air pollution” that may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare.

To explain why EPA should make an endangerment finding, the AGs quote from EPA’s July 2008 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR): “The IPCC projects with virtual certainty (i.e., a greater than 99% likelihood) declining air quality in cities due to warmer days and nights, and fewer cold days and nights, and/or more frequent hot days and nights over most land areas, including the U.S.” In the ANPR, EPA goes on to say that the increase in air pollution from global warming will lead to “increases in regional ozone pollution, with associated risks for respiratory infection, aggravation of asthma, and potential premature death, especially for people in susceptible groups.”

This chain of reasoning flies in the face of history and public policy reality. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

UK's CO2 plan 'certain to fail' - The UK's plans to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 are fundamentally flawed and almost certain to fail, according to a US academic.

Roger Pielke Jr, a science policy expert, said the UK government had underestimated the magnitude of the task to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

He added that it would be more effective to "decarbonise" economic growth rather than focus on targets.

Professor Pielke made his comments during a speech at Aston University. (BBC)

UN carbon cut to cost Australia $870m - AUSTRALIA faces the prospect of paying an extra $870 million for greenhouse gas emissions after Kevin Rudd's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and a new UN target for carbon pollution.

After a year-long review by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change committee, Australia has been given a tougher target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN has reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions Australia is allowed to produce by 6.6 million tonnes a year.

If Australia is above the carbon emissions target at the end of 2012, it will be required tomake up any shortfall by buying carbon credits from other nations.

Continuing growth in carbon emissions in Australia and the new target have led leading global carbon market analyst Point Carbon to estimate a potential extra cost to taxpayers of $870 million in carbon credits in 2012. (The Australian)

Australia Calls Inquiry Into Own Emissions Plan - CANBERRA - The Australian government has convened a parliamentary inquiry into its plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, but denied on Friday it was backing away from the scheme which is due to launch next year. The government said in a brief statement on Thursday it had asked the lower house's economics committee to make inquiries and report back to parliament on its proposed emissions-trading scheme, part of a climate-change policy unveiled last December.

The move prompted Greens Party Senator Christine Milne to question whether the government was looking to delay its own scheme, which has come under fire from local industry for imposing additional costs at a time of global economic downturn.

She also raised concerns the government might want to stall its own scheme until after nations meet in Copenhagen in December to negotiate the next step in UN efforts to cut emissions. (Reuters)

Just say no: Curbing Foreign Airline Emissions in Europe - All airlines using European airports are going to be regulated under the European Emissions Trading System from January 2012. That means even American carriers will eventually have to buy some carbon permits to comply with European Union law.

United States government officials have said in the past that the initiative is probably illegal under the convention governing international civil aviation. The main group representing the world’s airlines, the International Air Transport Association, has complained bitterly about the cost of the system. (Green Inc)

Simple answer, any EU-based airline that wishes to ply the lucrative North American routes has to provide the ridiculous EETS credits for all American airlines landing Europe. That will lay the matter to rest very quickly. America does not negotiate with terrorists nor pay extortion.

New Paper: NAO - The Pacemaker of Major Climate Shifts - Wang, Swanson and Tsonis have a paper in press in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) entitled: ‘The pacemaker of major climate shifts.’ This expands on the very important but largely ignored Tsonis et al (2007) GRL paper, which demonstrated a new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts. (Climate Research News)

Russia sending more ships, scientists to Arctic - MOSCOW -- Russia will modernize its icebreaker fleet and station more researchers in the Arctic as part of its push to stake its claim to the vast resources of the disputed polar region, a presidential envoy said Thursday.

Artur Chilingarov, a famed polar scientist who was recently appointed to the post, said that Russia's sizable icebreaker fleet gives the nation a strong edge in Arctic exploration. He said that Russia would build a new Arctic research ship to supplement the Akademik Fyodorov, which conducted a 2007 expedition in which Russian mini-submarines put a capsule with Russian flag on the Arctic seabed.

Chilingarov told reporters that Russia is also preparing to send a team of some 50 polar scientists to the island of Spitsbergen, where Norway claims exclusive rights. He said an advance team will leave Saturday to chose the place for the station. (Associated Press)

Feds to consider protecting 'boulder bunny' - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider whether to protect a rabbit-like, alpine creature known as the American pika because of habitat loss due to global warming.

The decision comes in a settlement agreement announced Thursday with the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice. The groups sued in August to protect the so-called "boulder bunny" under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The government has until May to decide if protection is warranted.

Environmentalists say the pika is losing its cold, high-altitude habitat because the climate is warming. The American pika cannot survive in warm climate, and has been moving to higher elevations as temperatures at lower elevations rise. (Associated Press)

John Christy Debates William Schlesinger - Last night in Hickory, N.C., in a forum co-sponsored by the John Locke Foundation and the Reese Institute for Conservation of Natural Resources, atmospheric scientist John Christy debated William Schlesinger, former dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. It was a skeptic vs. alarmist smackdown, and the local newspaper of record, the Daily Record, thinks that Christy may have prevailed (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Within The Climate System - A New Paper By Ridgwell Et Al 2009 Entitled “Tackling Regional Climate Change By Leaf Albedo Bio-Geoengineering” - There is an interesting New York Times article by Henry Fountain titled “More-Reflective Crops May Have Cooling Effect” [and thanks to Matei Georgescu for alerting us to it!]. The article states that “Andy Ridgwell and colleagues at the University of Bristol in England have another idea, one they call bio-geoengineering. Rather than developing infrastructure to help cool the planet, they propose using an existing one: agriculture.

Their calculations, published in Current Biology, suggest that by planting crop varieties that reflect more sunlight, summertime cooling of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit could be obtained across central North America and a wide band of Europe and Asia.”

This NY Times article is based on the paper Andy Ridgwell, Joy S. Singarayer, Alistair M. Hetherington and Paul J. Valdes: 2009 “Tackling Regional Climate Change By Leaf Albedo Bio-geoengineering“. Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 146-150, 15 January 2009 (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Team Will Use Radar To Measure Thinning Arctic Ice - OTTAWA - Three British polar adventurers will this month begin a 620-mile trek to the North Pole with an experimental portable radar set to gauge exactly how fast Arctic ice sheets are melting, they said on Thursday.

The 9-pound (4-kilogram) radar has been designed to give much more accurate read-outs of ice thickness than the current method of using submarines or satellites.

Arctic ice cover in 2008 dropped to its second lowest extent during the melt season since satellite measuring began in 1979. Scientists say the thinning ice sheets could trigger more extreme weather around the world.

The U.N. weather agency says ice volume around the Arctic region hit the lowest level ever recorded in 2008. (Reuters)

Sheesh! Pollution fall a bright side to crisis - THE international economic downturn may result in a short-term benefit with a decrease in production leading to a slowing in the growth of greenhouse pollution, one of the Federal Government's top advisers has forecast.

Ross Garnaut, who was commissioned by the Government to write a comprehensive report on climate change, said the rate of the increase of greenhouse gas emissions had already fallen.

"[The downturn] has for a time stopped the rapid growth in emissions of the early 21st century," Professor Garnaut told a conference in Cairns yesterday. "Since mid-2008, emissions from the developed economies as a whole, and from China, have been falling."

But, he said, the reprieve would not halt the rapid rise in greenhouse pollution predicted for the coming decades. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Meanwhile: CO2 Hits New Peaks, No Sign Global Crisis Causing Dip - OSLO - Atmospheric levels of the main greenhouse gas are hitting new highs, with no sign yet that the world economic downturn is curbing industrial emissions, a leading scientist said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Fish Seen Shifting 125 Miles By 2050 Due To Warming - OSLO - Global warming will push fish stocks more than 200 km (125 miles) toward the poles by mid-century in a dislocation of ocean life, a study of more than 1,000 marine species projected.

Tropical nations were likely to suffer most as commercial fish stocks swam north or south to escape warming waters, the report said. Alaska, Greenland and Nordic nations would be among those to benefit from more fish.

"We'll see a major redistribution of many species because of climate change," said William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada and the University of East Anglia in England who was lead author of the study. (Reuters)

If it warms...

Aerosols contributing to Australia's changing weather patterns, accelerating climate change - New research suggests that aerosols, fine particles or droplets suspended in the atmosphere, may have a greater impact on patterns of Australian rainfall and future climate change than previously thought.

"We have identified that the extensive pollution haze emanating from Asia may be re-shaping rainfall patterns in northern Australia, but we [also] wonder what impact natural and human-generated aerosols are having across the rest of the country," said Leon Rotstayn, an atmospheric scientist from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Human activities that generate pollutant aerosols in large quantities include motor vehicle use, vegetation burning and industry pursuits, while natural sources range from volcanoes and dust storms to ocean plankton, which release sulfate particles into the air. (G-Online)

Sadly still clinging to the "aerosol masking" of gorebull warming. That aside it is quite plausible that Asian particulates are influencing Australian rainfall, at least regionally.

We may not agree with what he says... Nicholas Stern: Spend billions on green investments now to reverse economic downturn and halt climate change - Leading economists – including Nicholas Stern – call for immediate £277bn global fund to generate clean power, insulate homes and create jobs

Governments across the world must commit to hundreds of billions of pounds in green investments within months in a combined attack on the global economic crisis and global warming, according to leading economists including Nicholas Stern.

The team says some $400bn (£277bn) should be channelled to support low-carbon technologies such as home insulation and renewable energy. Given the urgency of both the economic and climate crises, it wants the green investment made by this summer and to total 20% of the £1.4tn likely to be spent globally as fiscal stimulus.

Lord Stern, the former Treasury economist and now chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said: "With billions about to be spent by governments on energy, buildings and transport, it is vital that these public investments do not lock us for many more decades into a costly and unsustainable high-carbon economy." (The Guardian)

... but we will defend to the death his right to hold and expound such stupid opinions.

Millions face 'stealth tax' on heating bills to subsidise green energy - Millions of families face yet another hike in heating bills to pay for a massive expansion of green energy.

Ministers say that the money raised will subsidise solar panels, wind turbines and wood-burning boilers for hundreds of thousands of homes.

But critics warn that the levy is an 'insidious' stealth tax that will hammer households at a time of rising unemployment, falling incomes and economic uncertainty. (Daily Mail)

Low Carbon Price To Cut Renewables Investment - LONDON - Record low carbon prices have cut the attractiveness of investments in renewable energy and may even favor the construction of new, high-carbon coal plants, conflicting with the aims of Europe's carbon market.

The EU emissions trading scheme is the 27-nation bloc's main weapon to fight global warming. It imposes a cap on carbon emissions by factories and power plants using a fixed quota of emissions permits.

The scheme is meant to force power plants, for example, to cut their emissions by switching from coal to lower carbon gas or to wind power, or else buy carbon permits.

"If you look at the price today it may start to become very attractive, not for compliance purposes today, but for compliance purposes for years," said Citigroup's head of emissions trading, Garth Edward. (Reuters)

Government to allow peatland plantations - The Agriculture Ministry will issue a decree to allow businesses to dig up the country’s millions of hectares of peatland for oil palm plantations.

Gatot Irianto, the ministry’s head of research and development, said his office was currently drafting a ministerial decree that would explain in detail the mechanism to turn the peatland areas into oil palm plantations, a move that many say will further damage the country’s environment.

“We still need land for oil palm plantations. We must be honest: the sector has been the main driver for the people’s economy,” he said Thursday on the sidelines of a discussion about adaptation in agriculture, organized by the National Commission on Climate Change.

The draft decree is expected to go into force this year. (Jakarta post)

Ethanol, Just Recently a Savior, Is Struggling - Barely a year after Congress enacted an energy law meant to foster a huge national enterprise capable of converting plants and agricultural wastes into automotive fuel, the goals lawmakers set for the ethanol industry are in serious jeopardy.

As recently as last summer, plants that make ethanol from corn were sprouting across the Midwest. But now, with motorists driving less in the economic downturn, the industry is burdened with excess capacity, and plants are shutting down virtually every week.

In the meantime, plans are lagging for a new generation of factories that were supposed to produce ethanol from substances like wood chips and crop waste, overcoming the drawbacks of corn ethanol. That nascent branch of the industry concedes it has virtually no chance of meeting Congressional production mandates that kick in next year. (New York Times)

From Dutch Sewers To Jet Fuel -- Via Algae - AMSTERDAM - Dutch biotechnology firm Ingrepro plans to harness waste from sewers, farms and industry to produce biofuel and algae, which it hopes will eventually power airplanes, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Ingrepro plans four initial projects in the Netherlands, and is set to start the first in September which aims to supply 20 percent of a city's energy needs with biogas made from sewage waste while using the leftover nutrients for algae production.

"A lot of waste waters have a lot of nutrients, and people don't know what to do with them -- so why not grow the algae in the waste," Carel Callenbach told Reuters in an interview.

"The waste of biomethane (biogas) plants has very rich nutrients left over. At the moment they just pump it to the river or throw it away -- but we say next to these biomethane plants you need to build algal ponds to grow biomass." (Reuters)

Europe's Big Lenders Still Backing Green Power - BRUSSELS - The credit crunch is starting to make an impact on smaller European green energy projects, but cash-rich utilities and the bigger lending institutions will continue to get deals done, green power experts say.

"The main problem for the smaller developers is the short-term freeze on lending," said Christian Kjaer of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), adding that the credit crunch could lead to consolidation in the sector.

"We may see some of the smaller projects which have turbine delivery contracts but are struck by the banking liquidity freeze being taken over by the larger power companies," he said. (Reuters)

EU cities plan for energy self-sufficiency - The vision is fuelled by fear of climate change and the need to find alternatives to dirty coal, unpopular nuclear power and unreliable Russian gas.

Such cities would become self-contained units, their buildings gleaning energy from the weather and feeding it to homes below ground and vehicles in the streets.

Electric cars would double as battery packs when energy supplies are scarce. Every scrap of waste food, garden trimmings and even sewage would be used to ferment gas.

Facing up to the end of their traditional business model, utilities are mapping a long-term survival strategy. (Business Report)

South Carolina Regulators OK Nuclear Power Project - WILMINGTON - South Carolina regulators have unanimously approved a request by the state's largest utility, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), to join with a state-owned utility to build two nuclear reactors.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission vote on Wednesday gave South Carolina Electric & Gas the right to begin raising electricity rates next month to help pay for its portion of the $9.8 billion project. (Reuters)

Court Says Vaccine Not to Blame for Autism - In a blow to the movement arguing that vaccines trigger autism, three Federal judges ruled Thursday against all three families in three test cases, all of whom had sought compensation from the Federal vaccine-injury fund.

Both sides in the debate have been awaiting decisions in these cases since hearings began in early 2007; more than 5,000 similar claims have been filed with the fund.

These three decisions, each looking into a different theory as to how vaccines might have injured the children, are expected to guide the outcomes of all those claims.

The judges ruled that the families seeking compensation had not shown that their children’s autism was brought on by the presence of thimerosal, a mercury vaccine preservative, by the weakened measles virus used in the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, or by a combination of the two.

For example, in a case pitting the family of Michelle Cedillo, a severely autistic child, against the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, the special master for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that the Cedillos had “failed to demonstrate that thimerosal-containing vaccines can contribute to causing immune dysfunction, or that the MMR vaccine can contributed to causing either autism or gastrointestinal dysfunction.”

In his strongly worded decision, the special master, George L. Hastings Jr. ruled that the government’s expert witnesses were “far better qualified, far more experienced and far more persuasive” than the Cedillos. Although the Cedillos only had to show that the preponderance of the evidence was on their side, the judge ruled that it was “not a close case” because the evidence was “overwhelmingly contrary” to their argument.

While expressing “deep sympathy and admiration” for the Cedillo family, he ruled that they were “misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.” (New York Times)

Time to put this nonsense to bed, Wakefield has been exposed as a fraud and there has never been any supporting evidence autism is or can be triggered by life-saving vaccinations: MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism - THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition. (Sunday Times, February 8, 2009)

Scientists begin to decode the history of human evolution - In biology’s most famous book, “On the Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin steered clear of applying his revolutionary theory of evolution to the species of greatest interest to his readers — their own.

He couldn’t avoid it forever, of course. He eventually wrote another tome nearly as famous, “The Descent of Man.” But he knew in 1859, when “Species” was published, that to jump right into a description of how human beings had tussled with the environment and one another over eons, changing their appearance, capabilities and behavior in the process, would be hard for people to accept.

Better to stick with birds and barnacles.

Darwin was born 200 years ago this week. “On the Origin of Species” will be 150 years old in a few months. There’s no such reluctance now.

The search for signs of natural selection in human beings has just begun. It will ultimately be as revelatory as Newton’s description of the mathematics of motion 322 years ago, or the unlocking of the atom’s secrets that began in the late 1800s.

The inundation of data since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, and the capacity to analyze it at the finest level of detail — the individual DNA nucleotides that make up the molecule of heredity — are giving us a look at humanity’s autobiography in a way that was once unimaginable.

In small, discrete changes in our genes that have accumulated over time, we are seeing evolution’s tracery, as durable as it is delicate. It is slowly revealing how climate, geography, disease, culture and chance sculpted Homo sapiens into the unique and diverse species it is today. (David Brown, Washington Post)

Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live - “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching,” Robert Darwin told his son, “and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.” Yet the feckless boy is everywhere. Charles Darwin gets so much credit, we can’t distinguish evolution from him.

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution. Such as: Gregor Mendel’s patterns of heredity (which gave Darwin’s idea of natural selection a mechanism — genetics — by which it could work); the discovery of DNA (which gave genetics a mechanism and lets us see evolutionary lineages); developmental biology (which gives DNA a mechanism); studies documenting evolution in nature (which converted the hypothetical to observable fact); evolution’s role in medicine and disease (bringing immediate relevance to the topic); and more.

By propounding “Darwinism,” even scientists and science writers perpetuate an impression that evolution is about one man, one book, one “theory.” The ninth-century Buddhist master Lin Chi said, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The point is that making a master teacher into a sacred fetish misses the essence of his teaching. So let us now kill Darwin. (Carl Safina, New York Times)

Of all the idiotic things to raise now... Bushfires release huge carbon load - VICTORIA'S bushfires have released a massive amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - almost equal to Australia's industrial emission for an entire year.

Mark Adams, from the University of Sydney, said the emissions from bushfires were far beyond what could be contained through carbon capture and needed to be addressed in the next international agreement.

"Once you are starting to burn millions of hectares of eucalypt forest, then you are putting into the atmosphere very large amounts of carbon," Professor Adams said.

In work for the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, he estimated the 2003 and 2006-07 bushfires could have put 20-30million tonnes of carbon (70-105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere.

"That is far, far more than we're ever going to be able to sequester from planting trees or promoting carbon capture," he said.

The 2003 and 2006-07 bushfires were burning land carrying 50 to 80 tonnes of carbon per hectare. "This time we are burning forests that are even more carbon-dense than last time, well over 100 tonnes above-ground carbon per hectare," he said. (The Australian)

Time to heed the warnings - JOHN Brumby says he will call a royal commission into the fires that have so mauled us.

"We want to put in place whatever arrangements are necessary to ensure nothing like this ever happens again."

Good, Premier. But the question is: will your government this time listen?

Every time we suffer a disastrous bushfire it's the same. In our agony, we set up an inquiry.

Cold months - even years - later, that inquiry tells us that we must especially do more fuel reduction burns to stop forest litter from mounting so high that it turns a fire into a turbo-fuelled inferno, impossible to fight.

And each time governments ignore them. Or forget them. Or hear too late.

In fact, no government has ignored them more completely than this one, doing fewer and fewer fuel reduction (or prescribed) burns over this past 10 years, until time had run out. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Denizens of the northern hemisphere tend not to understand Australian bushfire conditions, a mixture of our hot dry climate and the strategies our bush has evolved to cope with it. Evergreen eucalyptus forests shed dry leaves in summer, part of a moisture conservation strategy while the highly flammable dry litter builds on the forest floor. At the same time, hot weather causes massive release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the remaining leaves (so oiling the atmosphere the hills appear really blue from a distance and how the Blue Mountains got their name). The wind-driven, fire-heated air before a fire front dramatically increases the release of VOCs from the trees and embers from the fire provide flash igniters, inevitably these intersect the zone around the tree where the air-fuel mix is just right and even isolated, large trees 50 yards in front of the fire literally explode into flame. There is no stopping these flash burns, no outrunning them if you've hung around until they occur and, trust me, a half-mile wide fire break is terrifyingly small when the beast is coming your way. Down-under we have become complacent and we have let lunatic [misanthropic] greenies sway politicians from rational, defensive actions, now we are paying the price, again. Australia is a great place but it is also a hard and unforgiving land.

Green ideas must take blame for deaths - It wasn't climate change which killed as many as 300 people in Victoria last weekend. It wasn't arsonists. It was the unstoppable intensity of a bushfire, turbo-charged by huge quantities of ground fuel which had been allowed to accumulate over years of drought. It was the power of green ideology over government to oppose attempts to reduce fuel hazards before a megafire erupts, and which prevents landholders from clearing vegetation to protect themselves.

So many people need not have died so horribly. The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies. (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia Fires Spark Calls For Climate Action - YEA - Firefighters called on the Australian government on Thursday to take a tougher stance against climate change in an effort to avoid more deadly bushfires like those that killed 181 people this week.

"Without a massive turnaround in policies, aside from the tragic loss of life and property, we will be asking firefighters to put themselves at an unacceptable risk," United Firefighters Union of Australia said in an open letter.

"We understand that our job is dangerous by its very nature. However, we are gravely concerned that current ... policies seem destined to ensure a repeat of the recent tragic events," said the union in an open letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Hopefully this is merely media misinformation and the firey's union is not in thrall of ignorant greens (something which seems unlikely given firefighters long-term pleading for more fuel-reduction winter burns).

Trends in Homes Lost to Australian Bushfires - How do the ongoing tragic bushfires in Australia compare to events past in terms of the number of homes lost? Thanks to the work of John McAneney and colleagues at Risk Frontiers at Macquarie University we know the answer to this question (I have added the red star showing preliminary 2009 losses based on media reports.): (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

February 12, 2009

Audubon’s Bird-brained Conclusion: More Global Warming Misdirection - On Tuesday, the National Audubon Society released a report “Birds and Climate Change,” which interpreted an average northern shift of the over-wintering range of a large collection of North American bird species over the course of the past 40 years or so. Audubon decided that this range shift was due, in part, to “global warming.” Therefore, it was bad and action must be taken to avert it: (Chip Knappenberger, MasterResource)

Perhaps that's why Ehrlich is habitually wrong: Study: Little Joy In Finding New Species - A U.S. scientist who co-authored an analysis of the 408 new mammalian species discovered since 1993 says he finds little cause for joy in the discoveries.

Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University said that in the era of global warming, when many scientists say we are experiencing a human-caused mass extinction to rival the one that killed the dinosaurs, one might think discovery of new species would be cause for joy. Not entirely so, said Ehrlich.

"What this paper really talks about is how little we actually know about our natural capital and how little we know about the services that flow from it," he said. "I think what most people miss is that the human economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the economy of nature, which supplies us from our natural capital a steady flow of income that we can't do without.

"And that income is in the form of what are called 'ecosystem services'-keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, supplying fresh water, preventing floods, protecting our crops from pests and pollinating many of them, recycling the nutrients that are essential to agriculture and forestry, and on and on."

Ehrlich conducted the analysis with Professor Gerardo Ceballos of the National University of Mexico. Their work is reported in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (UPI)

He thinks a cost, in this case loss of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is an "ecosystem service". No wonder he never gets anything right.

Oh boy... Too late for Planet Earth? - Don't be confused by the recent cold snap - global warming is a reality, said Jaipaul Massey-Singh during his presentation at the Brampton Professional Women's Club meeting recently.

Our impact on the environment is setting the stage for a potentially catastrophic thaw at the north and south poles.

If this happens, he explained, by the year 2050 roughly 400 million people on the planet could be displaced, due to an estimated 20-foot rise in sea level. Water will overtake land mass, regions of the world as we know now will virtually disappear, and polar wildlife will be in danger.

Massey-Singh, a Brampton resident, is one of 250 Canadians personally trained by Al Gore in 2008 to spread the message of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore's presentation on global climate change. (South Asian Focus)

Three cheers for recession? Downturn means CO2 targets now achievable - IRELAND IS now likely to meet its Kyoto targets for greenhouse emissions because of the downturn in the economy, an authority on environmental and economic policy has said.

Frank Convery, professor of environmental policy at UCD, said yesterday that the extraordinary turnaround in the country’s finances had made the exacting Kyoto targets suddenly achievable. His view was shared by Dr Lisa Ryan of Comhar, the Sustainable Development Council, which Prof Convery also chairs.

Prof Convery said that as recently as September 2008, it was being forecast that GDP would continue to grow at a rate of at least 3 per cent. But less than five months later the ESRI concluded that GDP had already dropped by 9 per cent bringing us back to the 2005 income level.

“We are now unlikely to overshoot our Kyoto target in 2012, and won’t have to spend up to €300 million set aside to buy allowances to cover the overshoot,” said Prof Convery. (Irish Times)

Wagging the "Fat Tail" of Climate Catastrophe - How much should we pay to avoid the tiny risk of total destruction?

How much should we pay to prevent the tiny probability of human civilization collapsing? That is the question at the center of an esoteric debate over the application of cost-benefit analysis to man-made climate change. Harvard University economist Martin Weitzman raised the issue by putting forth a Dismal Theorem arguing that some consequences, however unlikely, would be so disastrous that cost-benefit analysis should not apply.

The danger, according to Weltzman, lurks at the tails of risk probability distribution. The most common probability distribution is the famous "bell curve." In a normal distribution, about two-thirds of values are within about one standard deviation of the mean. For example, among American males the average height is 5 feet 9 inches, and one standard deviation is about 3 inches. This means that two-thirds of American men are between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet in height. 95 percent of men fall within two standard deviations—between 5 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 3 inches—and 99 percent are within three standard deviations. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

'Apocalyptic climate predictions' mislead the public, say experts - Met Office scientists fear distorted climate change claims could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions

Experts at Britain's top climate research centre have launched a blistering attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming.

The Met Office Hadley Centre, one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world, says recent "apocalyptic predictions" about Arctic ice melt and soaring temperatures are as bad as claims that global warming does not exist. Such statements, however well-intentioned, distort the science and could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions, it says. (The Guardian)

Actually we would be delighted is this nonsense "could undermine efforts to tackle carbon emissions" since such actions are 100% harm with no upside.

Scientists must rein in misleading climate change claims - News headlines vie for attention and it is easy for scientists to grab this attention by linking climate change to the latest extreme weather event or apocalyptic prediction. But in doing so, the public perception of climate change can be distorted. The reality is that extreme events arise when natural variations in the weather and climate combine with long-term climate change. This message is more difficult to get heard. Scientists and journalists need to find ways to help to make this clear without the wider audience switching off. (Vicky Pope, The Guardian)

Climate of Change: UK Met Office Issues ‘Blistering Attack on Scientific Colleagues’ For ‘Apocalyptic Climate Predictions' -‘The political consensus surrounding climate policy is collapsing’

Washington, DC: Scientists at the UK Met office “launched a blistering attack on scientific colleagues and journalists who exaggerate the effects of global warming.” The Met office, “one of the most prestigious research facilities in the world” according to the February 11, 2009, article in the UK Guardian, is no hotbed of climate skeptics, as the organization accepts the UN IPCC view of man-made global warming. A U.S. climate expert has also declared that “the political consensus surrounding climate policy is collapsing,” and a U.S. Naval Academy chemist has accused the media of “journalistic malpractice” for hyping warming fears. Furthermore, NASA's James Hansen and have also come under renewed criticism. (EPW)

Merged Climate, Pollution Fight Seen Saving Cash - OSLO - Merging separate fights against air pollution and climate change could save cash and encourage developing nations such as China to do more to curb global warming, researchers said Wednesday.

"There are big gains to be made" from a combined policy, said Petter Tollefsen, a researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (CICERO).

The European Union alone could make efficiency gains of 2.8 billion euros ($3.62 billion) a year by 2020 by combining assaults on air pollution and climate change, according to a CICERO study. (Reuters)

Save 2.8 billion annually and it will only cost an estimated 280 billion a year to do it... we're guessing they think that's economically sound.

European Environment Agency–Stuck in a Mental Rut - In a report titled “Beyond Transport Policy,” the European Environment Agency (EEA) bemoans the fact that European transport sector CO2 emissions increased by 26% during 1990-2006. The report is called “Beyond Transport Policy” because–hold on to your hat–the ”drivers” of transport demand growth are “external” to the transport sector itself. For example, people don’t fly for the sheer thrill of flying, but in order to vacation or conduct business in an increasingly global economy.

Consequently, traditional transport policies such as fuel economy regulations, motor fuel taxes, and infrastructure upgrades have had little impact on transport demand and the associated emissions.

This implies that in order to achieve what the EEA calls a “sustainable transport system,” politicians and bureaucrats must control those pesky “external drivers”–basically the totality of things that constitute work and play in the modern world.

But, as I discuss here, the EEA’s proposed solutions are not “beyond transport policy,” but are the same old, same old: new taxes on fuels, vehicles, passengers, and imports. The EEA is stuck in a mental rut; it has taxes on the brain. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Wind Turbines in Europe Do Nothing for Emissions-Reduction Goals - Despite Europe's boom in solar and wind energy, CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram. Now, even the Green Party is taking a new look at the issue -- as shown in e-mails obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Germany's renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country's electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is €35 billion per year.

But there's a catch: The climate hasn't in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven't prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.

Even more surprising, the European Union's own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn't change -- no matter how many wind turbines are erected.

Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn't widely known to the public. Even Germany's government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications. (Der Spiegel)

Poland before Tribunal for CO emissions - Poland will stand before the European Tribunal in Luxembourg in relation to requirements put forth by the European Union to limit CO2 emissions by 2012.

Warsaw has positioned itself against the European Commission’s (EC) decision to limit CO2 emissions by one-third in the coming three years.

The Polish government has filed a suit against the EC because it interferes with Poland’s energy security plans and economic interests, considering that the country depends upon coal for 90 percent of its energy needs.

The European Commission’s main argument is that the criteria for establishing CO2 emission levels were agreed upon and considered just by every EU member state.

The trial starts today, but the decision from the Tribunal will come in several months time.

Poland is supported in this case by other EU member states who take up a similar stance, including Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania. Representatives from those member states will be present at the Tribunal today. The United Kingdom, however, will send representatives to the Tribunal to support the EC. (mmj)

Kelp Genetics Reveals Ice Age Climate Clues - SINGAPORE - Sea ice extended further north in the Southern Ocean during the last Ice Age than previously thought, a New Zealand research team has found in a study that could improve predictions of climate change.

The team from the University of Otago, led by PhD student Ceridwen Fraser, delved deep into the genetic code of modern-day bull kelp from samples taken from many sub-Antarctic islands, as well as New Zealand and Chile.

The findings showed that southern bull kelp, Durvillaea antarctica, had only recolonized the sub-Antarctic islands in the past 20,000 years after the retreat of sea ice.

The kelp live in the shallow inter-tidal zone and were destroyed by the scouring motion of sea ice across the sea bed.

"We found this pattern that there is a lot of genetic diversity further north and next to no diversity further south, which suggests that it's just recently been colonized by the species," Fraser told Reuters from Dunedin in New Zealand on Wednesday.

The findings challenge current data of the estimated extent of sea ice based on sediment core samples from the Southern Ocean seabed. In some areas, there is abundant data, in others very little because of the remoteness of the vast ocean. (Reuters)

Climatic Effects of 30 Years of Landscape Change over the Greater Phoenix AZ, Region: Part II by Georgescu et al. 2009 - Guest Weblog By Matei Georgescu

Previously, the modeled effect of observed (from the early 1970s to the early 2000s) land use/land cover change (LULCC) over one of the most rapidly developing regions in the US, the semi-arid Greater Phoenix [AZ] region, was shown to have an important impact on the surface energy budget and the near-surface atmosphere (e.g., temperature, dewpoint temperature; see). We address the role of these surface budget changes and subsequent repartitioning of energy on the mesoscale dynamics/thermodynamics of the region, their impact on convective rainfall, and the association with the synoptic scale North American Monsoon (NAM) circulation in a follow-up paper: Georgescu, M., G. Miguez-Macho, L. T. Steyaert, and C. P. Weaver (2009), Climatic effects of 30 years of landscape change over the Greater Phoenix, Arizona, region: 2. Dynamical and thermodynamical response, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JD010762, in press. (subscription required) (Climate Science)

Hmm... do 'credits' actually survive the current agreement? Russia to Sit on $56 Billion of CO2 Credits, Awaiting Kyoto Successor Before Cashing In - Russia reportedly plans to sit on $56 billion worth of carbon credits until after 2012 rather than sell them in the trading market created by the Kyoto global-warming treaty.

The implications of this are significant. It means there is less chance the market price of a carbon credit will implode during the global recession. In turn, this makes it more likely that carbon trading, although highly controversial, will be seen in 2009 as a financial success worthy of being extended beyond 2012 under a new international treaty still to be negotiated. (

Oil industry ready to work on global warming - HOUSTON: Confronted with a sharp change of priorities in Washington, international oil executives are expressing an eagerness to work with President Barack Obama to fashion new policies to tackle global warming.

At an industry conference here this week, the executives struck a conciliatory tone on how to limit the emissions that are contributing to climate change, with many of them sounding like budding conservationists as they stressed energy efficiency and the need to develop renewable fuels.

At the same time, they declared that the country would still need oil for a long time, and sought to persuade the new administration of the need for more drilling off the nation's coasts. (IHT)

No shortage of ignorant rhetoric: Ocean Advocates Slam Expanded U.S. Offshore Drilling - WASHINGTON - Ocean advocates from Hollywood to North Carolina's fragile beaches on Wednesday assailed a proposed expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling along the entire U.S. East Coast and four parts of California.

"Ecosystems are disrupted top to bottom by the short and long term effects of oil," Ted Danson, actor and founder of American Oceans Campaign, told the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee.

"More oil spills mean less abundant oceans. More oil spills mean fewer wonderful, pristine beaches. More oil spills mean fewer jobs," he said.

Danson spoke one day after U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar extended the period for public comment on the Bush administration plan to expand offshore drilling, delaying any decision until September. (Reuters)

Coal Industry To Obama: Friend Or foe? - NEW YORK - President Obama appears committed to developing clean coal technology and his administration might not be as opposed to the fossil fuel as the industry feared, analysts and mining experts say.

Coal producers, blamed by environmentalists for causing global warming through carbon emissions, were wary of a new administration pledging to advance alternative energy sources.

The miners watched as Nobel laureate Steven Chu, the new head of the Energy Department, called coal -- that generates half America's electricity -- "my worst nightmare."

And Carole Browner, who will coordinate White House policy on energy, climate and environmental issues, and who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under Bill Clinton, is an advocate of the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change.

Even Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is responsible for drilling and mining leases on federal land, was a former environmental lawyer and architect of Colorado's land conservation program, who forced mining and oil operations to protect the environment.

But under Obama, those positions may not be so hard and fast and the coal industry could benefit in the long-term, the observers believe. (Reuters)

Consumers Energy Delays Michigan Coal Power Project - NEW YORK - Consumers Energy said Wednesday it pushed back the planned start-up of a proposed 800-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Michigan from 2015 to 2017 due to regulatory delays and a request by the state governor for further review on new coal plants.

Last week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, put plans for seven coal plants on hold pending further review and called on the state to reduce use of fossil fuels for generating electricity to 45 percent by 2020.

Consumers, a unit of CMS Energy Corp, applied with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for an environmental permit in the fall of 2007. A spokesman at Consumers said the company expected a draft permit in the spring of 2008.

But the company was still waiting for the draft permit when the MDEQ recently put a hold on issuing draft permits until it completes an analysis of the need for the coal plant and alternatives. (Reuters)

California Utility In Big Solar Thermal Deal - LOS ANGELES - Southern California Edison said on Wednesday it signed a series of contracts with BrightSource Energy for the supply of 1,300 megawatts of clean solar thermal power.

The California utility, a unit of Edison International, continues its practice of buying power from renewable power developers like BrightSource rather than owning the generation assets itself, said Stuart Hemphill, head of SCE's renewable power efforts.

Privately-held BrightSource has agreed to build and place in commercial operation seven projects. Once completed, the projects will be able to serve about 845,000 households during peak-demand afternoon hours in Southern California. (Reuters)

For East Europe, Geothermal Can Replace Some Gas - MAKO - Lajos Barath last year took an ancient route to energy for his hospital. Switching the heating and hot water entirely to geothermal energy, he was building on a Roman discovery continued by the Turks.

Besides saving energy costs, the two wells 2,150 meters (7,000 feet) deep from which hot water is pumped proved a good investment last month, when Russia cut off gas supplies through Ukraine in freezing midwinter.

"We set up an energy system in our hospital ... which is based on a national treasure," said Barath, director of the Diosszilagyi Samuel Hospital in southeast Hungary where the reputedly therapeutic thermal waters have flowed for decades.

"We channeled the savings into treating patients."

People worldwide have enjoyed hot springs at least since Roman times. Among scant potential alternatives to Russian gas in eastern Europe, experts say geothermal reserves could in the medium term be an option to reduce -- not end -- the dependence on natural gas.

Russia is the only source of gas imports for some eastern European countries including Serbia and Bulgaria. Of Hungary's annual gas consumption of between 13 billion and 14 billion cubic meters, about 80 percent comes from Russia in pipelines that run through Ukraine. (Reuters)

Ford Jumps Back Into Green Car Fray - CHICAGO - Henry Ford once famously said "you can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."

But a renewed commitment to build more fuel-efficient and battery-powered cars and hybrids has become central to the high-stakes turnaround plan at Ford Motor Co as it looks to ride out the industry's worst downturn in decades.

In recent weeks, Ford has shown it wants back in the green car game by detailing an aggressive plan to roll out electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next three years. (Reuters)

USDA Pushing EPA for More Ethanol in Gasoline - On Tuesday (Feb. 10), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urged EPA to increase the quantity of ethanol blended into gasoline from the current amount–10% ethanol per gallon–to some higher percentage, Reuters reports.

Will EPA heed Vilsack’s request or heed the clear implication of, a Web site EPA administers jointly with the Department of Energy?

The EPA/DOE Web site reveals that filling up with ethanol is a big fat money-loser. To see for yourself, click on “Flex-Fuel Vehicles,” then click on “Fuel Economy Information for Flex-Fuel Vehicles,” and then click on “Go.”

EPA and DOE compare the average annual cost of using regular gasoline and E-85 (motor fuel blended with 85% ethanol) for 90 different flex-fuel models. In every case, regardless of make or model, fueling the vehicle with E-85 costs more than gasoline—lots more. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

A bowl of chocolates - Readers may remember Carrie, who had shared her heartbreaking story two years ago when she found herself surrounded by a workplace wellness program that was so unhealthy for her, she had been forced to resign from her job. Her story was among several shared in “See those frowny faces.” This week, she revisited that difficult time, offering some valuable insights that come with years and healing. (Junkfood Science)

<chuckle> Best argument against 'organic' and 'natural' you've ever seen: State of nature: how modern humans lived as nomads for 99 per cent of our history - Until about 10,000 years ago there were few, if any, permanent homes or villages. People moved around all the time, from place to place.

Perhaps the biggest long-term strength of the hunter-gatherers' lifestyle was that it provided an inbuilt control on the overall level of human population. Hunter-gatherers relied on travelling by foot so it was necessary for them to have their children well spaced apart – one every four or five years at most – so they didn't have to carry too many children at once. A stable population of about 5 million hunter-gathering humans lived on Earth for tens of thousands of years, without the population increasing significantly overall. It was a natural limit, a sustainable level, founded on a nomadic way of life.

So what happened? Why did 5 million humans who had lived for tens of thousands of years as hunter-gatherers change the habits of generations and turn to a radical, new, and much more demanding way of life? (The Independent)

So, unaided (and 100% natural and organic) the planet only supports 5 million people? Thank heavens for industrial agriculture and human ingenuity then, we've increased the carrying capacity of the world by 130,000%, so far :)

Insanitary insanity - The interval between prediction and outcome seems to be shrinking. Not that the rat explosion merits the title of prediction, since it was an outcome that was obvious to anyone except an idiot or a professional politician. It was adumbrated in a piece entitled STENCH in these pages less than two years ago. More worrying is the fact that related forecasts have serious outcomes that are not so obvious. When fly-borne diseases begin to increase in the warmer weather, it will no doubt be reported as an unfortunate random event (or even yet another outcome of global warming). (Number Watch)

Greenies stealing more of your rights: McGuinty vows to stop wind-farm NIMBYs - LONDON, Ont. – Taking a swipe at those who oppose wind turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs, Premier Dalton McGuinty is signalling he won't hesitate to foist "green" energy projects on communities across Ontario.

Only safety and environmental concerns will be legitimate objections to biofuel plants, solar panel fields and wind turbines under a green energy act to be proposed this month, the premier said yesterday in a speech on the economy. (Toronto Star)

Angry survivors blame council 'green' policy - ANGRY residents last night accused local authorities of contributing to the bushfire toll by failing to let residents chop down trees and clear up bushland that posed a fire risk. (The Age)

Unfortunately they are right, dopey greenies with nothing better to do have become prolific in all levels of government here and they seem to believe bush has to be protected from people but not catastrophic fire. In my council region it is illegal to even remove fallen timber from the roadside (some bug might like to live there, apparently). Even worse, powerline maintenance workers are prohibited from even removing branches beyond a 2 meter (about 6 feet 7 inches) clearance around overhead lines in urban regions, so branches toppling onto powerlines become major ignition sources each summer. Even major transmission lines are subject to ridiculous restrictions on bush and regrowth clearance.

Green rules, black forests - This nature-first faith must now be junked at last:

LAST year the Wilderness Society published a six-point action plan to “reduce bushfire risks and help to protect people, property, wildlife and their habitat”. The society asserted that a “massive increase in hazard reduction burning and firebreaks is destroying nature, pushing wildlife closer to extinction and in many cases increasing the fire risk to people and properties by making areas more fire prone”.

Roger Underwood, a former firefighter and now chairman of Bush Fire Front, sets the record straight:

In fact there has been no massive increase in prescribed burning; statistics demonstrate that this practice has declined since the 1980s right across southern Australia. And no species of wildlife in Australia can be said to be on the brink of extinction because of prescribed burning. As we saw last weekend in Victoria, the real threat to wildlife is killer bushfires, which are a consequence of insufficient prescribed burning.

An example of what this faith led us to:

THEY were labelled law breakers, fined $50,000 and left emotionally and financially drained. But seven years after the Sheahans bulldozed trees to make a fire break — an act that got them dragged before a magistrate and penalised — they feel vindicated. Their house is one of the few in Reedy Creek still standing....

Mr Sheahan is still angry about his prosecution, which cost him $100,000 in fines and legal fees. The council’s planning laws allow trees to be cleared only when they are within six metres of a house. Mr Sheahan cleared trees up to 100 metres away from his house.

More on fuel reduction burns - and why we didn’t do them - tomorrow. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Just Vandana Shiva, again: AGRICULTURE-INDIA: Looking Beyond Wheat and Rice - BANGALORE, Feb 11 - Food security experts say India must wean itself away from dependence on wheat and rice and look to the sub-continent’s rich agro-diversity in order to address the kind of food crisis that hit the country last year - as well as longer-standing nutrition deficiency issues.

Traditionally Indians have depended on a vast variety of grains and cereals such as millet, maize, corn, barley, rye and lentils, as well as a variety of temperate and tropical fruits and vegetables to keep themselves in good nutritional health, according to noted environmentalist Ashish Kothari.

But a skewed agricultural policy and a subsidised public distribution system (PDS) has limited millions of poor and middle-class Indians to a diet that leans too heavily on wheat or rice, ignoring especially the nutritional value of coarse grains, said Kothari.

"The reason only rice and wheat are promoted in the PDS system is because rice and wheat were promoted as chemical monocultures under the ‘Green Revolution’,’’ Vandana Shiva, the internationally-known, India-based food security expert told IPS.

February 11, 2009

Fearmongers Never Quit - Since the 1960s Western Society has been in the grip of a remarkable and very dangerous psychological phenomenon. Again and again we have seen the rise of some great fear, centered on a mysterious new threat to human health and well-being.

As a result, we are told, large numbers of people will suffer or die. Salmonella in eggs; listeria in cheese; BSE in beef; dioxins in poultry; the Millennium Bug; DDT; nitrate in water; vitamin B6; Satanic child abuse; asbestos; SARS; Asian bird flu—the list is seemingly endless. Indeed, we are currently in the grip of the greatest of such fear of all: that of a warming of the world’s climate which, we are officially told, could well put an end to much of civilized world as we know it, report Christopher Booker and Richard North. (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

Hoping he takes his own advice: Scientists Take Action If They Trust Their Own Evidence - I have lately been thinking that we are coming down to the go/no-go moment in terms of preventing the Siberian methane tipping point from avalanching into unstoppable global warming. I have been thinking it is time for scientists around the world who trust their own global warming evidence to withdraw from the system that propagates the global warming.

Withdrawal from the system would be neither symbolic nor philosophical. Withdrawal would be sudden, total and drastic. (Clinton Callahan, OEN)

In a hilarious kind of way Callahan is right on the money: if gorebull warming gravy train riders believed any of this crap they wouldn't keep flying to exotic holiday destinations to talk about it, they wouldn't be accepting lucrative "environmental" prizes and living the high life but would just stop consuming (presumably this also means Callahan will smash his computer and walk off into the sunset -- bon voyage). We wish them all well in their new non-endeavors.

Science of global warming doesn't support the hype - Did last week have anyone questioning global warming?

Think how people in Chicago feel. They're going through the coldest winter in a quarter-century, and the ninth-coldest of all time.

Of course, none of this contradicts the theory that we are turning Planet Earth into a convection oven.

It goes something like this: If the planet is warm, it is because of global warming. If the planet is cold, it is in spite of global warming.

I've noticed this dynamic in play for quite some time. Whenever the weather smacks us around, be it a Midwest flood, a Florida drought, a New Orleans hurricane or a California wildfire, it is blamed on Hummers.

Those who dispute this are one of the following: dumb, misinformed, skeptics, members of the flat-earth society, members of the Cato Institute or paid off by Exxon.

And the beauty of this juggernaut is that it has inoculated itself against dissent by labeling, in advance, any dissenters as deniers. (Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel)

And now I am one of the evil "deniers!'' - My column questioning the zeal of global-warming advocates noted that they innoculate themselves against dissent by attacking the dissenters as dimwitted deniers. True to form, many of those attacking the column accused me of everything from being a Bush stooge to pandering for web clicks to pandering for a job. It's impossible, it seems, for anyone to even suggest we keep an open mind on this theory without being a fool or having evil intent.

They are, in effect, proving one of the main points I was trying to make.

Climate change has gone from being a science to being two competing political movements. This does not bode well for getting at the truth behind our impact on global warming. (Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel)

Obama's cabinet greenery - President Barack Obama’s initial agency department secretary nominees for State, Treasury, Defense and Housing and Urban Development were greeted as moderates, or at least familiar Clinton-era casting. However, Obama’s nominees for Energy Secretary, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and his new White House climate policy czar are the sort of green activists whose ecopolitics would retard America’s economic recovery from the deepening economic recession, and punish future prosperity. Obama’s more recent nominees for The Department of the Interior Secretary and chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are also climate activists. All would move precipitously to a “cap-and-trade” system where carbon dioxide (CO2) emission credits are bought and sold under government market regulations in pursuit of greenhouse gas reductions and global warming mitigation. Government would attempt to use CO2 as a global climate change thermostat. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Green ideology ‘as deadly as Communism’ - A Catholic charity has launched a scathing attack on the Green movement, describing the excesses of environmentalism as an ideology every bit as dangerous as Communism.

While global warming should be a "crucial issue" for the Church, worshippers must be deeply sceptical about many of the claims made by the environmentalist lobby, a new booklet published by the bishops of England and Wales has said.

Written by Russell Sparkes, an expert in ethical investments, it argues that there is a proven tendency among some "Deep Green" activists to exaggerate the threat of global warming to vindicate their calls for government measures to "forcibly" move the world toward a "sustainable path". (Catholic Herald)

Battle of the climate scientists - Gray versus Hansen part 2 - Last week I wrote about an extremely strongly worded letter from William Gray to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) objecting to their awarding James Hansen their highest award. This letter pits two of the giants in meteorology and climatology against each other in the debate over manmade climate change and global warming. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Rethinking a global post-Kyoto solution - Initiatives to counter climate change have to be ecologically sustainable and economically viable

New ways of thinking on climate change are needed if the world is to create a workable post-Kyoto Protocol framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, European scholars told a recent symposium in Tokyo.

Solutions to climate change must be ecologically sustainable and economically viable, the scholars said, stressing that the participation of all major emitters is crucial to building an effective tool against the rapidly expanding concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (Japan Times)

D'oh! Plunging price of carbon may threaten investment - The price of carbon has lost almost two-thirds of its value in the past six months, threatening future investments in the energy sector and undermining confidence in the second phase of Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). An EU permit to emit one tonne of CO2 cost €10.15 (£8.86) at the end of last week, down from €28.50 in mid-2008 and a far cry from forecasts of up to €40.

The most bearish experts are now predicting that the price could fall as low as €9 as global recession, reduced manufacturing output, and the concomitant reduction in consumption of fossil fuels, feeds through to reduce the need for carbon emissions permits.

The danger is that business plans for infrastructure projects like power stations and wind farms will founder. In the first phase of the EU ETS, which ran from 2005 to 2008, permits were vastly over-issued, pushing the price of carbon to less than €1 and rendering the mechanism meaningless as a predictable revenue stream.

A major price drop in the second phase of the scheme, which runs to 2012, could cause a repeat crisis of confidence by throwing future projections into question. (The Independent)

Less-colding is good for critters? Who knew... Amid warming, birds shift north - WASHINGTON - When it comes to global warming, the canary in the coal mine isn't a canary at all. It's a purple finch.

As the temperature across the United States has gotten higher, the purple finch has been spending its winters more than 400 miles farther north than it used to.

And it's not alone.

An Audubon Society study to be released today found that more than half of 305 bird species in North America, a hodgepodge that includes robins, gulls, chickadees, and owls, are spending the winter about 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago.

The purple finch was the farthest northward mover. Its wintering grounds are now more along the latitude of Milwaukee instead of Springfield, Mo.

Bird ranges can expand and shift for many reasons, among them urban sprawl, deforestation, and the supplemental diet provided by backyard feeders. But researchers say the only explanation for why so many birds over such a broad area are wintering in more northern locales is global warming. (Associated Press)

A New Article On Florida Climate Change - Thanks to David F. Zierden, State Climatologist at The Florida Climate Center, for alerting us to this recent new article in Florida Trend by Cynthia Barnett titled “Climate Change - It’s Hot But Don’t Blame Global Warming" - Some Florida cities are getting hotter, but the evolution has more to do with bulldozers and pavement than global warming. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Risk To Lives To Cold Weather In The United Kingdom - There is an interesting statement on the risk associated from cold in the United Kingdom from the UK Met Office Website (see).

“An amber alert is triggered when there is a high possibility of a particularly cold spell occurring in the next few days. This is important as there are over 25,000 excess deaths each winter in this country, many of which are preventable. Action taken at this stage can greatly benefit vulnerable groups as the cold weather arrives.”

This is why we need a comprehensive assessment of the vulnerability of society to climate, rather than a focus on the narrow view expressed in the 2007 IPCC assessments of climate change. The current protracted period of well below average temperatures and periods of snow in the UK should be a wake-up call to policymakers that they need to think more broadly in terms of climate policy, than their nearly exclusive focus on the human input of carbon dioxide. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Global Warming Hysteria: Well, 3 Outta 4 Ain’t Bad - Wow. Al Gore has finally been successful at something other than raising money from Chinese Nationals (there’s no controlling legal authority!). It seems his un-merry band of alarmists is winning the war over public perception of global warming — and in a very fearful way. (Chilling Effect)

Global warming is not our fault … it's nature - DR JIM Buckee says he feels like a heretic, persecuted for his views and treated like an outcast. His crime? Being a climate change sceptic.

Next week the former chief executive of the oil and gas firm Talisman, who has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Oxford, will try to convince others that climate change has nothing to do with human activity.

During a lecture at the University of Aberdeen he will argue that, far from warming, the Earth is set to enter a 20-year cooling period.

Dr Buckee believes human behaviour has no effect on the climate and the vast sums spent by governments trying to promote renewable energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions are being wasted.

Far from being a key cause of climate change, he says, carbon dioxide emissions have little or no impact. (The Scotsman)

From CO2 Science this week:

Changes in the Ranges of European Wading Birds: How did the waders adjust to the warming of the last two decades of the 20th century? ... and what is the important lesson to be learned from the result?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 664 individual scientists from 389 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from South Bay, near San Francisco, California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Solar Influence on Temperature (Global): Is there evidence for a sun-temperature link at the global scale?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Corn, Garden Pea, Lambsquarters, and Redroot Amaranth.

Journal Reviews:
Paleotempestology: A Review of the Fledgling Research Field: What does the evolving enterprise reveal about the connection between global warming and tropical cyclone activity?

A Review of Mid- to Late-Holocene Climate Change: Do the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age survive the critical analysis of an international team of 18 climate specialists?

Holocene Climatic Change in the North American Great Plains: How unique is the region's modern warmth?

Dengue Fever in the Modern World: To what should we look for an explanation of its recent global expansion?

Effects of CO2 and Ozone on Volatile Organic Compounds Emitted by Transgenic and Non-Transgenic Oilseed Rape: What are the effects? ... and why do we care? (

Obama administration seeks more input on offshore drilling - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday extended by 180 days the public comment period on a 5-year proposal to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

The Bush administration had drawn up an expanded offshore drilling plan during the final days of its term, setting a 60-day comment period for the proposal.

New U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would add another 180 days for public comment, providing a total of 240 days to review the drilling plan through this September. (Reuters)

People are funny critters. For gorebull warming nonsense, more absurd activities one could not envisage, there is unseemly haste to the point of headlong rush. For a no-brainer like accessing domestic energy resources, delay and obstruction. Weird.

Funds to fuel green energy run dry - BRUSSELS: Investors in clean energy are like motorists stuck at broken traffic lights. The public policy light is green, but the price and credit lights are deep red.

Investment in wind, wave and solar power should be booming after the European Union adopted an ambitious goal last year to draw 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 to help fight global warming, and President Barack Obama made green power a central plank of his government's policy.

But the credit crunch, economic recession, the spectacular fall in oil prices since last July and a record low European carbon price have cooled investors' ardor.

New Energy Finance, a consultancy, forecast zero investment growth in climate-related companies this year, after a spectacular growth rate of 60 percent in 2006 and 2007. (Reuters)

Economic downturn hits carbon jobs - The global economic slowdown continues to take its toll on the carbon market, with a series of redundancies and consolidations taking place across all sectors of the market.

London-listed project developer EcoSecurities is to close its US consultancy office in Oregon this month, reducing its US headcount by a third. The move follows a round of redundancies last year. (Carbon Finance)

Dingell balances cars, environment - Outdoorsman's lead role in water, air and wildlife protection dates to 1960s

WASHINGTON -- John Dingell's favorite job was being a national park ranger as a young man in Colorado and Washington state, paid to ride horses, trap bears, fight fires and blow up beaver dams.

"I would have paid them to do the job," says Dingell, whose love of the outdoors includes fishing and hunting -- as attested to by the marlin, Russian boar head and other trophies on his office walls.

From his earliest days in Congress, Dingell -- who has fought tirelessly to protect the auto industry, blamed in part for environmental problems -- also spearheaded laws to clean up the nation's rivers and air, and protect threatened animals.

"We forget that our skies once hung heavy with acids and soot, and that we were dumping raw sewage into the Great Lakes and other waters," said Larry Schweiger, the president of the National Wildlife Federation. "John fought for clean air. And he pushed legislation that saved the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the gray wolf. He was a champion for the environment way before it was fashionable." (Detroit News)

The E debate: Electronic economics - Included in the economic stimulus bill that goes to vote today is funding that will put the medical records of every American into electronic form with no ability of people to opt-out or give their consent.

This morning, the Washington Post described the lobbying debates that took place in the legislature, saying: “At the heart of the debate is how to strike a balance between protecting patient privacy and expanding the health industry’s access to vast and growing databases of information on the health status and medical care of every American.” (Junkfood Science)

Australian doctors are introduced to the evidence for lifestyle medicine - The current issue of the Medical Journal of Australia includes a “lifestyle medicine” section, featuring an article by Garry J Egger, Andrew F Binns and Stephan R Rossner. They literally wrote the book on Lifestyle Medicine. Their book is the core curriculum for the postgraduate Master of Clinical Science in Lifestyle Medicine program at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, and forms the guiding principles used by the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA).

As they explain, lifestyle medicine is not conventional medicine, it’s the latest alternative modality sweeping the world. Alternative medicine is becoming mainstream. (Junkfood Science)

Fast food near schools linked to obesity - NEW YORK - Adolescents who go to school within a half-mile of a fast-food restaurant are more likely to be overweight or obese than kids whose schools are further away, new research suggests.

The young people in the study also ate fewer servings of fruits and vegetables and drank more soda if there was at least one fast food restaurant within a half-mile radius of their school, Drs. Brennan Davis of Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California and Christopher Carpenter of the University of California at Irvine found.

"Overall, our patterns are consistent with the idea that fast food near schools affects students' eating habits, overweight, and obesity," they conclude in a report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Several studies have demonstrated that fast food restaurants are often clustered within walking distance of schools, but studies looking at whether this affects students' weight or eating habits have not found a link. (Reuters Health)

Looking for answers in the ashes - What went wrong on Black Saturday? Why did so many people die? Why was the property loss so great? We need to know to prevent a repetition, writes Frank Campbell. (Frank Campbell, The Age)

Nature's fury fuels debate on burn-offs - The power of nature's wrath has never been so acutely felt.

It is also a salient reminder of how much work must be done to live alongside nature.

Humans always have sought to control their environment in some way. It is a characteristic of developed communities.

Leaving our fate in nature's hands is naive and often inherently dangerous.

The environmentalist argument against controlled burning surely must be silent forever. The fuel that fed hell's fury over the weekend could have been a lot less.

National parks, state forests and crown lands must be managed and that means a program of prescribed burning during cooler months to rid the undergrowth of fire fuel.

And private landowners should be able to access fire permits much easier than they now for the same process.

The greenies' belief that national parks and state forests should be locked up and left alone is a nonsense and shows an appalling lack of understanding of Australian biodiversity and environmental history.

Exotic weeds and trees grow rampantly in our national parks and should be culled by all means possible -- including controlled burning. Any notion that our national parks are pristine wildernesses is misplaced.

After the Black Friday bushfires of 1939, Victoria began burning off heavy undergrowth. It doesn't prevent bushfires, but it reduces their severity by robbing them of masses of kindling.

Gradually, political correctness took over the management of rural lands and burn-offs were branded as being environmentally unfriendly, contributing to global warming and denuding the forest floor of habitats.

The forest rubbish grew by the tonne every year, creating a haven for noxious weeds and vermin rather than delicate native species.

The Australian landscape does not respond well to political correctness. So like the Aborigines did for thousands of years, we must reinstate controlled burning as a vital tool in the management of our land. (The Bulletin)

State of Victoria's forests fanned bushfire inferno - STATE and federal governments have been accused of succumbing to pressure from the green lobby by abandoning responsibility for controlled burning of forests, despite growing populations in bushland suburbs.

As the death toll from the Victorian bushfires topped 130 yesterday, fire control experts said forest managers had failed to learn the lessons of past infernos such as Ash Wednesday in 1983 and the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

They said too little was being done to thin out the bush to protect lives and property against extreme weather conditions that fuelled the fatal Victorian blazes.

David Packham, a researcher from Monash University's climatology group who has specialised in bushfires, said governments had abandoned responsibility for the one control they had over wildfires -- the state of the forests that fed the flames.

"Due to terribly ill-informed and pretty well outrageous concepts of conservation, we have failed to manage our fuel and our forests," Mr Packham said. "They have become unhealthy, and dangerous."

Phil Cheney, formerly head of the CSIRO's bushfire research unit, said the number of Victorian fatalities "absolutely" would have been lower with more prescribed burning.

Mr Cheney said he was "totally frustrated" at the failure of governments to reduce the forest density after repeated inquiries into fire deaths recommended such a strategy. (The Australian)

Victoria bushfires stoked by green vote - VICTORIA has suffered the most tragic bushfire disaster to have occurred on this continent throughout its period of human habitation.

The deaths, loss of homes and businesses and the blow to our feeling of security will take decades to fade into history. The trauma will live with the victims, who, to a greater or lesser extent, are all of us.

How could this happen when we have been told in a withering, continuous barrage of public relations that with technology and well-polished uniforms, we can cope with the unleashing of huge forces of nature.

I have been a bushfire scientist for more than 50 years, dealing with all aspects of bushfires, from prescribed burning to flame chemistry, and serving as supervisor of fire weather services for Australia. We need to understand what has happened so that we can accept or prevent future fire disasters.

That this disaster was about to happen became clear when the weather bureau issued an accurate fire weather forecast last Wednesday, which prompted me, as a private citizen, to raise the alarm through a memo distributed to concerned residents.

The science is simple. A fire disaster of this nature requires a combination of hot, dry, windy weather in drought conditions. It also requires a source of ignition. In the past, this purpose has been served by lightning. In this disaster, lightning has not played a big part, and for this Victorians should be grateful. But other sources of ignition are ever-present. When the temperature and wind increase to extreme levels, small events -- perhaps the scrape of metal across a rock, a transformer overheating or sparks from a diesel engine -- are capable of starting a fire that can in minutes become unstoppable if the fuel is present.

The third and only controllable factor in this deadly triangle is fuel: the dead leaves, pieces of bark and grass that become the gas that feeds the 50m high flames that roar through the bush with the sound of jet engines. (David Packham, The Australian)

February 10, 2009

A rational environment minister? Seems hard to believe but... Northern Ireland environment minister bans climate change ads - BELFAST — Northern Ireland's environment minister came under fire Monday after he banned a climate change ad campaign, saying it was "nonsense" to suggest people could save the world by turning off their lights.

Sammy Wilson, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party which shares power with Sinn Fein in the British-ruled province, believes mankind is not to blame for global warming.

He refused to allow an advertising campaign produced in London, which urges people to use less energy in the home, to be broadcast in Northern Ireland, saying it was simply "propaganda".

He argued the ads gave people "the impression that by turning off the standby light on their TV they could save the world from melting glaciers and being submerged in 40 feet of water", according to the BBC.

"That is patent nonsense," Wilson added.

The Green party's representative in the Northern Ireland assembly, Brian Wilson, accused the minister of being "grossly irresponsible", while the Friends of the Earth environmental pressure group called on him to resign. (AFP)

Quit call over blocked green ad - A Northern Ireland minister's decision to block a government advertisement campaign on climate change has led to a call for his removal from office. (BBC)

DUP's Wilson defiant after banning energy-saving ads - Northern Ireland’s Environment minister tonight said he had no intention of resigning over his controversial decision to ban a climate-change advertising campaign.

Environmentalists have demanded Sammy Wilson’s removal from office after he blocked TV and radio ads urging people to reduce their carbon output and use less energy in the home.

The Green party has tabled a motion in the Stormont assembly calling for the minister be sacked, while environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth also said he had to go.

But the DUP representative, who believes mankind is not to blame for global warming, said he was not going to be forced out of a job by people who don’t accept his point of view.

“Why should I resign?” asked the East Antrim MP. “I fulfil all my ministerial obligations in all areas of my department and the idea that I should resign just because I hold a different view from other people on what is a very controversial topic is nonsense. And it just shows the intolerance of these people if they think I should resign because I have a different opinion.” (Irish Times)

Environmental Lesson Plans Drawing Praise, Concern - Could environmental education be crossing into environmental indoctrination? Some critics say yes, as schools boast that such curricula simply is teaching children ways of caring for the earth.

Being a "good" student at Western Avenue Elementary School in Flossmoor, Ill., means more than just doing reading, writing and arithmetic well. It also means trying to save the planet.

"It's really important to help the earth and save the polar bears," 9-year-old Duree Everett said, as she colored a "go green" sign at her desk.

The students are taking part in what's called "National Green Week," organized by the Green Education Foundation. Schools across the country are encouraged to teach children about recycling, global warming and carbon footprints. (FNC)

Speaking of indoctrination... Science teacher takes 2nd graders on virtual Arctic trek - Remember your second grade teacher? Some students in Arlington may never forget theirs.

Julie Schneider, who teaches second grade at K. W. Barrett Elementary in Arlington will be heading to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada later this month for an eleven day Arctic trek. It's part of a fellowship from the Earthwatch Institute.

"I will be going out each day into the field and collecting data on the permafrost" say Schneider who will then have live video conferences with her students to explain what she is doing.

Schneider says thawing permafrost releases carbon, increasing a concentration of greenhouse gases. It's an indication of global warming. To prepare her students for their lessons between February 28th and March 10th, they are now reading a book about Winston, the polar bear.

"He's a polar bear who lives in Churchill, Manitoba and he rallies all the other polar bears to tell the tourists to stop releasing carbons into the atmosphere and that they need to save the earth." (WTOP Radio)

We could wish... Are Environmental Journalists Becoming an Endangered Species? Wilson Center Panel Examines Future of Science Journalism - WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 -- Even as interest in environmental issues skyrockets, the reporters who cover these topics are being laid off left and right. At the Wilson Center on February 12, four journalists and media experts will discuss this and other issues:

* What does the future hold for science and environmental journalism, in print, broadcast, and online?
* Will the new administration change the strained relationship between environmental agencies and reporters?
* Will the renewed focus on climate change lead to the rebirth of environmental journalism -- but outside of the traditional media? (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

Vacationing on Venus Basic Geology Series Part 1 - Guest post by Steven Goddard

In some ways, Venus is similar to earth. It is about the same size as the earth, has a nickel-iron core, and has volcanic activity due to radioactive heating in the interior. But that is where the similarities end. Venus has some serious problems as a vacation spot - mainly that it is extremely hot and the atmosphere is a thick cloud of sulfuric acid, CO2 and other unpleasant chemicals.

So how did Venus get to be like that, and why is the earth different? (Watts Up With That?)

Damn fools: Fires, floods pressure government - CANBERRA - AUSTRALIA'S deadliest bushfires, and devastating floods in the nation's tropical north, will increase pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to take firmer action on climate change, environmentalists said on Monday.

At least 108 people were killed in wildfires, fuelled by a record heatwave in southern Victoria state over the past two days, while large areas of Queensland state remain flooded.

Green groups said the severe weather was a result of climate change and would increase pressure on Rudd to take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, when he introduces a new climate policy to parliament in May.

'Climate change is an issue like no other. As the impact continues to intensify, so too will the political pressure for action and events like this will become more commonplace,' Climate Institute director John Connor told Reuters on Monday. (Reuters)

Much of Australia is dry and prone to bushfires, been so for a really long time. People foolishly choose to live in the bush and even more foolishly listen to green wackos and consequently fail to clear really large firebreaks around individual properties and communities, now the inevitable consequences are being reaped. Should everyone rally and send cash and support to people suffering the inevitable consequences of their stupidity? Of course not. The appropriate way of dealing with these fires is to run away well in advance (they had at least a week's warming the danger was extreme) and, should the property be flambéed in their absence, well, that's what insurance is for.

For the most part the so-called victims of tragedy are dumb townies who bought and built in fire traps seeking the rural lifestyle, then expected everyone else to put themselves at risk to save them and their fire-prone property. None of this has the slightest to do with "climate change" and everything to do with a series of really bad decisions. If you are really serious about "preventing bushfires" there is only one way to do it -- level the bush. The sensible option, of course, is to get out of the way and let nature take its course and fire is such a natural feature of Australia that many of the indigenous plants actually require it to open seed pods while others have new buds under a layer of wet bark ready to explode into new growth after fire clears the competition (it's a race to exploit the space and fire-released nutrients in the ash).

Meanwhile, the wet north is monsoon country and seasonal floods are the expectation, not the exception. There is nothing particularly unusual going on with Australian weather and the only notable feature is people being stupid enough to think the inevitable will not occur.

More of this nonsense: Climate change will bring extreme weather' - CLIMATE change experts have warned that severe weather events are likely to occur more often in Australia as global warming of the planet continues.

Commenting on the Victorian fires, climatologist Professor David Karoly told the ABC's Lateline program last night that hot temperatures in Melbourne on Saturday and in many parts of southeastern Australia were "unprecedented".

"The records were broken by a large amount and you cannot explain that just by natural variability," he said.

"What we are seeing now is that the chances of these sorts of extreme fire weather situations are occurring much more rapidly in the last ten years due to climate change."

Scientist Greg Holland, from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, said it was an unfortunate fact of life that high levels of greenhouse gases would "be with  (AAP)

The geological record shows Australia suffers megadroughts and truly devastating fires during colder periods so the last thing we want down-under is any global cooling.

Is the green lobby destroying the planet? - Have you noticed how the grins on the faces of the global warming crowd are starting to look increasingly sickly? Even climate change zealots are starting to wonder if they've been guilty of scaremongering. (Milo Yiannopoulos, Daily Telegraph)

UN's Ban Hopes Obama to Star at Climate Summit - UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is organizing a summit meeting on climate change next month where he hopes President Barack Obama will confirm a "sea change" in US environment policy, diplomats said.

Several national diplomats and UN officials said they were aware of Ban's plan to invite Obama and the leaders of up to several dozen other countries to New York in late March for what they described as a "mini summit" on climate change ahead of high-level talks on the global financial crisis in London.

"If it happens, this would be Obama's debut appearance at the United Nations," a UN diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "It would also send a strong signal if he comes and uses the occasion to show the world that he wants a sea change by reversing the environmental policies of (President) Bush."

UN officials said Obama had yet to confirm attendance at the summit, which Ban hopes will include "big polluters" like China, India, the United States and other large economies. US officials said Obama had not yet decided whether to attend.

Ban expressed concerns that the financial crisis, which has hit the world's wealthiest nations hard, could cause countries to hold off on investments aimed at fighting global warming. (Reuters)

Amazon Forest May Get Drier, But Survive Warming - OSLO - Amazonian forests may be less vulnerable to dying off from global warming than feared because many projections underestimate rainfall, a study showed.

The report, by scientists in Britain, said Brazil and other nations in the region would also have to act to help avert any irreversible drying of the eastern Amazon, the region most at risk from climate change, deforestation and fires.

"The rainfall regime in eastern Amazonia is likely to shift over the 21st century in a direction that favors more seasonal forests rather than savannah," they wrote in this week's US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, released on Monday.

Seasonal forests have wet and dry seasons rather than the current rainforest, which is permanently drenched. That shift could favor new species of trees, other plants and animals. (Reuters)

From the Nude Socialist: Humans could provide spark that ignites Amazon - In one of the most extreme climate change scenarios, a blistering drought will dry up the Amazon forest, which will ignite and burn away, leaving the world's rain patterns disrupted.

Identifying factors that could tip the forest over the edge and make this scenario a reality is clearly a matter of great importance.

Now new computer models suggest that, although the Amazon will not dry out as much as feared, humans clearing land with fire pose a huge risk as the region dries.

The Amazon doesn't tend to burn on its own, explains Yadvinder Malhi of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment in the UK. This is because non-human causes of ignition, such as lightening, are rare, and dry seasons are short. (New Scientist)

UN chiefs see glimmer of reality but remain wedded to dangerous fantasy - Can there be a Kyoto II without China, India, and the other developing countries getting on board with significant greenhouse-gas emissions reductions? Voices of realism, knowing that consumer and economic factors drive public opinion, doubt it. But there are less realistic voices too. (Marlo Lewis, MasterResource)

Hot And Bothered - Doctors say depression over climate change is growing, while a poll finds 23% of voters believe it's at least somewhat likely that global warming will destroy the world. At least the alarmists are happy. (IBD)

Climate change takes a mental toll - Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of "climate change delusion."

Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.

Such anxiety over current events is not a new phenomenon. Worries about contemporary threats, such as nuclear war or AIDS, have historically been woven into the mental illnesses of each generation. But global warming could have a broader and deeper effect on mental health, even if indirectly.

"Climate change could have a real impact on our psyches," says Paul Epstein, the associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

Over this century, the average global temperature is expected to rise between 1 degrees and 6 degrees Celsius. Glaciers will melt, seas will rise, extremes in precipitation will occur, according to scientists' predictions. (Emily Anthes, Boston Globe)

Actually there are no such "predictions", these numbers are merely the range of computer outputs in response to wild-eyed "scenarios" and "storylines".

Video: Climate Change ... Global Warming ... Global Cooling - A history of climate change and the IPCC, including:

a) IPCC admits that the world is emerging from the Little Ice Age.
b) IPCC claims that recent data can be used to validate its models ... 10 years of cooling shows that the IPCC models are wrong.
c) Data is presented showing that claims of recent "unprecedented" warming are wrong. (Vimeo)

Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions - On April 4 2007 Climate Science published the following weblog A Litmus Test For Global Warming - A Much Overdue Requirement

In that weblog, I wrote “A figure, such as Figure 8 in Willis, J.K., D. Roemmich, and B. Cornuelle, 2004: Interannual variability in upper ocean heat content, temperature, and thermosteric expansion on global scales. J. Geophys. Res., 109, C12036, doi: 10.1029/2003JC002260. should be widely communicated each year (or more frequently). For example, as a requirement to NOT reject the IPCC claim for global warming, Climate Science proposes that on the scale presented in Figure 3 in Willis et al, the left axis in their Figure 8 must exceed the following values in each year... (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Bottom line: according to Hansen & the virtual realm, the upper 700 meters of the oceans should have accumulated ~5.88 * 1022 Joules in the period 2003-2008 while the best estimate for actual accumulation is ~0 Joules.

1,000 Years of Boston Hurricanes - The next highway from Boston to Los Angeles can be paved with articles at odds with the notion that hurricanes are becoming more fierce or frequent or longer-lived thanks to you driving an SUV or flying to Hawaii for a vacation. Our World Climate Report archive is so chalked-full of material on this subject, we wonder if it can stand any more? If the greenhouse crusade would for once say they are wrong on this subject, we would give it up. But with literally millions websites still loudly promoting the link between hurricanes and warming, we are going to stay in business for another essay on the topic. (WCR)

ENSO Research by Kevin Trenberth - In response to an e-mail to Kevin Trenberth with respect to the Climate Science weblog Kevin Trenberth on El Niño - A Tracking Of The Evolution Of His Perspective On This Issue Since 1997, he graciously sent me a list of several papers that present his recent research on The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system. Since, as written in the earlier e-mail, he is one the pioneers in developing an improved understanding of El Niños, this documentation of his perspective is a valuable addition to Climate Science, in its goal to present all scientifically supported (i.e. peer reviewed) perspectives. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

World's scientists to issue Copenhagen warning - Global conference will attempt to shape Copenhagen talks by providing update on latest climate science (BusinessGreen)

Megaphone muzzle - New Zealand's Hot Topic blog has an interesting post about alleged attempts to muzzle NASA's James Hansen, the man who started the whole global warming scare some twenty years ago.

You can see clearly just how effective this muzzling was. As soon as Bushchimphitler was elected back in 2000, Hansen's appearances in the news were cut back, and he was scarcely heard of again. He was probably kept incommunicado in some rat-infested hellhole. (Bishop Hill)

Reviewed or Not Reviewed? - Responses to some Readers’ Enquiries about the Scientific Paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered (Physics & Society, July 2008)

A personal statement by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

SEVERAL readers have written to me to enquire why the July 2008 edition of Physics and Society carries a disclaimer saying that my scientific paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered, published in that edition, was “not peer-reviewed”. This memorandum tells the strange story of how this mendacious disclaimer came to appear above my paper some days after publication. Annex 1 reveals the reviewer’s comments on the paper, in full. (SPPI)

Surfacestations now at 70% of the network surveyed - See also the related story on the new Google Earth historical imagery tool here.

I’m pleased to announce that due to the help of many volunteer surveyors, the project has now reached the 70% mark for stations that have been surveyed. 854 out of 1221 USHCN stations have been surveyed. In addition, Thanks to the splendid work of volunteers Gary Boden and Barry Wise, a new Google Earth KML file has been released that not only shows what stations have been surveyed and their ratings, but now includes numbered icons, and embedded links to the online gallery for that USHCN station. (Watts Up With That?)

Sea Level Rise - The scare: An article published in early February 2009 by Jonathan Leake, the environment editor of The Times of London, said “The ice caps are melting so fast that the world’s oceans are rising more than twice as fast as they were in the 1970s.” (SPPI)

Eye-roller: Art under threat from climate change-U.N. experts - OSLO, Feb 8 - Art treasures in tropical nations are under threat from climate change which is likely to speed decay, U.N. experts said on Sunday.

"The art world is made of materials that bugs like," said Jose-Luis Ramirez, head of the U.N. University's programme for biotechnology for Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Climate change is a threat because it is going to increase the amount of fungus and bugs in many regions," he told Reuters of a meeting of experts in Caracas from Feb. 9-12 on new ways to protect art collections. (Reuters)

Emerging economies told to go green or risk losing inward investment - Sustainability is increasingly important to investors targeting Brazil, Russia, India and China, according to new report (BusinessGreen)

Carbon price close to record low as European sell-off continues - Experts predict €10 EUAs could represent good deal for long-term investors (BusinessGreen)

Environment Agency warns Obama's "Green New Deal" puts UK in the shade - As Obama's green-focused stimulus package looks set to pass Senate, the boss of the UK's environment watchdog argues Brown's plans do not bear comparison (BusinessGreen)

“Burn and Bury? The stupidities of carbon geo-sequestration.” - A statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused coal companies, power companies and governments of gross negligence for wasting resources from shareholders, electricity consumers and taxpayers on quixotic dreams to capture and bury carbon dioxide from power stations. (Carbon Sense Coalition)

Were High Oil Prices A Stimulus? - According to the economic theory currently being pedaled in Barack Obama’s Washington, spending huge gobs of money stimulates the economy. Funny, wouldn’t that mean that $4 gasoline should’ve been a stimulus? High energy prices sure had people spending there for a while, in amounts roughly triple what the so-called “stimulus” bill will pump into the economy. Yet the increased cost of this spending is part of what popped the debt bubble and sent the economy downward to begin with.

So, apparently, spending money does not necessarily stimulate growth and stability. What? High energy prices are a special case? Well then, that also doesn’t bode well for the stimulus bill, since nearly $100 billion of the proposed fiscal orgy will be directed specifically to “green” energy – the most expensive kind of energy there is. In fact, I think it might be called green energy because many of the technologies lumped under that banner are about as efficient as just burning dollar bills to generate steam. Now that I think about it, dollar bills, being made from cotton fiber, would probably qualify as biofuel under the bill. (Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune)

Syncrude Faces Charges Over Death of Ducks - CALGARY - The province of Alberta and the Canadian government laid charges against the Syncrude Canada Ltd joint venture on Monday after 500 ducks died in April after landing on a tailings pond at Syncrude's oil sands operation in northern Alberta.

The province alleges Syncrude, the world's biggest oil sands producer, failed to have appropriate deterrents in place to keep the ducks from landing on the huge and toxic waste-water pond.

The ducks became fouled in the tailings pond after a spring snowstorm delayed deployment of the sound cannons that Syncrude uses to keep waterfowl from landing. (Reuters)

Obama Says Renewable Energy Key to Economic Future - WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Monday pushed for more investment in solar and wind energy, saying the country that can make renewable energy sources price-competitive with traditional fossil fuels will become the economic superpower of the future.

Obama, speaking at a townhall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, said renewable energy companies needed tax breaks and loan guarantees to provide incentives for firms to manufacture and customers to purchase solar and wind energy.

Obama acknowledged that while the cost of producing electricity by wind and solar has declined, it is still cheaper to generate power from plants fueled by coal or natural gas.

However, Obama said he wanted the government to invest every year in new technologies to drive down renewable energy costs over the long term. (Reuters)

UK environment czar looking at limiting holiday trips to save CO2 - The UK's so-called "environment czar" last week raised the possibility of rationing air travel, limiting UK citizens to just a few vacation trips abroad by air per year in order to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide emissions.

Adair Turner, chairman of the independent Committee on Climate Change that advises UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, made the proposal before Parliament's Environmental Audit Select Committee on Feb. 5. In remarks widely reported by UK media, Turner said, "We will have to constrain demand in an absolute sense with people not allowed to make as many journeys as they could in an unconstrained manner." (ATW)

EPA Reconsidering California's Car Emissions Waiver - WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it would reconsider California's request for the authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions by new cars and trucks to combat global warming.

The Bush administration had denied the state's request, but President Barack Obama asked EPA to take another look at the issue.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a notice on Friday officially reopening the comment period on California's waiver request. The notice will be published in the Federal Register of government regulations. (Reuters)

Auto "Clunker" Proposal Withdrawn from US Stimulus - WASHINGTON - One proposal to help jump start US auto sales was withdrawn late on Thursday and the fate of another was unclear, despite a vigorous endorsement from President Barack Obama, as Senate consideration of economic stimulus legislation accelerated.

Sen. Thomas Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, pulled an amendment that would have provided $16 billion in rebates to buyers of new fuel efficient vehicles who traded in their old, poor performing models.

Harkin said he would defer the so-called "cash for clunkers" proposal, which had strong support from US automakers. (Reuters)

China auto sales seen surpassing US in January - SHANGHAI -- China likely overtook the U.S. in vehicle sales for the first time last month, a trend that could make China into the world's largest auto market this year.

Official data for China's auto sales in January will not be out until next week. But they are expected to show sales at about 790,000 units for the month, Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Beijing, said Wednesday. (AP)

Europe wants emission caps for India, China - The two Asian countries have so far declined to accept any such emission caps, arguing that their development strategies risk being set back as a result. (LiveMint)

EPA Drops Appeal over Utility Mercury Ruling - WASHINGTON - In a shift from its position during the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to drop its appeal of a decision that struck down its mercury rules for utilities, the Justice Department said on Friday.

Moving to dismiss the case, Acting Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler said the EPA has decided to take a position consistent with the appeals court's decision and develop appropriate standards to regulate power-plant emissions under the law.

At issue was a ruling by a US appeals court that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act in 2005 when it exempted coal plants from the strictest emission controls for mercury and other toxic substances like arsenic, lead and nickel.

Bush administration lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court in October. But Kneedler said that in light of the EPA's decision the government no longer seeks review by the Supreme Court of the appeal court's ruling a year ago. (Reuters)

Mapping a Global Plan for Car Charging Stations - DETROIT — Years ago, when Shai Agassi started promoting his idea of service stations to recharge electric cars, the automotive world barely took notice.

At the time, gas was cheap, big pickups and S.U.V.’s ruled American roads, and alternative-fuel vehicles seemed destined to remain a tiny niche for green-minded consumers and technophiles.

But now nearly every major auto company in the world has committed to building electric cars, and President Obama has made reducing oil consumption a centerpiece of his energy policy.

The timing could not be better for Mr. Agassi, a former software executive who is drawing upon his Silicon Valley experience as he pursues his vision of building networks of battery-exchange stations in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia to increase the driving range of electric cars. (Reuters)

Some want parents of fat children to be charged with child neglect — did they make their case? - Both Australian parents and doctors were targeted this past week with threatening-sounding proposals: to charge parents of fat children with child neglect and have their children taken from them, and to charge doctors with medical malpractice if they fail to report fat children to state child protective services. While Australian media reported that the State Department of Health Services was not entirely buying these proposals, this disturbing anti-child obesity movement is increasingly far-reaching, well-marketed and creeping into mainstream medicine and international health policies. (Junkfood Science)

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism - THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found. (The Sunday Times)


"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."
Thomas Henry Huxley

A correspondent suggests that, in the light of Christopher Booker’s latest diatribe, there is an inconsistency between the Darwin piece that provided our latest number of the month and our oft-repeated support for Booker’s views.

Well, as that old chancer C E M Joad might have said, “It all depends on what you mean by Darwinist.” If by this term Booker means someone who has blind faith in Darwin’s principal theory, there is no argument. If, however, he means someone who accepts the theory as the least bad (by a long way) explanation for a range of phenomena then there is indeed a difference of opinion.

One question that determines the power of a theory is “Is it useful?” From Darwin we can infer, for example, that we will always need to develop new antibiotics and insecticides, which thus helps us to plan and direct research. From Global Warming we can infer that there is little need to stockpile salt and grit for harsh winters. (Number Watch)

It's up to conservatives to save us from socialism - The slow march to socialism in Washington has become an all-out dash.

In an effort to befuddle and bedazzle the American people, we have been subjected to endless comparisons to the Great Depression while they offer up the government as the only solution to all of our ills. The reality is, of course, this recession is not nearly as bad as the recession of 1982, and we all made it through that one just fine. (The Tennessean)

Tax-Cut Stimulus - Given the forces brought to bear in Washington, the chance of some kind of big-spending "stimulus" package getting passed looks pretty good. The only question is, what kind of stimulus?

The answer to that question matters. It will go a long way toward deciding whether the bill will be acceptable to voters — and whether it will work economically.

As it is now, the Democrat-crafted stimulus package is nothing short of a disgrace. (IBD)

Stimulus Can Sink Recession Into Depression - Dr. Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Oakland, Calif.-based Independent Institute, penned an article in Monday's Christian Science Monitor that suggests the most intelligent recommendation that I've read to fix our economic mess. The title of his article gives his recommendation away: "Instead of stimulus, do nothing — seriously."

Stimulus package debate is over how much money should be spent, whether some should go to the National Endowment for the Arts, research sexually transmitted diseases or bail out Amtrak, our failing railroad system.

Higgs says, "Hardly anyone, however, is asking the most important question: Should the federal government be doing any of this?" (Walter E. Williams, IBD)

Blue-box leftovers go to China and back - Ontario's recycling scraps – dirty peanut butter jars, plastic toys, and unsorted paper – are being shipped to Asia at a rate of thousands of tonnes a month.

The blue-box castoffs are sorted by low-paid workers in huge factories, and recycled into inexpensive toys, shoes and colourful cardboard packages, before being sold back to Ontarians, where they fill the blue boxes once again.

Garbage experts say this revolving door is a necessary evil that will continue until the province has better recycling facilities so cities can process their own garbage. (Toronto Star)

Government takes microscope to nanotech food - Environment secretary predicts microscopic technologies could play key role in boosting food supplies and tackling climate change (BusinessGreen)

February 9, 2009

Sheesh! The fight to get aboard Lifeboat UK - Last week she played in the snow, but what will Britain be like when she grows up? James Lovelock, the Earth guru, foresees a land where blizzards are long forgotten and national survival depends on a new Winston Churchill

When someone discovers, too late, that they are suffering from a serious and probably incurable disease and may have no more than six months to live, their first response is shock and then, in denial, they angrily try any cure on offer or go to practitioners of alternative medicine. Finally, if wise, they reach a state of calm acceptance. They know death need not be feared and that no one escapes it.

Scientists who recognise the truth about the Earth’s condition advise their governments of its deadly seriousness in the manner of a physician. We are now seeing the responses. First was denial at all levels, then the desperate search for a cure. Just as we as individuals try alternative medicine, so our governments have many offers from alternative business and their lobbies of sustainable ways to “save the planet”, and from some green hospice there may come the anodyne of hope. (James Lovelock, The Sunday Times)

Rank stupidity: 2 federal agencies settle global warming lawsuit - SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government on Friday settled a lawsuit that accused two U.S. agencies of financing energy projects overseas without considering their impacts on global warming.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. agreed to provide a combined $500 million in financing for renewable energy projects and take into account greenhouse gas emissions associated with projects they support.

The lawsuit was originally filed in San Francisco federal court in 2002 by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and four cities that claimed they would suffer environmental and economic damage from global climate change. (Associated Press)

Global warming will save people's lives - MORE than 30 Victorians died in last week's heat in one of the great scandals of green politics.
About 20 more people died in South Australia, but neither state government is telling yet how precisely the victims died, saying they are awaiting coroners' reports.

But already warming extremists such as Prof Clive Hamilton are excusing these same governments -- which almost certainly contributed to at least some of these deaths.

"Australians are already dying from climate change," shouted this professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, and author of Scorcher.

But Hamilton is utterly wrong.

Fact: Cold, not heat, is what really kills people, as we see now in Britain.

Fact: A warming world would save countless lives, not cost them.

And fact: Those who died last week were in less danger from global warming than from the deadly incompetence of green governments trying to "stop" it.

You think that sounds extreme?

Then consult the unambiguous evidence that damns the governments of both Victoria and South Australia. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

The Collapse of Climate Policy and the Sustainability of Climate Science - The political consensus surrounding climate policy is collapsing. If you are not aware of this fact you will be very soon. The collapse is not due to the cold winter in places you may live or see on the news. It is not due to years without an increase in global temperature. It is not due to the overturning of the scientific consensus on the role of human activity in the global climate system.

It is due to the fact that policy makers and their political advisors (some trained as scientists) can no longer avoid the reality that targets for stabilization such as 450 ppm (or even less realistic targets) are simply not achievable with the approach to climate change that has been at the focus of policy for over a decade. Policies that are obviously fictional and fantasy are frequently subject to a rapid collapse. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Deadlock fears stalk Copenhagen process - UN secretary general warns that China and India must do more to cut emissions, sparking fears of Copenhagen stand-off (Business Green)

Who Pays the Bill for 'Controlling' Climate Change? So, You Thought $4-a-Gallon Gas Was Expensive? Wait Until You See What Your Power Bill Will Look Like. - f you, I and everybody else who pays for electricity, gas or any other kind of energy are about to see our bills go through the stratosphere to pay for someone else's faith-based initiative, we shouldn't take it quietly. So I won't.

Billions are going to be vacuumed out of consumers' wallets by "cap-and-trade" measures like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Maine and other Northeastern states have implemented, and by a bill in Congress that would impose a similar carbon- trading scheme nationwide.

Want evidence? The New York Times reported last week that a New York state energy firm, Indeck Energy Services Inc., is suing that state over joining RGGI. The suit claims Indeck "will lose millions of dollars that other power generators won't (because) while most power plants will be able to eventually pass those carbon costs on to customers, Indeck says it will not able to do so because they are locked in a long-term fixed-price contract" for one of their plants. (Portland Press Herald)

Tantrum of the moment: Tabloid fossil-fuel shill - As proven by the fiery exchange below, the debate over climate change couldn’t be further from settled

Last week, Lawrence Solomon’s column described a study in Nature purporting to show that Antarctica was warming — an important finding for those who argue that urgent government action is required to counter man-made climate change. Solomon’s column cited several prominent scientists who cast doubt on the validity of the study. In response, Michael Mann, one of the authors of the Antarctica study, wrote a commentary that was published by Google News. Mann’s response, and Solomon’s reaction to Mann, appear below. Please note that Mann’s piece appears exactly as it was published by Google News. (Financial Post)

Mann repeatedly refers to "Mr. Lawrence" when meaning Lawrence Solomon, named in the first paragraph.

Mann’s conclusions not to be believed - A good scientist, like a good journalist, checks his facts, if for no other reason than to spare himself embarrassment and to immunize himself from charges that he’s casual with the truth, lazy or just plain dishonest. Michael Mann has not checked his facts.

Mann’s article has two main thrusts. First, he attempts to discredit me and others who have criticized his work. Then, he attempts to defend his reputation by claims that distinguished authorities, especially the National Academy of Sciences, have endorsed his hockey stick graph. His graph is an icon in the global warming debate: It convinced the press and the public that 1998 was the hottest year of the hottest decade of the hottest century of the last 1,000 years, creating the belief that Earth was changing dangerously for the worse. Let me deal in chronological order with Mann’s attempts to discredit those he perceives to be his critics. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

See also: The Wegman and North Reports for Newbies (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Snow Job in Antarctica - Blogger skeptics bust GW modelers for bad data - The January 22nd issue of Nature boasts the cover story: “Antarctic Warming” [here]. The problem is the research paper touted on the cover (and in the editorial) was based on bad data.

Statistician, global warming skeptic, and blogger Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit [here] has discovered that the Antarctic weather station data upon which the paper in Nature was based was tainted. Temperature data from two different stations, “Harry” and “Gill” in West Antarctica were combined to produce an erroneous uptick in historical readings [here].

In addition, meteorologist, weather station guru, and blogger Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That [here] has demonstrated that numerous Antarctic weather stations may have serious data problems. Snow has piled up around temperature sensors, effectively insulating the temperature monitoring stations from the bitterly cold extremes of the southern-most continent [here]. (Mike Dubrasich, W.I.S.E. News)

Pro-Global Warming Study Receives Worldwide Headlines; Discovery of Error in Study Garners Op-Ed in One Paper - When University of Washington Professor Eric Steig announced in a news conference and paper published in the January 22 edition of the journal Nature that he and several colleagues removed one of many thorns in the sides of climate alarmists -- in this case, evidence that Antarctica is cooling -- he received extensive worldwide attention in the mainstream press.

But when a noteworthy error was found in Stieg's research less than two weeks after it's publication, of the mainstream press, only an opinion column in the London Telegraph and a blog associated with the Australian Herald Sun carried the news.

The Stieg paper's release was covered by 27 newspapers, including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle & Los Angeles Times, by CNN, by the Associated Press, by NPR and quite a few others (see reviews of the coverage at the end of this post).

After independent analyst Steve McIntyre discovered a major error in the data, and released his results on his influential blog Climate Audit beginning on February 1, based on a Nexis search I conducted today, none of these outlets chose to inform their readers. (Amy Ridenour, NewsBusters)

That famous consensus - Yet another example of the ‘research’ masquerading as science that is used to reinforce the man-made global warming fraud. One of the difficulties the green zealots have had is that Antarctica has been not warming but cooling, with the extent of its ice reaching record levels. A few weeks ago, a study led by Professor Eric Steig caused some excitement by claiming that actually West Antarctica was warming so much that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica. Warning bells should have sounded when Steig said What we did is interpolate carefully instead of just using the back of an envelope.

To those of us who have been following this scam for the past two decades, ‘interpolate carefully’ makes us suck our teeth. And so it has proved. Various scientists immediately spotted the flaw in Steig’s methodology of combining satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations. The flaw they identified was that, since Antarctica has so few weather stations, the computer Steig used was programmed to guess what data they would have produced had such stations existed. In other words, the findings that caused such excitement were based on data that had been made up. (Melanie Philips, Spectator)

Battle of the climate scientists and the 'Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society' - Certainly the debate over manmade climate change and global warming can get heated at times (pun intended). Today that went to a new level pitting William (Bill) Gray, Professor Emeritus of Colorado State University who is best known for his hurricane forecasts against James Hansen of NASA's GISS division and devout climate change advocate.

Bill Gray has long been warning that the threat of manmade climate change is not real. In his own words, “I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people. I've been in meteorology over 50 years. I've worked damn hard, and I've been around. My feeling is some of us older guys who've been around have not been asked about this. It's sort of a baby boomer, yuppie thing.” (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Coast Guard prepares as Arctic shipping lanes melt - ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Global warming hurts polar bears but could be a boon for international shipping, if vessels eventually use the Arctic Ocean to cut transit routes in half between Europe and Asia. The U.S. Coast Guard is scrambling to get ready.

Arctic shipping lanes expected to appear as more ice melts would send vessels through the Bering Strait and the Coast Guard last summer sent vessels and aircraft north to "count noses" and find out who was already there. The operation gave Rear Adm. Gene Brooks, commander of the district that oversees Alaska, a firsthand look at the lack of infrastructure along America's northernmost coast that could be used to prevent a Titanic or an Exxon Valdez disaster. (Associated Press)

We hope the recent apparent thaw will continue but the chances are unfortunately poor.

More fairy stories: Polar ice caps melting faster - THE ice caps are melting so fast that the world’s oceans are rising more than twice as fast as they were in the 1970s, scientists have found.

They have used satellites to track how the oceans are responding as billions of gallons of water reach them from melting ice sheets and glaciers.

The effect is compounded by thermal expansion, in which water expands as it warms, according to the study by Anny Cazenave of the National Centre for Space Studies in France.

These findings come at the same time as a warning from an American academic whose research suggests Labour’s policies to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050 are doomed. (The Sunday Times)

Question raised: I am a long time reader of your blog. Maybe you have, but I have not seen you address a very important issue regarding carbon capture and sequestration. I was wondering if you have ever pondered the legal ramifications of pumping a fluid back (compressed CO2) into the ground.

What is going to happen if there is an earthquake after years for pumping CO2 back into the ground? Who will be held responsible. This question has been asked of government officials in California. They will not take responsibility, and power companies are not going to take on the liability.

Is it likely that sequestration will cause an earthquake. No one has ever pumped sequestered a significant amount of CO2. What we do know is that an earthquake can be induced by pumping water into the ground. It happened near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal back in the 60s. In 1962 they started pumping water into a well for the disposal of chemicals. Earthquake activity in the area increased soon after. They postponed the pumping for a while and the earthquake activity decreased. When pumping resumed, so did the earthquakes. Studies showed that the earthquake activity centered around the well.

What will tons of CO2 do underground? Nobody knows, and nobody wants to step up to take responsibility. As far as I am concerned, all the talk by politicians of CO2 capture is pointless until this issue is addressed. -- Name & contact supplied.

Actually there is no good purpose in wasting such a magnificent resource as atmospheric carbon dioxide (save perhaps increasing oil extraction and then only if something like seawater is unsuitable for the purpose).

Snow continues to fall in Britain, as politicians ask how snowfall shut the country down - A SECOND snowfall hit Britain yesterday, just as the nation was settling into a heated round of retribution and finger-pointing as to how a heavy fall on Monday managed to bring the country to a standstill.

MPs and local councillors began inquiries into why airports, buses, roads and 10,000 schools were knocked out of action by snow falls that were unusually heavy for Britain, but would have been shrugged off in many other parts of Europe.

Health and safety authorities were doubly damned, accused first of ordering schools to close and then of closing many parks so that the children with time on their hands could not enjoy the heaviest snowfalls in 18 years. (The Australian)

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

Additional New Research By Professor George Kallos Of The University Of Athens And Colleagues - Professor George Kallos has contributed very significantly to atmospheric and climate sciences. He is an internationally well respected colleague. Below are additional results from his important studies. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Legacy for Our Children - There is a lot of talk these days about the legacy we will leave our children and our grandchildren. When I stare into the immediate future, I see a frightening legacy caked in darkness and famine. Instead of intelligently preparing, we find ourselves whittling away this precious time chasing fraudulent theories. We have a decade to prepare, but have a misguided sense of direction and urgency.

Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we have slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature. Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high speed charged particles that originate from exploding stars. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. An increase in Earth's cloud cover produce a global drop in temperature. These periods of quiet sun are referred to as a Grand Minima. The Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) and the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) are examples.

During a Grand Minima the Earth begins to slowly cool. The start of the planting season is delayed and in the fall early frost limits the harvest. Earth’s abundant bounty is put on hold and starvation takes its ghastly grip. Historian, John D. Post, referred to the last Grand Minima, the Dalton Minimum, as the “last great subsistence crisis in the Western world”. With the cold came massive crop failures, food riots, famine and disease.

Several scientists including David C. Hathaway (NASA), William Livingston & Matthew Penn (National Solar Observatory). Lev I. Dorman and his team of Russian and Israeli scientists, Khabibullo Abdusamatov (Russian Academy of Science) have forecasted that the sun will enter a Grand Minima a decade from now in Solar Cycle 25. A few scientists including David C. Archibald (Australia) and M. A. Clilverd (Britain) have warned this might even begin in Solar Cycle 24. We are at the transition into Solar Cycle 24 and this cycle has already shown itself to be unusually quiet. The number of spotless days (days without sunspots) during this solar minimum appears to be tracking 3 times the typical number observed during the last century (Solar Cycles 16-23).

There are some that urge North America follow Europe’s lead. On January 13, 2009, the European Parliament adopted a regulation dramatically restricting the number of pesticides allowed. This move is based on the precautionary principle and on junk science. According to Dr. Colin Ruscoe, chairman of the British Crop Production Council, "If farmers are forced to stop using certain products, crop yields would halve. There would be such huge losses in the yields of potatoes, carrots, peas and parsnips that it would become uneconomical to farm them." Is this the kind of lead we should be following? Europe is also leading in another area - in its opposition to genetically modified (GM) crops. In Europe, environmentalist have driven fear into the hearts of their citizens by labeling GM food as “Frankenfood”. In our country, we have been using GM crops for almost two decades without any ill effects. GM crops hold the promise of helping us survive the next Grand Minima by offering crops that can grow under extreme weather conditions. North America is currently a leader in this technology. Should we follow Europe’s lead and ban GM crops? And in ten years from now when the next solar cycle begins, if the sun goes quiet, who will comfort the starving children who cry out in the middle of the night for a small piece of bread? These will be our children. So what legacy will we leave behind?

James A. Marusek
Nuclear Physicist and Engineer
retired U. S. Department of Navy

Cutting Emissions While Increasing Them - Here is a remarkable display of incoherence. According to a report commissioned by Greenpeace and discussed by The Christian Science Monitor, the economic stimulus package now under debate by the U.S. Congress will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What does the report mean by “reduce”? It means that some future emissions that might have occurred will be avoided. Emissions will therefore increase, just not as much as under some other scenario. The difference between that other scenario and the scenario implied by the stimulus package represents a “reduction” in emissions. Yes, you are reading that right. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

A Storm of Errors - A scientific and socio-economic analysis of multiple errors of science, fact, and data in the “science” chapter of the final report of the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on “global warming” (SPPI)

Green-collar jobs – or con jobs? - Environmental-union-politico alliances use their clout to promote new energy, economic vision. Will it create jobs, without impacting existing jobs, living standards and economic opportunities?

The quest to be “green” has spawned countless proposals, programs, laws and advertising campaigns. In Washington, DC a “Green Jobs Advisory Council” is promoting policies for green buildings, energy efficiency, renewable energy, city infrastructure, and lower carbon emissions. (SPPI)

Observed Climate Change and the Negligible Effect on Greenhouse Gases in the State of Ohio - In December of 2008, the environmental organization Environment Ohio released its report “What’s at Stake: How Global Warming Threatens the Buckeye State” in an effort to apply pressure on the government of Ohio to enact legislation to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases from the state. SPPI’s report rectifies a multitude of omissions by performing the types of analyses that Environment Ohio should have performed itself if its goal was to provide a complete picture of climate change and the effects of actions to mollify it. (SPPI)

War On Fossil Fuels - The new administration has wasted no time in reversing a decision by the Bush White House that let gas and oil companies explore for new resources. Keep this in mind the next time pump prices take off.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has canceled leases for energy exploration on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah, confirming that this White House is indeed a Small Oil administration. (IBD)

Bluegrass and the Greenhouse - Lexington, KY - The United States could yet take the lead in countering global warming, if the U.S. Climate Action Partnership's Blueprint for Legislative Action ( is a sign of things to come. Last June the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 brought greenhouse gas cap and trade legislation to the Senate Floor for the first time.

Work lays ahead for legislators to shape a bill that will gain passage. Such legislation will have challenges for the Bluegrass State, given that Kentuckians use about 25 percent more electricity than the average American, and over 90 percent of that energy comes from coal-fired power plants. (Business Lexington)

Looks like they've picked a loser, doesn't it.

Asia's Brown Cloud: Blame Renewable Fuels - CHURCHVILLE, VA—That vast cloud of brown pollution hanging over Asia comes from wood and cattle dung being burned in millions of Third World home-fires, according to Orjan Gustafsson, a bio-geochemist from Stockholm University. Gustaffsson recently tested the smoke of the Asian brown cloud with a newly developed radiocarbon technique—and found that two-thirds of the brown cloud’s particles are organic matter, mostly wood, straw and dung.

These are the “renewable fuels” that Greenpeace and the Sierra Club doesn’t want publicized. They’d rather not focus on the harsh reality that these open cooking and heating fires are dreadful for the health of Asian women and children. The lung diseases caused by the indoor smoke are equal to a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, says Barun Mitra of India’s Liberty Institute. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

CHILE: Biofuels Head to the Forests - SANTIAGO - Chile has set its sights on producing second-generation plant-based fuels from forest biomass within the next five years. But before that it must consider the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of such an endeavour, warn experts and activists. (IPS)

Sweden changes course on nuclear power - STOCKHOLM -- The Swedish government on Thursday agreed to scrap a ban on building new nuclear reactors, three decades after deciding to phase out atomic power.

Leaders for the center-right coalition government said new reactors were needed to help fight climate change and secure the nation's energy supply amid growing support for nuclear energy in the Scandinavian country.

Lawmakers decided after a 1980 referendum to phase out nuclear power, but only two of the Scandinavian nation's 12 reactors have been closed. The government's plan, which needs approval from Parliament, calls for new reactors to be built at existing plants to replace the 10 operational reactors when they are taken out of service.

If the plan is approved, Sweden would join a growing list of countries rethinking nuclear power as source of energy amid concerns over global warming and the reliability of energy suppliers such as Russia. Britain, France and Poland are planning new reactors and Finland is currently building Europe's first new atomic plant in over a decade.

Swedish public opinion polls have shown growing support for nuclear energy in recent years because of the lack of alternatives to replace the nuclear plants, which supply about 50 percent of Sweden's electricity. (Associated Press)

What Sweden's Nuclear About-Face Means for Germany - Sweden's government announced on Thursday it was reversing its pledge to phase out nuclear energy. The decision isolates Germany in Europe -- and commentators say it is high time for Berlin to take a new look at nuclear energy here too.

In 1980, Sweden was on the vanguard. In that year, a referendum passed calling for a ban on the construction of new nuclear reactors in the country and the ultimate phase out of existing reactors. It was a model that was eventually emulated by Germany and seen as the way of the future.

On Thursday, the country once again took a step into the future -- by abandoning the ban on new nuclear power plants. Stockholm said the move was necessary to avoid energy sources that produce vast quantities of greenhouse gases. While Sweden has been a leader in developing alternative energy sources, they still have not done enough to completely replace nuclear power, which supplies half the country's energy.

The new proposal, presented by the country's center-right coalition, calls for the construction of new reactors as the old ones are taken out of service. Parliament will vote on the bill on March 17. The package also calls for the expansion of wind power and for a 40 percent cut to greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 relative to 1990 levels. (Der Spiegel)

U.S. N-policy could hurt Japan / Obama's changes may undermine planned N-waste disposal facility - U.S. President Barack Obama's nuclear energy policy could have considerable significance for Japan.

In particular, possible policy changes relating to the construction of a nuclear waste facility would have a definite impact on Tokyo's plans for a similar project.

Though the new U.S. administration has yet to clarify its policy on nuclear power, among other issues, Obama's remarks during his presidential election campaign and the lineup of his administration staff provide indications of the likely course of his nuclear energy policy.

Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, pledged to promote nuclear power generation as an anti-global warming measure during his tenure. Bush's policy was seen as epochal in that there had been little momentum in nuclear power-related projects worldwide following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986, among other incidents. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Obama flicks switch on household appliance efficiency standards - President orders Energy Department to impose tough new standards for washing machines, ovens, microwaves and air conditioners (Business Green)

German researchers crack low cost biofuel puzzle - New processing technique promises to slash costs of biofuels to €0.50 a litre (Business Green)

US truckers map out opposing green routes - Two of the country's leading haulage trade associations are at loggerheads over proposals to cut emissions with larger trucks and slower speed limits (Business Green)

A tragic casualty - Many of us have been reading in the medical journals for years Japanese doctors discussing the growing financial crisis in their country’s medical system. But we never realized how serious things had become until this week. It is unimaginable what this poor man and those paramedics must have been going through in the back of that ambulance...

Doctors working in countries with nationalized health insurance responded to the BMJ article, noting other consequences to the “tragedy of commons.” Dr. Akira Ehara with Koala Medical Research pointed out the serious shortage of doctors, providing government statistics showing that by 2002, there were only about half the number of pediatricians needed to cover pediatric departments in Japanese hospitals. Doctors were working 32 consecutive hours and could not continue without burn-out, he said.

Dr. Chiehfeng Chen from Taipei, Taiwan, wrote that “most of the countries with health insurance for all, share the same destiny. “The National Health Insurance has been implemented in Taiwan since March 1995…by the end of 2001, 97% of the population was enrolled. However, health insurance system in Taiwan is impending bankrupt due to ‘overcrowded grazing on the common land,’” he wrote. The solutions being proposed, he said, include ever increasing health taxes and co-payments, and tighter managed care to discourage patients from seeking medical care. [That was striking because Massachusetts, testing such a system here, ran into financial solvency problems and moved towards these solutions within the first year.]

It is hard to stop thinking about those elderly patients who lost their lives for the common good. (Junkfood Science)

Measles cases up for third year in England - LONDON - Measles cases in England and Wales rose by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children, government health officials said on Friday.

The number of reported measles cases in England and Wales rose to 1,348 in 2008, from 990 a year earlier, Britain's Health Protection Agency said.

At the same time, the number of children who have received their first dose of the vaccine by their second birthday has risen to about 80 percent.

But that is still well below the 95 percent vaccination coverage needed to confer so-called herd immunity to people in the general population who do not receive the vaccines. (Reuters)

A Pinch of Science - THE New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a leader in promoting public health, has embarked on a campaign to persuade the makers of processed food to reduce its salt content by more than 40 percent over the next 10 years. The goal is commendable: to prevent strokes and heart attacks. And the premise is logical: if people eat less salt, they’ll have lower blood pressure, and this could translate into better cardiovascular health.

If such a large reduction were actually to be achieved, however, New Yorkers would consume less sodium than people in most other developed countries do. And there is a possibility that such a big change in one element of their diet might have unintended harmful consequences. Prudence requires that logic and good intentions also be supported by strong evidence that such an action would be safe.

Throughout history, efforts have been made to reform the human diet by changing individual characteristics of it, and some of these changes have had unexpected harmful effects. In the 1950s, for instance, pregnant women were urged to strictly limit their weight gain to avoid pre-eclampsia, a syndrome characterized by high blood pressure, fluid retention and kidney problems. Enough women apparently followed this advice that the number of underweight babies — and of infant deaths, some attributable to low birth weight — increased.

More recently, the federal Dietary Guidelines have been criticized by medical researchers as contributing to an increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States, in part by encouraging people to eat too much low-fat food.

In both instances, respected authorities instituted reasonable ideas without having the evidence to know whether their policies might backfire. (New York Times)

Fine, as far as it goes. We are not aware of any evidence general restriction of salt is desirable from a health perspective though.

Cell phone use linked to brain tumours: Russian scientist - MOSCOW: : A leading Russian scientist has said, citing a Swedish study, that the use of cell phones from an early age could lead to brain tumours.

"We have a very cautious attitude as regards children, our future generation. There is data suggesting that brain tumours could develop," Yury Grigoryev, a leading scientist at the Burnazyan medical biophysical centre said Thursday.

Grigoryev cited Swedish research data, which he said showed that if a child uses a cell phone from 8 to 12 years, then the risk of developing a brain tumour by the age of 21 increases fivefold.

He also said that every person in Russia is subject to electromagnetic radiation from cellular base stations. He said people use mobile phones too often, which means the dose of radiation they get is comparable to that received by workers whose profession involves dealing with radiolocation equipment and transmitters. (Times of India)

The idiot scares continue: Judge upholds Congress' ban on toys with certain chemicals - Beginning Tuesday, stores may not sell toys or products for kids under 12 that contain chemicals that interfere with the human hormone system, a federal judge in New York ruled Thursday.

Congress banned the sale of toys with all but trace amounts of six types of the chemicals, called phthalates, in a massive consumer product law passed in August. Lawmakers who sponsored the legislation, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have said they aimed to make sure that toys containing phthalates would be off the shelves when the law takes effect Feb. 10. (Liz Szabo, USA TODAY)

Talk, but little else for obese kids - Prevention of childhood obesity is becoming a priority, but there's little help for children already overweight, writes Lynnette Hoffman

IN December, Queensland media descended on a 10-year-old girl who had been rushed to hospital after showing early signs of a heart attack.

The probable cause of the scare was her burgeoning weight -- 80kg at the time.

But while the story made headlines, the incident wasn't nearly so isolated as public health gurus would wish.

EatSmart, a current University of Queensland study comparing diets for obese children aged 10 to 17, has found that 60 per cent of participants have serious risk factors for heart disease -- including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver or insulin resistance.

And that's not all: health professionals are seeing increasing numbers of children and adolescents with all manner of health problems typically seen in adults. One example is primary school kids who require C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) breathing machines overnight to treat sleep apnoea that's occurred as a direct result of obesity. Another would be 10 to 12-year-old children who require orthopaedic surgery because their femurs (thigh bones) have slipped out of their hip joint, a result of excess weight on the growing bone.

Even younger children, usually 6 to 8-year-olds, have needed knee surgery because of tibias bowing under the extra weight, and pre-pubescent children are being diagnosed with fatty liver disease, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. (The Australian)

Dead Wrong Data - A shocking number from a study about the extent of civilian deaths during the war got a lot of attention. Too bad that further evidence indicating the figure is wildly inaccurate will go largely unnoticed. (IBD)

More of the case against recycled water in the drinking supply: Testosterone-blocking chemicals found in wastewater - NEW YORK - Testosterone-inhibiting chemicals appear to be finding their way into UK rivers, possibly helping to "feminize" male fish -- and raising questions about what the effects on human health might be, according to researchers.

In tests of treated sewage wastewater flowing into 51 UK rivers, the researchers found that almost all of the samples contained anti-androgen chemicals -- substances that block the action of the male sex hormone testosterone.

What's more, when the researchers studied fish taken from the rivers, they found that exposure to anti-androgens seemed to be contributing to the feminization of some male fish - male fish with feminized ducts or germ cells.

What this means for humans is not clear. But the findings raise the possibility of effects on male fertility, the investigators report in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Past studies have suggested that estrogen-disrupting pollutants -- from sources like industrial chemicals and birth-control pills -- may be leading to the feminization of some wild fish. Researchers have discovered river-dwelling male fish with female characteristics, including eggs in their testes.

There have been doubts about whether the findings are relevant to men's fertility, however, since the presumed culprit chemicals in fish do not disrupt testosterone. But now these latest findings implicate anti-androgens in the feminization of fish as well. (Reuters Health)

Pollution preferable to unemployment for Romanian town - For the residents of Copsa Mica, a tiny town in central Romania, the closure of its local smelting plant is a worse catastrophe than having a reputation as the most polluted place in Europe.

"I know the plant was a threat to our health, but at least people had a job," said Diana Roman, a 22-year-old woman who sells potatoes and carrots on the market square of Copsa Mica, which has a population of 5,500 and is situated 250 kilometres (155 miles) northwest of Bucharest. (AFP)

Obama sorting Bush's environment legacy - WASHINGTON: In his first weeks in office, President Barack Obama has dismantled many environmental policies set by the Bush administration. But in some areas he will be building on the work of his predecessor, rather than taking it apart.

Former President George W. Bush is not known for his concern over the environment. In the eight years of his tenure, he opened vast tracts of public lands to drilling, mining and timbering, earning the lasting enmity of many environmentalists. His critics accuse him of easing restrictions on polluters, subverting science and dragging his feet on global warming.

But even those who view his environmental record most harshly acknowledge that he also took significant action. He improved air quality, gave renewable energy a large financial boost, left behind the largest marine sanctuaries ever established and started a dialogue that could help lead to the next international treaty on climate change. (John M. Broder, Andrew C. Revkin, Felicity Barringer and Cornelia Dean, IHT)

Yes, Dubya did yield to the envirocranks way too much but sadly Obama is likely to do much worse.

Forget deflation, it's "ecoflation" businesses need to worry about - Think tank warns climate change and environmental degradation will drive huge commodity price hikes over the next decade (Business Green)

Drug Made In Milk of Altered Goats Is Approved - Federal officials yesterday approved for the first time the sale of a drug made in animals genetically modified to secrete the compound in their milk.

The drug comes from goats whose DNA was altered to produce a drug needed by patients with a rare blood disorder.

Using animals as factories to produce medications needed by humans has been a long-standing goal, and federal officials emphasized that the technique not only has vast potential for patients, but also that it can be carried out without harm to the animals.

The drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration yesterday, called ATryn, is used to untangle blood clots in patients who lack sufficient quantities of a protein called antithrombin. Patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency are at high risk during surgeries and childbirth, and the drug would be given in hospital settings. About one in 5,000 Americans has the hereditary disorder.

"This is very exciting, it is novel and has great potential for where we can go with this new technology," said Bernadette Dunham, who directs the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The drug is made by GTC Biotherapeutics of Framingham, Mass. Company scientists combined human DNA for antithrombin with goat DNA in such a way that goat's milk glands would express human antithrombin. (Washington Post)

February 6, 2009

The Futility Of Hybrid Cars - Could plug-in hybrid cars actually increase greenhouse gas emissions? Is energy efficiency being oversold as a greenhouse gas reduction measure? A new report from the research arm of Congress raises troubling questions about the direction in which President Obama is taking us. (Steven Milloy,

Experts in U.S. and China see a chance for cooperation against climate change - BEIJING: When Chinese officials and the Obama administration begin serious discussions over issues at the heart of relations between China and the United States, the usual suspects will no doubt emerge: trade, North Korea, human rights, Taiwan.

But an increasing number of officials and scholars from both countries say climate change is likely to become another focal point in the dialogue. American and Chinese leaders recognize the urgency of global warming, the scholars and officials say, and believe that a new international climate treaty is impossible without agreements between their nations, the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

In a sign of this new emphasis, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to stress the importance of new steps on energy and global warming when she visits China, perhaps as soon as this month, an Obama administration official said. (Edward Wong and Andrew C. Revkin, IHT)

China, India to escape carbon hair shirt? UN's climate veggie thinks so - The Nobel Prize winning chairman of the UN's climate change committee, Rajendra K Pachauri, has said the the world's largest developing economies will be exempt from international pressure to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Pachauri's role is to reflect on the state of the science, and create a range of scenarios for politicians. But he regularly abandons the "policy neutral" brief and has consistently demanded the urgent adoption of "mitigation" policies - to be reflected in changes to industrial policy - rather than "adaptation".

"Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emission," the Economic Times of India reports the well-known vegetarian telling a domestic audience in New Delhi. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)

China urges developed countries to further fulfill commitment to greenhouse gas emissions cuts - BEIJING, Feb. 5 -- China on Thursday urged developed countries to further fulfill their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, saying it is the key to the success for the meeting on the climate change to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2009.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu stressed at a regular press briefing "the substantive difference" between the voluntary emissions cuts of the developing countries and compulsory emissions cuts of already developed countries.

The developed countries and developing countries shoulder different responsibilities and obligations. The results of negotiations in Copenhagen should reflect the consensus reached in the Bali Roadmap so as to fully implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, Jiang highlighted. (Xinhua)

EU envoy says China won't skate on climate - The European Union's envoy to Washington told skeptical US lawmakers Wednesday that China will not escape making firm commitments at global climate change talks set for December.

Questioned by a leading US critic of China's actions on climate, Republican Representative James Sensenbrenner, Ambassador John Bruton agreed that US and EU populations would likely reject any treaty that does not cover China. (EU business)

Canada's Bid To Cut Greenhouse Gases Flawed: Probe - OTTAWA - Two of Canada's major strategies for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases have major flaws and cannot achieve the promised results, the country's environmental watchdog said on Thursday.

The report by Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan promises to be a fresh headache for Canada's minority Conservative government, which critics say is only paying lip service to green causes.

"The government cannot demonstrate that the money it is spending on some important environmental programs is making a difference," Vaughan said at a news conference. (Retuers)

When can money thrown at "environmental programs" ever demonstrate "making a difference"? It is always and everywhere an appalling waste.

Buzzwords in climate change - JOHANNESBURG, 5 February 2009 (IRIN) - If you don't know your "Ecoflation" from inflation and think "Greenwashing" might be a new detergent, and that "Global weirding" has probably crept in from sci-fi, read on. (IRIN)

Gore's The Climate Project plans to expand - Former Vice President Al Gore’s philanthropy, The Climate Project is hosting a North American Summit in Nashville this spring to launch a new phase of activism.

The event, May 14-16, is intended to increase a grassroots advocacy force to persuade policy makers to pass major climate legislation this year, the group announced today. (The Tennessean)

That poor virtual world: Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse May Swamp U.S. Coasts - WASHINGTON - North America's coastlines would be hit especially hard by rising sea levels if the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses and melts in a warming world as some experts fear, scientists said on Thursday.

The loss of that ice sheet alone would inundate some coastal areas, swamping New York, Washington D.C., south Florida, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, with sea levels in some places higher by 21 feet or more than today, the researchers wrote in the journal Science. (Reuters)

U.S. Stimulus Would Cut Climate Emissions: Report - WASHINGTON - Energy efficiency and conservation proposals in President Barack Obama's original economic stimulus plan would cut climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions by 61 million tonnes a year, a new report says.

That would be equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity used in 7.9 million U.S. homes or taking 13 million cars off the road, the analysis of the recovery plan's carbon footprint found on Thursday.

The report was commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace and produced by climate and energy consulting firm ICF International. (Reuters)

Does that mean it's an economy killer? Emissions are intimately linked with economic activity, after all.

Eye-roller: Trashing the Fridge - FOR the last two years, Rachel Muston, a 32-year-old information-technology worker for the Canadian government in Ottawa, has been taking steps to reduce her carbon footprint — composting, line-drying clothes, installing an efficient furnace in her three-story house downtown.

About a year ago, though, she decided to “go big” in her effort to be more environmentally responsible, she said. After mulling the idea over for several weeks, she and her husband, Scott Young, did something many would find unthinkable: they unplugged their refrigerator. For good.

“It’s been a while, and we’re pretty happy,” Ms. Muston said recently. “We’re surprised at how easy it’s been.”

As drastic as the move might seem, a small segment of the green movement has come to regard the refrigerator as an unacceptable drain on energy, and is choosing to live without it. In spite of its ubiquity — 99.5 percent of American homes have one — these advocates say the refrigerator is unnecessary, as long as one is careful about shopping choices and food storage. (New York Times)

No winner in Ultimate Global Warming Challenge - announces that there is no winner in the Ultimate Global Warming Challenge. None of the five entries demonstrates to the satisfaction of that either, let alone both, of the contest hypotheses can be rejected according to the rules of the contest. is considering the possibility of extending the contest in hopes that someone can prove scientifically that manmade global warming is real and the disaster that it is purported to be. Stay tuned!

A New Paper “Climate Impacts Of Making Evapo-Transpiration In The Community Land Model (CLM 3.0) Consistent With The Simple Biosphere Model (SiB)” By Lawrence And Chase, 2009 - There is a very important new research paper on the role of land surface processes within the climate system that has just been released. It is Lawrence PJ, Chase TN (2008) Climate impacts of making evapo-transpiration in the Community Land Model (CLM 3.0) consistent with the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB). Journal of Hydrometeorology: In Press

This new paper documents the very important finding that changes in landscape that alter evaporation from the soil and vegetation surfaces and transpiration through the stoma of plants have strong impacts on precipitation distribution and near surface air temperature. Moreover, as summarized at the end of the Lawrence and Chase abstract, “changes in land surface hydrology have global scale impacts on model climatology.”

This new paper further advances the studies that were summarized in Pielke Sr., R.A., 2005: Land use and climate change. Science, 310, 1625-1626

This role of the land surface as a first order process was ignored in the summary for policymakers in the 2007 IPCC report. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

La Nina Seen Gradually Weakening In 2009: NOAA - NEW YORK - The La Nina weather anomaly will persist into the spring of 2009 but should gradually weaken during that period, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said on Thursday.

In a monthly update, the CPC said "a majority of the model forecasts ... indicate a gradual weakening of La Nina through February-April 2009, with an eventual transition to neutral conditions." (Reuters)

Hmm... maybe. Parenthetically, Australia's north and east generally receive heavy rains the year after a La Niña, which could be interesting.

World cannot afford to ignore climate change, Ban says at New Delhi summit - 5 February 2009 – The world must tackle the growing threat of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a sustainable development summit in New Delhi today, stressing that the crisis threatens to roll back development gains and lead to further economic and social misery.

“We cannot afford to ignore or underestimate this existential threat. Failure to combat climate change will increase poverty and hardship,” Mr. Ban said upon receiving the Sustainable Development Leadership Award at the summit taking place in the Indian capital.

“It will destabilize economies, breed insecurity in many countries and undermine our goals for sustainable development,” he told the gathering.

Mr. Ban, who has made climate change the priority of his mandate as United Nations chief, stressed that tackling the threat will require “all our leadership, all our commitment, all our ingenuity.” (UN News)

U.N. climate chief says industry keen on deal - NEW DELHI - The U.N. climate chief said on Thursday recession-hit industries which have cut production and lowered emissions were among the keenest of all stakeholders for a quick global deal in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Many experts say the global downturn will give a respite from a spike in greenhouse gas emissions, giving an excuse to rich nations to delay a global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said he did not feel industry leaders would try to scuttle plans for a new climate change pact. (Reuters)

U.N. chief says domestic politics undermine climate fight - NEW DELHI - A climate deal at Copenhagen may not be possible unless politicians take tough decisions without worrying about winning elections and compulsions of their domestic politics, the U.N. Secretary-General said on Thursday.

Ban Ki-moon said the situation had been compounded by the global financial downturn that was making it more difficult for the political leadership to take unpopular decisions. (Reuters)

Clean-Coal Debate Pits Al Gore’s Group Against Obama, Peabody -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection say clean-coal technology is a fantasy.

Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, says another prominent Democrat has pledged to make the technology a reality: President Barack Obama.

The Gore-Obama split illustrates a growing debate in the U.S. as the new president attempts to deliver on his promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country 80 percent by 2050. Depending on who’s speaking, coal is either the villain or part of the solution. (Bloomberg)

"Green Growth" Puts Climate Spending In Focus - LONDON - The United States, Europe and other nations will spend about $100 billion on projects to fight climate change under economic stimulus plans, raising questions about how much support the industry needs.

Spending money through a recession to boost jobs is well established, but the long term value-for-money of current support for clean energy is questioned. (Reuters)

A new weight loss supplement or a repeat of a sordid history? - A “breakthrough” weight management product was released this week, promising that clinical evidence has shown it reduces cravings, hunger and food intake by as much as 25%. The company says its innovative chromium picolinate supplement “is based on the powerful results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” conducted by key researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, “the largest academically-based nutrition research center in the world.” (Junkfood Science)

Turning salt into Public Enemy No.1 - Why has there been such gobsmacking conformity on the authorities’ bizarre demonising of the white stuff?

Hey, did you hear? It’s National Salt Awareness Week! Usually, such themed weeks are an opportunity for suppliers and producers to encourage us to consume more of whatever stuff they are promoting. With salt, it’s a little different. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

Science Found Wanting in Nation’s Crime Labs - Forensic evidence that has helped convict thousands of defendants for nearly a century is often the product of shoddy scientific practices that should be upgraded and standardized, according to accounts of a draft report by the nation’s pre-eminent scientific research group.

The report by the National Academy of Sciences is to be released this month. People who have seen it say it is a sweeping critique of many forensic methods that the police and prosecutors rely on, including fingerprinting, firearms identification and analysis of bite marks, blood spatter, hair and handwriting.

The report says such analyses are often handled by poorly trained technicians who then exaggerate the accuracy of their methods in court. It concludes that Congress should create a federal agency to guarantee the independence of the field, which has been dominated by law enforcement agencies, say forensic professionals, scholars and scientists who have seen review copies of the study. Early reviewers said the report was still subject to change. (New York Times)

February 5, 2009

Extra! Extra! Imaginary problem delays cure of imaginary problem! Global warming may delay recovery of stratospheric ozone - Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a new study suggests. This change might take a toll on public health.

Darryn W. Waugh, an atmospheric scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his colleagues report that climate change could provoke variations in the circulation of air in the lower stratosphere in tropical and southern mid-latitudes — a band of the Earth including Australia and Brazil. The circulation changes would cause ozone levels in these areas never to return to levels that were present before decline began, even after ozone-depleting substances have been wiped out from the atmosphere.

"Global warming causes changes in the speed that the air is transported into and through the lower stratosphere [in tropical and southern mid-latitudes]," says Waugh. "You're moving the air through it quicker, so less ozone gets formed." He and his team present their findings in the Feb. 5 Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). (American Geophysical Union)

The phantom menace causes a delay in the cure of a problem that never was...

Gore to Children: Question Your Parents' Climate Beliefs as We Questioned Segregation - Audio aired on Glenn Beck's radio program has media-darling telling kids, 'there are some things about our world that you know that older people don't know.' (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Well, yes, kids should question their parents (and anyone else's) belief in gorebull warming but we suspect that's not what Al had in mind.

Boxer Says Senate Will ‘Follow the Science’ on Global Warming Legislation - Democratic members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have pledged to “follow science” in their quest to quell the effects of global warming, even as some reports suggest that belief in the environmental threat is waning. (

So, they're finally dropping this nonsense or what?

China lowers expectations of Copenhagen deal - Chinese premier says he hopes internal greenhouse gas emission targets signal adequate commitment to tackling climate change (BusinessGreen)

US lawmakers defend cap-and-trade plan - Climate change tax rejected in favour of tested cap-and-trade plan (BusinessGreen)

New York lawsuit threatens US cap-and-trade scheme - Legal challenge to argue Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative trading scheme is putting New York utility at an unfair disadvantage (BusinessGreen)

UK climate targets impossible without individual carbon budgets - Royal Society reports warns personal carbon allowances will be needed to meet emission targets (BusinessGreen)

Oh my... California farms, vineyards in peril from warming, U.S. energy secretary warns - 'We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California,' Steven Chu says. He sees education as a means to combat threat.

Reporting from Washington -- California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Tuesday.

In his first interview since taking office last month, the Nobel-prize-winning physicist offered some of the starkest comments yet on how seriously President Obama's cabinet views the threat of climate change, along with a detailed assessment of the administration's plans to combat it. (Los Angeles Times)

Can Someone Point to the Science? (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Demonstrating how much we still don't know about climate: Drought's cause found - THE cause of the record-breaking drought in south-eastern Australia has been discovered far off in the Indian Ocean, according to the surprise findings of a study that overturns decades of weather research.

While drought in Australia has traditionally been linked to El Nino events in the Pacific Ocean, researchers from the universities of NSW and Tasmania and the CSIRO have found that it is the Indian Ocean's cycle of warming and cooling that is to blame. (The Age)

Actually, depending on where in Australia, the drought was broken by La Niña -- at least in the north-east of the country, where this is expected to occur (here in Queensland we are having a good wet, so is the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia). The south and west have always associated their seasons with weather systems rolling west to east from the Indian Ocean with the Roaring Forties. Consequently news of the Indian Ocean Dipole and its affect on Australian rainfall conditions will not be that surprising to many southern farmers.

Interesting sidebar to this is of course that Australian drought may be triggered by biomass burning in the subcontinent and the associated Asian Brown Cloud affecting Indian Ocean evaporation, near-surface atmospheric pressure, sea surface temperatures and currents and ultimately how moisture-laden are prevailing westerly winds. It'd be ironic if lack of coal-burning power stations in India was responsible for (southern) Australian drought.

Couldn't resist a climate hook: Ancient fossil find: This snake could eat a cow! - NEW YORK — Never mind the 40-foot snake that menaced Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 movie "Anaconda." Not even Hollywood could match a new discovery from the ancient world. Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.

"This thing weighs more than a bison and is longer than a city bus," enthused snake expert Jack Conrad of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who was familiar with the find.

"It could easily eat something the size of a cow. A human would just be toast immediately."

"If it tried to enter my office to eat me, it would have a hard time squeezing through the door," reckoned paleontologist Jason Head of the University of Toronto Missisauga.

Actually, the beast probably munched on ancient relatives of crocodiles in its rainforest home some 58 million to 60 million years ago, he said.

... Titanoboa's size gives clues about its environment. A snake's size is related to how warm its environment is. The fossils suggest equatorial temperatures in its day were significantly warmer than they are now, during a time when the world as a whole was warmer. So equatorial temperatures apparently rose along with the global levels, in contrast to the competing hypothesis that they would not go up much, Head noted.

"It's a leap" to apply the conditions of the past to modern climate change, Head said. But given that, the finding still has "some potentially scary implications for what we're doing to the climate today," he said.

The finding suggest the equatorial regions will warm up along with the planet, he said. (AP)

Why so scary? Even if the tropics were warmer under then-prevailing conditions all that tells us is that tropical forests are not upset by warmer conditions (since they were thriving then, whatever the actual temperature was).

Arctic storms seen worsening; threat to oil, ships - OSLO - Arctic storms could worsen because of global warming in a threat to possible new businesses such as oil and gas exploration, fisheries or shipping, a study showed on Wednesday.

"Large increases in the potential for extreme weather events were found along the entire southern rim of the Arctic Ocean, including the Barents, Bering and Beaufort Seas," according to the study of Arctic weather by scientists in Norway and Britain.

A shrinking of sea ice around the North Pole, which thawed to a record low in the summer of 2007, was likely to spawn more powerful storms that form only over open water and can cause hurricane-strength winds.

"The bad news is that as the sea ice retreats you open up a lot of new areas to this kind of extreme weather," said Erik Kolstad of the Bjerknes Center for Climate Change in Norway who wrote the study with a British Antarctic Survey researcher.

Potential new businesses in the North -- such as fisheries, oil and gas or shipping -- would be vulnerable to extremes caused by polar lows and arctic fronts, the researchers wrote in the journal Climate Dynamics. (Reuters)

Climate Criminals to the Naughty Step - It’s not easy watching It’s Not Easy Being Green, BBC2’s show about how easy it is being green - if you are a professional environmentalist.

After the first episode of the new series, we mentioned that edgy yet ethical rock chick Lauren Laverne had been trying to chivvy along the upper classes’ pitiful attempts to save the planet by showing how to build your own eco-swimming pool for £100k.

In the second episode, her task was to decorate the home of some well-heeled eco-spivs with overpriced recycled furniture. It was her own home. (Climate Resistance)

All’s Fair in Love, War, and Science - Lets say that I go to public talk by a colleague. My colleague presents a talk suggestive that there is a problem with the economic data used by the U.S. government Department of Treasury. Specifically there are some odd things going on in its data on unemployment in West Virginia and Texas. I then go home from the talk, go online and take a look at the data, and identify that there is indeed a problem and I see that some of the West Virginia data has been mistakenly placed into the Texas columns. I the contact the Treasury and notify them of the error. The Treasury puts a thank you notice on their website recognizing my efforts. Would there be any ethical problem with such behavior?

This is not a hypothetical example, but a caricature of real goings on with our friends over at Real Climate . . . (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

and further: Gavin Schmidt’s Demands - Gavin Schmidt at NASA has just now written an email to the director of CIRES and the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (but not to me), where I work at the University of Colorado, demanding that we take down this post and extend to him an apology.

If Gavin wants, he is free to respond on this blog. I have not posted his email, though if he wants, I’d be happy to post that up as well. He does use terms like “slander” and “abuse.” I think my comments in the posting are are a fair representation of the pickle Gavin has gotten himself into.

When will these guys learn that bullying and bluster is not going to win them any respect or friends? (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Dissecting a Real Climate Text by Hendrik Tennekes - I understand that Gavin Schmidt was upset by my essay of January 29. I admit that I neglected to mention that I responded to his long exposition of January 6 on Real Climate. The part of his text that deals with the difference between weather models and climate models reads: (Climate Science)

Kevin Trenberth on El Niño - A Tracking Of The Evolution Of His Perspective On This Issue Since 1997 - Kevin Trenberth is recognized as one the pioneers in developing an improved understanding of El Niños. Thus, it is informative to see how his viewpoint has evolved over time. I have reproduced material from several sources below which document this evolution in his thinking on this climate feature. (Climate Science)

Hansen muzzled! (by Hansen): Hansen Hearts Heathrow Haters - Climate guru James Hansen says he will scale back his dealings with the media in the wake of his comments about airport expansion. (Great Beyond) | Jimmy makes the funny pages (Day By Day)

New BBC/Harris poll of 2,848 adults confirms: Americans don't give a rodent's posterior about global warming (Tom Nelson)

Top government adviser warns of "four Katrinas in one year" - Jonathan Porritt urges businesses to prepare for catastrophic "climate induced shocks" on the scale of four Hurricane Katrinas in one year (BusinessGreen)

"We need four Katrinas in one year" - If I worked for a tabloid I would, at this very moment, be putting the finishing touches to a front page scoop - after all what else is there to write about, besides more moaning about the snow.

Earlier today, Jonathan Porritt, former director of Friends of the Earth, co-founder of Forum for the Future, chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, and arguably the government's most important green advisor, said that what we needed to shock us out of our complacency over climate change was at least "four Katrinas in one year".

In fairness, he did qualify his comments to say that they should not all hit America, but did argue that it would be handy if at least two hit the developed world as Europe and the US had an unfortunate habit of ignoring disasters in poorer nations.

He then admitted to occasionally dreaming of Miami getting wiped out - you can kind of see why the guy so often finds himself mired in controversy. (BusinessGreen)

Government Cancels Leases For Utah Oil, Gas Drilling - WASHINGTON - The U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday canceled leases held by energy companies for oil and natural gas drilling on 130,000 acres of federal lands in Utah.

"I have directed (the department's) Bureau of Land Management not to accept the bids," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters on a conference call.

He said the department would return to the companies the $6 million in bids on the contested parcels of land and would reassess the decision to open these lands to energy exploration. (Reuters)

Republicans Urge Obama To OK Offshore Oil Drilling - WASHINGTON - House Republicans on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama not to close areas off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling.

The Republican lawmakers asked Obama to allow a 5-year plan proposed at the very end of the Bush administration that would expand offshore drilling to go forward. (Reuters)

BP attacked over "oil at any cost" strategy - As oil giant releases latest financial results green groups accuse it of cutting investment in its alternative energy division (BusinessGreen)

Michigan puts coal plants on hold - The home of much of the US car industry claims to be firmly focused on renewable technology (BusinessGreen)

US Air Force ditches coal-to-liquid fuel trial - Has Obama's green vision reached the military industrial complex already? (BusinessGreen)

Government urged to power up support for giant batteries - Electricity Storage Association warns blackouts are on the cards if the UK does not bolster investment in storage systems (BusinessGreen)

Report blasts corn-based biofuel health risks - Second-generation cellulosic can provide significant results, but ethanol has similar health implications as petrol (gasoline) (BusinessGreen)

Ethanol Bankruptcies Continue, 14 Studies Have Exposed the High Cost of Ethanol and Biofuels - On its website, Wisconsin-based Renew Energy says it is the “biofuels industry leader for innovation and efficiency.” It goes on, saying that its new 130 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin is “the largest dry mill corn fractionation facility in the world” which uses 35 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than similar ethanol plants.

That would be impressive but for one fact: Renew Energy just filed for bankruptcy. Renew, which had $184.2 million in revenue in 2008, filed Chapter 11 papers on January 30, just nine days after it posted an article on its website from Ethanol Producer Magazine which touted their new ethanol production process as one that “adds up to higher profitability and sustainability.” (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Dark Days for Green Energy - Wind and solar power have been growing at a blistering pace in recent years, and that growth seemed likely to accelerate under the green-minded Obama administration. But because of the credit crisis and the broader economic downturn, the opposite is happening: installation of wind and solar power is plummeting.

Factories building parts for these industries have announced a wave of layoffs in recent weeks, and trade groups are projecting 30 to 50 percent declines this year in installation of new equipment, barring more help from the government. (New York Times)

Why do you suppose people never really understand "green" anything is a niche luxury good? The only reason to use "green" as a justification for something is that the something is too expensive, too inefficient or simply too plain useless to survive without subsidy and appeal to emotional non-reason in the first place.

Rule of thumb? Green is a sign of putrefaction -- bury it.

How green can California's cars go? - US President Barack Obama gave California's environmentalists cause to celebrate when he took a step closer to backing the state's plans for strict vehicle emissions standards.

The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani looks at whether the technology required is feasible and if drivers would pay for it. (BBC)

A glimpse inside the mind of a public health professional - BBC News published an opinion piece today from Dr. Alan Maryon Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health*. In doing so, BBC News provided a public service by revealing what public health professionals believe about us. You have to read it to believe. (Junkfood Science)

Still adding it up… - In a running series that began last month, Black Informant has been going page-by-page through the stimulus package being debated in Congress. He’s finding that it’s not about stimulating the economy, but filled with perks for wealthy special interests that will most hurt the Black community, America’s cities, and the poor. (Junkfood Science)

?!! Bailing out the planet - As the rag-tag army of social movement activists, NGO representatives and other advocates from global civil society wend their way home from the Amazonian city of Belem, Brazil, and the World Social Forum (WSF), they have reason to believe they have won the debate on globalisation. Global economic catastrophe and global climate catastrophe have demonstrated to people the world over – including the new president of the United States – that unfettered capitalism is leading to unfettered disaster. (The Guardian)

Did these guys not notice the problems stem not from unfettered capitalism but top-down socialist interference in same? Did they not notice that barely regulated hedge funds and lightly regulated mutuals were not the problem but that the heavily regulated banks were? Their inability to learn from oft-repeated mistakes is quite disturbing.

$8.6 Billion of Stimulus Plan Earmarked for Pet Causes of Environmental Activists Should Be Jettisoned - Washington, D.C. - At least $8.6 billion of President Obama’s proposed $1.2 trillion stimulus plan is meant to fund dubious special interest policy initiatives of environmental activists and should immediately be jettisoned, says Deneen Borelli, full-time Fellow with the Project 21 national black leadership network. (Press Release)

Misoverestimating: I know big-L Lefties have a mania about population but how the heck many Americans does Pelosi think there are? At the rate cited the entire population of Earth, from newborn to pensioner, will "lose their jobs" in just 13 months. So Nancy, it really is true "we are all Americans now"?

Just imagine the media frenzy had Dubya said that and yet rumor has it Obama repeated the absurdity.

Statements on the Stimulus Plan

Statement of Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research:

"The adage 'haste makes waste' applies to Obama's massive stimulus plan. In response to our economic crisis the liberal majority is rushing to spend taxpayer money without regard to the consequences of its plan. We've seen this movie before - when Congress panics, taxpayers suffer. Just a few months ago, billions were spent on TARP with little effect on the economy.

"In reality it's a left-wing spending plan masquerading as economic stimulus. Only about 5 percent of the current bill will be used for infrastructure costs while millions of dollars are earmarked for other pet projects, such as renovations for the Department of Commerce headquarters, digital television coupons, the National Endowment for the Arts and the liberal group ACORN.

"Even worse, according to the Congressional Budget Office, most of the infrastructure projects for roads and bridges will not happen for two years or more. This spending will not provide immediate help to our floundering economy.

"The plan is really a rewards program for the left-wing groups that got Obama elected. The only thing stimulating about this plan is the anger it's arousing among Americans."

Statement of Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie:

"By the very definitions of 'economic' and 'stimulus' there is very little in this abominable bill that will do anything to stimulate our economy. This bill is just more of the same Congressional pillage, graft, and payback with different docket numbers." (Press Release)

Bill creates detention camps in U.S. for 'emergencies' - Sweeping, undefined purpose raises worries about military police state

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany. (WorldNetDaily)

United Nations Population Fund Leader Says Family Breakdown is a Triumph for Human Rights - MEXICO CITY, February 3, 2009 - A leader in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared that the breakdown of traditional families, far from being a “crisis,” is actually a triumph for human rights.

Speaking at a colloquium held last month at Colegio Mexico in Mexico City, UNFPA representative Arie Hoekman denounced the idea that high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births represent a social crisis, claiming that they represent instead the triumph of “human rights” against “patriarchy.” (

February 4, 2009

Climate bill possible "in weeks": Sen. Boxer - WASHINGTON - The Senate's top environmental lawmaker offered a preview on Wednesday of major component of climate change legislation she said could be introduced "in weeks, not months."

"We are not sitting back and waiting for some magic moment," Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told reporters. "We're ready to go."

Boxer shepherded carbon-capping legislation to the Senate floor last year, the most progress any climate change bill has made in the U.S. Congress. That bill won 48 votes, with 36 opposed, but died after a procedural maneuver by opponents.

Any new legislation to limit emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide -- such as those from coal-fired power plants and fossil-fueled vehicles -- would build on that earlier measure, but would not follow it exactly, Boxer said.

"We may move in three weeks, we may move in six weeks, we could move in 10 weeks," she said. "We could get a bill out of committee tomorrow ... I want to get a bill out of there that every member has a stake in, every member understands every word of it, and so it will take a while ...

"It could be weeks, not months, but it will be before the end of this year," she said.

That timeline would dovetail with moves toward an international agreement on climate change, set to be worked out in Copenhagen in December. (Reuters)

Video: Shock: MSNBC treats skeptic with respect! - Columnist Deroy Murdoch on MSNBC about how even politically left scientists and environmental activists are now abandoning the global warming fear machine.

See Murdock’s January 29, 2009 column: Even left now laughing at global warming (Scripps Howard News Service)

Not All "Green" Jobs Pay Well - WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has high hopes that millions of "green" jobs will be created by investing billions of dollars in renewable energy, but a report on Tuesday warned not all those workers would earn good pay.

"Green jobs are not automatically good jobs," according to the report commissioned by several U.S. labor and environmental groups, which looked at pay practices at renewable energy companies.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington, both Democrats released the report a day before hundreds of labor, environmental and business activists were scheduled to go to Capitol Hill to lobby for good-paying green jobs.

"Our survey results suggest that wind and solar manufacturing workers earn more than the typical employee at a Wal-Mart store, but it would be a stretch to say that all of them have good jobs," the report said.

Wage rates at many wind and solar manufacturing facilities are below the national average for workers employed in the manufacture of durable goods of $18.88 an hour, and average pay rates at some locations fall short of income levels needed to support a single adult with one child.

The lowest wage found was $8.25 an hour at a recycling processing plant, while manufacturing jobs related to renewable energy pay as little as $11 an hour. (Reuters)

Like anything isn't 'consistent with warming' now: Snow is consistent with global warming, say scientists - Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists. (Daily Telegraph)

Defiant Argentine Glacier Thrives Despite Warming - LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK - Climate change appears to be helping Argentina's mighty Perito Moreno glacier, which is thriving in defiance of the global warming that is shrinking its peers.

While most of the world's glaciers are melting away because of warmer temperatures, scientists say the Perito Moreno ice field, known as "The White Giant", is gaining as much as 3 meters (10 feet) a day in some parts, pushed forward by heavy snowfalls in the Patagonia region.

"Glaciers don't respond solely to temperature changes," said Martin Stuefer, a Patagonian expert from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

He said the area's heavy precipitation has apparently increased along with the world's recent climatic shifts, combining with strong, cold Patagonian winds to reinforce the glacier. (Reuters)

Personal carbon budgets possible by 2020, says head of RSA study - Everyone in the UK could have their own carbon budget by 2020, says the head of the most comprehensive trial of the idea.

Personal allowances set a limit on emissions produced by activities such as driving and heating homes. People could switch to greener services or do without to meet their allowances, sell credits if they did not use them all, or buy credits if they went over the budget because of more highly polluting activities such as flying.

The idea was given credibility by the support of David Miliband, the former environment and now foreign secretary, and the launch of a three-year study by the Royal Society of Arts. A report into the study concludes that trading allowances is too controversial in the short term, but important elements could work, including the principal of giving every person a carbon budget, said Matt Prescott, the RSA's project director.

Initially, budgets would be likely to cover only key areas such as buildings and transport, but as technology developed they could be extended, he said. (The Guardian)

Carbon Credits: Another Corrupt Currency? - Carbon credits are a form of fiat currency, yet as calls for carbon trading grow, ironically, another fiat currency collapses—destroying life savings, wiping out jobs, and taking down historic institutions overnight. Fiat money has a long history of failure, corruption and fraud. The inevitable booms, busts and inflation act as an invisible tax, transferring wealth from people who work and save to speculators, middle men, and crooks. The US dollar—sovereign issue of a great capitalist, democratic nation—is on life support. So far at least eight hundred billion dollars has been created from thin air to stop the banking system from crashing. (Joanne Nova, SPPI)

EU Carbon Drops To Record Low For 2008-12 - LONDON - European carbon emissions futures dropped to a new record low for the second phase of the European Union's emissions trading scheme on Tuesday.

Benchmark EU Allowances hit 10.76 euros ($13.84) a ton at 1422 GMT, edging below their previous record low of 10.81 euros on January 20. They opened trade at 11.29 euros a ton. (Reuters)

<chuckle> Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut branded a 'wacko' by AWU president Bill Ludwig - THE patriarch of Australia's biggest blue-collar union has launched a stinging assault on the credibility of the Rudd Government's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, calling him "wacko".

Australian Workers Union national president Bill Ludwig yesterday poured scorn on Professor Garnaut's proposal that Australians move away from eating cattle and sheep and instead consume kangaroo meat because of environmental benefits.


The former shearer and influential figure in Queensland's ALP told conference delegates he was not a climate change sceptic. But he said, nonetheless, that he supported debate on the science behind the theory, before launching into a headlong criticism of Professor Garnaut as author of the Government's white paper on climate change.

The union chief said climate change was described initially as global warming, until evidence proved unequivocally that the planet actually got cooler.

"It's not global warming any more, it's climate change," Mr Ludwig told delegates. "That gets them back in the game. These people are pretty flexible to be relevant in these times."

Mr Ludwig ridiculed Professor Garnaut's suggestion to move away from farming cattle and sheep and to rely instead on kangaroo meat because it could involve less land cultivation and less methane gas. "I thought, 'Hello, here's another wacko'," he said. (The Australian)

There are a lot of times I don't agree with Ludwig and what he has to say but he does appear to have Garnaut and other climate cranks pegged.

Interesting admission: Blizzard of anger follows London snowstorm - LONDON – Britain's capital cleared the soggy remnants of a paralyzing snowstorm on Tuesday as businesses counted the multibillion-pound (-dollar) cost.

An estimated 6 million people skipped work Monday when the largest snowstorm to hit London in 18 years stopped bus and subway services, grounded airliners and hobbled businesses.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the cost to Britain's economy through lost productivity could be as high as 3 billion pounds ($4.3 billion).

Transportation officials, business leaders and local authorities accused one another of failing to prepare for the long-predicted storm that crippled Britain's transport network by dropping more than four inches (10 centimeters) of snow in London overnight Sunday, and another four inches Monday.

"We can't change nature and if nature does this to us we have a problem," said John Ransford, chief executive of Britain's Local Government Association, which represents the small district and town councils largely responsible for keeping roads and sidewalks clear. (Associated Press) [em added]

Climatic Effects of 30 Years of Landscape Change over the Greater Phoenix, AZ, Region: Part I 2009 by Matei Georgescu - In order to paint a more comprehensive assessment of anthropogenic influence on climate the National Research Council (NRC) has stressed the need to supplement additional value to the oft-cited and traditionally based evaluation of global-scale forcing(s). For example, taking into account the regional surface energy balance resulting from the heterogeneous patchwork that is the land surface (and importantly, the modification of the energy balance due to changes in the surface cover) has important implications for proper attribution of surface temperature changes, regional changes in circulation, and perhaps teleconnections, all effects that cannot be explained solely by increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases. (Climate Science)

Further Comments on the Question “Can The Climate System ‘Mask’ Heat?” - In response to a request for a further discussion of the term “unmasking”, as discussed in the weblog Can The Climate System “Mask” Heat?, I provide more information below.

The use of the term “unmasking”, as used by Professor Ramanathan and Feng, is not an appropriate synonym to describe the removal of a radiative forcing (or other forcings). The accurate terminology is the removal of an ”offset”. This is more than semantics, since the term “unmasking” used in the Ramanathan and Feng, 2008 paper appears to have a broader meaning, as discussed below. (Climate Science)

This persistence thing, again... On climate change, there's no going back - ...The problem is that once emitted, a molecule of carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for 100 years or more. So even if we get started now on reducing future carbon emissions, some climate change is inevitable. There's too much carbon dioxide already up there, resulting from 150 years or so of emissions. And, once the oceans warm up as they have already started to do, there is no easy way to cool them down. There is no going back, no feasible way to avoid a certain amount of irreversible change. All policies have to start with where we are now, and move aggressively from here. (Boston Globe)

... is it true? Going by the IPCC's figures the global carbon cycle (annual) is greater than 210 Pg, with a cumulative increment of perhaps 3 Pg. That's ~101.5% or any given molecule has a 98.5% chance of being recycled in it's first year. Looks like an average atmospheric persistence of ~370 days then, eh? That seems a tad short of the 36,525 days suggested above.

From CO2 Science this week:

Biological Effects of "Ocean Acidification": Are they as bad as climate alarmists make them out to be?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 663 individual scientists from 388 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Crevice Lake, Yellowstone National Park, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Permafrost (Degradation): Has it accelerated in response to late 20th-century global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Corn, Dwarf Breadseed Poppy, Garden Pea, and Trout Lily.

Journal Reviews:
The Past Half-Century of ENSO Behavior: Has it become more extreme? ... and what's the significance of the answer?

ENSO Activity and Climate Change: How does the latter affect the former?

ENSO Prediction by Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Models: How good is it?

Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Flowering Times of Asteraceae Species: What are the effects? ... and what are the implications of the results for prior interpretations of historical plant phenology observations?

The Growth of Scots Pines in Northeast Spain: How did they do during the "unprecedented" warming of the 20th century? (

Trawling for funds in the virtual world: Climate change may be stoking stronger winds, altered oceans - To assess future wind and upwelling scenarios along the California coast, Snyder and his colleagues at UC Santa Cruz ran climate simulations for two time periods. One spanned from 1968 to 2000, verifying the accuracy of the modeling. The second simulated the region's estimated climate from 2038 to 2070, using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "high-growth" emissions projections. Snyder said he chose the high emissions scenario because today's are exceeding earlier IPCC estimates.

Snyder said he knows his hypothesis needs more research, so he'll know whether to continue pursuing it or to discard it. The latter is unlikely, he said, given the new cycle of dead zones on the Oregon and Washington coasts that started in 2002. (Contra Costa Times)

Oil Industry Wary of New US Interior Secretary's Policies - Despite Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's vow to draft a comprehensive energy policy that includes new domestic oil and gas drilling, the industry is watching with a wary eye.

Salazar hasn't been specific about where he will open new acreage for lease sales. But based on his comments so far, some industry officials fear that new drilling rights under such a plan may be in areas that show little promise compared to other prospects likely to remain off limits. Related Pictures

The officials also say the secretary's pledge to reform the government's royalty program, which collects billions of revenue from the industry for federal coffers, may discourage even more new projects. (Dow Jones Newswires)

Struggling Solar Firms Look To Public Projects - GUILDFORD - John Fitzpatrick is in a buoyant niche of construction. Building subsidized homes for disadvantaged people, with solar paneled roofs for environmentally friendly power, he is funded by the government.

A British scheme to halve the cost of installing solar panels on schools and social housing is aiding a solar power industry hit by the housing slump.

It's tiny compared with U.S. President Barack Obama's multi-billion-dollar plans to invest in cutting carbon emissions from government facilities. But as a slowdown threatens many renewable energy projects, such schemes offer hope for jobs. (Reuters)

But should our taxes be wasted on such pointless busy-work?

In Bolivia, Untapped Bounty Meets Nationalism - UYUNI, Bolivia — In the rush to build the next generation of hybrid or electric cars, a sobering fact confronts both automakers and governments seeking to lower their reliance on foreign oil: almost half of the world’s lithium, the mineral needed to power the vehicles, is found here in Bolivia — a country that may not be willing to surrender it so easily.

Japanese and European companies are busily trying to strike deals to tap the resource, but a nationalist sentiment about the lithium is building quickly in the government of President Evo Morales, an ardent critic of the United States who has already nationalized Bolivia’s oil and natural gas industries. (New York Times)

EPA May Seek New Comment On California Waiver This Week - WASHINGTON - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday she hopes to reopen the public comment period this week on California's request to be given the authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions spewed from vehicle tailpipes.

"I think very soon ... I'm hoping that it will be in the next few days," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Reuters when she was asked if the notice on the new comment period for the state's plan would be published this week in the Federal Register of government regulations. (Reuters)

Biofuels: The past, present and future - The world of biofuels is as diverse as it is controversial. From being hailed as a great savior from the perils of using fossil fuels, to being a pariah that is leading to less food to go around, biofuels have, at best, a mixed reputation.

That said, not all biofuels are created equally and many different types exist, each with their own sets of pros and cons. As such, many of the negative stereotypes should not be applied to all types of biofuels. (Energy Current)

What you didn’t hear about the latest study of sudden and unexpected infant deaths - News accounts of a new CDC study on infant deaths have led parents to fear that babies are dying from suffocation and strangulation in their beds in skyrocketing numbers. These spins are not what the study data actually found. Giving the public only half the story has not only accentuated anxiety among parents, it has piled on perceptions that today’s parents are incompetent and at risk of harming their children without interventions from public health professionals, even down to the most intimate details of home life and parenting choices. (Junkfood Science)

February 3, 2009

Czech president attacks Al Gore's climate campaign - DAVOS, Switzerland — Czech President Vaclav Klaus took aim at climate change campaigner Al Gore on Saturday in Davos in a frontal attack on the science of global warming.

"I don't think that there is any global warming," said the 67-year-old liberal, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. "I don't see the statistical data for that."

Referring to the former US vice president, who attended Davos this year, he added: "I'm very sorry that some people like Al Gore are not ready to listen to the competing theories. I do listen to them.

"Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. Al Gore is an important person in this movement." (AFP)

Has the U.S. lost its passion for green? - With the economy faltering, environmental concerns may have to play second fiddle for now. (Brian Dumaine, Fortune)

California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007 -- in anticipation of the new mandates -- California has led the nation in job losses.

The regulations created a cap-and-trade system, similar to proposed federal global-warming measures, by limiting the CO2 that utilities, trucking companies and other businesses can emit, and imposed steep new taxes on companies that exceed the caps. Since energy is an input in everything that's produced, this will raise the cost of production inside California's borders.

Now, as the Golden State prepares to implement this regulatory scheme, employers are howling. It's become clear to nearly everyone that the plan's backers have underestimated its negative impact and exaggerated the benefits. "We've been sold a false bill of goods," is how Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who has been the GOP's point man on environmental issues in the legislature, put it to me. (Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal)

Lessons from Europe - The recent European Union climate agreement provides a useful warning to incoming President Obama and his team when they consider what to do about global warming. The rhetoric from the EU may sound nice, but when it comes to translating words into action, Europe has shown that the job is harder than it looks. EU member states have found it very difficult to reduce emissions, meet renewable energy targets or create lasting green jobs.

The European Union has had a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions in place for several years now, but has failed to make much dent in emissions. This is important to America, because a cap-and-trade scheme is President Obama's preferred policy vehicle for delivering emissions reductions. Yet the European experience with cap-and-trade should sound alarm bells.

The scheme has been repeatedly gamed and manipulated by industry and governments so that emissions have actually increased faster than the those of the United States, with none of the big reductions promised materializing. Industries have enjoyed windfall profits from emission credit trading, and some U.S. firms also have hoped to cash in - Enron and more recently Lehman Brothers were major proponents of American adoption of cap-and-trade policies.

For everyone else, however, results have not been so happy. European households have seen electricity bills rise. Europe has become more dependent on Russian gas. And a recent study by the British think tank Open Europe found the scheme's major costs accrued to essential public service facilities like schools and hospitals.

Meeting renewable energy targets has been no walk in the park, either. Leaked British government documents reveal how meeting the target of 20 percent of all energy being from renewable sources by 2020 is next to impossible. (Iain Murray, Gabriel Calzada, Carlo Stagnaro, Washington Times)

Who is speaking for the plants? - The full proverb says, “Give a dog a bad name and hang him.” They’ve given carbon dioxide (CO2) a bad name and it is now being hanged by draconian and completely unnecessary legislation. Consider this comment by Susan Solomon, NOAA senior scientist, ”I think you have to think about this stuff (CO2) as more like nuclear waste than acid rain: The more we add, the worse off we’ll be,” An alarmist, outrageous and completely unsupportable comment, but not surprising from the co-chair of Working Group I of the IPCC 2007 report.

The reality is if CO2 is reduced we are worse off as the plants suffer. Something must be done to protect the plants from fanaticism. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Martin Weitzman’s Dismal Theorem: Do “Fat Tails” Destroy Cost-Benefit Analysis? - The funny thing about carbon pricing is that even if you take the latest IPCC report as gospel, and even if you assume all of the governments around the world implement a perfectly efficient carbon tax, even so the “efficient” carbon tax ends up being fairly low for a few decades, and then it ramps up as atmospheric concentrations increase. (See William Nordhaus’s new book treatment [pdf] of his “DICE” model for an excellent exposition.) The intuition behind this result is that even the scary projections of catastrophic climate change don’t occur for more than one hundred years, and so discounting these future damages to the present leads to a modest externality from current emissions of another ton of carbon dioxide.

This phenomenon explains the fury with which partisans in the climate change debate argue over the proper “social discount rate.” The very aggressive policies recommended in the Stern Review, for example, are almost entirely driven [.pdf] by Stern’s use of a philosophically derived (low) discount rate, versus Nordhaus’s use of market-based interest rates. A given dollar-amount of climate damage occurring in, say, the year 2200 justifies a much bigger diversion of resources today, if we use a discount rate of 1% versus a discount rate of 4%. (Robert Murphy, Master Resource)

EU Pitches Climate Plan - So the question remains: Who’s going to pay what? The United States Senate remains unlikely to ratify any international agreement to ration energy that doesn’t also include rapidly developing countries responsible for an ever-greater share of global emissions. Developing countries, however, refuse to put global warming over poverty reduction and their “right to develop.” The EU procrastinates. Global emissions continue to rise (while temperatures stay the same). (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

EC warned against possible devastating global warming - European Commission has warned that global warming might be more devastating than previously thought and called on negotiators at global talks this year to remain open to deeper, more costly emissions cuts.

Mr Stavros Dimas European environment commissioner said that "This is almost certainly the last chance to get the climate under control before it passes the point of no return." He made the warning as he unveiled a proposed European negotiating position for talks in December in Copenhagen on a successor to the Kyoto protocol.

He said that it would call for emissions from the aviation and shipping industries to be tackled, despite the fact that both sectors are seen suffering from global recession. (Steel Guru)

China Plans Weigh On Record Low Kyoto Offset Price - LONDON - A suspension of the Chinese government's price floor for Kyoto carbon offset sales, expected in March, could weigh on this already battered market, analysts IDEAcarbon said on Friday.

"To encourage investment, the Chinese government is expected to unofficially release its 8 euro price floor in early March and look the other way as deals are transacted in the 6-7 euro price range," IDEAcarbon's Tenke Zoltani told Reuters.

U.N.-approved Certified Emission Reduction offsets (CERs) issued to clean energy projects in the primary tranche of the $32 billion CER market, averaged 8.87 euros ($11.40) per tonne of carbon dioxide this week, IDEAcarbon said. This level was down from a high of 13.60 euros last July and was slightly above China's current floor. (Reuters)

Push For Climate Deal As Obama Lifts Hopes - DAVOS - Denmark's prime minister called on rich and poor countries alike to commit to big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of key year-end talks on a new climate treaty he will host in Copenhagen.

Hopes that a deal may be possible have increased since the election of what many see as a "green" U.S. president and business is increasingly enthusiastic about the opportunities thrown up by climate change.

"It is essential to engage heads of state and government stronger in the whole process to ensure a positive result in Copenhagen," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos Friday. (Reuters)

Resist Industry Pressure To Dilute Green Reform: U.N. - NEW DELHI - Industries are pressing governments worldwide to dilute policies on climate change, but the world must not slacken the fight for a "structural shift" to a green economy, the U.N. climate panel chief said on Friday.

Calling the global economic downturn "a major distraction," R.K. Pachauri said even countries such as Germany, which was among those leading the climate change war, were under pressure.

"There is a lot of pressure from business and industry now on the leadership to see that they cut back on some of the professed commitment that they have articulated in the past," said Pachauri, the head of the Nobel Prize-winning U.N climate panel.

Many industrialized nations are shelving ambitions for the deepest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as economic slowdown overshadows the fight against climate change.

But, the election of Barack Obama as the new U.S. president, has tempered the gloom, Pachauri said. (Reuters)

Setting up for failure: Strict emission for developed world likely: Pachauri - AHMEDABAD: The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009, is likely to conclude on a strict regulatory regime on emissions for developed countries
rather than for the developing countries, nobel laureate R K Pachauri said here today.

"The negotiations are going on for the conference of parties at the Copenhagen where we will have a multilateral worldwide agreement, let's see what the implications of that would be," Pachauri, who is Chairman of UN's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said on the sidelines of fifth convocation of DAIICT.

"Of course, the developing countries will be exempted from any such restrictions but the developed countries will certainly have to cut down on emission," Pachauri said, adding, "some strict regulations are going to be there." (Economic Times)

Naive twits: Protesters call for bigger carbon emission cuts - Hundreds of people have surrounded Parliament House in Canberra to protest against the Rudd government's planned carbon emissions reduction target.

The protest follows a weekend summit, attended by 500 representatives of 140 community climate action groups, which formulated a set of objectives to pressure the government.

The groups say the government's target to reduce emissions by between five and 15 per cent by 2020 is too low.

Up to 1,200 protesters, most dressed in red and carrying banners and placards, chanted "five per cent is not enough", and "climate justice now".

They joined hands to form a ring around Parliament House.

The protesters are demanding the government set a 100 per cent target for renewable energy. (AAP)

This at a time K.Rudd is throwing our taxes (and future revenue) around like a mad woman's washing in the name of "stimulus packages" as our economy tanks.

No winner in Ultimate Global Warming Challenge - announces that there is no winner in the Ultimate Global Warming Challenge. None of the five entries demonstrates to the satisfaction of that either, let alone both, of the contest hypotheses can be rejected according to the rules of the contest. is considering the possibility of extending the contest in hopes that someone can prove scientifically that manmade global warming is real and the disaster that it is purported to be. Stay tuned!

Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of warming! Steve Goble: Are you in denial about global warming? - Every time someone points at the snow or the low temperatures and says, "So much for global warming," a truth fairy dies.

One of the growth industries in our tumbling economy is the global warming denial business. According to the sellers of this snake oil, the whole idea of global warming was invented by Al Gore to scare you into voting for Democrats.

Climate obstinacy is a kissing cousin to denying the theory of evolution. When science tells people something they don't like, you can't cram it into their heads with a crowbar.

Here's a hint: If you really want to understand what's going on with the climate, look beyond Al Gore.

Get your science from people like James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and who has done as much as anybody to figure all this out. (News Journal)

That'd be this bloke? Hansen's colossal failures: Super El Niño predictions - Roger Pielke Jr mentions James Hansen's 2006 predictions about a "super El Niño" that would rival the 1983 and 1997-1998 El Niño events.

In March 2006, Hansen wrote a paper claiming the following: We suggest that an El Niño is likely to originate in 2006 and that there is a good chance it will be a “super El Niño”, rivaling the 1983 and 1997-1998 El Niños, which were successively labeled the “El Niño of the century” as they were of unprecedented strength in the previous 100 years.

To check whether his prediction worked... (The Reference Frame)

Oh boy... Man from Nasa slams Salmond coal plan as 'sham' - ONE of the world's leading climate change experts yesterday called into question the green credentials of the First Minister, branding his energy policy a "sham".

Nasa scientist Dr James Hansen called for Alex Salmond to abandon any plans to allow new coal-fired power stations to be built in Scotland.

He urged that any such stations should be built only if they were fitted with technology – which does not yet exist – to capture and store carbon dioxide, the dangerous greenhouse gas. (The Scotsman) [em added]

The, um... "dangerous greenhouse gas" referred to would be the essential trace gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) can be a dangerous greenhouse gas and is certainly more significant as far as warming the Earth goes but we don't really want them trying to limit water either.

Ocean Acidification and Corals - Guest post by Steven Goddard

The BBC ran an article this week titled “Acid oceans ‘need urgent action‘” based on the premise:

The world’s marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, warn scientists.

This sounds very alarming, so being diligent researchers we should of course check the facts. The ocean currently has a pH of 8.1, which is alkaline not acid. In order to become acid, it would have to drop below 7.0. According to Wikipedia “Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104.” At that rate, it will take another 3,500 years for the ocean to become even slightly acid. One also has to wonder how they measured the pH of the ocean to 4 decimal places in 1751, since the idea of pH wasn’t introduced until 1909. (Watts Up With That?)

[See original for links and emphasis] Can The Climate System “Mask” Heat? - Marcel Crok asked an interesting and important question Can The Climate System “Mask” Heat?

This question is important because the use of this concept appears in the peer reviewed literature; e.g. see

Ramanathan, V. and Y. Feng, 2008: On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead, PNAS, 105, 14245-14250, Sept 23, 2008 where they write “About 90% or more of the rest of the committed warming of 1.6°C will unfold during the 21st century, determined by the rate of the unmasking of the aerosol cooling effect by air pollution abatement laws and by the rate of release of the GHGs-forcing stored in the oceans.”

Climate Science discussed their paper in the weblog Misconception And Oversimplification Of the Concept Of Global Warming By V. Ramanthan and Y. Feng

The concept of masking, however, indicates that the heating from the greenhouse gases continues under cover (it is concealed), and accumulates over time only to be exposed (i.e. unmasked) when a covering effect (aerosols in the case of the Ramanathan and Feng paper) is “unmasked”. The release of “GHGs-forcing in the oceans” is, presumably, the unmasking of the heat that is supposed to be continually stored there. Recent ocean data, however, documents that there has been no storage of heat since 2004; see the figure in Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

The use of the term “masking” with respect to radiative forcing, is an incorrect description of the science. Heating from the greenhouse gases, if balanced by cooling from aerosols, results in no heat accumulation within the climate system. If the aerosols were not permitted to enter the atmosphere, yet the well-mixed greenhouse gases continued to accumulate, global warming would result, but there would be no concealed accumulated heat to suddenly enter the climate system, once the aerosols are eliminated. There is no “masking” of heat. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

This twaddle, again: The Big Thaw - The Arctic’s permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. But as global temperatures rise, the frozen ground is melting fast and releasing greenhouse gases. Are we trapped in a deadly cycle? (Popular Science)

Discovery edits AFP piece to make science fit agenda?

AFP piece hosted on Google: The earth's magnetic field impacts climate: Danish study - COPENHAGEN (AFP) — The earth's climate has been significantly affected by the planet's magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming.

and Discovery: Earth's Magnetic Field Changes Climate - AFP -- Jan. 13, 2009 -- The Earth's climate has been significantly affected by the planet's magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that is unlikely to challenge the notion that human emissions are largely responsible for global warming. -- h/t Greg Goodknight

California Blocks People of Santa Barbara on Drilling - The Los Angeles Times today reports that the California State Lands Commission overturned a proposal by county officials and environmentalists for expanded oil production off the Santa Barbara coast. Environmentalists helped craft the measure, which allowed a Texas energy company to drill new wells in exchange for the eventual retirement of four platforms. Despite broad, bi-partisan support for the agreement in Santa Barbara, the State Lands Commission objected to the deal because its approval would have sent “a message heard very, very clearly by those who call for ‘drill, baby, drill,’” said Lt. Governor John Garamendi (D), who sits on the Commission, and who intends to run for Governor. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Silly buggers: Co-op tightens green lending criteria to hit tar sands' distribution - The Co-operative Bank has stepped up its high-profile attack on oil firms involved in the carbon intensive exploitation of North American tar sands, tightening its ethical lending criteria to exclude not just those companies directly involved in the practice but also those involved in the distribution of resulting "unconventional oil".

The new criteria, which also exclude firms involved in developing and distributing those biofuels believed to result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions from receiving funding from the bank, were drawn up after a survey of its 80,000 customers revealed high-level concern over funding firms operating in these controversial areas. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

Asia’s Brown Pollution Cloud: Caused by Renewable Fuels! - That vast cloud of brown pollution hanging over Asia comes from wood and cattle dung being burned in millions of Third World home-fires, according to Orjan Gustafsson, a bio-geochemist from Stockholm University. Gustaffsson recently tested the smoke of the Asian brown cloud with a newly developed radiocarbon technique—and found that two-thirds of the brown cloud’s particles are organic matter, mostly wood, straw and dung.

These are the “renewable fuels” that Greenpeace and the Sierra Club doesn’t want publicized. They’d rather not focus on the harsh reality that these open cooking and heating fires are dreadful for the health of Asian women and children. The lung diseases caused by the indoor smoke are equal to a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, says Barun Mitra of India’s Liberty Institute.

The burden of indoor smoke has been worse in the past two globally-colder winters, as temperatures have turned sharply downward from the peak warming of 1998. More than 60,000 cattle froze to death in Vietnam in February. Homeless people have frozen to death in Kyrgistan, and travelers have been suffocated under snow avalanches in Afghanistan. Crumbling Soviet-era electricity and gas systems in Tajikistan have forced homeowners to burn dung again in a country that thought it had graduated to a better life.

Even in the best of times, burning the wood, straw, and dung are costly in human labor. Finding wood where trees are scarce—and/or don’t belong to the villagers—can take hours per day. And the problem is worsening. Mitra says India’s fuel-wood requirements will double in the coming years unless it can burn more propane and kerosene. The landscape is being stripped of trees now; where will the extra trees come from? (CFP)

Obama Dooms Detroit? - President Obama also directed the Department of Transportation to publish the regulations implementing the higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for new cars and trucks that were included in the anti-energy bill enacted in December 2007. Either granting the California waiver request or implementing the new CAFÉ standards should be enough to make America’s domestic auto industry a permanent ward of the federal government. It appears that Obama is determined to do both and to pour however much money it takes to keep Detroit going. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Clean coal nurtures jobs and climate - NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE: The need for a realistic and sustainable energy policy has never been greater. We have all recently seen the erratic fluctuation of fuel prices. Petrol, for example, cost over pounds 1.20 a litre last July and is now about 85p.

And we have also witnessed the cavalier attitude of the Russians in turning off Europe's gas.

These examples illustrate why the United Kingdom should protect itself from the vagaries of the energy market. We are also committed to cutting our carbon emissions to curb the threat of global warming.

The failed strategy of rejecting our own biggest energy resource, coal, in favour of gas has proved a short-term fix. In the 1980s, we led the world in clean coal technology with the safest and most technological coal industry. (Energy News)

Coal is a good fuel and as long as you don't waste vast amounts of energy trying to deny the biosphere its essential sustenance of carbon dioxide its combustion is a major boon to life on Earth.

Not stopping, just needing to pay the bills: Private note to regular readers - Dear readers, friends and fellow medical professionals,

I wanted to personally thank you all. You’ve become such friends and been so generous in sharing your expertise, encouragement and support. Your enthusiasm for JFS and science has been heart warming and helped to keep going.

Those who know me know that I took these years to work without a salary for no other reason than that I truly believe people deserve honest information and to learn what the science and evidence really shows about their food, bodies and health. JFS has tried to be the balance to the bad science, commercial interests and ideological agendas, proliferating in media and online, that take advantage of people, create fear and hurt people. I’ve worked hard to give you information that is as true as I know it to be. I have a special soft spot for protecting babies, children, pregnant women, elderly and the most vulnerable; and for evidence-based care and medical ethics. I genuinely hope that JFS has helped you.

Please don’t worry, these aspirations and values haven’t been depleted, just the savings. Despite the intense disinformation campaign by well-financed opponents claiming I’m a paid industry shill, I’ve never taken money from any industry or special interest, nor am I being paid by a marketing company.

So, it’s back to work I go. My new job will take my full-time attention, but I will continue to post as best I can. I ask for your understanding, along with my sincere gratitude.

Sandy wishes Sandy every success in her new position and looks forward to her continued, if less frequent posts.

Update: More conflicts coming to the HHS? - An update to the earlier post looking at the new leadership selected for the Health and Human Services Department — and finding troubling conflicts of interest and a heavily-financed lobbyist selected for deputy secretary — is probably in order, given this weekend’s news.

There’s lots of talk about addressing problems of corruption in the healthcare system and promises to clean up the influence of special interests and lobbyists. But, as with everything, it’s also a matter of definition. (Junkfood Science)

Obesity virus — a new risk factor? - With more than 301,000 articles on Google reporting on an obesity virus, it clearly has created a media sensation. Surprisingly few people have noticed how correlations have been built to make us believe that the science for a fat virus is far more significant than it really is.

The best way to tell this story is probably to go back to the beginning. (Junkfood Science)

Call for obese children to be taken into care - SEVERELY obese children should be notified to child protection authorities, and even taken into care, if their parents are unwilling or unable to help them lose weight, experts have argued.

The continuing failure of parents to ensure treatment for their obese child could be considered medical neglect when the child is suffering, or is at high risk of suffering, associated severe health problems.

Clinicians already have a legal requirement to contact welfare authorities when parents fail to follow medical advice in the treatment of other illnesses, such as parents who reject medication for a HIV-infected child, or who refuse a life-saving blood transfusion for a child on religious grounds.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors at the Children's Hospital at Westmead say the growing prevalence of severe obesity is leaving many health workers unsure if they should notify child protection workers when parents fail to follow medical advice. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Cholera Under-Reported, Infects Millions A Year- WHO - GENEVA - Cholera infects millions of people each year, 10 times the number of cases reported by countries who fear losing tourist or trade income by acknowledging the real scale of an outbreak, experts said on Monday.

Claire-Lise Chaignat, cholera coordinator at the World Health Organisation, said the diarrhoeal disease that is spreading fast in Zimbabwe is also under-reported because the stigma attached to it means people often fail to seek treatment.

"People see it as a dirty disease," she said in the latest WHO Bulletin. "People don't want to talk about it. They think it's normal to have diarrhoea. Quite often, nobody is interested in providing the minimal support needed for prevention."

In 2007, governments reported just 178,000 cases of cholera, which is spread mostly through contaminated food and water.

According to Chaignat, about 120,000 people most likely died of cholera that year, compared to the 4,031 official toll reported to the WHO. (Reuters)

More German children need measles jabs: WHO study - GENEVA - More children in Germany must be vaccinated against measles to prevent another widespread outbreak, a World Health Organization (WHO) study published on Monday said.

More than 12,000 people were infected with measles three years ago in Germany, Romania, Britain, Switzerland and Italy in an unusual epidemic caused by relatively low immunization rates against the contagious viral disease.

"The 2006 measles outbreak ... must be regarded as a wake-up call," experts from Berlin's Robert Koch Institute and two German public health centers said in the latest WHO Bulletin, in a study that focused only on Germany.

They said vaccination coverage rates remain dangerously low, putting children at continuing risk of the viral disease that killed 197,000 people in 2007. (Reuters)

Nope: Egg intake linked to diabetes risk - NEW YORK - People who sit down to a daily breakfast of eggs may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

In a long-term study of 57,000 U.S. adults, researchers found that those who ate an egg a day were 58 percent to 77 percent more likely than non-egg-eaters to develop type 2 diabetes.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, do not necessarily mean that eggs themselves put people on a path to diabetes, according to the researchers. But they do suggest it is wise to limit your egg intake. (Reuters Health)

Green adviser calls for a limit of two children - London -- Couples who have more than two children are being irresponsible by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the Government’s green adviser has said. (The Times)

The Population Bum - A member of Britain's government says couples should be limited to two children to save the Earth from global warming. It's discouraging that such muddle-headed people are in positions of power.

Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission, doesn't have the power to set a two-child limit on British couples — at least not yet.

But he's nevertheless "unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate."

"I think we will work our way toward a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible," said Porritt, who favors contraception and abortion as means to curb population growth, but probably wouldn't be adverse to a totalitarian law that caps the number of babies a couple can have.

It's hard to know if Porritt's comments were planned or his inner thoughts simply slipped out the way that environmentalists admit from time to time that their top priority is not a cleaner world, but rather a radical reordering of economies and societal structure to suit their egalitarian urges.

Either way, as a practical matter, Porritt didn't need to say anything. The fertility rate among the English has been less than two children per woman since the early 1970s. (IBD)

An act of extreme, wilful fecundity? - Why the birth of octuplets in California so speedily turned from a good news story into a finger-wagging morality tale. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

Why the British elite is so scared of babies - In arguing that it’s wrong to have too many kids, Jonathon Porritt has joined the eco-misanthropes who want to reduce human numbers. (Frank Furedi, spiked)

Forcing international agendas through local mayors - In June 2005, I reported on the UN's efforts to recruit the nation's mayors to directly impose Sustainable Development policy into our local communities. The Mayors weren't there to simply discuss policy, they committed to an agenda with specific goals. And the results are now clearly being seen in more than 400 communities in 48 states.

First, let me define the policy I'm talking about and describe where it came from. Sustainable Development is the direct opposite of the type of locally elected representative government our Founding Fathers organized for the United States. Sustainable Development expert Michael Shaw explains, it "is the process by which America is being reorganized around a central principle of state collectivism using the environment as bait." In fact, the policy involves every aspect of our daily lives from food processing and consumption, to health care, to community development to education to labor, and much more. The blue print for sustainable development came from a United Nations soft law policy called Agenda 21, first revealed at the UN's Earth Summit in 1992. (Tom DeWeese, ESR)

Landscape-scale treatment promising for slowing beetle spread - Mountain pine beetles devastating lodgepole pine stands across the West might best be kept in check with aerial application of flakes containing a natural substance used in herbal teas that the insects release to avoid overcrowding host trees, according to a team of scientists. Findings from the U.S. Forest Service-funded study appear in the February issue of Forest Ecology and Management. The study was conducted in California and Idaho, and showed how applications of laminated flakes containing a substance called verbenone resulted in a three-fold reduction in insect attack rates, compared to areas where they were not applied.

The technique could provide a way to treat infestations on a large scale and limit further spread into millions of acres of trees made vulnerable because of climate change, overcrowding and fires.

It could also be an alternative to insecticides, which can have adverse environmental effects. Thinning of some overstocked forests is still recommended to reduce susceptibility to bark beetles. But, the flakes can provide some protection for the dense, old-growth stands required by wildlife, according to the scientists. (e! Science News)

Could ecoterrorists let slip the bugs of war? - Insects can spread disease and destroy crops with devastating speed. Do not underestimate their potential as weapons

The terrorists' letter arrived at the Mayor of Los Angeles's office on November 30, 1989. A group calling itself “the Breeders” claimed to have released the Mediterranean fruit fly in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and threatened to expand their attack to the San Joaquin Valley, an important centre of Californian agriculture.

With perverse logic, they said that unless the Government stopped using pesticides they would assure a cataclysmic infestation that would lead to the quarantining of California produce, costing 132,000 jobs and $13.4 billion in lost trade.

The infestation was real enough. It was ended by heavy spraying. It is still not known if ecoterrorists were behind it, but the panic it engendered shows that “the Breeders” were flirting with a powerful weapon.

The history and future of insects as weapons are explored in my new book, Six-Legged Soldiers. As an entomologist, I was initially interested in how human beings have conscripted insects and twisted science for use in war, terrorism and torture. It soon became apparent that the weaponisation of insects was not some quirky military footnote but a recurring theme in human strife, and quite possibly the next chapter in modern conflicts.

Insects are one of the cheapest and most destructive weapons available to terrorists today, and one of the most widely ignored: they are easy to sneak across borders, reproduce quickly and can spread disease and destroy crops with devastating speed. (Jeffrey A. Lockwood, The Times)

Good reason to keep a very large arsenal of effective pesticides handy then, eh?

February 2, 2009

Stern recipe for change - To stop the world warming we have to cut our carbon emissions to African levels

It may be crippled and reviled, but Britain’s banking industry is likely to become one of the nation’s key assets in dealing with climate change, according to Lord (Nicholas) Stern.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Stern suggested that Britain’s banks and other financial institutions would be an essential element in building the low-carbon infrastructure the country will need if it is to achieve its emission-reduction targets. He also believes such investments could help them rebuild their profits.

“Banking could do very well as Britain moves to a low-carbon economy,” he said. “There will be lots of business opportunities and Britain’s bankers are particularly strong in this area. They have been very creative over all kinds of issues and they could do it again in the financing of green initiatives.” (Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times)

So, you should live in mud huts and survive on irregular servings of mealy pap (a kind of maize porridge) so bankers can become obscenely wealthy again... And the panic justification for this is to deny the natural world an essential resource currently in desperately short supply (the world has only been this short of atmospheric carbon dioxide for the last few million years following eons of biological depletion and the biosphere really hums when levels are more than 5 times those of today).

Interesting. NYT is finally catching up with the facts: New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests - CHILIBRE, Panama — The land where Marta Ortega de Wing raised hundreds of pigs until 10 years ago is being overtaken by galloping jungle — palms, lizards and ants.

Instead of farming, she now shops at the supermarket and her grown children and grandchildren live in places like Panama City and New York.

Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing’s — and much larger swaths of farmland — are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings.

These new “secondary” forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest — an iconic environmental cause — may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster. (New York Times)

Remember when we told you about Philip Stott's book, Tropical Rainforests: Political and Hegemonic Myth-Making (.pdf, 1999)? See here for Tropical Rain Forests: Exposing the Myths.

The world is greening, driven in part by industrial emissions and enhanced by development as people flocculate to cities to work and live. The "ancient, primordial forests" are a myth since the world really only supports them in warm, wet phases, not ice ages (what is forest now was savannah or ice prior to the current interglacial period -- geologically the mere blink of an eye). What the greenies have always told you is basically ignorant ideological mumbo jumbo.

Tear down the Amazon rainforest idol - 'Save the trees' more political myth than environmental truth

Major media sources are finally beginning to acknowledge what WorldNetDaily has been reporting for years: The world's rainforests aren't the desperately endangered and depleted resources that the environmentalist mantra makes them out to be. (WorldNetDaily)

The Crone remains far from reality though: The Next Step on Warming - It seemed that every chance he got, President Bush ignored or flat out refused to address the problem of climate change. So we were greatly encouraged by President Obama’s swift announcement that he is likely to approve California’s request to regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles — a request the Bush administration denied.

The logical next step would be for Mr. Obama to quickly address the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the effects of greenhouse gases and to regulate them if necessary. Mr. Bush dodged that one, too.

The court instructed the agency to first determine whether global warming pollution threatened public health and welfare — known as an “endangerment finding” under the Clean Air Act — and, if so, to devise emissions standards for vehicles.

Lisa Jackson, the agency’s new administrator, said in a memo to her employees last week that she intended to honor her “obligation to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.” But there is resistance from some members of Congress and parts of the business community who fear that regulating vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to economy-wide controls on greenhouse gases from all sources, including industry. (New York Times)

Mutually exclusive statement of the moment: ‘A Sister’ Takes the Helm at E.P.A. - The new Environmental Protection Agency chief, Lisa P. Jackson, chose a national conference of environmental justice groups meeting in New York for her first public appearance as a cabinet member of the new Obama administration.

Speaking at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus in Manhattan, Ms. Jackson assured the audience that the new president understands urban issues and the concerns of low income communities who feel disproportionately affected by pollution and other environmental problems. She pledged “a listening ear and a heart” and a commitment to address climate change “based on sound science.” (NYT Green Inc.)

Contradiction in terms: a commitment to address climate changebased on sound science.”

Fact is gorebull warming is a really bad joke.

No Balance in Environmental Reporting at The New York Times: John Coleman - AT his popular New York Times blog, environmental journalist Andrew Revkin asks the question “Can a scientists be a Citizen, Too?” But what Mr Revkin is really asking is: should scientists become involved in advocacy?

Mr Revkin provides the case of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Chief, James Hansen, as a specific example and suggests that because the issue of global warming has such “big consequences for society” Dr Hansen is almost obliged to become involved in politics.

I disagree.

In the following note, Mr Coleman goes on to explain that reporting on global warming at Mr Revkin’s newspaper, The New York Times, is unfortunately more advocacy than journalism. (Jennifer Marohasy)

Andy is completely in the tank for gorebull warming: NY Times Reporter To Speak On Global Warming - Purchase, NY - Andrew Revkin, New York Times Environmental Reporter, will speak on global warming as part of the "Science in the Modern World" lecture series at Purchase College. (

Al Gore’s Climate of Extremes - Ho-hum. On January 28, in the midst of a pelting sleet storm, Al Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the end is nigh from global warming.

He told the Senate that “some scientists” predict up to 11 degrees of warming in the next 91 years (while failing to note that the last 12 have seen exactly none), and that this would “bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fiber of life everywhere on earth.” Hey folks, this is serious!

Besides having a remarkable knack for scheduling big speeches on remarkably cold or snowy days (it’s known as the “Gore Effect” in journalistic circles), Gore has been incredibly ineffective in bringing his message home. (Patrick J. Michaels, Planet Gore)

Every silver lining has a cloud - Plans to engineer the climate may be less effective than had been hoped

IF PEOPLE can warm the Earth, they can probably cool it too. That is the idea behind geo-engineering, which holds that besides cutting the rate at which it is turning fossil fuels into climate-changing carbon dioxide, humanity should also consider planet-wide engineering projects intended to reduce the side-effects of this combustion. All sorts of ideas have been proposed, from filling the stratosphere with reflective particles to giant space-borne parasols designed to shade the Earth from the sun. The idea of such a technological last chance, even if it sounds implausible, is a secret comfort to many of those frustrated by the lack of progress around the world in cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. Two papers published this week suggest, though, that those hopes may be misplaced. (The Economist)

Ya know, we really prefer people don't try screwing with the climate.

Aaaarrgh! New Geoengineering Study: Can We Fix the Planet? - The article The radiative forcing potential of different climate geoengineering options is now out and available for download and discussion. As expected, it offers one of the first useful comparisons of different geoengineering techniques.

In the paper, Tim Lenton and his student Naomi Vaughn, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the University of East Anglia, UK, focus strictly on the radiative impact of geoengineering—that is, how much heat absorption is prevented—and don’t examine costs or risks. The goal here is to help figure out the “benefit” half of the cost-benefit ratio. Lenton and Vaughn have another paper (to be published later this year) taking a look at the cost side, and that will be just as important as this one.  (Jamais Cascio, IEET)

Gedarravit ya dopey buggers! W e  d o  n o t  w a n t  y o u  m e s s i n g  w i t h  t h e  c l i m a t e !  That clear it up any for you? It ain't broke, now stop trying to fix it!

U.S. Faces Rising Pressure to Act on Climate Change - Not long after President Barack Obama pledged to tackle climate change, the pressure has risen for him to take meaningful action ahead of the climate-change talks scheduled for December in Copenhagen. (Environmental Leader)

So, America should compound Europe's error? We're sure Obama's labor backers would really appreciate shipping yet more US jobs to Asia and the developing south.

Parched: Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in - Leaves are falling off trees in the height of summer, railway tracks are buckling, and people are retiring to their beds with deep-frozen hot-water bottles, as much of Australia swelters in its worst-ever heatwave.

On Friday, Melbourne thermometers topped 43C (109.4F) on a third successive day for the first time on record, while even normally mild Tasmania suffered its second-hottest day in a row, as temperatures reached 42.2C. Two days before, Adelaide hit a staggering 45.6C. After a weekend respite, more records are expected to be broken this week. (The Independent)

Accompanied by a picture of a guy sunbathing in the 'dreadful heat' (yes, Aussies do that even when the temperatures are well over the 100 °F mark - usually a pretty dry heat down-under, roughly akin to the soggy north's humid 80 °F). And yes, trees down-under are evergreens and quite normally shed leaves in the dry heat as a drought management strategy (one that has served them well for millions of years).

Australia's current heat problems (down in the dry south, not in the wet regions) are man-made -- by virtue of failing to maintain sufficient power generation and transmission capacity, a failure leading to tragic and unnecessary deaths among the vulnerable denied electricity needed to maintain a livable immediate environment. These deaths are correctly attributed to misanthropic greenies and gullible politicians.

Warming gets cold shoulder from Canberra - The Government is jogging on the spot when it needs to take big strides.

WHEN representatives of community climate action groups from around Australia gather in Canberra for a meeting this weekend, discussion will focus on understanding how the Rudd Government got climate policy so wrong, and what can be done in 2009.

The proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme will allow Australia's greenhouse gas emissions to increase, just as the scientific case for reducing emissions towards zero as quickly as possible becomes more compelling. While emissions permits will drop 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, the Treasury modelling that underpins the scheme plans on the large-scale purchase of permits from other countries, so that Australia's total emissions, as opposed to domestic permits, will rise.

And when coal flows from two new export infrastructure projects announced in 2008, in the Hunter Valley of NSW and at Gladstone, Queensland, the addition to global emissions from burning that coal will be an amount each year greater than Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions, cancelling out the planned reduction by 2020 many times over. (David Spratt, Brisbane Times)

They know it's a nonsense gesture but want to magnify the error and human suffering. Amazing critters these misanthropes.

Back in the virtual world: U.S. Coastal Sensitivity to Climate Change - The U.S. Climate Change Science Program has released another of its "synthesis and assessment" products, Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region. (Adaptation Online)

Lawrence Solomon: Climate change’s Antarctic ruffle - How does a new Nature study conclude that Antarctica is warming when actual temperature readings show it is not? (Financial Post)

Antarctica Again - We have reported on many occasions about the climate history of Antarctica, basically concluding that the frozen continent was not warming up during the most recent couple of decades, despite expectations that it should have been.

At first glance, a new paper by the University of Washington’s Eric Steig and colleagues, published in last week’s Nature magazine and featured as its cover story, may seem to challenge our understanding—at least that is how it was spun to the press (see here and here, for example).

But a closer look at what the paper really says—as opposed to what is said about the paper—shows that there is not much in need of changing with the current understanding of Antarctica’s temperature history. (WCR)

A Recent Paper “Effects Of Irrigation And Vegetation Activity On Early Indian Summer Monsoon Variability” By Lee Et Al 2008 - There is an important new paper that provides further peer reviewed evidence on the role of land surface processes in the climate system. It is Eungul Lee, Thomas N. Chase,Balaji Rajagopalan, Roger G. Barry, Trent W. Biggs and Peter J. Lawrence: Effects of irrigation and vegetation activity on early Indian summer monsoon variability, 2008:Int. J. Climatol. (2008) Published online in Wiley InterScience DOI: 10.1002/joc.1721, (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Ocean islands fuel productivity and carbon sequestration through natural iron fertilization - An experiment to study the effects of naturally deposited iron in the Southern Ocean has filled in a key piece of the puzzle surrounding iron's role in locking atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean. The research, conducted by an international team led by Raymond Pollard of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, and included Matthew Charette, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), found that natural iron fertilization enhanced the export of carbon to the deep ocean. The research was published January 29, 2009, in the journal Nature.

Scientists have generally accepted the fact that biological productivity in large areas of the Southern Ocean is limited by the supply of iron, an important micronutrient for phytoplankton. However, downstream of ocean islands in this study area, massive phytoplankton blooms have been observed, leading to the idea that the islands themselves are somehow fertilizing the ocean with iron. The team showed that this natural iron fertilization enhanced phytoplankton growth and productivity and the amount of carbon exported from the surface layer (100 meters) by two to three times. Moreover, they found that the amount of carbon stored at 3,000 meters and in the sediment was similarly two to three times higher beneath the natural fertilized region than for the nearby iron-poor region.

"This work demonstrated for the first time that Southern Ocean phytoplankton blooms fueled by natural sources of iron have the potential to sequester carbon in the deep ocean," said Charette. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

CO2, Temperatures, and Ice Ages - Guest post by Frank Lansner, civil engineer, biotechnology.

(Note from Anthony - English is not Frank’s primary language, I have made some small adjustments for readability, however they may be a few passages that need clarification. Frank will be happy to clarify in comments)

It is generally accepted that CO2 is lagging temperature in Antarctic graphs. To dig further into this subject therefore might seem a waste of time. But the reality is, that these graphs are still widely used as an argument for the global warming hypothesis. But can the CO2-hypothesis be supported in any way using the data of Antarctic ice cores?

At first glance, the CO2 lagging temperature would mean that it’s the temperature that controls CO2 and not vice versa. (Watts Up With That?)

Never ending nonsense: Ocean acidification is accelerating and severe damages are imminent - Urgent action is needed to limit damages to marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and fisheries, due to increasing ocean acidity, according to 155 of the world’s scientific experts who will release the Monaco Declaration this Friday.

The Declaration is based on results from the Second International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held at the Oceanography Museum in Monaco last October and organised by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The ocean absorbs a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. Observations from the last 25 years show increasing acidity in surface seawater, following trends in increasing atmospheric CO2. (Global Change IGBP)

There is wide natural variability in natural ocean alkalinity (the oceans are not acidic) and calcifying critters show every indication of increasing vigor with Earth's slight recovery of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Ocean acidification appears to be the misanthropes'  fallback scare as gorebull warming fails to materialize.

The "Dr." Is Out - Well, the “Second Public Review Draft of the Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States” has been published for comment (due February 27), and we see how they decided to deal with the embarrassment posed by their insistence on calling co-lead author “Dr.” Tom Karl: they dropped such honorifics from . . . everyone. How. Pathetic. That must’ve been a fun one to sit through. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Anthropogenic Global Warming: The Greatest Fraud in History? - The credibility of science may never recover.

Like famished swine shoving each other aside to get to the trough, self-proclaimed scientists and real politicians are again launching headline upon headline to claim yet another disaster in the name of utterly unproven global warming. Did you know that the flock of geese that flew into US Airways jet engines this month in New York City were put there by global warming? And that London fogs, or rather their absence, are making global warming worse?

Yep. It’s right there in the paper, Maud.

As scientific skeptics are finally discovering the courage to speak out, the hype machine is faltering just a little. (James Lewis, Pajamas Media)

California’s Carbon-Tax Lesson for America - In the Wall Street Journal today, Stephen Moore reports on the (thoroughly predictable) economic impact of California’s CO2 legislation. Recall that AB 32 was pitched as destined to deliver an economic bonanza—green jobs, a brighter future for our children, yadda yadda—rhetoric identical to that used by Barack Obama concerning his promised carbon taxes for America as a whole.

But as Planet Gore noted back in June 2007, and again in September of last year, the costs of the legislation were under-reported.

The equally predictable reaction to the latest California job news from carbon-tax fans will be, “Well, if we had a national carbon tax, these jobs wouldn’t be fleeing our state for less environmentally accountable [read ‘more welcoming’] business climates.” Uh, right. If there were no place in America to seek refuge from job-killing carbon taxes, those jobs would go to China and India and Mexico instead.

“No, no, those countries will respond to our environmental leadership.” Uh-huh. More likely, they will embrace and nurture their burgeoning economic growth. (Edward John Craig, Planet Gore)

<chuckle> The Climate Freeloaders: Emerging Nations Need to Act - Key developing countries have long been exempt from efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, as global climate talks move forward, that policy must change. (Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360)

Green Groups Defend Nation's 1st Plan to Cut Global Warming Pollution From Power Plants - ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 30 -- In response to a lawsuit filed yesterday by Indeck Energy of Buffalo Grove, IL, environmental and energy groups rallied to defend the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI, which went into effect on January 1st, is the nation's first enforceable program to reduce the pollution that is changing the climate.

The RGGI is a critical piece of the Northeast's overall strategy to address climate change, which includes energy conservation and generating a greater portion of energy from clean, renewable sources. Late last year, New York cleared the way to participate in a December auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution permits. The RGGI regulatory framework will hold CO2 emissions constant through 2014, and then gradually reduce those levels. (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

Producer to consumers -- please don't use our product: Utilities Turn Their Customers Green, With Envy - A frowny face is not what most electric customers expect to see on their utility statements, but Greg Dyer got one.

He earned it, the utility said, by using a lot more energy than his neighbors.

“I have four daughters; none of my neighbors has that many children,” said Mr. Dyer, 49, a lawyer who lives in Sacramento. He wrote back to the utility and gave it his own rating: four frowny faces.

Two other Sacramento residents, however, Paul Geisert and his wife, Mynga Futrell, were feeling good. They got one smiley face on their statement for energy efficiency and saw the promise of getting another. (New York Times)

Great bright hope to end battle of the light bulbs - A lighting revolution is on the way that could end at the flick of a switch the battle between supporters of conventional bulbs and the eco-friendly variety.

Cambridge University researchers have developed cheap, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that produce brilliant light but use very little electricity. They will cost £2 and last up to 60 years.

Despite being smaller than a penny, they are 12 times more efficient than conventional tungsten bulbs and three times more efficient than the unpopular fluorescent low-energy versions.

Cambridge University professor Colin Humphreys with his newly developed LED that has a lifespan of 60 years and costs just £2

Even better, the bulbs fully illuminate instantly, unlike the current generation of eco-bulbs.

It is reckoned the bulbs, which were funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, could slash household lighting bills by three-quarters.

If installed in every home and office, they could cut the proportion of electricity used for lights from 20 per cent to 5 per cent a year. As well as lasting 100,000 hours, ten times as long as today's eco-bulbs, the LED bulbs do not contain mercury, so disposal is less damaging to the environment, and they do not flicker - a problem that has been blamed for migraines and epileptic fits. (Daily Mail)

Bad idea #... Politicians Want to Use Tax Dollars to Crush Newer-Model Trucks and SUVs - SEMA Warns Lawmakers This Boondoggle Will Cost American Jobs

SEMA is opposing an effort by some Washington lawmakers to include a national car crushing program in the upcoming economic stimulus package. Vehicles targeted for the scrap pile will likely include Chevy Blazers, Silverados, S-10s and Tahoes; Dodge Dakotas and Rams; Ford Explorers and F-Series; Jeep Cherokees and Wranglers; and any other SUV or truck that obtains less than 18 mpg. (SEMA)

Offshore Wind Farms Fall Victim to Financial Crisis - The German government and energy companies have made a big fanfare about their plans to build offshore wind parks in the North Sea. However the financial crisis is forcing several projects to be put on hold, with smaller companies in particular feeling the pinch. (Der Spiegel)

Carbon price raises fears of renewables lag - Permits awarded to renewables projects worth less on carbon market after huge sell-off prompted by recession

Concerns emerged this week over the effectiveness of carbon trading in encouraging alternative energy development after a tumbling carbon price made investment in projects more expensive.

The price of carbon has fallen by nearly 70 per cent since reaching a high of €32.90 in April 2006 to a new low of €10.81 last week, although it recovered this week to just under €12.

The recession means energy, cement and construction companies have less demand for their polluting products. Thus they produce less and no longer need emissions permits, causing the market to be flooded after millions of permits are sold off – and leading to a fall in the price of carbon.

Though it is difficult to tell exactly who is selling credits, some analysts estimate power-hungry industries have been selling excess credits at the rate of some €150m per week over the last two months. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

US court dismisses Pacific nuclear test lawsuits - A panel of US appeal judges Friday dismissed a claim to enforce a billion-dollar compensation settlement for islanders from two former Pacific nuclear test sites, an attorney for the islanders said. (AFP)

Mercury in HFCS retake - What a week. The heightening panic-stricken rhetoric and scary claims in the media have become so-over-the-top, they’ve been truly frightening people, especially young women afraid for their children. That shouldn't be.

It is so important for people to get this and to understand enough basic science and chemistry to protect themselves from living in constant fear of everything! Next week, it will be something else said to be detected in our foods or bodies that will be used to try and scare us. So, it’s worth taking a moment to clarify some of the most common myths that have proliferated on the internet about this week’s scare: mercury in HFCS. (Junkfood Science)

Who decides what you can eat? Sating on salt - Most consumers trust that public health policies are guided by the best science and are enacted after medical experts have carefully weighed the health benefits for the public against the potential risks for harm. The fact that this does not happen was demonstrated this week with the launch of a major nationwide campaign that could put millions of people at risk. But this story received barely a blip of news coverage. (Junkfood Science)

Vaccines and autism: Many hypotheses, but no correlation - An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism. The review, in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, looks at the three main hypotheses and shows how epidemiological and biological studies refute these claims.

"When one hypothesis of how vaccines cause autism is refuted, another invariably springs up to take its place," said study author Paul Offit, MD, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Fears about vaccines are pushing down immunization rates and having a real impact on public health, he added. Vaccine refusal is contributing to the current increase in Haemophilus influenzae cases in Minnesota—including the death of one child—and was a factor in last year's measles outbreak in California.

The controversy began with a 1998 study in The Lancet that suggested a link between the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Dr. Offit and co-author Jeffrey Gerber, MD, PhD, also of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, reviewed more than a dozen large studies, conducted in five different countries, that used different methods to address the issue, and concluded that no data supported the association between the MMR vaccine and autism. The correlation between MMR vaccine and the appearance of autism symptoms is merely coincidental, the authors say, because the MMR vaccine is given at the age when autism symptoms usually appear.

Also hypothesized as a cause has been the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which was used in vaccines for over 50 years. However, the authors review seven studies from five countries that show that the presence or absence of thimerosal in vaccines did not affect autism rates.

The third suggestion has been that the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system. The authors explain that children's immune systems routinely handle much more than the relatively small amount of material contained in vaccines. Furthermore, today's vaccines contain many fewer immune-triggering components than those from decades past. Regardless, autism is not triggered by an immune response, the authors say.

With outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases on the rise due to some worried parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, Dr. Offit said, "Parents should realize that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice. It's just a choice to take a different, and far more serious, risk." (Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America)

Another dopey dredge: Household chemicals may be linked to infertility -- Researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health have found the first evidence that perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs — chemicals that are widely used in everyday items such as food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products — may be associated with infertility in women. (

"Say, you have higher than expected levels of scary-sounding chemicals in our blood -- did you take longer than expected to become pregnant?"

‘Jimmy Carter’ tag has Obama wincing - Republicans are pinning their hopes of revival on painting the president as naive abroad and wasteful at home

LESS than two weeks into his administration, President Barack Obama is being portrayed by opponents as a new Jimmy Carter - weak at home and naive abroad - in an attempt to dim his post-election glow and ensure that he serves only one term.

The charge has stung because it was made privately by Hillary Clinton supporters during a hard-fought primary campaign and plays to fears about Obama’s inexperience. (The Sunday Times)

"There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy." — PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA, JANUARY 9 , 2009

With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's "lost decade" in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth. (Cato)

Justices Step Closer to Repeal of Evidence Ruling - WASHINGTON — In 1983, a young lawyer in the Reagan White House was hard at work on what he called in a memorandum “the campaign to amend or abolish the exclusionary rule” — the principle that evidence obtained by police misconduct cannot be used against a defendant.

The Reagan administration’s attacks on the exclusionary rule — a barrage of speeches, opinion articles, litigation and proposed legislation — never gained much traction. But now that young lawyer, John G. Roberts Jr., is chief justice of the United States.

This month, Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority in Herring v. United States, a 5-to-4 decision, took a big step toward the goal he had discussed a quarter-century before. Taking aim at one of the towering legacies of the Warren Court, its landmark 1961 decision applying the exclusionary rule to the states, the chief justice’s majority opinion established for the first time that unlawful police conduct should not require the suppression of evidence if all that was involved was isolated carelessness. That was a significant step in itself. More important yet, it suggested that the exclusionary rule itself might be at risk.

The Herring decision “jumped a firewall,” said Kent Scheidegger, the general counsel of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a victims’ rights group. “I think Herring may be setting the stage for the Holy Grail,” he wrote on the group’s blog, referring to the overruling of Mapp v. Ohio, the 1961 Warren Court decision. (New York Times)

Fighting hunger with flood-tolerant rice - DAVIS, California -- If every scientist hopes to make at least one important discovery in her career, then University of California-Davis professor Pamela Ronald and her colleagues may have hit the jackpot.

Ronald's team works with rice, a grain most Americans take for granted, but which is a matter of life and death to much of the world. Thanks to their efforts to breed a new, hardier variety of rice, millions of people may not go hungry.

About half the world's population eats rice as a staple. Two-thirds of the diet of subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh is made up entirely of rice. If rice crops suffer, it can mean starvation for millions.

"People [in the United States] think, well, if I don't have enough rice, I'll go to the store," said Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at UC-Davis. "That's not the situation in these villages. They're mostly subsistence farmers. They don't have cars."

As sea levels rise and world weather patterns worsen, flooding has become a major cause of rice crop loss. Scientists estimate 4 million tons of rice are lost every year because of flooding. That's enough rice to feed 30 million people.

Rice is grown in flooded fields, usually to kill weeds. But rice plants do not like it when they are submerged in water for long periods, Ronald said. (CNN)

Despite the nonsense about gorebull warming-driven sea level rises and increasing flooding the development of this rice could be a major boon.