Archives - January 2009

January 30, 2009

Al Gore and Venus Envy - Al Gore has a new argument for why carbon dioxide is the global warming boogeyman -- and it’s simply out of this world. (Steven Milloy,

His Winter of Discontent - Al Gore braved a midwinter snowstorm yesterday to tell a Senate committee that the world is heating up and the only thing that can save us is "conservation and renewables." (William Tucker, American Spectator)

With Al Due Respect, We're Doomed - The lawmakers gazed in awe at the figure before them. The Goracle had seen the future, and he had come to tell them about it.

What the Goracle saw in the future was not good: temperature changes that "would bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fabric of life everywhere on the Earth -- and this is within this century, if we don't change."

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry (D-Mass.), appealed to hear more of the Goracle's premonitions. "Share with us, if you would, sort of the immediate vision that you see in this transformative process as we move to this new economy," he beseeched.

"Geothermal energy," the Goracle prophesied. "This has great potential; it is not very far off."

Another lawmaker asked about the future of nuclear power. "I have grown skeptical about the degree to which it will expand," the Goracle spoke.

A third asked the legislative future -- and here the Goracle spoke in riddle. "The road to Copenhagen has three steps to it," he said. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post)

Dennis Miller: Al Gore Is a Doofus Hogging The Thermostat - While the rest of the climate alarmists in the media gushed and fawned over Nobel Laureate Al Gore's testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, at least Americans had Dennis Miller to offer some sanity to the global warming absurdity: (News Busters)

Al Gore, The Lobbyist - In a letter dated January 26th, 2009 Al Gore’s company Generation Investment Management sent a coalition letter along with other institutional investors representing $1.7 trillion in assets to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. The letter asked for: (Julie Walsh, Open Market)

Does Gore Gain from Green Policies He Also Advocates? - Gore’s company, Generation Investment Management, states that its investment strategy, in part, is to “find, fund and accelerate green business.” The companies targeted by renewable energy subsidies, grants and other federal spending are the same ones Gore and his partners are betting on to turn large profits. There’s nothing wrong with making a profit, but doing so at taxpayer expense rather than in a competitive marketplace is generally considered cynical and greedy – far from the disinterested environmental activist image that Gore presents to the world. (Richard Morrison, CEI)

Obama's snow jibe meets icy rebuff in Washington - Shivering Washington residents gave a chilly reception Thursday to a sarcastic dig from President Barack Obama over their inability to cope with wintry weather.

Obama got an icy blast from the Washington Post after the city's most famous incomer expressed disbelief that his daughters' school had shut down Wednesday -- in line with schools in the city's suburbs -- because of "some ice."

"Mr Obama can make pronouncements from inside his well-shoveled bubble, but we can report that it was pretty treacherous out there in the real world," the Post wrote in an editorial after a number of road accidents. (AFP)

No! Some of Earth's climate troubles should face burial at sea, scientists say - Making bales with 30 percent of global crop residues - the stalks and such left after harvesting - and then sinking the bales into the deep ocean could reduce the build up of global carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 15 percent a year, according to just published calculations.

That is a significant amount of carbon, the process can be accomplished with existing technology and it can be done year after year, according to Stuart Strand, a University of Washington research professor. Further the technique would sequester - or lock up - the carbon in seafloor sediments and deep ocean waters for thousands of years, he says.

All these things cannot be said for other proposed solutions for taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, methods such as ocean fertilisation, growing new forests or using crop residues in other ways, says Strand, who is lead author of a paper on the subject in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, published by the American Chemical Society. (Science Centric)

We absolutely do not need or want to deny the biosphere one of its most prized resources. We are carbon-based life forms, we use it to construct our own bodies and we specifically combine it with oxygen to release the energy bound within when its bonds with oxygen were broken by photosynthesizing plants harvesting it from the atmosphere. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is good -- it is specifically life-friendly.

Put your hands in the air and step away from the carbon controls!

The Amazing Story Behind The Global Warming Scam - The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax we citizens for our carbon footprints. Only two details stand in the way, the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate. The last two bitter winters have lead to a rise in public awareness that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not a significant greenhouse gas that is triggering runaway global warming.

How did we ever get to this point where bad science is driving big government we have to struggle so to stop it? (John Coleman, KUSI)

Science Group Erred Giving Hansen Top Honor - It normally does not make news when the American Meteorological Society (AMS) gives out awards at its annual meetings, but this year is an exception. At their 2009 meeting in Phoenix earlier this month, the AMS bestowed its highest honor, the "Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal," to James (Jim) E. Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen is arguably the country's (if not the world's) most prominent climate scientist, but he also is a well-known climate activist who has been pushing for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep reading for more on Hansen, and why AMS was mistaken in granting him its top honor... (Washington Post Capital Weather Gang)

Murdock: Even left now laughing at Global Warming - So-called "global warming" has shrunk from problem to punch line. And now, Leftists are laughing, too. It's hard not to chuckle at the idea of Earth boiling in a carbon cauldron when the news won't cooperate: (Scripps Howard News Service)

Teach-In, turn out, cool off - By now the practice of educational indoctrination by environmental extremists is well known, from public school showings of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” to widespread emphasis every year on Earth Day, to daily guilt trips thrown at students by eco-conscious teachers.

The latest scheme in the enviros’ toolbox arrives next week with the National Teach-In on Global Warming. Scheduled for Feb. 5, the collaborating educators endeavor to “engage over a million Americans in solutions-driven dialogue.”

You might ask, “solutions to what” – the devastatingly decreasing global surface temperatures over the last 10 years? The catastrophically cooling oceans? The awful all-time record extent of Antarctic ice?

No, those actual, observed phenomena are not what these panickers will screech and teach. Contrarily, they instead harp about the predictions churned out in their Carnackian computer models that have for years foretold of massive global temperature increase because of burned fossil fuels that release heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. The temperature data show otherwise, but that doesn’t stop their schtick: (Paul Chesser, DC Examiner)

Climate Change Guru May Be Special ‘Envoy of Disappointment,’ Critic Charges - Todd Stern was named Special Envoy for Climate Change on Monday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Courtesy of Center for American Progress)

 – Signaling a departure from the Bush administration’s environmental policies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has named Todd Stern as special envoy for climate change and vowed that America will “vigorously pursue negotiations, those sponsored by the United Nations, and those at sub-global, regional, and bilateral level that can lead to binding international climate agreements.”

In his acceptance speech on Monday, Stern, a veteran of the Clinton administration, also foreshadowed the United States signing on to international environmental treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol.

“The time for denial, delay, and dispute is over,” Stern said. “The time for the United States to take up its rightful place at the table is here.”

But William Yeatman, an energy policy analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market group, said Stern and the State Department cannot act unilaterally to approve global agreements. (

So far, coal winning out over nuclear - Initially, the confirmation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu seemed to have brightened the future of both nuclear power and clean coal — two controversial energy lobbies vying for green stimulus funding. But for now, coal is emerging as the favorite.

The most recent version of the House economic stimulus package, set for a floor vote on Wednesday, allots $2.4 billion for carbon capture technology but nothing for nuclear power. (Politico)

$2,400,000,000 to do explicit harm to the biosphere by denying it an essential resource... what a crime.

Remembering to visit harm on poor people, too: Europe tells poor nations to curb emissions - The European Union made its opening gambit in negotiations for a global framework on climate change on Wednesday with proposals that developing nations curb the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rich countries, including those in the EU as well as the US, are adamant that poor countries must take on such obligations if negotiations this year on a successor to the Kyoto protocol – the main provisions of which expire in 2012 – are to be successful.

The proposal, tabled by the European Commission, said developing countries should curb emissions by 15-30 per cent of their projected growth by 2020. (Financial Times)

Climate change: Commission sets out proposals for global pact on climate change at Copenhagen - The European Commission today set out its proposals for a comprehensive and ambitious new global agreement to tackle climate change and how it could be financed. The new pact is due to be concluded at the Copenhagen UN climate conference in December. In order to keep temperature increase below 2°C, developing countries will require substantially higher funding from the developed world and multilateral institutions to help them shoulder their contribution to addressing climate change. The Commission’s proposals include the creation of an OECD-wide carbon market by 2015 and of innovative international funding sources based on countries' emissions and ability to pay. (Press Release)

EUROPE: No Money on the Table Yet - BRUSSELS, Jan 29 - Figures indicating how much the European Union should give to poor countries affected by climate change have been removed at the last minute from a new environmental blueprint published in Brussels Jan. 28.

As part of preparations for a crucial round of talks due to culminate at a United Nations conference in Copenhagen in late 2009, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has presented a new paper urging greater international coordination against global warming.

But while a draft of the plan suggested that up to 30 billion euros (39.7 billion dollars) should be made available to help poor countries adapt to water shortages and other effects of climate change, the figure has been erased from the final version.

Stavros Dimas, Europe's environment commissioner, said that firm financing pledges will be vital in order to clinch an agreement on fighting climate change in Copenhagen. "No money, no deal," he added.

Still, the lack of specific recommendations on funding in Dimas's plan has angered green and anti-poverty campaigners. (IPS)

Real Climate Suffers from Foggy Perception by Henk Tennekes - Roger Pielke Sr. has graciously invited me to add my perspective to his discussion with Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate. If this were not such a serious matter, I would have been amused by Gavin’s lack of knowledge of the differences between weather models and climate models. As it stands, I am appalled. Back to graduate school, Gavin! (Climate Science)

Follow Up To Henk Tennekes’s Guest Weblog - In response to today’s weblog Real Climate Suffers from Foggy Perception by Henk Tennekes, Gavin Schmidt and I have e-mailed to each other several times today. He is offended by the weblog and stated that it inaccurately reported on his professional credentials. Thus I invited him to write a response as a guest weblog on Climate Science to refute the claims make in the weblog from earlier today. Hopefully, he will accept. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

More slurs from - continues with its same line of attack. writers try again and again to concoct what appears to be deep critiques against skeptic arguments, but end up doing a very shallow job. All in the name of saving the world. How gallant of them.

A recap. According to, everything my "skeptic" friends and I say about the effect of cosmic rays and climate is wrong. In particular, all the evidence summarized in the box below is, well, a figment in the wild imagination of my colleagues and I. The truth is that the many arguments trying to discredit this evidence simply don't hold water. The main motivation of these attacks is simply to oppose the theory which would remove the gist out of the arguments of the greenhouse gas global warming protagonists. Since there is no evidence which proves that 20th century warming is human in origin, the only logically possible way to convict humanity is to prove that there is no alternative explanation to the warming (e.g., see here). My motivation (as is the motivation of my serious colleagues) is simply to do the science as good as I can. (Nir Shaviv, Science Bits)

Another NASA Defection to the Skeptics’ Camp - Something about retirement apparently frees people up to say what they really believe. I retired early from NASA over seven years ago to have more freedom to speak my mind on global warming.

You might recall that after Dr. Joanne Simpson retired from NASA she  admitted to a long-held skepticism regarding the role of mankind in global warming.

And who can forget NASA’s Administrator, Michael Griffin, admitting that he was skeptical of the urgency of the global warming problem? After the outrage that ensued, I suspect he wishes he had never brought it up.

And now my old boss when I was at NASA (as well as James Hansen’s old boss), John Theon, has stated very clearly that he doesn’t believe global warming is manmade…and adding “climate models are useless” for good measure. Even I wouldn’t go quite that far, since I use simple ones in my published research. (Roy W. Spencer)

No Reporting of Slowing Greenland Glaciers: Shame on the MSM - SUCH has been the fear of Greenland’s melting glaciers that well known Australian science journalist Robyn Williams has claimed sea levels could rise by 100 metres within the next 100 years. Mr Williams, and other journalists, have been quick to report on what has become known as the “Greenland Ice Armageddon”.

Last Friday there was an article in one of the most read science journals, Science, entitled “Galloping Glaciers of Greenland have Reined Themselves In” by Richard A. Kerr.

Yes, as the title suggests, the article explains that a wide-ranging survey of glacier conditions across south eastern Greenland, indicates that glacier melt has slowed significantly and that it would be wrong to attribute the higher rates of melt prior to 2005 to global warming or to extrapolate the higher melt rates of a few years ago into the future.

Mr Kerr was reporting on a presentation by glaciologist Tavi Murray at the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco last December. The paper by Dr Murray was co-authored by many other members of the group at Swansea University in the UK, a team often quoted by Al Gore and others.

When I read the article last Friday I wondered how Robyn “100 metres” Williams and other journalists in the mainstream media (MSM) might report the story. To my amazement they have simply ignored it. (Jennifer Marohasy)

Australian Heatwave Sign Of Climate Change - SYDNEY - A heatwave scorching southern Australia, causing transport chaos by buckling rail lines and leaving more than 140,000 homes without power, is a sign of climate change, the government said on Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a total of six days of 40-plus Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) temperatures for southern Australia, which would equal the worst heatwave in 100 years. (Reuters)

So, the reappearance of summers 'like we used to have' is yet another sign of 'climate change'? Funny that, despite a century of population growth and urbanization the forecast 'could equal' the 'worst heatwave' in 100 years, no? So much for allegedly increasing frequency of hot weather events then.

BELLAMY/DUCHAMP: World is getting colder - It's the sun, not CO2, that's to blame

After the wet and cold centuries of the Little Ice Age (around 1550-1850 A.D.), the world's climate recuperated some warmth, but did not replicate the balmy period known as the Middle Age Warm Period (around 800-1300 A.D.), when the margins of Greenland were green and England had vineyards.

Climate began to cool again after World War II, for about 30 years. This is undisputed. The cooling occurred at a time when emissions of C02 were rising sharply from the reconstruction effort and from unprecedented development. It is important to realize that.

By 1978 it had started to warm again, to everybody's relief. But two decades later, after the temperature peaked in 1998 under the influence of El Nino, climate stopped warming for eight years; and in 2007 entered a cooling phase marked by lower solar radiation and a reversal of the cycles of warm ocean temperature in the Atlantic and the Pacific. And here again, it is important to note that this new cooling period is occurring concurrently with an acceleration in CO2 emissions, caused by the emergence of two industrial giants: China and India.

To anyone analyzing this data with common sense, it is obvious that factors other than CO2 emissions are ruling the climate. And the same applies to other periods of the planet's history. Al Gore, in his famous movie "The Inconvenient Truth," had simply omitted to say that for the past 420,000 years that he cited as an example, rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere always followed increases in global temperature by at least 800 years. It means that CO2 can't possibly be the cause of the warming cycles.

So, if it's not CO2, what is it that makes the world's temperature periodically rise and fall? The obvious answer is the sun, and sea currents in a subsidiary manner. (David J. Bellamy and Mark Duchamp, Washington Times)

Video: Global Warming - Global Warming is a "hot" topic. This video looks at the evidence and focuses on these two questions; Is the Earth getting warmer? and What ARE the effects of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere? Check it out, the answers may surprise you. (cassiopeiaproject)

Climate change: Scientists doubt claims over sea 'fertilisation' - Proposals to combat global warming by sowing the sea with iron to promote carbon-gobbling plankton may be badly overblown, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Ocean "fertilisation" has ignited fierce scientific controversy, with supporters saying these schemes could stave off damaging climate change and critics warning that swathes of ocean may turn stagnant or acidic. (AFP)

Putin’s Grasp of Energy Drives Russian Agenda - In the past year, Russia has formed a cartel-like group with Middle Eastern nations with the goal of dampening global competition in natural gas, sewn up sources of supply in Central Asia and North Africa with long-term contracts to thwart competitors and used its military to occupy an important pipeline route in Georgia.

And this broader struggle extends over a dozen countries from Azerbaijan to Austria. In its sprawl and slow pace, it is often compared to the 19th-century struggle for colonial possession in Central Asia known as the Great Game. In the modern variant, Mr. Putin, a master strategist, has proved far more effective than his European counterparts.

“He has been thinking for some time, ‘What are the means and tools at Russia’s disposal, to make Russia great?’ ” said Lilia Shevtsova, a researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center. In the post-Soviet world, she said, Mr. Putin concluded that “military power would no longer be sufficient.”

A spokesman for Mr. Putin, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that the energy market “was, is and will remain a strategic sphere for Russia” and that government leaders in Moscow should be versed in the topic. Mr. Peskov denied the Kremlin used exports for political purposes. Of Mr. Putin’s deep personal knowledge of the business, he said the prime minister showed a similar attention to detail in other matters, too.

In this contest, Russia’s overarching goal is to prevent the West from breaking a monopoly on natural gas pipelines from Asia to Europe. Boris E. Nemtsov, a former Russian first deputy prime minister who is now in the opposition, said: “It is the typical behavior of the monopolist. The monopolist fears competition.” (New York Times)

Scepticism grows over the viability of green projects - Lord Turner of Ecchinswell is to investigate the collapse of funding for renewable energy projects in Britain after the recent exit of a string of companies, including BP and Shell.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and of the Government’s Committee on Climate Change, said that the study was a response to mounting scepticism over the Government’s plans for a huge expansion of wind and tidal power.

He said he was concerned that a number of key projects had been thrown into jeopardy, including London Array, a £3 billion scheme to build the world’s largest offshore wind park in the Thames Estuary. “We have to make sure that the present climate does not set back our plans,” he said. (The Times)

BP's Hayward Says World Needs A Carbon Price - DAVOS - The world must establish a price for carbon emissions as part of the drive to ensure diverse and secure energy supplies, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said on Thursday.

"We need the world to put a price on carbon," he told the World Economic Forum.

Carbon pricing involves penalizing every ton of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, whether using a carbon tax or a carbon market which allocates a fixed quota of emissions permits which countries or companies must redeem permits for every ton of emissions.

The idea is to tilt competitiveness in favor of clean energy compared to carbon-emitting fossil fuels. (Reuters)

Researchers define challenging carbon-emissions targets for U.S. auto industry -- U.S. automakers must achieve an eightfold reduction in automobile-related carbon emissions to help stabilize the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere by 2050, according to University of Michigan researchers. (

Study: Learning Science Facts Doesn't Boost Science Reasoning -- A study of college freshmen in the United States and in China found that Chinese students know more science facts than their American counterparts -- but both groups are nearly identical when it comes to their ability to do scientific reasoning. (

Efforts to preserve health care in the Southwest continue - New Mexico is following in Arizona’s footsteps. NM Senator William E. Sharer has introduced Senate bill SJR 1, patterned after Arizona’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act” (Proposition 101), that would ensure the freedom of New Mexico residents to purchase private health insurance and to pay directly for lawful medical care. It would make it unconstitutional to penalize or fine someone for choosing to get or decline healthcare coverage or to participate in a particular healthcare system or plan. (Junkfood Science)

Nutritionist sceptical of sausage-leukaemia link - Children who regularly eat cured and processed meat may be at a greater risk of leukaemia, a study suggests, but an Australian nutritionist says parents need not panic if their children have been tucking into hot dogs and salami. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Cleaning your home may worsen your asthma - NEW YORK - Scrubbing the kitchen floor or doing other cleaning chores around the home may trigger a spike in breathing problems in women with asthma, Ohio-based doctors warn in a report published this month.

"We certainly know that cleaning as an occupation and cleaning agent exposures are major risks for asthma and asthma exacerbations," Dr. Jonathan A. Bernstein, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, told Reuters Health. "So we wanted to see what was going on in the general population (because) obviously people clean their homes." (Reuters Health)

Wonder how the rates would compare with people who don't clean their homes?

Hair dyes not linked to multiple myeloma risk - NEW YORK - Women who've used hair dyes, even for decades, do not seem to have an elevated risk of multiple myeloma, a cancer in which malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, a new U.S. study suggests.

In recent years, some studies have linked the use of hair dyes -- in particular, older formulations used before the 1980s -- to an elevated risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma, (lymph cell cancer) and leukemia (blood cell cancer).

A few risk factors for multiple myeloma have been established, such as older age and African-American background, but some studies have suggested that hairdressers and cosmetologists may also have a higher-than-normal risk. (Reuters Health)

"Cello scrotum" -- the truth at last - LONDON - "Cello scrotum," a nasty ailment allegedly suffered by musicians, does not exist and the condition was just a hoax, a senior British doctor has admitted.

Back in 1974, in a letter to the British Medical Journal, Elaine Murphy reported that cellists suffered from the painful complaint caused by their instrument repeatedly rubbing against their body.

The claim had been inspired by reports in the BMJ about the alleged condition guitar nipple, caused by irritation when the guitar was pressed against the chest.

But Murphy, now a Baroness and a former Professor of Psychiatry of Old Age at Guy's Hospital in London, has admitted her supposed medical complaint was a spoof.

"Perhaps after 34 years it's time for us to confess we invented cello scrotum," she wrote with her husband John, who had signed the original letter, which was published in the BMJ Wednesday.

"Anyone who has ever watched a cello being played would realize the physical impossibility of our claim."

Murphy, who said the couple had been "dining out" on their story ever since they made it up, said they had decided to reveal the hoax after it was referred to in a recent BMJ article on health problems associated with making music.

She also said she suspected "guitar nipple" had been a joke. (Reuters)

More evidence pre-term birth tied to autism: study - WASHINGTON - A U.S. study looking at children born more than three months prematurely provided fresh evidence on Thursday linking pre-term birth and autism.

These children were about two to three times as likely to show signs of autism at age 2 as measured in a standard screening tool compared to other children, the researchers wrote in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Autism refers to a group of developmental problems known as autism spectrum disorders that appear in early childhood and harm one's ability to communicate and interact with others.

Its causes remain unclear, and experts have pointed to possible genetic and environmental factors. (Reuters)

Analysis shows exposure to ash from TVA spill could have 'severe health implications' -- A report by Duke University scientists who analyzed water and ash samples from last month’s coal sludge spill in eastern Tennessee concludes that “exposure to radium- and arsenic-containing particulates in the ash could have severe health implications” in the affected areas. (

She's doing her job as Governor? Imagine that... Suing the Belugas - In October, while Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska was campaigning to be vice president, the federal government added the beluga whales in the state’s Cook Inlet to the endangered species list. At the time, Governor Palin opposed the listing, saying it would be “premature.” (She said the same thing about protecting polar bears.) Now Ms. Palin has announced that she will sue to remove the whales from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

In Governor Palin’s view, what is really endangered is Alaska’s economic growth. Cook Inlet, the long arm of water that reaches toward Anchorage from the Gulf of Alaska, is one of the busiest and fastest-developing regions in the state. There are plans for gas and oil development, an expansion of the Port of Anchorage, as well as a possible new bridge. (New York Times)

Snow Study Shows California Faces Historic Drought - SAN FRANCISCO - A new survey of California winter snows on Thursday showed the most populous state is facing one of the worst droughts in its history, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

The state, which produces about half the United States' vegetables and fruit, is in its third year of drought and its main system supplying water to cities and farms may only be able to fulfill 15 percent of requests, scientists said.

The snowpack on California's mountains is carrying only 61 percent of the water of normal years, according to the survey by the state Department of Water Resources. Last year the snowpack held 111 percent of the normal amount of water, but spring was the driest ever recorded. (Reuters)

Scientists examine effect of wolves' absence and see an ecosystem 'unraveling' - No trace remains of the wolves whose howls ricocheted for millennia down the lush valleys of the Olympic Peninsula. Settlers and trappers killed them all in little more than three decades.

But the loss of the stealthy predators in the early 1900s left a hole in the landscape that scientists say they are just beginning to grasp. The ripples extend throughout what is now Olympic National Park, leading to a boom in elk populations, overbrowsing of shrubs and trees, and erosion so severe it has altered the very nature of the rivers, says a team of Oregon State University biologists. The result, they argue, is an environment that is less rich, less resilient and - perhaps - in peril.

"We think this ecosystem is unraveling in the absence of wolves," said OSU ecologist William Ripple.

Everything from salmon to songbirds could feel the fallout from the missing predators, the scientists say.

It sounds hard to believe, but the research adds to growing evidence that key predators do more than simply keep prey species in check. Most famously, Ripple and his OSU colleague Robert Beschta showed that within three years after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and elk populations fell, pockets of trees and shrubs began rebounding. Beavers returned, coyote numbers dropped and habitat flourished for fish and birds.

It was an "explosive" discovery, said David Graber, regional chief scientist for the National Park Service. "The whole ecosystem re-sorted itself after those wolf populations got large enough." (Seattle Times)

What we don’t know still hurts us, environmental researchers warn - Knowledge gaps continue to hobble scientists' assessments of the environment, a Michigan State University researcher and colleagues warn. Their warning follows sobering conclusions drawn from what they do know and could help set the global agenda for research funding in the years to come. (Michigan State University)

Translation: we want more money to run ridiculous environmental scares.

Blood test may screen for mad cow disease - WASHINGTON - Researchers at the University of Calgary have developed a blood test that can diagnose fatal chronic wasting disease in elk, and believe it may provide a cheap way to screen cattle for mad cow disease.

The test looks for signs of damaged cells in the blood, they reported in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. It may also offer a way to diagnose people with a related disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, they said on Thursday. (Reuters)

Liberian Army Worms Threaten W. Africa Plague: FAO - LIBERIA - A plague of hungry caterpillars known as army worms has eaten crops and plants in 100 Liberian villages and may spread across West Africa if left unchecked, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday.

Liberia, ravaged by a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, declared a national state of emergency this week due to the army worms, a type of moth caterpillar which grows to 5 cm (2 inches) long and can swarm to destroy large swathes of vegetation.

Millions of the caterpillars have stripped fields and polluted wells and streams with their excrement in Bong County, northeast of Liberia's capital Monrovia.

The Rome-based FAO said six communities across the border in neighboring Guinea had already been hit by the army worms.

Large tracts of West Africa were at risk, it said, particularly when the caterpillars, now burrowing underground to form cocoons, emerged as adult moths. (Reuters)

January 29, 2009

Obama's Oval Office Hypocrisy - The New York Times reported this morning that,

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

"He's from Hawaii, O.K.?" said Mr. Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. "He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there."

Could this be the same Barack Obama who said last May that,
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that other countries are going to say "OK"... That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."
And could this be the same Barack Obama who is looking to sign a stimulus bill that would spend billions of dollars installing millions of "smart meters" that would enable your power company to prevent you from being as comfortable as Bambi on hot and cold days?

While Bambi is warm-and-toasty in the Oval Office, is he considering the plight of Michigan's Marvin Schur, a 93-year World War II veteran, who was recently found frozen to death courtesy of a malfunctioning electricity "limiter" device installed by his power company?

Change has come to Washington. Elitism is dead. Long live elitism.

What do you believe? We've Arrived at a Moment of Decision - We are here today to talk about how we as Americans and how the United States of America as part of the global community should address the dangerous and growing threat of the climate crisis.

We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home - Earth - is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises. Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan.

As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread - our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels. (Al Gore)

Hands up those who think Al actually believes this crap. Now how many think he shovels this purely as part of a personal enrichment scheme?

No Scientific Forecasts to Support Global Warming - YESTERDAY, a former chief at NASA, Dr John S. Theon, slammed the computer models used to determine future climate claiming they are not scientific in part because the modellers have “resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists”.

Today, a founder of the International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, and International Symposium on Forecasting, and the author of Long-range Forecasting (1978, 1985), the Principles of Forecasting Handbook, and over 70 papers on forecasting, Dr J. Scott Armstrong, tabled a statement declaring that the forecasting process used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lacks a scientific basis. [2]

What these two authorities, Drs Theon and Armstrong, are independently and explicitly stating is that the computer models underpinning the work of many scientific institutions concerned with global warming, including Australia’s CSIRO, are fundamentally flawed. (Jennifer Marohasy)

Here's a really good question:
Frederick T. Dykes
##### Richland Valley Drive
Great Falls, Virginia 22066-1411
Phone: ### ###-####, Email: *******@*****.***

January 28, 2009

The Honorable Lisa Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460


Dear Ms. Jackson:

Pursuant to the rights granted under the Freedom of Information Act, Title 5 of the United State Code section 552 (“FOIA”), I hereby request the following information:

Evidence that carbon dioxide (CO2) is harmful to the environment and that carbon dioxide is the predominant driver of climate change. Following this paragraph, I present reasons why I do not think that carbon dioxide is harmful to our environment and is not the predominant driver of climate change. I request evidence that disproves each of these statements. “Evidence” does not include computer models that try to forecast temperatures for years, decades or a century into the future.

Our computer models do not model impacts on the climate by thunderstorms, volcanos, or impacts by meteorites and cannot forecast temperatures to within 1degree Fahrenheit for one month into the future and certainly not for a century into the future.

I hereby request evidence disproving the following statements that I believe to be true:

1. Water vapor is the prevailing greenhouse gas and retains heat more than all other gasses combined. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of Planet Earth would be below zero.

2. Plants need CO2 to grow. Wood charcoal is mainly carbon that trees extracted from carbon dioxide in the air. CO2 is what actually greens Planet Earth.

3. Plants grow faster in higher concentrations of CO2 and extract more CO2 from the air. Many operators of commercial greenhouses add CO2 to the ambient air which increases plant growth.

4. Man generates 3 billion tons of CO2 annually while plants absorb 75 billion tons of CO2 annually. Plants need all the anthropogenic (man-generated) CO2 plus an additional 72 billion tons of CO2 from natural sources including the oceans

5. The oceans hold 39,000 billion tons of CO2. In high latitudes, cold water adsorbs more CO2 than it expels. In low latitudes, warm water expels more CO2 that it adsorbs.

6. If the oceans release just .000077 of their CO2, that is more than all man-generated CO2.

7. NASA found that the atmosphere of Mars is 95% CO2 and is not effective at retaining heat from the Sun. If an atmosphere of 95% CO2 on Mars is not an effective greenhouse gas, why would less than ½ of 1 percent of CO2 on Earth be an effective greenhouse gas and be the controlling factor for climate change?

8. Some people who claim that CO2 causes global warming use a graph that shows correlation between global temperature and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere over thousands of years. The point they miss is that the warming occurred hundreds of years before the increase of CO2. Increased CO2 did not cause warming that occurred hundreds of years earlier.

I agree to pay processing fees for this request up to $ 100.00. If there are additional costs, please notify me and get my agreement to pay before incurring such costs.

If you need additional information about the requested items, please contact me at the above address Also, I ask that if for any reason you deny my request or withhold certain information, that you:
1. Provide a list of the denied or withheld materials,

2. Justify these deletions and withholdings by referencing specific exemption in the FOIA, and

3. Release all parts of the withheld material that are not exempt and can be released under the FOIA.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.


Frederick T. Dykes

Copies to: President Obama; all U.S. Senators; all Members of the House of Representatives; The Democratic National Committee; the Republican National Committee; Association of International Automobile Manufacturers; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Corp; Chrysler Corp; Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post; Peter Baker, The New York Times; The Washington Times; Kimberley Strassel, The Wall Street Journal; National Review; The Weekly Standard; ABC; CBS; NBC; Fox News; Glen Beck; Monica Crowley; Sean Hannity.

Recycling 'could be adding to global warming' - Recycling could be adding to global warming rather than reducing it, a key government adviser on waste management has said.

Peter Jones suggested that much of the country's waste should simply be burnt to generate electricity Photo: PA

Peter Jones suggested that an "urgent" review of Labour's policy on recycling was needed to make sure the collection, transportation and processing of recyclable material was not causing a net increase in greenhouse gases.

Mr Jones, a former director of the waste firm Biffa and now an adviser to environment ministers and the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, also dismissed kerbside recycling collections in many areas as "stupid" because they mixed together different materials, rendering them useless for recycling.

He suggested that much of the country's waste should simply be burnt to generate electricity.

"It might be that the global warming impact of putting material through an incinerator five miles down the road is actually less than recycling it 3,000 miles away," he said. (Daily Telegraph)

He's quite right about the majority of recycling being a stupid waste of everyone's time and effort, not to mention energy but worrying over gorebull warming is the wrong justification for anything.

Britain's big polluters accused of abusing EU's carbon trading scheme - Smoke from a factory chimney. Carbon trading is leading to the use of more polluting fossil fuels. Photograph: Joel W. Rogers/Corbis

Britain's biggest polluting companies are abusing a European emissions trading scheme (ETS) designed to tackle global warming by cashing in their carbon credits in order to bolster ailing balance sheets.

The sell-off has helped trigger a collapse in the price of carbon, making it cheaper to burn high-carbon fossil fuels and leading to a fall in the number of clean energy projects. The moves were seized on by environmentalists and other critics who have previously criticised the European Union's ETS for delivering more windfall profits for business than climate change. (The Guardian)

Success! Europe proposes global carbon market - The European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, has proposed the creation of a global carbon market and called for more vigorous carbon reduction targets, leaving Canada’s reduction target behind.

The Commission set out its environmental objectives yesterday, urging developed countries to cut carbon emissions by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020 to limit global warming to 2°C. The target is a step ahead of Canada’s plan to reduce emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by the same time. However, Canada’s goals remain in line with the EC’s longer-term objective to cut emissions by 50% by 2050. (Financial Post)

Given that humans cannot raise the planet's temperature by 2 °C through emission of any amount of carbon dioxide the proposed limits have succeeded even prior to imposition. How good are they?

Europe to U.S.: You’re a Big Polluter - Now that George W. Bush has left the White House, European Union leaders are piling pressure on President Barack Obama to adopt regulations on climate change.

The ideal scenario for Europe would be for the United States quickly to establish a system to cap and trade carbon dioxide, and then pledge to put pressure on other rich countries to do the same thing.

The European Union already has adopted potentially costly policies that could hurt the trade bloc’s industrial competitiveness. If the United States resists that model, or delays action, Europe’s policies could lose their legitimacy.

Another consideration for Europe is to break free of the relative isolation it experienced in international negotiations during the Bush years. Many European leaders want to go to the next round of talks in Copenhagen ten months from now working in tandem with the Americans to push other nations to cut emissions. (James Kanter, New York Times)

Geography Is Dividing Democrats Over Energy - WASHINGTON — President Obama is moving quickly to act on the environmental promises that were a centerpiece of his campaign. But tackling global warming will be far more difficult — and more costly — than the new emissions standards for automobiles he ordered with the stroke of a pen on Monday.

Already, the Congressional Democrats Mr. Obama will need to carry out his mandate are feuding with one another.

By coincidence or design, most of the policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the administration charged with shaping legislation to address global warming come from California or the East Coast, regions that lead the country in environmental regulation and the push for renewable energy sources.

That is a problem, says a group of Democratic lawmakers from the Midwest and Plains States, which are heavily dependent on coal and manufacturing. The lawmakers have banded together to fight legislation they think might further damage their economies.

“There’s a bias in our Congress and government against manufacturing, or at least indifference to us, especially on the coasts,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. “It’s up to those of us in the Midwest to show how important manufacturing is. If we pass a climate bill the wrong way, it will hurt American jobs and the American economy, as more and more production jobs go to places like China, where it’s cheaper.”

This brown state-green state clash is likely to encumber any effort to set a mandatory ceiling on the carbon dioxide emissions blamed as the biggest contributor to global warming, something Mr. Obama has declared to be one of his highest priorities. Mr. Obama has said he intends to press ahead on such an initiative, despite opposition within his own party in Congress and divisions among some of his advisers over the timing, scope and cost of legislation to curb carbon emissions. (New York Times)

Submitted Paper “Assessment Of Temperature Trends In The Troposphere Deduced From Thermal Winds By Pielke Sr. Et Al - Yesterday, Climate Audit announced the submission of a paper on tropospheric temperature trends (see).

We have also submitted a paper which relates to his study. It is Pielke Sr., R.A., T.N. Chase, J.R. Christy, B. Herman, and J.J. Hnilo, 2009: Assessment of temperature trends in the troposphere deduced from thermal winds. Int. J. Climatol., submitted

“Recent work has concluded that there has been significant warming in the tropical upper troposphere using the thermal wind equation to diagnose temperature trends from observed winds; a result which diverges from all other observational data. In our paper we examine evidence for this conclusion from a variety of directions and find that evidence for a significant tropical tropospheric warming is weak. In support of this conclusion we provide evidence that, for the period 1979-2007, except for the highest latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, both the thermal wind, as estimated by the zonal averaged 200 hPa wind and the tropospheric layer-averaged temperature, are consistent with each other, and show no statistically significant trends.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Oh dear... New Paper on the Economics of Air Capture - I have a paper in press on the economics of the air capture of carbon dioxide. Here are the details:

Pielke, Jr. R. A. 2009 (in press). An Idealized Assessment of the Economics of Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide in Mitigation Policy, Environmental Science & Policy.


This paper discusses the technology of direct capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere called air capture. It develops a simple arithmetic description of the magnitude of the challenge of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide as a cumulative allocation over the 21st century. This approach, consistent with and based on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sets the stage for an analysis of the average costs of air capture over the 21st century under the assumption that technologies available today are used to fully offset net human emissions of carbon dioxide. The simple assessment finds that even at a relatively high cost per ton of carbon, the costs of air capture are directly comparable to the costs of stabilization using other means as presented by recent reports of the IPCC and the Stern Review Report.

For a pre-publication copy when proofs arrive (I expect them next week) please contact (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

... we are prepared to bet this operates under the mistaken premise there is some advantage in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide (aCO2) levels rather than recognizing aCO2 as a major resource and its accidental increase a significant benefit. In fact, from a biosphere perspective any loss (sequestration) of carbon from the active cycle is a cost to be avoided and any addition (restoration) to the available pool is a profit.

Now Revkin is a Denier - Maybe Joe Romm’s employers over at the Center for American Progress have a vision for how his tantrums and fits serve their interests on advancing climate policy. I certainly can’t see how his antics do anything more than paint the CAP as a hotbed for intolerance and ignorance. In Joe’s latest rant he calls the NYTs Andy Revkin a climate denier, or I think he does, as Joe speaks a language unto himself. Here is an excerpt (emphasis added): (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Oops! Columbia struck a more skeptical response than they expected: Cool on Global Warming - The Fall issue of Columbia prompted dozens of letters disputing the cover article’s central premise — that climate scientists agree the earth’s atmosphere is warming because of human activity. Many readers proposed instead that natural factors, such as sunspots or variations in the earth’s orbit, are warming the atmosphere. (Columbia Magazine)

The turning point—it’s becoming chic to be a skeptic - This must be it, surely, the point where being a skeptic has more scientific cachet than being a believer. The trickle is becoming a flood. We are reaching the stage where independent scientists will want to make sure they are known to be on the skeptical side of the fence. (Joanne Nova)

What is Science’s Rightful Place? - ScienceBlogs wants to answer the above question in light of the following phrase from the President’s inaugural address:

We will restore science to its rightful place

Never mind that the phrasing suggests this rightful place existed at some time in the past, the folks at Scienceblogs and SEED Magazine are soliciting contributions of what is the rightful place for science. Watch the wishful thinking take flight. (David Bruggeman, Prometheus)

Government officials were overruled by UN on CCS - British government fought to have Carbon Capture and Storage included in clean development mechanism

British government officials pushed heavily for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to be included in the clean development mechanism (CDM) at recent climate change talks in Poznan, but were overruled by the United Nations.

The CDM allows developed countries to invest in an emissions reduction scheme in the developing world in return for carbon credits that count towards emissions targets.

Bronwen Northmore, director of the cleaner fossil fuels policy group within the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said that the developing world needed a mechanism to finance CCS projects – which take carbon emissions from dirty power stations and stores them underground – as they couldn't afford to develop the technology themselves.

"We fought to get CCS included in the CDM but unfortunately weren't successful," she said in a speech to the World Future Energy Summit last week.

"We need a robust financing mechanism for CCS in developing countries, whether it is the CDM or something else." (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

No, that's wrong. We don't need or want CCS, ever. What carbon capture and storage (sequestration) really is is the waste of a magnificent resource and who wants to do that, especially as that waste involves a massive squandering of energy to achieve in the first place? Plain bad idea, no matter how it's viewed.

How Kyoto credit scams work - When it comes to throwing people in the Third World off their land, nothing works better than building hydro dams -- dams have displaced several million in the last decade alone, typically without fairly compensating its victims. And when it comes to financing hydro dams, nothing these days works better than carbon credits, the mechanism of choice for many who want to counter climate change. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Not stuck, just can't move: Trapped with icebreaker, cruise passengers party - Coast Guard downplays its vessel's problems, but passenger says the Terry Fox not up to the job

MONTREAL–It wasn't something they had expected, getting stuck in the thick ice of the St. Lawrence River. Nor did the 300 guests aboard the Vacancier cruise ship expect the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker that came to get them out would suffer the same fate.

But the Canadian Coast Guard ship Terry Fox, considered one of Canada's two "heavy" icebreakers, did get caught in the ice, leading some to wonder whether the Coast Guard has adequate icebreaking capabilities, given that Canada is an Arctic country. (Toronto Star)

Interior Secretary Says Open To New Offshore Drilling - WASHINGTON - U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday the Obama administration was open to oil drilling in new offshore areas as part of a comprehensive plan to overhaul U.S. energy policy.

But he would not specify which tracts could be opened to energy exploration.

"As we move forward with the development of our oil and gas resources, both on-shore and off-shore, they have to be part of a set of a comprehensive energy program," Salazar told reporters at the White House.

"There are places where it is appropriate to explore and to develop oil and gas resources, and there are places that are not appropriate," Salazar said. (Reuters)

Car industry to fight Barack Obama's green proposals - Car industry groups are gearing up for a long fight and the likelihood of legal action against proposals by President Barack Obama to allow California and other states to set their own regulations on greenhouse gas emission from vehicles. (Daily Telegraph)

California Takes Aim At Big, Energy-Hungry TVs - LOS ANGELES - California may be still waiting for the go-ahead to force higher fuel economy in its cars, but the Golden State is moving to crack down on a less obvious energy glutton -- the television set.

As television screens grow steadily in size and numbers, sucking more juice from the U.S. power grid, California regulators has crafted the nation's first mandatory energy curbs on TVs -- and meeting resistance from the industry that makes them.

Having pioneered energy-efficiency rules over the past 30 years for appliances and gadgets ranging from refrigerators to cell-phone chargers, the California Energy Commission has now turned to TVs, which account for 10 percent of home electric bills in the state. (Reuters)

Coal: China’s Energy Pillar - China has experienced huge change over the past 30 years. But even amidst that change, coal has been the pillar of the country’s energy sector and its dominance will likely continue for the next 30 years. And that will be true even though coal is exacting a heavy toll in terms of pollution, land destruction, and human health.

Ever since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping launched the economic reforms, coal has been dominant. Without it, Chinese industry would literally grind to a halt. This year, coal will account for about 75 percent of industrial fuel use, 76 percent of electricity generation, 80 percent of civil and commercial energy, and 60 percent of chemical feedstock. (Lee Geng and Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)

Europe's Pipeline War - The most recent conflict between Moscow and Kiev over natural gas supplies has reignited the controversy over new transit routes. Europe could get its future gas from the highly controversial Nord Stream pipeline to the north, or via the Nabucco pipeline to the south. But will either ever get built? (Der Spiegel)

Severn Barrage is environmental balancing act - Whichever, if any, tidal scheme is built on the Severn, it is sure to anger some environmentalists. Being a renewable source of electricity, tidal generators might be assumed to be popular with the green lobby. Yet there are serious reservations over the environmental costs of a barrage or lagoon in the estuary — and they have split the environmentalist movement.

On the one hand there is the appeal of doing something positive about climate change by turning to a renewable, rather than burnable, source of energy. Environmental activists have been urging governments, power companies and the public to embrace renewable energy because it is cleaner than fossil fuels and nuclear power.

On the other hand, thousands of hectares of shoreline will be destroyed as a feeding ground for birds — an internationally important feeding ground, no less.

There are also deep concerns about the impact on the fish and invertebrates in the Severn. Barrages and, to a lesser extent, lagoons form a physical barrier to species such as salmon and eels as they migrate. (The Times)

Third Heathrow runway would scupper Stansted and Glasgow expansion - A new runway at Heathrow would result in every other British airport having to abandon expansion plans to meet the Government’s climate change target, a study has suggested.

The increase in carbon dioxide emissions from an enlarged Heathrow would be so great that other airports might be forced to cut thousands of flights a year to avoid a breach of the target. That could mean scrapping new runways at Stansted and in Scotland. (The Times)

It won't but it just might help bring down the carbon dioxide farce.

Plans for thousands of wind turbines and tidal barrage threatened by costs - Ambitious plans to build thousands of wind turbines off the coast of Britain and a controversial tidal barrage may never be realised due to environmental concerns and spiralling costs, according to energy experts. (Daily Telegraph)

Chill wind as companies pull out of projects - The UK is losing its attraction for renewable energy generators, putting future energy security and the government's climate change targets in jeopardy, Lord Smith has told the Financial Times in an interview.

The chairman of the Environment Agency said he was concerned about several recent announcements from big energy companies that they were reconsidering plans for offshore wind farms.

"I'm very worried by the fact that a number of companies have said they are no longer actively considering major schemes in the UK," he said. (Financial Times)

Studies Find Mercury In Much U.S. Corn Syrup - WASHINGTON - Many common foods made using commercial high fructose corn syrup contain mercury as well, researchers reported on Tuesday, while another study suggested the corn syrup itself is contaminated.

Food processors and the corn syrup industry group attacked the findings as flawed and outdated, but the researchers said it was important for people to know about any potential sources of the toxic metal in their food. (Reuters)

The latest Scare du Jour: mercury in HFCS - Our bodies are designed and have adapted to thrive on the planet earth. As such, our bodies naturally detoxify and can deal with elements, minerals, chemicals and even bugs, found naturally in our foods and environment. We’re made of tough stuff and not nearly as wimpy and vulnerable as some want us to fear. That resilience is a good thing for the survival of the human species!

There will always be people who try to scare us about some food (it’s always something they don’t think we should eat) by telling us a small amount of some “toxin” — or “neurotoxin” (that sounds even scarier) — has been detected. This is our heads up that we are being manipulated and someone’s trying to take advantage of the fact a lot of people think a chemical or toxin means danger. (Junkfood Science)

Still not rating season? Cured meats tied to childhood leukemia risk - NEW YORK - Children who regularly eat cured meats like bacon and hot dogs may have a heightened risk of leukemia, while vegetables and soy products may help protect against cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among 515 Taiwanese children and teenagers with and without acute leukemia, those who ate cured meats and fish more than once a week had a 74 percent higher risk of leukemia than those who rarely ate these foods.

On the other hand, kids who often ate vegetables and soy products, like tofu, had about half the leukemia risk of their peers who shunned vegetables and soy.

The findings, reported in the online journal BMC Cancer, point to an association between these foods and leukemia risk - but do not prove cause-and-effect. (Reuters Health)

Or, even more likely, these 'results' point to the outcome desired by the anti-meat mobs who fund this kind of dredge.

Want to get healthy? Exercise 7 minutes a week - LONDON - Rigorous workouts lasting as little as three minutes may help prevent diabetes by helping control blood sugar, British researchers said on Wednesday.

The findings published in the journal BioMed Central Endocrine Disorders suggest that people unable to meet government guidelines calling for moderate to vigorous exercise several hours per week can still benefit from exercise.

"This is such a brief amount of exercise you can do it without breaking a sweat," said James Timmons, an exercise biologist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who led the study.

"You can make just as big as an effect doing this as you can by doing hours and hours of endurance training each week." (Reuters)

Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study - WASHINGTON - A controversial chemical used in many plastic products may remain in the body longer than previously thought, and people may be ingesting it from sources other than food, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December said it planned more research into the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, but the agency indicated no immediate plans to curb the chemical, found in baby bottles and other products. (Reuters)

Reminding us intimidation attempts extend far beyond gorebull warming: Scientists threatened with prosecution (Google translated page) - Two Swedish researchers are threatened with prosecution after they published a scientific article that condemns the use of lie detectors. The company Nemesysco, which manufactures detectors, writes in a letter to the researchers publishers that they can be sued for libel if the writing on the subject again. (STHLM) -- h/t Niclas S. Engberg

Science News: Super Mario Gravity, inter alia, from slate V:

Anti-capitalist Sachs is at it again: Rewriting the rulebook for 21st-century capitalism - Technology is at the core of Obama's plans for a sustainable future. In this new era of public action, the US is back in the lead

One of President Barack Obama's historic contributions will be a grand act of policy jujitsu - turning the crushing economic crisis into the launch of a new age of sustainable development. His macroeconomic stimulus may or may not cushion the recession, and bitter partisan fights over priorities no doubt lie ahead. But Obama is already setting a new historic course by reorienting the economy from private consumption to public investments directed at the great challenges of energy, climate, food production, water and biodiversity. (Jeffrey Sachs, The Guardian)

Senator Warns White House Will 'Create Crisis' and 'Panic' to Push Stimulus - Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., criticizes mainstream media for not reporting loads of pork in proposed legislation.

Is the new Obama administration taking cues from the Bush administration to get Congress to act? It certainly seemed that way to, South Carolina’s junior Republican senator, Jim DeMint.

DeMint, speaking Jan. 27 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., explained the Obama administration will “create crisis and widespread panic” just like its predecessor in order to get Congress to act expeditiously.

“I’ve been around long enough to know whenever someone tells me I have to make a decision right now, my response is no,” DeMint said. “That clears it up right away and I think more and more the Bush administration and now this administration knows that they’re not going to get a quick reaction out of Congress unless they create crisis and widespread panic. And that’s going to be their M.O. to get Congress to act.” (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Ireland faces fines if food waste not recycled, EPA warns - Diverting food waste from landfill must become the main waste management priority if Ireland is to avoid EU sanctions, the Environmental Protection Agency has said.

In a new report today, the environmental watchdog said the amount of biodegradable municipal waste disposed of to landfill increased by 5 per cent to 1,485,968 tonnes in 2007, leaving Ireland in “danger” of missing its EU targets.

According to the agency, the increase in food waste is moving Ireland further from the first Landfill Directive target of less than one million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to be landfilled in 2010.

Under the 1999 EU landfill directive, Ireland will be fined if it fails to meet the target, and at present, 50 per cent more biodegradable waste, including food and garden waste, paper, cardboard, wood and textiles, is being sent to landfill than the target level for 2010. (Irish Times)

Where do they get this nonsense? CLIMATE CHANGE: Tropical Forests Fight for Survival - UXBRIDGE, Canada, Jan 28 - Current rates of deforestation suggest there will hardly be any tropical forests left in 20 years. Sixty percent of the rainforests, which survived for 50 million consecutive years, are already gone. (IPS)

Where tropical forests now stand mostly dry savannah existed just 12,000 years ago, where would forests have existed for 50 million consecutive years and still exist today? Certainly they can't be talking about northern boreal forests, they were under a mile of ice for much of the last 100,000 years. Granted Antarctica once had rainforests but that's going back a few million years and people can't really be blamed for their loss either.

Moreover, as anyone who has tried to wrest a living by clearing land for agriculture knows, forests are resilient, constantly infiltrating and reclaiming cleared areas. The only way we could get rid of tropical forests in 20 years would be to nuke the damn things, something neither likely nor recommended.

Exceptionally absurd piece, even for Stephen Leahy.

Key Food, Biofuel Crop Sorghum's Genome Deciphered - WASHINGTON - Scientists have deciphered the genetic make-up of sorghum, a drought-tolerant crop and important food and biofuel source, and said the breakthrough could help develop better crops for arid regions.

Sorghum is one of the world's leading cereals, along with corn, wheat, oats and barley, and can thrive in hot, dry conditions other crops cannot tolerate.

An international scientific team, writing in the journal Nature on Wednesday, mapped the genome which includes about 30,000 genes.

They said this new understanding could point to ways of creating even more drought-tolerant types while providing a blueprint for developing, through breeding or genetic engineering, improved forms of other crops such as corn. (Reuters)

January 28, 2009

James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic - Says Hansen ‘Embarrassed NASA’ & ‘Was Never Muzzled’

Washington DC: NASA warming scientist James Hansen, one of former Vice-President Al Gore’s closest allies in the promotion of man-made global warming fears, is being publicly rebuked by his former supervisor at NASA.

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears. (E&PW)


By Sir Hugh Jerrors, Professor of Modelling Those Little Fluffy Bits Round The Edges Of Clouds at the Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop

What splendid news that President Obama is to give $140,000,000 to the climate modelling industry. That a man who has shown such wisdom throughout his presidency should recognise the importance of this vital economic activity must be a blow to the two or three remaining denialists, who are able to make so much noise thanks to heavy funding from the fossil fuel industry.

Climate modelling has provided employment to hundreds of highly-skilled workers. They, in turn, by their purchasing power provide stimulus to strained local economies in areas such as East Anglia . Also, they will inspire a new stream of university graduates, all highly skilled additions to the new industrial scene, thereby reducing unemployment. They will certainly deserve the large bonuses that are no doubt in the offing. Doubters might think the move is unnecessary, as we all know what the outcome of the modelling will be, but it is not just enough to know that catastrophe is on the way unless we dismantle most of our existing industries. The extent of the catastrophe has to be known to greater and greater precision. As humankind advances towards a new dawn of zero-energy economics, it is the modellers who are in the van.

Climate modelling is the ideal industry for the modern world. Admittedly, its super-computers are responsible for certain carbon emissions, but these are easily offset by purchasing credits from Mr Gore. It is an industry that creates no waste, noise or even products, to sully our planet, which it is destined to save. It does not clog up the transport systems with the unpleasant consequences of trade. It is clean, green and inoffensive.

Let us hope that other nations, and particularly the UK , will seek to emulate the foresight of the American taxpayers, who have willingly made this generous investment in the future. How grateful their grandchildren will be, when they are able to see the outputs of the models during climate change lessons!

This is the start of a brave new world, in which national economies are decoupled from the sordid activities of manufacture and trade. Let us go forward, hand in hand, towards that Promised Land. (Number Watch) - At the risk of getting all Exxon-Secrets ‘on yo asses’… Thanks to the reader who let us know about Bob Ward’s latest career move. Ward, if you remember, left his post of director of communications at the Royal Society to join global risk analysis firm RMS as Director of Global Science Networks. It was a perfectly natural progression that allowed him to continue both his pseudo-scientific catastrophe-mongering and his crusade against Exxon and Martin Durkin. Which he did. (Climate Resistance)

The Green Stimulus - The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted for $20 billion in tax breaks for wind and solar power and energy-efficiency improvements. Since loans for new windmills have dried up, the bill tries to spur investment by allowing an immediate 30% investment tax credit in place of the current production tax credit taken over ten years. According to a Reuters story, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, today unveiled his version of the $275 billion tax cuts that are part of the stimulus package. It includes “about $30 billion in tax breaks and incentives aimed at creating energy jobs.” We’ll have to wait to see how many green jobs they claim will be created by the House and Senate tax provisions. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Obama's Expensive Energy Medicine Is Wrong for Ailing Economy - Perhaps Obama's team of the best and the brightest can make sense of it, but I, for one, am very confused: How does expensive energy stimulate the economy? (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Kerry Seeks Action on Climate Pact - WASHINGTON -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said Tuesday that it was "not critical" for the U.S. to begin regulating power-plant emissions in advance of renewed talks toward a global climate-change treaty.

The Massachusetts Democrat will be an influential player in efforts to forge such a treaty and reshape U.S. policy on climate issues.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Kerry said that an $825 billion economic-stimulus bill making its way through Congress should include more money for low-carbon technologies and less for "nontargeted tax cuts" that would, he said, do little to create jobs quickly. "We're staring at an incredible economic opportunity," he said of the stimulus bill, "let's spend it on the right things." (Wall Street Journal)

If you say it quickly enough... Spend a trillion a year to save planet: report - TACKLING climate change will be much cheaper than most governments expect, according to a major report by global consultancy McKinsey.

Nearly $1 trillion a year would need to be invested in clean power, energy efficiency and forestry around the world by 2030 - a huge sum but less than most governments have predicted and much less than the expected damage bill should climate change go unaddressed. (Sydney Morning Herald)

New Method For Estimating The Impact Of Heterogeneous Forcing On Atmospheric Circulations by Vukicevic et al. 2009 - Our research has shown that the forcing of weather systems from diabatic heating by the human input of aerosols is on the order of 60 times that of the forcing from the diabatic heating due to the human addition of well-mixed greenhouse gases (with the dominate gas being CO2); i.e. see Matsui, T., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2006: Measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing. Geophys. Res. Letts., 33, L11813, doi:10.1029/2006GL025974.

We now have a new paper that presents a quantitative methodology to assess the importance of this type of climate forcing. It is Vukicevic, T., R. A. Pielke Sr., and A. Beltran-Przekurat, 2009: New Method For Estimating The Impact Of Heterogeneous Forcing On Atmospheric Circulations. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JD010418, in press. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Just reread that: diabatic heating by the human input of aerosols is on the order of 60 times that of the forcing from the diabatic heating due to the human addition of well-mixed greenhouse gases (with the dominate gas being CO2)

With carbon dioxide then accounting for perhaps 1.5% of atmospheric warming just what does anyone expect to achieve by devastating the global energy supply in an effort to control its emission? And why would anyone believe climate model prognostication of massive global warming due to carbon dioxide-driven enhanced greenhouse when carbon dioxide is such a trivial bit player in the global climate play?

Horse feathers! Emperor penguin 'marching to extinction by end of the century' - The Emperor penguin is marching towards extinction because the Antarctic sea ice on which it depends for survival is shrinking at a faster rate than the bird is able evolve if it is to avoid disaster, a study has found.

By the end of the century there could be just 400 breeding pairs of Emperor penguins left standing, a dramatic decline from the population about about 6,000 breeding pairs that existed in the 1960s, scientists estimated. (Steve Connor, The Independent)

According to Antarctic Connection's "Wildlife of Antarctica" the Emperors must have had something of a population explosion: Quick facts: Population: 200,000 pairs.

That and the fact that Antarctic sea ice is increasing and has been doing for as long as we have had satellites observing it kind of tells you all you need to know about The Indy and its 'science editor'.

If things were different they could be, different... or not: Climate change’s impact on invasive plants in Western US may create restoration opportunities - Princeton, NJ – January 27, 2009 – A new study by researchers at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has found that global climate change may lead to the retreat of some invasive plant species in the western United States, which could create unprecedented ecological restoration opportunities across millions of acres throughout America. At the same time, global warming may enable other invasive plants to spread more widely. (ScienceMode)

“Houston Chronicle” Editorial: A Global-Warming Scare Story - Wow. Could the Houston Chronicle have fit more distortions about climate change into a 420-word editorial than it managed to do in its January 25th piece, “The heat is on: New data debunk claims that global warming is hype”? It’s hard to figure out how. (Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource)

Meteorologists know nothing about climate change - A pretty interesting headline isn’t that? I admit that is probably a bit more sensationalistic than what is really called for. However, that would seem to be one of the conclusions from the author and analyst of a recent survey. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Runaway Climate Concerns: Man-made global warming has become an ex cathedra doctrine that can be challenged only at great risk - For evidence of the inertia of bureaucracy, look no further than the UN climate conference in Poznan that concluded recently. Like a meeting in Bali last year and another in Copenhagen in December, the aim is to go beyond the Kyoto Protocol to try to halt global warming. This is serious stuff, since implementing the Kyoto Protocol could possibly cost up to $180 billion annually.

These meetings and Kyoto reflect an underlying premise promoted by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For its part, IPCC lives and dies by the hypothesis that human contributions to greenhouse gases are the primary cause of climate change.
Man-made global warming has become what scientists call an ex cathedra doctrine that, like a superstition, can be challenged at great risk to reputation or financial support. (Christopher Lingle, Live Mint)

Germany OKs Atlantic global warming experiment - Germany dropped its opposition Monday to a controversial experiment to dump iron sulphate in the South Atlantic to see if it can absorb greenhouse gases and possibly help to halt global warming. (AFP)

Indian scientists conduct anti-warming experiment in Antarctic Ocean - Indian and German scientists began strewing iron powder on hundreds of square kilometres of the Antarctic ocean in a momentous experiment that may yield a solution to the global warming crisis.

Some environmentalists have opposed the work of Indian and German scientists aboard the Polarstern, a German research icebreaker, but Berlin ruled Monday the project is safe and breaks no laws. (DPA)

?!! Comet impact theory disproved - New data, published today, disproves the recent theory that a large comet exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, causing a shock wave that travelled across North America at hundreds of kilometres per hour and triggering continent-wide wildfires.

Dr Sandy Harrison from the University of Bristol and colleagues tested the theory by examining charcoal and pollen records to assess how fire regimes in North America changed between 15 and 10,000 years ago, a time of large and rapid climate changes.

Their results provide no evidence for continental-scale fires, but support the fact that the increase in large-scale wildfires in all regions of the world during the past decade is related to an increase in global warming. (University of Bristol)

Al Gore’s Propaganda - The methods used by global warming alarmists to convince you that more carbon dioxide is going to ruin the Earth are increasingly laced with insults and attacks directed toward anyone who might disagree with them. For instance, one of the many intellectually lazy (& false) claims is that I am paid by Big Oil.

Mr. Gore’s tactics have been a little more subtle, and reminiscent of propaganda methods which have proved to be effective throughout history at influencing public opinion. One should keep in mind that his main scientific adviser, NASA’s James Hansen, has the most extreme views of any climate researcher when it comes to predicting a global warming induced Armageddon.

Listed below are ten propaganda techniques I have excerpted from Wikipedia. Beneath each are one or more examples of Mr. Gore’s rhetoric as he has attempted to goad the rest of us into reducing our CO2 emissions. Except where indicated, most quotes are from his testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, March 21, 2007. (Mr. Gore is scheduled to testify again tomorrow, January 28, 2009, before the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee…if the cold and snowy weather doesn’t cause them to reschedule.) (Roy W. Spencer)

Obama, Fight The Green Agenda - In his remarkable rise to power, President Barack Obama has overcome some of the country's most formidable politicians--from the Bushes and the Clintons to John McCain. But he may have more trouble coping with a colleague he professes to admire: former Vice President Al Gore.

To date, motivations from sweet reason to hard-headed accommodation have defined Obama's Cabinet choices, most notably in such areas as defense and finance. Oddly enough, though, his choices on the environmental front are almost entirely Gore-ite in nature. Obama's green team, for example, includes longtime Gore acolyte Carol Browner as climate and energy czar, physicist Steven Chu as energy secretary and, perhaps most alarmingly, John Holdren as science adviser.

These individuals are not old-style conservationists focused on cleaning up the air and water, or protecting and expanding natural areas. They represent a more authoritarian and apocalyptic strain of true believers who see in environmental issues--mainly, global warming--a license to push a radical agenda irrespective of its effects on our economy, our society or even our dependence on foreign energy.

We should not underestimate the power of these extreme greens. They can count on the media to cover climate and other green issues with all the impartiality of the Soviet-era Pravda. Stories that buttress the notion of man-made global warming--like reports of long-term warming in Antarctica--receive lavish attention in The New York Times and on Yahoo!. (Joel Kotkin, Forbes)

Philadelphia’s Climate in the Early Days - Guest Post by Steven Goddard

January, 1790 was a remarkable year in the northeastern US for several reasons. It was less than one year into George Washington’s first term, and it was one of the warmest winter months on record. Fortunately for science, a diligent Philadelphia resident named Charles Pierce kept a detailed record of the monthly weather from 1790 through 1847, and his record is archived by Google Books. Below is his monthly report from that book. (Watts Up With That?)

The UK Climate Impact Programme Forecasting Scoresheet - Guest Post by Steven Goddard

The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is a government funded organization with the following scientifically neutral mission statement on their home page “The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) helps organisations to adapt to inevitable climate change. While it’s essential to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of past emissions will continue to be felt for decades.“

On their headline messages page they have a list of global warming predictions and supporting evidence. In this article we will examine some of their claims and evidence. (Watts Up With That?)

Humans adapting to climate change help mosquitoes spread disease - Humans adjusting to water shortages caused by global warming could help a dengue fever-carrying mosquito expand into new parts of Australia, according to a study released Tuesday. (AFP) | Hoarding rainwater could 'dramatically' expand range of dengue-fever mosquito (Wiley)

Actually rainwater storage tanks were once ubiquitous in Australia but had been discouraged in favor of decent water reticulation. Fashionable gorebull warming hysteria and misguided government policy has seen a return of these neglected water stores but that is their only connection to "global warming".

From CO2 Science this week:

Super Rice to Match Super Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations: In the not-too-distant future, we will need crops that can take fullest advantage of the yield-enhancing benefits of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content. What is the outlook for rice in this regard?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 658 individual scientists from 385 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Owens Valley, White Mountains, California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Herbivory (General): How might it differ from what it is now in a CO2-enriched and warmer world of the future?

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: Kentucky Bluegrass, Little Bluestem, Sundial Lupine, and Thale Cress.

Journal Reviews:
Global Warming and Atlantic Hurricane Intensity: Does the former promote the latter?

Tropical Cyclones Off the Northwestern Coast of Australia: How did their intensities vary over the period 1968/69 to 2000/01?

The World's Water Tower: What is it? Where is it? Why is it? And how has it responded to the past half-century of global warming?

The Progressive Nitrogen Limitation Hypothesis Takes Another Hit: A scrub-oak ecosystem finds the nitrogen it needs for its growth to continue responding to atmospheric CO2 enrichment.

Amphibian Population Declines: Are they caused by global warming?

CO2 Truth-Alert: Elevated CO2: How Sweet it is ... for Sugarcane! (

New science could help solve climate crisis - LONDON: A new science that seeks to fight climate change using methods like giant space mirrors might not work on its own, but when combined with cuts in greenhouse gases it may help reverse global warming, a research report said.

In the report published on Wednesday, researchers at Britain's University of East Anglia assessed the climate cooling potential of "geoengineering" schemes that also include pumping aerosol into the atmosphere and fertilizing the oceans with nutrients.

"We found that some geoengineering options could usefully complement mitigation, and together they could cool the climate, but geoengineering alone cannot solve the climate problem," said Professor Tim Lenton, the report's lead author.

Geoengineering involves large-scale manipulation of the environment in an attempt to combat the potentially devastating effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. (Reuters)

Except that improvements in the levels of magnificent resource and essential trace gas carbon dioxide is all gain for no pain. The biggest problem the world faces today is people wanting to "do something about" carbon dioxide.

Nuclear Fusion-Fission Hybrid Could Destroy Nuclear Waste And Contribute to Carbon-Free Energy Future - AUSTIN, Texas — Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a new system that, when fully developed, would use fusion to eliminate most of the transuranic waste produced by nuclear power plants.

The invention could help combat global warming by making nuclear power cleaner and thus a more viable replacement of carbon-heavy energy sources, such as coal. (Insciences)

I'm all for viable energy sources but the carbon fixation and reach for gorebull warming as a justification for development costs is always cause for great suspicion.

Britain Starts Search For New Nuclear Build Sites - LONDON - Budding nuclear power plant builders have two months to nominate sites for the next generation of nuclear power stations in Britain, the government said on Tuesday.

Europe's biggest utilities, which have been clubbing together this month in readiness to build the nuclear power plants Britain hopes will replace an aging fleet of state built reactors, have until March 31 to submit their site proposals.

"The industry continues to gear up to invest and we are on course to see new nuclear feeding into the grid by 2018," Britain's Energy Secretary Ed Miliband told the Nuclear Development Forum on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Senators Debate Alternative Energy Tax Breaks - WASHINGTON - The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday began debating some $31 billion in tax credits and financial incentives to boost alternative energy supplies and promote energy-savings steps as part of the Obama administration's much bigger U.S. economic recovery plan.

The tax breaks being considered would, in part, help wind power and solar energy companies that are having a difficult time getting financing because of tight credit conditions. The incentives also come at time that sharply lower petroleum prices have made alternative energy projects less cost competitive. (Reuters)

RINO rampage: U.S. Should Adopt California Car Rules: Schwarzenegger - SAN FRANCISCO - California on Monday hailed President Barack Obama's move toward letting it and other states regulate greenhouse gases from cars as an "historic win" for clean air and said the federal government should adopt similar national standards.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former Hollywood actor now a champion of the environmental movement, said it would be a great idea for the entire United States to follow California's lead on rules for more efficient cars that would cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016. (Reuters)

A bariatric patient wants other women to know… - A young nursing assistant had sought help for a back injury five years ago, and her doctor recommended bariatric surgery. She lost 120-pounds, but it has not been a happy ending. Looking shockingly decades older than her real age, malnutrition has cost her her health, her job, and most of her hair and teeth. She and other women around Modesto believe that more attention deserves to be given to the long-term complications of bariatric surgeries and bravely shared their stories with the Modesto Bee this weekend.

These are the truer pictures of the pain and complications of bariatric surgeries that those of us who’ve cared for these women see more often than those glowing before-and-after stories in the media.

These women showed tremendous courage in opening their hearts and going public, hoping to help other women. Their stories deserve to be heard. Please be sure to watch Sandi’s touching video interview [halfway down the page]. As reporter Ken Carlson wrote: (Junkfood Science)

Money For Nothin' - California's politicians have played Russian roulette with the state's future, nearly bankrupting it in the process. Now, it looks like they might get bailed out from the problems they created.

The Golden State expects a record $42 billion deficit over the next year and a half, the largest pool of red ink ever in a state. Can it plug such a big fiscal hole? Maybe.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has pushed a wide range of new taxes — excuse us, "fees" — on everything from golfers and car repairs to veterinary care and tickets to sporting events. And now, the $825 billion stimulus bill may bring billions more to California.

The stimulus will dole out about $200 billion to the states to help shore up their budgets. California is slated to get $22 billion of that.

Is that a good thing? Probably not. It's not aid, per se; it's a bailout. Basically, California's irresponsible, Democrat-dominated legislature has spent the state into near fiscal oblivion. Now it will get bailed out by its big-spending friends in Washington.

So expect more fiscal irresponsibility in California, not less. (IBD)

Real Power In Washington Resides In Person Of Environmental Chief - Think the most powerful person in the U.S. government is President Obama? Think again. It reality it may be Environmental Protection Agency Chief Lisa Jackson.

In the race for action on climate change and to curb man-made greenhouse gases that moves swifter than the pace of legislative change, many are turning to the EPA and the Clean Air Act, which empowered the federal government to enforce clean air standards to improve human health and living conditions.

If President Obama moves to classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant to be regulated by the EPA, as he pledged during the campaign, the change in policy could significantly alter the lives of Americans.

While the Clean Air Act has been legitimately and usefully used to combat ozone depletion, acid rain, pollution and smog, using it to curb greenhouse gases is about as good an idea as using a power drill to do brain surgery. (Margo Thorning, IBD)

UN Chief Warns More Could Go Hungry In Crisis Year - MADRID - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday said rich nations had to do more to prevent the economic crisis from adding to an already intolerable 1 billion people going hungry in the world.

Food prices had come down for the time being but the number of hungry people was set to rise again, Ban told the High Level Meeting on Food Security for All in Madrid.

"Continuing hunger is a deep stain on our world. The time has come to remove it forever. We have the wealth and know-how to do so," Ban said.

Apparently they can recognize a real problem when they see, so what's with all this gorebull warming hysteria nonsense that can only make everything much worse?

Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps portray the height and extent to which flooding is expected to occur, and they form the basis for setting flood insurance premiums and regulating development in the floodplain. As such, they are an important tool for individuals, businesses, communities, and government agencies to understand and deal with flood hazard and flood risk. Improving map accuracy is therefore not an academic question--better maps help everyone.

Making and maintaining an accurate flood map is neither simple nor inexpensive. Even after an investment of more than $1 billion to take flood maps into the digital world, only 21 percent of the population has maps that meet or exceed national flood hazard data quality thresholds. Even when floodplains are mapped with high accuracy, land development and natural changes to the landscape or hydrologic systems create the need for continuous map maintenance and updates.

Mapping the Zone examines the factors that affect flood map accuracy, assesses the benefits and costs of more accurate flood maps, and recommends ways to improve flood mapping, communication, and management of flood-related data. (NAP)

January 27, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Address - President Barack Obama in his brief inaugural address on Tuesday mentioned energy and global warming several times, but gave no specifics. He vowed to “restore science to its rightful place,” yet has nominated Dr. John P. Holdren to the post of White House Science Adviser. He later faintly echoed Holdren’s Malthusianism when he said, “…[N]or can we consume the world’s resources without regard to the effect.” The effect of consuming the world’s resources has been unprecedented prosperity and well-being and an expanding abundance of those resources. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Holdren all wrong - At the end of “Science and Government,” his Godkin Lectures at Harvard nearly a half-century ago that revealed some disastrous wartime scientific misjudgments of the British government, Sir Charles P. Snow offered one reason why it is important to have scientists in government: They have something to give that “our kind of existential society is desperately short of: That is foresight.”

It is because he so demonstrably lacks foresight that John P. Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, should not be confirmed as President Obama’s science adviser.

William Yeatman, an analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has done a service by examining Holdren’s record of bad predictions. (Boston Herald)

Climate: Change You Can't Believe In - Barack Obama campaigned for the White House on a promise he'd deliver "change you can believe in." And the popular totals suggest that 52% of voters believed indeed. But according to a recent Rasmussen Poll, there's one change that only 41% of Americans can believe in - manmade climate change. That's down from 47% just nine months ago, and before moving the country down an unpopular green-paved road to disaster, the "unity" promising freshman president would be well advised to understand why. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

Europe to Ask Wealthy Nations to Adopt Carbon Trading System - BRUSSELS — The European Commission was preparing an appeal on Friday to wealthy countries — and to the United States in particular — to adopt carbon trading as one of the main mechanisms for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Europeans are drafting their proposal as the United States enters a period of intense debate over the wisdom of adopting such market-based systems following the inauguration of President Obama.

Mr. Obama endorsed a similar system to cap and trade carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, during his election campaign. That system sets a limit on emissions, and those who exceed it must buy or trade permits to meet it.

The main alternative to a cap-and-trade system is a tax on emissions. Many analysts say that would be a more straightforward way of limiting planet-warming gases from industry. (New York Times)

Clinton climate change envoy vows 'dramatic diplomacy' - WASHINGTON, Jan 26 - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named a special envoy on Monday to lead U.S. efforts to fight global warming and forge new international accords on reducing carbon emissions and developing clean energy.

The appointment -- which accompanied other energy policy steps announced by President Barack Obama -- signaled a break from the Bush administration's climate policies, and Clinton's pick promised "vigorous, dramatic diplomacy."

Todd Stern, a senior White House official under former President Bill Clinton, will be the administration's principal adviser on international climate policy and strategy and its chief climate negotiator.

"With the appointment today of a special envoy we are sending an unequivocal message that the United States will be energetic, focused, strategic and serious about addressing global climate change and the corollary issue of clean energy," Clinton said at a State Department ceremony. (Reuters)

Senate calls for more Gore - Former Vice President Al Gore returns to Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the committee, had kind words for his fellow former Democratic presidential nominee: "Al Gore has been sounding the alarm on climate change for over three decades, and he understands the urgent need for American engagement and leadership on this issue."

Mr. Gore, who has opted to stay in private life rather than return with the Democratic administration, still has easy access with President Obama's team. (Washington Times)

China dams reveal flaws in climate-change weapon - The hydroelectric dam, a low wall of concrete slicing across an old farming valley, is supposed to help a power company in distant Germany contribute to saving the climate - while putting lucrative "carbon credits" into the pockets of Chinese developers.

But in the end the new Xiaoxi dam may do nothing to lower global-warming emissions as advertised. And many of the 7,500 people displaced by the project still seethe over losing their homes and farmland. (Associated Press)

Fast Action Needed To Avoid Climate Chaos: Study - BRUSSELS - Global temperature rises due to climate change could be kept below the critical 2 degree mark by fast international action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030, a report said on Monday.

Scientists say that if temperatures increase beyond 2 degrees, humanity faces severe environmental fallout, such as melting polar ice caps and rising sealevels.

Increasing numbers of scientists and politicians question whether the 2 degrees goal is achievable, given the slow progress of international negotiations so far. (Reuters)

Bloody idiots! We couldn't warm the planet 2 °C even if we wanted to.

Don't use air conditioners, state told - THE South Australian Government is urging people not to use their air conditioners as the state swelters in three days of 40C-plus temperatures.

Citing the community's environmental responsibilities, the State Government today put our a press release saying there were many alternatives to using air conditioners, urging South Australians to instead insulate ceilings and use external blinds or a pergola to shade windows, AdelaideNow reports.

The Transport, Energy and Infrastructure Department's energy division's press release said residents should close curtains and use portable and ceiling fans instead of air conditioners. (The Advertiser)

Yeah? How about not voting such idiot politicians back into office?

Solar industry cash dries up - AUSTRALIA is forfeiting billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs through its lack of support for solar energy, according to European companies that have shunned the sunburnt country.

An Age investigation has found that potential investors courted by federal and state governments have rejected Australia, the world's sunniest continent, citing a lack of business incentives such as tax breaks and the nation's unwillingness to regulate in favour of renewable energy. (The Age)

What, I'm supposed to be disappointed not to be paying vastly more for energy and more taxes just to provide these twits with profits? Get a life, you dopey buggers! Australia has coal to burn for literally millennia, which we will do until something cheaper and more convenient comes along and that for sure is not intermittent, inadequate, inefficient and woefully unreliable surface-level sunlight harvesting.

Lomborg repeats many of his common errors but still makes sense: The climate change safari park - Barack Obama in his inaugural speech promised to “roll back the spectre of a warming planet.” In this context, it is worth contemplating a passage from his book Dreams from My Father. It reveals a lot about the way we view the world’s problems.

Obama is in Kenya and wants to go on a safari. His Kenyan sister Auma chides him for behaving like a neo-colonialist. “Why should all that land be set aside for tourists when it could be used for farming? These wazungu care more about one dead elephant than they do for a hundred black children.” Although he ends up going on safari, Obama has no answer to her question. That anecdote has parallels with the current preoccupation with global warming. Many people — including America’s new President — believe that global warming is the pre-eminent issue of our time, and that cutting CO2 emissions is one of the most virtuous things we can do.

To stretch the metaphor a little, this seems like building ever-larger safari parks instead of creating more farms to feed the hungry.

Make no mistake: global warming is real, and it is caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The problem is that even global, draconian, and hugely costly CO2 reductions will have virtually no impact on the temperature by mid-century. Instead of ineffective and costly cuts, we should focus much more of our good climate intentions on dramatic increases in R&D for zero-carbon energy, which would fix the climate towards mid-century at low cost. But, more importantly for most of the planet’s citizens, global warming simply exacerbates existing problems.

Consider malaria. Models shows global warming will increase the incidence of malaria by about 3% by the end of the century, because mosquitoes are more likely to survive when the world gets hotter. But malaria is much more strongly related to health infrastructure and general wealth than it is to temperature. Rich people rarely contract malaria or die from it; poor people do.

Strong carbon cuts could avert about 0.2% of the malaria incidence in a hundred years. The other option is simply to prioritise eradication of malaria today. It would be relatively cheap and simple, involving expanded distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, more preventive treatment for pregnant women, increased use of the maligned pesticide DDT, and support for poor nations that cannot afford the best new therapies.

Tackling nearly 100% of today’s malaria problem would cost just one-sixtieth of the price of the Kyoto Protocol. Put another way, for each person saved from malaria by cutting CO2 emissions, direct malaria policies could have saved 36,000. Of course, carbon cuts are not designed only to tackle malaria. But, for every problem that global warming will exacerbate — hurricanes, hunger, flooding — we could achieve tremendously more through cheaper, direct policies today. (Bjorn Lomborg, Economic Times)

How anyone can do the math, recognize real problems and still think gorebull warming is real remains a mystery and yet this is what Lomborg claims to do. Perhaps he's just playing the ratbags at their own game.

Report: Cost of rapid CO2 cuts "manageable" - Rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade to curb global warming could cost less than 1 percent of world gross domestic product by 2030, a report from management consultants McKinsey & Co said Monday. (Associated Press)

A single dollar spent on doing nothing but harm is unaffordable and there is nothing but harm to come from attempts to constrain emission of an essential trace gas.

Apparently not a joke: Meat to be removed from hospital menus as NHS tells patients to ring GPs to cut carbon emissions - Patients should phone their GP rather than drive in for a visit, according to National Health Service guidelines unveiled today.

Ministers want family doctors to hold more 'phone-in' surgeries to help the environment by cutting carbon emissions from cars.

They also want hospitals to achieve their green targets by reducing the amount of meat they serve to patients in wards. (Daily Mail)

NZCPR Weekly: The Cold Winds of 2008 - This week's NZCPR Weekly examines how global warming mania has been able to establish such a stronghold in New Zealand, the NZCPR Guest Commentary by Lord Christopher Monckton questions pronouncements by the global warming guru Al Gore, and the poll asks whether NZ's emissions trading scheme should be put on hold - permanently! (NZ Centre For Political Debate)

Stimulus Plan: Non-Existent Unemployed Climate Modelers Get $140 Million - President Barack Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus plan, has morphed into an appropriations bill devoid of debate. The process forgoes any pretense of targeting unemployed people and resources.

For instance, the bill reads “Provided further, That not less than $140,000,000 shall be available for climate data modeling.” This raises the question of how many unemployed climate modelers are out there pounding the pavement. (The Foundry)

Oh Susan... New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible - A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there’s no going back.

The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. The findings appear during the week of January 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (NOAA)

1,000-year forecasts? Do you suppose she really believes PlayStation® Climatology has value over even 1,000 days? At present models can't even agree on the likely state of the El Niño Southern Oscillation 1,000 hours hence and that's a relatively simple and moderately well-understood cycle.

Funny, peculiar variety: Global warming impacting monsoon trend in India: study - Thiruvananthapuram (PTI): Increasing global warming has had an adverse impact on the monsoon activity over peninsular India in the last five decades resulting in decline in number of monsoon depressions and weakening of the monsoon current, according to a senior meteorologist.

The strength of low level monsoon winds through the region had decreased by about 20 per cent during the last 50 years, P V Joseph, a former director of India Meteorological Department (IMD), said.

The finding was that the sea surface temperature of the equatorial central Indian Ocean has increased by about 1.5 degree Celsius, which was much higher than anywhere else in the global tropics, he said.

"This phenomenon is feared to have had an adverse impact on the Indian monsoon by creating an area of increasing rainfall near the equator which would weaken the monsoon heat engine (the vertical Monsoon Hadley Cell that drives the monsoon circulation over the subcontinent)," Joseph said in a paper presented at the 'National Workshop on Global Warming and its effect on Kerala" here last week.

All-India average air temperature had also increased by 0.6 degree Celsius in the last century. This was comparable to the global average.

The observed change in climate has been two ways -- decadal change (a few decades of increase followed by a few decades of decrease) and long term trends, either decreasing or increasing.

The annual number of monsoon depressions and the monsoon rainfall of south Kerala had witnessed strong decreasing trends. However, reason for this had to be studied in depth, the paper said.

The sea surface temperatures over both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal had increased during the last 50 years.

Monsoon dates in Kerala and the number of tropical cyclones in a year in the Indian seas did not have any long term trend but had long period oscillations in the last 100 years, he said. (The Hindu)

Other researchers blame the Asian Brown Cloud (by way of cooling the equatorial central Indian Ocean) for a reduction in Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall and yet these guys suggest the ECIO SST has increased by 2-3 times the global average. It can't have done both over the same period in the same region fellas.

Advocacy Threatens Scientific Integrity - Physicists, as well as the entire scientific community, should be concerned about the harm that advocacy is doing to scientific integrity. Certain aspects of the current discourse on climate change exemplify this harm. (Robert E. Levine, Forum on Physics & Society)

"Warming freezes the Southern Ocean," Another Mann-made Climate Change - In late January 2009, the once-respected “science” journal Nature published the results of a computer model apparently showing that nearly all of the Antarctic continent had not cooled over the past 50 years, as the real-world observational data showed, but had warmed instead. The newly-created “warming” was achieved not by direct observation, which has long produced inconvenient cooling, but by “statistical climate-field-reconstruction techniques to obtain a 50-year-long, spatially complete estimate of monthly Antarctic temperature anomalies.” (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Spinning furiously: Professor takes part in landmark climate change study - Scott Rutherford, an assistant professor in the department of environmental science at Roger Williams University, is co-author of a scientific paper that made international news last week with its findings of warming in Antarctica, where earlier studies had tracked more cooling.

The paper in the journal Nature was picked up in hundreds of publications and Web sites as far away as Australia and South Africa.

“It’s kind of neat,” Rutherford said last week of all of the attention.

Rutherford had studied with one of the key authors, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, a speaker at last fall’s Honors Colloquium on Climate Change at the University of Rhode Island. Other co-authors in the study represent prestigious institutions around the country such as the University of Washington, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (Providence Island Journal)

Possible natural explanation found for West Antarctica's warming - South Pole - In 2008, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey reported a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica [the same place the one degree Fahrenheit warming has been reported]. The volcano beneath the ice sheet "punched a hole right through" due to its heat and force. This geologic event (a volcano) may prove to be the source of the recent warming seen in West Antarctica in what has otherwise been reported as a 50-year cooling trend seen in East Antarctica. (TGDaily)

Eye-roller: Antarctic sea creatures hypersensitive to warming - ROTHERA BASE, Antarctica - Thriving only in near-freezing waters, creatures such as Antarctic sea spiders, limpets or sea urchins may be among the most vulnerable on the planet to global warming, as the Southern Ocean heats up.

Isolated for millions of years by the chill currents, exotic animals on the seabed around Antarctica -- including giant marine woodlice and sea lemons, a sort of bright yellow slug -- are among the least studied in the world.

Now scientists on the Antarctic Peninsula are finding worrying signs that they can only tolerate a very narrow temperature band -- and the waters have already warmed by about 1 Celsius (1.6 Fahrenheit) in the past 50 years.

"Because this is one of the most rapidly warming areas on the planet and because the animals are so temperature sensitive...this marine ecosystem is at higher risk than almost anywhere else on the planet," said Simon Morley, a marine biologist at the British Antarctic Survey at Rothera.

"A temperature rise of only 2-3 degrees (Celsius) above current temperatures could cause these animals to lose vital functions," he said. (Reuters)

Alaska Climate Change - The climate of Alaska has changed considerably over the past 50-plus years. However, human emissions of greenhouse gases are not the primary reason.

Instead, the timing of the swings of a periodic, natural cycle-the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)-has made a strong imprint on the observed climate of Alaska since the mid-20th century. Despite its established existence and influence, this natural cycle is often overlooked or ignored in zealous attempts to paint the current climate of Alaska as being one primarily molded by the emissions from anthropogenic industrial activities. In truth, the climate of Alaska and the ecosystems influenced by it have been subject to the cycles of the PDO and other natural variations since the end of the last ice age (some 12,000 years ago) and likely for eons prior. It is primarily these natural cycles that are currently shaping Alaska's long-term climate and weather fluctuations. (SPPI)

United States and Global Data Integrity Issues - Issues with the United States and especially the global data bases make them inadequate to use for trend analysis and thus any important policy decisions based on climate change. These issues include inadequate adjustments for urban data, bad instrument siting, use of instruments with proven biases that are not adjusted for, major global station dropout., an increase in missing monthly data and questionable adjustment practices. (Joe D’Aleo, SPPI)

Vote of no confidence for temperature charts - part 2 - ... He [Hansen] actually says, in the second paragraph, “The hardest part is trying to influence the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained.”

To me this sounds like spin for “The hardest part is making the numbers show what I want them to”. Let’s see how long it takes for that sentence in the NASA GISS website to get changed. (Read N Say)

The other global warming - Even if we contain the greenhouse effect, says a Tufts astrophysicist, we'll have another heat problem on our hands

Human civilization will heat up the planet; the glaciers will melt and the seas will rise. It's a familiar refrain by now, with a familiar solution: stop pumping out the greenhouse gases that trap the sun's heat.

But even if we bring the greenhouse effect under control, says a Tufts astrophysicist, the earth will warm up anyway, thanks to a completely different source of heat that we create ourselves.

Over the next 250 years, calculates Eric J. Chaisson in a recent paper, the earth's population will start generating so much of its own heat - chiefly wasted from energy use - that it will warm the earth even without a rise in greenhouse gases. The only way to avoid it, he says, is to rethink how we generate energy. (Bina Venkataraman, Boston Globe)

And atmospheric motion will defeat that, just as it does 'enhanced greenhouse'.

More fun with 'puter games: Global warming could unleash ocean 'dead zones': study - Global warming may create "dead zones" in the ocean that would be devoid of fish and seafood and endure for up to two millennia, according to a study published on Sunday.

Its authors say deep cuts in the world's carbon emissions are needed to brake a trend capable of wrecking the marine ecosystem and depriving future generations of the harvest of the seas.

In a study published online by the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists in Denmark built a computer model to simulate climate change over the next 100,000 years. (AFP)

German coalition at loggerheads over global warming test - Germany's coalition government on Monday was at loggerheads over plans to dump iron sulphate in the South Atlantic to see if it can absorb greenhouse gases and help stop global warming.

Research Minister Annette Schavan, who is a member of the CDU, gave the test the green light Monday saying "after a study of expert reports, I am convinced there are no scientific or legal objections against the... ocean research experiment LOHAFEX."

However, a spokesman for the environment ministry, whose head Sigmar Gabriel is a member of the SDP, later said in the statement that the ministry "regrets the decision" to approve the LOHAFEX test.

An expedition set sail from Cape Town in South Africa on January 7 and is poised to drop six tonnes of the dissolved iron over 300 square kilometres (115 square miles) of ocean. (Agence France Presse)

Antarctica research suspended - Scientists have been ordered to suspend their controversial Antarctica 'ocean fertilization' experiment. Science correspondent Julian Rush reports.

Scientists on board a German polar research ship off Antarctica have been ordered by the German government to suspend their controversial "ocean fertilisation" experiment - because it may be in breach of an international treaty.

A British team is part of the joint Indian-German expedition in the Southern ocean. The researchers want to drop iron into the sea to create a bloom of plankton some 300 square km in size to see if it might one day be a way to reduce global warming. (Channel 4 News)

New Weblog By Bruce Hall On “Decadal Occurrences Of Maximum Statewide Temperature Records” - A very informative weblog has been posted today by Bruce Hall on the “Decadal Occurrences Of Maximum Statewide Temperature Records“. This is a valuable contribution to the analysis of long term climate extremes. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

A New Paper From Model Based Parameterizations To Lookup Tables: An EOF Approach By Leoncini et al paper 2008 - We have a new research paper that has been published. This paper applies a new methodology that we reported on in Pielke Sr., R.A., T. Matsui, G. Leoncini, T. Nobis, U. Nair, E. Lu, J. Eastman, S. Kumar, C. Peters-Lidard, Y. Tian, and R. Walko, 2006: A new paradigm for parameterizations in numerical weather prediction and other atmospheric models. National Wea. Digest, 30, 93-99. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Still confusing essential trace gas with atmospheric pollution: Satellites to study atmospheric CO2 - Scientists said they will look at how to reduce global warming with help from two new satellites.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh will study data from the instruments that will measure CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere.

The satellites are being launched by NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and give region-by-region accounts of Earth's carbon emissions and also highlight areas of the planet which are absorbing the most CO2.

The vessels, known as The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) and The Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT), will provide fresh information on surface emissions and absorption of CO2.

They will take in remote regions such as the Amazon basin, Siberian taiga, Alaskan tundra and African forests. (Press Association)

Europe wants Obama to give your money to China, India: EU to pressure US, emerging countries on climate change - BRUSSELS — Eager to take the lead on climate change, the European Union aims to pile pressure on the United States and big emerging countries to sign up to an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gases.

Last month European leaders approved an ambitious climate change action plan which the 27-nation bloc hopes will become a model for international negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

"We will do everything to make (Copehagen) a success," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters on Friday. "The problem is to know whether the others are ready to do what we have been doing." (AFP)

Recycling Climate Change for Profit - Albert Schweitzer said, “As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious.” Public knowledge of climate and climate change is growing slowly every day, but as Schweitzer anticipated it is creating more mystery.

Most people, including most scientists recently involved in the subject, are not even at the point climate science was 30 years ago.

The major cause of this lag is the excessive focus on CO2, an infinitesimal part of a vast and complex system. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are primarily responsible as they convinced the world of global warming due to CO2, while effectively ignoring major components such as the sun. I have said the IPCC focus on CO2 is akin to saying my car is not running well and I am going to determine the cause by ignoring the engine (sun), the transmission (water vapor), and most other mechanical parts and focus on one nut (CO2) on the right rear wheel. Worse, they only look at one thread of the nut, the human portion of CO2. The ease with which they have achieved this degree of focus is frightening, but understandable because it was premeditated. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Obama’s Order Is Likely to Tighten Auto Standards - WASHINGTON — President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday.

The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions would be one of the most emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.

Mr. Obama’s presidential memorandum will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While it stops short of flatly ordering the Bush decision reversed, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.

Once they act, automobile manufacturers will quickly have to retool to begin producing and selling cars and trucks that get higher mileage than the national standard, and on a faster phase-in schedule. The auto companies have lobbied hard against the regulations and challenged them in court. (New York Times)

Allowing states to set individual standards for national products makes about as much sense as allowing states to set railway gauges, electrical appliance voltage or international treaties. In short, it's a total nonsense. Someone is not thinking.

Timing of stricter U.S. standards worries automakers - DETROIT: Automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Barack Obama's goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid installation of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles in a time of severe financial duress.

Obama ordered the government on Monday to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions and help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.

The announcement came as General Motors and Chrysler are borrowing billions of dollars from the government to avoid bankruptcy, and as Toyota prepares to report its first operating loss in 70 years. Shortly after the president spoke, GM said it would cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio because of slow sales. (Nick Bunkley, IHT)

Facing the Oil Problem - A call for an energy policy that would spark outside-the-box basic research, end dependence on foreign oil, and reduce death and destruction on the nation's highways. (Charles F. Doran, Johns Hopkins Magazine)

A nice old dust up? - On Thursday, German economy minister Michael Glos was expressing "serious misgivings" about the EU's emissions trading scheme, complaining that it could cost jobs if it went ahead in its current form. His own scientific advisory board is urging the repeal of strict limits for CO2 emissions, and an easing of the system in order to stabilise the price of permits.

This may or may not be connected with an announcement yesterday that the German energy giant RWE has decided to build no more new power plants in western Europe, as the EU's emissions trading scheme has rendered new projects "unprofitable". (EU Referendum)

Please keep your babies safe — new vaccine information for parents - If only it was possible to help every new parent understand and trust doctors on this one.

For those of us healthcare professionals who were practicing as recently as the 1970s and early 1980s, the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went right through our hearts. The CDC just reported that a 7-month old infant died, and another four became seriously ill from Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) last year in Minnesota (which tracks illnesses more closely than many states). (Junkfood Science)

Obesity 'can be caught - just like a cold' - OBESITY can be "caught" from another individual in the same way as a cold with the virus spread by dirty hands, scientists suggest.

The condition has been linked to a highly-infectious virus that causes sniffles and sore throats. (Courier-Mail)

Apparently infects dogs, too: Fat dogs seized by RSPCA - The RSPCA has seized two dogs from their owner after she was accused of feeding them too much. (Daily Telegraph)

And the RSPCA is severely infected by the fat police. I don't give them money to harass people for pampering pooches, no matter how misguided said pamperers might be -- they've had their last donation from me.

Zealots rampant - No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power. -- P. J. O'Rourke (1992) (Number Watch)

'Walking and talking' may put kids at risk - NEW YORK - Children who walk while talking on their cell phone may be too distracted to cross the street safely, a new study suggests.

In tests that had 10- and 11-year-olds walk in a simulated "virtual" neighborhood, researchers found that when the children talked on a cell phone as they traveled, they paid less attention to traffic and were more likely to step into the path of a virtual car.

The effects were seen regardless of how much experience a child had in using a cell phone or in being pedestrian, according to Despina Stavrinos and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Cell phones are not necessarily bad for children to carry and use," the researchers write in the journal Pediatrics. "However," they add, "our results suggest that just as drivers should limit cell phone use while driving, pedestrians -- and especially child pedestrians -- should limit cell phone use while crossing streets." (Reuters Health)

Greens' War Against All Chemicals Will Do Little To Reduce Our Risks - A report from a panel appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that California should expand pollution prevention initiatives, add "green chemistry" to public school curricula and offer public access to comprehensive information about the chemicals in consumer products.

The report, part of a plan by the California Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate many supposedly toxic materials, is more appropriate for a wish list sent to Santa Claus than an attempt at serious public policy.

It recalls H.L. Mencken's observation that for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.

For starters, the governor and members of his panel seem oblivious to the fact that we live in a sea of chemicals — and that, in fact, our bodies are actually comprised of them — and also to the toxicologists' credo, "the dose makes the poison."

Many of the alarms raised recently about chemicals, from those in rubber duckies and plastic bottles to pesticides used in agriculture, are completely bogus, while most of the others represent only negligible risks.

Pseudo-scares and the wrongheaded (and often very costly) responses to them — as in these latest recommendations from the governor's panel — are wasteful, if not actually harmful. (Henry I Miller, IBD)

January 26, 2009

BBC Newsnight - Warming up President Obama’s inaugural speech? - What should the BBC do if the new US President’s references to global warming in his inaugural speech don’t quite come up to expectations? (Harmless Sky)

Cut and Paste Journalism - BBC bosses today tried to make excuses for the cut-and-paste job by BBC science journalist, Susan Watts, as discovered by Tony at Harmless Sky recently. Answering criticism on Watts’ blog, Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon said:

We did edit sections of the speech to reflect the elements in it that referred to Science. The aim was to give people an impression or montage of what Obama said about science in his inauguration speech. This was signposted to audiences with fades between each point. It in no way altered the meaning or misrepresented what the President was saying. You can look for yourself above.

If this is true, it means that the editorial team at BBC Newsnight are shockingly naive. If that is true, then we would like to know, what are they doing producing the networks flagship current affairs magazine programme?

Even if we give them the benefit of the doubt with respect to their editorial oversight, by which we mean that we accept that they are naive, the feature drips with the kind of ideological prejudice that any run-of-the-mill eco-warrior can muster. This is not news, nor is it analysis. It is projection. (Climate Resistance)

Global Cooling Under-reported, Says SPPI - WASHINGTON -- The Earth has shown an under-reported cooling trend for eight straight years, raising serious questions about the accuracy of the UN’s climate projections, since not one of the computer models on which it relies had predicted so long and steep a cooling, says a new review paper -- Temperature Change and CO2 Change – A Scientific Briefing --from the Science and Public Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank. (BUSINESS WIRE)

If Michael Mann had been a corporate accountant . . . - ... he would have been in jail by now. (Australian Climate Madness)

Oh my... O'Malley Tries Again On Global Warming - Gov. Martin O'Malley will sponsor legislation to commit Maryland to a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.


"It's really a kumbaya moment." (WBAL Radio) [em added] | O'Malley to push bill to reduce state's production of climate-warming pollution (Baltimore Sun)

Refusing to Feel Europe's Pain - A policy colleague from Washington state just left me a message to let me know a state official there just publicly insisted that Europe had actually suffered no costs from its failed experiment with cap-and-trade. Let's leave it to the natives to have some fun with it, but while keeping an eye peeled for the fallout, because that's a . . . what's the word I'm look- . . . oh, right, a lie. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Shocked, Shocked at the New York Times - Well this one caused a quick double-take this morning. NYT writer and Dot Earth blogger Andy Revkin complains in the paper today, just like Sens. Olympia Snowe (R., ME) and Jay Rockefeller (D., WV) before him, that people speaking out are getting in the way of efforts to impose a particular agenda on you:

Mr. Obama's political foes have already seized on the cooling of public concern. Marc Morano, the communications director for the Republican minority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has been sending out e-mail alerts, sometimes several a day, highlighting stories on winter weather and other surveys suggesting a shift in public attitudes.

Yeah. How dare he. English-to-English translation: hey, we’re working that corner! Such distaste is awfully rich for anyone from Team Alarmist given how that’s “what they do.” (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Indoctrination online: Worldwatch Climate Symposium online - On January 15, leading thinkers, scientists, and policymakers convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the significance of 2009 for the Earth's climate. Authors of State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World engaged an audience of more than 150 people on the state of the science, the gaps between science and policy, and practical solutions to help avert the worst effects of climate change -- all in advance of critical climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. (Environmental Law Prof Blog)

Stephen Schneider’s sea level alarm without scientific merit, reports SPPI - WASHINGTON -- Claims by Stephen Schneider, a biologist, that melting Greenland ice will drown today’s coastlines and trigger a worldwide belief in the need for action to combat imagined “catastrophic global warming” are scientifically-unjustified and unjustifiable, says the Science and Public Policy Institute – a Washington, D.C. research organization. (BUSINESS WIRE)

Are climate change investors living in a fool’s paradise?

fool’s par·a·dise: “a state of happiness that is temporary and insubstantial because it is based on illusions or unrealistic hopes” - Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

I am struck by the diversity of risk analyses being carried out by investors in today’s climate change market place. Whether it’s ‘carbon’* market conferences and publications, ‘ethical investments’, insurance company projects or the activities of financial, legal and engineering institutions, it seems at first glance that they have it all covered. Many financial, political, procedural, legal and technical issues are addressed. Anything that might pose a risk to the market and the hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into one of the greatest enterprises in human history – ‘fighting’ global climate change – appears to be examined.

It looks on the surface like an investment and legislative dream come true, combining the public’s desire to ‘save the planet’ and compensate for recent stock market losses with helping corporations fulfill their ‘corporate social responsibilities’. It even satisfies the natural desire of politicians to be seen to be leading their nations to safety and a supposedly green, prosperous future.

On closer examination however, one notices something remarkable. Practically without exception, all of these organizations, many of them among the most successful and respected in the world, completely ignore the risk that the very foundation of all of these activities might be shown to be faulty. Like many of those who were caught off guard by the subprime mortgage crisis, those involved in the rapidly expanding climate change industry are not asking the most fundamental of questions:

• What if the science that supposedly backs concerns over carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cannot be justified?

And, even more important to the investment, legal and political community:

• What if the public at large come to believe that the whole thing is a gigantic scam? What if it becomes common knowledge that we can’t stop climate change and all of the great and glorious plans to restrict CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are seen as a complete waste? (Tom Harris, CFP)

Climate Modelers Gone Wild - Roger Pielke Jr, however, is a scientist. And over at his blog, Prometheus, he is making some global climate modelers look silly. In yesterday’s post, Pielke commented on a new study in the journal Nature, which suggests that Antarctica is in fact warming, whereas before the icy continent was thought to be cooling. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

About that: Using Red again - The Antarctic visibly warms up - John Brignell has several times, including recently, pointed out the use of red in charts and maps for heightened propaganda, here is another excellent example from the Antarctic:

Richard Black back on the case

The continent of Antarctica is warming up in step with the rest of the world, according to a new analysis. Scientists say data from satellites and weather stations indicate a warming of about 0.6C over the last 50 years.

Writing in the journal Nature, they say the trend is "difficult to explain" without the effect of rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

In the new analysis, a team of US scientists combined data from land stations with satellite readings "We have at least 25 years of data from satellites, and satellites have the huge advantage that they can see the whole continent," said Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle. "But the [land] stations have the advantage that they go back much further in time.

"So we combined the two; and what we found, in a nutshell, is that there is warming across the whole continent, it's stronger in winter and spring but it is there in all seasons."

Voila! Case proven!

Or is it?

Here is what Ellen and Lonnie Thompson said about Antarctic Temperature records in 2003:

Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Lonnie G. Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center, Department of Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

It is essential to determine whether the strong 20th century warming in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) reflects, in part, a response to anthropogenically driven, globally averaged warming or if it is consistent with past climate variability in the region. The necessary time perspective may be reconstructed from chemical and physical properties preserved in the regional ice cover and ocean sediments. Only three multi-century climate histories derived from ice cores in the AP region have been annually dated with good precision (± 2 years per century). The longest record contains only 1200 years and the three histories do not provide a coherent picture of 20th century climate variability.

Temperature records for Antarctica are sparse and short with few extending prior to the International Geophysical Year (1957-58).

This is particularly true for the continental interior. The longest and most dense net­work of meteorological records is in the Antarctic Peninsula region where the temperature record at Orcadas (South Orkney Islands) extends to 1903.

King et al. [this volume] review the surface temperature records in the Peninsula that extend to the late 1940s and the upper air measurements that began in 1956. Their analy­ses demonstrate marked differences between the temper­ature trends in the AP and the rest of the continent (East and West Antarctica).

Jones et al. [1993] also noted that temperature variations in the AP region are poorly correlated with those on the main part of the continent and concluded that extending the Antarctic temperature record by using the longer temperature histories from the Peninsula would be inappropriate.

"The Plateau Remote (PR) record contains some longer-term (~century scale) oscillations with a brief (~3 decades), but strong cooling in the early 17th century.

Conditions remain at or above the long-term mean from 1660 to 1780 after which a gradual cooling trend persists until 1870 after which conditions warm rapidly, peaking at the turn of the 20th century. Since that time the δ18O record indicates a cooling trend to the present.

The PR δ18O record, like those from South Pole, does not show 20th century 18O enrichment (warming), [Mosley-Thompson, unpublished data]. Similarly, the recently published isotopic record from Berkner Island [Mulvaney et al., 2002] also does not show a 20th century warming.

Domack et al. [this volume] report their cores contain a Medieval Warm Period (1.15 ka to 0.7 ka), a Little Ice Age signal (0.7 ka to ~0.15 ka) and 200-year oscillations in the regional climate/oceanographic conditions."

(Isn't it strange then that we are told the LIA and MWP were confined to the N. Hemisphere and even disposed of altogether by Mann et al)

The pdf can be downloaded from this link.

I don't think anyone could say the Thompsons are "deniers"....

Dennis Ambler.

This could get entertaining... The Orbiting Carbon Observatory and the Mystery of the Missing Sinks - Picture a tree in the forest. The tree "inhales" carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, transforming that greenhouse gas into the building materials and energy it needs to grow its branches and leaves.

By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the tree serves as an indispensable "sink," or warehouse, for carbon that, in tandem with Earth's other trees, plants and the ocean, helps reduce rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air that contribute to global warming.

Each year, humans release more than 30-billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels for powering vehicles, generating electricity and manufacturing products. Up to five-and-a-half additional tons of carbon dioxide are released each year by biomass burning, forest fires and land-use practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture. Between 40 and 50 percent of that amount remains in the atmosphere, according to measurements by about 100 ground-based carbon dioxide monitoring stations scattered across the globe. Another estimated 30 percent is dissolved into the ocean, the world's largest sink.

But what about the rest? The math doesn't add up. For years, scientists have sought to find the answer to this mystery. Though scientists agree the remaining carbon dioxide is also "inhaled" by Earth, they have been unable to precisely determine where it is going, what processes are involved, and whether Earth will continue to absorb it in the future. A new NASA satellite scheduled to launch in February 2009 is poised to shed a very bright light on these "missing" sinks: the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. (NASA News)

... as previous estimates are exposed as the wild guesses they are.

Slow news day? NASA study links severe storm increases, global warming - The frequency of extremely high clouds in Earth's tropics - the type associated with severe storms and rainfall - is increasing as a result of global warming, according to a study by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge. (Pasadena Star-News)

They are talking about this month-old dubious release. Now, we have no doubt there are both seasonal and cyclical changes in deep convective cloud formation but 5 years of data isn't much to hang your hat on, much less claim gorebull warming associations.

AB32 cripples state’s ability to compete in global economy - As a new member of the California State Assembly, I have introduced my first bill to suspend AB32 — the so-called California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

In 2006, on a party-line vote, legislative Democrats passed AB32 over the objections of Republicans. Authored by then-Assembly Speaker Fabien Núñez, ostensibly to combat the effects of global warming, AB32 forces businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Appealing to the politically correct crowd of 2006, AB32 was hailed far and wide by left-leaning political elites. They could not have envisioned our economic downturn or the devastating effects of AB32 on California’s economy and it’s environment — or could they?

There have been economic slumps in past decades and subsequent recoveries. But there are major differences between then and now. (The Union)

Jym Ganahl and Bob Wagner post presentation interview - Ridin the Wave with Dave has a post presentation interview of the recent Global Warming Presentation. It is nice to see people in the media are finally starting to take on this issue, and address the real science. If you are a member of a civic organization, Jym has a great presentation debunking GW, and of course I am always willing to give my presentation as well. For those of you who don't know who Jym Ganahl is, he is the Channel 4 Meteorologist. (The Internet Skeptic)

Global warming skeptics on video discussing how they have been vilified - Below is a report from 20/20 about credible scientists who debate Global Warming. John Stossel discusses the professional and personal attack on these educated men who dared to stick with their research and beliefs. There is a lot of debate in the scientific community, but many scientists have been silenced out of fear. (Baltimore Weather Examiner)

Industry heat on Rudd ETS stance - The introduction of emissions trading ahead of our major trading competitors will make life more difficult for our mining industry and its workers.

LAST Wednesday will be remembered as the day the world-wide economic meltdown hit our shores.

Yes, there have been the obvious signs of stock exchanges plunging, banks being rescued and superannuation dwindling before our eyes but this time it was something more tangible - jobs.

Thousands of jobs were slashed from the workforce. Employees, without warning, were called in and told to pack up and leave. The layoffs were across the board _ manufacturing, retail sales, media, banking and, perhaps most significantly, mining.

Geelong suffered with CSR Viridian closing down and shedding 80 jobs and work on our tallest building, WaterMarque, being put on hold indefinitely.

The mining boom is, for now, over. The Chinese juggernaut which has driven the fortunes of our mining industry for the past few years has slowed with the inevitable results - mines closed and miners sacked. (Geelong Advertiser)

Glacier Slowdown in Greenland: How Inconvenient - In this week’s Science magazine, science writer Richard Kerr reports on some of the goings-on at this past December’s annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

While he didn’t cover our presentation at the meeting in which we described our efforts at creating a reconstruction of ice melt across Greenland dating back into the late 1700s (we found that the greatest period of ice melt occurred in the decades around the 1930s), Kerr did cover some other recent findings concerning the workings of Greenland’s cryosphere in his article titled “Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In.” (WCR)

Reply By Pielke Et Al To The Comment By Parker Et Al. On Our 2007 JGR paper “Unresolved Issues With The Assessment Of Multi-Decadal Global Land Surface Temperature Trends” - In 2007, we published the paper Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

The is a Comment by Parker et al in press in JGR-Atmospheres on our 2007 paper. It is Parker, D. E., P. Jones, T. C. Peterson, and J. Kennedy (2009), Comment on ‘Unresolved Issues with the Assessment of Multi-Decadal Global Land Surface Temperature Trends’ by Roger A. Pielke, Sr. et al., J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JD010450, in press. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The Origin of Increasing Atmospheric CO2 - a Response from Ferdinand Engelbeen - After yesterday’s post about manmade vs. natural sources of CO2, I received the following e-mail from Ferdinand Engelbeen. I’ve reproduced that e-mail below, and made a couple of comments (also in italics)….I’m at a conference, so I posted this quickly…sorry for any typos… and thanks to Ferdinand for taking the time to respond. - Roy (Roy W. Spencer)

Correlation demonstrated between cosmic rays and temperature of the stratosphere - This offers renewed hope for Svensmark’s theory of cosmic ray modulation of earth’s cloud cover. Here is an interesting correlation published just yesterday in GRL. (Watts Up With That?)

"Renewed hope"? I must admit that seems a very strange way of putting it. The Svensmark Effect exists or it does not. It is significant or it is not. Either way it will be confirmed or not in time but it has little (nothing) to do with "hope".

Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up - A deeply flawed new report will be cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore, says

The measures being proposed to meet what President Obama last week called the need to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet" threaten to land us with the most colossal bill mankind has ever faced. It might therefore seem peculiarly important that we can trust the science on which all the alarm over global warming is based, But nothing has been more disconcerting in this respect than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.

Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the world's coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and co may have wanted to scare us that the continent which contains 90 per cent of all the ice on the planet is heating up, because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.

However, to provide all their pictures of ice-shelves "the size of Texas" calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula – the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year's sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

More on Antarctica and “Consistent With” - (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Funny to see them reaching for facts: Steve Connor: Sceptics, scientists and global warming - The cable news network CNN has sacked its science team, and one of the consequences has been a number of embarrassing programmes about how the exceptionally cold weather in North America this winter contradicts global warming and supports the idea that we are actually due for or a period of global cooling, if not a full-blown ice age. (The Independent)

As it happens they are right (for once), there is no proof of long-term cooling to be had from recent weather events (nor of gorebull warming from any weather events either). Sadly this new-found desire for facts will likely last only until summer.

Turnbull's climate gamble - THE battle over climate change policy is set to escalate dramatically, with the Opposition Leader to outline an alternative method of reducing greenhouse gases the Coalition claims will not threaten jobs or business.

The move comes as the Government forges ahead today with its emissions trading scheme in spite of the global financial crisis.

The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, will announce a three-pronged policy of greenhouse gas reduction that will impose no direct costs on businesses or homes and require no behavioural change, and aims to eradicate divisions in the Coalition over climate change. It will also enable the Coalition to oppose Labor's scheme as economically damaging during the financial downturn. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Federal battle over economy, environment - BOTH sides of politics were yesterday grappling for control of the economic and environmental high ground amid pessimism about the outlook for employment and financial markets.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull abandoned any earlier pretence that the economic crisis would be tackled in a bipartisan way, declaring the Rudd Government's $4 billion partnership with the big four banks to fund commercial property projects would merely pad the banks' balance sheets without saving a single job. (Canberra Times)

Rudd's economic disaster - DESPITE the international fiscal crisis, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is still hell-bent on pursuing anti-business policies that he and senior ministers well know will cost even more Australians their jobs. (Piers Akerman, Daily Telegraph)

After the Age of Oil - On top of the other problems plaguing the world, such as global warming and the current financial meltdown, there's a third pressing issue that threatens to bring the good life to an end: The world is fast running out of oil.

Given that crude oil makes up 36.4 per cent of the world's energy consumption, the seriousness of shortages cannot be underplayed. Our reliance on oil is almost total. It fuels 100 per cent of air and sea transport and most of our land transport. Without oil there is no petrochemical industry. Agriculture, manufacturing, building materials, the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the medicines we take depend on oil.

Running out of oil is a question of when -- not if. (Montreal Gazette)

To some extent they are right -- about 'conventional' oil. Fortunately this is largely irrelevant as we have centuries worth of readily accessible carbon supplies in coal alone and it is not too difficult to create liquid fuels from these. Then there's shale, methane hydrates... the age of carbon has really only just begun, which is why misanthropic greenies are so desperate to paint carbon as pollution rather than the globe's life support system.

Not Driving Drives Oil Prices Downward - If you are looking for a reason why oil demand and oil prices are so lackluster, consider this: US drivers are staying home, and they are doing so in record numbers.

According to the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration, the number of miles traveled in November 2008 fell by 5.3 percent compared to the year-earlier month. As noted by blogger Mark J. Perry this is the thirteenth consecutive month that traffic volume has declined. And Perry notes, this change “represents one of the most significant adjustments to driving behavior in American history.” Furthermore, the decline in traffic volume over the 12-month period ending November 2008, is the biggest annual decline recorded since the federal government began collecting data in 1971. (Robert Bryce)

How about the decline in Chinese demand? China is undergoing a rapid slowdown which is reflected in the inflow of resources. Even the previously bullet-proof Australian mining sector is laying off workers and closing mines due to reduced Chinese demand so why should oil demand be any different? Sorry, not convinced American drivers control global oil demand.

Idiots: Environmentalists Hail Pushback Of South Dakota Power Plant - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed objections to an air quality permit a South Dakota state agency had granted for a large coal-fired power plant, a move environmentalists hailed as the beginning of a new era on coal powered plants.

“This is a signal that the Obama administration is taking a much harder look at coal power from the previous administration,” Darrell Gerber, a program coordinator for the group Clean Water Action, told the New York Times.

"EPA is signaling that it is back to enforcing long-standing legal requirements fairly and consistently nationwide," said Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club's initiative to block coal power plants, told Reuters.

Navajo Nation Steps Up to Supply America's Energy Needs - Greenwire has a long lead story (subscription required) in today's edition by Daniel Cusick about the plans of the Navajo Nation to build three huge new coal-fired power plants totaling 5,300 megawatts in order to exploit their enormous coal resources. These new plants could supply enough electricity for approximately four million homes in the rapidly growing cities of the Southwest. (Myron Ebell, CEI)

A Better Shade of Green - DURING Senate hearings on his nomination as secretary of energy, Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate physicist, reiterated his and President Obama’s support for a cap-and-trade program as a cost-effective method to address climate change. Under such a program, a limit is set on emissions, and polluters can emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases only by obtaining permits.

That’s good policy. However, Dr. Chu may find the path to cap and trade made more difficult by the well-intentioned advocates of a national “renewable portfolio standard,” which would require energy companies to produce specific amounts of electricity largely from wind, solar and geothermal energy.

A renewable portfolio standard is said to be needed for creating and improving renewable energy technologies. In practice, however, it does little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and makes energy production excessively expensive.

Coal-fired power plants produce more than 83 percent of the electricity sector’s carbon dioxide emissions. But because coal is cheaper than natural gas or oil, it is the least likely to be displaced by solar or wind power.

Natural gas has a relatively low carbon content. But it is likely to be the first to be displaced by renewable sources of energy because it is more expensive than coal. That means that even a renewable portfolio standard as high as 20 percent would reduce emissions by only a small fraction of what is needed to lower the risk of catastrophic climate change. (New York Times)

Eliminate DOE for Deficit Reduction - Thirty one years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was established during the Carter Administration. They currently have 16,000 federal employees, and approximately 100,000 contract employees. Their proposed budget is up 4.7% from 2008. No one seems to know why the DOE was founded. The reason given 31 years ago was “to lessen our dependence on foreign oil”. Instituted on 8/4/77, the DOE is asking for 25.2 billion in discretionary funding in the US annual budget for 2009.

Certainly our dependence on foreign oil wasn’t 65 % thirty-one years ago. And thirty-one years from now, unless we’re allowed to drill in the US, our dependence will be much higher than 65 %. Currently, OPEC owns well over 70 % of existing oil producers. There is no agency controlling what OPEC can charge for a barrel of oil. There is no entity that can stop OPEC from gouging at will if it deems it is the most profitable route.

Drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the US, as well as the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) will significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The DOE is unnecessary for elimination of that dependence. Right now, OPEC controls how much a barrel of oil will cost, and how much we will pay at the pump.

Elimination of 25.2 billion/yr will push America towards a balanced budget. In fact, if one looks at the current Executive Departments (15), many can be axed from the list, especially the DOE. Necessary departments such as Defense, Treasury, Security, Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services should stay. Most others add huge amounts of government jobs which produce nothing, and could at least have their expenditures whittled down. (Kevin Roeten, Opinion Editorials)

Emissions Fight Squeezes Obama - WASHINGTON -- The state of California and the automobile industry are pressing the Obama administration to decide whether states may impose their own limits on autos' greenhouse-gas emissions, an issue that pits President Barack Obama's allies in the labor and environmental movements against one another. (Wall Street Journal)

NADA complains of double-regulation of fuel economy - The patchwork would exist in thirteen states, Washington, D.C., and Bernalillo County , NM , which account for over 40% of the nation's new car market. Pennsylvania would not be part of the patchwork because it bases compliance on complying in California .

An automaker could comply in California and offer the exact same choice of vehicles in another CARB state, and yet still not be in compliance, solely due to differing consumer demand for different types of vehicles.

If the patchwork were to take effect in all 50 states, it would result in a 50-state patchwork, as an automaker would still have to manage 50 unique state fleets to individually meet CARB's standard 50 times.

The patchwork would create the "cross border sales loophole," as CARB's regulation does not regulate cars imported from non-CARB states that are registered in CARB states.

The patchwork reopens the SUV loophole; and

Several automakers and potentially new entrants from China and India would be exempt from CARB's regulation until 2016, provided they limit their sales in California. (National Automobile Dealers Association)

Brown welcomes announcement of new nuclear sites - Prime minister claims: "Nuclear is crucial to our low carbon future"

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) today announced that it is willing to provide land for new nuclear plants at Sellafield, Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell, removing another of the potential barriers to government plans for a new fleet of nuclear reactors.

Speaking on a visit to the Sellafield plant in west Cumbria, prime minister Gordon Brown welcomed the NDA's decision arguing that a new generation of nuclear plants would provide a multi-billion pound boost to the UK economy while also helping to cut carbon emissions.

"Nuclear is crucial to our low carbon future; it is crucial to our energy security and at the same time it represents a massive opportunity for the UK economy and jobs," he said. "Industry are investing billions into the UK economy, jobs are being created and supply chain opportunities are developing." (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Cape Wind and Its Discontents - The lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, entitled “Blowhards” and excerpted below, is a heartwarming tale of green hypocrisy and aggrieved NIMBYism. It details the efforts of some of our favorite environmentally holier-than-thou Democrats to prevent a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. (Edward John Craig, Planet Gore)

OMGBUGZINMAIFOODZ! YUCK! - Bug Girl called it. When the Scientific American piled on with alarm about cochineal, she called them on it. As a professor of entomology, she knows her bugs. She’s probably heard every scare there is about perfectly harmless little bugs. People are squeamish and easily grossed out by creepy things they don’t understand and the thought of eating bugs… “OMGBUGZ!” (Junkfood Science)

Lunch box police - Well, it’s happened. School principals in Australia want teachers to have the power to police lunch boxes from home to remove any offending cookies or chips that are deemed by the State Government as unhealthy. Victorian Principals Association chief Fred Ackerman has backed the move, according to the Herald Sun, saying teachers need the authority to enforce ‘healthy eating’ habits. (Junkfood Science)

National Patient Registry - The push to create a nationalized electronic medical records system has been stepped up with a massive influx of another $20 billion in government funding and new mandates. Independent studies estimate the real costs to taxpayers will run at least $75 billion to $100 billion over the next ten years, as CNN Money just reported. The goal is to put the health records of all citizens into a government computer network within the next five years. The medical records from every doctor office, clinic, hospital, laboratory, pharmacy and diagnostic facility in the country would be interconnected “to ensure the uninhibited flow of health data” among all stakeholders and federal agencies, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Department. (Junkfood Science)

Um, no: Recommended cholesterol level may be too high - NEW YORK - Many patients who suffer a heart attack have levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol well below recommended limits, supporting efforts to revise current guidelines to include lower target levels, new research shows. (Reuters Health)

What it really means is that attempting to use cholesterol levels as an indicator is and always has been a nonsense.

Pilots' radiation exposure may damage genes - NEW YORK - Airline pilots' exposure to radiation because of the long periods they spend at high altitudes may raise their odds of developing genetic abnormalities that could contribute to cancer, a new study suggests.

A number of studies have looked at whether airline crews are at increased risk of various cancers because of frequent exposure to cosmic radiation -- radiation that is mostly blocked by the earth's atmosphere but exists at higher levels at high altitudes. Those studies have come to conflicting results, however.

This latest study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, looked at whether airline pilots tend to have a higher rate of genetic abnormalities known as chromosome translocations. These genetic alterations naturally become more common as people age, but they also arise from exposure to radiation, which can lead to cancerous changes in body cells.

Researchers led by Dr. Lee C. Yong, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, analyzed blood samples from 89 airline pilots and a comparison group of 50 university professors of the same age.

They found that, overall, chromosome translocations were not more common among the pilots. (Reuters Health)

So either professors fly as much as commercial pilots or there is nothing to this, is there. That didn't stop them trying to make something of a flying-radiation damage correlation though.

Finally, a silver lining: Bond money crunch freezes out environmental nonprofits - California's ocean of red ink is threatening its pursuit of a green future.

When the state froze bond money spending last month, most of the public attention focused on roads, levees and other public works projects that were put on hold. But the freeze also devastated conservation groups in the region that were counting on bond money to build trails, plant trees, clean waterways and close land deals.

Not only is the loss of this money shutting down projects, it's forcing many environmental nonprofit groups to lay off staff or close. Those that spent their own money and were awaiting state reimbursement have been particularly hard-hit. (Sacramento Bee)

Federal agents investigate fertilizer producers for Calif. organic farms - SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Federal agents this week searched a major producer of fertilizer for California's organic farmers, widening concern about the use of synthetic chemicals in the industry.

The raid Thursday targeted Port Organic Products Ltd. of Bakersfield, Calif. Industry sources estimate the company produced up to half of the liquid fertilizer used on the state's organic farms in recent years.

The Bee reported in December on a state investigation that caught another large organic fertilizer maker spiking its product with synthetic nitrogen, which is cheap, difficult to detect - and banned from organic farms.

Since then, the organic industry and state officials have taken several steps to catch violators in California, which produces nearly 60 percent of the U.S. harvest of organic fruits, nuts and vegetables.

California Certified Organic Farmers, the state's top organic certifier, last week mandated inspections of fertilizer makers that sell to its clients. Meanwhile, Earthbound Farm, the nation's largest producer of organic greens, is stepping up a new testing program for the chemicals its farmers use. In addition, state fertilizer inspectors may get additional auditing powers and the state Senate Food and Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing on the issue Feb. 3.

As Thursday's raid indicates, work remains to improve a patchwork regulatory system that presumes manufacturers tell the truth about their products. On Thursday at the Eco-Farm conference in Monterey, frustrated farmers and fertilizer makers alike called for stronger oversight. (McClatchy Newspapers)

Synthetic nitrogen? Never mind...

January 23, 2009

Zero-Calorie Sin? - If you thought the food nannies’ appetite for dictating what beverages you may enjoy would be satisfied by their crusade against regular, sugar-sweetened soda, think again. Their new battle cry is shaping up to be, “None of the calories but all of the sin.” (Steven Milloy,

Climate Confusion - As a new president takes office and elevates global warming alarmism to official federal policy, much of America is experiencing record low temperatures. While the deep freeze amounts to little more than irony, Americans should nevertheless take what could well be a last opportunity to reconsider the cliff off which Barack Obama, Al Gore and the rest of the global warming industry want us to jump. (Steven Milloy,

Profiles in Cowardice - The intimidation tactics and belittling words of those in global warming alarmism are only a means to cloak the weaknesses of their arguments, especially now that the scientific and economic evidence has found a broader, more receptive audience -- check the latest poll results if you don't believe me. (Paul Chesser, American Spectator)

Of 20 options gorebull warming ranks dead last: Economy, Jobs Trump All Other Policy Priorities In 2009 - As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and even reducing health care costs has fallen off from a year ago. (PEW)

Dumb arithmetic of the moment: How Green Is My Orange? - BRADENTON, Fla. — How much does your morning glass of orange juice contribute to global warming?

PepsiCo, which owns the Tropicana brand, decided to try to answer that question. It figured that as public concern grows about the fate of the planet, companies will find themselves under pressure to perform such calculations. Orange juice seemed like a good case study.

PepsiCo hired experts to do the math, measuring the emissions from such energy-intensive tasks as running a factory and transporting heavy juice cartons. But it turned out that the biggest single source of emissions was simply growing oranges. Citrus groves use a lot of nitrogen fertilizer, which requires natural gas to make and can turn into a potent greenhouse gas when it is spread on fields.

PepsiCo finally came up with a number: the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted to the atmosphere for each half-gallon carton of orange juice. But the company is still debating how to use that information. Should it cite the number in its marketing, and would consumers have a clue what to make of it?

PepsiCo’s experience is a harbinger of the complexities other companies may face as they come under pressure to calculate their emission of carbon dioxide, a number known as a carbon footprint, and eventually to lower it. (New York Times)

Bottom line is: who cares? There is no need for anyone to even be interested in how much gorebull warming potential exists since it is an entirely fictitious construct with no real world application. The only reason this exists is to provide a cudgel with which misanthropists might beat humanity. Flip 'em the bird and get on with life.

What a crock! Increasing weather losses: proof of climate change or not? - The string of natural catastrophes that wreaked havoc in 2008, costing the global economy $225 billion and leaving insurers with their second costliest year in history, graphically highlights the increasing risks to businesses of extreme weather events.

Many companies are now grappling with the consequences of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and rainstorms.

January saw the heaviest rainfall in nearly a century to hit Queensland, Australia. The resulting heavy flooding to major coalmines disrupted production for months, pushed up the global price for coking coal and cost insurers billions of dollars. (Lloyd's)

Unfortunately for them I live in Queensland and tend to take note of what happens in my state -- recent storms, for example, were pretty ordinary early monsoon storms (we just haven't had a lot of them in the last decade or so). As a result of greenie policies restricting bush clearing and opening decent residential land to accommodate the literal millions of people moving to this state over the same period of unusually quiet storm seasons we have a lot of very poorly sited housing now -- some of that got clobbered as the inevitable storms returned and plenty more will do so in the near future. If a return to 'normal' seasonal storm activity is 'climate change' then it's a really good thing since we get our water supply from these very events and water storage infrastructure hasn't kept up with population influx (greenies, again).

Parenthetically, mines are laying off workers due to the global economic downturn and a current oversupply of resources, including coal -- there is no flooding-induced shortage pushing up prices.

Tropical cyclone activity has been so sparse we now have a large population base with no experience of the power of these tropical storms, when we do get hit south of the Tropic again, as we inevitably will, it is going to hurt and hurt big. It will not have anything to do with gorebull warming.

Nude Socialist: One last chance to save mankind - With his 90th birthday in July, a trip into space scheduled for later in the year and a new book out next month, 2009 promises to be an exciting time for James Lovelock. But the originator of the Gaia theory, which describes Earth as a self-regulating planet, has a stark view of the future of humanity. He tells Gaia Vince we have one last chance to save ourselves - and it has nothing to do with nuclear power

Your work on atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons led eventually to a global CFC ban that saved us from ozone-layer depletion. Do we have time to do a similar thing with carbon emissions to save ourselves from climate change?

Not a hope in hell. Most of the "green" stuff is verging on a gigantic scam. Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning. I am not against renewable energy, but to spoil all the decent countryside in the UK with wind farms is driving me mad. It's absolutely unnecessary, and it takes 2500 square kilometres to produce a gigawatt - that's an awful lot of countryside.

What about work to sequester carbon dioxide?

That is a waste of time. It's a crazy idea - and dangerous. It would take so long and use so much energy that it will not be done.

Do you still advocate nuclear power as a solution to climate change?

It is a way for the UK to solve its energy problems, but it is not a global cure for climate change. It is too late for emissions reduction measures. (New Scientist)

D'oh! Energy Neglect Hurting Poverty Fight: U.N. Climate Chief - NEW DELHI - Giving energy to the poor should have been a Millennium Development Goal and a "glaring neglect" of the sector is holding back the world's fight against poverty, the head of the U.N. climate panel said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Hello! Where were you? We've been pointing out for years how the absurd climate boogeyman and Western ecochondria have been harming the poor. Get out of the way and get affordable energy to everyone!

Wood And Dung Fires Feed Asia's Brown Cloud - LONDON - Wood and dung burned for home heating and cooking makes up most of a huge brown cloud of pollution that hangs over South Asia and the Indian Ocean during the winter months, researchers said on Thursday.

The study in the journal Science solves the mystery of what makes up the soot in the brown haze linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths -- mainly from lung and heart disease -- each year in the region, they said.

"Doing something about this brown cloud has been difficult because the sources are poorly understood," said Orjan Gustafsson, a biogeochemist at Stockholm University.

Gustafsson led a Swedish and Indian team that used a newly developed radiocarbon technique to measure atmospheric soot particles collected from a mountaintop in western India and on the Maldives.

They found that two-thirds of the particles in the cloud was made up of so-called biomass, or organic matter like wood or dung, and the rest from fossil fuels.

The effects of the cloud, which towers up to 5 km above the ground, on regional climate warming were significant, Gustaffson said. (Reuters)

Testimony instead of votes on global warming - At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Joint Committee on Energy at the state Capitol, lawmakers heard expert testimony from scientists and policy experts who challenged conventional views on global warming and the real-world experience of global warming policies.

But, the day before the hearing, the newly ensconced Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives tried to shut it down, citing an alleged rules violation in how the meeting was originally scheduled. But after some consultation with state Senate President Bob Johnson and other senators, Speaker Robbie Wills allowed the hearing to proceed but with limitations: it would only be a “informational meeting” for members; no votes would be recorded.

Dr. Richard Ford, an environmental economist at UALR and member of the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming, had originally requested the hearing. He and several other members of the GCGW opposed several of the recommendations in the Commission’s recently released policy report. In it, the Commission recommended that Arkansas lawmakers support a carbon tax, a regional “cap-and-trade” scheme, and renewable energy portfolio mandates for Arkansas utilities, along with other tax increases.

When the GCGW began its work, it did so with one major assumption: Global warming is man-made. Consequently Ford and other like-minded commission members were not allowed to debate the science of global warming.

In his opening remarks, Ford told lawmakers the Commission hadn’t followed the intent of it statutory charter, which required it to “study the scientific data, literature and research on global warming to determine whether global warming is an immediate threat to the citizens in the state of Arkansas.” For Ford it was simple: In order to get the policies right, the group had to get the science right. He also explained that none of the 54 policy recommendations in the report included a cost-benefit analysis. (David J. Sanders, Arkansas News)

EU Climate Cash Windfall For Industry In Downturn - LONDON - European factories are cashing in on an unexpected benefit from wilting output, selling surplus carbon emissions permits worth about 1 billion euros ($1.29 billion) to raise funds on the carbon market.

A recession in Europe will dent industrial output this year and this will sap energy demand and carbon emissions, leading to a surplus of permits among big polluters including steel and cement makers.

Companies from some of the European Union's most polluting industries are now raising funds on the carbon market to help them weather the credit crisis. (Reuters)

Consistent With Chronicles, Antarctic Edition - A new paper is out in Nature that argues that the Antarctic continent has been warming. In an AP news story, two of its authors (one is Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is “consistent with” greenhouse warming: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Scientists, Data Challenge New Antarctic ‘Warming’ Study - ‘It is hard to make data where none exist’

Comprehensive Data Round Up Debunks New Antarctic ‘Estimate of Temperature Trends’

Washington, DC: A new study on Antarctic temperatures – which is contrary to the findings of multiple previous studies - claims "that since 1957, the annual temperature for the entire continent of Antarctica has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, but still is 50 degrees below zero.”

Despite the fact that the study was immediately viewed with major skepticism by scientists who are not skeptical of anthropogenic global warming claims, many in the media pounced on the study as a chance to attack those skeptical of man-made climate doom. According to the release of the study, “The researchers devised a statistical technique that uses data from satellites and from Antarctic weather stations to make a new estimate of temperature trends. […] The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations.” (EPW)

Modeling Aerosol-Radiation-Cloud And Precipitation Processes In The Mediterranean Region By Kallos Et Al. 2008 - One of my colleagues, who I have the highest respect for, Professor George Kallos of the University of Athens, has another excellent study of a weather and climate issue, which is reported on below. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Weblogs By My Coauthors Of Our Rejected EOS Forum Article - There are weblogs by my co-authors on our rejected submission to EOS which Climate Science weblogged on yesterday; see An Obvious Double Standard Adopted By The AGU Publication EOS

Their weblogs are “of consensus and consistency“ by Fergus Brown and ”Your opinions, please” by James Annan. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Real Climate [Gavin Schmidt] Response To The Climate Science Post “Comments On Real Climate’s Post “FAQ on climate models: Part II” - Further Reply By Gavin Schmidt to this Climate Science posting [his reply to my comment #150]. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

I'm not sure whether to commend Roger's attempts to bring science to a propaganda site or wonder at his naivety in trying to do so...

Calendar-date stress kills trees? Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West - Tree deaths have doubled, and global warming may be the cause, experts say

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 -- Trees in old-growth forests in the Western United States are dying at twice the rate they were a few decades ago, and experts suspect regional warming is to blame.

The report, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), found that the increase in tree deaths has included trees in a variety of forests, elevations and sizes. Species have included pine, fir, hemlock and other coniferous trees. In addition, the rate of new tree growth has not changed, according to the report in the Jan. 23 issue of Science. (HealthDay News)

Seasons now arrive two days earlier than they used to, one study from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University concluded. Not only have average worldwide temperatures been rising for the last 50 years, according to the report, but the hottest day of the year has shifted to almost two days earlier.

Really? According to that 'study' all seasons are arriving 2 days earlier -- i.e. there is absolutely no change in season length or order, merely that the day of year, an entirely human construct to begin with, has drifted slightly. Are we now to believe trees obsess over human's time concept and are dying of stress induced by calendar dates? Puh-lease!

<chuckle> Must be running out of things to worry about: Spring Arriving Earlier, Study Finds - WASHINGTON - Looking forward to spring? The good news is that it is coming two days earlier on average, but so are summer, autumn and winter, researchers said on Wednesday.

They found that on average, the hottest day of the year in temperate regions has moved forward by just under two days, and so has the coldest day of the year.

While the consequences of this shift are not clear, it is worrying, Alexander Stine of the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues said. (Reuters) [em added]

Hollywood Henry Waxman Promises Cap and Trade by Memorial Day - If Hollywood Henry Waxman has his way, we might have to cancel the Indianapolis 500 this year. At least, he claims to be racing to adopt a “cap and trade” anti-global warming bill through his committee by the time the engines rev on Memorial Day. (Christopher C. Horner, Human Events)

Socialists just can't get away from wealth transfer schemes: EU To Propose $200 Billion Climate Tax On Rich Nations - BRUSSELS/LONDON - Rich nations could raise $200 billion in climate funds through a levy on their greenhouse gases from 2013-2020 to help poor countries prepare for global warming, the European Union will say next week.

The plan is set out in an EU paper outlining the bloc's position ahead of U.N.-led climate talks in Copenhagen in December, meant to agree a new, global climate treaty.

The fund-raising idea is the most specific yet from any rich country or bloc on how to persuade developing nations to agree binding, concrete steps to slow their greenhouse gas emissions -- one of the key obstacles in climate talks so far.

The draft paper to be published next week, and seen by Reuters, calls on rich countries to pay for developing countries to cut their greenhouse gases, called mitigation, and prepare for unavoidable warming, called adaptation. (Reuters)

Until relatively recently Americans at least knew that the path to social justice and equality is paved with wealth generation (even in parlance Americans spoke of "making a dollar", not "redistributing" [read: stealing] someone else's). Sadly even the US appears infected with the disease of socialism and without rapid and radical course correction faces inevitable decline and decay.

Offshore Drilling Plan To Go Ahead: Interior Dept - WASHINGTON - A proposal issued in the final days of the Bush administration to expand offshore drilling in previously banned areas will move forward under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, an Interior Department spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Lights Out: Playing Energy Politics Will Backfire on JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon - BusinessWeek named Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, as one of the "Best Managers of 2008" for steering the bank clear of most of the subprime mortgage icebergs that wrecked many of his competitors.

Unfortunately, the managerial skills that enabled Dimon to avoid the worst of the subprime mess are completely missing when it comes to energy policy.

Expressing frustration about U.S. energy policy and its dependence on foreign oil at the Yale University CEO Summit last December, Dimon said, “We need a real energy policy and it’s going to have to include taxing people on energy so that energy costs stay up and people buy smaller cars and smaller homes.”

Speaking on a leadership panel at the Centennial Global Business Summit last October at Harvard University, Dimon also called for higher taxes on energy. He criticized political leaders for lack of leadership “we don’t have the fortitude to tax oil, or to tax BTUs” and he proposed “taxing oil as it's pumped from the ground, rather than simply taxing gasoline at the pump.”

By calling for tax increases on traditional energy sources, Dimon is joining the war against fossil fuels while displaying a textbook description of a limousine liberal.

Most troubling, however, is this: Dimon is using the vast political and financial resources of JPMorgan to bring his energy policy vision to reality. (Tom Borelli, Townhall)

British government schemes to undermine European emissions law - UK officials want to weaken European proposed laws that would limit the UK's emissions – but which they say will boost bills and cut supplies

The UK government is lobbying to water down proposed EU legislation to impose tough new emission limits on power plants in order to guarantee Britain's energy security and keep down electricity prices.

Whitehall is warning, according a briefing document leaked to green campaigners and seen by the Guardian, that electricity prices would increase by 20% if the proposed legislation isn't changed. It is also concerned that the new rules would threaten the security of the UK's electricity supply. (The Guardian)

Coal Will Still Be King - But can capturing and storing it make it climate friendly? - "Coal plants are factories of death," declared NASA climate modeler James Hansen in a letter to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Last year, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), now chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the "Moratorium on Uncontrolled Power Plants Act of 2008." That bill would have placed a moratorium on issuing permits for new coal-fired power plants that don't have the ability to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions. Since that technology is still being tested, it means that no new coal-fired power plants would have been permitted. In early 2008, Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

Why the opposition to coal? After all, the U.S. is energy independent with respect to this resource, with 275 billion tons in proven reserves, which is more than enough to meet our energy needs for hundreds of years. The chief problem is that burning coal produces carbon dioxide emissions which are warming the planet. Burning coal emits 10 percent more carbon dioxide than oil and 60 percent more than natural gas. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

The 'it' of which Bailey writes is carbon dioxide, which renders the entire question moot -- there is simply nothing climate unfriendly about carbon dioxide. This is such a stupid game.

The cost of the biofuel boom on Indonesia's forests - The clearing of Indonesia's rainforest for palm oil plantations is having profound effects – threatening endangered species, upending the lives of indigenous people, and releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide, writes Tom Knudson from Yale Environment 360, part of the Guardian Environment Network

Helping peanut butter heads prevail - Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of the tomato hysteria of 2008. Not only did widespread misinformation and continuation of media scares cause a nationwide panic that devastated the country’s farmers and tomato industry, countless people needlessly feared a “tomato death.” Many people may still feel a bit of trepidation about enjoying a tomato salad.

This month, the media hasn’t missed an opportunity to continue to heighten scares over “tainted” peanut butter. Few consumers have heard that the source of this outbreak of salmonella (salmonella typhimurium) has already been traced by epidemiologists at state health departments, the CDC and FDA to a single food plant in Blakeley, Georgia (Peanut Corporation of America), which supplies bulk peanut butter ONLY to food manufacturers and commercial institutions. This plant does not sell consumer products, like jars of peanut butter.

No national brand of peanut butter is affected. “There is no indication that any national name brand jars of peanut butter sold in retail stores are linked to the PCA recall,” states the FDA.

Those jars of peanut butter in your pantry and peanut butter cookies and PB&Js your mother makes have not been linked in any way to this outbreak. (Junkfood Science)

Want to lose weight? Don't count on pills - CHICAGO - Users of Alli, the first weight-loss drug approved for sale over-the-counter in the United States, are finding what they likely suspected all along: pills are no magic substitute for diet and exercise.

Yet as Americans engage in the New Year's tradition of resolving to shed pounds, the market for diet aids is expected to remain firm, even as the economy is mired in recession. (Reuters)

Obesity epidemic shows perils to health reform - CHICAGO - For years, Bob Clegg's insurance company paid out some $3,000 a month for doctor visits, drugs and medical devices to treat the health problems caused by his obesity.

In September 2007, when his weight peaked at 380 pounds (172 kg), he had gastric bypass surgery, and now his health issues -- joint pain, sleep apnea and esophageal problems -- have vanished, and so have the medical bills.

But even though the surgery -- in which the stomach is made smaller and part of the intestine is bypassed -- has saved his insurance company money, Clegg, who now weighs 240 pounds (108 kg), had to pay the $20,000 cost out of his own pocket.

"It wasn't until the doctor said my sleep apnea was at a point where we seriously had to consider a tracheotomy that we talked about gastric bypass," said Clegg, 54. "The irony is that insurance would pay for the tracheotomy, but not the surgery." (Reuters)

Reforms unlikely to defeat obesity - CHICAGO - Even as the Obama administration recognizes obesity as one of the nation's top health threats, any efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system will likely not go far enough to combat the condition.

"Obesity is one of many competing demands placed on the healthcare system. It has got our attention, but there just aren't great ideas about what to do about it," said Eric Finkelstein, a health economist at RTI International and author of "The Fattening of America: How the Economy Makes Us Fat."

"It's individual behavioral changes that are needed and that's difficult to deal with on a federal level," he said. (Reuters)

Trials for Parents Who Chose Faith Over Medicine - WESTON, Wis. — Kara Neumann, 11, had grown so weak that she could not walk or speak. Her parents, who believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, prayed for her recovery but did not take her to a doctor.

After an aunt from California called the sheriff’s department here, frantically pleading that the sick child be rescued, an ambulance arrived at the Neumann’s rural home on the outskirts of Wausau and rushed Kara to the hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

The county coroner ruled that she had died from diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from undiagnosed and untreated juvenile diabetes. The condition occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, which leads to severe dehydration and impairment of muscle, lung and heart function.

“Basically everything stops,” said Dr. Louis Philipson, who directs the diabetes center at the University of Chicago Medical Center, explaining what occurs in patients who do not know or “are in denial that they have diabetes.”

About a month after Kara’s death last March, the Marathon County state attorney, Jill Falstad, brought charges of reckless endangerment against her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann. Despite the Neumanns’ claim that the charges violated their constitutional right to religious freedom, Judge Vincent Howard of Marathon County Circuit Court ordered Ms. Neumann to stand trial on May 14, and Mr. Neumann on June 23. If convicted, each faces up to 25 years in prison.

“The free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects religious belief,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “but not necessarily conduct.” (New York Times)

Sigh... The fate of Canada's unicorns of the sea - What narwhals can teach us about the climate change tipping point.

TORONTO — In these heady days of hope and audacity, the fate of some 600 narwhals in Canada’s Arctic has the makings of a cautionary tale.

These unicorns of the northern seas, creatures of legend and imagination, regularly feed around Baffin Island in Canada’s high north. In late September they migrate to open waters to escape the encroaching ice.

Last fall, the ice was late in forming so the whales lingered. Then it formed in a flash, trapping them by late November in rapidly shrinking breathing holes. Video images showed narwhals jostling to gasp for air, their spiral tusks jutting out like exhausted pleas for help.

Canadian fisheries officials, convinced the whales were doomed to drown or die of starvation, allowed the local Inuit to “harvest” the trapped narwhals. They were shot, harpooned and dragged from the water in a bloody ritual that lasted days. The meat and muktuk was a boon for the 1,300 Inuit living in Pond Inlet, for whom hunger is a too-common reality.

Animal welfare groups, meanwhile, denounced the slaughter, insisting the government should have tried to free the whales with an icebreaker. But the incident’s lessons run deeper.

Canadian officials chalked it up to a “misfortune of nature.”

But Inuit hunters, noting that the last mass trapping of narwhals occurred 75 years ago, blamed global warming. Arctic ice, as numerous scientific studies tell us, is melting at an accelerated rate. Freezing comes later, and suddenly. (Sandro Contenta, GlobalPost)

... the last time anyone noticed a mass trapping of narwhals was 75 years ago, so this must be gorebull warming at work.

Early 19th Century British “Environmentalism” - Environmentalism is the social movement of the “landed interest” – an interest parallel to that of neither business nor labour. “Environmentalism” is readily identifiable in early 19th century Britain. This essay draws from the best-known writings of the era’s three most influential intellectuals for a portrait of an anti-democratic, anti-liberal social movement based in the aristocracy but claiming to represent the masses; a movement permeated with the ideas of over-population theorist T. Malthus; a movement benefitting from restricting land supply and suffering from advancing agricultural technology; that fought a cultural civil war using literary Romanticism and monkish asceticism; that was militantly protectionist regarding agriculture; that constrained industrial progress and spread fear of catastrophe. (William Walter Kay, Environmentalism is Fascism)

Only Four Years Left to Save Environmentalism - Another sure sign that environmentalists are struggling to sustain a rational basis for their influence emerged last week. The pages of the Observer featured the opinion of NASA activist/scientist James Hansen in two articles [1 , 2] and an editorial.

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration, he added.

Of all the hopes pinned on Obama, ’saving the world’ has to be the most revealing of the hoper, be it the Observer Journalist, the Observer, or Hansen.

As we pointed out last Thursday, the environmental movement’s only leverage is the prospect of catastrophe. It has no popular appeal in any real sense. So when it appears that governments are ‘on-message’, or in any way sympathetic to its concerns, the only way to sustain its undemocratic and unaccountable influence is to escalate the sense of urgency, or their function will become redundant. (Climate Resistance)

Australian Beef Association is Totally Opposed to any form of Emissions Trading - The Concept is Similar to a Gambling Casino Based on Hot Air

ABA Chairman, Brad Bellinger said, “The ABA Board had met last week and decided to oppose any form of Emissions Trading. He said that the Australian Government will be acting like speculative fools, if it goes down a path of trading something that cannot be accurately measured.”

He continued, “Since the 1997 Kyoto Summit, we have seen the UN try to run a Clean Development Mechanism, - with no success. We have seen the European Commission try Carbon Permits. They got their sums wrong and the large power and oil companies made fortunes at governments’ expense. The people are taxed - as they will be in Australia if we go down this mad path.”

“We have seen the World’s bankers make complete fools of themselves and bankrupt millions, as they trade in derivatives, which they haven’t completely understood. Now, Emissions Trading will be even worse, as people trade an unmeasurable commodity, as if in a gambling casino run by the unknowing. To see it even considered as the recession deepens; - makes one wonder,” Mr Bellinger said. (Carbon Sense Coalition)

January 22, 2009

High Noon Passes: Global Warming Didn’t Show Up at the Inaugural - Well, the noon temperature in Washington DC at the President Obama’s swearing-in was 28 degrees F., eight degrees colder than when Bush was sworn in eight years ago. (Sam Kazman, Cooler Heads)

Ambition redefined by financial wreckage - Every now and then something unexpected transforms the political environment. For George W. Bush it was the September 11 terrorist attacks. For Barack Obama it took place even before he was sworn in. And it came from an unlikely quarter.

Last week’s report by the normally sub-radar Congressional Budget Office projecting a $1,200bn deficit for 2009 and $1,000bn fiscal deficits as far as the eye can see, sent shock waves through Washington, which look set to redefine what is possible for most of Mr Obama’s first term.

Just a few weeks earlier – and even amid the growing wreckage of the deepening US recession – Mr Obama’s transition team still felt confident enough to signal that they saw the financial meltdown as an opportunity to push through a “big bang” package of election promises.

These included a decisive move towards universal healthcare, enactment of a “cap and trade” system to tackle global warming and big new investments in education, infrastructure, scientific research, and expanding the size of the US military. Then the CBO dropped its fiscal bombshell.

Suddenly the crisis threatened to overwhelm everything. “Do not underestimate the deep psychological impact the CBO numbers have had on Washington,” says Bill Galston, a leading scholar of US politics and former Clinton White House official. “All of a sudden, it has become the gatekeeper of what is possible. If something fails the fiscal test, then it doesn’t look very possible any more.” (Edward Luce, Financial Times)

Obama demands action to tackle "a warming planet" - "We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories"

President Obama delivered some broad promises for environmentalists and green businesses in his inauguration speech yesterday, referring to the challenge presented by global warming and explicitly highlighting renewable energy as one of the key components of his administration's economic stimulus package.

In a speech heavy on symbolism, President Obama focused on the hard road ahead for both America and the wider world. He committed to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet," striking a strong contrast with his predecessor, whose administration repeatedly quashed reports confirming global warming fears, worked to stop regulators from using existing legislation to combat climate change, and refused to sign up to international agreements to curb carbon emissions. (Danny Bradbury and Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

President Obama Already Addressing Global Warming - Anyone who lives in the nation’s capital knows that it has been FREEZING, with well below average temperatures. Even today, inauguration day, started out with the wind chill in single digits. It’s good to know that the president already is seeking to fulfill his promise to halt global warming. After all, as candidate Barack Obama told us in his June speech celebrating having locked up the Democratic Party nomination. (Doug Bandow, CEI Open Market)

Beyond Belief - Despite years of media bombardment about the imminent dangers of global warming, the alarmists are losing ground. Fewer Americans are buying into the myth. (IBD)

Anxiety Grows in Global Warming Alarmist Camp - Heartland Institute media monitors have noted on several occasions that climate-change alarmists are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their position that human activity has warmed Earth to crisis proportions.

Polar bears keep growing in numbers, Antarctic ice keeps expanding, deserts keep receding, temperatures keep easing, the ranks of science skeptics keep multiplying. It's tough to scare people with that kind of sound-science evidence.

Now the folk at DeSmogblog - created like so many alarmist sites for the sole purpose of attacking conservatives, libertarians and global warming skeptics - is getting really worried. (Heartland Institute)

An Obvious Double Standard Adopted By The AGU Publication EOS - In the January 20, 2009 issue of the AGU publication EOS, there is Feature article by P.T. Doran and M. K. Zimmerman titled “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Predicted Climate Cooling - Another Example Of Overstating Our Understanding Of Climate Science - There have been claims that the Earth is entering period of strong climate cooling; e.g. see Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

Such predictions of cooling, however, are no more substantiated by skillful validated predictions of this cooling, than are the IPCC predictions of more-or-less uniform global warming. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

We've already warned everyone to treat the Pravda item with extreme caution - this is what we said 10 days ago:

This item was also submitted to by Fegel, an author unknown to us but apparently from Portland, Oregon. He appears to be a frequent contributor to Pravda and has anti-American, anti-Israeli rants scattered about the web, sometimes under the handle "cloudmessenger". His scientific credentials, if any, are unknown.

Predictions are very hard to make -- especially about the future, as Yogi Berra is reported to have said. This is particularly true where climate is concerned and we can not predict future temperature trends.

Increasing Atmospheric CO2: Manmade…or Natural? - I’ve usually accepted the premise that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are due to the burning of fossil fuels by humans. After all, human emissions average around twice that which is needed to explain the observed rate of increase in the atmosphere. In other words, mankind emits more than enough CO2 to explain the observed increase in the atmosphere.

Furthermore, the ratio of the C13 isotope of carbon to the normal C12 form in atmospheric CO2 has been observed to be decreasing at the same time CO2 has been increasing. Since CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning is depleted in C13 (so the argument goes) this also suggests a manmade source.

But when we start examining the details, an anthropogenic explanation for increasing atmospheric CO2 becomes less obvious. (Roy W. Spencer)

Blair calls for 2020 carbon targets for developed world - Former prime minister argues that setting "interim targets" for 2020 at Copenhagen later this year would show emerging economies the West is serious about cutting emissions

Former prime minister Tony Blair today closed the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi by calling on the developed world to agree to tough "interim" carbon emission targets for 2020 at climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year.

Blair said that while all countries the bulk of the obligation for ensuring that target is met should fall on developed economies, and as such they should demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change by signing up to a separate interim target for 2020.

He argued that "an interim target for the developed world would send a clear signal" to emerging economies that the West is willing to invest in cutting emissions, making it easier for negotiators to convince large emerging economies such as China and India to sign up to the agreement.

Blair did not say at what level the interim targets should be set, but any discussion on the topic that does take place in Copenhagen is likely to be based on the EU's commitment to cut emissions by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

Sell-off forces EU carbon to record lows - EUAs hits record low of €11.60 as watchers warn market has "detached" from oil prices

The price of carbon credits in the EU's emissions trading scheme reached a record low for the current phase of the scheme of just €11.60 as many of the large scale emitters covered by the scheme continued to offload their EUA carbon credits.

The price of EUAs has been on a steady slide since the start of the year when they stood just shy of €16 a tonne and market watchers are concerned that the price of carbon is no longer tracking oil prices.

Rising oil prices typically lead to an increase in the price of carbon, as they tend to result in energy producers switching from gas to more carbon intensive coal – a scenario that leads to increased demand for carbon credits.

However, the price of carbon has failed to track recent fluctuations in the oil price, prompting fears that any increase in demand for credits from energy companies arising from changes in the oil price is being outweighed by the on-going sell off of credits amongst heavy industries fearful that the recession will lead to reduced production levels. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Khosla shuns CCS in favour of coal-to-cement - Leading Silicon Valley venture capitalist touts new technology capable of turning waste CO2 into building cement

A new breed of carbon capture technologies capable of turning CO2 emissions into cement could soon provide a cost effective alternative to high profile, but as yet unproven, carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, according to one of the world's leading clean tech venture capitalist.

Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi today, Vinod Khosla, a leading silicon valley venture capitalist who in recent years has become a major investor in clean technologies, said that CCS technologies were simply too expensive to achieve mainstream adoption and as such more cost effective alternatives are required.

"I believe CCS is too expensive and so we are looking at a technology that turns CO2 into cement building materials," he said, adding that he had invested an undisclosed sum in California-based Calera, a company that pioneers CO2-to-cement technology.

Calera has been in stealth mode for a number of years, its website stating only that it is "dedicated to reversing global warming and ocean acidification by trapping the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the built environment".

However, the company has now provided fresh details of its plan to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and sequester it in cement that can be used as a building material. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

Almost funny: Warming in Antarctica Looks Certain - Antarctica is warming.

That is the conclusion of scientists analyzing half a century of temperatures on the continent, and the findings may help resolve a climate enigma at the bottom of the planet.

Some regions of Antarctica, particularly the peninsula that stretches toward South America, have warmed rapidly in recent years, contributing to the disintegration of ice shelves and accelerating the sliding of glaciers. But weather stations in other locations, including the one at the South Pole, have recorded a cooling trend. That ran counter to the forecasts of computer climate models, and global warming skeptics have pointed to Antarctica in questioning the reliability of the models.

In the new study, scientists took into account satellite measurements to interpolate temperatures in the vast areas between the sparse weather stations.

“We now see warming is taking place on all seven of the earth’s continents in accord with what models predict as a response to greenhouse gases,” said Eric J. Steig, a professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, who is the lead author of a paper to be published Thursday in the journal Nature. (New York Times)

This is the lower-troposphere time series for the southern polar region and this is the mid-troposphere. Warming is conspicuous by its absence.

And this tells you pretty much all you need to know about the 'study':

In this Letter, we use statistical climate-field-reconstruction techniques to obtain a 50-year-long, spatially complete estimate of monthly Antarctic temperature anomalies. In essence, we use the spatial covariance structure of the surface temperature field to guide interpolation of the sparse but reliable 50-year-long records of 2-m temperature from occupied weather stations. Although it has been suggested that such interpolation is unreliable owing to the distances involved, large spatial scales are not inherently problematic if there is high spatial coherence, as is the case in continental Antarctica.

From this (and a couple of dozen mostly coastal measuring sites) they claim they have teased out a West Antarctic warming of approximately one one-hundredth of one degree per year. Most impressive is that Nature felt it worth publishing. Speaks volumes, really.

Follow Up On Today’s AP Article By Seth Borenstein Entitled “Study: Antarctica Joins Rest Of Globe In Warming” - An AP article was released today which reports on a Nature paper on a finding of warming over much of Antarctica. I was asked by Seth Borenstein to comment on the paper (which he sent to me). I have been critical of his reporting in the past, but except for the title of the article (which as I understand is created by others), he presented a balanced summary of the study. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Termite Insecticide Found to be Potent Greenhouse Gas - An insecticide used to fumigate termite-infested buildings is a strong greenhouse gas that lives in the atmosphere nearly 10 times longer than previously thought, UC Irvine research has found.

Sulfuryl fluoride, UCI chemists discovered, stays in the atmosphere at least 30-40 years and perhaps as long as 100 years. Prior studies estimated its atmospheric lifetime at as low as five years, grossly underestimating the global warming potential.

The fact that sulfuryl fluoride exists for decades – coupled with evidence that levels have nearly doubled in the last six years – concerns study authors Mads Sulbaek Andersen, Donald Blake and Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, who discovered that chlorofluorocarbons in aerosol cans and other products damage the ozone layer. That finding led to a worldwide ban on CFCs. (A to Z of Clean Technology)

If we were them we wouldn't remind anyone about the CFC farce, since it's about as bad as 'science' gets.

Do More Greenhouse Gases Raise The Earth’s Temperature? - "Do More Greenhouse Gases Raise The Earth’s Temperature? That is the critical climate question and the one that I have agonised over most because even if human CO2 only increased the global air temperature permanently by a small amount then over a long enough period of time the effect would accumulate and could be dangerous." (Stephen Wilde, Co2sceptic)

Blame Corn Harvesters For The Crash Of Flight 1549 - CHURCHVILLE VA—Did global warming dump U.S. Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River by attracting more geese to New York airports? Time Magazine says yes. Time notes a four-fold increase in airplane bird strikes since 1990, and blames global warming and destruction of wild bird habitat for the increased collisions.

Time reached the wrong conclusion. Research indicates we should blame the prosaic corn harvester—and perhaps our attempt to expand corn production for biofuels. Canada geese numbers have increased five-fold since 1970 for one overwhelming reason —farmers’ expanding use of those big corn picker-shellers. The big bright-colored harvesters now roar across the fields every autumn, picking the ears and shelling the corn kernels. With millions of tons of loose corn, some inevitably trickles to the ground, where the geese cheerfully snack it up. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Green energy tariffs to get cheaper - Good Energy announces it is to cut green tariff by 7.5 per cent on back of falling wholesale electricity prices

One of the UK's leading providers of green energy has today announced that it is to cut its tariffs and predicted that other providers could soon follow suit.

Good Energy said that will cut its standard electricity and gas tariffs for both business and domestic customers by 7.5 per cent from the end of this month. The company said that the move would save the average domestic dual fuel customer £62 a year.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said that the company was due to start paying less for its renewable power in 2009 and was now looking to pass that saving on to customers.

The drop in renewable energy prices has been prompted by cuts in wholesale electricity prices, which have fallen around 40 per cent from last year's peaks as a result of plummeting oil and gas prices. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Britain under fire for failing to join renewable energy league - Britain's attempts to position itself as a centre for the green power industry suffered a blow today when it emerged that ministers have refused to commit the country to a new international body set up to promote renewable power.

The German environment secretary, who came up with the idea for the International Renewable Energy Agency, said he was disappointed countries such as the UK and America were dragging their feet. (The Guardian)

UN-backed body confirms plans for global aviation emissions cap - Top International Civil Aviation Organisation official says inclusion of aviation in European emissions trading scheme will not affect plans for global cap-and-trade scheme

The UN-backed International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) last week confirmed it is pressing ahead with plans for an international carbon emissions cap-and-trade scheme for the aviation industry, despite the emergence of a growing number of potentially rival regional schemes.

Speaking at a meeting of global transport ministers in Tokyo, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the ICAO's Council, told news agency Reuters that EU proposals to include aviation in its regional emissions trading scheme (ETS) would not derail the organisation's plans to build a framework that could underpin a global scheme.

The EU's plans have attracted plenty of criticism from the aviation industry, which fears that the potential inclusion of airlines in regional trading schemes, such as the EU scheme and planned similar initiatives in Australia, South Korea and the US, would increase costs and create a skewed competitive landscape that penalises those airlines operating in certain territories.

US airlines have already threatened to take legal action against the EU scheme, while The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines has also voiced concerns over a scheme it believes would adversely affect long-haul flights from Asia. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Exclusive: UK government poised to set out CCS rules - Top official reveals definition on what constitutes a "carbon capture ready" power station is just weeks away

The UK government will make an announcement in the next few weeks on what power companies must do to ensure their plants are ready to be fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the future, completing the groundwork for the long-anticipated decision on whether to approve plans for a new generation of coal-fired power stations.

Speaking to on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Bronwen Northmore, director of cleaner fossil fuels policy in the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change, said that a decision on what constitutes a "carbon capture ready" plant was in the pipeline.

"We've been consulting on capture readiness in the past few months and we'll be making a policy announcement in the next few weeks," she said.

The government has said previously that it will only grant approval for new coal-fired power plants, including the proposed plant at Kingsnorth Kent if they are "carbon capture ready". (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

Why it's time to throw some light on the energy efficient lighting row - With the Daily Mail attempting to whip up opposition to energy saving light bulbs, many businesses would be forgiven for asking if green bulbs really are such a good idea. trains its spotlight on a surprisingly complex debate

The Daily Mail campaign against the removal of incandescent bulbs from UK shops earlier this month ricocheted through the media, generating comments and criticisms from all sides of the debate and leaving consumers and businesses in a state of confusion as to where the truth lies in this complex topic.

After all, as The Guardian pointed out with glee, only a year ago The Mail had been running enthusiastic free giveaways of the very bulbs they were now criticising.

So where does the truth really lie? Are energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) a cost-saving no brainer, or as The Mail claims are they an inferior product to traditional alternatives with added health risks thrown in?

Let's start with the big picture. (John May, BusinessGreen)

Struggling Schwarzenegger eyes enviro rule roll back - California governor angers environmental groups with proposal to ditch green planning rules in order to accelerate job-creating infrastructure projects

Tensions are rising between environmental groups and California's Governor Schwarzenegger as he seeks to rein in environmental protection measures in an attempt to kickstart the economy.

Schwarzenegger has built himself a reputation as a world leader on tackling climate change and has imposed some of the most stringent green regulations anywhere in the US since he took office.

However, his state's budget crisis is now so severe that some reports claim the government will run out of money next month - a scenario that prompted Schwarzenegger to write to President-Elect Obama earlier this month, asking him to "Waive or greatly streamline National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements consistent with our statutory proposals to modify the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) for transportation projects".

CEQA demands that an environmental review is undertaken before any project requiring Government approval can go ahead.

The move was seized upon by green groups as evidence that the Governor was seeking to roll back important environmental protections in an attempt to accelerate state capital investment projects. (Danny Bradbury, BusinessGreen)

Industry Scrambling to Comply with Child Safety Act - The children’s book industry is currently dealing with a new and pressing challenge that is threatening publishers, bookstores, libraries and schools. It’s not the economy or school spending or reading rates—it is a recent act of Congress, which has blindsided the industry with the implementation of stiff safety standards on all children’s products, and whose application to books is vague. It has left many publishers, retailers and industry groups scrambling to interpret the law and determine what kinds of compliance will be required, and at what cost. (Karen Raugust, Publishers Weekly)

Government scientific adviser: GM may help feed growing population - Bob Watson to argue research is needed to determine whether GM crops can help feed growing population in world affected by climate change

One of the government's chief scientific advisers will wade into the debate on genetically modified (GM) foods later today, by arguing that they could make a valuable contribution to feeding the growing global population as the climate continues to change.

Speaking as part of a debate on the role of GM to mark the opening of the Science Museum's new Future Foods exhibition, Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser at Defra, will make the case for further scientific trials to gauge the risks and benefits GM crops could deliver.

"People are asking how we will be able to feed the world’s growing population during a time of dangerous climate change," he will say. "While GM food is clearly not the whole answer, it may contribute through improved crop traits such as temperature, drought, pest and salinity tolerance. Hence additional scientific studies will allow us to assess the risks and benefits."

The comments will be roundly condemned by many green groups which have long opposed so-called "frankenfoods" and in some cases even taken direct action to disrupt scientific trials for GM crops.

However, advocates of GM are increasingly arguing that modified crops with improved yields may represent one of the most effective means of feeding a growing population, avoiding the need to resort to yet more intensive agricultural techniques and further deforestation. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

January 21, 2009

Oh dear... 9 Ways NASA Can Tackle Climate Change - Scientists tell Pres. Barack Obama how the space agency could help solve the world's number one problem

NASA could be one of the nation's most potent weapons in battling climate change. The space agency has conducted decades of research into weather, life-support systems and the atmospheres of other planets providing it with unique skills to address this problem.

It would be easy for policymakers to overlook NASA as they map out a strategy for solving Earth's biggest environmental woes. But here are some important reasons why they shouldn't. (SciAm)

... gathering data from space is a worthwhile enterprise only if you do something useful with it. That does not include proliferating hysterical nonsense about gorebull warming.

Bizarrely, NASA's GISS does not use satellite data to guesstimate global temperature but prefers to perform voodoo incantations over appallingly corrupt near-surface amalgams.

One should wonder why a space agency declines to use data sourced at least partly from its own satellites, data virtually free of urban heat island contamination and with the greatest and most uniform global coverage by far, while promoting its space-borne observation platforms as a solution to a problem like enhanced greenhouse when its space-borne platforms demonstrate observed atmospheric trends can not possibly be due to enhanced greenhouse in the first place.

Met Office forecasts a supercomputer embarrassment - A new £33m machine purchased to calculate how climate change will affect Britain, has a giant carbon footprint of its own

For the Met Office the forecast is considerable embarrassment. It has spent £33m on a new supercomputer to calculate how climate change will affect Britain – only to find the new machine has a giant carbon footprint of its own.

“The new supercomputer, which will become operational later this year, will emit 14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year,” said Dave Britton, the Met Office’s chief press officer. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 2,400 homes – generating an average of six tonnes each a year. (The Times)

What happened to the climate consensus? - CAN we all agree – yet – that the issue is settled?

Scientists DON’T all agree the planet is warming precipitously, or that humans are responsible for that supposed warming. In fact, more and more experts in a number of fields have been speaking up to challenge the supposed scientific "consensus" on climate change.

As the headlines scream out the latest sensational warning – a NASA scientist now predicts U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has just four years to save the planet – let’s not forget that last month, more than 650 international scientists went on record as dissenting from the man-made global warming findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Chronicle Herald)

Lawrence Solomon: Obama’s America — a denier nation - Americans will have two messages for Barack Obama at his inauguration today: We love you but don’t blame us for climate change.

In a national survey released on the eve of Obama’s inauguration by Rasmussen Reports, the U.S. polling company, a majority of Americans — 51% — now believe that humans are not the predominant cause of climate change. Only 41% blame humans and 9% aren’t sure. Just one month ago, the same pollster found that just 43% of Americans let us humans off the hook while 46% blamed humans and 11% were not sure. Last July, fully 50% blamed humans. (Financial Post)

Certainly worth featuring again: The Contradictions of the Garnaut Report - The present world financial crisis has seen the great economist John Maynard Keynes making a comeback, with even a fiscal conservative like Kevin Rudd espousing Keynesian deficit finance. Keynes is also remembered for his remark that “madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”. That is an apt description of the climate change mantras that led to the appointment of the Garnaut Review, and the Review’s Final Report itself exhibits frenzy distilled from not a few scribblers of the past, including Malthus, Jevons and Arrhenius of the nineteenth century, Paul Ehrlich, the Club of Rome and the IPCC’s John Houghton of the last century, not forgetting James Hansen (of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) and his acolyte Al Gore.

Ehrlich and the Club of Rome confidently predicted exhaustion of all mineral resources by 2000 if not before, and the Garnaut Report merely extends the final date to 2100. Malthus earned fame with his theory that while population grows “geometrically”, for example by doubling every twenty-five years (we would say exponentially) food production grows only “arithmetically”, that is, by the same absolute amount in every time period.

Arrhenius took over this formulation in his celebrated paper of 1896 that remains the cornerstone of the anthropogenic global warming (or climate change) movement, by asserting that while atmospheric carbon dioxide “increases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progression”. Arrhenius won a real Nobel for proceeding to calculate that if carbon dioxide increased by 50 per cent from the level in 1896, global average temperature would increase by between 2.9 and 3.7 degrees, depending on season, latitude and hemisphere, with a global annual mean of 3.42 degrees. The level of carbon dioxide has nearly increased by 50 per cent since 1896—faster it is true than Arrhenius expected—but global temperature according to the Goddard Institute has increased by just 0.73 degrees. (Tim Curtin, Quadrant)

You Say It Best When You Say Nothing at All - Before Seth Borenstein tells the woolly kids at SEJ how to spin this claim, take a quick look at what it does and does not say.

While the harsh winter pounding many areas of North America and Europe seemingly contradicts the fact that global warming continues unabated, a new survey finds consensus among scientists about the reality of climate change and its likely cause. A group of 3,146 earth scientists surveyed around the world overwhelmingly agree that in the past 200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising, and that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures. . . .

In trying to overcome criticism of earlier attempts to gauge the view of earth scientists on global warming and the human impact factor, Doran and Kendall Zimmerman sought the opinion of the most complete list of earth scientists they could find, contacting more than 10,200 experts around the world listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute's Directory of Geoscience Departments. Experts in academia and government research centers were e-mailed invitations to participate in the on-line poll conducted by the website Only those invited could participate and computer IP addresses of participants were recorded and used to prevent repeat voting. Questions used were reviewed by a polling expert who checked for bias in phrasing, such as suggesting an answer by the way a question was worded. . . .

Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second. In analyzing responses by sub-groups, Doran found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 and 64 percent respectively believing in human involvement.

Any details about what was actually asked would be enlightening, because, at least as reported, the prompt-and-response prima facie actually say nothing (“human activity,” “a role,” “involvement”), and are already being spun as saying everything (that the very authors find this necessary tells you what you need to know about the results’ worth). Despite much pre-buttal in the release about the integrity of the questions, the actual questions were not provided. Surely they will be in the journal article when published. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Comments On Real Climate’s Post “FAQ on climate models: Part II” - Real Climate has a weblog titled “FAQ on climate models: Part II”.

Climate Science has a response to several of the questions that are posed there as well as questions for Gavin Schmidt [who wrote the Real Climate Q&A]. Climate Science has already posted on Part I of the Real Climate FAQs; see Real Climate Misunderstanding Of Climate Models, which Gavin has either not seen, or cared to respond to. In either case, he continues to incorrectly communicate important aspects of modeling on Real Climate. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The Politics of Big Science - As the federal government has inserted itself into the sciences, the underlying principles of science research and conduct have been damaged. The conduct of science, the conduct of many scientists, and the standards of evidence in science, has declined over decades. It is not limited to the ongoing global warming scandal but certainly includes it. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

What the Solar Cycle 24 ramp up could look like - Guest post by David Archibald

With respect to the month of minimum, it is very likely that Solar Cycle 24 has started simply because Solar Cycle 23 has run out. Most solar cycles stop producing spots at about nineteen years after solar maximum of the previous cycle. Solar Cycle 23 had its genesis with the magnetic reversal at the Solar Cycle 22 maximum. As the graph above shows, Solar Cycle 23 is now 19 years old. Only 9% of the named solar cycles produced spots after this. (Watts Up with That?)

Jones et al 2009: Studies Not "Independent" - One of the ongoing Team mantras has been that the Mann hockey stick has been supported by a "dozen independent studies". Obviously, I've disputed the claim that these studies are "independent" in any non-cargo cult use of the term "independent". A new article by Jones and multiple coauthors (Holocene 2009) comments on this issue. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

realclimate and Disinformation on UHI - In a recent CNN interview discussed at RC here, Joe D'Aleo said:

Those global data sets are contaminated by the fact that two-thirds of the globe's stations dropped out in 1990. Most of them rural and they performed no urban adjustment. And, Lou, you know, and the people in your studio know that if they live in the suburbs of New York City, it's a lot colder in rural areas than in the city. Now we have more urban effect in those numbers reflecting — that show up in that enhanced or exaggerated warming in the global data set.

Gavin Schmidt excoriated this claim as follows:

D'Aleo is misdirecting through his teeth here. … he also knows that urban heat island effects are corrected for in the surface records, and he also knows that this doesn't effect ocean temperatures, and that the station dropping out doesn't affect the trends at all (you can do the same analysis with only stations that remained and it makes no difference). Pure disinformation. (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

New CO2 Truth-Alert: Elevated CO2: How Sweet it is ... for Sugarcane!

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

New Major Report
CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future: The ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content has been predicted to play havoc with earth's coral reefs in two different ways: (1) by stimulating global warming, which has been predicted to dramatically enhance coral bleaching, and (2) by lowering the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, which has been predicted to reduce coral calcification rates. We evaluate the likelihood of such claims in a new major review paper.

Coral Reefs and Climate Change: Unproved Assumptions: What are they? ... and what do they suggest about climate-alarmist claims relating to the future of earth's corals?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 657 individual scientists from 384 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from New Zealand's Western South Island. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary
Temperature (Urbanization Effects - North America): What have we learned about the urban heat island effect from data obtained in North America?

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, Epilithic Lichen, Petunia, and Sugar Maple/Quaking Aspen.

Journal Reviews
Floods of the Mississippi River System: What has caused the majority of them in modern times?

High-Flow and Flood Trends of UK Rivers: Are their magnitudes increasing, as climate alarmists suggest they should be?

Erosive Rainfall Anomalies of Southern Italy: How have they responded to earth's "unprecedented" modern warmth?

A Century of Parana River Streamflow Data: To the beat of what drummer does the river's flow rate rise and fall?

Soil Microbial Respiration: How does it respond to rising temperatures? (

Oil Prices and Oil Demand: The Need For Stable Prices - In reality, we can recognize peaks and valleys only after the fact. For example, looking back we can see the “dot com” bubble, or spike, that occurred in the year 2000. The NASDAQ, currently at about 1,500, reached 5,000, a level that will probably not be seen again for decades, if ever.

Similarly, due to the recent rapid price decline, we can now look back at the oil price bubble, or spike. Between early 2007 and late 2008, oil futures rose from about $50 per barrel to about $150 per bbl and then fell to less than $50. This brief duration of high prices appears more like a spike than a bubble.

The brief duration of the spike gives us an unusual opportunity to learn something of the lag time that exists between a change in price and the resulting impact on demand. While no rigorous study of the lag time is possible because of the dynamic nature of the various economic factors at work, we can get some sense of this element by comparing the demand data with the price performance. This comparison is shown in the following graph. (William R. Edwards, Energy Tribune)

Oil Price Over $100, in a Blink - The Cassandras are out in force these days. Some are true believers. Others are masochistic oil men. They claim that the recent price of oil -- at almost $150 -- was a “spike” fomented by speculators. And now that the oil price is down, it will never go over $100 again, it may even go down to $10 or it will stay at $30, forever.

Some of these analysts have written for this publication. How US-based speculators, as blamed by a recent TV show, can cause the wild ride towards $150 oil, is mystifying. This was supposed to happen while world oil consumption was more than four times that of the US. Big, bad oil is no longer blamed for the price hike?

The analysts are right on one thing. There was never really a rational reason for $150 oil. Headlines ruled and speculators did ride them. But oil at $40 is also irrational, fed by headlines about the economic crisis.

There are three main reasons why oil cannot stay at $40 or even $70. (Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)

Coal industry 'at risk with no cash support' under carbon reduction scheme - THE $60 billion coal industry is at risk without greater support for clean coal, the Opposition warned yesterday after the nation's only commercial project in the field said it would be unviable under the proposed emissions trading scheme.

The Australian revealed yesterday that ZeroGen had warned Resources Minister Martin Ferguson that the Rudd Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme would be a "significant barrier" to the development of clean coal.

ZeroGen is understood to have laid off or redeployed staff from its corporate division recently. The company would not comment yesterday, but said in a statement there had been "no reductions from project staffing, and none are planned".

Gas suppliers say they can provide cleaner energy than conventional coal-fired electricity for less than renewables if clean coal is delayed.

Coal industry sources warned of a bleak future without greater support for clean coal research. (The Australian)

Abu Dhabi has second thoughts about London Array and wind power - Fresh doubts have emerged over Britain’s plans for a huge expansion of offshore wind power after Abu Dhabi said yesterday that it was reconsidering the viability of a £3 billion scheme to build the world’s largest offshore wind park in the Thames Estuary.

The London Array project, a plan to build 341 turbines with the capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity – more than that produced by most of the nuclear reactors in Britain – has been in trouble since last May, when Shell pulled out of the project, citing spiralling costs. (The Times)

Give them money to employ people to do nothing useful? Wind Power Jobs To Double In EU By 2020 - BRUSSELS - Employment in the wind power industry will more than double in the European Union to around 330,000 in 2020, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) also called for greater investment in the renewable energy sector as governments seek to stimulate economic recovery.

"Wind power not only has the potential to satisfy the increasing electricity demand in a sustainable manner, it is also a significant and vital stimulus to economies," EWEA Chief Executive Christian Kjaer said. (Reuters)

Electric cars will need lots of financial support - report - Electric cars have a big role to play in reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but it's going to cost a lot, according to a new report. It could even push automakers into further trouble.

For electric and hybrid vehicles to achieve their environmental potential, the world's governments will need to step in with high levels of financial support for consumers and industry, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm. And the cost savings in fuel won't be nearly enough to provide the incentive without that government cash.

Electric vehicles could realistically make up a significant fraction of the world's car market in the foreseeable future, but not nearly a majority, according to BCG. "The costs of creating an automotive market dominated by electric and hybrid cars are prohibitively high," said the report. (

We are all now abnormal and all shall have a pill - No, it’s not your imagination. They really said that.

As news media reported (verbatim from the press release), a new study published in the American Heart Journal found that nearly two-thirds of patients admitted to hospitals for heart attacks and cardiovascular events had low LDL-cholesterol levels, indicating they were not at high risk for heart problems. Yet — in another extraordinary example of ad-hoc reasoning — the authors concluded that since most heart attacks are occurring in people with low cholesterol levels, that this provided support for lowering the LDL-cholesterol goals even further. (Junkfood Science)

Inaugural edition of Grand Rounds - Grand Rounds, a weekly gathering of the best medical blog articles hosted by a different blogger every Tuesday, is now up at MedPageToday. In this issue, medical bloggers writing “from the trenches” submitted a wide range of ideas for healthcare reform. They've been compiled into the top ten suggestions to policy makers in Washington. (Junkfood Science)

From mad to worse - Christopher Booker reports yet another case of hapless toilers, who have had their livelihoods taken from them by bureaucratic theft, and then been turned into criminals for trying to carry on their forefathers’ trade of centuries. What they did was perfectly reasonable to an unbiased observer. They caught hake, which were plentiful, and sold them for food. Remarkably, in fact, it is not even a crime any more. They were forced by poverty into trying to disguise the fact that they were carrying out what has always been perfectly legitimate trade. And what about that judge? The judiciary sit on their large stipends and more than comfortable pensions, telling people on the breadline, who have had their livings taken by legitimised theft, that they are acting out of greed. And can it really be true that the fishermen themselves “were not permitted to speak in their own defence.” Is this what has become of British justice, to say nothing of natural justice? (John Brignell, Number Watch)

January 20, 2009

Interesting... 44% Say Global Warming Due To Planetary Trends, Not People - Al Gore’s side may be coming to power in Washington, but they appear to be losing the battle on the idea that humans are to blame for global warming.

Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity.

Seven percent (7%) attribute global warming to some other reason, and nine percent (9%) are unsure in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democrats blame global warming on human activity, compared to 21% percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of GOP voters (67%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause versus 23% of Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either party by eight points put the blame on planetary trends.

In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.

In April of last year, 47% of Americans blamed human activity versus 34% who viewed long-term planetary trends as the culprit. But the numbers have been moving in the direction of planetary trends since then. (Rasmussen Reports)

Al got a Nobel for "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change" and Jimmy has just been honored by the AMS for "clear communication of climate science in the public arena" -- while public skepticism increases. Who knew those two were doing such a great job? Certainly they are having a much more positive effect than I gave them credit for.

IPCC Teams Up with WorldWatch to Attack Obama - The “policy neutral” IPCC is once again making a mockery of its role of an arbiter of scientific information, in favor of all out political advocacy. EurActiv reports the details: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Questions for Obama's science guy - IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy -- the position known informally as White House science adviser -- President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one "with a resume longer than your arm," as Newsweek's Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books.

He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years -- and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.

The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren's nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight: (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

How the world was bullied into silence - One of the most disturbing aspects of the global warming scam is the number of prominent people and entire segments of society bullied into silence. Consider the case of Dr. Joanne Simpson described as follows. “the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.” Then consider her statement. “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical...

The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.”
No, we don’t all know the frailty of the models! Certainly most of the media and thereby the public and politicians don’t know, otherwise the latter would not be planning completely unnecessary, incredibly expensive and society altering policies. But the opening comment is actually frightening and speaks to why the scam has progressed so far. “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receive any funding, I can speak quite frankly.”

Undoubtedly, there are positions and times when people are muzzled; national security is a good example. I sympathize with young people starting out on careers. I understand the pressure of maintaining a family and paying mortgages. But none of this should apply to science. It’s a measure of the degree to which climate change has become political. It’s also a measure of the degree of bullying that has occurred. Why would a scientist in an organization directly involved in climate science not feel free to speak out? But they are not the only ones who have kept quiet. Entire segments of society have either remained silent or taken evasive action. Few had the courage to even ask for a full and open debate. Now everything is changing as the claims of warming are offset by the realities of cooling. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Struggle over climate change on the horizon - Wasn’t all that warm fuzziness over the election of Obama just so... so... warm and fuzzy?

Now for cold and hard-edged. That describes the emotions over the intragovernmental fights that get going in earnest this week. The most immediate are over the nature of the economic stimulus, or who has the longest reach. When that is settled within the next couple of months, the struggle moves on to harder issues, such as the massive rework of environmental law and regulation.

The most serious struggle will be over climate change, or the regulation of carbon emissions. You can forget all the chit chat about finding a consensus on this one: the coal people and the enviros are in this match until one side is carried out.

For now, it appears that most of the enviros working within the legislative process intend to use a cap-and-trade programme to reduce carbon emissions. That is, large carbon dioxide emitters such as coal-based utilities will be able to buy the right to produce CO2. Those who, one way or another, are deemed to have reduced carbon emissions can sell emission rights to the emitters. The programme would be designed so that over time the supply of carbon rights becomes tighter, the price higher, and the incentive to reduce carbon emissions even greater. Climate change moderates, polar bears have more ice, and so on.

Wall Street and Chicago always like the creation of trading markets for new assets, especially if they can be inefficiently priced by the professionals. So while the coal people hate climate legislation, a lot of traders see an opportunity. (Financial Times)

Weather and climate: noise and timescales - A few days ago, an alarmist nicknamed Tamino (Grant Foster) wrote a shallow posting about the extrapolation of trends: What if?

Foster argues that one can't blindly extrapolate trends, especially not the cooling ones. Well, I agree with the first part of the sentence but unlike Foster, I think that one should blindly extrapolate neither cooling nor warming trends. I agree that the absence of a warming trend since 1998 (and the fact that 2008 was the coolest year since 2000; and it was also cooler than 1998, of course) doesn't mean that we know that there won't be any warming in the next 50 years. But in the same way, the existence of some warming in the last 100 years doesn't mean that there will be the same - or even much larger - warming in the 21st century. (The Reference Frame)

Facts debunk global warming alarmism - THE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that October in the US was marked by 63 record snowfalls and 115 lowest-ever temperatures.

Over the past few years, similar signs of colder than usual weather have been recorded all over the world, causing many people to question the still fashionable, but now long outdated, global warming alarmism. Yet individual weather events or spells, whether warmings or coolings, tell us nothing necessarily about true climate change.

Nonetheless, by coincidence, growing recognition of a threat of climatic cooling is correct, because since the turn of the 21st century all real world, long-term climate indicators have turned downwards. Global atmospheric temperature reached a peak in 1998, has not warmed since 1995 and, has been cooling since 2002. Some people, still under the thrall of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's disproved projections of warming, seem surprised by this cooling trend, even to the point of denying it. But why? (Bob Carter, The Australian)

Another deceptive and largely irrelevant Antarctic Peninsula piece: Antarctic ice shelf set to collapse - WILKINS ICE SHELF - A huge Antarctic ice shelf is on the brink of collapse with just a sliver of ice holding it in place, the latest victim of global warming that is altering maps of the frozen continent.

"We've come to the Wilkins Ice Shelf to see its final death throes," David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), told Reuters after the first — and probably last — plane landed near the narrowest part of the ice.

The flat-topped shelf has an area of thousands of square kilometres (miles), jutting 20 metres (65 ft) out of the sea off the Antarctic Peninsula. (Reuters)

The Wilkins has persisted a little longer into the Holocene than might have been expected because it lies between Alexander, Charcot, and Latady islands. The region shows no discernable atmospheric temperature trend over the last 30 years. Basically the southern hemisphere is cool to neutral, the tropics are pretty ordinary while there has been slight warming in the northern temperate grading to interesting warming in the northern frigid zone. Of course we hear a lot about the 5-10% of the globe behaving at least partially as climate models suggest it should but about 10% kind of right always used to be read as ~90% dead wrong -- I believe "epic fail" is how my son would term it.

Runway-Loving Birds Are Risk To Planes In Antarctica - Air traffic experts are seeking ways to scare off the south polar skuas, a large and aggressive brown seabird, but without harming them. The birds are protected by the 47-nation Antarctic Treaty, which declares the frozen continent a nature reserve.

At the British Rothera research station on the Antarctic Peninsula, about 100 skuas often sit on the 900 meter (3,000 ft) gravel runway. The odd penguin or seals can also be hazards. (Reuters)

Imagine that -- even Polar critters like to be warm...

“Hudson air crash caused by ‘global warming’” - The scare: In late January 2008, Time magazine blamed the bird-strike that brought down an Airbus passenger aircraft in the Hudson River, New York, on “global warming”. This was the latest in a long series of articles in scientifically-unaware mainstream news media, blaming real or imagined climate events on “global warming”. Such alarmism defies Occam’s razor, the philosophical principle by which the simplest explanation of an event is nearly always the true explanation. The Time article said that “Wildlife mitigation” was the official term for avoiding bird strikes. A report published in June 1988 by the Federal Aviation Administration had found that since 1990 the number of bird strikes had quadrupled, from 1,759 in 1990 to a record 7,666 in 2007. According to Time, “Officials cite a number of possible causes for the increase”, including “habitat destruction and climate change”, which “have disrupted migratory patterns”. Time adds, “Al Gore should be very proud of himself.” (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Oh boy... Global warming may cut protein in plants - Plants may give us fewer of the nutrients we need to survive if global warming is not controlled, a visiting expert says.

Fossil expert Dr Scott Wing, who was in New Zealand to speak at the Greenhouse Earth Symposium at Te Papa last week, said a study suggested ancient plants may have made less protein as CO2 levels rose.

If the theory is correct, insects were left hungrier when plants made less of the protein they needed to live.

The phenomenon could affect humans if plants begin cutting protein again.

Fossil records show insects began eating more plants about 55 million years ago, when the planet suddenly warmed up.

Dr Wing, who is the curator of fossil plants at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, acknowledged there may have been more insects around to eat the plants. (New Zealand Herald)

... this guy sees an upswing in the number of fossilized insect-damaged leaves from a period of higher atmospheric CO2 and assumes this means the same number of insects had to eat more to consume sufficient protein. Most biologists equate such signs with increased biological activity in a life-friendly period.

Here's one for interpretation: Survey: Scientists agree human-induced global warming is real - While the harsh winter pounding many areas of North America and Europe seemingly contradicts the fact that global warming continues unabated, a new survey finds consensus among scientists about the reality of climate change and its likely cause. (University of Illinois at Chicago)

It's time to pray for global warming, says Flint Journal columnist John Tomlinson - If you're wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.

At December's U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world's top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?"

I asked myself, why would such obviously smart guy say such a ridiculous thing? But it turns out he's right. (Flint Journal)

Indonesia Delays Forest-Carbon Rules - SINGAPORE - Indonesia has delayed releasing complete regulations on using carbon credits to protect rainforests, preferring to fine-tune rules that could earn the country billions of dollars and curb the pace of climate change. (Reuters)

Record Temperature Data At The Weblog Hall Of Record - Bruce Hall has an excellent presentation of temperature records in the United States on his weblog “Updating Statewide Monthly Temperature Extremes”.

Among his valuable comments, he writes

“The U.S. analysis showed that the late 1990s were indeed hot and had a greater than normal expected level of statewide monthly records. What it also showed, however, was that the 1930s had a much higher frequency of those records. Finally, it showed a sharp tailing off of such extremes beginning with the new century.

I have completed the review of the high temperature extremes through 2008 and there were no additional statewide month high temperature records. An analysis of the 2005 - 2008 data for minimum temperature records will be started shortly.”

His entire posting is worth reading. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Spinning furiously: CLIMATE CHANGE: Don't Be Fooled by Europe's Arctic Winter - BERLIN, Jan 19 - "Where is global warming, now that we need it?" a comedian asked on German public television ARD. And across Europe people have been asking the same question: if the globe is getting warmer, why is Europe freezing?

But the question really is whether recent winters taken together have been too warm. Yes, say climate researchers, they have.

"There is a cognitive problem among the public," Mojib Latif, climate researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Ocean Sciences at the University of Kiel, some 300 km west of Berlin, told IPS. "Because winters over the past 20 years have been warmer than the older average, many now believe that this winter is particularly cold. But it is not."

"Of course it is really cold right now," Fortunat Joos, professor of climate and environmental physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland told IPS. "But present temperatures represent only a fluctuation in the trend of the past 20 years. In general, the earth is getting warmer. (IPS)

Tibetan Glacial Shrink To Cut Water Supply By 2050 - NEW YORK - Nearly 2 billion people in Asia, from coastal city dwellers to yak-herding nomads, will begin suffering water shortages in coming decades as global warming shrinks glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, experts said.

The plateau has more than 45,000 glaciers that build up during the snowy season and then drain to the major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmanputra and Mekong.

Temperatures in the plateau, which some scientists call the "Third Pole" for its massive glacial ice sheets, are rising twice as fast as other parts of the world, said Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, who has collected ice cores from glaciers around the world for decades. (Reuters)

Lonnie should know better than that. Glaciers grow and shrink through precipitation rather than having significant direct correlation with temperature.

Eye roller: Rising Sea Levels Threaten East Coast - WASHINGTON - Sea levels on the United States' mid-Atlantic coast are rising faster than the global average because of global warming, threatening the future of coastal communities, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.

Coastal waters from New York to North Carolina have crept up by an average of 2.4 to 4.4 millimeters (0.09 to 0.17 inches) a year, compared with an average global increase of 1.7 millimeters (0.07 inches) a year, the EPA said in a report. (Reuters)

Dead On Arrival: EPA/CCSP Sea Level Rise Report Already Outdated - On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on the implications of future sea level rise on the mid-Atlantic coast (from North Carolina to New York). The report was one of the series of 21-reports commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Research Program (recall our less than favorable reviews of another recent CCSP product). As with most climate change “assessment reports” from large government and intergovernmental efforts, the science in the report is stale and out-of-date by the time the report is finally published (the EPA’s recent documents in support of its “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” is a prime example). (WCR)

The Movement Movement - One of the most toxic effects of environmentalism’s tendency to reduce human needs and wants to problems that need to be contained and controlled is found in the debate over transport policy. Movement itself is threatened by demands that we reduce our ‘impact’ on the world. We are urged not to take ‘unnecessary’ journeys and to take them in the least carbon-intensive ways, or the carbon calculator will be used to prove our guilt. (Climate Resistance)

Another Crone article of faith: Energy Inefficient - From plug-in cars to carbon capture to wind farms linked to “intelligent” power grids, many of the solutions pitched to restructure the country’s energy system and confront global warming rely on a faith in high tech: we expect, or at least hope, that an Apollo project, the energy equivalent of the revolution or some other burst of creative genius will engineer the problem away.

Obviously, game-changing technologies will play a big role in cutting America’s consumption of fossil fuels. They will also be essential to achieving the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists think will be necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. But as it frames its strategy to deal with both problems, the Obama administration cannot overlook the low-hanging fruit — the gains to be had from making existing technologies more efficient. (New York Times)

How could The Crone get it so wrong and how fitting they should bring up the dot.bomb era, since such a debacle is all too likely in the current scam-rich environment. NYT's stupidity notwithstanding we do not have a carbon crisis to deal with -- carbon is the stuff of life and returning some to the atmosphere from whence it came is probably the best thing humans have done and ever will do for the biosphere.

Massive Confusion in the New York Times - Today’s New York Times has an editorial in which it claims that:

The plain truth is that the United States is an inefficient user of energy. For each dollar of economic product, the United States spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than 75 of 107 countries tracked in the indicators of the International Energy Agency. Those doing better include not only cutting-edge nations like Japan but low-tech countries like Thailand and Mexico.

The first problem with this set of claims is that the New York Times confuses energy efficiency with carbon dioxide intensity of the economy. The second error is that the New York Times uses market exchange rates as the basis for evaluating U.S. carbon dioxide per dollar of GDP against other countries, rather than the more appropriate metric of international GDP comparisons using purchasing power parities.

So the New York Times makes a muddle of reality when it suggests that the United States is an “inefficient user of energy” suggesting that 70% of all contries are more efficient than the United States.

This is just wrong. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Just say no to oil revenues? - Petroleum production bans cost us billions that could pay for stimulus plans and renewables

Plummeting stock and housing prices have triggered a painful recession, America’s worst job losses since 1945, and trillions in lost national wealth.

California is grappling with a $42-billion budget deficit. That’s more than the GDP of 112 countries. Maryland, Virginia, New York and other states likewise face billion-dollar budget shortfalls.

Congress and the White House want a $1-trillion “stimulus” for the banking, auto and steel industries, roads, bridges and ports, and “worthy” projects like water parks, parking garages and fitness centers.

They also support expanded renewable energy programs that will require tens of billions in subsidies and tax breaks – but provide intermittent electricity and deliver only 5-15% of their “rated capacity” during peak summer demand periods.

Many states have oil, gas, coal uranium and other energy and mineral resources, within their borders or off their coasts. Development would produce critically needed energy, reduce oil and gas imports, create millions of jobs, buttress our national security, and generate trillions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues, to help pay these bills.

California could nearly double its offshore oil production within 12-18 months, without installing a single new platform, by using directional drilling technology to bore more wells from existing platforms. (Paul Driessen, CFP)

Moronic Environmentalists cheer shelving of Enbridge oilsands pipeline - CALGARY - Environmental groups say they will keep leaning on Ontario to curb its reliance on oilsands crude, even though Calgary-based pipeline company Enbridge Inc. is shelving a project that would have brought more of that oil into the province.

A report by Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics Monday said Enbridge's $346-million Trailbreaker project would have effectively choked off Ontario's supply of light sweet crude oil from overseas, which they believe has fewer environmental impacts than oilsands crude. (CP)

Brazil Landless Peasants Aim To Extend Fight To Oil - SAO PAULO - Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement marked its 25th anniversary on Monday by pledging to extend its fight against capitalism to ensuring the country's new oil wealth remains in state hands.

Since state energy company Petrobras announced in 2007 it had discovered massive light oil reserves off Brazil's southern coast, talk has swirled that the government would take greater control over the oil wealth.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is considering whether to create a new state-run oil company to manage oil production from new "subsalt" reserves, but foreign oil firms like Royal Dutch Shell Plc will still have a major role in production.

"The MST is ready to do what is needed to guarantee that Brazil's oil, especially the subsalt discovery, won't be privatized. This means battles, marches, occupations, public campaigns -- a series of actions," Joao Paulo Rodrigues, one of the movement's leaders, told a news conference in Sao Paulo.

The movement, probably the world's largest land reform group, is known as the MST.

Rodrigues denied that the movement's new focus was a reaction to a loss of supporters in the countryside, where its campaign has struggled in the face of an agriculture boom and a lack of help from the Lula government. (Reuters)

King coal is on the rise once again - SCOTTISH Coal, the UK's largest open-cast coal mining group, is back in the black and has revealed plans to reopen old sites and bring new sites into production to meet increased demand. (The Scotsman)

Clean coal plan dirtied by ETS - THE Rudd Government's climate change strategy has been thrown into disarray by a warning that clean coal will not be viable under the proposed emissions trading scheme.

Clean coal is crucial to the Government's plans to tackle climate change, but the chief executive of the flagship ZeroGen project has told Resources Minister Martin Ferguson the carbon pollution reduction scheme will be a "significant barrier" to the development of clean coal technology.

"Australia's 5 per cent carbon reduction target accompanied by a weak carbon price will be nowhere near sufficient to generate the scale of investment needed to make clean coal technologies economically viable," Anthony Tarr warns Mr Ferguson in a letter obtained by The Australian.

More German Biodiesel Plants Face Closure In 2009 - BERLIN - More German biodiesel plants face closure in 2009 following government's decision to raise taxes on green fuels and to scale back an increase in biofuel blending in fossil fuels, a biofuels industry leader said on Monday.

Germany's biodiesel industry, Europe's largest, was working at considerably under 60 percent of its five million-ton annual capacity, Johannes Lackmann, chief executive of German biofuels industry association VDB, said.

"Many medium and small size plants will have little chance of survival this year," he told Reuters at the Green Week food trade fair in Berlin. "I think more will close."

Germany increased taxes on biodiesel on Jan 1 this year which hit demand in the country's domestic market. A series of biodiesel plants closed last year, largely because taxes on green fuels had cut sales. (Reuters)

What do healthy eating and lifestyles have in common with woo? - A courageous article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday. It was momentous because it may be the first article in a mainstream medical journal to expose the similarities between the promotion of healthy diet and lifestyle modifications for the prevention of heart disease and premature death, and pseudoscience and alternative modalities.

This is one medical article we won’t see reported by the media. (Junkfood Science)

Research Exposes the Risk to Infants from the Chemicals Used in Liquid Medicines -- A team of medical scientists from the University of Leicester has published research which looks into the harmful substances in liquid medicines that premature babies are being exposed to.

Research published today (Jan 20) ahead of print in the Fetal & Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood documents the non-drug ingredients (excipients) present in liquid medicines given to premature infants as part of their medical care. (

Surprising new health and environmental concerns about tungsten - In the article, C&EN Associate Editor Rachel Petkewich notes that scientists have long held that tungsten is relatively insoluble in water and nontoxic. As a result, the U.S. military developed in the mid 1990s so-called "green bullets" that contain tungsten as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to lead-based ammunition.

But studies now show that tungsten, which is also used in welding, metal cutting, and other applications, is not as chemically inert as previously thought. Some forms of tungsten can move readily though soil and groundwater under certain environmental conditions. Both the U.S. Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency now classify the element as an "emerging contaminant" of concern. (ACS)

MPs may be denied vote on £100 bin tax - THE GOVERNMENT has quietly adopted powers enabling it to introduce national pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes of up to £100 without a vote in parliament.

The move, which was confirmed this weekend by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will allow councils across the country to impose extra charges on householders who leave out too much non-recyclable waste.

The fact that ministers have adopted powers to impose the taxes on millions of households without a vote in the Commons will shock MPs. They always believed they would be able to veto the unpopular move following trials in five pilot areas.

Last week the government also sidelined parliament to move ahead with plans to introduce a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport.

The Tories discovered the bin tax measure in a little-noticed clause of the Climate Change Act.

“New taxes are being imposed by arrogant and out-of-touch rulers, showing contempt for the democratic process. The imposition of extra-parliamentary taxation is a constitutional outrage,” said Eric Pickles, shadow communities and local government secretary.”

Internal Whitehall documents released last year showed the government is planning for at least two-thirds of all homes to be hit by the bin taxes. (Sunday Times)

Nile Delta fishery grows dramatically thanks to run-off of sewage, fertilizers - While many of the world's fisheries are in serious decline, the coastal Mediterranean fishery off the Nile Delta has expanded dramatically since the 1980s.

The surprising cause of this expansion, which followed a collapse of the fishery after completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1965, is run-off of fertilizers and sewage discharges in the region, according to a researcher at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

Autumn Oczkowski, a URI doctoral student, used stable isotopes of nitrogen to demonstrate that 60 to 100 percent of the current fishery production is supported by nutrients from fertilizer and sewage. Her research will be reported in the Jan. 21 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is really a story about how people unintentionally impact ecosystems," Oczkowski said.

Historically, the Nile would flood the delta every fall, irrigate nearby agricultural land, and flow out to the Mediterranean, carrying with it nutrients to support a large and productive fishery. Construction of the dam stopped the flooding, and the fishery collapsed.

"That's when fertilizer consumption in the country skyrocketed," said Oczkowski. "The Egyptians were fertilizing the land, and then fertilizing the sea with the run-off. It also corresponded with a population boom and the expansion of the public water and sewer systems."

As a result, landings of fish in coastal and offshore waters are more than three times pre-dam levels. While increased fishing effort in recent years may have played some role in the recovery, Oczkowski's findings indicate that anthropogenic nutrient sources have now more than replaced the fertility carried by the historical flooding. (University of Rhode Island)

Army Worms Decimate Crops In Liberia - MONROVIA - Swarms of army worms have attacked crops in a food-producing district of Liberia, forcing the West African state to declare a state of emergency in the area at the weekend, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Monday.

Army worms, which can grow to around 5 centimeters (two inches) in length, are moth caterpillars and when present in large numbers can destroy swathes of vegetation and crops. (Reuters)

EU Fails To Approve GM Rapeseed, Carnation Imports - BRUSSELS - EU ministers failed to reach a majority on Monday to approve applications for importing a genetically modified rapeseed and carnation flower, paving the way for a default approval by the EU executive, officials said.

The rapeseed, developed by Germany's Bayer CropScience to resist certain glufosinate-ammonium herbicides and known by its codename T25, was discontinued from commercial planting after the 2005 season.

Only a small stock of the rapeseed remains, in Canada, and could be exported to EU markets if approval is granted.

Bayer's application for EU approval is for use in food and feed, not for cultivation in Europe's fields. It will now return to the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, most probably for a default approval in the coming weeks. (Reuters)

Chemists engineer plants to produce new compounds -- In work that could expand the frontiers of genetic engineering, MIT chemists have, for the first time, genetically altered a plant to produce entirely new compounds, some of which could be used as drugs against cancer and other diseases.

The researchers, led by Sarah O'Connor of the Department of Chemistry, produced the new compounds by manipulating the complex biosynthetic pathways of the periwinkle plant. This sort of manipulation, which O'Connor and her graduate student, Weerawat Runguphan, report in the Jan. 18 issue of Nature Chemical Biology, offers a new way to tweak potential drugs to make them less toxic (and/or more effective). (

January 19, 2009

I lost the bet: Geese Pose Big Risk at Airports in Region - For years, airport officials have removed shrubs and trees that attract birds. They have tried to scare them away with music, pyrotechnics and cannons. They have even raided birds’ nests and culled the adults with shotguns.

Still, birds, often geese, sometimes end up in plane engines, causing inconvenience, or worse: They are a leading suspect in the nearly disastrous ditching of a US Airways jet on Thursday.


Nevertheless, the danger of bird strikes “is an ongoing problem, and it will always be a problem,” said Steven D. Garber, a biologist who was a consultant to the Port Authority in the 1990s.

And it may become more so — despite efforts at mitigation. “There is evidence both in North America and in Europe that birds are shifting their territories,” said Joel L. Cracraft, curator in charge of the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. “And that has been correlated with global warming.” (New York Times) [em added]

On Thursday I was rash enough to claim even The Crone was unlikely to be stupid enough to try to associate a plane ditching in the frigid Hudson with gorebull warming... It isn't the first time I have been accused of irrepressible optimism.

The Flight 1549 blame game (updated) - It didn't take long for the warmists to blame the US Airways crash on global warming, which is, after all, deemed responsible for anything bad. Time Magazine, which was once widely read, sprang into action:

While officials use radar and radio collars to track bird populations, habitat destruction and climate change have disrupted migratory patterns. Moreover, the populations of certain species of birds are increasing at rapid rates, thanks to changes in food supply. The Canada-goose population, for example, has grown 7.3% annually from 1980 to 2006.

Rush Limbaugh may have been the first person to point out that greenies have made the protection of birds (especially waterfowl) a major priority, and an increase in bird population is a goal they have achieved -- that may deserve blame for the crash, if anything is to be blamed other than an Act of God. (Thomas Lifson, American Thinker)

Hmm... 27 years with an annual increase of 7.3% is almost a 7-fold increase in the number of geese. Even the revised "The Canada-goose population, for example, increased 4-fold from about 1 million birds in 1990 to 3.9 million in 2008, according to Richard Dolbeer, one of the report's co-authors." indicates roughly a 6% annual increment in the number of geese. So either gorebull warming is very good for wildlife (which would be true if gorebull warming actually existed) or someone is deliberately encouraging an increase in hazardous critters.

Jimmy's slipped right off his trolley: President 'has four years to save Earth' - US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added. (Robin McKie, The Observer) | Read the full interview with James Hansen here

The ultimate for ecochondriacs: Emission Impossible? - 'Carbon Coach' Dave Hampton Helps Homeowners Fight Global Warming

World-wide concern about global warming is hitting home as more and more people try to make their houses and businesses eco-friendly and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

With the European Union estimating that commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 40% of the EU's total CO2 emissions, governments around the continent have turned to homes to help achieve Europe's goals of reducing 60% to 80% of CO2 emissions by 2050.

In the U.K., the government has adopted the Code for Sustainable Homes, which aims at ensuring that all new homes built in the county be "zero-carbon" by 2016. The Code assesses the sustainability of a house on a six-point scale, with six being a "zero-carbon" home, meaning its usage of energy from renewable sources offsets its carbon emissions. The EU has yet to adopt specific regulations for low-carbon housing.

For Dave Hampton, a Cambridge-educated engineer and self-described "carbon coach," the new emphasis on emissions cuts represents a business opportunity. After working on energy efficiency for over 20 years for numerous firms, including British Gas, engineering consultants WS Atkins, Building Research Establishment and ABS Consulting, Mr. Hampton set himself up in business as a consultant who specializes in helping individuals reduce their carbon footprint. "My aim is to show people they can halve their carbon shadow just by making simple changes," he says. (Wall Street Journal)

Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction? - An Assessment of the Literature

Introduction and Executive Summary
I. Green Recovery, Center for American Progress
II. Job Opportunities for the Green Economy, Political Economy Research Institute
III. Current and Potential Green Jobs in the U.S. Economy, Global Insight
IV. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, American Solar Energy Society (Robert Michaels and Robert P. Murphy, Institute for Energy Research)

Does Nature’s Thermostat Exist? A Global Warming Debate Challenge - Scientific disagreements over just how much mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet can be described with the analogy of the thermostat in your home. You set the thermostat to a certain temperature, and if it senses (for example) that the temperature is rising too much above that preset level, a cooling mechanism (air conditioning) kicks in and works to push the temperature back down.

I, and a number of other scientists, believe that nature has a thermostatic control mechanism that “pushes back” against a warming influence, such as the relatively weak warming from more atmospheric carbon dioxide. (The direct warming effect of more CO2 would amount to little more than 1 deg. F by late in this century, and is generally not the subject of debate.)

In climate research (and engineering, and physics) a thermostatic control mechanism is called ‘negative feedback’, and as discussed elsewhere on my web site there are a number of studies that suggest it really does exist in the climate system. At this point my own research suggests that the natural cooling mechanism is most likely due to the response of clouds to warming. While it is a bit technical, the issue is introduced in this peer-reviewed publication. (Roy W. Spencer)

Hmm... Clearer skies over Europe as fog halved in 30 years - Scientists discover 'massive decline' in fog, mist and haze as air quality improves, but it may accelerate global warming

Europe has become less foggy over the past three decades, according to scientists who have examined weather records across the continent. Fog, mist and haze have become less frequent and have contributed, they calculate, to between 10% and 20% of the warming trend during that period. The change is down to reduced air pollution, the scientists think.

Robert Vautard at the Atomic Energy Commission in Gif sur Yvette, France, and colleagues, looked at the number of "low-visibility" events, where visibility fell to under 8km. They found a 50% drop since the 1970s, which they call a "massive decline". (David Adam, The Guardian)

Perhaps they are looking at a real-world example of the Svensmark Effect. Remember that conversion of water vapor to droplets (clouds and fog) has two effects: firstly it reduces the most prolific greenhouse gas (and hence greenhouse effect) and secondly it increases albedo (thus reducing net surface insolation). You get a lot of 'bang for your buck' with fog and bright cloud temperature effects.

Interesting too, how all these researchers come up with their own angles each amounting to 'only' 10-20% of guesstimated warming (a bit for solar irradiance, some more for reduced sulfate emissions, here a bit for reduced cloudiness, there a bit for land use change, add a dash for soot and mix in urban heat island...). Seems to me we are running kind of short of 10-20%s of estimated atmospheric warming to leave any room for an effect from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, no? Makes it all the harder to understand how the antis manage to keep the carbon con going, doesn't it?

Dumb beat up of the moment: Arctic warming pattern 'highly unusual': Report - ... "The current rate of human-influenced Arctic warming is comparable to peak natural rates documented by reconstructions of past climates. However, some projections of future human-induced change exceed documented natural variability," the scientists conclude. (Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service)

Wow! Some virtual-world fantasies exceed documented natural variability. Scary...

Stop it Al! Americans suffer record cold as temperatures plunge to -40C - Americans were today shivering as bitter arctic winds caused temperatures to plunge to record-breaking levels in many parts of the vast country.

There are even fears that crowds planning to watch Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration next week could suffer hypothermia and frostbite in sub-zero conditions.

This winter has been one of the toughest in decades with temperatures today reaching as low as -38C in large areas of the Midwest and -40C in the coldest place. (Daily Mail)

Blasted Gore-effect is really going to hurt someone at this rate.

Gore’s church losing followers - In 1971, perhaps entertaining thoughts of entering the full-time ministry, Al Gore, raised in and baptized into the Southern Baptist Church, entered the Vanderbilt Divinity School.

His sojourn was relatively brief. In three semesters, he enrolled in eight classes. He received an “F” as his grade in five of those classes. So, having failed out of school, he entered the family business, which was politics. But he apparently never lost his desire to enter a ministry, and since he couldn’t make the grade in the conventional sense, he did the next best thing. He started his own religion.

The result was the Church of Global Warming. With Gore as its high priest, the church was not long in establishing tenets of faith, nor in immediately branding those who refused to worship there as apostate.

The tragedy is that Gore, in his tenure in the family business, learned well how to work the political system, and when he turned to evangelizing for his new church, he was able to effectively use what he learned as a politician to grant government sanction to that church, sanction that would have been vehemently opposed had he attempted to grant government sanction to the church in which he grew up. (Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News)

Prediction of the May 2009 UAH MSU Global Temperature Result - There are now 30 years of satellite data on global temperature. The graph below shows the University of Alabama Huntsville Microwave Sounding Unit (UAH MSU) results for the period 1978 to 2008.

See larger image here.

Examination of the record shows a change in character in 2001. Prior to that year, global temperatures tended to rise in a narrow band for a couple of years then have a relatively rapid fall. After 2001, temperatures tended to peak in January and then have a much wider annual range than previously. This is shown in the following graph:

See larger image here.

The above graph overlays the month to month results for the period 2002 to 2008, a total of seven years. The larger blue line is the average. For the last seven years, global temperature has tended to fall 0.3 of a degree between January and May, and then rise again to December. Departures from this are caused by El Nino and La Nina events. Just as the 2007 El Nino added 0.2C to the January 2007 result, the 2008 La Nina reduced temperatures in the first half of 2008 by 0.3C. The following figure shows the strength of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) which drives the formation of El Nino and La Nina events.

See larger image here.

Another large La Nina formed in late 2008. The combination of the annual pattern of temperature change and the current La Nina enables a short term forecast of the UAH MSU result to be made. The combination of a 0.3c response to the current La Nina and the usual 0.3C decline from January to May will result in a 0.6C decline to May 2009 to a result of -0.4C (0.4C below the long term average). See PDF here.

Let’s see if David can do better than the UKMO has done in recent years. UKMO is already talking a top 5 warmest 2009. (David Archibald, Icecap)

Divergence Between GISS and UAH since 1980 - Guest post by Steven Goddard

The GISS website shows the graph below, which indicates a steady, steep warming trend over the last 30 years. The monthly average anomaly for 2008 (0.44) is 0.26 degrees warmer than the monthly average anomaly for 1980 (0.18.) (Watts Up With That?)

GISS Divergence with satellite temperatures since the start of 2003 - By Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts

Some of the excellent readers of the last piece we posted on WUWT gave me an idea, which we are following up on here. The exercise here is to compare GISS and satellite data (UAH and RSS) since the start of 2003, and then propose one possible source of divergence between the GISS and satellite data. The reason that the start of 2003 was chosen, is because satellite data shows a rapid decline in temperatures starting then, and GISS data does not. The only exception to the downward trend was an El Nino at the start of 2007, which caused a short but steep spike. Remembering back a couple of years, Dr. Hansen had in fact suggested that El Nino might turn into a “Super El Nino” which would cause 2007 to be the “hottest year ever.”

The last six years (2003-2008) show a steep temperature drop in the satellite record, which is not present in the GISS data. Prior to 2003, the three trends were all close enough to be considered reasonably consistent, but over the last six years is when a large divergence has become very apparent both visually and mathematically. (Watts Up With That?)

Long-Range Transport of Anthropogenically and Naturally Produced Particulate Matter in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic: Current State of Knowledge by Kallos et al. 2007 - There is a valuable research paper that documents the important role of aerosols on weather and climate, with an emphasis on their transport across long distances. The paper, by an outstanding scientist at the University of Athens, is Kallos, G., M. Astitha, P. Katsafados, and C. Spyrou, 2007: Long-Range Transport of Anthropogenically and Naturally Produced Particulate Matter in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic: Current State of Knowledge. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 46, 1230–1251. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Debate flares over how to cut greenhouse gases - Attacking climate change through a complex greenhouse gas trading system is a centerpiece of the incoming Obama administration’s energy policy.

But economists and energy analysts of all ideological stripes are saying a better approach to getting a cleaner atmosphere might involve a political dirty word — tax. (Houston Chronicle)

Imaginary effects of imaginary warming... Slight changes in climate may trigger abrupt ecosystem responses - Some of these responses, including insect outbreaks, wildfire, and forest dieback, may adversely affect people as well as ecosystems and their plants and animals.

The U.S. Geological Survey led a new assessment of the implications of a warming world on "ecological thresholds" in North America. The report, which was commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and authored by a team of federal and academic climate scientists, is based on a synthesis of published scientific literature and addresses what research and steps are needed to help mitigate resulting effects.

An ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem that produces large, persistent and potentially irreversible changes. (USGS)

Report calls aerosol research key to improving climate predictions - Scientists need a more detailed understanding of how human-produced atmospheric particles, called aerosols, affect climate in order to produce better predictions of Earth's future climate, according to a NASA-led report issued by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program on Friday.

"Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts," is the latest in a series of Climate Change Science Program reports that addresses various aspects of the country's highest priority climate research, observation and decision-support needs. The study's authors include scientists from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Energy.

"The influence of aerosols on climate is not yet adequately taken into account in our computer predictions of climate," said Mian Chin, report coordinating lead author from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "An improved representation of aerosols in climate models is essential to more accurately predict the climate changes." (NASA/GSFC)

Poor Freddy... Greenwash: Tesco and its bizarre carbon accountancy - 'Carbon intensity' is the new gambit for companies trying to spruce up their green images

How can Tesco increase its carbon dioxide emissions by almost 400,000 tonnes, as it did in 2007, and still claim to be "setting an example" on climate change? Easy. By coming up with a bizarre test to demonstrate its carbon virtue.

The latest corporate responsibility report from Britain's biggest retailer admits to an 8.6% increase in its emissions in a single year, but says that it increased its "floor space" by 14%, so actually its carbon intensity "per square foot of net sales area" was down by 4.7%.

How does it get away with such a formulation? This is not, you will notice, carbon emissions per tonne of groceries sold, or even emissions per pound of our money handed over at the till. Just floor space. Why not "per Bangladeshi sweatshop worker" or "per migrant vegetable-picker working in Lincolnshire fields"? It would make about as much sense. (Fred Pearce, The Guardian)

... actually expects a nonsense like 'carbon accounting' to make sense. Bottom line, Freddy: the whole carbon freak show is a nonsense, with no relevance to anything but misanthropy.

George’s Aga Ga-Ga and the Heathrow Hoo-Haa - George Monbiot is a very confused man. A few days ago, he announced his campaign against the Aga cooker (because it uses lots of energy). This, he said ‘is indeed a class war’ - the Aga is an expensive piece of kit, and therefore, you have to be rather wealthy to own one. We thought he wasn’t entirely serious about this campaign, it was just a rather childish attempt to prove to his detractors at Spiked-Online that the Green movement wasn’t dominated by the upper classes. He might just as well have shot himself in the foot to prove that he wasn’t lame. (Climate Resistance)

Transcript available: Once Again Climate Debate Skeptics Sway Undecided Voters in Leading Debate Forum

NEW YORK, January 14, 2009— Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of its first debate of the Spring 2009 season, "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money." In a dramatic shift, 25% of the undecided vote sided with the motion by the end of the debate. In the final tally at the conclusion of the debate, a sold out audience at Symphony Space, New York City voted 42% for the motion and 48% against. Ten percent remained undecided.

Prior to the debate, the audience at Symphony Space, New York City voted 16% for the motion and 49% against. 35% were undecided.

The results echoed a similar outcome on the proposition, "Global warming is not a crisis," an Intelligence Squared US debate held on March 14, 2007. The Global Warming debate produced an initial vote tally of 29% for the motion and 57% against. At the conclusion of the debate, the vote margins had reversed with 46% for the motion and 42% against.

The "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money" debate will air on BBC World News March 7 and 8, 2009. The debate can be heard on NPR beginning January 21, 2009.

Speaking for the motion were Peter Huber, author of The Bottomless Well, Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It and The Skeptical Environmentalist, and scientist and Emeritus Professor from the University of London, Philip Stott.

L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2 and Adam Werbach, global chief executive officer at Saatchi & Saatchi S spoke against the motion.

John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News Nightline, moderated. (iq2)

Download transcript (.pdf) The "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money" debate will air on BBC World News March 7 and 8, 2009. The debate can be heard on NPR beginning January 21, 2009.

Mike Smith: Global Warming Doom, Gloom Haven't Occurred - For more than 20 years, we have been hearing doomsday predictions about global warming's effects on Kansas and across the world. Locally, during the hot Kansas summer of 2006, forecasts were issued and media articles written tying that hot, dry weather to global warming, and forecasting more extreme heat in the future.

According to one scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming in 2006 was already "kicking the heat up a notch."

But the weather has refused to cooperate with those forecasts.

More drought? The reality: 2007 and 2008 were the two wettest years in the history of Wichita. No area of Kansas is experiencing drought at the present time, in spite of all that hand-wringing just two years ago.

Extreme heat? The reality: The past two years, combined, had 21 fewer days than average with 90-degree or higher temperatures. Since 1990, there has been a downward trend in 100-degree or warmer temperatures in Wichita. (Wichita Eagle)

Perhaps we should ban it: Revealed: The cement that eats carbon dioxide - Cement, a vast source of planet-warming carbon dioxide, could be transformed into a means of stripping the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, thanks to an innovation from British engineers.

The new environmentally friendly formulation means the cement industry could change from being a "significant emitter to a significant absorber of CO2," says Nikolaos Vlasopoulos, chief scientist at London-based Novacem, whose invention has garnered support and funding from industry and environmentalists. (Alok Jha, The Guardian)

If this rotten product is going to steal the stuff of life from the atmosphere, that precious resource, carbon dioxide, perhaps we should impose international bans for the good of life everywhere.

New Ice Age maps point to climate change patterns - New climate maps of the Earth’s surface during the height of the last Ice Age support predictions that northern Australia will become wetter and southern Australia drier due to climate change.

An international consortium of scientists from 11 countries has produced the maps, which appear in this week’s issue of Nature Geoscience.

Dr Timothy Barrows of the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University was responsible for the Australian sector of the reconstruction.

“During the last Ice Age – around 20,000 years ago – sea surface temperature was as much as 10 degrees colder than present and icebergs would have been regular visitors to the southern coastline of Australia,” Dr Barrows said.

The temperature was estimated by measuring changes in abundance of tiny plankton fossils preserved on the sea floor, together with chemical analyses of the sediment itself.

“One of our major findings was that the continent’s mid latitudes (Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney) are very sensitive and experience the greatest climate change in and out of Ice Ages. This is where we should focus monitoring and look at past impacts of climate change.

“In contrast, the tropical areas (north of Brisbane) change very little, mostly less than 2 degrees.” (ANU)

Couple of points:

Firstly, yet again we see how ridiculous are claims of extreme tropical warming potential when the change from ice age to current interglacial involves a mere 2 kelvins change in the tropics -- the big change in 'warming' is really 'less-colding' as tropical and temperate zones expand polewards while ice ages involve frigid zones expanding toward the equator. There simply is no huge equatorial warming potential.

Secondly, note that the change from glacial to interglacial with its net 6-9 kelvins temperature change was concurrent with atmospheric carbon dioxide changes estimated as 200-280 ppmv. Under the IPCC's global warming potential formula that is virtually identical forcing (280-385 ppmv CO2 plus other gases, both pre and post Industrial Revolution changes equating to an additional forcing of ~1.8 Wm-2) for less than one-tenth the warming (0.4-0.8 kelvins since the Industrial Revolution). Even if atmospheric carbon dioxide is responsible for the temperature changes it is obvious the effect is almost exhausted and no great changes can be anticipated regardless of how much carbon dioxide might be added in the future.

This carbon dioxide thing is such a stupid game.

Sadly demonstrating what moonbats the Tories have become: Powering ahead: How the Tories have stolen a march on Labour with new energy policy - The Tories' new energy policies leave Labour looking like the Luddites they are – but there is still much to improve

You have to pinch yourself. Three years ago, when my book Heat was published, critics lined up to tell me that the plans it contained were "unfeasible", "unviable", "too expensive" and "politically impossible". Now these ideas, none of which were mine alone – such as a smart grid used to transmit information between appliances and electricity suppliers, offshore energy parks connected to the grid with high-voltage DC cables, universal grants for insulation, a low-carbon heat grid – have become so mainstream that they've been adopted as policy by the Conservative party. The theory of energy provision has changed beyond recognition since 2006. The practice is still stuck in the dark ages.

That the Conservatives, following the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, can outflank Labour so easily on this issue shows how attached the governing party has become to "sunk costs". By this I mean the lobbying power of companies which have already made their investments and want to squeeze every last drop out of them before they expire. (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

What an interesting world it is when the UK Socialists are more in touch with reality than are their Conservatives, who have been infected with the putrefaction of greenery and are rapidly decaying into the madness of ecotheism.

Government accused of "blackmailing" firms over emissions trading scheme - A number of the UK's leading firms have accused the government of blackmailing them into accepting conditions within the forthcoming Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) carbon trading scheme that will effectively punish those firms that procure green energy.

A investigation has learned that a number of the UK's most high-profile firms, including Asda, BT, B&Q, the Co-operative Group and Morrisons, are concerned about rules introduced as part of the CRC that will ensure that much of the renewable energy they use will be measured as having the same carbon footprint as electricity from the national grid.

They argue that consequently firms that procure energy from many renewable sources will not see the investment recognised through the carbon trading scheme, which is to come into full effect from next year and affect about 5,000 firms. (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)

'Get a grip, Geoff': Emma Thompson hits back at Hoon after he labels her Heathrow protest hypocritical - Emma Thompson has hit back at transport secretary Geoff Hoon today after he stuck the knife into the hypocrisy of celebrities who campaigned against the third runway at Heathrow.

The actress joined a motley crew of green activists in buying a patch of land next to the proposed runway, which will see an entire village wiped off the map.

But the straight-talking minister suggested that double Oscar-winner Miss Thompson, who jets to America for her acting work, had to examine her own behaviour. (Daily Mail)

"It's not against flying -- just a third runway in the face of climate change..."

Dumb as it gets: Clearing the air - Our addiction to cheap coal is under pressure as the climate debate rages and business tries to profit from alternatives.

WHEN Sydneysiders flick on the power, there's every chance some of the electricity has come from a couple of coal-guzzling power plants in the Hunter Valley.

Eraring power station's 200-metre-high chimneys tower over Lake Macquarie, while further west, the Bayswater station is set against beef and dairy country near Muswellbrook.

Drawing on the region's vast coal fields, these state-government owned giants share the title of biggest stations in the country, and supply about half the power in NSW.

They also have the dubious distinction of being among the country's biggest polluters, and are a hot spot for environmental protesters. After entering service in the 1980s, their drab grey chimneys spew out more than 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. That's equal to the emissions of 4.6 million cars. A US study last year said they were among the world's 100 biggest polluters, in a survey of some 50,000 stations.

Amid the growing concerns over climate change, one might assume these plants were fast becoming industrial relics from a bygone era. But just last year the State Government approved an expansion of the Eraring plant to shore up its dwindling power supply, further inflaming environmental tensions. (Clancy Yeates, Sydney Morning Herald)

Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas and magnificent resource. Most of the surface life in this planet is dependent on carbon dioxide's presence in the atmosphere. Alleged Greens want to restrict that essential resource and throttle life on Earth. So-called Greens are not life-friendly and they most certainly are not people-friendly, so why do well-meaning people fall for the misanthropists' propaganda?

Putin: Chevron's Man of the Year? - I don’t know what the situation is in other areas, but Chevron’s use-less-energy ads, launched last fall, are still thick and heavy in the DC area. Its campaign, dubbed “Will You Join Us?”, shows people promising to use their cars less and “unplug things more.” (Sam Kazman, CEI)

Moscow and Kiev strike fresh deal on gas - Russia and Ukraine on Sunday said that a resumption of gas supplies to Europe was imminent after they agreed the outline of a gas supply deal for this year.

The agreement, struck by Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Yulia Tymoshenko, his Ukrainian counterpart, calls for both sides to compromise on gas prices and transit tariffs, ending a bitter dispute that has caused severe gas supply disruptions in Europe for 12 days.

The European Union gave the deal a wary reception, underscoring the damage inflicted by the dispute on Russia’s reputation as an energy supplier and Ukraine’s reliability as a transit route. (Financial Times)

CHAD: Panic, outcry at government charcoal ban - N'DJAMENA, 16 January 2009 - A government ban on charcoal in the Chadian capital N’djamena has created what one observer called “explosive” conditions as families desperately seek the means to cook.

“As we speak women and children are on the outskirts of N’djamena scavenging for dead branches, cow dung or the occasional scrap of charcoal,” Merlin Totinon Nguébétan of the UN Human Settlements Programme (HABITAT) in Chad, told IRIN from the capital. “People cannot cook.”

“Women giving birth cannot even find a bit of charcoal to heat water for washing,” Céline Narmadji, with the Association of Women for Development in Chad, told IRIN.

Unions and other civil society groups say the government failed to prepare the population or make alternative household fuels available when it halted all transport of charcoal and cooking wood into the capital in December in a move, officials said, to protect the environment.

Charcoal is the sole source of household fuel for about 99 percent of Chadians, N’djamena residents told IRIN. (IRIN)

Coal’s Newest Friend - Yesterday I commented with a slightly raised eyebrow at comments made by Steven Chu, President-elect Obama’s choice to head DOE, on the future of coal. Dr. Chu’s comments seemed to reflect a much more conciliatory tone toward coal as a key part of America’s energy future. Today’s raised eyebrow comes after reading some comments by Henery Waxman, (D-CA), new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as reported in the E&E ClimateWire: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Crunching the Data: The Ten Most Coal-Reliant Countries - It’s easy to malign coal. And over the past few weeks, the news has been bad. A few days before Christmas, at a power plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, a huge holding pond failed. The resulting spill flooded some 300 acres with coal ash contaminated with a variety of heavy metals including arsenic, lead, barium, chromium and manganese. On December 29, James Hansen, the high-profile NASA scientist who is closely aligned with former vice president Al Gore on the issue of global warming, sent an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, in which he called coal-fired power plants “factories of death.”

While there’s no question that other sources of energy -- particularly nuclear and natural gas -- can provide large amounts of electric power and do so with far less carbon dioxide emissions and pollutants than coal, the problem remains one of scale. (Renewables are fine, but they cannot provide the baseload power and large quantities of power needed in the near term.) But there are significant financial, political, and structural constraints on those alternatives to coal. And those obstacles take us back to a familiar question: If not coal, then what?

A bit of data crunching from the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy yields a list of the most coal-reliant countries. And that list provides some hints as to why achieving a global carbon emissions reduction plan will be so difficult. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

WWF launches push to ban oil exploration in Norway's Arctic - The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and other environmental organisations on Saturday launched a campaign to ban oil exploration in the Lofoten Islands, a picturesque archipelago in Norway's Arctic.

"This campaign is aimed at telling the Norwegian government that it is not acceptable to open up this area to oil exploration," WWF spokesman Clive Tesar told AFP.

Norway is the world's fifth-biggest oil exporter, but it has seen its production decline since peaking in 2001 and no major discoveries have been made in recent years. (AFP)

Video: The 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition (Iowahawk)

But Who Will Drive Them? - The cornucopia of hybrid and electric vehicles showcased at the North American International Auto Show this week suggests that the nation’s automakers — domestic and transplanted — have finally acknowledged the need to deliver the fuel-efficient cars and trucks for a future of expensive gas and increasing environmental pressures.

But a big obstacle remains to the greening of American drivers: the price tag. With gas prices likely to remain low as consumers grapple with recession, drivers are going to need extra motivation to swap their gas gluttons for the novel, environmentally friendly cars and trucks. If the incoming Obama administration is serious about its commitment to boost the fuel efficiency of the American fleet, it must put in place a mix of policies, beyond tightening fuel-economy standards for carmakers, to steer drivers to the new cars. (New York Times)

On the  other hand they could do something sensible and leave it up to consumers to drive the market buy buying vehicles that suit the consumers needs rather than watermelons' fantasies.

Wind Farm Off Cape Cod Clears Hurdle - BOSTON — A federal agency said Friday that the nation’s first offshore wind farm, proposed for the waters off Cape Cod, posed no serious environmental threat, bringing it a major step closer to fruition.

Homeowners and boaters on the cape, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, have fought the project for eight years, saying it would hurt wildlife, fishing and tourism and spoil the beauty of Nantucket Sound.

Opponents have sued to stop the project, known as Cape Wind, and more challenges are certain, keeping the path to construction bumpy despite what supporters on Friday called a crucial victory.

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a group formed to fight the project, suggested that the Bush administration had unscrupulously rushed to approve it before President-elect Barack Obama takes office next week.

“They wanted some kind of a legacy,” said Audra Parker, the group’s executive director. “Cape Wind is far from a done deal, despite this favorable report.” (New York Times)

Congratulations to Winners of the 2008 Weblog Awards - BASED on 933,022 votes cast in 48 categories over seven days of voting winners of The 2008 Weblog Awards have now been announced.

Veteran political blogger, columnist and author, Andrew Sullivan, won the best blog beating the Huffington Post and others. Mr Sullivan’s blogs is hosted by the Atlantic magazine.

Climate change sceptic, Anthony Watts, won best Science blog. Mr Watts, and his team, focus on climate change issues and have a project auditing US weather stations which makes for great visuals and amazing reading.

I would also like to particularly congratulate Lubos Motl for winning best European blog and Tim Blair for winning best Australian blog. (Jennifer Marohasy)

Congratulations To Anthony Watts For His Well Deserved Recognition! - Anthony Watts has won the best science weblog for 2008; see The 2008 Weblog Awards Winners.

This is an appropriate and well deserved recognition of the importance of Anthony’s weblog Watts Up With That, which is providing a much needed discussion of climate science. We all should look forward to another year of accomplishments and issues from this outstanding website! (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

When employers determine fitness — fireman fired for diet failure - Remember the 280-pound fireman who was fired last summer because his bosses said his weight made him “unfit” for duty? The world’s strongest and fittest Olympic athletes proved that weight is no measure of fitness, making it clear to the world what his firing was really about. (Junkfood Science)

Government health officials decide it’s acceptable to bully fat children - A sickening development of the Department of Health’s Change4Life campaign to eradicate obesity and create a "lifestyle revolution" occurred this week. When public health officials learned that this misguided campaign was, not surprisingly, resulting in children being bullied, they decided that it was okay for the fat children to be bullied... (Junkfood Science)

What doctors are talking about with healthcare reform

If medicine becomes, as Nazi medicine did, the handmaiden of economics, politics or any force other than one that promotes the good of the patient, it loses its soul and becomes an instrument that justifies oppression and the violation of human rights. — Dr. Edmund D. Pelligrino, M.D., “The Nazi doctors and Nuremberg: Some moral lessons revisited,” 1997.

When it comes to the future of our healthcare, having both eyes open is especially critical. It’s easy to believe that the solutions to our anxieties about medical care are simple. It’s even easier to miss the profound unintended consequences for us when we look to solutions in the wrong places. (Junkfood Science)

My father's obesity made me into an anorexic: How a daughter's worry turned into an eating disorder - Emma adored her father but his constant gorging drove her to stop eating - and nearly killed her. (Daily Mail)

The things you can perk up with a cup of coffee - 'Danger from just seven cups of coffee a day," said the Daily Express on Wednesday. "Too much coffee can make you hallucinate and sense dead people, say sleep experts. The equivalent of just seven cups of instant coffee a day is enough to trigger the weird responses." The story appeared in almost every national newspaper.

This was weak observational data. That's just the start of our story, but you should know exactly what the researchers did. They sent an email inviting students to fill out an online survey, and 219 agreed. (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

Players love the game not the gore - The next time a loved one brandishes a virtual shotgun in their favorite video game, take heart. That look of glee, says a new study, likely stems from the healthy pleasure of mastering a challenge rather than from a disturbing craving for carnage.

Research to be published online January 16 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that, contrary to popular belief, violence does not make video games more enjoyable. The study by investigators at the University of Rochester and Immersyve Inc., a player-experience research firm, found that for many people, gore actually detracts from a game's "fun factor," decreasing players' interest and desire to purchase a game. When designing the next generation of video games, added the authors, developers should remember: blood does not help the bottom line. (University of Rochester)

The Films Are Green, but Is Sundance? - PARK CITY, Utah — If it were possible to cleanse the planet by watching a movie, this would be the place to do it.

IStill, a stroll here this week down Main Street — where a dozen idling trucks were unloading supplies and equipment, while an oversize band bus, with trailer in tow, spewed fumes outside a soon-to-be-busy party site — framed the obvious quandary: how can you cram some 46,000 people, roughly equivalent to a fifth of Hollywood’s total work force, into a pretty little mountain town without contributing mightily to the problems your films hope to solve?

The airlift alone should give pause to the likes of Mr. Udall, or to the makers of “No Impact Man,” a documentary about the effort by a New Yorker, Colin Beavan, and his family to live for a year without making a net environmental impact. (New York Times)

Torn Between Green Galas? At Least They’re a Walk Apart - IN Washington on Monday night, the giants of the environment and conservation movements will gather to celebrate the inauguration, but they will do it at two very different galas — with very different philosophies. (New York Times)

Passing The Torch Of National Safety - George W. Bush's administration achieved what few believed possible after 9/11 — a perfect record of keeping America safe. Will President Obama keep the streak going? (IBD)

Obama’s Green Team - We can expect a proliferation of new regulations that will reach into every area of American life and commerce.

What do President-elect Barack Obama’s leadership picks tell us about the kinds of energy and environmental policies we can expect in the next four to eight years? On balance, they suggest we are in for a radical shift away from George W. Bush’s pro-market policies and back to the aggressive regulatory approach favored by the Clinton administration. Let’s take a look at Obama’s prospective appointees. (Kenneth P. Green, The American)

More Than An Empty Suit? - CHURCHVILLE, VA—We elected a President we hardly knew. Barack Obama’s campaign team—and the mainstream press—told us only that we should feel “hopeful.”

Now we seem to be relying on this man to rebuild the U.S. economy almost from scratch. That’s highly unlikely. My former boss, Gary Seevers, was on Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisors, and before that a top official in Nixon’s wage-and-price-control effort. He told me that “neither the CEA nor government price-fixing ever had a chance to succeed. The economic data was too late and too weak, and the tools too flimsy.” Seevers ultimately put his faith in good incentives.

Obama himself was blind-sided by the sub-prime mortgage collapse, and his response was that he’d save the economy with a replay of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal public works projects. That meant he had no real rescue ideas. After all, U.S. unemployment was nearly 25 percent when Roosevelt was elected, and was still at 19 percent in 1938, after six years of Roosevelt’s “pump-priming.” Many of the public works weren’t badly needed, and they all took a long time to plan and pay out. Not until World War II did America finally rise out of the Depression.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still guaranteeing high-risk mortgages for poorly-qualified buyers, applauded by Barney Frank and the hard-left Democrats. Investment does not mean buying a house the buyer can’t afford. Investment means putting capital into your trucking firm or computer service company and then buying the big house after the business starts to earn income for you. Investment first, rewards second. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

Organic food tied to Puna Rat Lungworm outbreak -- more cases reported - Another case or Rat Lungworm disease has been diagnosed in the Kapoho-Kalapana area of Puna and more unreported cases have been revealed. The outbreak has been tied to organic farming. (Andrew Walden, Hawai`i Free Press)

January 16, 2009

Browner: Redder Than Obama Knows - Incoming White House energy-environment czar Carol Browner was recently discovered to be a commissioner in Socialist International. While that revelation has been ignored by the mainstream media and blithely dismissed by her supporters, you may soon be paying the cost of Browner’s political beliefs in your electricity bill. (Steven Millioy,

Obama’s anti-oil team - The president-elect is poised to hand environmental policy to people who want to punish petroleum

The environmental lobby is positively rapturous over Barack Obama’s new “Green Dream Team,” appointed to stomp out our carbon footprint. In sharp contrast to the president-elect’s relatively moderate — if not downright stale — picks for other cabinet posts, the green teamers are widely regarded as unwavering in their devotion to more stringent regulations and steeper taxes. To the extent they accomplish their goals, Canada will suffer as America’s foremost petroleum supplier and leading trading partner. (Diane Katz, Financial Post)

As part of our "looking at loonies" series: Dr. John P. Holdren

John P. Holdren is Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government and in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. He is the director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Center and board chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He will serve as the President’s science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology.

The videos are from a conference at the Kennedy School of Government in 2007. The title of the lecture is “Global Climate Disruption: What Do We Know, What Should We Do?” (By The Fault)

Jackson indicates resolve to move forward on carbon emission rules - President-elect Obama’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, said Wednesday that she would work alongside Congress in developing a plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions but that the process of combating global climate change could start at EPA.

The issue of EPA regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is a sensitive topic on Capitol Hill. Members of both parties have expressed nervousness at the prospect of being left out of a decision that will affect such a large swath of the economy, particularly during a downturn.

The U.S. Supreme Court found in Massachusetts v. EPA that the agency did have the power, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate carbon dioxide if it so chooses. A decision that finds carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to be a danger to the environment will “trigger the beginning of regulation in this country on CO2,” Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at her confirmation hearing.

That effort will require “extraordinary communication” between the administration and Congress on how to proceed, Jackson said.

Jackson said her initial priorities would be determined largely by court cases, like Massachusetts v. EPA, that have directed EPA to act. Other court rulings require action to cut sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions from power plants. (The Hill)

Inclusive Science - Because their specialized knowledge confers authority, climate scientists should make every effort to be accurate and complete when communicating to the public about the politically divisive issue of climate change. Unfortunately, there are several points where Alexander Bedritsky's thought-provoking article "Meteorology and the War on Climate Change" (Summer 2008) fails to do this.

Bedritsky states that "human activities are altering the climate at an increasingly alarming rate." However, according to data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the rate of planetary warming that was established in the mid-1970s has been remarkably constant, varying only slightly from 0.17°C per decade. (Patrick J. Michaels, Harvard International Review Fall 2008)

Go make money instead of looking for handouts ya lazy beggars! Companies Lay Out Wishes For U.S. Carbon Law - WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - A group of large U.S. companies, including the troubled Big Three automakers, on Thursday offered Congress a blueprint for greenhouse gas regulation with looser limits than President-elect Barack Obama has called for.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of 26 big companies and several environmental organizations, proposed reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 through an economy-wide cap-and-trade program.

"It will not be cheap and it will not be easy," said Jim Rogers, chief executive of electricity supplier Duke Energy Corp, the third-largest U.S. consumer of coal.

But Rogers and other CEOs from the group urged Congress to pass a new law this year, saying delays will cost the battered economy more in the long-term. (Reuters)

Sheesh! How did we decline to the point where captains of industry have been replaced by the foot soldiers of Socialism? Once American companies knew how it was done and that money was there for the making but this lot seem to be infected with European socialism and simply want to transfer wealth (from your pockets to theirs).

PIERS AKERMAN: Cold comfort - THE rift between members of the federal National Party and the federal Liberal Party over strategy to deal with the Rudd Labor Government's global warming policy should not be allowed to destroy the coalition's electoral hopes.

Senator Barnaby Joyce, who is openly derisive of the Ruddites embrace of the theory of human-induced global warming, is an absolutist. With good reason, he sees the government's planned emissions trading scheme as socialism run wild, as a new tax, and as a protectionist mechanism offered to those businesses who scramble to take up the offer of free emissions permits now.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, who opts for the "insurance'' approach to the theory of global warming advocated several years ago by global publisher Rupert Murdoch, believes it is prudent to give the planet "the benefit of the doubt''.

Nevertheless, he remains committed to the view that it is not smart for Australia to lock in a design for an emissions

trading system now, when the new US administration of Barack Obama has yet to be sworn in and before the major nations meet in Copenhagen to further debate the issue. He also has an eye on the big businesses most affected, mining and energy, which are agitating, as always, for some certainty - and for a chance to grab free permits now and lock out possible future competitors.

It's a pity big business doesn't have the same sympathy for the concerns of the conservative side of politics. It is sheer lunacy for Australia, which produces such a minuscule volume of so-called greenhouse gases to consider introducing a regimen which has been universally acknowledged as having absolutely no effect on even the theoretical effects of supposed global warming.

It is just as insane for Australia to propose a universal model for an ETS when it is a certainty that the incoming Obama administration, loaded as it is with environmental activists who have proclaimed strong positions on a cap-and-trade emissions scheme, will wish to play a lead role in the global development of an ETS. (Geelong Advertiser)

Junk Science on the Internet - A reporter just wrote me to ask for reactions to this new “analysis” by the good folks at DeSmogBlog, which reports that from 2007 to 2008 blog mentions of combinations of “global warming” plus terms like “hoax” and “lie” and “skeptic” have doubled, suggesting, according to DeSmogBlog,

a very significant upswing in online activity. This trend should be troubling to US policymakers and campaigners wanting to implement new greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

Here is my response:

I just searched “global warming” + pizza and came up with the following:

2007 — 11,168
2008 — 24,907

Maybe there is a connection with secret Domino’s funding? ;-)

Social science this is not.

All the best,


There is indeed a lot of junk on the internet. Be careful out there. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Record-breaking years in autocorrelated series - As Rafa has pointed out, E. Zorita, T. Stocker, and H. von Storch have a paper in Geophysical Research Letters,

How unusual is the recent series of warm years? (full text, PDF; see also abstract),

in which they claim that even if we consider temperature to be an autocorrelated function of time with sensible parameters, there is only 0.1% probability that the 13 hottest years in the list of 127 years (since 1880) appear in the most recent 17 years, much like they do in reality according to HadCRUT3/GISS stations.

If we add a non-autocorrelated noise, typical for local temperature data, the temperature readings become more random and a similar clustering of records becomes even less likely because the autocorrelation that keeps the probability of clustered records from becoming insanely low is suppressed. This matches the reality, too, because local weather records usually don't have that many record-breakers in the recent two decades.

What percentage of civilized planets shoot An Inconvenient Truth?

But after detailed simulations, I am confident that the main statement of their paper about the probability in the global context - 0.1% (that would strongly indicate that the recent warm years are unlikely to be due to chance) - is completely wrong. (The Reference Frame)

Hillary adopts W's climate policy? 'India need to be part of climate change agreement' - WASHINGTON: The US Secretary of State-designate, Hillary Clinton, has said countries including India must be made part of any agreement on climate change and announced that the Obama Administration would appoint a Climate Change Envoy for the purpose.

"As we move toward Copenhagen and attempt to craft a climate change agreement, all the major nations must be part of it. You know, China, India, Russia, and others, they have to be part of whatever agreement we put forth," Clinton said during the course of her nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. (Economic Times)

Actually what she's saying is there will be no climate agreement since India has already categorically refused to limit per capita emissions below that of Western nations (i.e., a many-times GHG emission increase).

Bush’s Climate Negotiator Joins House Republicans -- Harlan Watson, President George W. Bush’s chief negotiator on a global climate-change treaty, will join the Republican staff of a House committee on energy independence and global warming.

Watson, who works for the State Department, led the U.S. delegation’s discussions in Poland last year on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which called for industrial nations to curb greenhouse-gas emissions 5 percent from 1990 levels. The Bush administration opposed the treaty because it didn’t include emissions limits for developing nations such as China and India. (Bloomberg)

Interest in global warming cooling off - It looks a lot like someone hit the snooze button on North American action to address climate change. (Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun)

Back in Fantasia: Sun-Reflecting Crops Could Ease Global Warming - LONDON - Farmers could help produce cooler temperatures and limit global warming if they grow crop varieties that reflect more sunlight into space, British researchers said on Thursday.

Using a global climate model, they found this strategy could cool much of Europe, North America and parts of North Asia by up to one degree Celsius during the summer growing season, enough to make a difference in easing heat waves and drought.

It would also translate into a 20 percent reduction in a predicted five degree Celsius temperature rise for the region by the end of the century, Andy Ridgwell and colleagues said in the journal Current Biology. (Reuters)

By the way Andy, there is no "predicted five degree Celsius temperature rise", that's merely an extreme scenario generated by a computer model (the most extreme of the IPCC's infamous 'storylines').

Coalition to lay out greenhouse-gas plan today - The most detailed proposal yet by industry and environmentalists to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will call for raising the costs of new coal plants and rewarding nations for protecting forests.

Rio Tinto Group, General Electric Co. and U.S. power producers will present the plan today to a congressional committee and recommend “urgent” action, according to a copy of the report by the 32-member coalition obtained by Bloomberg News.

CO2 Emissions From IT Sector A Growing Concern - As global warming concerns move beyond conventional targets such as aviation, heavy industry and coal plants, the computing sector is falling under growing scrutiny over total energy consumption and CO2 emissions from data centers.

Indeed, analysts say the information and communication technology (ICT) now contributes 2 percent of global carbon emissions, and has grown to rival aviation in its contribution to global warming.

"(The computing) industry has been profligate in electrical activity. No one cared about CO2 over the last 10 years. Suddenly people care about it, the availability of electricity is now a limiting factor," said Simon Mingay, a chief analyst at Gartner Inc., during an interview with Reuters.

Analysts project the ICT sector will grow its carbon emissions by 6 percent annually, twice the 3 percent growth seen in the aviation sector, according to a 2008 International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. The ICT sector growth is being driven by insatiable demand for computing hardware, software and services. (redOrbit)

Shame on you, Discover Magazine - Discover magazine’s January “The Year In Science” issue contains an interview with Robert Proctor, a professor or history at Stanford University. The Author is Michael Abrams. Proctor’s new specialty is “agnotology,” a term he coined for “the study of the politics of ignorance.” This is all well and fine - he has a lot of raw material to work with since there is an abundance of ignorance to be studied in this world.

In a previous incarnation Professor Proctor gained fame as the first historian to testify against the tobacco industry. As a student of the history of science, Proctor should know something about the relationship between philosophy, logic and science. He should know something about the logical fallacy commonly known as “hasty generalization.” But he engages in an egregious example of this when he says:

“…in terms of sowing doubt, certainly global warming in a famous one. You know, the global warming denialists who for years have managed to say ‘Well, the cause is not proven. We need more research.’ And what’s interesting is that a lot of the people working on that were also the people working on Big Tobacco.” (Climate Sanity)

Guest Weblog By Madhav Khandekar - There is an article in Science [H/T to W. F. Lenihan!] Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat David. S. Battisti and Rosamond L. Naylor Science 9 January 2009: 240-244.

The abstract of this article reads: “Higher growing season temperatures can have dramatic impacts on agricultural productivity, farm incomes, and food security. We used observational data and output from 23 global climate models to show a high probability (>90%) that growing season temperatures in the tropics and subtropics by the end of the 21st century will exceed the most extreme seasonal temperatures recorded from 1900 to 2006. In temperate regions, the hottest seasons on record will represent the future norm in many locations. We used historical examples to illustrate the magnitude of damage to food systems caused by extreme seasonal heat and show that these short-run events could become long-term trends without sufficient investments in adaptation.”

An excellent weblog by Pat Michaels on this Science paper is also worth reading (see).

Madhav Khandekar has e-mailed me on this article, and graciously accepted my invitation to post as a guest weblog his insightful comments on this paper. Dr. Khandekar is an Environmental Consultant (extreme weather events) and worked for 25 years with Environment Canada in Meteorology. His weblog follows. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Fish poop helps balance ocean's acid levels - The ocean's delicate acid balance may be getting help from an unexpected source, fish poop.

The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere not only drives global warming, but also raises the amount of CO2 dissolved in ocean water, tending to make it more acid, potentially a threat to sea life.

Alkaline chemicals like calcium carbonate can help balance this acid. Scientists had thought the main source for this balancing chemical was the shells of marine plankton, but they were puzzled by the higher-than-expected amounts of carbonate in the top levels of the water.

Now researchers led by Rod W. Wilson of the University of Exeter in England report in the journal Science that marine fish contribute between 3 percent and 15 percent of total carbonate.

And the contribution may be even higher than that, say the researchers from the U.S., Canada and England. (Associated Press)

Pick a Number - Any Number - Worldwatch, which aims to ‘empower decision makers to build an ecologically sustainable society that meets human needs’ have upped the stakes:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - To avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, world carbon emissions will have to drop to near zero by 2050…

The increase now being demanded by Worldwatch pretends to have a rational, scientific basis… (Climate Resistance)

Depressed Carbon Prices To Have Ripple Effects - LONDON - Tumbling prices for emissions permits may have knock-on effects on the world's $120 billion carbon market, including a slowing of U.N. offset supplies and a shake out in green project developers.

Carbon offsets traded under the Kyoto Protocol and used by European industry to meet carbon caps, representing a $32 billion market last year, have not escaped the global economic downturn, more than halving 2-year highs hit last summer.

That came on the back of weak energy prices, increased selling of credits by cash-strapped firms and an anticipated drop in emissions from muted European industrial production. (Reuters)

Given that they are worth exactly nothing...

Schwarzenegger's bid to suspend environmental rules in budget talks irks longtime allies - SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Like any head of state managing a severe budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has withstood criticism from all the usual suspects — lawmakers from both parties, anti-tax groups, advocates for the poor.

Now he's feeling heat from a group that has been among his staunchest allies: environmentalists.

As Schwarzenegger and lawmakers struggle to contain a ballooning deficit, he has insisted that any budget deal include a provision suspending state environmental review for certain public works projects.

The governor said that would fast-track infrastructure projects and put Californians back to work quickly. He said his proposal would accelerate construction on 10 road projects around the state, noting at a recent news conference: "It's about jobs, jobs, jobs."

His demand has been one of the main sticking points in budget negotiations that so far have failed to produce a solution to the state's deficit, despite three special legislative sessions. California's shortfall is expected to reach nearly $42 billion by June 2010 unless lawmakers act to close it.

Last week, Schwarzenegger vetoed a Democratic budget proposal, in part because it lacked the environmental rollbacks he and many in the business community desire. (Associated Press)

As if you hadn't been warned not to ever let this nonsense creep into the books even when times are good and it can be viewed as a tolerable waste cost. Don't do it because it is very hard to get rid of when sacrificial surplus is not available. Misanthropic environmentalism is a luxury good and must be expunged from the legislature.

Transport Can Help Propel World To Greener Future - TOKYO - Shipping, airlines and road transport need to clean up their emissions and help drive governments toward policies to fight global warming, a top U.N. official said on Thursday.

The transport sector accounts for more than 20 percent of mankind's carbon dioxide emissions, and further growth is likely given rising demand for cars, goods and travel in developing countries.

Transport will also be a key part of a broader U.N. climate pact about 190 nations will try to agree on at the end of the year during talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. (Reuters)

Paulson on Energy Rationing - Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson took time out of his busy schedule wasting 700 billion dollars of taxpayer money (and thereby turning a credit crisis into a depression) to speak at Resources for the Future on Monday afternoon on the subject of how markets can address climate change and other environmental problems. (Myron Ebell, CEI)

Energy Bubble, Anyone? - Henry Waxman Gives Public a Look at the Corporate-Congressional Alliance that Threatens to Raise Energy Prices in Pursuit of Private Profit

Washington, DC - Thursday’s first hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee since Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) ousted Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chairman is drawing criticism from the National Center for Public Policy Research, which says the hearing illustrates how powerful corporate interests are working with influential special interests and with the liberal majority in Congress to use government to enhance private profits at great cost to economic growth and liberty. (National Center)

Groups sue BLM over oil and gas leases - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A coalition of environmental groups is suing the Bureau of Land Management.

They claim the agency violated several federal laws and policies in granting oil and gas leases on more than 68,000 acres of public land in New Mexico.

The lawsuit was filed today in federal court by the Western Environmental Law Center, which filed a similar lawsuit in Montana last month. (Associated Press)

Coal Industry Digs Itself Out of a Hole in the Capitol - Support From EPA, Energy Nominees Signals Obama Team Headed Toward Center on Matter of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Emissions

WASHINGTON -- Big Coal is on a roll in the nation's capital, winning early rounds this week in what promises to be a long fight over fossil fuels and climate change.

Despite a well-funded ad campaign by environmentalists attacking the industry, and a huge coal-ash spill in Tennessee that has led to calls for more regulation, the industry has received positive assurances this week from President-elect Barack Obama's nominees that the new administration is committed to keeping coal a big part of the nation's energy source.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama's choice to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, described coal to a Senate panel as "a vital resource" for the country. A day earlier, Mr. Obama's nominee to run the Energy Department, physicist Steven Chu, referred to coal as a "great natural resource." Two years ago, he called the expansion of coal-fired power plants his "worst nightmare." (Wall Street Journal)

Eastern Europe Faces Freezing Temperatures and Russian Gas Cut-Off - With freezing temperatures across most of Europe, there was heated anger, especially in Eastern Europe on Wednesday, about the suspension in natural gas deliveries from Russia through Ukraine. The gas crisis comes at a difficult time for leading politicians, especially in Bulgaria, where some 2,000 people demanded the government's resignation on Wednesday over allegations of corruption.

The shortages of natural gas from Russia added to anger of protesters who braved the cold in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, to demand the resignation of the country's Socialist-led government. (VOA)

Gas Shutdown Shows Need for Europe Energy Cartel: Matthew Lynn -- It is a freezing winter. Temperatures have dropped right across Europe. Even Madrid’s Barajas Airport was plunged into chaos by snowfalls, the first flakes the Spanish capital has had for four years.

In the midst of that, Russian energy company OAO Gazprom is playing politics with the continent’s gas supplies.

For the past week, a dispute with Ukraine over the shipment of gas through its pipelines has threatened energy shortages in Europe. The European Union managed to negotiate a compromise that got the power flowing again yesterday. Even so, Russia’s ability to turn the power on and off has been demonstrated again. (Bloomberg)

Russia divides Europe with gas crisis summit - Russia has called a gas crisis summit that will cut out the European Union.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President, has invited countries hit by the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute to a meeting planned for Saturday. But he conspicuously failed to mention the EU. (Daily Telegraph)

The Nuclear Option: European Gas Dispute Gives Nukes Fresh Legs - Just when it seemed the Russia-Ukraine natural-gas dispute was solved, tempers flared again Wednesday. Europe is still the big loser, as Russian gas still isn’t flowing across Ukraine and to the West. The big winner? Nuclear power. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

Germans to invest £20bn in new UK nuclear plants - Germany's two largest power companies joined forces yesterday and announced an ambitious plan to build at least four nuclear reactors in the UK at an estimated cost of £20 billion. (The Times)

Michael McCarthy: Gordon Brown doesn't get climate change - At a stroke Gordon Brown destroys his environmental credibility and that of his Government. His sanctioning of Heathrow's third runway with the huge leap in the UK's greenhouse gas emissions that will be consequent upon it will be seen as one of his premiership-defining decisions, on a par with his failure to call an election in October 2007. It will come back to haunt him.

It is very likely that in pushing this through, Mr Brown has been strongly influenced by his New Best Friend, the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, whom he brought back into the Cabinet, and who is strongly aligned with the business case for expanding Heathrow and the aviation sector as a boost to Britain's future economic performance.

But the Prime Minister of course has a mind of his own, and he would not have agreed to such a controversial measure if he did not at heart agree with it himself. And what his decision now proves beyond doubt is what many environmentalists and not a few politicians (including some of those close to him) have long suspected – that Mr Brown does not really "get" climate change, in the way that, for example, Tony Blair clearly did. (The Independent)

Heathrow gets third runway and sixth terminal in £9bn deal - The biggest airport expansion for 60 years will be approved today when the Government gives the go-ahead to a £9 billion third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

Ministers will attempt to appease environmental groups by pledging that the extra runway capacity will be linked to tough new emissions standards for aircraft. Only airlines that buy the most fuel-efficient aircraft will be granted additional slots.

However, the aviation industry is already committed to introducing more efficient aircraft and the runway is likely to be heavily used as soon as it opens in 2019 or 2020. An extra 600 flights a day will pass over London and tens of thousands of extra cars will add to congestion on roads near the airport, including the M4 and M25. (The Times)

Biofuel carbon footprint not as big as feared, research says - Publications ranging from the journal Science to Time magazine have blasted biofuels for significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, calling into question the environmental benefits of making fuel from plant material. But a new analysis by Michigan State University scientists says these dire predictions are based on a set of assumptions that may not be correct. (Michigan State University)

Scientists find clean method of making fuel from manure - A university professor and a corporate research group have jointly developed technology to produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells from cattle dung and urine for the first time in the world.

The new technology used by Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Prof. Junichi Takahashi and Sumitomo Corp.'s research group also can be applied to human waste and allows the production of hydrogen without producing unwanted carbon dioxide.

The research may pave the way for the eventual development of household "toilet generators."

In the process, cattle dung and urine first need to be fermented under oxygen-free conditions to extract ammonia, which is then electrolyzed into hydrogen and nitrogen. The hydrogen is then fed into a fuel cell along with oxygen, where the two react to produce electricity.

Takahashi and the group spent about 2 million yen to build an experimental apparatus, which measures 2 meters by 1 meter, that produces hydrogen from fermented animal waste. Using the device in conjunction with a fuel cell, they successfully produced 0.2 watt of electricity from about 20 kilograms of cattle waste. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

That's 1kW/100mt cattle waste... I'm not sure what the dry weight of 100 metric tons of cattle waste would be but I strongly suspect burning it would yield something rather more than 1 kilowatt.

Unsettling observation - Remember how that fictitious claim of an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children that had been published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, went uncontested for years? In fact, four years later, the journal has yet to issue a correction or publish a letter pointing out the glaring methodological flaws in that paper.


It’s hard to know what is most troubling: the fact these articles are being published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, or that licensed medical professionals caring for children haven’t noticed anything amiss with the science. (Junkfood Science)

Children are not ferrets and other fallacies of logic - If you are a ferret, sticking your nose into a jar of Vicks VapoRub might make your nose run a little and irritate your sinuses.

At least that’s what we can safely conclude from a recent study on 15 ferrets. The ferrets were anesthetized and intubated. Some Vicks VapoRub had been put on the end of their endotracheal tube. Their mucociliary function was measured and found to be decreased 35% over controls and the mucous secretions increased 14% in the healthy ferrets and 8% in the ones who had their tracheas artificially inflamed. The ointment did not lead to any increase in lung congestion.

This study was conducted by pediatricians at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was published, not in a veterinary journal, but in Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

While few people have ferrets and children are not ferrets, why is this study being mentioned at all? It has been used to support hundreds of news stories this week scaring parents that VapoRub is dangerous and could hurt their kids. (Yes, there was a press release.) At MSNBC, for instance, readers don’t learn until eleven paragraphs into the story that “the new study” behind the “warning issued for parents” was done on ferrets. (Junkfood Science)

A look to the future of obesity and wellness care in the news - Transitions can be unsettling when we don’t know what to expect, but the picture for public health is becoming clearer with the latest news.

Health and Human Services Secretary-Designate Tom Daschle spoke to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week, outlining the public health priorities for the upcoming Administration. Tim Foley at Healthcare Change Organization summarized his key goals for reform: change the focus to preventive wellness; establish a national health electronic database and interoperable health IT system; and fund a National Health Services Corp to mobilize all healthcare professionals (“all hands on deck”). Daschle ended his talk with a battle cry calling to make wellness part of the culture in everything from education to health, saying: “We need to make wellness cool, and prevention hot.” (Junkfood Science)

Zealots advancing on all fronts - The striking figure in Sandy’s analysis of the Third Hand Smoking myth is that within a week half a million stories appeared around the globe reporting as a scientific fact something that had simply been invented, without any attempt at producing scientific evidence: indeed, something that is contrary to the very laws of science. In a cooling world, despite huge amounts of contrary evidence, the imagined evils of carbon are propagated with ever increasing ferocity. The crescendo in the suppression-of-alcohol campaign continues unabated and as fast as junk statistics are debunked they are reinvented. The obesity brigade is as ruthless as any of them in fabricating stories with no scientific basis; frightening people into conformity. (Number Watch)

Sometimes NYT still gets it right: Where Sweatshops Are a Dream - Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children. (Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times)

Zealots advancing on all fronts - The striking figure in Sandy’s analysis of the Third Hand Smoking myth is that within a week half a million stories appeared around the globe reporting as a scientific fact something that had simply been invented, without any attempt at producing scientific evidence: indeed, something that is contrary to the very laws of science. In a cooling world, despite huge amounts of contrary evidence, the imagined evils of carbon are propagated with ever increasing ferocity. The crescendo in the suppression-of-alcohol campaign continues unabated and as fast as junk statistics are debunked they are reinvented. The obesity brigade is as ruthless as any of them in fabricating stories with no scientific basis; frightening people into conformity. (Number Watch)

Sometimes NYT still gets it right: Where Sweatshops Are a Dream - Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children. (Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times)

USDA unable to weed out unapproved modified foods - WASHINGTON - The U.S. food supply is at risk of being invaded by unapproved imports of genetically modified crops and livestock, a USDA internal audit report released Wednesday said.

The report, released by the U.S. Agriculture Department's Office of Inspector General, said the USDA does not have an import control policy to regulate imported GMO animals.

Its policy for GMO crops, though adequate now, could become outdated as other nations boost production of their own GMO crops, the report added. (Reuters)

Free-range chickens are more prone to disease - Chickens kept in litter-based housing systems, including free-range chickens, are more prone to disease than chickens kept in cages, according to a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. (BioMed Central)

January 15, 2009

All In - It is a bit early in the year to staking out a position in the race for boneheaded move of the year in the climate wars, but NASA GISS has done just that but doubling down on its prediction that 2009 or 2010 will be the warmest on record. One might think that the surprising 2008 global temperatures (i.e., surprising to folks making short-term predictions at least) would motivate some greater appreciation for uncertainty. Not so. Here is what NASA GISS says:

. . . in response to popular demand, we comment on the likelihood of a near-term global temperature record. Specifically, the question has been asked whether the relatively cool 2008 alters the expectation we expressed in last year’s summary that a new global record was likely within the next 2-3 years (now the next 1-2 years). . . Given our expectation of the next El Niño beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

New fraud detection website (Niche Modeling)

Final digit and the possibility of a cheating GISS - David Stockwell has analyzed the frequency of the final digits in the temperature data by NASA's GISS led by James Hansen, and he claims that the unequal distribution of the individual digits strongly suggests that the data have been modified by a human hand.

With Mathematica 7, such hypotheses take a few minutes to be tested. And remarkably enough, I must confirm Stockwell's bold assertion although - obviously - this kind of statistical evidence is never quite perfect and the surprising results may always be due to "bad luck" or other explanations mentioned at the end of this article.

Update: Steve McIntyre disagrees with David and myself and thinks that there's nothing remarkable in the statistics. I confirm that if the absolute values are included, if their central value is carefully normalized, and the anomalies are distributed over just a couple of multiples of 0.1 °C, there's roughly a 3% variation in the frequency of different digits which is enough to explain the non-uniformities below. However, one simply obtains a monotonically decreasing concentration of different digits and I feel that they have a different fingerprint than the NASA data below. But this might be too fine an analysis for such a relatively small statistical ensemble.

This page shows the global temperature anomalies as collected by GISS. It indicates that the year 2008 (J-D) was the coldest year in the 21st century so far, even according to James Hansen et al., a fact you won't hear from them. But we will look at some numerology instead. (The Reference Frame)

Is the GISS temperature index fraudulent? (Bishop Hill)

Distribution analysis suggests GISS final temperature data is hand edited - or not (Watts Up With That?)

Should RSS correct their lower troposphere satellite data? - Dr Fred Singer’s, SEPP Science Editorial (copied below) #1-09 (1/3/09) in “The Week That Was” (TWTW), address’s the issue of the difference between University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) [Christy and Norris, 2006] and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) (Mears and Wentz 2005) MSU lower troposphere (LT) temperature data[1979-2007].

Dr Singer refers to the Heartland Institute publication which he edited, “Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate”, where Fig’s 9a and 9b seen below, indicate the effect of the hypothetical correction that is required in the RSS data. (Warwick Hughes)

Critique of Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) article in “The Age” newspaper, Melbourne 6th October 2008, titled “Our hot, dry future” - My main criticism of the article is that the BoM relies on Melbourne CBD rain data to back up their regional conclusions regarding “climate change” and drought, while the rainfall history is in fact affected by the growing urban heat island. Melbourne Regional Office 86071 (MRO), a weather station in Melbourne’s CBD is (a) excluded from their own High Quality (HQ) dataset and (b) shows a negative trend of 90mm (a stunning 13% of mean annual rain) over the last 153 years when compared to the nearest HQ station, Yan Yean 35 km NNW. So much of what they say in “Our hot, dry future”, is slanted by this amount, no wonder I am critical of much that the BoM publishes. (Warwick Hughes)

Climate Debate Skeptics Once Again Sway Undecided Vote in Leading Debate Forum

NEW YORK, NY -- 01/14/09 -- Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of its first debate of the Spring 2009 season, "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money." In a dramatic shift, 25% of the undecided vote sided with the motion by the end of the debate. In the final tally at the conclusion of the debate, a sold out audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 42% for the motion and 48% against. Ten percent remained undecided.

Prior to the debate, the audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 16% for the motion and 49% against. 35% were undecided.

The results echoed a similar outcome on the proposition, "Global warming is not a crisis," an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held on March 14, 2007. The Global Warming debate produced an initial vote tally of 29% for the motion and 57% against. At the conclusion of the debate, the vote margins had reversed with 46% for the motion and 42% against.

The "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money" debate will air on BBC World News March 7 and 8, 2009. The debate can be heard on NPR beginning January 21, 2009.

Speaking for the motion were Peter Huber, author of "The Bottomless Well," Bjorn Lomborg, author of "Cool It" and "The Skeptical Environmentalist," and scientist and Emeritus Professor from the University of London, Philip Stott.

L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, Oliver Tickell, author of "Kyoto2," and Adam Werbach, global chief executive officer at Saatchi & Saatchi S, spoke against the motion.

John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' "Nightline," moderated. (Marketwire)

No CFLs in Sweden? Sweden to ban mercury - Mercury is to be banned in Sweden starting June 1st, environment minister Andreas Carlgren has announced.

The ban prohibits products containing the heavy metal from being brought to market in Sweden.

“Mercury is now dead and buried,” Carlgren said.

The actual decision is set to be taken by the government when it meets on Thursday.

In addition to a ban on products containing mercury, the prohibition also means the substance can no longer be used in manufacturing or dentistry. (The Local)

Letter of the moment: Global government - I was in the room in The Hague in November 2000 when then-French President Jacques Chirac hailed the Kyoto Protocol, or "global warming" treaty, as "the first component of an authentic global governance." Then-European Union Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom seconded the sentiment when she told London's Independent that Kyoto was "not about whether scientists agree" but instead "about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide."

In truth, and as Europe is proving, its rhetorical bluster notwithstanding, no free society would do to itself what the Kyoto agenda requires. Hence the increased claims that this issue "is too important to be left to democracy." Once a group of our betters is empowered to determine our energy - and therefore economic, sovereignty and national security - concerns, this crowd get its way.

Kyoto, of course, was negotiated while Carol M. Browner led the Environmental Protection Agency - and with her participation despite unanimous Senate instruction against doing so. Her position with Socialist International reminds us precisely why a radical like Mrs. Browner has had a position created for her, so as to avoid disclosure and Senate scrutiny, to lord over actual, Senate-confirmed Cabinet officials. Taxpayer representatives should not approve funds for such a position unless and until they receive an honest accounting of the agenda and its champions' activities.
Senior fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington (Washington Times)

Political Climate - Incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells the Senate that global warming "threatens our very existence" and she'll shape a foreign policy to fight it. Pardon us, but remember Iran and the nukes?

Clinton pledged during her confirmation hearing Tuesday that reaching another deal like the 1997 Kyoto Accord would be one of her highest priorities.

"America must be a leader in developing and implementing a global and coordinated response to climate change," she told the Senate Foreign Relations panel, even as conflict continues in Gaza, war rages in Afghanistan and the nuclear clock ticks in Tehran.

She praised the incoming chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as "among the very first in a growing chorus from both parties to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat."

"At the extreme it (climate change) threatens our very existence. But well before that point, it could well incite new wars of an old kind over basic resources — like food, water and arable land," she said.

But the real likely result of a warmer planet would be increased plant life from more CO2 — the basis of all life on earth — and longer growing seasons.

Ironically, it is environmentalists, with their passion for biofuels, who insist on using food in our gas tanks, raising food prices, consuming arable land, polluting our water through farm runoff and promoting world hunger.

Even so, Kerry told her, "The resounding message from the recent climate change conference in Poland was that the global community is looking overwhelmingly to our leadership."

Clinton's sense of urgency on climate change wasn't so apparent during the 1990s, when she was arguably President Clinton's top adviser. Even with Al Gore warning that Earth hung in the balance, Clinton never submitted the original Kyoto pact for ratification by the Senate. (IBD)

Obama to give extra push to climate talks: U.N. official - TOKYO - Barack Obama will give fresh momentum to talks for a new global pact to fight global warming, although countries still need to clear up issues such as funding for developing nations, a top U.N. official said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

And we believe he should give them a huge push... right off a cliff.

Obama's green inaugural footprint - ... Not everyone's buying it, though.

"We've had the Christmas season, and it appears we're entering the silly season with efforts by many to look as if they're saving the environment when they're really not doing anything but engaging in feel-good politics," said Brian Darling of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "In reality, this whole inaugural is going to have a massive carbon footprint."

Darling expects to see far more gas-guzzling SUVs than bikes as people head to inaugural balls. (WGNO)

Diplomat: Continuity, not change, will shape Obama's foreign policy - Brussels - Europe should expect continuity, rather than change, from president-elect Barack Obama on key foreign-policy issues such as Iran, the Middle East and missile defence, the United States' outgoing ambassador to the European Union said Tuesday. And on climate change, one of the most crucial issues on this year's global agenda, Obama will likely echo his predecessor's insistence that any deal should also include India, Brazil and China, Ambassador Kristen Silverberg said. (DPA)

Japanese Report Disputes Human Cause for Global Warming - Researchers debate each other in new study; most disagree greenhouse gases are the cause. (Michael Asher, Daily Tech)

Expert: Seas to rise at varying rates under global warming - Sea levels will rise at varying rates around the world because of a quirk of the earth's gravity linked to global warming, according to a latest study by David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey as quoted by media reports Wednesday.

"Everyone thinks sea level rises the same around the world," David Vaughan, a leading glaciologist, said at the Rothera Base on the Antarctic Peninsula. "But it doesn't".

Rises could vary by tens of centimetres from region to region if seas gain by an average of one metre by 2100 as temperatures rise, he said. (Xinhua)

The Ice Age Cometh: Experts Warn of Global Cooling - 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' segment dismisses manmade global warming theory -- 'effects of greenhouse gas have a small impact on climate change.' (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

What a crime! Carbon capture put to the test in NSW - NSW is about to find out whether it will be able to capture greenhouse gas emissions from its coal-fired power stations and store them underground.

Drilling began on Monday to see if the rock 800 metres under the Central Coast can handle having thousands of tonnes of liquefied carbon dioxide pumped into it each week.

It is yet to be proved that carbon capture and storage, in which carbon dioxide fumes from power stations are compressed and cooled on-site before being buried, will work on a large scale in Australia. Most environmental groups and some in the coal industry think it will not become effective in time to help slow climate change. (Sydney Morning Herald)

A huge waste of energy to deny the biosphere the stuff of life. How stupid does it get?

Oh boy... The Human Factor: Understanding the Sources of Rising Carbon Dioxide -- Every time we get into our car, turn the key and drive somewhere, we burn gasoline, a fossil fuel derived from crude oil. The burning of the organic materials in fossil fuels produces energy and releases carbon dioxide and other compounds into Earth's atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat in our atmosphere, warming it and disturbing Earth's climate. (

Green panic? Plant life not a villain in methane emissions debate -- A comprehensive investigation of plant emissions led by University of South Australia molecular biologist Dr Ellen Nisbet has put pay to the assertion that plants are producing and releasing large quantities of methane into the environment. (

What a bizarre write up. Does it matter whether it is the tropical forests or the wetlands beneath them that create the methane subsequently released to the atmosphere? Or whether plants are the source or merely the agent transferring methane to atmosphere?

“At a time when people are so concerned about the environment and the problem of global warming, any assertion that plants could be responsible for an increase in methane was really alarming,” Dr Nesbit said. Why? Overgrown weeds need to be protected from bad press to avoid harm to their self esteem? Weird.

Nations that sow food crops for biofuels may reap less than previously thought - Global yields of most biofuels crops, including corn, rapeseed and wheat, have been overestimated by 100 to 150 percent or more, suggesting many countries need to reset their expectations of agricultural biofuels to a more realistic level.

That's according to a study led by Matt Johnston and Tracey Holloway of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Jon Foley of University of Minnesota, which drew on actual agricultural data from nearly 240 countries to calculate the potential yields of 20 different biofuels worldwide.

The analysis, publishing today (Jan. 13) in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters, indicates the biofuels production potential in both developing and developed countries has often been exaggerated. Why? Because current yield estimates, most of which are based on data from the United States and Europe, don╒t account for local differences in climate, soils, technology and other factors that influence agricultural outputs. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Wrong question, as always: Is combating climate change worth the cost? - It's a topic that is likely to come up more and more after President-elect Barack Obama moves into the White House next week. Obama has said that preventing and reversing global warming will be a top priority in his administration—a change from the previous administration's stance that voluntary efforts would be enough—likely through a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme.

Under that type of program, the government sets a cap or overall level for pollution and polluters can trade licenses to pollute to keep within their levels. But opponents of such a scheme note that such a move would ultimately drive up energy costs, because power plant owners will pass along to consumers the costs of staying within the mandatory limits.

So is preventing climate change worth that price, estimated by some to be as much as 1 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP)? (David Biello, SciAm)

While framing the question wrongly there is no hope of ever getting the right answer. The actual question is: is it worth throwing any money at all at the totally unachievable?

Now, before anyone starts on pie-in-the-sky claims about climate sensitivity and our ability to influence climate this is all entirely irrelevant. Why? Because we will never get any agreement over what constitutes the "correct" climate even if we could change it. There is no universally optimal climate, one which meets everyone's preferences and requirements. Who gets to determine how much precipitation falls where and when? Does the flood encouraging native fish to breed trump the people's crops that will be damaged? How about setting conditions encouraging one nation's crops but which hamper another's? Who gets to pull the levers and twiddle the knobs on the great climate control machine, even if we could build it?

Meteorologists: Global Warming and Cold Weather Go Hand-In-Hand - The World Meteorological Organization says cold weather does not mean that global warming has abated. WMO says people should not confuse weather with climate.

People in Europe are shivering, while people in North Asia and parts of Australia are sweltering. Scientists say these weather extremes are to be expected and neither phenomenon can be used as a case for or against global warming.

Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud, says people should not confuse local weather variability with climate change. (VOA)

Does this mean they'll stop interpreting every Summers day as a sign of gorebull warming?

Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2 - Guest post by Bob Tisdale


The first part of this post, Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1, should be read prior to this the second part. Part 1 gives an overview of the datasets used in the following, illustrates the processes that take place during an El Nino event, and discusses the primary reasons for the step changes in global SST anomalies that result from significant El Nino events–those El Nino events that are not influenced by volcanic eruptions.

In the following, the periods from January 1981 to December 1995 and from January 1976 to December 1981 are examined. (Watts Up With That?)

How did the El Chichón and Pinatubo volcanic eruptions affect global temperature records? - The UAH Satellite Temperature Record With Volcanic Noise Outliers Filtered Out

A guest post by Steven Goddard

I’ve often wondered what the UAH global temperature record would look like if the cooling effects of the eruptions of El Chichón in April, 1982 and Mount Pinatubo in June, 1991 were removed. Large volcanic eruptions shoot fine ash up to very high altitudes, which makes the upper atmosphere less transparent, allowing less sunlight (SW radiation) to reach the lower atmosphere. This has a noticeable cooling effect on the lower atmosphere and the earth’s surface which can last for years, as can be seen in the figures below. Note how the lower troposphere temperatures were depressed during periods when the atmospheric transmission was also depressed. (Watts Up With That?)

Obama's energy pick endorses nukes, clean coal - WASHINGTON--Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu was greeted with warm approval from a congressional committee during his confirmation hearing Tuesday, at which he acknowledged the need to pursue nuclear and clean-coal energy but promoted energy efficiency as the best means of addressing the nation's energy challenges in the face of a dour economy.

"I feel very strongly what the American family does not want is to pay an increasing fraction of their budget on energy costs," Chu said before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "That we do the best we can on energy efficiency--that, in my mind, remains the lowest hanging fruit."

Working toward producing more efficient cars and tightly sealed homes will bring down energy consumption and costs, he said. (CNET News)

"Energy efficient cars and tightly sealed homes" means respectively less-safe vehicles and poorly ventilated (read: sickness-inducing) housing. It's already time to kick this twit and find someone who cares more about people.

Parenthetically, here's the inevitable result of the EU's ecotheology:

Woman, 91, dies 'after becoming stressed over £16,000 council bill to make her home eco-friendly' - A family have expressed their fury after the death of their disabled 91-year-old mother who 'was forced to take out a second mortgage to foot an unnecessary £16,000 council bill' .

The family of bed-ridden grandmother Dorothy Hacking blame Thanet Council for 'disgusting treatment' after the pensioner became overstretched trying to pay for work to meet government regulations to reduce CO2 emissions.

They say she was beset by stress and health problems after being left with no option but to take out a second mortgage for the stone-cladding repairs to make her home compliant with the Home Energy Conservation Act in Ramsgate, Kent.

The law requires councils to reduce their CO2 emissions by almost a third within the next decade. (Daily Mail)

Why Energy R&D Spending by Government Cannot Succeed - Dr. Stephen Chu, President-elect Barack Obama's selection to head the Department of Energy, is a vocal proponent of wasting taxpayer money on research & development for alternative energy. Dr. Chu prefers to think of state r&d as an "investment," but "waste" is the appropriate terminology. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Canada to talk about oil sands with Obama - TORONTO -- Canada's prime minister said Tuesday that energy and the environmental impact of Alberta's massive oil sands operations will be priorities when Barack Obama visits Canada on his first foreign trip as U.S. president.

The timing of the trip has not been announced but Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a Calgary radio station he's been in touch with members of Obama's incoming government as the president-elect prepares to officially take office Tuesday.

"We want to work together with the United States on environmental and energy issues," Harper said.

"To be frank on the oil sands, we've got to do a better job environmentally," Harper said. "At the same time, the development of these things is pretty important, in our judgment, to North American energy security." (Associated Press)

Hmm... Geothermal Future - To most people the word “geothermal” means hot springs and geysers — like parts of Iceland or Yellowstone National Park where water is heated by the presence of magma near the surface of the earth. But the earth’s heat lies below everywhere, and it offers a virtually untapped energy reserve of enormous potential with a very short list of drawbacks.

In 2006, a panel led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology surveyed the prospects for electricity production from enhanced geothermal systems. Its conclusions were conservative but very optimistic. The panel suggested that with modest federal support, geothermal power could play a critical role in America’s energy future, adding substantially to the nation’s store of renewable energy and more than making up for coal-burning power plants that would have to be retired.

Following up on the M.I.T. study and a separate survey of its own, the Bureau of Land Management issued a decision last month that would open up as many as 190 million acres to leases for geothermal exploration and development. These lands are mostly in the West, where hot rock lies closer to the surface than it generally does in the East. (New York Times)

While I tend to agree that geothermal power has promise I am concerned abut the bizarre mindset of these guys. Grievous environmental harm from coal burning? Give it a rest, the biosphere loves previously sequestered carbon being returned to the atmosphere, something from which the living environment profits enormously. If the living environment were sentient it would want humans to burn all the coal we can get our hands on.

'Clean coal': Law could open door to new generation of coal-burning power plants - As President-elect Barack Obama vows to curb pollution linked to global climate change, Illinois is moving closer to building a new power plant that could be a showcase for burning dirty-but-plentiful coal more cleanly.

Under legislation Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law Monday, the state will provide $18 million for studies that would lay the groundwork for the plant, proposed for a site near Downstate Taylorville.

The plant, to be built by Tenaska Inc. and MDL Holding Co. about 25 miles southeast of Springfield, would be the nation's first large-scale test of technology that captures heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Half of its emissions would either be injected deep underground or piped to oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. (Chicago Tribune)

Hilarious Tale of Eco-Idiocy - To this list of eco-ironies, we can add New York Representative Eric Massa’s failed fuel cell road trip. According to Jason Chen at Gizmodo, Massa “tried to drive a fuel cell car from NY to DC to make an environmental point and to show how great fuel cell cars are.” (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Peter Foster: Detroit’s hybrid nightmare - Today’s alternative vehicles are all profit graveyards or subsidy pits

The emphasis at the Detroit auto show previews this week has been on “alternative” vehicles such as the third-generation Toyota Prius, the almost-there Chevy Volt and other new gasoline-electric hybrids. In fact, with gasoline prices having plummeted and U.S. (and Canadian) consumers both cash-strapped and job-threatened, there could hardly be a worse time to be offering vehicles that are both more expensive than, and technically inferior to, gasoline-powered cars. But then we live in a wacky world in which big auto bailouts are linked both to the climate change policy juggernaut and continued reflexive calls for U.S. energy independence. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

The Gas Hostages - The drama being played out by Russia and Ukraine has been full of sudden reversals. Germans commentators argue that Europe must take its energy security more seriously in order to avoid an encore performance of this hostage drama. (Der Spiegel)

Europe baffled by broken promises - The bitter gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine descended into near-chaos yesterday, leaving European Union diplomats baffled as promises to restart supplies fully were broken and Moscow suggested that the US had meddled in the affair.

In a potentially alarming twist last night, Gazprom, the Russian gas company, said it was unable to meet its legal commitments to supply European countries with gas because Ukraine was allegedly blocking the flow across its territory.

Russia and Ukraine both defied terms of a contract agreed last weekend with the EU to allow an EU-backed monitoring mission to observe gas transit, leaving people in 18 countries across the continent with supply disruptions. (Financial Times)

Eastern Europe Threatens to Reopen Nuclear Plants - Bulgaria, one of the countries hardest hit by the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, is threatening to restart two nuclear reactors that were shut down over safety concerns two year ago. Slovakia has threatened to do the same at its Bohunice power plant if gas flows don’t resume soon.

The push by Bulgaria and Slovakia highlights the EU’s need to diversify its gas supply routes. “Preparations … must begin immediately,” said Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov shortly after Russia cut supplies to Europe. He was referring to reactors three and four of the Kozloduy power plant. The closure of the reactors was a prerequisite to Bulgaria’s entry into the EU.

Puranov recently said that under the treaty that allowed Bulgaria to join the EU, his country has “the right to resume the operation of the two reactors in a critical situation, and a more critical situation is hardly possible,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Bulgarian News Agency. “If the situation does not normalize,” he added referring to Russian gas cuts, “I expect our European partners to show understanding and not to object to such a move," Purvanov said. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

Russian Security Plan Prompts Fears Over Future Energy Wars - The EU's diplomatic efforts in the Russia-Ukraine crisis may have focused on restoring the flow of gas but could it also have been trying to avoid a more ominous escalation as predicted by a Russian security document? (Deutsche Welle)

E.On Gets Approval For Onshore Windfarm In Scotland - LONDON - E.ON, headquartered in Germany, has won approval after four years to build its biggest onshore wind farm in Camster in northern Scotland, which could power up to 35,000 homes, the company said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

What the news should have reported: No link between fat and risks for ovarian cancer - Science by press release is increasingly becoming the news of the day. A press release is sent out six weeks before a study is actually published in a medical journal, guaranteeing reporters will jump on a juicy story, but medical professionals won’t have had an opportunity to read it or comment with critical analyses.

When we see this marketing tactic employed, it’s our heads up — our baloney alert, if you will — that the science wasn’t credible in the first place. Someone is trying to sell us something and compromise the integrity of medical research and the peer review process.

An unpardonable example of brazen misrepresentation of a medical “study” came out this past week when the media, in lockstep, reported from a press release. This press release had been issued six weeks before the study is to be published on February 15th in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society. It headlined: “Study links obesity to elevated risk of ovarian cancer.” (Junkfood Science)

Getting the Bed Bugs Out - Complaints about bed bugs in New York City are rising steadily. As any health official can attest, the only good thing about these nighttime pests is that they don’t seem to cause disease. That doesn’t count panic attacks and the outsize frustration for residents who try to get help from a maze of local and state bureaucracies.

There are a lot of agencies that do a little about bed bugs, but nobody that can help with the whole shebang. The city health department has some information. The housing people can come take a look. The state controls the pesticides, although not well enough to advise homeowners what works and who exterminates carefully.

Gale Brewer, a member of City Council, has been trying for years to get help for any family under attack. After sleepless nights and days spent covered in calamine lotion, these exhausted people need a one-stop link or telephone line to guide them, she rightly argues. (New York Times)

Agency can't link Great Lakes pollution, illness - TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Wrapping up an eight-year investigation of possible links between industrial pollution and health risks in the Great Lakes region, federal researchers said information was too sketchy and called for more study. (Associated Press)

Recycling a 'waste of time' unless more treatment centres are built - PEOPLE recycling their waste could be doing so in vain because it could still end up in landfill sites, a new report warns today.

The National Audit Office accused the Government of failing to build enough large-scale recycling centres or incinerators to meet a 2013 EU target to cut the amount put in landfill sites. (Evening Standard)

The International Criminal Court's Dream of Global Justice - The International Criminal Court in The Hague is supposed to bring war criminals to justice, but it has yet to deliver a single verdict. Can international law bring peace to war-torn regions -- or does it actually hinder the peace process? (Der Spiegel)

Ha! Obama's EPA Pick Must Restore Integrity: Senators - WASHINGTON - Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, needs to restore integrity to a department that fallen into disrepute, Democratic senators said on Wednesday. (Retuers)

Only way to make the EPA any real value is eliminate it completely with legal barriers to ensure such misanthropic nonsense never again contaminates human affairs.

The End of Natural History, Tears for Its Passing - Someday natural history will start again and the people then will see the T-Rex and the so smooth mammoth tusk and the wonderful minerals again. They will shake their heads and ask, “What was wrong with those people back then?” “They forgot to look up at the stars in wonder and they forgot to teach their children the joy that is this planet. They stole the gift of imagination from them with boring words on plaques and a big wire antenna to stop them from thinking inside this great glass and steel post office.”

How sad. It is enough to make you cry. (

Extinct Tasmanian "Tiger" DNA Has Clues To Demise - WASHINGTON - DNA taken from the hair of two extinct Tasmanian "tigers" suggests the Australian marsupials last seen 70 years ago may have become too inbred to survive as a species, researchers reported on Monday.

The researchers used the method they used to study the DNA from extinct woolly mammoths' hair to get a good comparison of the gene sequences from Tasmanian tigers, formally known as thylacines, and said they hope to study other extinct animals -- and perhaps resurrect one or two of them. (Reuters)

'What are we going to do about the bears?' - For the first time, governments, environmentalists, researchers and Inuit are meeting to discuss the fate of the endangered carnivore. (Globe and Mail)

Who says they are endangered?

Alaska Seeks To Block U.S. Protections For Belugas - ANCHORAGE - Five months after suing to keep polar bears off the U.S. threatened species list, Alaska's government said Wednesday it plans to issue a similar challenge to block federal protections for a struggling population of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, a mature oil-producing basin.

Former vice presidential hopeful Gov. Sarah Palin said the energy-rich state believes the Endangered Species Act protections for belugas announced in October by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are unwarranted.

"The State of Alaska has worked cooperatively with the federal government to protect and conserve beluga whales in Cook Inlet," the Republican governor said in a news release announcing that a 60-day notice of intent to sue had been sent to NOAA. "This listing decision didn't take those efforts into account as required by law." (Reuters)

January 14, 2009

Obama's Pick for Science Adviser Is Unfit To Serve - John Holdren’s 40-year record of outlandish scientific assertions, consistently wrong predictions, and dangerous public policy choices makes him unfit to serve as White House Science Adviser. The Senate should not confirm his nomination. (William Yeatman, CEI)

Something about 'leopards and spots' comes to mind: Chu Tempers Comments at Confirmation Hearing - President-elect Barrack Obama's nominee for Energy secretary, Steven Chu, walked a fine line today between his strong views on the need to combat climate change and the concern of some senators about Chu's past criticism of coal use, endorsement of gasoline taxes and tepid embrace of a cap-and-trade system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Chu, who appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was asked about a comment he once made that "coal is my worst nightmare." Chu told the committee that "if the world continues to use coal the way it is using it today, not only in the United States but in Russia, India and China, it is a pretty bad dream." But he added that he does not favor a moratorium on coal and said he would seek and fund research on technologies so that the United States could continue to tap its abundant coal reserves.

Although Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, once called for sharply raising gasoline taxes, today he echoed Obama's comments that given the troubled economy, higher gasoline taxes are for now "off the table." But he also said that higher taxes could lead to lower prices for crude oil by creating incentives for more efficient vehicles and reducing demand for petroleum products. (Washington Post)

Energy Nominee Shifts His Stance - WASHINGTON — Physics met politics at the confirmation hearing Tuesday for Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate scientist chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to head the Department of Energy, and the physics bent a bit, as Dr. Chu backed away slightly from earlier statements he has made — that gasoline prices should be higher, and that coal was his “nightmare.” (New York Times)

Precisely what the world does not need: Treasury Department Can Help Fight Global Warming, Says Paulson – The U.S. Treasury and other finance ministries around the world should play a major role in fixing climate change, outgoing Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Monday at an event sponsored by the environmental group Resources For the Future. The discussion was titled, "How Markets Can Help Address Climate Change and Other Major Environmental Problems."

Paulson, who once served as chairman of the Nature Conservancy and co-chair of the environmental group Asia-Pacific Council, has long been involved in fighting global warming.

“I will be actually surprised and disappointed if the Office of Treasury isn’t a leader -- probably the leader -- in the government in terms of having more resources and knowledge than any other place,” said Paulson, referring to research on alternative energy and climate change. (

Crunch year for environmental policies - As the world's attention continues to focus on the economy, 2009 will be a critical year for environmental politics. The crucial Copenhagen summit in December is now imminent and the key question is what international response there will be to the pressure to negotiate a binding and effective post-Kyoto treaty. The outcome of last month's Poznan conference was a bare minimum commitment to a deal in Copenhagen, hedged with ifs and buts. Nevertheless, the great majority of mainstream environmentalist organisations are pinning their hopes on progress this year and investing enormous amounts of time and effort to achieve what they consider to be a successful outcome.

Not least among the factors which will determine the situation in a year's time is the stance taken by President Obama. In the Kafkaesque world of climate policy, the USA has been the bad guy for not ratifying the Kyoto protocol (although by many measures the country has been rather more successful in limiting emissions than many ardent Kyoto supporters in the EU and elsewhere) and President Bush the arch-villain (despite the refusal to ratify occurring under the Clinton/Gore administration). Obama was elected with a promise of change to come, but his appointments so far have been generally soundly pragmatic rather than radical.

He has appointed cabinet members with impeccably green credentials to advise on environmental issues, and been applauded by the climate change lobby for that. But this does not mean that America will suddenly become a leader in international initiatives. Obama has shown himself capable of picking a team of well-regarded experts without simply following the doctrinaire line which some of his supporters may have wished for. Ensuring the support of the green lobby at this early stage was simply good politics and, although he will be careful not to sideline his advisers, his way ahead is likely to be quite cautious. (Scientific Alliance)

Barack Obama’s Polluted Mind - How far do politicians believe they can push the global-warming scam? We know, after his inauguration, Barack Obama intends to officially classify carbon dioxide as a "dangerous pollutant." After such a declaration, his actions will reveal whether he truly views carbon dioxide as a threat to humanity or whether he is simply using a shameless scare tactic to further consolidate Federal power and to move the U.S. further along the road to socialism. If carbon dioxide is incredibly dangerous as Al Gore and Barack Obama claim it to be, then all options, for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, must be considered.

Once President Obama declares carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant, every single American brewery, winery, and distillery will be, by definition, a "dangerous polluter." Thus, if manmade carbon dioxide output must be drastically reduced to save the planet and humanity itself, then President Obama must strongly consider reinstating alcohol prohibition in these United States. Al Gore, to date, hasn’t had the guts to push the global-warming scam to the point of suggesting global alcohol prohibition and I highly doubt President Obama has the guts to do so in the U.S. Both of these political hacks, after all, are socialists and certainly are not in love with Mother Earth and humanity, but with power and celebrity. (Eric Englund,

Senate Republicans Need to Demand Re-Examination on Global Warming - On the question of global warming control, the confirmation hearings for President-Elect Obama's choices for environmental leadership posts present a critical juncture for the future of America and the world. While running for election, Barack Obama repeatedly declared our planet to be in peril from global warming, which he presumably has come to believe is significantly caused by human activity. That augurs for extensive regulation, the expense of which can readily run into the trillion dollar range. Yet many highly competent scientists would say that there is no proof that human-caused CO2 emission is threatening the Earth, and there is no benefit to the environment from limiting CO2 emission.

According to Reuters, President-Elect Barack Obama has asked Congress "to act without delay" to pass legislation that includes doubling alternative energy production in the next three years and building a new electricity "smart grid." He said he also planned to modernize 75 percent of federal buildings and improve energy efficiency in 2 million homes to save consumers billions of dollars on energy bills. (Harvey M. Sheldon, American Thinker)

Economy will impact environment policies: economist - Don't expect the American government of president-elect Barack Obama to spend a fortune combatting climate change, an economist said Saturday at Guelph's annual environmental symposium.

"The U.S. government's broke," University of Guelph economic professor Ross McKitrick told an audience of almost 150 attendees at Rozanski Hall.

"Don't look for any costly action in the next few years," said McKitrick, a skeptic of man-made global warming.

Challenged by an audience member to say something positive about climate change efforts, McKitrick referred to scientific evidence that some greenhouse gas emissions haven't increased on a per-capita basis in Canada since the 1970s.

"I take it as good news," McKitrick said.

But the professor added he couldn't comment favourably on international efforts to fight global warming when economic times are tough.

"I can't put a positive spin on it." (Guelph Mercury)

New Study Doesn’t Support Climate Models (But You’ll Never Hear About It) - A new study just published in the January 2009 issue of Journal of Climate uses a model to study the effect of warming oceans on the extensive low-level stratocumulus cloud layers that cover substantial parts of the global oceans. This study, entitled “Response of a Subtropical Stratocumulus-Capped Mixed Layer to Climate and Aerosol Changes”, by Peter Caldwell and Christopher Bretherton, is important because it represents a test of climate models, all of which now cause low level clouds to decrease with warming.

And since less low cloud cover means more sunlight reaching the surface, the small amount of direct warming from extra CO2 in climate models gets amplified – greatly amplified in some models. And the greater the strength of this ‘positive cloud feedback’, the worse manmade global warming and associated climate change will be.

But everyone agrees that clouds are complicated beasts…and it is not at all clear to me that positive cloud feedback really exists in nature. (See here and here for such evidence). (

Observing Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks - Detailed weather observations on local and regional levels are essential to a range of needs from forecasting tornadoes to making decisions that affect energy security, public health and safety, transportation, agriculture and all of our economic interests. As technological capabilities have become increasingly affordable, businesses, state and local governments, and individual weather enthusiasts have set up observing systems throughout the United States. However, because there is no national network tying many of these systems together, data collection methods are inconsistent and public accessibility is limited. This book identifies short-term and long-term goals for federal government sponsors and other public and private partners in establishing a coordinated nationwide "network of networks" of weather and climate observations. (NAP)

Chasing thundersnow could lead to more accurate forecasts -- The job of one University of Missouri researcher could chill to the bone, but his research could make weather predicting more accurate. Patrick Market, associate professor of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is chasing storms in the dead of winter in order to release weather balloons that will produce data about the little-known phenomenon of thundersnow. (

Hey lookit! When things were different they were, um, different: Great Lakes water level sensitive to climate change - The water level in the Great Lakes has varied by only about two meters during the last century, helping them to play a vital role in the region's shipping, fishing, recreation and power generation industries.

But new evidence by scientists from the University of Rhode Island and colleagues in the U.S. and Canada, published last month in the journal Eos, indicates that the water level in the lake system is highly sensitive to climate changes.

"In the distant past, there were great fluctuations in the water level of the Great Lakes, but it was thought to have been related entirely to the advance and retreat of the glaciers," said URI geological oceanographer John King, who led the study with URI visiting scientist Michael Lewis, emeritus scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada. "But the last time lake levels fell dramatically - down to 20 meters below the basin overflow outlets - it was due to dry climate conditions." (University of Rhode Island)

Now rising sea levels have been, ahem, 'saving us': Impact of sea-level rise on atmospheric CO2 concentrations -- The rise in sea level since the last ice age has prevented us from feeling the full impact of man-made global warming. The sea level rise has resulted in more harmful greenhouse gases being absorbed by the seas. So argue Bangor University scientists in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters (23/12/08), an influential US scientific journal publishing scientific advances that are likely to have immediate influence on the research of other investigators. (

Stalagmites support cosmoclimatology - In this weekly dose of the peer-reviewed skeptical literature about the climate, we look at some new evidence for cosmoclimatology. (The Reference Frame)

The Sky Is Falling? - Imagine it is 1979 -- nine years before NASA’s James Hansen first stoked fears of human-caused global warming in testimony before a Senate committee chaired by then Sen. Al Gore. Few people in the mid- to late-970s were thinking about the terrors of global warming; science journals, major newspapers, and newsmagazines instead were focused on a 20-year cooling trend that some claimed was a possible harbinger of a coming ice age.

The 1979 discussion is now relevant because the Earth’s current climate is more similar to that time period than any decade since – even though scientific “consensus” and computer models tell us otherwise. We hear that human activities are causing the Earth to warm, the ice caps to melt, and hurricanes to get more destructive. But everything the mainstream media has been telling us about global warming for more than 10 years now is turning out to be untrue. (H. Sterling Burnett, Environmental Protection)

Barnaby Joyce blasts greenie fanatics - NATIONALS firebrand Senator Barnaby Joyce has launched a fresh attack on carbon emissions trading, drawing parallels between environmentalists and Nazis.

Senator Joyce warned of the rise of "eco-totalitarianism" and said he would not be "goosestepping" along with them. (AAP)

Is the Internet becoming uncool for greenies? - A leading analyst believes that the Internet is in danger of becoming a target for green groups and anti-global warming organisations because of the massive power consumption of data centres. Is it possible that the greenies may soon target the Internet industry as environmental vandals?

According to Dr Steve Hodgkinson, research director at technology analyst group Ovum, Internet data centres are increasing being labelled as inefficient power hogs exacerbating global warming.

"Internet usage is growing and is now recognised as having a measurable impact on global CO2 emissions," Dr Hodgkinson states ina research note.

"Global Internet traffic is estimated to be growing at around 50–60% each year, with current users being the tip of the iceberg – comprising only a quarter of the World’s population. There is a lot more growth in user numbers and traffic volumes to come in the future, as new users come online in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. (Stan Beer, IT Wire)

Arkansas House members delay global warming hearing - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Leaders of a joint energy panel agreed to delay until next week a hearing featuring critics of the governor's Commission on Global Warming after House members initially planned on skipping the Wednesday meeting.

The Joint Energy Committee rescheduled a hearing for next week featuring a member of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming along with other critics of the commission's recommendations. Richard Ford, an economics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said Tuesday that he doesn't believe the group properly studied whether global warming is a threat.

Ford and other critics of the commission had planned on presenting a "minority report" challenging the group's recommendations on ways to reduce global warming in the state. (Pine Bluff Commercial)

Legislative panel skeptical about global warming - Potential trouble for state's greenhouse gas emissions proposals

TALLAHASSEE — Proposals aimed at curbing Florida’s greenhouse gas emissions led to skepticism about global warming from a key legislative committee Tuesday, highlighting potential trouble for the most significant environmental legislation expected in this year’s regular session.

Members of the House Energy and Utilities Policy Committee spent more than 2½ hours grilling representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Energy and Climate Commission and the Public Services Commission about efforts to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Most scientists consider those gases the main cause of global warming.

During the session that begins in March, lawmakers are expected to consider tougher emissions standards on cars sold in the state and a proposal to ratify a PSC rule requiring privately-owned utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. Next year, the Legislature is scheduled to consider a system that would cap greenhouse emissions while allowing polluters to trade pollution “credits.”

But several committee members seemed skeptical Tuesday about whether climate change is a man-made phenomenon and whether changes in state policy could stop it. One, Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, wondered about the price tag, too. (Jacksonville News)

Aborigines 'hardest hit by climate change' - ABORIGINES will feel the impact of climate warming more than other Australians, with their remote outback homes and generally poor health making them particularly vulnerable, a report said today.

With temperatures in the tropical north and interior tipped to rise by 3C by 2050, worsening already searing summer heat, the Federal Government needs to urgently improve aboriginal health and housing, researchers wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia.

"Elevated temperatures and increases in hot spells are expected to be a major problem for indigenous health in remote areas, where cardiovascular and respiratory disease are more prevalent and there are many elderly people with inadequate facilities to cope with the increased heat stress," they wrote. (Reuters)

One problem, there is absolutely no reason to expect any such temperature increases.

Really? Study links swings in North Atlantic oscillation variability to climate warming - Using a 218-year-long temperature record from a Bermuda brain coral, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have created the first marine-based reconstruction showing the long-term behavior of one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

And there we were thinking what they had demonstrated was merely that apparent recovery from the LIA coincided with a slight apparent increase in oscillation amplitude in the NAO...

Tricky stuff, this gorebull warmening... Tropical Thailand declares emergency as cold hits - A severe cold snap in Thailand prompted authorities Tuesday to declare an emergency zone across more than half of the country normally renowned for its tropical weather, climate officials said. (AFP)

CHILE CO2 EMISSIONS SET TO QUADROUPLE, SAYS TOKMAN - Chile’s CO2 emissions are expected to quadruple by 2030 failing change to its national energy policy, the Chilean Minister for Energy, Marcelo Tokman, warned last week.

The estimated increase is largely credited to the sharp rise in coal-fired power stations in a report, New Guidelines for Energy Policy, presented to President Bachelet by the Minister for Energy last Tuesday.

“The growth of coal-based thermal plants may involve an increase in the countries annual emission, from 70 million tons, at present, to around 300 million tons by 2030, causing per capita output to register higher than European and other developed countries,” the report said. (Patagonia Times)

Protecting The IPCC Turf - There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC.

... As it stands now, there are no independent climate assessments of the IPCC WG1 report funded and sanctioned by the NSF, NASA or the NRC.

The agency representatives at the NRC planning meeting on December 8 2008, either are inadvertently neglecting the need for independent oversight, or they are deliberately ignoring this lack of an independent assessment because the IPCC findings fit their agenda on the climate issue. In either case, the policymakers and the public are being misled on the degree of understanding of the climate system, including the human role within in it. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Dirty snow causes early runoff in Cascades, Rockies - Soot from pollution causes winter snowpacks to warm, shrink and warm some more. This continuous cycle sends snowmelt streaming down mountains as much as a month early, a new study finds. How pollution affects a mountain range's natural water reservoirs is important for water resource managers in the western United States and Canada who plan for hydroelectricity generation, fisheries and farming.

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted the first-ever study of soot on snow in the western states at a scale that predicted impacts along mountain ranges. They found that soot warms up the snow and the air above it by up to 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing snow to melt. (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Yes, altering albedo by discoloration can change snow melt -- which is why it was one of the contingency plans discussed during the impending ice age scare of a few decades past.

Satellites search out South Pole snowfields - As skiers across the world pay close attention to the state of the snow on the slopes, there are a different group of scientific snow-watchers looking closely at a South Pole snowfield this January.

Scientists from around the world coordinated by the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are examining an Antarctic snowfield this January as part of the world's largest inter-comparison between satellite sensors.

The results will allow scientists to fully quantify differences between the measurements made by the satellite instruments in orbit. This will lead to improvements in their calibration and ensure that the data collected is all quality assured. This will ultimately result in more confidence in the data used for climate change, weather systems and monitoring disaster areas. Some of these measurements require the detection of changes of a few tenths of a percent per decade, yet current sensors exhibit biases between themselves of many percent, often more than 20 times this level.

Over 30 sensors from space agencies across the globe, including several from the UK, ranging in spatial resolution from a metre to several hundred metres will measure the reflectance of the sun by the Antarctic snow. All of the data will be cross-compared to each other supported by ground measurements of the site.

The measurements will be taken over a snowfield in Antarctica known as 'DOME C'. These can only be performed in December and January when the Sun is relatively high in the sky during the southern hemisphere summer. (National Physical Laboratory) [em added]

Virtual world eye-roller: Warming world will be even hotter than we thought, say scientists - The world will be hotter than we think if no action is taken to cut greenhouse emissions, a Wellington conference will hear today.

United States climate modelling expert Matthew Huber - who is speaking at the Greenhouse Earth Symposium at Te Papa today - says at least one climate model used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produces temperatures that are cooler than the real world. Dr Huber is one of several visiting scientists who use a dramatic period of warming 55 million years ago to predict what will happen in the future. (New Zealand Herald)

The models are wrong... so it will be even worse! Do you suppose these clowns will ever reach the obvious conclusion that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels fail to properly drive climate models because atmospheric carbon dioxide does not, in fact, drive climate?

Green Wacko Tobacco - 2008 was a bad year for global warming alarmists. Their credibility has been entirely destroyed by none other than Mother Nature. As George W. Bush leaves office, the world is actually cooler than it was when he came in.

Lacking facts, the Gorian Gaggle is trying to tie anyone who disagrees with their propaganda to the most evil of all industries (in their eyes): the tobacco producers. Before, anyone who disputed their prophesying of a future calamity was merely a “Holocaust denier.” That didn’t work, so now, we’re all labeled “tobacco scientists.”

Why is it that everything these people say sounds as if it’s echoing up from the playground or lifted from a note passed in study hall? (Christopher C. Horner, Human Events)

Saving Speaker Pelosi: The Inept Politics of the US Cap and Trade Plan - I won’t be surprised if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Environment Committee chair Barbara Boxer and President-elect Barack Obama all send flowers to certain people I generally consider allies in the fight against committing economic suicide in the name of “global warming.” The reason: these three supporters of the moribund and politically dangerous carbon dioxide “cap-and-trade” rationing scheme have just had their prospects immeasurably improved by those whose ox they hope to Gore. (So to speak). (Christopher C. Horner, Energy Tribune)

No proof man is causing Earth's warming trend - According to the editorial "A New Year's resolution" (Jan. 2), tens of thousands of scientists like me are "flat-earth types."

I guess my doctorate in chemical physics from Johns Hopkins doesn't give me nearly the qualifications to analyze the science associated with the global climate as an editor with an agenda. (Mark Campbell, Baltimore Sun)

How you pay for tomorrow's scares, today - Disaster addiction - and the cost of your insurance

In a remarkably gullible news item, the BBC reported that 2008 was a ‘huge year for natural disasters’. "The past year has been one of the most devastating ever in terms of natural disasters... climate change [is] boosting the destructive power of disasters like hurricanes and flooding,” it proclaimed.

This was drawn from a report that found that although there were fewer “loss-producing events” in 2008 than in the previous year, the impact of natural disasters was higher. It claimed that more than 220,000 people died in events like cyclones, earthquakes and flooding, the most since 2004, the year of the Asian tsunami. Global losses totalled about $200bn (£137bn), with uninsured losses totalling $45bn, about 50 per cent more than in 2007, the report claimed. All of which made 2008 the third most expensive year on record, after 1995, when the Kobe earthquake struck Japan, and 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina in the US.

And why would that be? The BBC article quoted expert Torsten Jeworrek, who claimed: “Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes.”

Thing is, Torsten Jeworrek is an expert in insurance, not climate. He is on the board of insurance giants Munich Re. And Munich Re are the authors of the new report. (Stuart Blackman, The Register)

Must be a dreadful idea... U.S. Must Lead On Economy, Climate Change: Clinton - WASHINGTON - The United States must work with emerging economies in the current economic crisis and also must lead the effort to fight global climate change, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

... since Hillary is for it.

From Nude Socialist: Climate fix' ship sets sail with plan to dump iron - The largest and to date the most comprehensive experiment to soak up greenhouse-gas emissions by artificially fertilising the oceans set sail from South Africa earlier this week.

The ambitious geoengineering expedition has caused a stir among some campaigning groups, but has the scientific backing of the UK, German, and Indian governments, as well as the International Maritime Organisation.

Within weeks, the ship's crew hope to dump 20 tonnes of ferrous sulphate into the Southern Ocean. Plankton need iron to grow, and the aim of the expedition is to trigger a plankton bloom and boost the amount of carbon that is sucked out of the air and locked up at the bottom of the ocean.

The team, led by Victor Smetacek of the Alfred Wegner Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany, will also monitor the population of krill to see if their populations also increase. These small crustaceans feed on plankton and are an important food source for many marine species. So, if the population grows, this could give fisheries a boost. (New Scientist)

Well, if it boosts fisheries it might be worthwhile, maybe. As for the fighting the phantom menace thing, fuggedaboudit. And the greenies are agin it (of course).

The moonbat squeeks: This is indeed a class war, and the campaign against the Aga starts here - Climate change allows the richest on earth to trash the lives of the poorest, no matter how Furedi's cult spins it. (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Laffer Gas - The push for a fuel tax is so funny it hurts.

An economist, a conservative columnist, and a Republican politician walk into a bar and knock back a few. They get to talking. Pretty soon they're trying to one-up each other for who can come up with the most outlandish idea.

"I know," says the economist, "I'll call for a massive hike in the federal gas tax to be offset by raiding the Social Security trust fund."

"That's a great one!" shouts the columnist.

"I'll do you one better," says the politician. "Let's sell it as a conservative reform."

That's the most charitable explanation we can muster for the other week's "revenue neutral" gas tax hike proposal by three prominent conservatives. It's a Rube Goldberg-like social engineering scheme of the kind that most conservatives rejected in the 1970s, along with comparable worth, the ERA, and mood rings. (William Yeatman & Jeremy Lott, Culture 11)

United States challenges Russia's claim to a bigger chunk of the Arctic - WASHINGTON, Jan 12 - President George W. Bush on Monday issued a directive spelling out the U.S. interest in the vast oil and natural gas resources held in the Arctic.

The directive contradicts Russia's claim to a bigger chunk of the Arctic and its energy supplies, and says the United States wants to work with all countries that have territory in the region to settle disputes over boundaries.

"When it comes to energy, the notion isn't a race to the Arctic to put our flags down," said Benjamin Chang, deputy spokesman for the National Security Council.

"Our approach is going to be dealing with our fellow Arctic nations in finding ways to access and develop, when it comes to energy specifically, that takes into account conservation and the environment," he added. (Reuters)

Europe gas halted as Russia-Ukraine deal falters - RUSSIA'S natural gas supplies bound for a freezing Europe were halted again on Tuesday only a few hours after a truce had been announced in its "gas war" with Ukraine.

The Gazprom energy giant accused Ukraine of blocking gas bound for Europe, while Ukraine blamed "unacceptable'' technical conditions imposed by Russia.

The breakdown again infuriated the European Union as hundreds of thousands of people shivered in the depth of winter and factories and schools remained closed in many countries. (AFP)

Ukraine Admits Blocking Gas to Europe - Just hours after Russia resumed delivery of natural gas to the European Union through Ukrainian pipelines, Kiev has admitted to blocking the supplies. Ukraine is claiming that Gazprom has established "unacceptable" conditions for the transit of the gas to Europe. (Der Spiegel)

Putin’s Dangerous Games - How will a domestic economic crisis affect Russian foreign policy?

It is discouraging, though not at all surprising, that Moscow has once again resorted to energy blackmail—having Gazprom, a state-run Russian monopoly, cut off natural gas shipments to neighboring Ukraine—in hopes of bullying a pro-Western democracy and frightening the European Union, which gets roughly one-quarter of its gas supplies from Russia. Vladimir Putin may now be the Russian “prime minister” and not its formal president, but he is still the head honcho. For several years now, Putin has pursued a multipronged strategy aimed at reestablishing his country as a global power. He has sought to bring Russia’s former Soviet-era possessions back within its sphere of influence, intimidate the West, and bolster anti-American regimes around the world, including the governments of Iran and Venezuela.

While implementing these policies abroad, Putin has gradually but dramatically rolled back the institutions of democracy at home. Through it all, he has boasted sky-high approval ratings, thanks mainly to Russia’s oil-fueled economic boom, his control of the domestic media, and his skillful manipulation of Russian nationalism. Putin’s game seemed to be working well when commodity prices were shooting through the roof and the Kremlin’s coffers were bulging with cash. But now that energy prices have fallen substantially and the financial crisis has spread, Moscow may soon face a full-blown economic meltdown, which would inevitably have an impact on its foreign policy behavior.  (Jaime Daremblum, The American)

Commentary: Bail out Big 3 by cutting red tape - Reducing excessive regulation helps Detroit without costing taxpayers

Why are we spending $17 billion of taxpayers' money propping up two Detroit automakers (notably not Ford Motor Co.)? What the auto companies really need is a reduction in their regulatory burden.

Through excessive regulation, Congress has placed Detroit at a competitive disadvantage with foreign automakers, since many rules are aimed at eliminating the sort of vehicles that Detroit has proved adept at designing and marketing.

The following deregulatory bailout will help the embattled automakers without spending a dime of taxpayers' money: (Iain Murray, Detroit News)

More U.S. Backing Seen Possible For Ethanol Plants - WASHINGTON - Congress may add $1 billion to a U.S. loan guarantee program for construction of cellulosic ethanol plants, the president of a renewable fuels trade group trade said on Tuesday.

During a teleconference, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said lawmakers apparently were looking at $1 billion for loan guarantees to bring new feedstocks into use.

A $320 million guarantee program was created in the 2008 farm law for biorefineries producing advanced fuels such as ethanol from cellulose found in wood and grass.

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer says the first guarantee may be issued soon.

"You need to have some sort of loan guarantee program or you won't get off the ground," said Chris Standlee of Abengoa Bioenergy, who also serves as RFA chairman, because the recession makes it harder to obtain private financing. (Reuters)

And who says ethanol's failure to launch is a bad thing?

Green' gasoline on the horizon? - University of Oklahoma researchers believe newer, more environmentally friendly fuels produced from biomass could create alternative energy solutions and alleviate dependence on foreign oil without requiring changes to current fuel infrastructure systems. According to Lance Lobban, director of the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, the development of "green" fuels is an important part of the world's, and Oklahoma's, energy future. (University of Oklahoma)

Wind energy supply dips during cold snap - Britain's wind farms have stopped working during the cold snap due to lack of wind, it has emerged, as scientists claimed half the world's energy could soon be from renewables. (Daily Telegraph)

Rolls-Royce To Start Tidal Power Turbine Tests - LONDON - British engines and power systems maker Rolls-Royce will test a one megawatt turbine to generate electricity from tidal power next year, Ric Parker, director of research and technology, said.

"It's a huge opportunity for the UK, we're ideally positioned to lead on this because we have the resources all around us," said Parker, referring to Britain's location and long coastline which give it a big chunk of European tidal and offshore wind power.

European Union renewable energy targets may require Britain to deploy an extra 7,000 wind turbines on and offshore by 2020, but the country has almost no industry to make these.

Rolls-Royce will embark this summer on sea trials of a half-megawatt (MW) turbine to harness power from the tide, which it has developed alongside a company called Tidal Generation Limited, and it plans to test a 1 MW version in about 18 months. (Reuters)

Truth is stranger than satire: Dead people to provide "alternative energy heat" to crematorium - Not even two weeks has passed since GORE LIED linked to a post from The People's Cube regarding a satirical proposal to burn dead people as an alternative fuel: (Gore Lied)

Tesla Roadster - ... Tesla could not complain about what was shown because it was there. And here’s the strange thing. It didn’t. But someone did. Loudly and to every newspaper in the world. The Daily Telegraph said we’d been caught up in a new fakery row. The Guardian accused us of being “underhanded”. The New York Times wondered if we’d been “misleading”. The Daily Mail said I could give you breast cancer.

This was weird. Tesla, when contacted by reporters, gave its account of what happened and it was exactly the same as ours. It explained that the brakes had stopped working because of a blown fuse and didn’t question at all our claim that the car would have run out of electricity after 55 miles.

So who was driving this onslaught? Nobody in the big wide world ever minds when I say a BMW 1-series is crap or that a Kia Rio is the worst piece of machinery since the landmine. And yet everyone went mad when I said the Tesla, the red-blooded sports car and great white hope for the world’s green movement, “absolutely does not work”.

I fear that what we are seeing here is much the same thing professors see when they claim there is no such thing as man-made global warming. Immediately, they are drowned out by an unseen mob, and then their funding dries up. It’s actually quite frightening. (Sunday Times)

Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making: Risk Management, Evidence, and Ethics: Workshop Summary - Environmental health decision making can be a complex undertaking, as there is the need to navigate and find balance among three core elements: science, policy, and the needs of the American public. Policy makers often grapple with how to make appropriate decisions when the research is uncertain. The challenge for the policy maker is to make the right decision with the best available data in a transparent process.

The Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making workshop, the first in a series, was convened to inform the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine on emerging issues in risk management, "weight of evidence," and ethics that influence environmental health decision making.

The workshop, summarized in this volume, included an overview of the principles underlying decision making, the role of evidence and challenges for vulnerable populations, and ethical issues of conflict of interest, scientific integrity, and transparency. The workshop engaged science interest groups, industry, government, and the academic sector. (NAP)

Mobile phone use not associated with melanoma of the eye - Mobile phone use is not associated with the risk of melanoma of the eye, researchers report in the January 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although there is no direct link between exposure to radio waves and DNA damage, which can lead to cancer, studies have examined the possibility of an association between mobile phone use and melanoma of the eye, also called uveal melanoma. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

Free enterprise? Value of 2008 Bailouts Exceeds Combined Costs of All Major U.S. Wars – The total value of the bailouts undertaken by the federal government in 2008 now exceeds the combined cost of every major war the United States has ever engaged in, according to a comparison of war costs calculated by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the value of the bailouts as calculated by Bloomberg News or Bianco Research.

According to CRS, all major U.S. wars (including such events as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, but not the invasion of Panama or the Kosovo War), cost a total of $7.2 trillion in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars.

According to Bloomberg, the federal government has made commitments worth a total of $8.5 trillion in the bailouts of 2008. That includes actual expenditures as well as loan and asset guarantees. (

From Gaia to Medea: More Hubris - THE Gaia hypothesis first proposed by British scientist James Lovelock – the notion that all living things are interlinked as a single self-regulating body – is popular with some scientists and accords with the idea that because human activity has changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere we are likely to be interfering with the climate and upsetting the balance of nature.

Paleontologist, Peter Ward, rejects the notion of Gaia, and is running a contrarian but equally hubris argument in his new book, ‘The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?’ [1]. Professor Ward suggests because there is no balance of nature mankind will needs to intervene and thus advocates geoengineering solutions including to climate change.

I suspect the comments in a recent review [2] are all together too kind, but nevertheless give some insights into The Medea: (Jennifer Marohasy)

Senate boosts wilderness protection across US - WASHINGTON – In a rare Sunday session, the Senate advanced legislation that would set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness. Majority Democrats assembled more than enough votes to overcome GOP stalling tactics in an early showdown for the new Congress.

Republicans complained that Democrats did not allow amendments on the massive bill, which calls for the largest expansion of wilderness protection in 25 years. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other Democrats said the bill — a holdover from last year — was carefully written and included measures sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats.

By a 66-12 vote, with only 59 needed to limit debate, lawmakers agreed to clear away procedural hurdles despite partisan wrangling that had threatened pledges by leaders to work cooperatively as the new Obama administration takes office. Senate approval is expected later this week. Supporters hope the House will follow suit. (Associated Press)

Removing cats to protect birds backfires on island - BANGKOK, Thailand — It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.

But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.

Removing the cats from Macquarie "caused environmental devastation" that will cost authorities 24 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) to remedy, Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division and her colleagues wrote in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

"Our study shows that between 2000 and 2007, there has been widespread ecosystem devastation and decades of conservation effort compromised," Bergstrom said in a statement.

The unintended consequences of the cat-removal project show the dangers of meddling with an ecosystem — even with the best of intentions — without thinking long and hard, the study said.

"The lessons for conservation agencies globally is that interventions should be comprehensive, and include risk assessments to explicitly consider and plan for indirect effects, or face substantial subsequent costs," Bergstrom said. (Associated Press)

As Humans Hunt, Their Prey Gets Smaller: Study - WASHINGTON - Hunting and gathering has a profound impact on animals and plants, driving an evolutionary process that makes them become smaller and reproduce earlier, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

Their study of hunting, fishing and collecting of 29 different species shows that under human pressure, creatures on average become 20 percent smaller and their reproductive age advances by 25 percent.

The human tendency to seek large "trophies" appears to drive evolution much faster than hunting by other predators, which pick off the small and the weak, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Reuters)

Caution On Precaution - SEVERAL STORIES in recent issues of C&EN and a conversation and e-mail exchange with an industry colleague who is involved in regulatory affairs have got me thinking about how we regulate chemicals in the U.S. Although the system is not perfect, I'm not sure it is as broken as some activists make it out to be.

Care needs to be taken in implementing any changes in the system to ensure that useful chemicals aren't unnecessarily branded as harmful and restricted from commerce. I'm particularly uneasy about the wholesale application of what is known as the "precautionary principle" to the regulation of chemicals. (C&EN)

In a mad world of their own - EU chemophobia knows no bounds. It has already destroyed minor industries and severely hampered major ones by the reckless banning of elements and compounds with little consideration of the possible effects. Now from West Country MEP Neil Parish we have this announcement: (Number Watch)

The spin: EU Assembly Votes To Ban Toxic Pesticides - BRUSSELS - European Parliament members voted on Tuesday to ban some of the most toxic and dangerous pesticides to human health.

The move, likely to be endorsed by EU ministers in the next weeks, would let groups of countries with similar geography and climate decide whether farmers may use specific products.

A list of EU-approved "active substances" will be drawn up, with certain highly toxic chemicals to be banned unless their effect can be shown to be negligible -- such as pesticides classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.

That list will provide the basis for national EU governments to license each pesticide. (Reuters)

January 13, 2009

Upcoming whining of the week... - First Bush administration EPA chief and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman apparently will whine in the upcoming issue of Nature about Vice President Dick Cheney undercutting her authority at EPA. This is the same Christine Todd Whitman who, after being nominated by Bush, was asked by a reporter: "Global warming, what is your thought on what the state of science is and what can be done to address it?" Whitman responded: "Still somewhat uncertain. Clearly there's a hole in the ozone, that has been identified. But I saw a study the other day that showed that it was closing. It's not as clear, the cause and effect, as we would like it to be." Perhaps Dick Cheney thought that an EPA administrator who didn't know the difference between ozone depletion and global warming might not be capable of implementing Bush administration environmental policy?

Admission socialism is unaffordable? Economy May Delay Work on Obama’s Campaign Pledges - WASHINGTON — Confronted by the worst financial crisis in generations, President-elect Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are preparing to delay some of the promises he made on the campaign trail to avoid political distractions and focus on reversing the economic slide.

Although Mr. Obama has not publicly identified which priorities will have to wait, advisers and allies have signaled that they may put off renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, overhauling immigration laws, restricting carbon emissions, raising taxes on the wealthy and allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military. (New York Times)

Letter of the moment: Perhaps you should encourage all of you readers to contact the Exxon Mobil media dept at 972-444-1107 and let them know just what they think of Rex Tillerson stumping for carbon taxes. I called and let them have an earful today. I am considering buying a few shares of their stock just so I can attend the annual meeting and make a ruckus.

The lesser of two evils is still an evil. (Mike D.)

Their global media contact page is here and email form is here.

Arianna Huffington Saves the Day for Climate Alarm - Well, that compendium of the Left's snits and snivels, The Huffington Post, has managed to embarrass itself even more aggressively than is their norm. It published a nice walk-through of the skeptic’s view of manmade warming and, I have it on very good authority, having informed world-class meteorologist and hostess Arianna Huffington of its skeptical nature up-front. (Chris Horner, CEI)

The earth's magnetic field impacts climate: Danish study - 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.

"Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth's magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics," one of the two Danish geophysicists behind the study, Mads Faurschou Knudsen of the geology department at Aarhus University in western Denmark, told the Videnskab journal.

He and his colleague Peter Riisager, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), compared a reconstruction of the prehistoric magnetic field 5,000 years ago based on data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman.

The results of the study, which has also been published in US scientific journal Geology, lend support to a controversial theory published a decade ago by Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, who claimed the climate was highly influenced by galactic cosmic ray (GCR) particles penetrating the earth's atmosphere. (AFP)

“2009 will be one of the five warmest years on record” - The scare: In early January 2008, as part of an apparently-coordinated spate of stories in the international news media about “global warming” intended to distract public attention from the coldest start to a Northern-Hemisphere winter in at least 30 years and the end of the coldest year for almost a decade, Reuters ran a story saying that scientists at the Hadley Center for Forecasting in the UK had proclaimed that 2009 will be “the warmest year since 2005” and “one of the top-five warmest on record”, at “more than 0.4 °C above the long-term average”.  (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future - One of the long-recognized potential consequences of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is CO2-induced global warming, which has been predicted to pose a number of problems for both natural and managed ecosystems in the years ahead. Of newer concern, in this regard, are the effects that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content may have on coral reefs. It has been suggested, for example, that CO2-induced global warming will do great damage to corals by magnifying the intensity, frequency, and duration of a number of environmental stresses to which they are exposed. The predicted consequences of such phenomena include ever more cases of coral disease, bleaching, and death. (Craig Idso, SPPI)

Tropical rainforests are regrowing. Now what? - WASHINGTON - The world's tropical rainforests are making a comeback, but young vegetation may not be able to sustain as much diverse wildlife or lock up nearly as much climate-warming carbon dioxide as old trees did, scientists report.

The rainforest debate has raged publicly for decades, and more recently has been the subject of behind-the-scenes ferment among conservation scientists. It is the main topic of a Smithsonian symposium on Monday at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

These discussions are taking place as the international community is trying to figure out how to stem global warming. Because tropical forests sequester the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, they are considered an essential part of the solution.

About 135,000 square miles (350,000 square kilometers) of the original forested areas that were cut down by humans are growing back, according to Greg Asner of the Washington-based Carnegie Institution, a presenter at the symposium. That is only 1.7 percent of the original forest.

This regrowth is relatively quick, with the shady forest canopy closing in after just 15 years as trees grow taller and denser, offering habitat for creatures adapted to just this environment, such as birds with huge eyes able to see in the leafy gloom.

The basic question -- will rainforests survive? -- has been complicated by research by Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Helene Muller-Landau of the University of Minnesota.

These two scientists reported that the future of tropical forests may not be as bleak as other conservation experts warn, mostly because people who once lived in or near these forests are moving away, mostly toward cities, allowing vegetation to grow. (Reuters)

Global Warming’s Rare Bird? - The truth of the matter is that as the climate changes, for whatever reason, the earth’s plant and animals do their best to adapt to it and that adaptation, in many cases, involves shifting the range over which they inhabit. Whether the sighting of a lone pine flycatcher in southern Texas is an indication that the pine flycatcher is expanding northward, or whether this is just a wayward individual, is probably too soon to tell. But the point we are trying to make here is that it is okay to rejoice at something that may have a tie-in to global warming. Good things do happen to “good” species. All change is not bad. In fact, it is far from obvious that the path of climate change that we are now on is one in which “bad” changes dominate “good” ones.

It is just that the press (and alarmists), by and large, don’t want you to know that. (WCR)

Don’t forget to vote (Watts Up With That?)

Surfacestations UK project getting started - As many readers know, I’ve been working with a team of dedicated volunteers on the US project since June 2007. We now have over 50% of the 1221 station network surveyed and new surveys are being added, though slowed somewhat due to winter months. (Watts Up With That?)

Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 - A guest post by Bob Tisdale

NOTE: For those who are new to the subjects of El Nino events and sea surface temperatures, I’ve tried to make the following discussion as non-technical as possible without overlooking too many aspects critical to the discussion. It includes detailed descriptions of many of the processes that take place before, during, and after El Nino events. The period after an El Nino event is often neglected, but it holds the oceanic responses that are the most significant over multiyear periods. (Watts Up With That?)

Mauna Loa CO2 record posts smallest yearly gain in its history - maybe - UPDATE: I received a reply tonight from Pieter Tans, who is the manager for the MLO data, it is another error in presenting the data, similar to what happened with GISS in October, a monthly data value was carried over. In this case, November to December. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Polar Sea Ice Changes are Having a Net Cooling Effect on the Climate - A guest post by Steven Goddard

One of the most widely discussed climate feedbacks is the albedo effect of polar sea ice loss. Ice has a relatively high albedo (reflectance) so a reduction in polar ice area has the effect of causing more shortwave radiation (sunlight) to be absorbed by the oceans, warming the water. Likewise, an increase in polar sea ice area causes more sunlight to be reflected, decreasing the warming of the ocean. The earths radiative balance is shown in the image below. It is believed that about 30% of the sunlight reaching the earth’s atmosphere is directly reflected - 20% by clouds, 6% by other components of the atmosphere, and 4% by the earth’s surface. (Watts Up With That?)

More idiotic Ehrlich pronouncements: A Change in the Air: Is Humankind Now a Force of Planetary Change? - Bringing up the topic of climate change or global warming in mixed company can be a party killer. And global heating, as ecologist Paul Ehrlich likes to call it, is argued to be a planet killer as well.

Skeptics question the ability of human activity to initiate planetary change. They wonder if building cities, removing forests and increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere really matter in the big picture of life on earth. Certainly these do create change, at least aesthetically: a point with which even skeptics would agree. And there is also a clear impact on other species as we alter natural habitats by replacing them with our own housing, farming and transportation networks. But, the skeptic insists, if human life on earth is imperiled, it is more so at the hands of a fickle, varying sun; the slim chances of rendezvous with the next “dinosaur-killer” asteroid; or even the unconscionable cruelties we invent and perpetrate against ourselves.

Scientific consensus concerning our capacity to affect planetary systems and conditions has been building over the past decade, however. Of course, consensus can be wrong. As the most adamant climate-change skeptics are quick to mention, in the 1970s climatologists were not discussing climate warming but climate cooling and the potential return to an ice age. This error hangs over much of what is debated today—among nonscientists. But there is diminishing doubt in the scientific community that the activity of human beings is having global impact both climatologically as well as geologically. (Vision)

French authorities warn cold snap leaves elderly at risk - The French are being urged by their government to check up on the elderly to see how they're coping with a cold snap that has all Europe shivering.
"Elderly and handicapped people who are isolated and who have problems tend not to go out of the house, and so get fewer visitors due to the cold," said Francoise Weber of the French national health surveillance institute.

It reported "a significant increase" in elderly and other vulnerable people being admitted to hospital, as temperatures drop to as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus four Fahrenheit) in some parts of France.

In a radio message broadcast since Friday, the health ministry appealed to citizens to show "vigilance and solidarity" and ensure that elderly or chronically ill neighbours are okay.

Besides hypothermia and frostbite, cold winter weather can weaken a person's cardiovascular and respiratory systems, leaving the lungs more sensitive to infection, the health institute said. (Agence France-Presse)

Hmm... Government 'destroys jobs' by delaying green revolution - The government is to close a key support programme for renewable energies almost a year before it launches a new regime, creating a funding black hole that the industry has warned could lead to thousands of green job losses. (The Guardian)

... is losing a 'green job' anything comparable to losing a real job? As far as I can tell a 'green job' is one which is paid for at exorbitant rates from the public purse and which achieves absolutely nothing useful. Does anyone other than the recipients of government largess in the form of our tax monies really believe hugely expensive and entirely unproductive jobs are an intelligent use of scarce funds?

Energy think tank publishes new report on causes of global warming - Who is the real culprit behind global warming? The Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) pits differing views from five researchers -- some who attribute the greenhouse effect to CO2 emitted by human activity and others who express skepticism towards the claim -- against each other in the latest issue of its journal.

The study titled, "Global warming: What is the scientific truth?" contained work by Seita Emori, head of the National Institute for Environmental Studies who participated in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as Shunichi Akasofu, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, Kiminori Ito, professor at Yokohama National University, and Shigenori Maruyama, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, three researchers skeptical of the man-made climate theory, and Kanya Kusano, program director at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) who takes a neutral stance towards the issue.

All five researchers agreed either completely or partially with the claim by the IPCC that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level."

However, all but Emori disagreed with the IPCC assertion that "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations" -- in other words, that global warming is the result of human activity. (Mainichi Daily News)

We bet they do: Google disputes Harvard fellow's pollution estimate - The carbon footprint of a search query is nowhere near the estimate concluded by a Harvard academic, Google said late Sunday.

British newspaper The Sunday Times published a story on Sunday with results from a study conducted by Alex Wissner-Gross, a physicist who estimates a Google search generates 7 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2), slightly less than half as much CO2 as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea.

Wissner-Gross maintains that it shows a Google search has "a definite environmental impact."

Google, however, is arguing 7 grams is way off and is trivial compared to other CO2-spewing activities, such as driving. (New York Times)

Professor denies global warming theory - Physics professor William Happer GS ’64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

“This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

Happer served as director of the Office of Energy Research in the U.S. Department of Energy under President George H.W. Bush and was subsequently fired by Vice President Al Gore, reportedly for his refusal to support Gore’s views on climate change. He asked last month to be added to a list of global warming dissenters in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report. The list includes more than 650 experts who challenge the belief that human activity is contributing to global warming

Though Happer has promulgated his skepticism in the past, he requested to be named a skeptic in light of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, whose administration has, as Happer notes, “stated that carbon dioxide is a pollutant” and that humans are “poisoning the atmosphere.”

Happer maintains that he doubts there is any strong anthropogenic influence on global temperature.

“All the evidence I see is that the current warming of the climate is just like past warmings. In fact, it’s not as much as past warmings yet, and it probably has little to do with carbon dioxide, just like past warmings had little to do with carbon dioxide,” Happer explained. (Daily Princetonian)

Massive Greenland meltdown? Not so fast, say scientists - The recent acceleration of glacier melt-off in Greenland, which some scientists fear could dramatically raise sea levels, may only be a temporary phenomenon, according to a study published Sunday. (AFP)

Mid-Winter Report Card - Guest post by Steven Goddard

We are almost at the half way point for the meteorological winter (December through February) and it is a good time to evaluate how the NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) and UK Met Office winter forecasts are doing so far. As seen below, CPC forecast the highest probability of warmth for Alaska and the upper midwest. (Watts Up With That?)

Can The Everglades Be Restored To Its Original, Pre-European Condition? - The Everglades Restoration Plan, while a very important and beneficial environmental project, intends to “restore the magnificent River of Grass [the Everglades]“. As they also write: “Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote about the problems of the Everglades in 1947, describing a ecosystem that was beautiful yet already clearly suffering…..The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan will capture freshwater destined for sea - the Everglades’ lifeblood - and direct it back to the ecosystem to revitalize it. It will improve water supplies for people and farms, too. The nation’s largest such project, it will cost $7.8 billion and take more than 20 years to develop.”

Having visited Everglades National Park many times, it is a worthy goal to seek this. However, unfortunately, as we and others have shown, the weather (and thus the hydrology and ecology) of the Everglades are affected by what occurs throughout central and southern Florida. The amount of freshwater today (from rain), unfortunately, is significantly less then it was prior to European disturbance.

Recently, I was asked to summarize what we have found in our studies of Florida. This information is given below. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The Unifying Theory of Earth’s Climate by Stephen Wilde - Our regular contributor Stephen Wilde has prepared a new article tying in his previous articles (published first on the CO2Sceptics site) to recent climate developments. In doing so he provides a new conceptual overview of Earth's climate mechanism which appears to fit all observed changes in atmospheric temperature trends and, in view of the failure of existing climate models, he suggests a path forward for further research." (Co2sceptic)

From CO2 Science this week:
New Major Report:

CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs: Prospects for the Future: The ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content has been predicted to play havoc with earth's coral reefs in two different ways: (1) by stimulating global warming, which has been predicted to dramatically enhance coral bleaching, and (2) by lowering the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, which has been predicted to reduce coral calcification rates. We evaluate the likelihood of such claims in a new major review paper.

Old Trees Growing in a CO2-Accreting Atmosphere: They don't just fade away.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 657 individual scientists from 384 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Northern Icelandic Shelf, North Atlantic Ocean. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Animals (Insects - Moths): Will the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content induce moth larvae to devour more of the planet's vegetation?

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, Faba Bean, Paper Birch/Quaking Aspen, and Quaking Aspen.

Journal Reviews:
A Century and a Half of Atlantic Hurricane Activity: Do the data reveal a warming-induced increase in storm frequency or intensity?

Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic: How has their activity varied over the past century and a quarter?

The Impact of Climate Change on Typhoon Activity: What is the story told by paleotempestology?

Growth Enhancement Due to Elevated CO2 in a Semi-Arid Grassland: Did it experience a progressive decline due to nitrogen limitation over a five-year period?

Pokeweed Responses to Elevated Air Temperature and CO2 Concentration: How similar were they to the responses of non-weedy plants? (

What is the red dot? - A simple question; what is that red dot on the map? I was looking at the CONUS map browser depicting the 2008 temperature departure from normal provided by NOAA’s High Plains Regional Climate Center and noticed something odd: (Watts Up With That?)

Obama's Clean Energy Platform (part 1) - President-elect Barack Obama gave a wide-ranging speech on economic policy this week in which he said that, “To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years.” That seems a modest goal considering how little of the energy we use is currently produced by alternative sources such as ethanol, windmills, and solar panels. But it’s a ridiculous goal in such a short time considering the capacity limitations of these industries and the higher cost to consumers and taxpayers of the energy that will be produced. Obama also said that he would begin building a smart electricity grid and require that 75% of federal buildings and two million private houses be modernized in terms of energy efficiency within two years. Funding for those goals will probably be part of the stimulus spending bill that is currently being cooked up. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Obama's Clean Energy Platform (part 2): Why It Can't Work - So it seems likely that the target of doubling the use of renewable energy does not actually refer to the full range of renewables at all, but just to those “acceptable” alternatives. This would imply that the target is only 1 extra quad of renewable energy by 2011, which, while it would represent a significant expansion of those industries, would amount to just a “drop in the bucket” of total US energy use. And, as we hear in the debate over ANWR every time it comes up, a “drop in the bucket” is just not worth doing… (Iain Murray, Open Market blog)

Key Questions for Steven Chu, Nominee for Secretary of Energy - The United States Senate will soon render its advice and consent to the nomination of Steven Chu as the new secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE).

In addition to overseeing the agency's duties conducting energy research and dealing with nuclear waste issues, a good secretary of energy also needs to stand as a secretary for energy--in favor of plentiful and affordable energy supplies for the American people and a supporter of the free market processes that work best to provide them. The federal government already has several anti-energy forces in place, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, whose statutory duties require it to impose environmental constraints on energy production and use, especially fossil fuels, and often without regard to cost. Therefore, it is an important part of the secretary of energy's job to act as a pro-energy counterweight to EPA rather than as a redundant anti-energy voice within the executive branch.

Therefore, when considering Chu for this post, the Senate should consider asking him the following questions. (Ben Lieberman and Jack Spencer, Heritage Foundation)

Gas Peaking as Gazprom Dispute Masks Falling Demand -- Russia’s efforts to extract more money from Ukraine by cutting off natural gas supplies sent the fuel to a three-year high in Europe, and set up prices for a steeper decline. (Bloomberg)

Russian gas crisis puts a flame under nuclear debate in Europe - Cuts in Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine have reignited interest in Europe about using nuclear energy as an alternative to hydrocarbons, sparking environmentalists' ire.
"On nuclear energy, this crisis will have consequences for the way we consider energy security in all EU countries," said Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman, whose country holds the bloc's rotating presidency.

"One of the ways this might happen is to argue in favour of the return of nuclear energy," he told a news conference in Brussels on Thursday.

The debate is already going strong in former Soviet bloc members of the European Union which are highly dependent on Russian gas and have been hit hard by supply cuts in the standoff between Moscow and Kiev.

Even as Russia and Ukraine neared a deal that would lead to a resumption of gas supplies, Slovakia said Saturday it would begin reopening a power generator at the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear plant because of the cutoff. (AFP)

Nuclear renaissance faces a big challenge - CONCLUSION: Meeting both emissions and supply security goals will be difficult, if not impossible, if an established low-carbon base-load technology like nuclear is ignored. However, newbuild does not look viable in current market conditions. State support is needed and may be more forthcoming from governments faced with recession. (Oxford Analytica)

Seeing Oil’s Limits, Gulf States Invest Heavily in Clean Energy - ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — With one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in the world, these oil-rich emirates would seem an unlikely place for a green revolution.

Gasoline sells for 45 cents a gallon. There is little public transportation and no recycling. Residents drive between air-conditioned apartments and air-conditioned malls, which are lighted 24/7.

Still, the region’s leaders know energy and money, having built their wealth on oil. They understand that oil is a finite resource, vulnerable to competition from new energy sources. (New York Times)

EUROPE: Trucks Get a Free Ride to Emit - BRUSSELS - Carbon dioxide emissions from using Europe's road to transport goods will increase by more than 50 percent within the next two decades, a new study has predicted. (IPS)

Ministers set to back Heathrow expansion - BAA, the owner of Heathrow, is expected to receive government backing next week for a third runway at the west London airport.

Government sources have told the Financial Times that the announcement is to take place mid-week, if it is agreed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning. (Financial Times)

Airlines warn 500,000 new jobs could be lost unless airport expansion is backed - Airline bosses have warned that 500,000 new jobs would be lost unless the Government backs a major expansion of Britain's airports.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon is this week expected to approve a third runway for London's Heathrow airport.

The airlines say thousands of jobs will be lost unless developments at several other UK airports - including a new runway at Stansted - go ahead. (Sunday Mirror)

Lobbyists raise pressure on Heathrow - Business and trade union leaders and the aviation industry stepped up pressure on ministers on Monday to give the go-ahead this week for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow.

Even if the government approves the £9bn scheme in the coming days – subject to strict environmental conditions being met – BAA, the airport’s owner, and British Airways, Heathrow’s biggest operator, say a third runway is unlikely to be in operation before 2020. (Financial Times)

Another promise of a flying car - sigh - All thorough my childhood and adolescence I was a keen fan of all sorts of science magazines including Scientific American (the Amateur Scientist was my favorite SciAm column because it showed how to build things), a subscription magazine from NASA’s Science Service, Asimov’s sci-fi journal, and yes even Popular Science and occasionally Popular Mechanics since my dad liked it.

I lost track of how many times the world has been promised a flying car in those magazines. It seemed like we’d all have a “chicken in every pot” and a flying car in every garage. I’ve been waiting for years decades and there have been lots of false starts and outright frauds. Where the heck is my flying car? (Watts Up With That?)

Too fat to love a child and be a dad? - There are about 4,000 children desperately in need of parents to adopt them, every year in the UK, according to the British Association for Adoption & Fostering. These children come from a wide range of backgrounds, many are of school age and with siblings, special needs children with physical handicaps, or those who’ve been abused or neglected. These children are shuffled among state facilities, without loving parents to take them in.

That’s what makes today’s news story so heartbreaking… and so wrong.

A young couple desperately wants a child to love and to give a child a happy and safe home. They’ve been married for eleven years, don’t drink or smoke, and have a stable home to offer. They were told by government officials in West Yorkshire, England, that they are unfit to adopt. The only reason?

Mr. Hall is considered too fat to be a parent. Too fat to love a child. (Junkfood Science)

Sunday reading: The government's Interception Modernisation Programme — the costs of security

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.— Benjamin Franklin, 1775

News across Europe has been reporting for months on the government's Interception Modernisation Programme. It is every bit as Orwellian as it sounds. As part of a European Commission directive, beginning on March 15th, all internet service providers in the UK will be required by law to collect records on all internet traffic and every e-mail, to be stored in a national central database.

According to the Office of Security & Counter-Terrorism at the Home Office in its 2007 Strategy, the Interception Modernisation Programme is critical for building intelligence to respond to terrorism and protect national interests. “Our ability to intercept communications and obtain communications data lawfully is critical to combating the threat posed by terrorism and tackling serious crime,” the Secretary of State reported to Parliament last year.

A spokesperson with the Home Office told BBC News that monitoring internet activity “will allow investigators to identify suspects, examine their contacts, establish relationships between conspirators and place them in a specific location at a certain time.” While purportedly for national security, the information will be required to be made available to any public body that requests it, which could include law enforcement, local councils and health agencies. (Junkfood Science)

Elders' blood pressure varies with outdoor temps - NEW YORK - A study conducted in France shows that elderly men and women experience significant blood pressure changes as outdoor temperatures rise and fall, with higher blood pressure readings often seen in cold weather.

Higher blood pressure in the winter months could increase risk for stroke or other vascular events, warn Dr. Christophe Tzourio, of the French national research institute INSERM in Paris, and colleagues in a report published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine. (Reuters Health)

Obese Americans now outweigh the merely overweight - WASHINGTON - The number of obese American adults outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight, according to the latest statistics from the federal government.

Numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight. It said just under 6 percent are "extremely" obese.

"More than one-third of adults, or over 72 million people, were obese in 2005-2006, the NCHS said in its report. (Reuters)

Overeating in the genes for some kids, study says - LONDON - When it comes to cookies, some children really can't help themselves, British researchers said on Monday.

In an experiment, researchers offered 131 four- to five-year-olds a plate of cookies after they had eaten a meal.

They found that the children who ate more cookies were more likely to have certain variations of the FTO gene, a gene linked to larger body size, suggesting that for some overeating is genetically programmed.

"This research ... tells us more about how some children are more responsive to signals in their bodies encouraging them to eat when full than others," said Jane Wardle of University College London, who led the study.

"Knowing how the genes work is the first step to minimising these negative effects," she said in a statement. (Reuters Life!)

Hormone clue could lead to pre-natal screening for autism - Babies exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb have a higher risk of developing autistic traits, research has revealed.

The link to the male hormone could provide a way to test unborn babies for the condition and has added a new dimension to the debate about the ethics of screening.

The research suggests than abnormally high levels of testosterone in the womb could be one of the triggers for autistic traits to develop up to ten years later. (Daily Mail)

Car noise increases your risk of heart attack by 38% - Long-term exposure to even relatively low levels of noise, such as traffic outside the house, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and high blood pressure.

While it has long been known that exposure to loud noise can cause hearing loss, it had been thought that relatively low levels of environmental noise were not a danger.

But research is increasingly showing that such noise can have adverse effects. (Daily Mail)

Open-plan offices are making workers sick, say Australian scientists - THE evidence is overwhelming - working in an open plan office is bad for your health.

Australian scientists have reviewed a global pool of research into the effect of modern office design, concluding the switch to open-plan has led to lower productivity and higher worker stress.

"The evidence we found was absolutely shocking,'' researcher Dr Vinesh Oommen from the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said. (AAP)

The saddest part is that some people actually believe this crap: Company fined over ‘energised’ water claims - A company has been fined $25,000 in the Auckland District Court after making bogus claims about its bottled water products.

Big Blue, which sells, supplies and processes water and sells/rents water coolers, was found to have breached the Fair Trading Act by making false claims about two of its products, Energised Distilled Water and Energised Mineral Water.

Both products used purified tap water, which the company claimed was then "energised" using what was described as Wasser 2000 Vibration Technology.

In the case of the "energised mineral water", minerals imported from South Korea were also added.

Big Blue claimed on its website that the Wasser technology process "neutralises the harm caused by toxins through re-programming the waters polarity and restoring it to its 'primordial' or natural state. This natural state provides beneficial health giving frequencies." (National Business Review)

Nutrient Diligence Needed For Vegetarian Kids -- Children who want to be vegetarians need to "fill in the blanks" of their low-protein diets by eating alternatives to red meat, fish and poultry, experts say.

Good examples are soybeans, fortified soy milk and nuts. Those are important sources of the protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin D that most kids get from meat.

Nutritional yeast - which has a cheesy flavor - has the much-needed vitamin B-12. And flaxseed is good for linolenic acid.

Vegetarian children who eat eggs and dairy products will most likely get all the nutrition they need. But those who become vegan - abstaining from dairy - need to be more diligent, said Dr. David Ludwig of Children's Hospital Boston, a specialist in pediatric nutrition.

"It really requires much more attention to avoid nutrient deficiencies," Ludwig said. (AP)

Or, alternatively, feed them like the omnivores they are.

Experts track record shark numbers off beaches - SHARK numbers are soaring along the NSW coast, with one expert warning they have increased by up to 80 per cent.

Advising swimmers to be extremely careful when entering the water, director of Surfwatch Australia Michael Brown said: "They are here to feed. People should be cautious."

He said not only were all shark species increasing, they were also getting bigger, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Waters are cold around Australia and cold-water critter sightings are up. Go figure...

Bush's Achievements - Ten things the president got right. - The postmortems on the presidency of George W. Bush are all wrong. The liberal line is that Bush dangerously weakened America's position in the world and rushed to the aid of the rich and powerful as income inequality worsened. That is twaddle. Conservatives--okay, not all of them--have only been a little bit kinder. They give Bush credit for the surge that saved Iraq, but not for much else.

He deserves better. His presidency was far more successful than not. And there's an aspect of his decision-making that merits special recognition: his courage. Time and time again, Bush did what other presidents, even Ronald Reagan, would not have done and for which he was vilified and abused. That--defiantly doing the right thing--is what distinguished his presidency.

Bush had ten great achievements (and maybe more) in his eight years in the White House, starting with his decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans. The treaty was a disaster, with India and China exempted and economic decline the certain result. Everyone knew it. But only Bush said so and acted accordingly.

He stood athwart mounting global warming hysteria and yelled, "Stop!" He slowed the movement toward a policy blunder of worldwide impact, providing time for facts to catch up with the dubious claims of alarmists. Thanks in part to Bush, the supposed consensus of scientists on global warming has now collapsed. The skeptics, who point to global cooling over the past decade, are now heard loud and clear. And a rational approach to the theory of manmade global warming is possible. (Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard)

January 12, 2009

The world according to The Indy: Oil giant comes in from the cold - Exxon funded global warming denial for years. Yesterday, in an astonishing U-turn, it called for the imposition of green taxes.

The boss of ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, has called for a carbon tax to tackle global warming, marking a volte-face by the firm once described by Greenpeace as Climate Criminal No 1. Assailed from all sides by scientists and a new cadre of US politicians, led by the President-elect, Barack Obama, the landmark concession by Rex Tillerson represents a nod to realpolitik after years when the company denied the existence of man-made global warming. (The Independent)

What these guys have never figured out is that big businesses couldn't care less about carbon costs to the consumer as long as they are not disadvantaged in the application (the consumer is going to pay for it and since margins are worked as a percentage it guarantees an increase in company profits). The illusion that big anything actively fought (or specifically funded a campaign to fight) gorebull warming hysteria is a nonsense myth perpetrated by hysterics and perpetuated by the media. You, the consumer, are going to pay all the costs of this misanthropic nonsense and you need to resist or at least support those fighting this nonsense on your behalf. If you don't there's no point complaining when you are cold and poor, that's too late.

Anyway, it's Google's fault: Google searches costly for the planet - PERFORMING two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without a thought for the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. "Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power," said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon.

"A Google search has a definite environmental impact." Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its dozens of data centres.

However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally every day, the level of electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world's airlines - about 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions. "Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities imaginable," said Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. (Times Online)

Carbon Tax: The Lesser Of Two Evils - Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, long reviled by environmentalists for his skepticism of extreme global warming claims, now supports a tax on C02 emissions. A new convert to the cause? We doubt it.

In a speech last Thursday, Tillerson said a carbon tax would be a "more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach" than many of the current plans for curbing greenhouse gases, including the cap-and-trade approach favored by President-elect Barack Obama.

In supporting the carbon tax, Tillerson "has become an unlikely member of a club that includes former Vice President Al Gore, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and President-elect Barack Obama's designated head of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers," the Wall Street Journal noted.

In point of fact, Tillerson hasn't joined any club.

Like many CEOs these days in energy-producing industries, he's just afraid his company will soon be hit with a tidal wave of new regulation to curb greenhouse gas emissions — regulations that will destroy trillions of dollars of U.S. wealth. (IBD)

Hollywood: Pushing Global Warming Down Your Throat - One of Hollywood’s main heroes today is former Vice President Al Gore due to the success of his film “An Inconvenient Truth.” In this documentary, Gore tries to explain to the public that man-made global warming is real and that something has to change if we want to undo the damage we cause to this wonderful planet which would have been so much more wonderful if only those pesky humans lived on, say, Mars.

Since the above is a message Hollywood can believe in, liberal actors and directors (but I am repeating myself) jumped on the bandwagon and repeated it whenever possible. See for instance the $80 million remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” starring Keanu Reeves. Sci-Fi fans like myself will be happy to know that watching this movie is like listening to Barbara Streisand (or Jane Fonda) give a a political speech. The original movie may have been great, the remake is nothing but Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” poured in a sci-fi jacket. (Michael van der Galien, Big Hollywood)

Climate-change alarmism runs into a reality check - The new century has cooled the case for climate alarmism. Global warming has stalled — not accelerated as expected. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have increased, but temperatures have been flat for the last eight years and have slightly fallen since 1998's El Nino-driven temperature spike.

If the cool-off continues until 2015, as could be the case according to a study published in Nature magazine, we will have had a see-saw of global warming (1900-45), global cooling (1945-75), global warming (1975-98), and flatness (1998-2015).

Where does all of this leave us coming out of the Little Ice Age that ended in the mid-18th century — and after a century of greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere? Today's temperature is about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer, and in a naturally warmer climate cycle. Compare this to Al Gore's scary talk about an 11-degree man-made temperature rise this century under business as usual.

One decade does not end the debate. But it is yet another data point against treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and stringently regulating today's consumer-chosen energy economy. And it explains the desperation of those who accuse critics of climate catastrophism as being "deniers" (as in Holocaust deniers) and "flat earthers."

Of course the climate is changing — always has and always will — and there may very well be a distinct human influence on climate. Carbon dioxide is a warming agent, as are the other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. But the good news is that so far the observed climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is much less than what some climate models predict. (Robert L. Bradley, Houston Chronicle)

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

Looks like Andy has been self-medicating: The Faustian Bargain - How a carbon-emitting atom-splitting species threatens to turn a planet into a radioactive 3 to 6 degrees c high sea level world. (Andrew Glikson, webdiary)

The world according to a railway engineer: State of the World 2009 - The following is Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri's foreword to State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World, which will be published by the Worldwatch Institute next week. Dr. Pachauri will be keynoting the 13th Annual State of the World Symposium in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 2009. (New Nation)

Um, no: Scientists Refute Argument Of Climate Skeptics — Scientists at the GKSS Research Centre of Geesthacht and the University of Bern have investigated the frequency of warmer than average years between 1880 and 2006 for the first time. The result: the observed increase of warm years after 1990 is not a statistical accident. (ScienceDaily)

If you believe the near-surface record (something of an act of faith in itself) then Earth has generally been warming over the the last four centuries (entirely plausible to have warming since the depths of the Little Ice Age and supported by recorded history of human events). What this doesn't do is tell us why this warming has occurred or how long it might persist. Neither does it suggest anything unusual nor signal any danger.

It is unclear exactly what argument they think this press release refutes.

Oh boy... Sea absorbing less CO2, scientists discover - Scientists have issued a new warning about climate change after discovering a sudden and dramatic collapse in the amount of carbon emissions absorbed by the Sea of Japan.

The shift has alarmed experts, who blame global warming.

The world's oceans soak up about 11bn tonnes of human carbon dioxide pollution each year, about a quarter of all produced, and even a slight weakening of this natural process would leave significantly more CO2 C02 in the atmosphere. That would require countries to adopt much stricter emissions targets to prevent dangerous rises in temperature. (The Guardian)

... on the one hand: cool, that means the oceans tend to saturate and won't turn acidic, endangering all the little shelled critters, right? On the other hand: atmospheric carbon dioxide is a major benefit to the biosphere -- it's an essential trace gas -- so losing less to the oceans would be a plus. Sadly, we can't draw either conclusion because oceanic CO2 absorption varies with currents, temperature, saturation, wind-driven surface wave mixing, stratification... a localized change tells us, um, nothing really.

Partly right: Poor will be hit hardest by climate change - The poorest people in the UK, already struggling to heat their homes and buy healthy food, will be hit hardest by green taxes, according to a new study.

A new coalition of leading UK environmental and social justice groups have warned poor housing, health, lack of home insurance and less money to adapt will mean the deprived are worst hit by climate change.

The impacts of rising temperatures will affect them most, as they tend to live in lower quality, less energy-efficient housing, have less access to insurance in case of floods or storm damage and less money to adapt to higher prices of fuel and food. (Daily Telegraph)

Note that the big risks are a result of climate hysteria and green taxes -- a warmer globe does not make it harder for people to heat their homes any more than a CO2-enriched one increases food prices or scarcity. The problem is not now nor ever has been AGW but rather AGW hysteria.

The Battle of the Bulbs: A very British conflict - Incandescent is the only word to describe the furore over energy-saving illumination. David Randall sheds light on the row over how we get switched on

At around a quarter past four this afternoon, just at official lighting-up time, some of Britain's 500 million light bulbs will be turned on in the daily ritual that, deservedly, normally draws not the slightest spark of interest or comment. Today, however, is likely to be different. Thanks to shops starting to withdraw from sale old-style 100-watt bulbs ahead of a looming Europe-wide ban, Britain's domestic lighting traditionalists have belatedly realised that the forces of Brussels and eco-progressivism are in the process of doing away with the light they have read and lived by all their lives.

The bulbs are incandescent, and so, too, are their users. Worried, too. Living- room conservatives are looking up at the trusty old Osram burning brightly in the lampshade above their heads, and wondering for how much longer they can rely on its flicker-free illumination. (The Independent)

Labour peer set to make a fortune out of eco-bulbs with 2.4m shares in Britain's biggest lamp recycler - A former Labour Cabinet Minister is expecting to make a fortune from the Government’s controversial decision to phase out traditional light bulbs and replace them with a low-energy version.

Lord Barnett, who was Treasury Chief Secretary in the Seventies and later vice-chairman of the BBC, is a major investor in a company that stands to reap massive profits as the new-style bulbs are recycled. (Daily Mail)

Sheesh! Giant plasma TVs face ban in battle to green Britain - New rules will phase out energy-guzzling flatscreen televisions as the EU brings its climate campaign to the living room

Energy-guzzling flatscreen plasma televisions will soon be banned as part of the battle against climate change, ministers have told The Independent on Sunday.

"Minimum energy performance standards" for televisions are expected to be agreed across Europe this spring, they say, and this should lead to "phasing out the most inefficient TVs". At the same time, a compulsory labelling system will be drawn up to identify the best and worst devices.

The moves, which follow last week's withdrawal of the 100W incandescent lightbulb, are part of a drive to slow the rapid growth of electricity consumption in homes by phasing out wasteful devices and introducing more efficient ones. Giant plasma televisions – dubbed "the 4x4s of the living room" – can consume four times as much energy as traditional TVs that used cathode ray tubes (CRTs). (The Independent)

Emissions trading scheme will 'raise food prices, lower exports' - AUSTRALIA'S proposed climate change regime would push up food prices, cut inflows to the Murray-Darling and cut agricultural exports if it continues to encourage the development of carbon sink forests.

A research paper co-authored by Mick Keogh and Alex Thompson of the Australian Farm Institute has warned that livestock farmers faced with declining profitability under higher carbon emission prices will be encouraged to sell their land to forestry plantations, or convert significant portions of farms to permanent carbon-sink forests.

Mr Keogh, the Australian Farm Institute's chief executive, said Treasury modelling for an emissions trading scheme projected that up to 40 million hectares of new tree plantations would be established up to 2050 -- as Australia sought to offset carbon emissions -- with the bulk of these being in high rainfall areas of northeast NSW and southeast Queensland. (The Australian)

“Regional Climate Modelling” - Call For Abstracts - This announcement was called to our attention by René Laprise (IAMAS), Jens Christensen (IACS), Markus Meier (IAPSO)

The IAMAS, IAPSO and IACS invite the international atmospheric, oceanographic and cryospheric research community to MOCA-09, their Joint Assembly, to be held in July 2009 in Montréal, Québec, Canada:

The deadline for submission of abstracts is January 23, 2009 (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

2nd Lund Regional-Scale Climate Modelling Workshop: 21st Century Challenges in Regional Climate Modelling - The U.S. National Science Foundation has sponsored a limited number of awards of up to $2000 each to support participation in the workshop by graduate students and postdoctoral associates who are affiliated with institutions in the United States. The workshop will be held in Lund, Sweden, 4 - 8 May 2009. For more information see the Conference website or the Call for Papers.

Download the announcement and application form by which people can apply for these funds.

Submit applications for support to baltex (at) not later than 15 February 2009. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

“Regional And Global Impacts Of Land Cover Change And Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies” by Findell et al. 2008 - There is an excellent new paper that investigates the role of land cover change on climate. It is Findell, K.L., A.J. Pitman, M.H. England, and P.J. Pegion, 2008: Regional and Global Impacts of Land Cover Change and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies. Journal of Climate: In Press. doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2580.1 (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

CLIMATE CHANGE-BRAZIL: Calls for Adaptation Unheeded - RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 9 - Torrential rains have deluged several Brazilian states since November, causing nearly 200 deaths so far and reinforcing environmentalist campaigns calling for urgent climate change adaptation measures. (IPS)

Actually torrential rains in Brazil are hardly unusual nor unexpected ("normal" would be the fairest description) but it is nice to see enviros waking up to the fact that adaptation is not only humanity's tradition recourse, it is the only possible response to whatever change might occur.

The global tropical cyclone season of 2008: below average - It was a below average year for global tropical cyclone activity, and the destructive power of these storms was close to the lowest levels observed since since reliable records began in the early 1980s. However, the the total number of global deaths from tropical cyclones was the highest since 1991, thanks to the estimated 140,000 people killed in Myanmar from Tropical Cyclone Nargis. The total number of storms world-wide was 90, slightly lower that the average from the past 25 years of 92 (Figure 1). The global number of hurricanes, intense hurricanes (Category 3 and higher), and Category 4 and stronger storms were all below average. Only one Category 5 storm was recorded in 2008--Super Typhoon Jangmi, which attained winds of 165 mph at 06 GMT on September 27, as it approached the north coast of Taiwan. The last time so few Category 5 storms were recorded globally was in 1974, when there were none. The 2008 hurricane season was much above average in the Atlantic, but the Atlantic only accounts for about 13% of all global tropical cyclone activity. (Weather Underground)

Probe into warming - WINNIPEG -- Researchers are hoping the huge tusks of the walrus and choppers of the beluga whale will help track the increasing impact of global warming on Canadian Arctic mammals and the Inuit communities that eat them.

Scientists with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Winnipeg are preparing to study the teeth of mammals killed during Inuit hunts to look for any signs that greenhouse gases are taking a toll.

Although scientists have studied the teeth for many years, this is the first time they are being used to unlock the impact climate change is having in the North.

Experts expect to find a growing number of contaminants like mercury and PCBs in the teeth, as well as evidence of a thinning diet. (Canadian Press)

Q&A with Roger Pielke, Jr. on the climate change story - Roger Pielke, Jr is a Professor in the University of Colorado’s Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. He focuses on the nexus of science and technology in decision making. I was looking for Pielke to provide some advice to journalists who might be called on to cover climate change in the coming years: (CEJournal)

Climate change: Melting credibility - Remember how mankind's abuse of fossil fuels was going to cause the North Pole's ice cap to melt completely in 2008?

Remember how the beloved polar bear was in danger of soon becoming extinct because there was too little sea ice from which bears could hunt their favorite dinners of ringed seal pups?

It turns out that both of these global warming scare stories were as full of it as Al Gore's Oscar-winning docu-comedy "An Inconvenient Truth." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Keeping the IPCC Honest – Part II - IPCC reports, and particularly their Summaries for Policy Makers (SPM), are noted for their bias in support of the political goal of control of fossil fuels in order to fight alleged anthropogenic global warming AGW).

The most blatant example is the Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

This ambiguous phrase conveys a mental picture of climate scientists, preferably with gray beards, sitting around a table judging both human and natural influences, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the real natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially GH gases—and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore bad almost by definition.

How then does the IPCC-SAR arrive at this “balance?” It was done by carefully removing references to any doubt that human influences are the major or almost exclusive cause of warming. I will quote here from the WSJ (August 13,1996) article, written by the late Professor Frederick Seitz. He compared the draft approved by the authors of IPCC-SAR Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that key phrases had been deleted from the approved draft before printing. (CFP)

This item is unattributed but I believe the original author to be Professor S. Fred Singer.

What is it with princes? Antarctic damage alarming: Monaco's Prince - PUNTA ARENAS, Chile: Prince Albert of Monaco said on Thursday there were alarming signs of damage to the Antarctic environment and called for more scientific research into threats such as global warming.

The Prince, at the southern tip of Chile on a stop-over during a three-week series of visits to Antarctica lasting until Jan. 21, also told Reuters in an interview that he would pay to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from his own visit by investing in renewable energies.

"There are a few alarming signs" of change in Antarctica, he said in Punta Arenas after touring islands at the north of the Antarctic peninsula with the head of the Chilean Antarctic Institute and other experts. The Prince, who won an award in 2008 from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for efforts to safeguard the planet, is traveling to more than 20 research stations, including a ski trip to the South Pole. He last visited the North Pole two years ago. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age - The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years. (Gregory F. Fegel, Pravda.Ru)

This item was also submitted to by Fegel, an author unknown to us but apparently from Portland, Oregon. He appears to be a frequent contributor to Pravda and has anti-American, anti-Israeli rants scattered about the web, sometimes under the handle "cloudmessenger". His scientific credentials, if any, are unknown.

Markey Nets Top Energy Post; Congress Gets More Dangerous - Waxman and Markey make a dangerous combination. They are both global warming alarmists, and they both have the utmost confidence in the ability of government to solve the crisis they propagate. From them we should expect radical, heavily statist energy policies to ward off the supposed threat of climate change. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Obama Renewables Plan More Ambitious Than Appears - LOS ANGELES - President-elect Barack Obama's call for an ambitious renewable energy plan underscores just how bad things have gotten for makers of solar panels and wind turbines.

The goal to double alternative energy production in three years will effectively maintain the high-flying industry's recent growth rates rather than targeting sharper increases, reflecting the harsh new reality facing green power.

"Doubling over that period is a little more ambitious than one would have thought six months ago," said Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich. "It's not a huge stretch goal but given what growth rates probably are now it's realistic and may even be a little bit of a push." (Reuters)

Albuquerque Police Abandon Use of E-85 - The City of Albuquerque is quietly abandoning part of its push for a greener Albuquerque after finding that E-85 powered vehicles are not all they are cracked up to be. The city found they cost more to run and to keep running.

In October of 2005, the mayor was all smiles when he showed off his E-85-fueled truck. It was given to him by by General Motors, which was promoting ethanol-fueled vehicles.

Enchanted with the idea of going green, the city bought a couple hundred police cars. The problem is all the green the city is spending to keep those cars running green. (KOAT) | Albuquerque Uses Alternative Fuels (Albuquerque Green)

Automakers go for electric cars, but will drivers? - DEARBORN, Michigan: Inside Ford Motor, it was called Project M - to build a prototype of a totally electric, battery-powered car in just six months.

When it was started last summer, the project was considered a tall order by the small team of executives and engineers assigned to it. After all, the auto industry can take years to develop vehicles.

But Ford was feeling pressure from competitors and decided it could not afford to fall behind in the rapidly expanding race to put electric cars in dealers' showrooms.

"Frankly, I think it's a gamble not to do it," William Ford Jr., the company's executive chairman, said in an interview. "It's clear that society is headed down this road."

Certainly, Ford and other carmakers are betting billions of dollars on this new direction, at a time when they can ill afford it and when Detroit is facing government scrutiny after the $17.4 billion bailout of General Motors and Chrysler by the U.S. government. (IHT)

Russia-Ukraine Deal On Gas For Europe Hits Trouble - MOSCOW/KIEV - A deal to restore Russian gas supplies via Ukraine to Europe appeared on the verge of collapse after Moscow rejected additions by Kiev as a 'mockery of common sense'.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appealed to EU leaders late on Sunday to exert influence on Kiev to withdraw the annotations. Government sources said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had proposed sending officials to Brussels on Monday for emergency talks.

Ukraine, its own supplies cut off in a dispute with Moscow over the price it pays for Russian gas, signed an agreement on Sunday allowing monitors to check gas flows across its territory to Europe and assuage Russian fears Kiev would siphon off gas for itself. But it appended its own declaration to the deal Russia had signed a day earlier.

The European Union was also party to the deal and EU monitors had already begun arriving when the new dispute flared. (Reuters)

Heathrow's third runway to fall foul of EU rules - Ministers will give a green light to the airport's extension, but critics say Europe's pollution targets could prevent it from being built

Heathrow's controversial third runway – due to be given the green light by ministers this week – is unlikely ever to be built because it will fall foul of new European pollution laws, environmentalists and senior government advisers believe.

The airport's two existing runways already cause air pollution which breaches compulsory European Union air-quality standards, which Britain will have to observe by 2015. Neither anti-runway campaigners nor the Government's Environment Agency see how these can possibly be met if the number of flights rises by 50 per cent as planned. (The Independent)

Proof at last... aliens in UFOs are far more intelligent than we are - If visitors from another galaxy really are going round destroying wind turbines, then it is the proof we have been waiting for that aliens are more intelligent than we are.

The swivel-eyed, intolerant cult, which endlessly shrieks – without proof – that global warming is man-made, has produced many sad effects.

The collapse of proper education has made two whole generations vulnerable to rubbishy fads.

But the disfiguring of the country with useless windmills, and the insane plan to ban proper light bulbs, are supreme triumphs of this dimwit pseudo-religion.

Both schemes override facts and logic. During the current cold spell, observant persons will have noticed that there has been very little wind, a rather common combination. (Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail)

Third-hand smoke and chemtrails — invisible toxin fears - Fears that invisible toxins — in such tiny amounts they can barely even be measured — are everywhere and can cause brain damage or cancer in babies and children were reinforced this week by media and a medical journal. So great were the fears among parents, and so great were the political and financial impetus of the professionals behind them, that virtually no one breathed a word of the fact there was no science. In fact, not only were the over-the-top ideas scientifically implausible, for the scares to be true, every known law of science would have to be false. (Junkfood Science)

Turnover — clean sweep of health agency heads - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Julie Gerberding, has submitted her resignation, effective January 20th. Chief operating officer, Bill Grimson, will be interim active director.

Her resignation follows that of Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, which will also go into effect on Inauguration Day.

Dr. Elias Zerhouni has already left his post as director of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. John E. Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, is expected to leave his position, too.

Other health agencies to have new heads will be the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has told media he will act quickly to name permanent new agency heads. (Junkfood Science)

Mass in Motion - Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration announced the launch of its far-reaching statewide obesity campaign today. Called Mass in Motion, it includes every conceivable popularized initiative to reduce calories and increase exercise among residents - in schools, workplaces and communities. (Junkfood Science)

UPDATE: Major FDA consumer alert on diet pills - The FDA just issued a significant update on one of its largest and most serious consumer alerts about weight loss supplements found to contain potentially dangerous prescription drugs, some at levels that far exceed even their maximum recommended dosages.

This week, it added 40 more products that its testing found contained the prescription drug Sibutramine. (Junkfood Science

Left to die - It is inconceivable that a nurse would be oblivious to the fact her patient had not received any fluids or nourishment for an entire month. A young man, 43 years old, suffered a stroke which made it hard for him to swallow and he couldn’t communicate to call for help. He laid in a NHS hospital for 26 days and slowly, agonizingly was allowed to starve to death. (Junkfood Science)

Do we really need a national wellness coach? - As a follow-up to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s selection for the next Surgeon General comes a compelling analysis. When the position was originally created in 1870, it actually had a medical role to administer the Marine Hospital System, which cared for sick and injured merchant seamen. My, how the role has changed, which Steven Milloy chronicles in a fascinating article on the history of the Surgeon General’s job. (Junkfood Science)

Gerberding’s CDC legacy debated - Director draws praise, criticism from observers

Since President-elect Barack Obama accepted the resignation of the head of the nation’s leading public health agency last week, her admirers and detractors have been arguing about her legacy and the future of the Atlanta-based research facility.

During Dr. Julie Gerberding’s six years directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, critics lambasted her, accusing her of sacrificing science for politics and carrying the Bush agenda on global warming and other issues into the world of scientific research.

Her defenders countered that she kept the agency above political concerns and expanded its mission to include bioterrorism research, combating AIDS globally and responding to national health threats. They say the government is losing a strong leader who could have provided continuity for the years ahead.

New administrations often clean house at the top of their agencies. Gerberding’s resignation, effective Jan. 20, became public Friday. She was unavailable for comment Saturday.

As the CDC’s first female director departs, some health care advocates say they hope a change in leadership spurs a change in direction and priorities for the agency, which employs 9,000 people and has a budget of $9 billion. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Change4Life: change we can’t believe in - The UK government’s latest war on obesity is the most cartoonish public-health propaganda in living memory.

When tens of millions of taxpayer pounds are spent on a public health campaign, a rational, if naive, expectation is that the campaign is founded upon the latest and most rigorous scientific evidence. Yet the British government’s Change4Life campaign, which began airing TV adverts last Saturday, is both literally and figuratively the most cartoonish public health propaganda in memory. (Basham and Luik, sp!ked)

Just another throe in the slow death of science

What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long. – Thomas Sowell

At least the inventors of the second hand smoke scare took the trouble to arrange a sequence of statistical frauds on apparently real data to back up their theory. Now it is not considered necessary. Scientific research has largely been replaced by the sort of vox populi opinion poll that was once confined to the less intellectually demanding end of the women’s magazine market. Third hand smoke now exists as a scientifically proven danger because a “professor” has conducted an opinion poll. No evidence of old fashioned scientific research is considered necessary, not even one of those appalling meta-studies. Most “scientific” stories in the media are now based on results of opinion polls. (Number Watch)

Dark green - A scientist argues that the natural world isn't benevolent and sustaining: it's bent on self-destruction

WHEN WE LOOK at nature, it has become commonplace to see a fastidiously self-regulating system at work: wildebeest trim the savannah grasses, lions cull the wildebeest herds, and vultures clean the bones of both. Forests take in the carbon dioxide we exhale, use it to grow, and replace it with oxygen. The planet even has a thermostat, the carbon cycle, which relies on the interplay of volcanoes, rain, sunlight, plants, and plankton to keep the earth's temperature in a range congenial to life.

This idea of nature's harmonious balance has become not just the bedrock of environmental thought, but a driving force in policy and culture. It is the sentiment behind Henry David Thoreau's dictum, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." It lies behind last summer's animated blockbuster "Wall-E," in which a single surviving plant helps revive an earth smothered beneath the detritus of human overconsumption. It underlies environmental laws that try to minimize the damaging influence of humans on land and the atmosphere.

In this line of thought, the workings of the natural world, honed over billions of years of evolution, have reached a dynamic equilibrium far more elegant - and ultimately durable - than the clumsy attempts humankind makes to alter or improve them.

According to the paleontologist Peter Ward, however, nothing could be further from the truth. In his view, the earth's history makes clear that, left to run its course, life isn't naturally nourishing - it's poisonous. Rather than a supple system of checks and balances, he argues, the natural world is a doomsday device careening from one cataclysm to another. Long before humans came onto the scene, primitive life forms were busily trashing the planet, and on multiple occasions, Ward argues, they came close to rendering it lifeless. Around 3.7 billion years ago, they created a planet-girdling methane smog that threatened to extinguish every living thing; a little over a billion years later they pumped the atmosphere full of poison gas. (That gas, ironically, was oxygen, which later life forms adapted to use as fuel.)

The story of life on earth, in Ward's reckoning, is a long series of suicide attempts. Four of the five major mass extinctions since the rise of animals, Ward says, were caused not by meteor impacts or volcanic eruptions, but by bacteria, and twice, he argues, the planet was transformed into a nearly total ball of ice thanks to the voracious appetites of plants. In other words, it's not just human beings, with our chemical spills, nuclear arsenals, and tailpipe emissions, who are a menace. The main threat to life is life itself.

"Life is toxic," Ward says. "It's life that's causing all the damn problems."

Ward, a paleontologist at the University of Washington and a scholar of the earth's great extinctions, calls his model the Medea Hypothesis, after the mythological Greek sorceress who killed her own children. The name makes clear Ward's ambition: To challenge and eventually replace the Gaia Hypothesis, the well-known 1970s scientific model that posits that every living thing on earth is part of a gargantuan, self-regulating super-organism.

Ward holds the Gaia Hypothesis, and the thinking behind it, responsible for encouraging a set of fairy-tale assumptions about the earth, and he'd like his new book, due out this spring, to help puncture them. He hopes not only to shake the philosophical underpinnings of environmentalism, but to reshape our understanding of our relationship with nature, and of life's ultimate sustainability on this planet and beyond. (Drake Bennett, Boston Globe)

They still don't get it: Critics decry Schwarzenegger’s plan to strip environmental rules from highway projects - SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Efforts to bridge California’s budget abyss collapsed last week as talks hit a formidable roadblock – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s demand that long-standing environmental protections be stripped from 10 big highway projects.

The governor’s aides say his plan would give the financially strained state a $1.2-billion economic boost and create 22,000 jobs over the next three years. Environmentalists say the governor is backpedaling from the heavily publicized push to curb global warming that landed him on magazine covers delicately balancing a globe on a beefy finger.

Schwarzenegger is proposing that the California Department of Transportation forge ahead with some construction projects that are tied up in court over environmental issues. One is a $165-million carpool-lane expansion on U.S. 50 in Sacramento that a judge has delayed because of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it could generate, among other concerns. (Los Angeles Times)

The fatuous pap that passes for 'environmentalism' is strictly a luxury good, promptly (and rightly) jettisoned as unaffordable nonsense in the face of real needs. The sad part is that plain misanthropy, taking expensive actions of no value to people or planet, is now considered morally superior and politically correct just because a bunch of rank loons made a lot of noise and convinced politicians to divert our taxes to indoctrination campaigns afflicting generations of children. Get over it! The planet is doing fine and wildlife can only be affordably preserved by truly affluent societies -- true environmentalism begins with wealth generation.

Failing State: State to shut down first and third Fridays each month - California will close most state offices on the first and third Fridays each month starting in February, padlocking DMV outlets and other services while reducing state worker pay to help survive a massive budget problem, according to a state Department of Personnel Administration memo.

Only offices deemed critical, such as state hospitals and prisons, will remain open under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's twice monthly furlough plan. Employees at those state operations will still be required to take two days off each month at different times. State parks generate revenue and will not close, but employees will have to take two days off each month, said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for DPA. (Sacramento Bee)

So, the land of fruits and nuts can't afford to keep its doors open... How's all that Green rhetoric working for ya?

At least someone is sad to see them go: RIP: Plenty Magazine Is Actually Shutting Down Everything - As an update to an earlier article we posted during the week, Plenty Magazine is apparently disappearing off the map. Through Gawker, we originally heard that the environmental magazine was going to continue on through their web presence. However, now new information given to the Razz is pointing to a full-on liquidation. All staff is being let go without severance and the website is dying along with the print magazine.

We here at Ecorazzi are saddened to see this happen and hope everyone involved with what was a kick-ass publication find new work on the environmental scene soon. Until this is confirmed through an official announcement, please treat this information as rumor. But since our spy was just at their offices, we can pretty much bet that this is an unfortunate reality. (ecorazzi)

PETA's latest idiotic demand - fish are 'sea kittens' - RADICAL international animal rights group PETA has launched its most bizarre campaign yet, demanding fish be renamed "sea kittens".

PETA - People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals - believes calling fish sea kittens will make sea food less appealing.

It wants to change the image of fish as slimy and slithery creatures by claiming they are similar to cuter, more popular animals. "Would people think twice about ordering fish sticks if they were called sea kitten sticks?" PETA asked on its website. (Daily Telegraph)

Americans' 'SUV eating style' blamed for global warming - WASHINGTON: An US dietician says that has branded Americans food habits an "SUV eating style", which contributes to global warming more than the cars they drive, in her book.

Kate Geagan, registered dietitian in Park City, Utah, refers to a University of Iowa study that has found that food on average travels about 1,500 miles to reach people's tables. (Times of India)

January 9, 2009

Time for a Surgeon General-ectomy? - President-elect Obama has reportedly chosen Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent and one of People magazine’s “sexiest men alive,” for the post of surgeon general. Those aren’t the only reasons that the surgeon general’s position ought to be abolished. (Steven Milloy,

OH CAROL, WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING A SOCIALIST? Social International Scrubs Obama Energy/Environment Czar from Web Site -- Socialist International (yes, it is what it sounds like) has scrubbed from its web site the fact that President-elect Obama's energy/environment czar Carol Browner is/was an official with SI.

JunkScience reported on January 2 that Browner was a member of SI's Commission for a Sustainable World Society. Click here for a multiple-page PDF of the Committee's web page featuring Browner's photo and bio. (Note: This page is also currently available by Googling "Socialist International" and "Browner" and clicking on the cached version of the web page.)

JunkScience now reports that Browner's photo and bio have been removed from the Committee's web page. Click here for a multiple-page PDF of the Committee's web page made on January 8.)

If there's nothing wrong with an acknowledged socialist being a top Obama administration official, then what's up with the mysterious and Stalinist-like disappearance of Browner from SI's web site?

BTW, SI wasn't entirely successful in scrubbing its web site. If you to a site search on "Browner" you'll get (at least for now) a vestigal page indicating her attendance at a November 19, 2008 meeting in London.

Browner is an environmental radical – and a socialist (seriously) - No, it’s not the President-elect, at least not explicitly. Conservatives are often accused of scaremongering when they claim left-wing environmentalists are actually socialists hiding behind green disguises. But with Carol Browner, incoming President Barack Obama’s freshly appointed Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change – the so-called White House “Climate Czar” - there is no question about the socialism. Browner is a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society (CSWS), which is a formal organ of the Socialist International. Oddly enough, the group’s web site was recently scrubbed to remove Browner’s picture and biography, but her name is still listed next to the photo-biographies of her 14 colleagues on the commission. The Socialist International is no group of woolly-headed idealists. It is an influential assembly of officials from across the international community whose official Statement of Principles describes an agenda of gaining and exercising government power based on socialist concepts. (DC Examiner)

‘Consensus’ in Freefall: Inhofe Global Warming Speech - Senator Presents Groundbreaking Senate Minority Report of More Than 650 Scientists Dissenting from Climate Fears - Profiles Left of Center Scientists & Environmental Activists Who Are Now Skeptics

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today delivered a global warming speech entitled: "Global Warming ‘Consensus’ in Freefall: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims." Inhofe presented his ground breaking new global warming report detailing the More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims to Congress on the Senate Floor.

Inhofe also detailed the growing number of left of center scientists and environmental activists who are speaking out to reject man-made climate fears. (EPW Press Release)

It's Cold Out There - WASHINGTON -- If you are going out anytime over the next few months, may I suggest that you wear a hat? You might even buy earmuffs. We are experiencing yet another cold winter. Al Gore may believe in global warming, but I suggest that he have a word with his fellow environmental catastrophists at the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Predictions. Since the end of 1998 global warming has ceased. In fact, it is getting colder out there. Two thousand eight was possibly the coldest year of this young century. Over the last two years temperatures have dropped by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius -- brrrr.

The reason I mention Al's co-religionists at the Hadley Centre is that they have come to realize that computer projections of global warming have been wrong. Carbon dioxide levels have indeed increased but not temperatures. So bundle up, Al. Last year, in many parts of the world, snowfalls reached levels not seen in decades. The Associated Press recently shrieked that global warming "is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," but the facts are otherwise. The computer models that have predicted global warming have failed just as the computer models that predicted very few financial losses for the insurance industry from credit default swaps (CDSs) failed. (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., American Spectator)

From the department of ridiculous guesstimates: Sea level rise of 1 meter within 100 years - New research indicates that the ocean could rise in the next 100 years to a meter higher than the current sea level - which is three times higher than predictions from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. The groundbreaking new results from an international collaboration between researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, England and Finland are published in the scientific journal Climate Dynamics. (University of Copenhagen)

More virtual-world twaddle: Floods to become commonplace by 2080 - Flooding like that which devastated the North of England last year is set to become a common event across the UK in the next 75 years, new research has shown.

A study by Dr Hayley Fowler, of Newcastle University, predicts that severe storms - the likes of which currently occur every five to 25 years across the UK - will become more common and more severe in a matter of decades.

Looking at 'extreme rainfall events' - where rain falls steadily and heavily for between one and five days - the study predicts how the intensity of these storms may change in the future.

Dr Fowler found that across the UK, the amount of rain falling during one of these extreme events was likely to increase by up to 30 per cent by 2080. This increase is most likely to occur in autumn, winter and spring when the ground is already saturated, posing the biggest threat of flooding. (Newcastle University)

Peter Foster: Climate rains on Aussie drought - Tim Flannery’s apocalyptic global warming projections have proved way off

There are signs that some climate change skepticism — or at least greater objectivity — is at last stirring within the CBC, although the corporation still has a long way to go.

On Monday and Tuesday, as part of its “Watershed” series, CBC Radio’s The Current aired two documentaries, one on the decade-long Australian drought, “the Big Dry,” and the other on the alleged plight of the Pacific islands of Vanuatu, which might be dubbed “the Big Wet.”

The Australian segment gave a good deal of airtime to Down Under’s foremost alarmist, Tim Flannery, author of the best-selling Weather Makers and 2008 “Australian of the Year.” It suggested that the current drought, unlike many previous ones, “doesn’t seem to be ending.” Professor Flannery indicted government inertia and even suggested analogies with Alberta, where the locals were allegedly proving slow to realize they shouldn’t be digging up the tar sands.

All depressingly typical so far. But then, yesterday, The Current returned to the issue after a correspondent informed them that many parts of Australia had recently, and joyfully, been inundated with rain! Meanwhile, the program also acknowledged a recent column titled “Top 10 dud predictions,” by an Australian journalist, Andrew Bolt, which pointed out that Professor Flannery’s apocalyptic projections had proved way, way, off. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Continuing setbacks for NOAA / NASA solar cycle 24 prediction - Updating my 30 October post. “Hard lesson about solar realities for NOAA / NASA”

December provisional RI sunspot number from the Belgian group SIDC (World Data Center for the Sunspot Index) has come in at 0.8. (Warwick Hughes)

The new NASA solar goalpost: Cycle 24, maybe not so big - A few days ago I wrote in State of the Sun for year end 2008: all’s quiet on the solar front - too quiet that “No new cycle 24 predictions have been issued by any solar group (that I am aware of ) in the last couple of months.” Coincidentally and shortly after that, NASA’s David Hathaway updated his solar prediction page here. He’s made a significant backtrack over previous predictions, and now for the first time he is claiming cycle 24 will be less than cycle 23, not greater. (Watts Up With That?)

UAH is out, like RSS it is down a bit - Although the webserver file for the UAH dataset has not been updated yet, the man who is “in the know” because he’s a major part of the process has released the December UAH global lower troposphere temperature anomaly value. It is 0.18°C down from .254°C the previous month. (Watts Up With That?)

Climate Deniers Gin Up Unscrupulous Science - Climate deniers are out in force. (Bob Doppelt, Statesman Journal)

Translation: some people have noticed it's cold.

An Inconvenient HuffPo Item - A reader writes to note that, after yesterday’s outrage of a voice of reason — er, “rambling . . . denial” — gracing its pages, the Huffington Post “could NOT allow Mr. Ambler to go on so (so, they had to denigrate HIM),” citing this example of HuffPo siccing someone else to go after the gent, and quite personally. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Melting Greenland ice “will drown coastlines” - The scare: In early January 2008, Stephen Schneider, a biologist turned climatologist, put up a blog posting to say that “We cannot pin down whether sea levels will rise a few feet or a few meters in the next century or two”; that there is a “potential for up to 7 meters of sea-level rise stored as ice on Greenland”; that “Greenland is apparently melting at an unprecedented rate, and way faster than any of our theories or models predicted”; that “mounting evidence from ice cores says probably there is unprecedented melting going on right now”; that “another decade or two of such scientifically-documented acceleration of melting could indeed imply we will get ... meters of sea-level rise”; that “another 5 meters of potential sea level rise lurks ... in West Antarctica”; and that “this is a gamble with Laboratory Earth that we can’t afford to lose.” (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Global warming: Al Gore's convenient untruth freezes over - You have to wrap up well against this global warming. Over the past 48 hours the temperature has fallen as low as -12C in Dorset, with the sea at Poole Harbour frozen up to 20 yards from shore, and parts of Britain colder than Greenland. Phew, what a scorcher! Might be a good idea to start up the car (if it will start) and pump some more CO2 into the atmosphere before we freeze to death. What did the media warn us about climate change?

"There is very important climatic change going on right now, and it's not merely something of academic interest. It is something that, if it continues, will affect the whole human occupation of the earth - like a billion people starving. The effects are already showing up in a rather drastic way."

That apocalyptic warning came from Fortune magazine - in 1974, when it was alerting readers to an imminent new Ice Age. By 2006 it had conformed to the latest fashion and had revised its doomsday scenario to: "The media agrees with the majority of scientists: global warming is here. Now, what to do about it?" So much for the media as climatic arbiter. (Gerald Warner, Daily Telegraph)

Global Warming Horror Flick Put on Ice - How embarrassing is it when you produce a horror movie based on global warming and when the time comes to release it, the planet is experiencing some of the coldest weather in decades? Such is the case with The Thaw starring Val Kilmer. Filmed in Canada last summer, it should be ready for release by now but even though the trailer has been produced, no specific release date has been announced. Perhaps the producers realize how much of a laughingstock this movie would become if a movie based on the premise of global warming were released when their potential audience is freezing. (NewsBusters)

Sticker Shock - California is now requiring all cars sold in the state to display a sticker listing its greenhouse gas rating. Calculated by magic, it's supposed to fight global warming. Did they see the snow in Malibu?

Forget about considering a car's MPG rating in deciding which one to buy. Next to it will be a new and (in some eyes) far more important sticker providing the car's GHG rating, an arbitrarily concocted measure of its greenhouse gas contribution to climate change.

Assembly Bill 1228 requires a sticker displaying a rank comparing "the emissions of global warming gases from all vehicles of the same model year sold in the state" be affixed to all vehicles. As if Detroit didn't have enough to worry about.

The rankings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a beast on wheels emitting an excess of 520 "CO2-equivalent grams per mile" and 10 given to those vehicles that emit less than 200. What is a "CO2-equivalent gram," you ask? We're not sure either. (IBD)

Far too much hot air - Green rhetoric is irrelevant to addressing global warming

ON this midsummer morning, it is easy to assume facts in the climate change debate are as obscure as shimmering objects in a heat haze. Last month, environmental activists denounced the Rudd Government's greenhouse gas reduction targets as a defeat for the environment and a win for anti-earth industries. A guaranteed 5 per cent emissions cut by 2020 was not enough, they said, and the plan to issue free emission trading scheme permits to industries only licensed the worst polluters. They were backed up yesterday by NASA scientist James Hansen, who called conventional coal-fired power plants "factories of death" and condemned the coal export industry. For good measure, he warned that Australia's emission targets were far too low and our reliance on the mineral guaranteed destruction of much of the life on the planet. But according to Brendan Pearson from the Minerals Council of Australia, what Professor Hansen missed is that in a global context, Australia's emissions are marginal compared to what China pumps into the atmosphere. And writing in The Australian this morning Mr Pearson also argues that the Rudd Government's ETS and emissions target will be bad both for business and the economy in general. (The Australian)

ETS bites off more than we can chew - "More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other to total extinction. Let's pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

FOR some observers, this extract from Woody Allen's "Speech to the graduates", first published in The New York Times in 1979, might sum up the debate over the white paper on an emissions trading scheme.

On the one hand, the white paper has been widely condemned by environmental NGOs well-practised in hyperbole and ambit claims. On the other, business groups, including my own, have warned that the ETS, in the form proposed in the white paper, will cost jobs, investment and competitiveness. Some have been tempted to surmise that this means the Government has charted an appropriate middle path.

But this is a lazy and cartoonish view of the challenges of sensible policymaking. Leadership and sound policymaking takes more than running a figurative tape measure between the two poles of a policy debate.

That is especially the case where one end of the spectrum is populated by a cheer squad of enthusiasts whose analysis is uninhibited by economic and practical realities, including the impact on the living standards of average Australians.

The truth is that the proposed ETS is neither cautious nor a middle path. (Brendan Pearson, The Australian)

Tim Curtin shafts the Garnaut Report - You can go to the Quadrant front page and read Tim’s dissection of Garnaut.

The contradictions of the Garnaut Report - Tim Curtin, January-February 2008

The Report makes many dire projections for the future, including the claim that without drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, chiefly carbon dioxide, there will by 2100 be major declines in gross domestic product (GDP) across the globe … The Report offers no evidence for such effects having already become apparent despite the warming temperatures experienced globally and in Australia since 1976. On the contrary, that whole period has seen the fastest economic growth ever recorded across almost the whole globe, and Australia is no exception.

If his main article should go offline, I have archived it here. (Warwick Hughes)

China aims to increase coal production by 30pc by 2015 - CHINA is aiming to increase its coal production by about 30 per cent by 2015 to meet its energy needs, the Government has announced, in a move likely to fuel concerns over global warming.

Beijing plans to increase annual output to more than 3.3 billion tonnes by 2015, said Hu Cunzhi, chief planner of the land and resources ministry.

That is up from the 2.54 billion tonnes in produced 2007, according to the ministry.

Figures for 2008 have not yet been released. (Agence France-Presse)

Oh dear... Half of world's population could face climate-induced food crisis by 2100 - Rapidly warming climate is likely to seriously alter crop yields in the tropics and subtropics by the end of this century and, without adaptation, will leave half the world's population facing serious food shortages, new research shows.

To compound matters, the population of this equatorial belt - from about 35 degrees north latitude to 35 degrees south latitude - is among the poorest on Earth and is growing faster than anywhere else.

"The stresses on global food production from temperature alone are going to be huge, and that doesn't take into account water supplies stressed by the higher temperatures," said David Battisti, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor.

Battisti is lead author of the study in the Jan. 9 edition of Science. He collaborated with Rosamond Naylor, director of Stanford University's Program on Food Security and the Environment, to examine the impact of climate change on the world's food security. (University of Washington)

Science Fiction Down on the Farm - The January 9th, 2008 issue of Science, the official publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, contains a remarkable article by University of Washington atmospheric scientist David Battisti and Stanford co-author Rosamond Naylor. Science reputedly is the world’s most prestigious refereed science journal in the world. (WCR)

National Phenology Network - An Update January 2009 - I was pleased to be involved with a small role in the establishment of the National Phenology Network (e.g. see and see). The father of the Network is the internationally very well-respected scientist Joseph M. Caprio of Montana State University who initiated lilac phenological research in the USA (for more on the history of this Network, see).

This is a very important addition to the monitoring of the climate system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Eye-roller: Can Nitrogen Be Used to Combat Climate Change? - Excess nitrogen mitigates carbon dioxide's effects--but with considerable risk, scientists say

LANSING, Mich.—After more than a decade of research, a team of scientists has found that by releasing one pollutant into the environment, we might help capture another. Findings from one of the National Science Foundation's longest-running studies show that adding nitrogen to soil prompts northern hardwood forests to absorb more heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

As the atmosphere's most abundant element, nitrogen plays a significant role in ecosystems, and one to which scientists and policymakers are paying greater attention. Growing evidence suggests that as humanity pumps more nitrogen into the environment, forests could become bigger carbon sinks and help mitigate climate change. But experts warn that it's a dangerous experiment that could have serious consequences. (SciAm)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but an essential trace gas, regardless of the nonsense espoused by Al Gore and his backing band of gorebull warming hysterics.

Faster nitrogen cycling may alter vegetation - One of the lesser known consequences of global warming is an increased rate of nitrogen cycling. New research shows that this imbalance may cause a dramatic change in the vegetation of sub-Arctic environments, with deciduous trees such as birch replacing evergreen trees.

In some areas this change is already visible. "We have seen this in Alaska over the last 30 years, where there are lots more deciduous trees and fewer evergreen," Rien Aerts, from the Free University of Amsterdam, told environmentalresearchweb. "I’m convinced that this is due to warming." (ERL)

Obama's green energy plans build hopes, skepticism - WASHINGTON - Proponents of alternative energy and energy efficiency were elated on Thursday by President-elect Barack Obama's economic stimulus speech, but some analysts warned his energy agenda could hit turbulence in Congress or from the slow economy.

Obama asked Congress "to act without delay" to pass legislation that included doubling alternative energy production in the next three years and building a new electricity "smart grid."

He said he also planned to modernize 75 percent of federal buildings and improve energy efficiency in 2 million homes to save consumers billions of dollars on energy bills. (Reuters)

A $2 trillion bet on powering America - The stimulus plan might jump-start new energy investments, which could drastically change how we use electricity. (Steve Hargreaves,

Exxon CEO Doubts Obama's Alternative Energy Goal - WASHINGTON - Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said on Thursday it would be difficult to meet President-elect Barack Obama's goal to significantly boost U.S. alternative energy production.

In a speech at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Obama said he wanted the United States to double its output of alternative energy sources during the next three years as part of his plan to revive the American economy.

"I think that's going to be very challenging to do," Tillerson told reporters following a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

He said the United States will not be able to double biofuels output during that period and there was not enough manufacturing capacity to build the wind turbines needed to meet Obama's goal. (Reuters)

ExxonMobil: Global energy demand to rise 1.2%/year to 2030 - HOUSTON, Jan. 7 -- ExxonMobil Corp. expects global energy demand to increase by an average 1.2%/year during 2005-30, even assuming major energy efficiency gains.

Driven by growing populations and expanding economies, global demand is expected to increase to 310 million b/d of oil in 2030 from the equivalent of 229 million b/d in 2005.

ExxonMobil's latest annual "Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030" was expanded to include an examination of improved energy efficiency, development of all viable forms of energy, climate risk technology, and public policy. (Oil & Gas Journal)

D'oh! It just gets worse and worse: Waxman Cleaning House in Energy Committee - It was no mystery that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) was intent on making environment-friendly changes when he swept the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee from beneath auto-friendly Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) in November. And this week, that house-cleaning began in earnest.

In a reshuffling that will remove several Dingell allies from key environmentally sensitive posts, Waxman melded two E&C subcommittees — the Energy & Air Quality panel and the Environment & Hazardous Materials panel — to form the Energy and Environment subcommittee, of which Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will be the chairman, the Boston Globe reported today.

Markey, who also heads the House committee on energy independence and global warming, has long been among the most fervent congressional environmentalists, pushing for increased fuel efficiency standards and protection of the Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among a long list of pet causes. (Washington Independent)

Group asks coal officials to clear air - FAIRBANKS - An environmental group is asking for greater transparency in discussions between a state authority and two electric utilities on the future of the Healy Clean Coal Plant.

Trustees for Alaska, a nonprofit public interest law firm that takes on environmental issues, sent a letter to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority on Jan. 2 on behalf of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Sierra Club Alaska Chapter and Homer Electric Members Forum. (Daily News-Miner)

States of emergency declared across Europe over gas - Governments across Europe declared states of emergency and ordered factories to close as Russia cut all gas supplies through Ukraine yesterday in their worsening dispute over unpaid bills.

José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, accused the two countries of taking the EU’s energy supply “hostage” amid a cold snap across the Continent, and urged them to reopen the pipelines immediately.

Schools and factories were closed and trees were felled to keep home fires burning after Russia turned off the gas taps to more than a dozen countries. It was a clear demonstration of the dependence of the Continent on Russian gas supplies.

Despite temperatures as low as minus 27C and the threat of heating cuts to millions of households, Moscow said that it had no choice but to cease supplies because Ukraine, the country through which 80 per cent of Russian gas bound for Europe flows, had closed its pipelines. The claim was denied by Kiev. (The Times)

Gas 'secure' but prices increase - Energy Minister Ed Miliband has said UK gas supplies are secure despite the continuing gas wrangle between Russia and Ukraine reducing supply to Europe. But he told the BBC the longer the dispute lasted, the greater the risk that prices would continue to rise. (BBC)

WWF Turns Against Natural Gas Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis - Earlier this week I posted a comment on the implications for environmental policy stemming from the dispute between Russia and Ukraine that has halted gas deliveries to Europe.

I said the dispute – which worsened Wednesday – would give policymakers and environmental campaigners more ammunition to speed up the transformation away from fossil fuels of any kind, including cleaner burning ones like natural gas.

Sure enough, on Wednesday, the prominent environmental group WWF issued a statement from its European Policy Office that retracted much of its previous support for natural gas as a fuel of choice for industrial countries making a transition to a low-carbon economy. (James Kanter, New York Times)

Gas Row May Trigger New Look At German Nuclear - FRANKFURT - Germany must reassess its nuclear phase out plan as this week's Russian gas supply crisis has highlighted the need for a fresh look at all its energy options, analysts say.

Fresh doubts over the reliability of its mighty energy partner, Russia, will force Europe's biggest economy to try to reduce its future exposure to spats between Russia and Ukraine over transits, which are causing disruptions to European supply.

German decision makers, who are usually faithful energy partners to Russia, need to present more independent scenarios including a reconsideration of plans to shut nuclear reactors. (Reuters)

Squaring off over proposed nuclear power plants - COLUMBIA — Conservationists and business leaders are taking sides as the state’s utilities pitch several new power plants, both coal- and nuclear-powered.

Some business officials support all efforts to increase electricity production in the state, which one industry expert says could need to be tripled in the next 10 years.

Others, however, favor the nuclear option over the $1.25 billion coal-fired plant state-owned utility Santee Cooper wants to build in Florence County.

Some environmentalists are opposing both, saying South Carolina utilities have not scratched the surface of conservation and alternative energy methods that could reduce the need for another generating plant. Some conservation groups oppose the coal plant, but not the nuclear plant. (Associated Press)

Kyushu Electric to Spend $5.9 Billion on New Reactor -- Kyushu Electric Power Co., the monopoly power supplier to Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu, will spend 540 billion yen ($5.9 billion) to build a third nuclear reactor at its Sendai station.

The Fukuoka City-based utility today submitted a proposal to the governments of Satsuma Sendai City and Kagoshima Prefecture, the company said in a statement filed to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Construction of the 1,590-megawatt reactor is slated to begin in 2013 and operations will start by March 2020.

Kyushu Electric wants nuclear power to account for about half of its output, compared with 41 percent in the year ended March 2008. Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, is boosting nuclear power generation to strengthen security of energy supplies and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. (Bloomberg)

Geothermal project finds new potential energy source - A routine drilling operation for a geothermal power plant on Big Island, Hawaii encountered dacite magma at a depth of 2.5 km. This is the first contact with magma beneath the surface of the Earth – the finding could ultimately lead to the exploitation of the molten rock as an energy source. (ERL)

Even ET hates the rotten things, eh? UFO hits wind turbine - A WIND turbine stood wrecked yesterday with one of its giant 65ft blades torn off — after it was hit by a UFO. (The Sun)

Actually this has to take the cake as far as excuses for wind failing to deliver electrickery goes.

Crist's energy policy for Florida is made of pixie dust - In 2001, Dick Cheney met with the dark lords of fossil fuel to concoct an energy policy.

In 2006, Charlie Crist met the enlightened greenies of global warming to concoct an energy policy.

I don't know which is worse.

One relies on dirty dead dinosaurs and the other on magic pixie dust.

Alas, it is very expensive pixie dust.

But the greenies don't care because they are on a mission to save the planet, and how can you put a price tag on that?

And now they have a governor who, recognizing the political payoff in battling carbon, is one with them.

They collaborated with his Action Team on Energy and Climate Change to produce a glowing report on Crist's energy policies. These include a goal of getting 20 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.

20 percent by 2020.

Our energy policy is based on a slogan.

It certainly isn't based on reality. Neither is the action team's calculation that the policy somehow would save the state $28 billion.

The staff of the Public Service Commission has taken a more serious look at the fiscal impact. And it says we could be paying surcharges of 10 percent or more on our electric bills in the next decade.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm a longtime greenie who often has supported plundering your wallet to make this world a better place.

But doing so has to make sense. And this does not. (Mike Thomas, Orlando Sentinel)

EEA: Soaring transport demand holds back low-carbon economy - Transport's carbon footprint is hampering the development of a low-carbon economy, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA), which wants political action to be taken to address soaring demand for transport spurred by sectors as diverse as food and education as well as business and leisure travel.

Despite scientific advances in alternative fuels and energy efficiency, CO2 emissions for the European transport sector are continuing to increase and remain a key challenge in creating a low-carbon economy, found an EEA reportPdf external on the external drivers of transport demand. (EurActiv)

Color prejudice rears its ugly head: No tax for green cars - TOKYO, JAPAN - TOKYO'S local government, seeking to fight global warming, said on Thursday it planned to exempt taxes on next-generation green vehicles such as electric cars and plug-in hybrids once they hit the market.

Japanese automakers are aiming to put out electric cars - which emit no carbon blamed for global warming - as early as this year despite the global slowdown that has battered the auto industry.

Some automakers are also working on plug-in hybrid cars powered by petrol and electricity and are rechargeable at a power outlet at home, letting motorists drive longer distances. (AFP)

As seen on TV — our new Surgeon General

The Surgeon General serves as America’s chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. — Office of the Surgeon General website

The Nation’s new Surgeon General appears to have been selected. He has been told that wellness, fitness and obesity will be the top priorities for the next four years, according to CNN. Nothing better illustrates the wisdom of politicians making healthcare decisions on our behalf than this appointment.

The Wall Street Journal blog downplayed the significance of this appointment, saying the Surgeon General is “largely a talking head” whose real job is to travel around the country, “using the title as a bully pulpit to advance a public health agenda.” If the writer was mocking the credibility of the office and the public health agenda, it was lost on most WSJ readers. So was, it seems, the science. But among all the commentary, no one has mentioned the science… (Junkfood Science)

Cleansing diet to better health and slimness? - Can you lose custody of your children by packing an “unhealthy” lunch or giving them junkfood? Can a detox diet help make us slim like Gywneth? Do herbal teas, sea algae wraps from France, and those foot detox patches clear the toxins from our bodies and keep us healthier? These stories in the news may seem to have nothing to do with each other, but they have everything in common. The connection is the DHMO phenomenon.

Before we put the pieces together with a just-released investigation by scientists in the UK, let’s look at these news stories. (Junkfood Science)

Study shows California's autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis - A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California's children. (University of California - Davis)

Well, if you believe their trends assertions then removing traces of mercury preservatives from vaccines had absolutely no effect. Bet it doesn't kill off the vaccine myth though.

Researcher finds link between age, birth order and autism - MILWAUKEE - In the largest study of its kind, researchers have shown that the risk of autism increases for firstborn children and children of older parents.

The risk of a firstborn with an autism spectrum disorder triples after a mother turns 35 and a father reaches 40. (Boston Herald)

Eurosocialists insulted by common sense - By the way, a good news in the journalistic world. The Wall Street Journal becomes the first important newspaper that praises Czechia for A Prague Spring for Political Honesty.

The European socialists have read the refreshing if not brilliant essay by the Czech president in the Financial Times,

Do not tie the markets: free them.

Václav Klaus explains that all moments could be called "exceptional" but this adjective is usually used in order to manipulate with the people. And he argues that Europe should weaken if not repeal various environmental, social, health, and other regulations and "standards".

How did the socialists react? Well, you can guess! ;-) They went ballistic:

Eurosocialists angrily rejected Klaus' calls. (The Reference Frame)

Tax reforms target fatty foods, smokers and drinkers - THE man reshaping the taxation system has been encouraged to help keep the nation healthy by making consumption bad habits more expensive.

Treasury Secretary Ken Henry will be targeting fatty foods, smokers and alcohol drinkers.

He is under pressure to address the "flawed" alcohol excise and create a fat tax when he releases his discussion paper on the nation's future tax system in July.

The Rudd Government's taskforce charged with developing the National Preventative Health Strategy has urged the review to force people to live better lives by making vices too expensive. (Courier-Mail)

Childhood obesity epidemic a myth, says research - THE rise in childhood obesity has halted, defying warnings that it is an "epidemic" that is out of control.

Obesity rates among children levelled off around 1998 and have remained steady ever since, exploding the myth that children are becoming more overweight than ever before.

Research by the University of South Australia found the alarming rise in the percentage of children who were overweight or obese recorded through the 1980s and much of the 1990s had stalled. (The Australian)

How Bed Bugs Outsmart the Chemicals Designed to Control Them -- Bed bugs, once nearly eradicated in the built environment, have made a big comeback recently, especially in urban centers such as New York City. In the first study to explain the failure to control certain bed bug populations, toxicologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Korea’s Seoul National University show that some of these nocturnal blood suckers have developed resistance to pyrethroid insecticides, in particular deltamethrin, that attack their nervous systems. (

DDT, however, is quite effective...

A loony new year - This time last year, we disposed of our refuse weekly in a modest plastic bag. Now, behind our little house we have this:

There are three bins and a crate. The total volume of these is at least fifteen times that of our previous plastic bag. For the green one (garden refuse) we have to pay extra and sign a multi-clause contract that basically asserts that we have no rights. There are now four different refuse trucks belching out the dreaded carbon dioxide, as well as real pollution. They all come at different times according to a schedule that makes the ecclesiastic calendars look like the times-two table.

Elderly and disabled people find it a total nightmare. They live in fear of getting a criminal record if they do it wrong. Little old ladies are trying to master shunting theory and going out in the dark and at sub-zero temperatures, hoping to get the right bin out on the right time of the right day. In preparation they are carefully washing out cans, bottles etc. hoping they will put them in the right bin before the snoopers come. This is now the Wiltshire Experience.

It is all compulsory religious observance and sacrifice. Just to rub in, we now find that the material is not being recycled at all. (Number Watch)

…Unless You’re Filthy Stinking Rich - You can just imagine the editorial meetings that led up to BBC2 commissioning It’s Not Easy Being Green:

BBC executives: This grass-roots environmental movement is all very well, but we’re never going to save the planet if the middle classes don’t join the revolution. We need to make environmentalism inclusive.

So they hire Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Francis “Dick” Strawbridge MBE and his awfully nice family to host the show and give it some grass-roots street-cred by hiring rock-chick Lauren Laverne (who has come a long way since she described the Spice Girls as ‘Tory scum’) to present a weekly feature investigating ‘the posh end of the green market’. In this first episode she explores how to build an eco-friendly swimming pool for a mere £100k. (Climate Resistance)

Of winds and waves - As Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Olivia tracked across Australia’s North West Shelf in April 1996, a wave-measuring buoy recorded a 22-metre monster passing Woodside Energy’s North Rankin A gas platform.

It is a long way from the North West Shelf to the shallow expanse of Lake George, north of Canberra, and windspeeds and wave heights are much more modest. Yet it is here that Swinburne University of Technology physicist Associate Professor Alex Babanin and his colleagues are investigating the powerful but elusive forces that make and break waves in the open ocean.

Dr Babanin and Swinburne colleague Professor Ian Young are collaborating on the research with physicist Professor Mark Donelan of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, climate modeller Dr Andrey Ganopolski of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and metocean engineer Jason McConochie of Woodside.

Funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant, the wave project is developing a mathematical model of the forces involved in transferring energy from the atmosphere to the ocean – one that should illuminate how extreme winds spawn waves such as Olivia’s behemoth progeny. (ScienceAlert)

Environmental group backs canal for Calif. delta -- A national environmental group recommended Wednesday that California overhaul its water-delivery system by building a canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

A report by The Nature Conservancy endorsed piping Sacramento River water around the delta, which is suffering from degraded water quality and declining fish populations. The conservancy said a canal could help restore the region's natural habitat.

It's the first endorsement of the canal by a major environmental group and provides a boost to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's argument that there might be a better way to send water from Northern California to two-thirds of the state residents. (Associated Press)

Displacing petroleum-derived butanol with plants - As a chemical for industrial processes, butanol is used in everything from brake fluid, to paint thinners, to plastics. According to a University of Illinois researcher, butanol made from plant material could displace butanol made from petroleum, just not at the fuel pump. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

January 8, 2009

Brain-freeze causes warmening stories? Big chill descends on Britain - Schools close as snow and ice cause travel chaos from Scotland to the south coast

As Britain endured some of its coldest weather for years, forecasters warned that the next 12 months could bring blistering heat.

Snow blanketed large parts of the country yesterday, causing travel chaos and giving children in Gloucestershire an extra day's holiday.

While the icy weather is predicted to last until the weekend, scientists at the Met Office in London and the University of East Anglia said this year's average global temperature would be more than 0.4C above the long-term average, which would make 2009 one of the five hottest years on record. (The Independent)

Wait! You only think it's cold: Despite deep chill, global warming is still a peril: scientists - A cold front is sweeping across Europe after gripping swathes of North America last month, but the deep freeze does not mean the threat of global warming has abated, caution scientists.

"The major trend is unmistakably one of warming," Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), told AFP.

"If we look at the trajectory over the last 160 years, it overlays a large natural variability, and that's what causes confusion."

The cooler weather that was a hallmark of 2008 can be explained partly by La Nina, a reversal of the phenomenon by which warm waters build up on the surface of the Pacific, said Jarraud.

"The problem is that people are confusing weather with climate," Susan Solomon, a top scientist on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), said in a recent interview. (AFP)

So, Why Exactly Should We Give Up? - The alarmists are gaining ground in their drive to wear down those among the opposition they cannot shout down, censor, or shut down. Last week — on the heels of Rep. Bob Inglis and Arthur Laffer calling for reductions in other taxes to offset the carbon tax they feel is inevitable — the latest to fall was my former CEI colleague, Jonathan Adler, over on The Corner.

Jonathan has a feature today on the homepage lamenting the wretched choice of the hyper-political — and, to my mind (and clearly Jonathan’s as well) highly anti-scientific — John Holdren as (of all things) chief science adviser. This of course only supports my argument against anticipatory capitulation on the belief that one can buy peace with this crowd. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Fred’s Fearless Forecast for 2009:Continued ‘No Warming"--Nor Much Else - So here we have them: Obama’s three - Chu, John Holdren, and Jane Lubchenco. All with sterling credentials - a Nobel laureate in physics, a recent president of the AAAS, a recent head of the International Council of Scientific Unions - but with minimal knowledge of climate science, except what they may have gleaned from reading the IPCC summary. Yet all three seem supremely confident that they will drastically change US climate policy. Well, let me be the first with the bad (for them) news: Within a year or so, they are going to be an awfully frustrated bunch.

My fearless forecast for 2009: Big amount of activity by Congress, with lots of ‘Cap&Trade’ bills to limit CO2 emissions. Waxman, Markey, and Pelosi in the House; Boxer, Lieberman, Bingeman, and maybe even McCain in the Senate. It will take off, but it won’t fly: There is the prohibitive cost of any real C&T, raising energy prices and killing jobs—while the economy is in the dumps. There is the horrible example of the European emission-trading brouhaha, falling apart even as we go to press. And after ten years, the climate is still refusing to warm. I am not even considering the threat of a filibuster in the Senate-with Democrats from ‘fly-over’ states joining Republican opponents of Cap&Trade. (S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., President, Science and Environmental Policy Project)

Obama Warns of Prospect for Trillion-Dollar Deficits - WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday braced Americans for the unparalleled prospect of “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come,” a stark assessment of the budgetary outlook that he said would force his administration to impose tighter fiscal discipline on the government. (New York Times)

Could this restrain the Socialists, even a little bit? It'd be nice to think there is some kind of silver lining...

An Ordinary Investor Looks at the Coming Decade - It’s a new year, and we must look beyond the mess of sub-prime mortgages and unfunded auto pensions—toward the markets where American citizens have to invest their private capital for the next decade.

... But now the auto recovery is complicated by impending constraints on fossil fuels, with the radical Carol Browner as White House “energy czar.” Come to think of it, Obama’s own campaign pledge to make energy costs “skyrocket” in order to fight global warming is pretty radical itself.

But the nation is now entering its third straight harsher winter, triggered says NASA by a shift to the Pacific Ocean’s 25–30 year cold phase. Only a fool would escalate energy prices in a recession while global temperatures are trending down.


This energy question pervades the investment outlook. U.S. judges are banning new coal plants while Europe, China and India burn more coal. The UK has made no decisions on how to replace the upcoming loss of 40 percent of its electricity--except 7,000 new wind turbines that will produce tiny amounts of power erratically. (Dennis Avery, CFP)

From Belgium: New twist on the ‘Gore Effect’ - Jos, one of WUWT’s readers abroad writes: “It is very cold here in Beligium. This is from today’s edition of the flemish newspaper ‘De Standaard’:” (Watts Up With That?)

Excessive Gore-effect: Big freeze set to continue - Britain's big freeze has intensified as forecasters warned temperatures would continue to plunge.

Tens of thousands of motorists were left stranded in a record day for car breakdowns amid chaotic scenes on the roads as temperatures in parts of the country dropped to as low as minus 11C (12.2F).

In central London, shivering tourists witnessed the unusual sight of the fountains in Trafalgar Square frozen.

With areas of southern England and Wales set to get colder overnight, heating bill payouts to pensioners and the vulnerable topped £100 million as the Government stepped in to help. (Press Association)

Why not... Gore Declares Victory Over Global Warming - Washington DC-- Former Vice-President Al Gore hailed the success of his campaign against global warming at a speech to the National Clown Club today. The flatulent ex-Veep stated colder global temperatures are a direct results of his tireless actions to save the world. The fat buffoon even hinted at another Nobel Prize is in his future, or at least another Grammy.

"I have saved the world, again." smirked Mr. Gore. "When you look at when we started our crusade in 2001 and compare it with global temperature declines you will see a direct correlation. We did it!" (

U.S. Temperatures: 2008 Back to the Future? - The data are just in from the National Climatic Data Center and they show that for the year 2008, the average temperature across the United States (lower 48 States) was 1.34ºF lower than last year, and a mere one-quarter of a degree above the long-term 1901-2000 average. The temperature in 2008 dropped back down to the range that characterized most of the 20th century. (WCR)

Inconvenient Data: The Need for an International Climate Data Registry (.pdf) (Dr. Eric Loewen, Marshall Institute)

Temperature Change and CO2 Change - A Scientific Briefing - THE CHIEF REASON for skepticism at the official position on “global warming” is the overwhelming weight of evidence that the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, prodigiously exaggerates both the supposed causes and the imagined consequences of anthropogenic “global warming”; that too many of the exaggerations can be demonstrated to have been deliberate; and that the IPCC and other official sources have continued to rely even upon those exaggerations that have been definitively demonstrated in the literature to have been deliberate. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Scientists take off on historic mission to measure greenhouse gases that have an impact on climate - HIAPER, one of the nation's most advanced research aircraft, is scheduled to embark on an historic mission spanning the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

Starting Jan. 7, 2008, the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) mission will cover more than 24,000 miles as an international team of scientists makes a series of five flights over the next three years sampling the atmosphere in some of the most inaccessible regions of the world.

The goal of the mission is ambitious--the first-ever, global, real-time sampling of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses across a wide range of altitudes in the atmosphere, literally from pole-to-pole. (NSF)

Japan To Monitor Greenhouse Gases From Space - TOKYO - Japan's space agency will launch a satellite later this month to monitor greenhouse gases around the world, officials said Wednesday, hoping the data it collects helps global efforts to combat climate change.

The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), to be launched on January 21, will enable scientists to calculate the density of carbon dioxide and methane from 56,000 locations on the Earth's surface, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

The coverage compares with just 282 land-based observation sites as of last October, said Takashi Hamazaki, manager of the 35 billion yen ($372.9 million) JAXA project.

"To fight climate change, we need to monitor the density of greenhouse gases in all regions around the world and how their levels change," he told a news conference. (Reuters)

Australian military warns of climate conflict - SYDNEY: Australia's military has warned that global warming could create failed states across the Pacific as sea levels rise and heighten the risk of conflict over resources, a report said Wednesday.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) analysis found the military could be called on to undertake more security, disaster relief and reconstruction missions as a result of climate change, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said. (Agence France-Presse)

Amazingly SMH made something of what-if case "if gorebull warming or any other cause further eroded the lousy economies of already unstable island states would they become even less stable?" and incredibly AFP picked it up.

K.Rudd advertising campaign on climate change cost $13.9 million - KEVIN Rudd's feelgood advertising campaign on climate change cost taxpayers an extraordinary $13.9 million, with a massive spend on television and even magazine advertisements in lads' mag FHM and Cosmopolitan.

Environment Minister Penny Wong has confirmed the true cost of the campaign, “Think Climate. Think Change” in answer to a Senate Estimates question placed on notice by Victorian senator Mitch Fifield.

Advertising industry sources had put the cost of the carbon campaign, which began last July, at about $9 million this year.

But the $13.9 million cost is expected to rise dramatically when the Rudd Government finalises the design of an emissions trading scheme and launches another advertising blitz to explain the new regime.

The first advertising campaign was simply to lay the ground for the need for climate change policy, with little detail in the campaign on what Canberra planned to do.

For the first time, the Rudd Government has released details of the spending to parliament, confirming it spent more than $8 million on buying advertising space alone, with $412,302 in taxpayer dollars paid in creative agency fees and advertising production costs.

The Government also spent nearly $60,000 on market research, and another $80,000 establishing a call centre. Website development costs were $13,050.

“This is an outrageous waste of taxpayers' money to run a very extensive campaign that offered no detail or explanation of what the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will look like nor what impact it will have on the everyday lives of Australians,” Senator Fifield said today. (The Australian)

Sea Level Budget over 2003–2008: A Reevaluation from GRACE Space Gravimetry, Satellite Altimetry and Argo by Cazenave et al. 2008 - Thanks to Mike Jonas for alerting us to the following paper; Cazenave et al. Sea level budget over 2003-2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo. Global and Planetary Change, 2008; DOI:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.10.004

The Cazenave et al papers provides independent confirmation of Willis J. K., D. P. Chambers, R. S. Nerem (2008), Assessing the globally averaged sea level budget on seasonal to interannual timescales, J. Geophys. Res., 113, C06015, doi:10.1029/2007JC004517. (see also the Climate Science weblog on this paper). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Sea Level Rise Slows by 20% (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Coal Creek, Colorado Coop Observing Station Cooling The Last Decade
By Dr. Richard Keen, University of Colorado

I’m the NOAA co-op observer for Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, elevation 8950 feet, in the foothills NW of Denver.  Here is a graph of average temperatures for the past ten years. 2008 is by far the coldest year in the past decade, with an average of 39F. 

See larger image here.

That’s full 3 degrees F colder than 2003. Each of the past five years is colder than any of the previous five years. This is only one station of the thousands in the NOAA co-op network, but I thought I’d show you the data before it’s adjusted and homogenized by the usual suspects.

Here’s a photo of the station in January 2007, in the midst of a record round of snow storms in Colorado.

See larger photo here. (Icecap)

Accuweather's Bastardi: Global Cooling Reason for Putin Shutting off Gas Pipeline - Expert forecaster sees Putin's moves with energy as a power play in anticipation of global cooling 20-30 years out. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Russian Energy Imperialism, Again - If Russia was supposed to shut off the natural gas supply to Ukraine, why is it that gas was also turned off in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece? It does not really matter that gas will start flowing again soon. Europe’s dependence on a country that is willing -- and especially, is able -- to push it into freezing cold and darkness, is the crux of the issue. Russia relishes that role. And the ongoing gas dispute with Ukraine and last summer’s invasion of Georgia is the modern-day manifestation of Russian hegemony in what can be called energy imperialism. (Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)

Europe Pushes for Russia to Resume Gas Deliveries - The European Union is seeking a deal with Russia and Ukraine that would see the stationing of independent observers so that gas delivers can resume to Europe. Countries all across Europe on Wednesday reported dramatic reductions in gas delivered from Russia. (Der Spiegel)

'The Pipeline Power Play' - Russia cut off natural gas supplies passing through Ukraine to Europe on Wednesday, at a time when the continent is covered in ice with record low temperatures. The gas dispute between the countries is warming German commentators to the idea of major changes in the country's energy policies. (Der Spiegel)

Obama Will Decide New Auto Fuel Efficiency Targets - WASHINGTON - The Bush administration will not finalize new auto fuel efficiency standards, as it had planned, due to the industry's woeful financial state, officials said on Wednesday.

The Transportation Department had intended to complete the regulation laying out annual mileage targets from 2011-15 by year's end, but will now hand the matter over to the incoming Obama administration. (Reuters)

Your Tax Dollars At Work In Bailout Bowl - In America's ever-more-democratic society, egalitarianism seeps into everything, even the supposedly severe meritocracy of sport.

So every 7-year-old who has soccer shoes laced up by a parent gets a trophy just for showing up, and almost every college football team that is not dreadful is "bowl eligible."

That is why there are 34 bowl games, which is why you might not have noticed Tuesday's Bailout Bowl (Ball State vs. Tulsa, by the way), in which you could have seen your tax dollars at work. Or at play. (George F. Will, IBD)

Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation - The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States — most of them unregulated and unmonitored — that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal. (New York Times)

Groups Seek Syncrude Charges Over 500 Duck Deaths - CALGARY - Environmental groups took the first step on Wednesday to convince a court to charge Canada's largest oil sands producer with the deaths of 500 ducks, an incident that brought worldwide attention to the ecological impact of the huge energy resource.

Ecojustice, the Sierra Club and Forest Ethics want Syncrude Canada Ltd charged under the country's migratory birds act for the incident last April, in which the ducks were killed when they landed on a toxic tailings pond.

The green groups said they initiated the rare legal move after becoming frustrated with delays by the federal and Alberta governments, which launched investigations last year. (Reuters)

Obesity Paradox #17 — Fat and risks for premature babies - The first report of the new year in the Obesity Paradox series is a just-published study that adds important information to our understanding of why fat pregnant women have lower risks for spontaneously delivering premature babies. The fact that doctors have known that fat women are more likely to carry babies to term may even be news to some. This research has received little news coverage, but it is information that women and all mothers-to-be deserve to hear. (Junkfood Science)

Why big bums are good for you - FAT bottoms are the bane of many women but scientists believe oversized rears are a sign a woman's health has not gone pear-shaped.

New research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, suggests the fat responsible for producing the pear shape flaunted by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce may be active in protecting women from diseases by releasing certain hormones. (Daily Telegraph)

Too funny: To climate-change worries, add 1 more: Extended mercury threat - Mercury pollution has already spurred public health officials to advise eating less fish, but it could become a more pressing concern in a warmer world. So suggests a paper that appears in a recent issue of the journal Oecologia.

Sue Natali, a postdoctoral associate in botany at the University of Florida and the paper's lead author, compared mercury levels in soils under trees growing in air enriched with carbon dioxide to soil beneath trees in ambient air. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, has increased nearly 40 percent since the industrial revolution and is expected to continue climbing unless power plant and other emissions are restricted or curtailed.

Natali's main finding: Soil samples from the carbon dioxide-enriched soil contained almost 30 percent more mercury — apparently because the soil had greater capacity than soil in today's atmosphere to trap and hold on to mercury. (University of Florida)

So, a thriving biosphere enriched with slightly more essential trace gas is more effective at trapping aerial mercury and locking it in soil... and this is supposed to be a bad thing?

Swarm of Yellowstone earthquakes doesn't pose risk, scientists say - When you have 400 earthquakes on top of one of the largest supervolcanoes on Earth, people pay attention.

And since the day after Christmas, that's what has happened at Yellowstone National Park. Scientists are seeing what they call a "swarm" of low-intensity earthquakes - the largest since the 1980s. The biggest quake had a magnitude of 3.9, below the level that can cause damage.

But the earthquakes have made worldwide news because the park lies on a giant caldera, the crater of a volcano that scientists say could one day explode and destroy most of North America and freeze the rest of the world under a shroud of ash for up to two years.

Still, the latest earthquakes are nothing to fear, said park geologist Hank Heasler. (Idaho Statesman)

Monsanto Seeks FDA Approval For Drought-Tolerant Corn - KANSAS CITY - Monsanto Co said Wednesday it filed for U.S. regulatory approval for what could be the world's first drought-tolerant corn, a product that agricultural companies around the globe are racing to roll out amid fears of global warming and the needs of a growing population.

Monsanto said it submitted its product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for regulatory clearance. It is working with German-based BASF on the project.

The two companies are jointly contributing $1.5 billion to a venture aimed at developing higher-yielding crops and crops more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions, such as drought, which has eroded production in countries around the world in recent years. (Reuters)

Drug from genetically engineered goats a first - You've heard of making cheese from goats' milk, but prescription drugs?

In what would be a scientific first, an anti-clotting drug made from the milk of genetically engineered goats moved closer to government approval Wednesday after experts at the Food and Drug Administration reported that the medication works and its safety is acceptable.

Called ATryn, the drug is intended to help people with a rare hereditary disorder that makes them vulnerable to life-threatening blood clots.

Its approval would be a major step toward new kinds of medications made not from chemicals, but from living organisms genetically manipulated by scientists. Similar drugs could be available in the next few years for a range of human ailments, including hemophilia. (Associated Press)

January 7, 2009

WaPost Writer: Climate Change Will Lead to US-Canada War (Defcon Five Alarmism) - In Sunday’s Washington Post, James R Lee suggests that rising temperatures will lead to a U.S.-Canada conflict over newly exploitable natural resources. That’s a preposterous prediction if there ever was one. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

Who knew? Global Warming causes war too - It's true. You didn't know Global Warming causes war? It said so right in the Washington Post. (William Dupray, DC Republican Examiner)

Green Comes Clean - The global warming alarmist in chief has unveiled the environmentalists' real objective. And no, protecting the planet is not their top concern. (IBD)

The Poorly Physician in a Huff - Just over a year ago, we picked up on a post at the miserablist blog, Grist, by Professor Andrew Dessler, former scientific advisor to the Clinton administration. Dessler had compared the planet’s ’suffering’ from climate change to a child with cancer. ‘Who are his parents going to take him to in order to determine the best course of treatment?’, Dessler asked. Not to the ‘quacks’ (the ’sceptics’). Better take the child to the real doctors (the IPCC). (Climate Resistance)

Hmm... Climate expert hired for Ore. research institute - Washington state climate scientist Philip Mote, who helped write major reports on global warming, will head an Oregon research institute focused on climate change.

Mote, Washington's state climatologist, will lead the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. The institute is at Oregon State University but is shared by the statewide university system.

Mote will be a professor in OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

Mote has led research on climate changes in the Pacific Northwest and was a lead author of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received a Nobel Prize.

The institute will support Oregon's new Global Warming Commission, created by Gov. Ted Kulongoski. (Associated Press)

NCDC: the U.S. cool down by 0.49 °F per decade - The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) became the first major source of temperature data that has published its December 2008 figures. As a reader of Anthony Watts' blog nicknamed "crosspatch" revealed, you can now draw graphs that include the whole year 2008. Here is one: (The Reference Frame)

Surprising Return of North Atlantic Circulation Pump - One of the "pumps" contributing to the ocean's global circulation suddenly switched on again last winter for the first time this decade, scientists reported Tuesday (Dec. 23) in Nature Geoscience. The finding surprised scientists, who had been wondering if global warming was inhibiting the pump-which, in turn, would cause other far-reaching climate changes. (

Scant Future For Plenty - It turns out Plenty was paying attention to the wrong climate change: A tipster tells us the environmental magazine laid off almost the entire staff today after a funding round fell through.

Back in September, Plenty may have foreseen it faced extinction as advertising cooled. It was trying to cut a funding deal, purportedly with global-warming evangelist Al Gore. (Given the losses and layoffs at Gore flagship media property, Current TV, news of the former vice president's interest should have been recognized immediately as a bad omen.)

But the do-gooder magazine apparently moved far too slowly.

Our tipster said the money from Gore or whoever didn't come through, and that Plenty editor and publisher Mark Spellun on Monday sacked everyone save for a skeleton crew of four or five people who will keep the website going. Which is actually a net positive for the environment, short term, what with the rescued trees and all. We just wish the likes of Vanity Fair and the Times Magazine would do the same with their own much more cynical "green" issues. (Ryan Tate, Gawker)

CNN's Dobbs on Global Warming Hysteria: 'It's Almost a Religion without Any Question' - 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' host observes global warming alarmists cherry-pick facts in climate change arguments. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Drivel of the day: NASA tells Barack Obama Australia is destroying earth with coal emissions - AUSTRALIA'S use of coal and carbon emissions policies are guaranteeing the "destruction of much of the life on the planet", a leading NASA scientist has written in a letter to Barack Obama.

The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor James Hansen, has written an open letter to Barack Obama calling for a moratorium on coal-fired power stations and the use of next-generation nuclear power.

In the letter he says: "Australia exports coal and sets atmospheric carbon dioxide goals so large as to guarantee destruction of much of the life on the planet." (Daily Telegraph)

And congrats to Jimmy on his qualification upgrade -- who knew?

Don Easterbrook’s AGU paper on potential global cooling - Don sent me his AGU paper for publication and discussion here on WUWT, and I’m happy to oblige - Anthony (Watts Up with That?)

Carbon Sequestration due to the Abandonment of Agriculture in the Former USSR Since 1990 by Vuichard et al. 2008 - Thanks to Timo Hämeranta for alerting us to the following paper!

Vuichard, N., P. Ciais, L. Belelli, P. Smith, and R. Valentini (2008), Carbon sequestration due to the abandonment of agriculture in the former USSR since 1990, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB4018, doi:10.1029/2008GB003212.

This is an important paper but it focuses on just the carbon aspect of the climate system. It ignores the very substantial effect of the landscape change on the hydrologic cycle and on the surface energy budget. For effective climate policy, rather than just a “carbon policy” (see), we need to move beyond carbon dioxide as the currency of the climate system.

The need to consider the combined effects of landscape change on all aspects of the climate system was emphasized in our papers

Pielke Sr., R.A., G. Marland, R.A. Betts, T.N. Chase, J.L. Eastman, J.O. Niles, D. Niyogi, and S.W. Running, 2003: The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: Relevance to climate-change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases. Chapter 9 in Capturing Carbon and Conserving Biodiversity: The Market Approach, I.R. Swingland, Ed., Earthscan Publications Ltd., London, 157-172.

Marland, G., R.A. Pielke, Sr., M. Apps, R. Avissar, R.A. Betts, K.J. Davis, P.C. Frumhoff, S.T. Jackson, L. Joyce, P. Kauppi, J. Katzenberger, K.G. MacDicken, R. Neilson, J.O. Niles, D. dutta S. Niyogi, R.J. Norby, N. Pena, N. Sampson, and Y. Xue, 2003: The climatic impacts of land surface change and carbon management, and the implications for climate-change mitigation policy. Climate Policy, 3, 149-157. (Climate Science)

US agricultural carbon credit market evolving - OMAHA, Neb. -- The main U.S. market for greenhouse gas credits will soon impose new rules designed to bolster the credibility of the carbon credits it sells.

After Jan. 30, ranchers won't be able to market their past efforts to store carbon dioxide in the soil dating back to 2003. Going forward, the Chicago Climate Exchange will accept only efforts to limit greenhouse gases related to the current year and future years.

Ranchers and farmers sign up with the National Farmers Union Carbon Credit Program or another program that bundles many credits together before selling them on the exchange. Those carbon credits are bought by companies, cities or others that want to help offset their emissions because they are concerned about carbon dioxide contributing to global warming.

The concept of selling carbon credits for action already done in the past had been criticized because it doesn't necessarily lead to any additional reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Under the new rules, ranchers shouldn't face as much criticism about getting paid for something they already did, said Dale Enerson, director of the National Farmers Union program.

"From here forward, we think it will be more bulletproof in terms of criticism if you just offer current year and forward credits," said Enerson, who is based in North Dakota. (Associated Press)

What utter rubbish! There is not nor can there ever be any credibility in the hot air market because it can never achieve any of its stated aims.

Astronaut Jack Schmitt Joins Skeptics - Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer to address conference

American astronaut Dr. Jack Schmitt - the last living man to walk on the moon - is the latest scientist to be added to the roster of more than 70 skeptics who will confront the subject of global warming at the second annual International Conference on Climate Change in New York City March 8-10, 2009.

The conference expects to draw 1,000 attendees including private-sector business people, state and federal legislators and officials, policy analysts, media, and students. (NewsBlaze)

Al Gore says gorebull warming skeptics are akin to people who think the moon landings were staged so I guess he thinks Schmitt believes he landed in a studio lot...

Global Warm-mongering: More Silk from a Pig's Ear - It seems that NASA's James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), is at it again. He just can't let the data speak for itself. In yet another egregious display of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) arrogance, he changed the temperature data from 1910-2008 to reflect what is clearly a cooling trend to reflect a warming trend. (Gregory Young, American Thinker)

Congrats to Harold Ambler for scoring a perfect 100 on Daily Kos' "Inhofe Scale" - A feather in Harold Ambler's cap. (Gore Lied)

Environment minister Sammy Wilson: I still think man-made climate change is a con - Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases, Sammy Wilson said. (Belfast Telegraph)

Dimwits! Those bright sparks over in Brussels have decided to stop you buying old-fashioned light bulbs - As the Daily Mail revealed yesterday, our shops and supermarkets will from this week be running down their stocks of familiar 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, the kind most of us use in our homes when we need a good light to read by.

Soon it will be hard to find a 100w bulb on sale anywhere in Britain.

After that, all other incandescent bulbs will follow, until by 2012 they have disappeared altogether - thus ending 140 years of history since an Englishman, Joseph Swan, followed by the American Thomas Edison, invented the idea of using an electrically heated filament to light up a glass bulb.

All this is part of a move by which Britain is leading the rest of Europe in forcing us all within three years to switch to nothing but 'low-energy' bulbs, or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), which supposedly are going to help us save the planet from that global warming which has been so much in evidence in recent days. (Christopher Booker, Daily Mail)

How reliable are Coral Sea SST (Sea Surface Temperature) data? - There is a discussion at the Jennifer Marohasy blog, “Sea-surface Temperatures along the Great Barrier Reef” Posted by John McLean, January 5th, 2009, re recent research from AIM in Townsville that global warming is harming the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The AIM scientists use the UK Hadley Centre SST data to show global warming is affecting coral.

This got me to take another look at a post of mine on Willis Island in the Coral Sea, a site that refuses to warm.

[Note here how politicians were running with the pro-warming conclusions, long before the published paper by De’ath et al is available.]

At the time I compiled Hadley and Reynolds SST data along with lower troposphere satellite temperature trends for the grid cell 15 to 20 degrees South and 145 to 155 East, which neatly has Willis Is. fairly central and extends west to the GBR coast.

This graphic shows that the Hadley SST data warms by ~0.75 degrees C while Willis Island land data actually cools slightly. (Warwick Hughes)

From CO2 Science this week:

Coral Calcification on the Great Barrier Reef: What has it been doing lately?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 656 individual scientists from 384 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from New Zealand's Eastern North Island. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tropical Cyclones (Atlantic Ocean - Global Warming Effects: Intensity): Has 20th-century global warming increased the intensity of Atlantic Basin hurricanes?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Faba Bean, Kentucky Bluegrass, Little Bluestem, and Sundial Lupine.

Journal Reviews:
The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in San Francisco Bay: Did they really occur? ... and what do the results imply?

The Medieval Warm Period in China's Tarim Basin: What do we know about it?

A Millennium of Reconstructed and Simulated Temperatures for Eastern China: What do they indicate about the relative warmth of the Medieval and Current Warm Periods? And what does the result imply?

A Millennium of Climate Change in Western Canada: What was it like?

Climate, Plants and Fire: A Millennial-Scale Turkish History: How are the three factors related? ... and what drives the interaction? (

The Mysteriousness of Cap-and-Trade - In E&E News Daily PM today, Nancy Pelosi says that the House could pass cap & trade legislation this year except . . . (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Joe Gets Suckered - Joe Kennedy was an easy mark for Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who promised cheap oil in exchange for Joe's endorsement. But after a first $100 million, the well went dry Monday. How's it feel to be had, Joe? (IBD)

Environmental groups threaten suit over oil shale development - DENVER — Environmental groups are threatening to sue the federal government to block plans for commercial oil shale development on nearly 2 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Twelve groups sent letters to Tuesday to the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management saying they will sue unless the potential impacts on endangered species are addressed.

They argue the final plan and rules approved late last year violated federal law because the agencies didn't formally consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Associated Press)

Europe faces energy crisis as Vladimir Putin cuts Russian gas supply - Europe has been plunged into an energy crisis after Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's state-run gas company to cut supplies by 20 per cent. (Daily Telegraph)

Gazprom slashes supplies to Europe - MOSCOW: Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, halted nearly its entire export of natural gas to Europe on Tuesday in a sharp escalation of a dispute over prices with neighboring Ukraine that also underscored Russia's increasingly confrontational stance toward the West.

Across Europe, supplies of Russian gas stopped in whole or in part. From France to Turkey, countries reported sharp drops in gas supplies, at the peak of the winter heating season in a bitterly cold January.

In one sign of the extent of the shutoff, Ukraine's president said Gazprom intended to halt all shipments that pass through his country, which account for about 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe. Gazprom said it was continuing to ship about a fifth of its typical exports across Ukraine, and still supplying via other routes.

Still, with temperatures plunging, European leaders expressed mounting concern. (IHT)

Russian-Ukranian gas crisis worsens - Russia's natural gas dispute with Ukraine worsened, shutting off fuel shipments to Europe for the first time in three years and driving energy prices higher.

Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for cuts as supplies from OAO Gazprom through Ukraine plummeted, deliveries to the Balkans halted and Slovakia declared an emergency. The spat over prices, transit tariffs and debt caused UK gas to jump as much as 27% and came amid freezing temperatures across Europe. (Business Day)

Damn fools: Coal controversy: Minnesota legislation could complicate Great River Energy plans - The Minnesota Legislature’s passage of clean energy legislation in 2007 could create difficulties for Maple Grove-based Great River Energy, which fires up its third North Dakota coal-fired power plant in 2010.

At issue is whether power generated by the 99-megawatt Spiritwood Station can legally be used by Minnesota customers of Great River Energy (GRE).

Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act prohibits increased emissions from large power plants that generate greenhouse gases.

Language in the bill states that after Aug. 1, 2009, no person shall “import or commit to import from outside the state from a new large energy facility that would contribute to statewide power sector carbon dioxide emissions.”

The language reflects a move by national and state governments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, to help combat global warming. (Finance and Commerce)

Saving lives with coal - There is no such thing as “clean coal,” environmentalists insist. Burning coal to generate electricity emits soot particles that cause respiratory problems, lung cancer and heart disease, killing 24,000 Americans annually, they argue.

It’s the kind of claim that eco-activist Bruce Hamilton says “builds the Sierra Club,” by generating cash and lobbying clout for his and similar groups.

It’s also disingenuous, unethical and harmful.

Since 1970, unhealthy power plant pollutants have been reduced by almost 95% per unit of energy produced. Particulate emissions (soot) decreased 90% below 1970 levels, even as coal use tripled, and new technologies and regulations will nearly eliminate most coal-related pollution by 2020, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz.

Moreover, the vast bulk of modern power plant particulates are ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. “Neither substance is harmful, even at levels tens of times greater than are ever found in the air Americans breathe,” Schwartz says.

The alleged death toll is based on speculative links between pollution and disease, and unwarranted extrapolations from responsible estimates to levels that grab headlines and prompt contributions.

Coal helps keep American homes, businesses, factories, airports, schools and hospitals humming, and provides myriad benefits that never get mentioned by anti-coal factions. Even if we accept these groups’ assertions as fact, the benefits of coal should be considered in any policy debate – just as we acknowledge (and strive to reduce) motor vehicle deaths, but recognize the value of transporting people, products and produce. (Paul Driessen, CFP)

LNG terminals and pipelines threaten Northwest fish - The December 30th editorial titled, "Build the Palomar natural gas pipeline" attempts to rationalize the benefits of the "ambitious project" by offering cursory arguments of the project's "public benefits" without truly examining the impact of the pipeline.

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders opposes the Bradwood Island and Warrenton Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) port proposals because the subsequent dredging will degrade and eliminate vital salmon and steelhead habitat in the Columbia River. Further, the siting of pipelines from these ports to California degrades spawning and rearing habitat in multiple basins including those for listed fish runs. Finally, ship movement involves an exclusion zone along the path of LNG ships, eliminating other boat traffic including fishing.

As a result, the ANWS will take such actions as required to prevent the construction of these sites, including education, legislation, and court processes. (The Oregonian)

Electric Cars and Economics 101 - The big problem with electric cars isn't technological. It's economic. And one's just as defeating as the other, if the object is to come up with an electric vehicle that's more than just a cute plaything for a handful of over-rich Hollywood celebs. (Eric Peters, American Spectator)

Peter Foster: Why state R&D flops - Government spending on creating the green auto sector of the future will do nothing but hold the industry back (Financial Post)

Universal healthcare and the waistline police - We risk a nanny state contrary to American ideals. - Sedalia, Colo. - Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further "reeducation" and their communities subject to stiff fines.

Is this some nightmarish dystopia?

No, this is contemporary Japan.

The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens' lifestyles because it is paying their health costs. This highlights one of the greatly underappreciated dangers of "universal healthcare." Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens' health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a "nanny state on steroids" antithetical to core American principles.

Other countries with universal healthcare are already restricting individual freedoms in the name of controlling health costs. For example, the British government has banned some television ads for eggs on the grounds that they were promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. This is a blatant infringement of egg sellers' rights to advertise their products. (Paul Hsieh, Christian Science Monitor)

Physical activity may not be key to obesity epidemic - A recent international study fails to support the common belief that the number of calories burned in physical activity is a key factor in rising rates of obesity.

Researchers from Loyola University Health System and other centers compared African American women in metropolitan Chicago with women in rural Nigeria. On average, the Chicago women weighed 184 pounds and the Nigerian women weighed 127 pounds.

Researchers had expected to find that the slimmer Nigerian women would be more physically active. To their surprise, they found no significant difference between the two groups in the amount of calories burned during physical activity.

"Decreased physical activity may not be the primary driver of the obesity epidemic," said Loyola nutritionist Amy Luke, Ph.D., corresponding author of the study in the September 2008 issue of the journal Obesity. Luke is an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. (Loyola University)

Hollywood Conservatives Encouraged to Come Out of the Closet - A once-timid group of social outcasts is emerging from the shadows in Hollywood. If the past year is any indication, Tinseltown may have to get accustomed to the loud presence of a growing minority.

After years of silence, conservatives are coming out of the closet.

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative founder of and author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon," is launching a Web site he hopes will help challenge the status quo in what he believes has been a one-party, left-tilting town. Set to debut on Jan. 6, "Big Hollywood" will be a place where center, right and libertarian-leaning celebrities and industry-insiders can weigh in on Hollywood politics, offer film, television and movie reviews, and have an open forum for political discussion.

"Our goal," says Breitbart, who lives in Los Angeles, "is to create an atmosphere of tolerance — something that does not exist in this town." (SE Cupp,

Prosperous New Fear - Before we get stuck into 2009, we missed a spillage from the festive period that needs mopping up… (Climate Resistance)

A Notional Trust - Two articles in the Guardian/Observer this weekend seem to have stretched reports produced by conservationists to effect the maximum possible alarm. (Climate Resistance)

January 6, 2009

Powerless: My Week Off The Grid - People complain constantly about energy. It turns out however, that people will complain even more loudly about a lack of energy, as I found out last month during a record ice storm here in New Hampshire. (Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune)

Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power - THE Constitution’s Treaty Clause has long been seen, rightly, as a bulwark against presidential inclinations to lock the United States into unwise foreign commitments. The clause will likely be tested by Barack Obama’s administration, as the new president and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, led by the legal academics in whose circles they have long traveled, contemplate binding down American power and interests in a dense web of treaties and international bureaucracies.

Like past presidents, Mr. Obama will likely be tempted to avoid the requirement that treaties must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The usual methods around this constitutional constraint are executive agreements or a majority vote in the House and Senate to pass a treaty as a simple law (known as a Congressional-executive agreement).

Executive agreements have an acknowledged but limited place in our foreign affairs. Congressional-executive agreements are far more troubling. They have evoked scathing attacks by constitutional experts and have been strongly resisted in the Senate, at least so far.

The framers of the Constitution designed the treaty process with a bias against “entangling alliances,” as Thomas Jefferson described them in his first inaugural address. They designated the Senate as the body responsible to protect the interests of the states from being bargained away by the president in deals with foreign nations. The framers required a supermajority to ensure that treaties would reflect a broad consensus and careful, mature decision-making.

America needs to maintain its sovereignty and autonomy, not to subordinate its policies, foreign or domestic, to international control. On a broad variety of issues — many of which sound more like domestic rather than foreign policy — the re-emergence of the benignly labeled “global governance” movement is well under way in the Obama transition. (John R. Bolton and John Yoo, New York Times)

John R. Bolton, the ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option.” John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general from 2001 to 2003, is a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Eye-roller: Climate change gains head of steam - Change is coming, and maybe more quickly than expected, according to a new U.S. government report.

The collapse of the nation's financial markets, starting in September and still sending shock waves through the economy, and the presidential election pushed the issue of climate change off the nation's front burner. But the problem did not stop to await the election outcome or the economic bailouts.

In fact, a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey says that previous estimates of how rapidly climate change may be occurring probably have been too conservative. In other words, it is happening faster than expected — and Texas might feel its effects in the form of drought sooner rather than later.

The study was commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, which coordinates the work of 13 federal agencies. (Austin American-Statesman)

Yet another “moment of fateful decision” - The scare: At the December 2008 UN climate conference at Poznan, held during the coldest commencement of the European winter in 30 years, former vice-president Al Gore said that the human species had arrived at yet another “moment of fateful decision”, because “our home, Earth, is in danger”. He said he would state “a few facts, if only to underscore the urgency of our task”, and “we cannot negotiate with the facts”, the first of which was the “unrestrained dumping of 70 million tons of ‘global warming’ pollution into the thin shelf of atmosphere surrounding our planet every 24 hours”. Scientists had “for several years now warned us that we are moving dangerously close to several so-called tipping points that could within less than 10 years make it impossible to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability”. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

"Global Cooling is really Global Warming" - The scare: On 2 January 2009, the Wall Street Journal wrote one of a series of articles apparently co-ordinated throughout the generally alarmist news media throughout the holiday season, trying to overcome the problem posed for “global warming” alarmists by the fact that global mean surface temperatures have been on a downtrend for eight straight years (Figure 1): (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

NOTED UK ACADEMIC ECONOMIST TELLS WHY HE IS A DISSENTER - "Where so much remains uncertain, unsettled or unknown, policies should be evolutionary and adaptive, rather than presumptive; and their evolution should be linked to a process of inquiry and review which is more thorough, balanced, open and objective than is now the case." David Henderson, former Head of Economic and Statistics Dept of OECD, now Visiting Professor at University of Westminster, tells Edinburgh students why he disagrees with the policy processes of IPCC and many governments. LINK to download 18-page pdf (NZ Climate Science)

50 Years of CO2: Time for a Vision Test - Now that there have been 50 full years of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration monitoring at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, I thought January1, 2009 would be an appropriate time to take a nostalgic look back.

As you well know from Al Gore’s movie (remember? It’s the one you were required to come to English class and watch or the teacher would fail your kid), we are now pumping 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day as if it’s an “open sewer”.

Well, 50 years of that kind of pollution is really taking its toll. So, without further ado, here’s what 50 years of increasing levels of CO2 looks like on the Big Island: (

The warmaholics' fantasy - THE warmaholics are fond of using the phrase "official records going back to 1850", but the simple facts are that prior to the 1970s, surface-based temperatures from a few indiscriminate, mostly backyard locations in Europe and the US are fatally corrupted and not in any sense a real record.

They are then further doctored by a secret algorithm to account for heat-island effects. Reconstructions such as the infamously fraudulent "hockey stick" are similarly unreliable.

The only precise and reliable temperature recording started with satellite measurements in the 1970s. They show minuscule warming, all in the northern hemisphere, which not only stopped in 2000 but had completely reversed by 2008 (see graph).

The warmaholics also contend that global mean temperature and sea level rises are at the upper range of the Intergovernment[al] Panel on Climate Change's projections. Well, no, actually they are not.

Sea level rises since 1900 are of the order of 1-2mm a year, which is indistinguishable from tectonic movement, and the IPCC computer projections are simply completely wrong. (Jon Jenkins, The Australian)

Everything's Cool - We're supposed to be living in fear of our coastal cities drowning because we refuse to give up oil and the modern machines it powers. Yet today's sea ice levels match those of nearly three decades ago.

According to DailyTech blogger Michael Asher, "Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close." This isn't Asher's opinion, but fact based on data from the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center.

News about growing sea ice isn't exactly what environmentalists who predicted the North Pole would be free of ice in 2008 want to hear. Al Gore and his fellow alarmists have been telling us for years that melting sea ice and glaciers will dramatically and dangerously increase sea levels.

In his 2006 movie "An Inconvenient Truth," he needlessly stoked fear by claiming that global warming could cause sea levels to rise 20 feet "in the near future."

It was one of three dozen misstatements made in the Oscar-winning propaganda film that was promoted as a serious scientific documentary. (IBD)

And they have such a dazzling accuracy record :) 2009 To Be One Of Warmest Years On Record: Researchers - LONDON - Next year is set to be one of the top-five warmest on record, British climate scientists said on Tuesday.

The average global temperature for 2009 is expected to be more than 0.4 degrees celsius above the long-term average, despite the continued cooling of huge areas of the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known as La Nina.

That would make it the warmest year since 2005, according to researchers at the Met Office, who say there is also a growing probability of record temperatures after next year. (Reuters)

The IPCC Can't Count - Author and Reviewer numbers are wrong (.pdf) - How many times have you heard or read words to the effect that 4000 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) supported the claims about a significant human influence on climate? I think I've seen it on television, radio and the Internet and I know that politicians at national levels have quoted such figures. There's no question whatsoever. It's utterly wrong.

In fact, once the duplicated names are removed that number falls below 2,900 and if we only want those who explicitly supported the claims it falls to only about 60. So how does 4,000 become 60? Let's take a closer look at the real numbers. (John McLean)

Sustaining the Unsustainable - How has the scam that humans are causing global warming worked so effectively? One answer is exploitation of fear, the technique of which was accurately explained in the late Michael Crichton’s book “State of Fear.”

Much fuel for the fear was effectively built into the structure and methods of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Tim Ball, CFP)

Governor Rendell Announces Mid-Atlantic Agreement to Develop Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Standard - HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 5 -- Pennsylvania has signed a letter of agreement with 10 Mid-Atlantic states that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels and other sources by developing a comprehensive, regional low carbon fuel standard, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today. (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

First 'World Bank Green Bonds' Launched - January 5, 2009—The World Bank recently launched its first “green bonds” designed to raise additional funding for projects or programs that support low-carbon activities in client countries.

In partnership with SEB, the World Bank raised approximately US$350 million via several key Scandinavian institutional investors. The bond issue responds to growing interest from sustainable or socially responsible institutional investors, as well as some individual investors, who wish to support climate change-related projects in developing countries. (World Bank)

State of the Sun for year end 2008: all’s quiet on the solar front - too quiet - The NOAA Space Weather Prediction center updated their plots of solar indices earlier today, on January 3rd. With the exception of a slight increase in the 107 centimeter radio flux, there appears to be even less signs of solar activity. Sunspots are still not following either of the two predictive curves, and it appears that the solar dynamo continues to slumber, perhaps even winding down further. Of particular note, the last graph below (click the read more link to see it) showing the Average Planetary Index (Ap) is troubling. I thought there would be an uptick by now, due to expectations of some sign of cycle 24 starting up, but instead it continues to drop. (Watts Up With That?)

Uh Oh, Is Yellowstone's Supervolcano Waking Up? - Oh, man. I noted a few months ago some evidence that the supervolcano lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park—a volcano capable of obliterating a good chunk of the United States if it ever erupted—might be going dormant. Scratch that. Charlie Petit notes that since December 26, there's been an unusually large uptick in earthquake activity beneath Yellowstone—some 400 seismic events in all. Is the supervolcano getting restless? Let's hope not. (The Vine)

Where Thermometers Go To Die - How not to measure temperature, part 80 - In my 30 years in meteorology, I never questioned how NOAA climate monitoring stations were setup. It wasn’t until I stumbled on the Marysville California fire station and its thermometer that that I began to notice just how badly sited these stations are. When I started looking further, I never expected to find USHCN climate monitoring stations placed at sewage treatment plants, next to burn barrels, or in parking lots of University Atmospheric Science Departments, or next to air conditioning heat exchangers. These were all huge surprises.

I didn’t think I’d be surprised anymore. I thought I’d seen the weirdest of the weird, and that I would not be surprised again with bad station placement examples.

Then I saw this station, submitted from Fort Scott, Kansas: (Watts Up With That?)

EPA Really Is Serious About Taxing Cow/Pig Emissions - I think most of the American public still thinks the idea of the government taxing cow and pig farts in the latest front in the war on global warming is a bad joke. But it’s not. They’re serious about this, and the expense to ranchers and dairy farmers is going to be huge if they get their way:

Call this one of the newest and innovative the ways your government has come up with to battle greenhouse gas emissions. (KXMB)

A Carbon Tax For Animal Emissions - More Unintended Consequences Of Carbon Policy In The Guise Of Climate Policy - Thanks to Mike Smith for alerting us to this news article: New Jersey, Pennsylvania farmers don’t like the smell of a federal ‘cow tax’ by Bill Wichert on Sunday, December 28, 2008 in The Express-Times

The article includes the text: “The rear end of a cow could become the next source of financial hardship for farmers.”

“Facing lower milk prices and higher operational costs, dairy farmers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania say they couldn’t afford the so-called cow tax, a suggestion made by federal officials to charge permit fees for livestock as a way of regulating greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised the concept in a recent report on possible greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. Those regulations also could be extended to small businesses, schools, hospitals and churches.”

“In its comments on the EPA proposal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the regulations might force permitting requirements on dairy farms with more than 25 cows, beef cattle operations with more than 50 cattle, swine facilities with more than 200 hogs and farms with 500 or more acres of corn.”

“The permit costs would mean $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 a head for beef cattle and $20 per hog, according to Liz Thompson, a research associate with the New Jersey Farm Bureau. A herd of 75 dairy cows would carry a price tag of about $13,000.”

This is the type of pandora’s box that Climate Science has weblogged on in the past; e.g. see Has The IPCC Produced A Hydra?

The clear answer is that a wide range of consequences, with serious environmental, economic and social effects, are going to result as a result of the inappropriately narrow IPCC focus on carbon as the currency for a wide range of climate effects. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

LIEBERMAN: No time for an oil crackdown - How does $8-a-gallon gas sound? Few Americans would want to see that happen. Unfortunately, President-elect Barack Obama's choices for the governments two highest energy posts have expressed a surprising level of comfort with sky-high gas prices.

As if that weren't bad enough, the incoming Obama administration and new Congress have suggested they may reverse the pro-domestic oil drilling measures enacted since last summer. It is starting to look as though the change coming to Washington will bring bad news at the pump in the years ahead. (Ben Lieberman, Washington Times)

EIA Predicts Greener America

-Use less oil
-Cut carbon dioxide emissions
-Drastically increase energy from renewables
-Reduce reliance on foreign imports

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

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

Shale Gas: Savior or Treadmill? - In his recent article, It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas, Robert Bryce correctly notes that the current price collapse and flat -- maybe even declining -- demand for natural gas has caused economic and financial turmoil for gas producers.

Gas prices are now about 47 percent below their July peak, drilling has slowed and the financial outlook for many producers is complicated by tight corporate credit markets and plunging stock values.

While there is no doubt that the US now has huge quantities of unconventional gas, the key question for the future is obvious: where are prices going? The technology breakthroughs in shale gas production are allowing producers to tap huge resources that were previously uneconomic. But these new shale resources are coming onstream at a time of weakening energy demand both in the US and the world. And there’s another wildcard: liquefied natural gas. Two recent reports are predicting near-record US LNG imports as new liquefaction capacity comes onstream at the same time that world gas demand is stagnating. All of these factors are combining to make for a complicated outlook for the US gas business. (Terence Thorn, Energy Tribune)

Russia Gas Disruption Spreads To Czechs, Turks - KIEV/MOSCOW - Russian gas supplies to the Czech Republic and Turkey dropped on Sunday, the latest victims of a deepening row between Russia and Ukraine over debts and pricing.

Russian natural gas supplies fell by five percent to the Czech Republic as a result of the stand-off, which began when Russia cut off the gas to Ukraine on New Year's day. The two sides blame each other for the dispute.

"It is the first signal of the Russia-Ukraine crisis in the Czech Republic," said a spokesman for gas importer RWE Transgas.

European energy firms, which received about a fifth of their gas via pipelines through Ukraine, said they had enough gas stockpiled to maintain supplies for several days.

But analysts said Europe, where temperatures in many places were below zero, could face problems if the row dragged on beyond that. (Reuters)

CNPC Lengthens Turkmen Pipeline As First Gas Nears - Since mid-December CNPC has started building the eastern section of a long-haul gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan to China’s Guangdong, bringing the booming province a step closer to its first gas imports. The gas is slated to begin shipping in 2009. The pipeline project, one of the world’s largest, is expected to diversify China’s energy supply and reduce its future dependence on Russia. (Lee Geng, Energy Tribune)

Ameren nuclear plan triggers debate over funding - Missouri's largest electric utility is considering building a second nuclear reactor in mid-Missouri, and that means lawmakers will be considering how to pay for it during the 2009 session that starts Wednesday.

The debate hits on energy production, consumer protection, economic development and environmental concerns. (Associated Press)

Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy - Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy.

This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine.

So in regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. (New York Times)

Biomass fuels to the rescue? It is cheap ... and unwanted - MIAMI -- Nobody loves biomass. When talk turns to global warming and the green movement, it's hardly ever mentioned. Biomass can be garbage (literally) or wood chips or sugar-cane remnants or grass.

Still, among energy experts, biomass has some strong supporters, and for good reason: Right now, virtually all the renewable-energy power in Florida comes from biomass, including three plants in Miami-Dade and Broward.

What's more, it's cheap -- cheaper in some instances even than coal, which is generally considered the nation's least expensive way of producing electricity but is also the biggest producer of greenhouse gases that scientists say are heating up the globe.

"We're very strong supporters of biomass," says Stephen Smith, head of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "In the short run, it will be a real workhorse." But he adds: "There are various shades of green in biomass. Some is better than others." (Associated Press)

CNOOC In $2.2 Billion Deal For Renewable Base - China's top offshore oil producer CNOOC has signed an agreement with authorities of northern China's Tianjin city to spend 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) for building renewable energy projects.

The company will set up a renewable energy industry base in the city's Binhai economic zone including a research and development center.

CNOOC initiated its first alternative energy project by building an offshore wind power station in Bohai Bay where Tianjin is located in November 2007 in line with the country's policy of significantly boosting wind power generating capacity in the next 10 years. (Michael Economides, Energy Tribune)

The raw milk debate — helping parents wade through the milk science - “Drink your milk and go outside and play.”

Generations have grown up drinking their milk. It’s long been recommended as a wholesome source of protein, vitamins, and calcium and other minerals, for growing bodies and for people of all ages. Nowadays, milk seems to have become complicated and controversial. Parents hear sensational claims of special health benefits and potentially harmful risks about both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Trying to decide which is the safest and healthiest choice for their children can be impossibly hard for parents, though, without knowing which claims are based on the best scientific evidence and which ones are fiction.

A paper in the new issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases revealed some surprising information about the safety and wholesomeness of milk that may help break through the milky maze. (Junkfood Science)

Sunday reading: The greatest health risk factor - Economic health is rarely considered a health index, but, as Dr. Michel Accad, M.D., writes at Alert and Oriented, it is the most important one. (Junkfood Science)

Vote for your choice for Best Medical/Health Issues Blog. -- Sandy Szwarc's Junkfood Science has been nominated and we like to think you'll support her in voting.

Oh, have we mentioned that Sandy does all she does in her own time, at her own expense with no sponsorship of any kind? You can help support her efforts through this donation button:

Support Junkfood Science. What we want you to do is show Sandy how much you appreciate her dedicated efforts, undertaken at her own expense (Junkfood Science has no sponsor and never has had). Please donate whatever you can to help Sandy continue the wonderful work she does.

Click on the button below to show Junkfood Science some love.

Most covered-up of 2008: Natural-born citizen - WND editors join with readers to determine the year's top 10

Charges that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of the U.S. and, therefore, constitutionally ineligible to serve as president top the list of the 10 most "spiked" or underreported stories of the last year, according to an annual WND survey.

At the end of each year, news organizations typically present their retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories in the previous 12 months.

WND's editors, however, have long considered it far more newsworthy to publicize the most important unreported or underreported news events of the year – to highlight perhaps for one last time major news stories that were undeservedly "spiked" by the establishment press.

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah has sponsored "Operation Spike" every year since 1988, and since founding WorldNetDaily in May 1997, he has continued the annual tradition.

Here, with our readers' help, are WorldNetDaily editors' picks for the 10 most underreported stories of 2008: (WorldNetDaily)

Thousands Protest Against Indian Tiger Reserve - CHENNAI - More than 15,000 people in southern India protested against the extension of a new tiger reserve Tuesday, despite official assurances that they will not lose their homes to the sanctuary.

Representatives from all parties in Tamil Nadu state, including the state's ruling party, took part in what is the third such protest since November against the extension of the Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary, police said. (Reuters)

Hodge-podge of ecotheology and nostalgia for 'simpler times': A 50-Year Farm Bill - THE extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature.

Soil that is used and abused in this way is as nonrenewable as (and far more valuable than) oil. Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute — and no powerful friends in the halls of government.

Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice.

To the problem of soil loss, the industrialization of agriculture has added pollution by toxic chemicals, now universally present in our farmlands and streams. Some of this toxicity is associated with the widely acclaimed method of minimum tillage. We should not poison our soils to save them.

Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods. (New York Times)

What they don't seem to recognize is that the relatively trivial increase in local productivity achieved by family farming over a hunter-gatherer existence is but a first step, compounded and improved by more modern techniques. Selective herbicides and no/low-till agriculture has been the greatest boon to soil conservation in farming history.

January 5, 2009

Steel Industry, in Slump, Looks to Federal Stimulus - The steel industry, having entered the recession in the best of health, is emerging as a leading indicator of what lies ahead. As steel production goes — and it is now in collapse — so will go the national economy.

That maxim once applied to Detroit’s Big Three car companies, when they dominated American manufacturing. Now they are losing ground in good times and bad, and steel has replaced autos as the industry to watch for an early sign that a severe recession is beginning to lift.

The industry itself is turning to government for orders that, until the September collapse, had come from manufacturers and builders. Its executives are waiting anxiously for details of President-elect Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, and adding their voices to pleas for a huge public investment program — up to $1 trillion over two years — intended to lift demand for steel to build highways, bridges, electric power grids, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and rapid transit.

“What we are asking,” said Daniel R. DiMicco, chairman and chief executive of the Nucor Corporation, a giant steel maker, “is that our government deal with the worst economic slowdown in our lifetime through a recovery program that has in every provision a ‘buy America’ clause.” (New York Times)

Of course, the greatest help the incoming Administration can give the steel industry and the economy generally is to scrap climate nonsense and expunge climate hysterics from the Administration altogether. Then everyone but the misanthropic lunatics win and cheaply too.

Whopper of the Year - Talking about the “millions” of jobs that would be created and forgetting to mention the many more millions that would be destroyed truly takes the cake. (Julie Walsh, Cooler Heads Digest)

Sorry, Climate Change Wouldn't Hurt America's Economy - One of the more sober arguments in favor of radical action to combat perceived climate change is that doing nothing would be economically calamitous. That was certainly the conclusion of the controversial Stern Report in the United Kingdom. Economist Nicholas Stern concluded that we should spend 1 percent of the global economy every year to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Now even if you take Stern's numbers as correct—and many think he wildly overestimates the economic risks of doing nothing—he still advocates spending $700 billion a year on the supposed problem. Failure to do so could risk global GDP being up to twenty percent lower than it would be otherwise.

But a new study from economists Melissa Dell and Benjamin Olken at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University's Benjamin Jones comes to a different conclusion. Yes, they find, global warming would hurt economic growth, but only in poorer countries. Climate change would have "very little impact" on wealthier nations. (James Pethokoukis, Capital Commerce)

In Obama’s Team, Two Camps on Climate - WASHINGTON — In the fall of 1997, when the Clinton administration was forming its position for the Kyoto climate treaty talks, Lawrence H. Summers argued that the United States would risk damaging the domestic economy if it set overly ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions.

Mr. Summers, then the deputy Treasury secretary, said at the time that there was a compelling scientific case for action on global warming but that a too-rapid move against emissions of greenhouse gases risked dire and unknowable economic consequences.

His view prevailed over those of officials arguing for tougher standards, among them Carol M. Browner, then the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and her mentor, Al Gore, then the vice president.

Today, as the climate-change debate once again heats up, Mr. Summers leads the economic team of the incoming administration, and Ms. Browner has been designated its White House coordinator of energy and climate policy. And Mr. Gore is hovering as an informal adviser to President-elect Barack Obama.

As Mr. Obama seeks to find the right balance between his environmental goals and his plans to revive the economy, he may have to resolve conflicting views among some of his top advisers. (New York Times)

Obama's Energy Czar a Card Carrying Member of Socialist Organization - CEI Adjunct Scholar Steven Milloy just sent around an email reporting that Carol Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s new energy czar, is a member of the Socialist International, perhaps the world’s preeminent socialist organization. (Cooler Heads Digest)

Obama will face Bush legacy on environment - WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush could be forcing President-elect Barack Obama to act almost immediately to curb global warming, after years of the Bush administration fighting attempts to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Or, depending on which interpretation prevails, Bush could be giving his successor much-needed breathing room on a volatile issue.

In its final weeks, the Bush administration has moved to close what it calls "back doors" to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It barred the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of global warming on protected species. And it excluded carbon dioxide from a list of pollutants the EPA regulates under the Clean Air Act.

Environmentalists call the moves a last-minute attempt to block speedy, executive action by the president's successor on climate change, an issue that Obama calls a top concern. But they say it could backfire, by prompting lawsuits and fueling fights over coal-fired power plants that the new administration would need to resolve quickly. (Chicago Tribune)

Bjorn Lomborg: Obama’s options on global warming - IN ONE OF HIS FIRST public policy statements as America’s president-elect, Barack Obama focused on climate change, and clearly stated both his priorities and the facts on which these priorities rest. Unfortunately, both are weak, or even wrong.

Obama’s policy outline was presented via video to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Governors’ Global Warming Summit, and has again been shown in Poznan, Poland, to leaders assembled to flesh out a global warming roadmap. According to Obama, “Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change.”

Such a statement is now commonplace for most political leaders around the world, even though it neglects to address the question of how much we can do to help America and the world through climate policies versus other policies. (Providence Journal)

Global Warming Rope-a-Dope - The global warming scare has provided a field day for politicians and others who wish to control our lives. After all, only the imagination limits the kind of laws and restrictions that can be written in the name of saving the planet. Recently, more and more scientists are summoning up the courage to speak out and present evidence against the global warming rope-a-dope. Atmospheric scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." (Walter E. Williams,

Where is their thinking? Greenhouse gases could have caused an ice age, claim scientists - Filling the atmosphere with Greenhouse gases associated with global warming could push the planet into a new ice age, scientists have warned.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that 630 million years ago the earth had a warm atmosphere full of carbon dioxide but was completely covered with ice.

The scientists studied limestone rocks and found evidence that large amounts of greenhouse gas coincided with a prolonged period of freezing temperatures.

Such glaciation could happen again if global warming is not curbed, the university's school of geography, earth and environmental sciences warned. (Daily Telegraph)

Now, wouldn't you think they'd get as far as wondering about the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis when they saw significantly higher greenhouse levels in a glaciated world? Shouldn't it have occurred to them that maybe greenhouse gas levels, specifically atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, do not control global mean temperature? When are these guys going to admit that beyond ~100ppmv the effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is too trivial to exert significant influence on the climate?

2008: Another Grim Year for the Global Warmers - The year 2008 marked the tenth consecutive year of no global warming. This is not widely reported or known. In fact the Earth has been cooling for the last 6 years. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

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

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

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

Another Romm Rant :)

Actually we hadn't been paying attention but, thanks to Joe's dummy-spit, we are now aware What's Up With That and Climate Audit are again up for weblog awards - voting opens today and wishes them well.

ANDREW ALEXANDER: Politicians, power and a new religion - Since this is the moment in the year when forecasts are demanded, I shall pick a sad certainty. Parliament will create more offences, lots of them.

The Government, astonishingly, has apparently created a new imprisonable offence every four days for the past decade. Curiously little row has been made about this, least of all by what passes for the parliamentary Opposition.

Many of the new offences in the coming year are sure to stem from the new religion: global warming. (Daily Mail)

“Lessons from History on Climate Change” - A statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today congratulated Senator Barnaby Joyce, Senator Ron Boswell, Senator Cory Bernardi and Dr Dennis Jensen MP for their principled stand against the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Releasing a new paper entitled “Climate Change in Perspective” the Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that changing climate was a permanent feature of Earth’s history – man did not cause it and cannot change it.

“All over the world, politicians, scientists, taxpayers and shareholders are waking up to the fact that they have been conned by the global warming story. All we need to do is read a bit of climate history to get things into perspective and realize how lucky we are today.”

He commented:

“Within just the last 20,000 years, vast ice sheets melted from the earth’s surface, seas rose about 130 m, temperatures rose well above present levels several times, and as the seas warmed, they expelled their dissolved carbon dioxide.”

“Then just 300 years ago, earth suffered from the bitter cold and famines caused by the Little Ice Age. Since about 1700 AD, warmth created by increasing solar activity has been driving back the deadly frosts, snow and ice. Carbon dioxide is naturally expelled from the warming oceans to the atmosphere – humans have very little to do with it all.”

“All of these events were caused by and controlled by natural processes, and all life on earth was forced to adapt or die.”

“Despite continual increases in man’s emissions of carbon dioxide, the earth has not warmed since 1998. With unseasonal snow, bitter frosts, power failures and lost crops being reported every week, to send 10,000 pampered politicians and bureaucrats on a junket to Poland to discuss “Global warming” is surely a sick joke?

“A growing number of politicians are now bravely stating what a large and increasing number of scientists have been saying: “There is no global warming crisis, carbon dioxide is a benefit not a danger in the atmosphere, and the whole Emissions Trading industry is shaping up to be a bigger financial disaster than the sub-prime mess.” (Carbon Sense Coalition) | Read the full document here [PDF, 670KB].

On Puffington? Half-time, change sides? Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted - You are probably wondering whether President-elect Obama owes the world an apology for his actions regarding global warming. The answer is, not yet. There is one person, however, who does. You have probably guessed his name: Al Gore.

Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that "the science is in." Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind. (Harold Ambler, Puffington)

Oh dear... Green Algae Bloom Process Could Stop Global Warming - A team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming.

The researchers, aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

According to lead researcher, Prof. Rob Raiswell of Leeds University, “The Earth itself seems to want to save us.” (Andrew Williams, CleanTechnica)

... atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource -- we do not profit form nor want such a valuable resource lost to the biosphere by any sequestration method.

Hmm... Soot reduction 'could help to stop global warming' - Cutting one of humanity's most common pollutants would have immediate cooling effect, Nasa claims

Governments could slow global warming dramatically, and buy time to avert disastrous climate change, by slashing emissions of one of humanity's most familiar pollutants – soot – according to Nasa scientists. A study by the space agency shows that cutting down on the pollutant, which has so far been largely ignored by climate scientists, can have an immediate cooling effect – and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from air pollution at the same time.

At the beginning of the make-or-break year in international attempts to negotiate a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the soot removal proposal – which is being taken seriously by experts close to the Obama administration – offers hope of a rapid new way of tackling global warming. Governments have long experience in acting against soot.

Cutting its emissions has a virtually instantaneous effect, because it rapidly falls out of the atmosphere, unlike carbon dioxide which remains there for over a hundred years. And because soot is one of the worst killers among all pollutants, radical reductions save lives and so should command popular and political support. (The Independent)

... a lot of dubious statements in so few paragraphs. Gorebull warming? Meh... Worst killer amongst pollutants? The other one has bells on it. Apparently they haven't heard of the numbers dying from contaminated water (contamination with fecal coliforms alone probably accounts for more enteric morbidity and mortality than all forms of carbon combined). Carbon dioxide has long atmospheric residence times? The sawtooth pattern of seasonal abundance says otherwise.

Oh... UM professor having ‘quite a year’ - MISSOULA — Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize just over a year ago, University of Montana forestry professor Steve Running noticed a heightened excitement for his public lectures.

“Every time I give a talk, I get a standing ovation,” said Running from his home in the Rattlesnake recently. “Sometimes I get a standing ovation before I even say a word. That’s pretty cool.”

A year ago in October, former Vice President Al Gore shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a group of hundreds of scientists, including Running for bringing an ever-growing awareness to global climate change.

For Running, the past year has been full of perks, standing ovations and a personalized front-row bike rack on campus but has also seen challenges. (Missoulian)

... actually the media (and several of the IPCC's hangers-on) have no idea who really was the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize -- in fact the joint recipients were Al Gore and the IPCC (the organization, not individual contributors jointly and severally). Individual contributors and reviewers of IPCC documents are categorically not Nobel Laureates and Running did not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

More hot air from Met Office - Temperate predictions have been comically inept, writes Christopher Booker.

Last week, as Britain shivered in sub-zero temperatures, the Met Office predicted that 2009 would be one of ''the five warmest years on record''.

This statement entertained various US climate experts, such as Dr Roger Pielke Sr of Colorado University, who recalled how last September the Met Office forecast that this winter in the UK would be ''milder than average'', just before we enjoyed the coldest autumn and winter for decades.

Dr Pielke also recalled the Met Office's prediction two years ago that 2007 would be globally ''the warmest year on record'', beating the ''peak'' year of 1998 (see the Watts Up With That website). Even as they made that prediction, temperatures began their steepest plunge since they toppled off that 1998 highpoint, dropping by nearly 0.7C – equivalent to the entire net warming of the 20th century.  (Daily Telegraph)

Pessimistic Reporting, Optimistic Data - Washington Post correspondent Juliet Eilperin, in her 12-26-08 report entitled “New climate change estimates more pessimistic,” dutifully surveys the latest bleak findings of the climate change community. Her primary source is a recently released survey commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program - expanding on the findings of the 2007 4th IPPC Report on Climate Change. Apparently this “new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100.” One of Eilperin’s primary examples of alarming new data is reported as follows:

“In one of the reports most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as 4 feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world’s major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps.”

This indeed sounds ominous, until one recalls the data from just over two years ago, released and reported with similar overtones of dreadful urgency. Our October 20th, 2006 report entitled “Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly” referenced then recent findings from NASA indicating that Greenland’s ice was melting at “a net loss of 27 cubic miles of ice per year.” (Ed Ring, EcoWorld)

EU denounces socialite’s carbon offset project - A PIONEERING climate change project in Africa run by Robin Birley, the socialite, has been accused by the European commission, its main donor, of making unsubstantiated claims about its environmental impact.

The project has received more than £1m in public grants and money from celebrities in the music and film business. They include Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and Brad Pitt, the actor.

The project attempts to offset an individual’s carbon footprint by paying poor farmers in Mozambique to plant trees, which absorb CO2, and to protect existing forests.

The commission’s criticism comes amid increased concern about the worth of these fashionable but largely unregulated carbon offset schemes. Critics say it is almost impossible to guarantee that the trees will survive the length of time needed to offset any significant carbon emissions. (Sunday Times)

EU's new figurehead believes climate change is a myth - The European Union's new figurehead believes that climate change is a dangerous myth and has compared the union to a Communist state.

The views of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, 67, have left the government of Mirek Topolanek, his bitter opponent, determined to keep him as far away as possible from the EU presidency, which it took over from France yesterday.

The Czech president, who caused a diplomatic incident by dining with opponents of the EU’s Lisbon treaty on a recent visit to Ireland, has a largely ceremonial role.

But there are already fears that, after the dynamic EU presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy - including his hyper-active attempts at international diplomacy over the credit crisis and Georgia as well as an historic agreement to cut greenhouse gases - the Czech effort will be mired in infighting and overshadowed by the platform it will give to Mr Klaus and his controversial views. (The Times)

Oh, they're out in force with the new year... Climate scientists: it's time for 'Plan B' - Poll of international experts by The Independent reveals consensus that CO2 cuts have failed – and their growing support for technological intervention

An emergency "Plan B" using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change, according to a poll of leading scientists carried out by The Independent. The collective international failure to curb the growing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has meant that an alternative to merely curbing emissions may become necessary.

The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This "geoengineering" approach – including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms – would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago but is now being seen by the majority of scientists we surveyed as a viable emergency backup plan that could save the planet from the worst effects of climate change, at least until deep cuts are made in CO2 emissions. (The Independent)

What can we do to save our planet? - The Independent asked the world's leading climate scientists whether we should prepare a 'Plan B' to curb the worst effects of global warming. Their responses are fascinating – and sobering (The Independent)

Oh dear... Put climate change in the curriculum - ENVIRONMENTAL consciousness is sweeping the nation. Politicians, vacation destinations, and college campuses all try to attract people with talk of carbon footprints, carbon offsets, and carbon neutrality. And the movement has been fueled by the SIGG-carrying, bike-riding portion of the population - in other words, by young adults.

But while environmental responsibility has become a top concern for colleges, the time has come to make climate change a more prominent subject of earlier schooling as well.

The point of climate-change education isn't that students should be able to spout carbon-emissions facts as they hug trees and recycle everything within reach (though they may do much of that after learning the facts).

As climate change becomes more and more dire, it affects every aspect of our lives: social, political, physical, and economic. Recognizing this, the G-8 summit culminated in a commitment by the major industrial nations to a 50 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But how can we ever achieve that change if today's secondary- and elementary-school students lack the tools to understand the problem and build solutions? (Queen Arsem-O'Malley, Boston Globe)

Diamonds Linked to Quick Cooling Eons Ago - At least once in Earth’s history, global warming ended quickly, and scientists have long wondered why.

Now researchers are reporting that the abrupt cooling — which took place about 12,900 years ago, just as the planet was emerging from an ice age — may have been caused by one or more meteors that slammed into North America.

That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. (New York Times)

Gems Point to Comet as Answer to Ancient Riddle - Something dramatic happened about 12,900 years ago, and the continent of North America was never the same. A thriving culture of Paleo-Americans, known as the Clovis people, vanished seemingly overnight. Gone, too, were most of the largest animals: horses, camels, lions, mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats, ground sloths and giant armadillos.

Scientists have long blamed climate change for the extinctions, for it was 12,900 years ago that the planet's emergence from the Ice Age came to a halt, reverting to glacial conditions for 1,500 years, an epoch known as the Younger Dryas.

In just the last few years, there has arisen a controversial scientific hypothesis to explain this chain of events, and it involves an extraterrestrial calamity: a comet, broken into fragments, turning the sky ablaze, sending a shock wave across the landscape and scorching forests, creatures, people and anything exposed to the heavenly fire.

Now the proponents of this apocalyptic scenario say they have found a new line of evidence: nanodiamonds. They say they have found these tiny structures across North America in sediments from 12,900 years ago, and they argue that the diamonds had to have been formed by a high-temperature, high-pressure event, such as a cometary impact. (Washington Post)

No Matter What Happens, Someone Will Blame Global Warming - Global warming was blamed for everything from beasts gone wild to anorexic whales to the complete breakdown of human society this year -- showing that no matter what it is and where it happens, scientists, explorers, politicians and those who track the Loch Ness Monster are comfortable scapegoating the weather. takes a look back at 10 things that global warming allegedly caused — or will no doubt soon be responsible for — as reported in the news around the world in 2008. (FNC)

Global Warming Unlikely Reason for Slow Coral Growth - “Researchers in Australia say the growth of coral on the country’s iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has fallen since 1990 to its lowest rate in 400 years,” variations of this message have been repeated around the world from South Korea to London with global warming, and the associated acidification of oceans, claimed to be the cause.

These reports are repeating claims in an Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) media release made just last Friday to coincide with the publication of research findings in the journal Science [1].

The media release also claimed the research to be “the most comprehensive study to date on calcification rates of GBR corals”.

Having followed GBR issues for many years I was surprised to hear global warming associated with slow coral growth rates, indeed AIMS’s researchers Janice Lough and David Barnes have published detailed studies concluding that coral growth rates increase significantly with an increase in annual average sea surface temperature [2]. Furthermore growth rates actually decrease from north to south along the GBR as this corresponds with a cooling temperature gradient of 2-3 degrees C.

If there has been a slowing in growth rates of coral over the last nearly 20 years, as suggested by this new research, a most obvious question for me would be: Have GBR waters cooled? (

Globaloney Update: A Tale of Two 'Realities' - From June: 'No ice at the North Pole,' to January: 'Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979'

No pairing of any two stories better illustrates the child-like alarmism of global warming religionists than these two stories. The first from June of 2008 claims that all the ice at the North Pole has melted and will be gone for the first time ever, while the second shows that by January of 2009 the polar ice measurements show that it is the same as it was in 1979, with no ice loss seen at all between then and now. (Warner Todd Huston, NewsBusters)

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: 'Greenland and the polar ice cap are melting' - Of course it would be more convenient for the Luddites if I were to accept their underlying assumptions and limit myself to "critiquing policy as regards energy and conservation." Just as, in 1500, it would have been judged much safer to study how best to discover and destroy witches rather than to challenge whether the old crones had any demonic powers in the first place. (Review Journal)

NSIDC issues documentation corrections - WUWT guest post a catalyst - You may recall the guest post from Jeff Id of the Air Vent I carried about a week ago called Global Sea Ice Trend Since 1979 - surprising

In that post, a note of correction was issued because that we were led to believe (by Tamino) that the entire post was “invalidated” due to an error in accounting for ice area very near the pole. Both Jeff and I were roundly criticized for “not reading the documentation”, which was one of the more civil criticisms over there at Tamino’s site.

After further investigation It turns out that the error was in NSIDC’s public documentation, and they have issued a correction to it. Even more importantly the correction now affects NSIDC’s own trend graph, and they are considering how to handle it. (Watts Up With That?)

Funny: Canada's forests, once huge help on greenhouse gases, now contribute to climate change - VANCOUVER — As relentlessly bad as the news about global warming seems to be, with ice at the poles melting faster than scientists had predicted and world temperatures rising higher than expected, there was at least a reservoir of hope stored here in Canada's vast forests.

The country's 1.2 million square miles of trees have been dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by ecologists because they account for more than 7 percent of Earth's total forest lands. They could always be depended upon to suck in vast quantities of carbon dioxide, naturally cleansing the world of much of the harmful heat-trapping gas.

But not anymore.

In an alarming yet little-noticed series of recent studies, scientists have concluded that Canada's precious forests, stressed from damage caused by global warming, insect infestations and persistent fires, have crossed an ominous line and are now pumping out more climate-changing carbon dioxide than they are sequestering. (Chicago Tribune)

Wonder if they've noticed how well the alleged change of temperate forests from "global asset" to "global hazard" correlates with greenie interference with commercial logging? "To the chainsaws!" "Save us from the trees!" Nah, can't see it catching on.

How we know they know they are lying - It is to some extent forgivable when people adopt extreme positions out of misapprehension or delusion. It is quite another matter if they mislead others by deliberate falsehood. Politicians, of course, treat the lie as part of their professional equipment. Indeed, in some circumstances they are obliged to use it (when, for example, telling the truth about the economy would cause a run on the currency). In science, up to recent times, there is no circumstance in which a deliberate falsehood is justifiable. It requires at a minimum being drummed out of one’s learned society.

All that has changed with the rise of authoritarian government. In Britain this took the form of nationalisation of the universities, begun under Thatcher and completed under Blair. In the USA it took the form of new state-funded bureaucracies, such as the EPA, who maintained control by the monopoly of funding. The global warming religion changed everything.

There is a contrast in the behaviour of people who speak from conviction and those who speak from convenience. This enables us to uncover those who are lying deliberately and distinguish them from the merely deluded. As M. Maigret once remarked “It is always the clever ones who leave a clue.” (John Brignell, Number Watch)

New JGR Paper “Inter-annual Variations In Earth’s Reflectance” By Pallé Et Al 2009 - There is an important new paper to appear in JGR [and thanks to Mike Jonas for altering us to it!]. It is Pallé, E., P. R. Goode, and P. Montanes-Rodriguez (2009), Inter-annual trends in Earth’s reflectance 1999-2007, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JD010734, in press. (accepted 21 November 2008)

The abstract reads: “The overall reflectance of sunlight from Earth is a fundamental parameter for climate studies. Recently, measurements of earthshine were used to find large decadal variability in Earth’s reflectance of sunlight. However, the results did not seem consistent with contemporaneous independent albedo measurements from the low Earth orbit satellite, CERES, which showed a weak, opposing trend. Now, more data for both are available, all sets have been either re-analyzed (earthshine) or re-calibrated (CERES), and present consistent results. Albedo data are also available from the recently released ISCCP FD product. Earthshine and FD analyses show contemporaneous and climatologically significant increases in the Earth’s reflectance from the outset of our earthshine measurements beginning in late 1998 roughly until mid- 2000. After that and to date, all three show a roughly constant terrestrial albedo, except for the FD data in the most recent years. Using satellite cloud data and Earth reflectance models, we also show that the decadal scale changes in Earth’s reflectance measured by earthshine are reliable, and caused by changes in the properties of clouds rather than any spurious signal, such as changes in the Sun-Earth-Moon geometry.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Wgtn hosts climate experts - The world's leading climate history experts will converge on Wellington over the next two weeks for a conference on the history of climate change.

The conference, organised by GNS Science, will examine the greenhouse climate of the Paleogene period, 65 to 35 million years ago. It is believed that was the last time the Earth experienced global warming on a scale similar to what is being projected for the future.

Conference organiser Chris Hollis says there is growing evidence that temperatures in high latitude places like New Zealand have been far higher than previously thought.

He says they hope to come to a conclusion about how real the current climate warming is. (Newstalk ZB)

Global Warming Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg - The Cold War shaped world politics for half a century. But global warming may shape the patterns of global conflict for much longer than that -- and help spark clashes that will be, in every sense of the word, hot wars.

We're used to thinking of climate change as an environmental problem, not a military one, but it's long past time to alter that mindset. Climate change may mean changes in Western lifestyles, but in some parts of the world, it will mean far more. Living in Washington, I may respond to global warming by buying a Prius, planting a tree or lowering my thermostat. But elsewhere, people will respond to climate change by building bomb shelters and buying guns. (James R. Lee, Washington Post)

Well, much as I agree gun s are good James, they are completely useless when it comes to fighting a phantom menace like gorebull warming.

UN: Recognize Victims of Climate Change, Environmental Refuges - Right Side News Reports finds a disturbing article called Look out! Millions of "environmentally persecuted" third worlders may be headed our way! on Refugee Resettlement Watch which is run by Ann Corcoran. Please read. (Right Side News)

2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved - Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.

The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Al Gore’s global warming debunked – by kids! - Al Gore’s global warming philosophy has been debunked by many scientists and studies, and now it has met the same fate at the hands of children, in “The Sky’s Not Falling” video/essay contest, sponsored by World Net Daily Books, formerly World Ahead Media.

The contest was launched early in 2008 and was designed to highlight the absurdities, untruths and downright lies that children are being taught daily about “climate change” in public school.

Russell Young, a Minnesota writer who captured first place in the essay competition, explained the importance of using celebrities such as Gore and the medium of movies to enhance the educational experience for students. (Conservative Meanderings)

Global warming dissenters dash scientific 'consensus' - The Republican minority of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee released a report with a growing list of over 650 international experts who soundly debunk the claim that there exists a "consensus" in science that human activity is causing a global warming.

The introduction to the 231-page Senate minority report states, "The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the U.N.'s and former Vice President Al Gore's claims that the 'science is settled.'" (WorldNetDaily)

Even gurus of warming admit the hot spot went missing - Big names like Santer, Sherwood, and Schmidt admit that the models predict more warming 10 km above the equator than what the weather balloons could find. Each time they announce that they’ve resolved the differences, they have to start by admitting there are differences to resolve.

My point here is that some bloggers are variously arguing the nonsensical or irrelevant: that, a/ the hot-spot was always there; b/ it doesn’t matter if it’s not found, and c/ it would occur with all climate forcings. Which disagrees with the top expert supporters of AGW.

The real debate is now about whether the hot-spot has been found or not. The top alarmists argue that we’ve sort of ‘found’ the hot-spot recently with new statistical rehashes or by using wind-gauges instead of thermometers. Note that even when they imply they’ve ‘found it’, after an unfortunate reader wades through the convoluted language, it turns out that they’ve just increased the error bars so they stretch far enough to include the real world results. Thus, it’s no longer ’statistically different’.

So to state the obvious, from the mouths of the AGW experts themselves… 1/ the discrepancy matters, and 2/ even they agree it was definitely missing. (Jo Nova)

Conflicting Scientific Data Fuels Global Warming Debate - Contrary to the preponderance of media coverage, manmade global warming is anything but a scientific certainty. Making policy on scientific uncertainty is a foolish and unsupportable exercise fraught with danger for our way of life. (James Shott, American Sentinel)

Reply to Deltoid - Dear Tim Lambert has tried to reply to my not found the hotspot post and The Skeptics Handbook. (Jo Nova)

Attempting to Intimidate a Skeptic? - Leo Elshof from Arcadia University in Canada has written to me asking that I put a comedy disclaimer on the Skeptics Handbook, and otherwise threatens to ridicule me at international conferences and set the media onto me. The email is here and my reply is below. What have our universities sunk too? (Jo Nova)

AGW is a religion - Science based ideas are falsifiable, whereas religious ones are not (thanks Karl Popper). That means even our most favourite scientific theories can be dumped in a bin if new evidence shows they are wrong or ‘falsifies them’. (See here for what qualifies as evidence). Religious people get strength through knowing that no matter what happens, their faith will not be shaken. There is nothing that can prove to them that God (or climate change) does not exist. Religious faith has many benefits, but it doesn’t belong in a scientific debate, and it’s a lousy way to decide most public policy. (Jo Nova)

Guest Commentary: Global warming - In a pair of recent columns claiming humans are causing a global-warming crisis, Ben Bova disparages mere “assertions” while saying people need to rely on “observable, measurable facts.” While Bova’s concern about Earth’s climate is admirable, he should follow his own advice regarding assertions versus facts.

Bova asserts Earth has a “rising fever.” Yet the fact is that global temperatures are unusually cool. For most of the past 10,000 years temperatures have been 1.0 to 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. The 0.6 degree rise in temperatures during the 20th century occurred from the baseline of the little ice age, which saw the coldest global temperatures during the past 10,000 years. Earth has a “rising fever” only if we pretend the little ice age was “normal” and ignore Earth’s long-term temperature facts. (James M. Taylor, Naples Daily News)

Global warming screed suffers from scarcity of facts - With the holiday season on the wane, 'tis once again the season for fictitious global-warming scares. New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel's latest foray into the fictitious world of global warming make-believe ("State's plan to curb global warming tepid," Dec. 26 op-ed) would make even Pinocchio blush.

Tittel claimed, without providing any supporting data or evidence, that global warming is causing increased drought conditions in New Jersey. A quick look at National Climatic Data Center precipitation records for New Jersey explains why Tittel did not back his claim with any supporting data or evidence: There is no such increase in drought conditions. (James M. Taylor, APP)

Sheesh! Global warming as a valuable parenting tool - Global warming. Melting snowcaps. Rising tides. Gloom and doom. There's never been a better time to be an American dad.

Now, when your kids turn up the thermostat just because they can see their breath, you can calmly say, "We're keeping the thermostat down to do our part to help the planet." Instead of what American fathers have screamed since the invention of the thermostat: "When you pay the bills, you can turn the heat all the way up to 200, you little ingrate."

What a difference a global climate crisis makes. I'm telling you, fellow fathers of America, we're living in a perfect era. Finally, our frugality has a higher calling. Thank you, Thank you, Barack Obama and John McCain, for saying "alternative energy" and "carbon offsets" 400,000 times in two months. Thank you, kindergarten teachers of America, for teaching the three R's. My only regret is that my children aren't younger. The last one is quickly approaching 18. (Jim Sollisch, Chicago Tribune)

Burning Coal at Home Is Making a Comeback - SUGARLOAF, Pa. — Kyle Buck heaved open the door of a makeshift bin abutting his suburban ranch house. Staring at a two-ton pile of coal that was delivered by truck a few weeks ago, Mr. Buck worried aloud that it would not be enough to last the winter.

“I think I’m going through it faster than I thought I would,” he said.

Aptly, perhaps, for an era of hard times, coal is making a comeback as a home heating fuel.

Problematic in some ways and difficult to handle, coal is nonetheless a cheap, plentiful, mined-in-America source of heat. And with the cost of heating oil and natural gas increasingly prone to spikes, some homeowners in the Northeast, pockets of the Midwest and even Alaska are deciding coal is worth the trouble.

Burning coal at home was once commonplace, of course, but the practice had been declining for decades. Coal consumption for residential use hit a low of 258,000 tons in 2006 — then started to rise. It jumped 9 percent in 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, and 10 percent more in the first eight months of 2008. (New York Times)

Getting out of the power business? Dynegy ends coal-plant venture with LS Power - NEW YORK, Jan 2 - Power company Dynegy Inc will end its power plant development joint venture with LS Power Associates because of tough credit markets and regulatory hurdles in building new coal-fired plants, the company said on Friday.

Under the agreement to end the two-year-old venture, Dynegy will pay LS Power $19 million in cash in the first quarter and will record a loss in 2009 related to the transaction, the company said in a statement.

LS Power will acquire ownership and development rights for potential new coal-fired projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan and Nevada, along with other projects not related to Dynegy's operating assets. (Reuters)

Nuke revival puts all risk on customers - While Georgia Power and other utilities eagerly advocate a “nuclear renaissance,” their enthusiasm for building new plants doesn’t extend to sharing the considerable financial risks involved. Nor have private investors flocked to put money in new nuclear plants.

To the contrary, Georgia Power’s proposal to build two reactors at its existing Vogtle plant on the Savannah River near Augusta calls for company ratepayers —- you and me and anybody else who pays an electric bill to Georgia Power —- to bear almost all the considerable risk while making sure its stockholders and private investors bear almost no risk at all. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Russia Cuts Off Gas Deliveries to Ukraine - MOSCOW — In the face of mounting economic troubles, Russia cut off deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine on Thursday after Ukraine rejected the Kremlin’s demands for a sharp increase in gas prices.

A similar reduction in supplies to Ukraine in 2006 caused a drop in pressure throughout Europe’s integrated natural gas pipeline system and led to shortages in countries as far away as Italy and France.

But with a recessionary drop in demand, ample supplies and assurances from both countries that gas would flow westward without interruption, there were few signs of the near hysteria in Europe that accompanied the 2006 cutoff. (New York Times)

Energy Rationing Will Not Make Wisconsin Rich - Perhaps they took credit for the decline in energy use as a result of the economic downturn. Of course, that would be misleading. Then again, fake facts are the only way to defend the claim that we can all get rich by fighting climate change. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads Digest)

A Global Warming Howler for the New Year - Move over city and highway MPG. Smog ratings - you're yesterday's news. Beginning today, those shopping a new ride in California will face a new standard in town -- something called a "Global Warming Score."

No kidding. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

Promoters overstated the environmental benefit of wind farms - The wind farm industry has been forced to admit that the environmental benefit of wind power in reducing carbon emissions is only half as big as it had previously claimed. (Daily Telegraph)

Stanford University Study Shows Ethanol to be Worst Form of Renewable Energy - Mark Jacobson, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, recently conducted a study that ranked alternate energies from best to worst. Ethanol was put to the test against, "Solar-photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology." After looking at reports of air pollutants from energy types on climate and air quality, and comparing how well each energy type was able to power vehicles, the study showed that Ethanol came in dead last. (

Bariatric surgery for diabetic teens — in their best interests? - Research that enables pediatricians to provide the best care for their young patients is something many wonderful doctors truly care about, and certainly parents do, too. That’s why it is unimaginable this article appeared in a medical journal. There is simply no credible justification for its publication.

This article in the January issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, wasn’t a clinical trial. In fact, it violated basic principles of medical research and offered no information that any credible healthcare professional would actually use in the care of patients. Its unsupportable conclusions were further sensationalized beyond recognition in a press release, with claims not remotely supported by the findings or the methodology. Yet, it was devoured by gullible journalists and resulted in 331 dramatic news stories in a single day, with amazing promises that, no doubt, brought countless new customers to the lead medical center. (Junkfood Science)

A strange-sounding illness leads to speculations and misinformation - The tragic loss of Mr. and Mrs. John Travolta’s son, Jett, has led to endless media speculations. All that is actually known for now is that one of the two nannies caring for him at the family’s vacation home on Grand Bahama, found him unconscious in the bathroom Friday morning and he was pronounced dead at a Freeport hospital. That hasn’t stopped rumors and theories.

This tragedy has also spread myths and misinformation, and raised concerns among parents, about Kawasaki disease, one of the conditions being cited as a possible contributing factor. (Junkfood Science)

The new word for 2009: bansturbation - Today, the government officially launched its Change4Life advertising campaign, based on the Foresight Report. Its aim is to create a “lifestyle revolution” by promoting diet and exercise, Healthy Towns, and other programs aimed to eradicate obesity from the UK. Friends there are being buried alive in media stories, 465 and counting…

Many are finding humor the only response left. It’s not like the government is using science or facts or anything like that.

The Englishman invented a new word for the year to describe the over-the-top program. He observed that politicians are getting off on bansturbation. (Junkfood Science)

Left-Coast lunacy: I’ll Have to Call My Lawyer - “Good Samaritan” laws give legal protection to bystanders who courageously come to the aid of people in emergencies. Last month, the California Supreme Court gave its state law a disturbingly narrow interpretation that could discourage future good Samaritans from providing help out of fear of being sued. (New York Times)

What are they smoking? Third-Hand Smoke Lingers on Hair and Clothing - If you've made a New Years resolution to quit smoking, here's another reason to keep you motivated.

The health problems associated with smoking and second-hand smoke exposure are well-known, but now researchers are concerned about something called third-hand smoke.

Even if you don't smoke around your children, a study finds toxins from tobacco smoke can linger in the air and on hair and clothing long after a cigarette is put out, and can transfer to a baby or small child easily. (MSNBC)

Granted smoke from cheap cigarettes leaves a dreadful odor on clothes and hair but then, so can certain emissions from babies and toddlers -- the pathogens in which really can be quite hazardous to your health. Bizarrely, the people who panic over the whiff of tobacco tend to be the same ones who subject their little ones to the chemical assaults of "aroma therapy", incense, scented candles, air fresheners and the cacophony of odors from lotions, washes, perfumes, aftershaves and deodorants... go figure!

From the rubber room: Building an Anti-Capitalist Movement for Climate Justice - Climate change is on everyone’s mind. Whether you work for the Sierra Club or ExxonMobil, rallying behind the call to “fight climate change” is becoming the norm. With each dire report that comes out and every unseasonably severe storm that devastates some corner of the Earth, the reality that humans are destroying the life-support systems of this planet is becoming clear to more people.

Yet, even with so many warning signs that modern society is hurtling toward the abyss of climate catastrophe, mainstream climate activism remains dominated by watered-down notions of what is “politically feasible.” The demands of professional environmentalists are not driven by what we need to ensure that the Earth can survive, but by what sort of “request” can gain political traction; what tiny step can we get them to agree to? “No real change can happen without industry,” they say. “How can we get the corporations on board? How can we convince them that they can make just as much money off of us with wind and solar as they can with fossil fuels?” (Rising Tide Bay Area)

More from the Left-Coast: California Challenges Endangered Species Rule Changes - SAN FRANCISCO - Charging that the outgoing Bush administration is trying to gut the Endangered Species Act, California has sued to stop the federal government from going ahead with mining, logging and other environmentally sensitive projects without consulting scientists. (Reuters)

Sand on roads worse than salt, scientists say - Sand — one of Seattle's main weapons against icy streets — is more likely to harm aquatic life than the salt the city refuses to use out of concern for its environmental effects.

That's the opinion of scientists who have studied the issue and officials from other cities that use salt to clear icy roads. (Seattle Times)

EPA 'Cow Tax' Could Charge $175 per Dairy Cow to Curb Greenhouse Gases - Farm Bureau warns just this one rule may increase milk production costs up to 8 cents a gallon. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

January 2, 2009

Seeing any RED? Obama energy/environment 'czar' is an offical with Socialist International - That's right comrades... Carol Browner is a member of Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society. Check out SI's principles -- including, "it is imperative to establish a genuinely new international economic order."

Let There Be Dark? - Some astronomers seem to be willing to say and do just about anything just to get a better look at the heavens, including making city streets safer for criminals.

In a commentary in Nature magazine (Jan. 1) presaging the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, astronomer Malcolm Smith says that it’s time for cities to “turn off the lights” so we can better see the Milky Way, conserve energy, protect wildlife and benefit human health. Smith is part of the so-called Dark Skies Awareness project, an international coalition of astronomers and related institutions that wants to “find allies in a common cause to convince authorities and the public that a dark sky is a valuable resource for everyone.”

“A fifth of the world’s population cannot see the Milky Way,” is Smith’s headline argument. “This has a subtle cultural impact. Without a direct view of the stars, mankind is cut off from most of the Universe, deprived of any direct sense of its huge scale and our tiny place within it,” he asserts.

That fuzzy mix of cosmology, sociology and psychology would seem to be an odd argument coming from someone who holds himself out to be a scientist. Odder still is Smith’s subsequent statement that, “Our relationship with artificial light is complicated and changing. Humans innately fear the darkness and modern society relies on light as a security measure, even though there is no evidence that controlling light wastage increases crime levels.” (Steven Milloy,

Californians in Control - The Obama transition team continues to talk to House and Senate Democratic leaders about trying to move a big ($850 billion?) economic stimulus package soon after the new Congress is sworn in. Every special interest in the country is trying to stake a claim to a share of the cash, including promoters of “green jobs” and those that claim that transforming the energy economy to rely on much more costly forms of renewable energy would somehow stimulate the economy. As the Washington Post noted this week, our energy and environmental policy is now in the hands of powerful legislators from California, where they actually believe that raising consumer and producer costs and pricing people out of jobs is sound public policy. (And where the State, perhaps co-incidentally, now confronts a $40 billion budget deficit.) We shall see what happens next week. (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads Digest)

Ambrose: Watch Obama closely on global warming - In Poland recently, representatives of the European Union were discussing ways to look like soldiers in the war against global warming while once more dodging the draft, and outside there were the usual sorts of doomsday-prognosticating protesters. Some were dressed as penguins, devils and polar bears, it's reported.

The uniforms strike me as about right, although I also think clown clothes and makeup would be appropriate for many of the loudest worriers about climate change, such as Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger. That's not to say they will fail to get their way as a new president takes office amidst whoppers about how Europe is all progress on this issue while dumb, selfish America is lagging.

The truth that the United States did more to control carbon emissions than Europe during one recently measured period as President Bush took some modest, common-sense precautions and European nations took bows for signing a Kyoto treaty most of the signatories then ignored. The all-show-no-go European Union's recent conference in Poland produced some tough, new goals along with a plentitude of escape hatches, rendering these goals meaningless from the start.

It's a clever strategy, and one that President-elect Barack Obama ought to emulate, given that virtually any program to make energy more costly at this time of economic peril would be catastrophic while achieving something on the order of nothing. A voice of wisdom on the issue is that of William Nordhaus, a Yale economics professor who says the best means to avoid throwing trillions of dollars away to little avail is a coordinated, phased-in program of carbon taxes for the whole world. (Jay Ambrose, News Tribune)

Great New Climate Blog from Dr. Roy Spencer - Dr. Roy Spencer has a new climate blog, In an age of alarmism, Dr. Spencer's new blog is an invaluable resource for cooler heads.

Global warming: The new eugenics - Eugenics pioneer, Francis Galton, defined eugenics as "the study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the racial quality of future generations."

Global warming can be defined as: "The study of all agencies under human control which can improve or impair the environmental quality of future generations."

The eugenics movement and the global warming movement are similar in many respects. Both ideas were introduced by scientists, advanced by politicians, popularized by the media, embraced as a moral necessity, resulted in severe consequences and eventually rejected as harmful hogwash.

Eugenics, thankfully, has run its course. Global warming, however, is approaching its zenith, just before imposing severe consequences, and is, perhaps, still a generation away from being rejected as the hogwash it is. (Henry Lamb, WND)

“Forecasting the Future of Hurricanes” by Anna Barratt In Nature - There was a recent Nature news article

Barratt, A., 2008: Forecasting the future of hurricanes. Nature News. Published online December 11, 2008. doi:10.1038/news.2008.1298.

The article is titled

A meteorologist’s new model zooms in on how climate change affects Atlantic storms.

by Anna Barnett

“The world’s most advanced simulation of extreme weather on a warming Earth completed its first run on 5 December. Greg Holland at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, is leading the project, which nests detailed regional forecasts into a model of global climate change up to the mid-21st century. Under the model’s microscope are future hurricane seasons in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, along with rainfall over the Rocky Mountains and wind patterns in the Great Plains.”

This type of article perpetuates the myth that the climate science community currently has the capability to make skilled regional multi-decadal predictions [in this case of hurricane activity]. Such claims to not conform even to the statements by IPCC authors. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Lesson of the Lesser Antilles - Are you tired of winter yet? How about a vacation to some warm tropical island with outstanding golf and scuba (excellent winter sports)? If we suggest the Lesser Antilles (also know as the Caribbees), you might immediately agree; a second later, you might realize the shortcomings of your geography training and wonder where on Earth you are going for this vacation. (WCR)

Green Goal of 'Carbon Neutrality' Hits Limit - ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Computer giant Dell Inc. said this summer that it has become "carbon neutral," the latest step in its quest to be "the greenest technology company on the planet."

What that means, and what it doesn't, may surprise Dell customers and other consumers who have been bombarded with bold environmental promises from major corporations.

In the two years since Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," helped make climate change a marquee issue, companies from Timberland Co., the shoe maker, to News Corp., the owner of The Wall Street Journal, have promised to become "carbon neutral."

The term may suggest a company has reengineered itself so that it's no longer adding to the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases scientists say are contributing to climate change. The experience of Dell, one of the few multinational corporations to claim it already has achieved carbon neutrality, shows the reality often falls short of that ideal.

The amount of emissions Dell has committed to neutralize is known in the environmental industry as the company's "carbon footprint." But there is no universally accepted standard for what a footprint should include, and so every company calculates its differently. Dell counts the emissions produced by its boilers and company-owned cars, its buildings' electricity use, and its employees' business air travel.

In fact, that's only a small fraction of all the emissions associated with Dell. The footprint doesn't include the oil used by Dell's suppliers to make its computer parts, the diesel and jet fuel used to ship those computers around the world, or the coal-fired electricity used to run them. (Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal)

Issue Advocacy By The UK Met Office And The University Of East Anglia - Staff at the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom continue to communicate erroneous information on the changes of heat content within the climate system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Erroneous News Article In The Times - Thanks to Andrew Forster of Local Transport Today in the UK for alerting us to the erroneous news article from the Times on December 27 2008 titled

The war on carbon - Arguments of 2009: Can Copenhagen save the planet?

An excerpt reads,

“The stakes at Copenhagen could not be much higher. Global surface temperatures have risen by a tolerable three quarters of a degree celsius over the past century, but the rate of increase is accelerating. The Kyoto Protocol has had negligible impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and projections for the mean global temperature rise in the next century range from 1.1 to 6.4 degrees. Whether fast or very fast, the Earth is heating up.

There will be continued argument about the science of climate change over the next 12 months, but not, except on the conspiratorial fringe, about the threat. Climate change is real and worsening, and there is an overwhelming likelihood that much of it is man-made.”

This is a erroneous report on the climate system! The rate of increase is NOT accelerating. There is absolutely no question that global warming has stopped for at least 4 years (using upper ocean data) (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Aerosol-Precipitation Interactions Meeting - Another Example Of The Breadth Of Human And Natural Climate Forcings - Thanks to Meinrat O. Andreae for alerting us to yet another meeting at the EGU meeting in April which further documents the diversity of first order climate forcings. The meeting is at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, 19 – 24 April 2009 is AS1.15 Aerosol-Precipitation Interactions (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Yet Another EGU Meeting That Demonstrates The Diversity Of Climate Forcings: “Biospheric Feedbacks In The Climate System In The Past, Present, And Future” - Thanks to Martin Claussen, Victor Brovkin, and Ning Zeng there is another meeting which shows the complexity of the climate system. It is

“Biospheric feedbacks in the climate system in the past, present, and future” (Session CL21) at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, 19 - 24 April 2009. Convener: Claussen, M. Co-Conveners: Brovkin, V.; Zeng, N. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

NASA's Hansen to Obama: Use Global Warming to Redistribute Wealth - Climate realists around the world have contended for years that the real goal of alarmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his followers is to use the fear of man-made global warming to redistribute wealth.

On Monday, one of Gore's leading scientific resources, Goddard Institute for Space Studies chief James Hansen, sent a letter to Barack and Michelle Obama specifically urging the president-elect to enact a tax on carbon emissions that would take money from higher-income Americans and distribute the proceeds to the less fortunate.

The eco-socialism cat was let out of the bag on page five of a PDF Hansen published at Columbia University's website on December 29 (emphasis added, h/t Britain's Guardian, file photo): (NewsBusters)

Cooling global warming hysteria just one story of '08 - For us who enjoy the privilege of sharing our views with readers of the Herald, the last column of the year affords an opportunity to review the big stories of the past 12 months. Another option is to consider a few well-known stories, the significance of which was either overlooked or is as yet unclear. Here are two.

First, the scientific debate over climate change has entered a new phase. This change is reflected in, though hardly constituted by, petitions signed by natural scientists of various kinds disputing the so-called consensus that human-caused CO2 is responsible for global warming.

Two aspects of this story can be distinguished. As James Peden, an atmospheric physicist, said, many scientists "are now searching for a way to back out quietly" from global-warming fearmongering, "without having their professional careers ruined."

This is an ethical or political problem, not a problem in climate science. The crux of it is that major research grants and, in this country, prestigious Canada Research Chairs, have been awarded on the assumption something must be done to stop CO2 from destroying the world. (Barry Cooper, Calgary Herald)

2008 Ends Spotless and with 266 Spotless Days, the #2 Least Active Year Since 1900, Portends Cooling - 2008 will be coming to a close with yet another spotless days according to the latest solar image.

This will bring the total number of sunspotless days this month to 28 and for the year to 266, clearly enough to make 2008, the second least active solar year since 1900. (Joseph D’Aleo CCM, AMS Fellow)

Dissent, discussion over cause of global warming - The debate over global warming heated up in 2008, with prominent meteorologists, scientists, and environmentalists dissenting from the so-called consensus for "manmade" global warming. (Pete Chagnon, OneNewsNow)

Despite its problems, 2008 was a totally cool year - 2008 has been a very frustrating year for everyone, but probably more so for disciples of man-made global warming climate change theories. In fact, Christopher Booker, writing for The Telegraph, went so far as to declare: 2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved. ( Michael Laprarie, Wizbang)

From CO2 Science this week:

An Eighteen-Hundred-Year Climate Record from China: What does it suggest about the uniqueness of late 20th-century warmth?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 650 individual scientists from 380 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Southern California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Animals (Insects - Butterflies): Are the planet's butterflies being driven to extinction by increases in the air's CO2 content and 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: Garden Bean, Kentucky Bluegrass, Little Bluestem, and Marine Diatom.

Journal Reviews:
On the Stability of the Planet's Permafrost: Is it greater or less than what climate alarmists have long contended?

4000-Year δ18O Histories of New Zealand's North and South Islands: When do they indicate that the warmest periods of the two records occurred?

The Last Glacial Termination in Tropical Southeast Africa: What role did the air's CO2 content play in the event?

Vector-Borne Diseases and Global Change: How is the incidence of these diseases impacted by concomitant increases in the air's CO2 content and temperature?

Soybean Photosynthesis: Elevated CO2 vs. High Temperatures and Ozone Concentrations: Can atmospheric CO2 enrichment protect the key plant process from the negative effects of the two environmental stresses? (

Global rivalries go green - Climate change will be a central part of government agendas in 2009 - and a rich source of diplomatic squabbles, too.

There are two schools of thought on how 2009 will play out. Know-it-alls who have recently poured over Marxism for Dummies, believe the economic downturn is bound to put the politics of climate change on the back burner. But environmentalists are pinning their hopes on Barack Obama enacting a Green New Deal, full of spending on renewable energy. In fact, neither side is right. Climate change will be more prominent than ever in 2009, but state-backed green jobs will take second place to international disputes about emissions.

Despite the endless talk from businesses and governments, enthusiasm for cutting greenhouse gas emissions has always been tempered by a concern for hard-headed economics. In Spain, energy developers have been installing fake solar panels, so desperate have they become to benefit from government incentives (1). In countries with plans for wind power, the evaporation of project finance has raised the prospect of ‘homeless turbines’ and a decline in turbine prices of 20 to 30 per cent in 2009 (2). And in Britain, emissions associated with government offices, though decreasing, are behind target (3). (James Woudhuysen, sp!ked)

Keating: An energy policy that is the stuff of nightmares - On energy, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news, of course, has been the dramatic plunge in energy prices in recent months. Let’s consider oil and gasoline.

In mid-July, the price of oil had topped $145 per barrel. By mid-December, it had dropped to below $45, a decline of nearly 70 percent.

And since the cost of gasoline is tied to oil, the price at the pump has plummeted as well. The average national price of gasoline stood at $4.11 in mid-July, and by mid-December, it had fallen to $1.66 – a drop of about 60 percent.

This decline in energy prices is one of the few positives to be found for the U.S. economy. It serves as a kind of tax cut for both consumers and businesses.

But what about the bad news?

Well, it must be recognized that the main reason for the decline in energy prices is that the United States and many other nations are in recession. A decline in economic activity means a decline in the demand for oil, and prices fall.

Unfortunately, no part of this energy price decline can be traced to smart policy steps. Nor can it be linked to anything that the incoming Obama administration is signaling on the future of energy policy.

Instead, based on President-elect Barack Obama’s energy proposals and the individuals appointed to lead his energy team, future energy policy seems purposefully focused on driving up costs. (Raymond Keating, Long Island Business News)

Wind Power Suffers Another Setback in UK - The Cooler Heads Digest has already reported how the United Kingdom’s huge gamble on wind power will raise electricity prices and undermine reliability (here and here). Unfortunately for energy consumers in that country, it looks like it’s going to take a lot more windmills than the government thought. Experts had calculated that 50,000 wind turbines would be needed to generate 15% of Britain's electricity, to help the government to meet the EU target for a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020. But the Sunday Telegraph reports that it will take 100,000 turbines to meet the country’s climate goals, because wind power lobbyists in the UK grossly overestimated the benefits of wind power. The British Wind Energy Association had previously estimated that electricity from wind turbines ‘displaces’ 860 grams of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated. Now it has revised that figure to 430 grams following discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority. (Cooler Heads Digest)

What’s wrong with this picture? - National Health Services administrators have decided to order a massive 40 percent increase in bariatric surgeries for fat people in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Post reported today. Government efforts to prevent obesity have had little impact, said the paper, leading to increasing calls for bariatric surgery. 

While it is widely reported that some 71 percent of men in Yorkshire were overweight or obese in 2007 and 62 percent of women, wrote health correspondent Mike Waites, in actuality, the “levels of morbid obesity are below the national average with only one percent of men assessed as 'grossly overweight' and less than one percent of women.”

As he reported, the number of bariatric surgeries in England has risen ten-fold since 2001, when only 300 operations were performed. He went on to report, however, that the government health services has never evaluated the effectiveness of the surgery, including how much weight patients usually lose. The NHS hopes to set up standards that will enable such evaluations “to be carried out for the first time.” What other elective surgery receives government funding, let alone is mandated, with no evidence that it is safe and effective, and improves health? (Junkfood Science)

Sunday morning papers — an exercise in critical reading - At first glance, readers may have thought that a government program had been shown to prevent childhood obesity. Today’s newspaper headline read: “Scheme to prevent child obesity hailed a success.” (Junkfood Science)

“Fat is catching” theory exposed - The social networking theory of obesity was skillfully debunked in this month’s issue of the British Medical Journal. 

This theory first made the news last year with the release of a paper by Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, a medical sociologist from Harvard Medical School, and James H. Fowler, Ph.D., political scientist from the University of California, San Diego. Their study was reported to have shown that you can “catch” obesity from having fat friends and that obesity is so contagious, it can be spread long-distance by email and instant messaging. Even healthcare professionals, who didn’t understand the etiology of true obesity or how statistics can be misused, failed to detect the implausibility of “second-hand obesity.” In fact, some doctors became so enamored with the new “science of networking” they believed it should be a new medical specialty: network medicine.

It’s been long understood that fears, beliefs and ideologies spread among people and social contacts. That’s the core to sales and marketing. There’s no need for a special theory to explain that! And, of course, communicable diseases can spread through contacts. But the notion that you can “catch” a physical trait — like chin dimples or obesity — or a health condition, like diabetes or cancer, from the people you associate with is implausible. (Junkfood Science)

Peanutty thoughts for today - The peanut. It’s a microcosm for many of today’s fears that sweep up parents and children and leave them so anxious that no amount of precautions are enough to help them feel safe. An article in the current issue of the British Medical Journal suggested that efforts to protect children with peanut allergies have become a cycle of escalating reactions, unsupported by the science, and are making fears worse. The author’s rather confrontational approach understandably received a lot of negative and emotional responses from concerned parents. But they also, sadly, illustrated the very fears he was trying to help put into perspective. The responses to his article also showed how many misconceptions about peanut allergies are widely believed. (Junkfood Science)

Suffer the little children - Medical and human rights organizations talk about the need to safeguard children and help ensure all children are vaccinated against the most crippling of preventable childhood diseases, but we rarely hear about efforts to dispel anti-vaccination myths by groups beyond our borders. Most of us would probably find it inconceivable that anti-vaccination junkscience, especially targeting innocent children, would be used for political purposes to spread hate.

Well-to-do parents in upscale regions of the United State may have more of a luxury to follow specious anti-vaccination myths because the costs aren’t nearly as deadly as they are for parents in some regions of the world. Millions of parents struggle every day against disease, poverty and lack of basic educational opportunities for their children. These same areas have rising rates and re-emergences of childhood diseases that have been mostly eradicated here. Like polio. Yet, these are the very same areas where anti-vaccine propaganda has been the most intense. (Junkfood Science)

Father of Modern Medicine - Today is the 186th birthday of the father of modern medicine. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is widely considered one of the greatest benefactors of humanity. His diligent research led to some of the greatest discoveries in the causes and prevention of contagious diseases that have saved millions of lives. His life’s work gave birth to many branches of biological science — microbiology, bacteriology, immunology, stereochemistry, virology and molecular biology. 

He was single-handedly responsible for some of the most important scientific concepts and practical applications of science. The single, most important contribution to medical science and modern medical practice was the germ theory. It led to the first vaccine for rabies and development of immunizations, aseptic surgical procedures, safe fermentation and food handling, and pasteurization. (Junkfood Science)

A life-saving business - It can be easy to forget that healthcare is big business and can be as much about financial and political interests as it is the practice of sound medicine. This is especially the case with Public Health. A group of doctors and scientists concerned about the failure of the government Department of Health to adhere to evidence-based medicine, and believing patients benefit from the best treatments available, got together and asked for support from health executives across the country… (Junkfood Science)

Healing touch that doesn’t heal or touch - An article taking a critical look at the rise of alternative modalities in our healthcare system appeared in the Arts & Entertainment section of the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps its placement is why many healthcare professionals and health policy analysts may have missed it. (Junkfood Science)

It’s a winter wonderland! - As most of the country is blanketed in snow for the holidays, a scientist has looked at the beauty in every snowflake. This is a microscopic winter wonderland that few have ever seen before now.

Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, chairman of the Physics Department at CalTech University in Pasadena, California, uses a specially-designed snowflake photomicroscope to photograph snowflakes. These incredible snowflake photos are at Dr. Libbrecht’s Snow Crystal Photo Gallery. (Junkfood Science)

Living longer with resveratrol — a different perspective - Has the secret of the Fountain of Youth been discovered? Is it really possible to reset our biological clocks and protect ourselves from the aging process? Can a miracle pill cure all the major killers of aging, including diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and add 30 healthy years to our life? (Junkfood Science)