U.S. Formally Embraces Copenhagen Climate Deal

WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday formally notified the United Nations that it has embraced the Copenhagen Accord setting nonbinding goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that was negotiated last month.

Todd Stern, the top U.S. climate negotiator for the Obama administration, also gave notice that, as expected, it will aim for a 17 percent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming by 2020, with 2005 as the base year.

A final emissions reduction target will be submitted, the U.S. said, once the U.S. Congress enacts domestic legislation requiring carbon pollution cuts. But such legislation has an uncertain fate in the Senate. (Reuters)

 

Obama’s Attempt to Revive Cap and Trade

President Obama gave his first State of the Union speech last night and while his delivery reminded many Americans of the man they saw on the campaign trail, his rhetoric was much of the same. Although the president did call for offshore drilling and an expansion of nuclear, his focus was clean energy jobs. He declared,

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy; and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future – because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Obama Holds Firm on Climate Bill, but Most Senators Shrug

President Obama refused to back down from his ambitious energy and climate change agenda during last night's State of the Union address, prodding the Senate to pass a comprehensive bill despite complaints from moderates in both parties that the issue is too big to tackle in an election year. (ClimateWire)

 

Senators Try To Raise Climate Bill From Ashes

WASHINGTON - Senators are examining ways to fashion a climate control bill to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which might not include a cap-and-trade system, key senators said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama called for a "comprehensive" bill during Wednesday's State of the Union address. (Reuters)

 

Refining the art of understatement? Obama Laughed at When Referring to The Overwhelming Scientific Evidence on Climate Change.

Watch as Obama is laughed at during his state of the union address after referring to the "overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change". First the audience laughs, then Pelosi, next Biden and finally Obama himself smirks at the insanity of his remark.

 

Obama: Wirth Waiting For

So here's a money line from President Obama's global warming riff during tonite's SOU:

"even if you doubt the evidence [for Man-made global warming], providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future. Because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the world."

Now, put aside the rather thin empirical or even theoretical evidence for his economic hypothesis, and recall then-senator Tim Wirth's eerily similar formulation in 1988 — the very same year he helped invent global warming as a policy issue with his "stagecraft" hearing featuring James Hansen, with Al Gore accompanying him on the Alarmacord:

“try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Twenty-two years. Still waiting for warming. Still using the threat as the vehicle for their agenda. And with rhetoric either cribbed or so closely paraphrased Wirth ought to demand a script credit. The very boldness of these fresh ideas and approaches send a thrill down my leg. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

 

U.S. Cap And Trade Must Take Back Seat: Executives

Switzerland - Business executives and policy officials said a U.S. cap and trade scheme must give way to a clean energy law, after U.S. President Barack Obama favored "green jobs" in his State of the Union Address.

Cap and trade works by limiting carbon emissions from polluters, which then pass on the extra cost to consumers. That model is proving a hard sell during a slow U.S. economic recovery. (Reuters)

 

Keeping climate change alive - In his state of the union address, Obama seemed willing to trade nuclear power and offshore drilling for climate bill votes

Greens probably didn't reckon the "change you can believe in" would mean building more nuclear power plants when Barack Obama was first elected. But that is what they are going to get – in return for getting a climate change bill through Congress.

Last night Obama delivered the signal Congress – and much of the world – had been watching for that the White House is ready to throw itself into the effort to get a climate change bill through the Senate. 

But what kind of bill? One deliberately crafted to prise off at least a handful of Republican votes – which means expanding nuclear power, offshore drilling, and money for clean coal technology. (The Guardian)

 

Study: Climate bill will raise farm costs - Vilsack says bill will include safeguards for farmlands

A study commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association says costs to commodity growers from current climate legislation would be minimal in the short run, but high in the long run. 

The study analyzes the impacts of HR2454, the bill that passed the House of Representatives in June, to the nation's corn, wheat and soybean producers. 

The bill would increase the cost of fuel and farm inputs. 

The magnitude of costs to producers hinges on fertilizer prices. Until 2025, the bill would not cap emissions from fertilizer production. But through the following 10 years, that exemption would phase out, expanding costs of fertilizer production and raising its price. 

The study says the increase could total $50 per acre above 2009 costs. It also warns that the cost could be higher if the fertilizer allowances prove insufficient to keep up with rising natural gas prices. (Capital Press)

 

Legislate, don't regulate, climate

The National Corn Growers Association last week added its voice to those of a number of farm organizations that oppose climate change legislation passed last summer by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

HR2454, which narrowly passed the House last summer, would impose increasingly strict restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years. A similar bill awaits action in the Senate. Both would increase the cost of fuel and drive up prices for farm inputs, transportation and processing. 

By some estimates, the bills would cause farm profits to drop an average of 57 percent through 2035 because of the increased costs. The USDA says the long-term impact will be a 7 percent reduction in farm profits. Either way, farmers lose. (Capital Press)

 

Another confiscate and redistribute scheme: David Morris: Instead of cap and trade, cap and dividend - Here's a way to mitigate the cost of carbon reduction for almost everybody.

A new and vastly improved climate change policy has come out of nowhere to capture the imagination of state and national policymakers: "Cap and dividend." It works like this: Step one, impose a carbon cap. Step two, auction off all carbon allowances. Step three, return the revenues generated to all households on a per capita basis. (Star Tribune)

There is no safe level of carbon constraint and no real reason to do it. So don't do it!

 

In the land Down-Under: The game has changed and so should the PM

KEVIN Rudd's emissions trading scheme is dead but he can't let it go. Politically he should shift ground to alternative action on climate change, blame Tony Abbott for the failure of a scheme previously favoured by Liberal leaders, and use the global failure to agree on a concerted plan as a reprieve before the election. 

The Prime Minister can still campaign on taking steps against climate change and adopt the high moral ground on the environment, but he doesn't have to cling to an ETS that no longer fulfils his stated aims of leading the world on climate change, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing "business certainty" - and which is vulnerable to the Coalition's "great big tax" claims.

He could also alleviate the subterranean angst in his own ranks among Labor MPs who are feeling the heat on an ETS in electorates concerned about jobs, and head off industry-funded advertising campaigns that have already had an impact in some areas.

Yet Rudd, like Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, can't bring himself to face political reality and dump a dud, at least until there are signs of real international progress that doesn't make Australia look like it's tilting at windmills (or coal-fired generators) without effect and at great cost.

Rudd's attachment looks dangerously like an ideological commitment to a scheme that is opposed from both ends of the political spectrum and unlikely to find any validating action from the world's biggest producers of greenhouse gases. (Dennis Shanahan, The Australian)

 

Predictably, claims gorebull warbling makes winter cold: Harsh winter a sign of disruptive climate change, report says

This winter's extreme weather -- with heavy snowfall in some places and unusually low temperatures -- is in fact a sign of how climate change disrupts long-standing patterns, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.

It comes at a time when, despite a wealth of scientific evidence, the American public is increasingly skeptical that climate change is happening at all. That disconnect is particularly important this year as the Obama administration and its allies in Congress seek to enact legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and revamp the nation's energy supply.

"It's very hard for any of us to grasp how this larger warming trend is happening when we're still having wintry weather," said National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt, the new report's lead writer. (Juliet Eilperin and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post)

 

Fevered imaginations du jour: Australia "Faces Worse Bushfires Without CO2 Deal"

SYDNEY - Australia faces a possible 300 percent increase in extreme bushfires by 2050 unless world leaders can agree to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions, a new report said on Thursday.

The report, commissioned by Australia's firefighters and environmental group Greenpeace, said the failure of U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen to agree on a treaty to tackle climate change had left Australia facing future catastrophic bushfire seasons. (Reuters)

CSIRO has become an embarrassing branch office of Greenpeas but this flight of fancy is even worse than usual.

 

D'oh! UEA 'gravely concerned' over data findings request

A claim that the University of East Anglia broke the law by refusing a climate sceptic's request for scientific data was last night disputed by under fire officials who said they had “grave concern” about the findings.

The Information Commissioner's Office yesterday released a statement which said UEA had breached Freedom of Information (FOI) rules in its handling of requests from a retired Northampton engineer but would not face action because the time limit for prosecutions had run out.

Professor Edward Acton, UEA vice-chancellor, last night stressed the FOI requests had been dealt with in consultation with the ICO. (EDP24)

They fail to make public data gathered and collated using grants of public monies and then express surprise shielding that data even from FOIA requests might be considered other than complying with either the letter or spirit of said freedom of information legislation? Are they serious?

 

Uh-oh! The press are starting to tell people... GLOBAL WARMING: WHAT A CLIMATE CON!

GLACIERS that don’t melt, polar bears that aren’t dying, temperatures that haven’t increased – why global warming is nonsense

This newspaper has been vociferous in challenging the wisdom of the powerful climate-change lobby which insists humans have put the planet in peril. Yet it seems every week another “green” warning is repudiated by a scientific community reassessing how much danger we are really in. A few days ago, for instance, a new book was released that exposes one of the bedrocks of global warming – the so-called hockey stick graph – to be fatally flawed. It’s a confusing debate so here, with the help of investigative journalist Christopher Booker, we debunk the most commonly held myths. (Adrian Lee, Daily Express)

 

Lord Monckton on Alan Jones part 1 of 2

Monday, 25 January 2010 Alan Jones invites Lord Christopher Monckton into the studio to discuss Climate Change.

Lord Monckton on Alan Jones part 2 of 2

 

Climate e-mails row university 'breached data laws'

A university unit involved in a row over stolen e-mails on climate research breached rules by withholding data, the Information Commissioner's Office says.

Officials said messages hacked in November showed that requests under the Freedom of Information Act were "not dealt with as they should have been".

But too much time has passed for action against the University of East Anglia.

The UEA says part of a probe into the case will consider the way requests by climate change sceptics were handled. (BBC)

 

The glacier show – a comedy in many parts

To investigate fears of retreating glaciers in the Himalayas, the British government in 2001 funded a major field study major code-named "Sagarmatha". Reporting in June 2004, it found that the threat, that all of the region's glaciers may soon disappear, "would seem unfounded" and that "the catastrophic water shortages forecast by some experts are unlikely to happen for many decades, if at all."

Of the "experts" who were forecasting catastrophe, by far the most vocal was Dr Sayed Hasnain, the scientist currently at the centre of the "Galciergate" storm. Yet, days before the British government report was officially published, Hasnain was telling the media – including the New Scientist - that "... after 40 years, most of the glaciers will be wiped out and then we will have severe water problems."

This was despite the fact that Dr Hasnain had assisted the Sagarmatha team and was aware of its findings. And, when the IPCC Working Group II came to write up the section on Himalayan glaciers, it ignored the Sagarmatha report in preference to Dr Hasnain's alarmism – dating back to 1999 - despite it having been discredited by the more recent British study, which had been commissioned in response to that self-same alarmism. (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

Deltoid creates some Sci-Comm Pollution

IMAGE: Tim Lambert (Deltoid) creates science communication pollution

Deltoid (aka Tim Lambert) tries to attack Monckton (again). The bottom line? Deltoid agrees that Monckton’s calculations are correct, and accuses him of getting a figure wrong (which Monckton got  right). As per form, there is plenty of bluster, and minimal substance. Deltoid repeats over and over that there are lots of mistakes and they’re all “important”, but cannot demonstrate any beyond a squabble over the exact phrasing of whether the IPCC included a formula or not. (It’s debateable, but it’s not important.)

Monckton’s letter to Rudd was big-picture stuff, yet Lambert avoids the heavy-weight items–the falling credibility of the IPCC, the starving poor, the cost-benefit analysis. Deltoid attacks phraseology, job titles, funding, but not the crux of Monckton’s points.

To put some perspective on it: the IPCC has grossly exaggerated climate sensitivity, ignored valid criticisms, and repeatedly used non-peer reviewed references (when it has repeatedly claimed to do otherwise). IPCC lead-authors are under investigation, have withheld data, conspired to delete data, and selectively ignored 75% of the global temperature record because it didn’t give them the “right” answer. (See the four Gates of the IPCC, and Horrifying examples of data manipulation)

To put a pointier perspective on it: Monckton pointed out in his letter to Rudd the real cost of misguided policies…

‘Millions are already dying of starvation in the world’s poorest nations because world food prices have doubled in two years. That was caused by a sharp drop in world food production, caused by suddenly taking millions of acres of land out of growing food for people who need it, to grow biofuels for clunkers that don’t. The policies that you advocate are killing people by the million. At a time when so many of the world’s people are already short of food, the UN’s right-to-food rapporteur, Herr Ziegler, has rightly condemned the biofuel scam as “a crime against humanity”.

What’s Deltoid’s view of the deaths of the poor? He reckons it’s a “war on science” even for a newspaper to print these comments. Thus Deltoid confirms that he will launch attacks on anyone and anything that threatens his own blogger-reputation (who cares if it means poor people die?). This grand selfishness would merely be petty and sad except that Deltoid’s misleading bluster has been repeated in at least one major newspaper. (And BTW I’ve debunked Ben Cubby before too.)

My comments are in green below on right hand side. Deltoid’s comments are on the left, gray background (with quotes from Monckton there too).

Once again, like the last two times I “translated” him (Goldilocks Graphs, and Reply to Deltoid), Deltoid fails to come up with anything significant, and still can’t find any empirical evidence to support his favored theory. More » (Jo Nova)

 

They can't stop lying

Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, writes in The Times today, of the "Glaciergate" scandal, that:

The more substantive mistake in the IPCC report that Himalayan glaciers were melting so fast that they would vanish by 2035 has been dealt with swiftly and clearly by the IPCC.
The "dealt with swiftly" line is clearly part of the warmist's damage limitation strategy – but it is also a lie. As we record in our previous piece a UNEP-sponsored meeting on 28/29 December had agreed that "The upshot is that the critics are correct ... there appears to be no scientific foundation for the IPCC's prediction for the year 2035."

Yet it was not until 20 January – over three weeks later – that the IPCC took any action, and then only after it had been "outed" by Johanthan Leake in The Sunday Times. Then, as Prof Murari Lal admits, the inclusion of the year 2035 had not "crept in the report by mistake." Ergo, it was deliberate. It was not a mistake.

Furthermore, a UK Met Office representative was present at the December meeting – Pope should have and most probably did know about it, and its conclusions. Yet she writes, we, the climate change "community", has a "communications problem".

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate," as The Captain said to Cool Hand Luke. Except we haven't – unless that's the Met Office term for lying. (Richard North, EU Referendum)

 

Monbiot: an apology

George Monbiot is cwoss. Weally, WEALLY cwoss. And I don’t blame him one bit. God it must be an awful thing when you’ve squandered half your career acting as cheerleader for a cause which, on closer examination, turns out to have been a complete load of cobblers. Hugh Trevor-Roper’s humiliation after the Hitler Diaries is surely as nothing to what poor George – Britain’s second-most-famous Old Stoic after Perry Worsthorne – must be experiencing now. (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Jan.28th 2010

The IPCC gets a global drubbing for peddling recycled WWF glacier-ganda, Al Gore loves astroturf and there’s more green-on-green action than a superbowl between the Eagles and the Jets. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Cold isn't life-friendly? Go figure... Experts fear count will reveal a deadly winter for birds - Big Garden Birdwatch likely to expose extent of cold-weather cull of small species

It’s been the hardest winter for 30 years – but how bad has it really been for wildlife, and especially for birds? The first large-scale attempt to find out will take place this weekend, when half a million people will be counting the birds on their bird tables, patios and frozen lawns, in the Big Garden Birdwatch of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. (The Independent)

 

Another excuse for "hidden warming"? Stratospheric Water Vapor is a Global Warming Wild Card

January 28, 2010

water vapor & radiative process.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

A 10 percent drop in water vapor ten miles above Earth’s surface has had a big impact on global warming, say researchers in a study published online January 28 in the journal Science. The findings might help explain why global surface temperatures have not risen as fast in the last ten years as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.

Observations from satellites and balloons show that stratospheric water vapor has had its ups and downs lately, increasing in the 1980s and 1990s, and then dropping after 2000. The authors show that these changes occurred precisely in a narrow altitude region of the stratosphere where they would have the biggest effects on climate.

Inspecting the balloon payload for flight worthiness.
Inspecting the balloon payload for flight worthiness.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Water vapor is a highly variable gas and has long been recognized as an important player in the cocktail of greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons, nitrous oxide, and others—that affect climate.

“Current climate models do a remarkable job on water vapor near the surface. But this is different — it’s a thin wedge of the upper atmosphere that packs a wallop from one decade to the next in a way we didn’t expect,” says Susan Solomon, NOAA senior scientist and first author of the study.

Since 2000, water vapor in the stratosphere decreased by about 10 percent. The reason for the recent decline in water vapor is unknown. The new study used calculations and models to show that the cooling from this change caused surface temperatures to increase about 25 percent more slowly than they would have otherwise, due only to the increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Holding the payload, ready to launch.
Holding the payload, ready to launch.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

An increase in stratospheric water vapor in the 1990s likely had the opposite effect of increasing the rate of warming observed during that time by about 30 percent, the authors found.

The stratosphere is a region of the atmosphere from about eight to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. Water vapor enters the stratosphere mainly as air rises in the tropics. Previous studies suggested that stratospheric water vapor might contribute significantly to climate change. The new study is the first to relate water vapor in the stratosphere to the specific variations in warming of the past few decades.

Authors of the study are Susan Solomon, Karen Rosenlof, Robert Portmann, and John Daniel, all of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo.; Sean Davis and Todd Sanford, NOAA/ESRL and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado; and Gian-Kasper Plattner, University of Bern, Switzerland.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. (NOAA)

Pardon us for being less than impressed.

For years the air transport industry has been under assault because aircraft contrails allegedly do damage "wetting the Stratosphere". Likewise the fossil fuel industry and agriculture because methane was supposed to loft to the Stratosphere where it decomposed to water vapor and carbon dioxide. Again, Stratospheric wetting was supposed to be a major concern and now: "Oops! It's getting dry up here."

Well guess what? Here's another hypothetical means of adjustment in Stratospheric moisture levels: Svensmark Effect.

Undeniably Sol's magnetic exuberance has been rather subdued of late, allowing more galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) to penetrate the Solar System, increasingly ionizing the atmosphere. Is this causing greater flocculation and droplet formation, causing water vapor to condense and fall out of the Stratosphere? We have no idea... and neither do modelers.

Granted, the addition of yet another item to the enormous list of things poorly understood about the climate and not represented (or wildly misrepresented) in models will make no real difference (unlike things well understood since any addition to such a miniscule list inflates it dramatically). Adding yet another excuse to the list of reasons "expected" warming failed to materialize is hardly cause for celebration though, is it.

 

Simulated volcanic eruptions to block sun

A geoengineering project to block the sun by simulating volcanic eruptions would be 100 times cheaper than cutting greenhouse gas emissions, climate change scientists said. (TDT)

That most everything is cheaper and more effective for cooling than carbon constraint is quite true -- we just don't have any reason to actually cool the planet. We've written before on selective engineering, by returning sulfur to aircraft fuel on selected routes for example, should you want to reduce solar heating of certain patches of ocean to reduce tropical cyclone potential or similar but general application is just not on.

 

What? No claim they are threatened by gorebull warbling? British geographers find uncharted glaciers in Albania

A team of British geographers has discovered a group of previously uncharted glaciers in an inhospitable European mountain range.

The academics from Manchester University found the four glaciers in the Prokletije or “cursed” mountains of Albania. They have formed at an altitude of 2,000 metres, relatively low for such a southerly latitude. Other glaciers at this latitude survive only on higher mountains further north. (The Times)

No, wait! These are Himalayan refugee glaciers, escaping gorebull warming devastation there, right? We were warned about environmental refugees...

 

Subliminal porkies? White Roofs Help Cities Chill Out

If you've ever lived in a city, near a city, or been on the roof of a city building in the summer, you know the urban jungle gets hot as hell. Growing up on Long Island, it wasn't uncommon for my nearest metropolis, New York City, to be close to 10 degrees hotter than my home town.

There are lots of reasons why this is the case in cities around the world, at least some if it can be attributed to all those black, tar-paper roofs soaking up rays all day long. If we were to paint urban rooftops white, a new report suggests, the Big Apple's fever would go down by as much as 2 degrees Fahrenheit on a warm summer day.

The new modeling study, due to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, puts the first hard numbers behind Energy Secretary Stephen Chu's suggestion earlier this year to paint roofs white as a way of saving energy and fighting global warming.

Given that cities around the world vary a whole lot in their climate and construction, the benefits of painting roofs white to ward off the Sun's heat is going to have an array of effects. For example, if you live in Reykjavik, Iceland you might want to keep your black roof because you're way more concerned with keeping your place warm than cool. Santorini, Greece is so hot that they went white a long time ago (pictured above). The amount of insulation in your building matters a whole lot, too.

But overall, researchers conclude that white roofs could cut the so-called urban heat island affect by as much as 33 percent globally, or an average of 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit. 

For temperate places like New York, you've got to balance the amount of energy saved on less air-conditioning in the summer with the increase in heating in the winter. So maybe what we really need are roofs that can change colors depending on the energy needs of the building. (Michael Reilly, Discovery)

Urban Heat Island is allegedly only about 1 kelvin? 100/33 x 0.7 = 2.1 °F or 1.17 °C (or K, if you prefer). Even cities and townships in frigid conditions display discernable heat islands, if only from transport, heat leaking from dwellings and commercial buildings kept at habitable temperatures and don't forget water reticulation and sewers. Now think Hotlanta and similar places with big UHIE and ponder whether you believe ~1 K sounds right for average UHIE.

 

Need more electrickery: Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?

Carbonaceous aerosols cause strong atmospheric heating and large surface cooling that is as important to South Asian climate forcing as greenhouse gases, yet the aerosol sources are poorly understood. Emission inventory models suggest that biofuel burning accounts for 50 to 90% of emissions, whereas the elemental composition of ambient aerosols points to fossil fuel combustion. We used radiocarbon measurements of winter monsoon aerosols from western India and the Indian Ocean to determine that biomass combustion produced two-thirds of the bulk carbonaceous aerosols, as well as one-half and two-thirds of two black carbon subfractions, respectively. These constraints show that both biomass combustion (such as residential cooking and agricultural burning) and fossil fuel combustion should be targeted to mitigate climate effects and improve air quality. (Science)

 

Bold or stupid? Oil Demand Has Peaked In Developed World: IEA

LONDON - Oil use in rich industrialized countries will never return to 2006 and 2007 levels because of more fuel efficiency and the use of alternatives, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.

The bold prediction, while made previously by some analysts, is significant because the IEA advises 28 countries on energy policy and its oil demand forecasts are closely watched by traders and policymakers.

"When we look at the OECD countries -- the U.S., Europe and Japan -- I think the level of demand that we have seen in 2006 and 2007, we will never see again," Fatih Birol told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"There may be some zig zags up and down but as a trend I think it will be a downward trend in terms of oil consumption." (Reuters)

 

Oil company buys into oilsands technology

Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is buying into a proposed technologically advanced plant to upgrade bitumen from the Alberta oilsands and produce low-sulphur diesel fuel.

The oil and gas producer said Thursday it plans to buy 50 per cent of the assets in North West Upgrading Inc., another Calgary company, and form a partnership to operate the refinery, planned for northeast of Edmonton.

The project still requires the approval of the Alberta government.

Canadian Natural didn't provide an estimated cost for the project or how much it would spend to buy the stake in North West Upgrading, a privately held company formed in 2004.

Canadian Natural is one of the largest companies in Canada's oil industry and operates the Horizon oilsands project north of Fort McMurray. (CBC News)

 

India's 'miracle' biofuel crop: too good to be true?

To its fans, jatropha is a miracle crop, an eco-friendly answer to India's growing energy needs, but some experts are starting to question whether the wonder-shrub is too good to be true.

The seeds of the wild plant, which grows abundantly across India, produce non-edible oil that can be blended with diesel, to make the biofuel that is part of government efforts to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change.

That, combined with the shrub's much vaunted ability to flourish on poorly irrigated land, should make it the perfect crop for wasteland in the drought-prone nation.

But new research shows jatropha, which has received huge government backing in recent years, yields less than experts had first predicted and is now being grown on fertile farmland - undermining two of its best selling points.

"Jatropha is being talked of as a crop that will grow on marginal and uncultivated land, and which will not compete with mainstream cultivation," said Sharachchandra Lele, a senior fellow at ATREE, an Indian environmental research group promoting sustainable development.

"But this is not what is happening in practice. Some state governments are promoting its cultivation on regular agricultural land, where it will displace existing crops, including food crops," said Lele.

"We are basically subsidising the urban elite's petrol consumption at the cost of rural livelihoods and food production." ( The Independent)

 

Using biofuel in cars 'may accelerate loss of rainforest'

Using biofuel in vehicles may be accelerating the destruction of rainforest and resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions than burning pure petrol and diesel, a watchdog said yesterday.

The Renewable Fuels Agency also warned that pump prices could rise in April because of the Government’s policy of requiring fuel companies to add biofuel to petrol and diesel. More than 1.3 million hectares of land — twice the area of Devon — was used to grow the 2.7 per cent of Britain’s transport fuel that came from crops last year.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a growing proportion of biofuel must be added to diesel and petrol. This year fuel must be at least 3.25 per cent biofuel on average. By 2020 the proportion will be 13 per cent. (The Times)

 

Big Wind: How Many Households Served, What Emissions Reduction? (Part 2)

by Kent Hawkins and Donald Hertzmark
January 28, 2010

Press reports in the Financial Times and other news outlets describe a wind project in Oregon with 338 machines of 2.5 MW each, giving a total capacity of 845 MW. The project sponsors claim that they will provide enough energy to serve 235,000 households and reduce CO2 output by 1.5 million tonnes annually.

Part I demonstrated that the served-household claims is fanciful. In reality, no more than 49,000 households could be “supplied”, and these with only a minimal degree of assurance. Indeed, the wind project is more costly than a diesel backup scheme that would actually be capable of supplying reliable power to several hundred thousand households. The wind project is also three times more costly than a replacement of just 211 MW of older coal capacity with new technology that would provide a similar reduction in emissions, while supplying firm power to the NW Power Pool’s customers.

The key to wind’s providing some degree of fuel and emissions savings is its ability to deliver reliable electricity without shadowing or backup by hydrocarbon-using plants. These shadowing/backup requirements in the Northwest (NW) Power Pool may be able to take advantage of existing surplus hydro capacity in that region during off-peak periods (spring and fall), thereby permitting the proposed plant to reduce hydrocarbon consumption and emissions somewhat during those periods. It is not reasonable to expect to achieve the claimed emissions savings, but lower figures, less than half the publicized savings, may be possible.

In particular, the addition of wind generation, with shadowing/backup provided by reservoir hydro, may be able to reduce overall CO2 emissions in California, the ultimate customer for the electricity produced by the GE project during Oregon’s two surplus seasons. But during the winter and summer peak demand periods, less hydro output is available, peak demand is greater and the shadowing backup will be provided by some combination of gas-fired and coal plants. What it is critical to keep in mind is that maintaining stability in the NW Power Pool requires the pool to shadow/backup not only the proposed new project, but the other 6.4 GW of existing wind as well.

Going further, our analysis shows there are less costly and more effective alternatives readily available that rival or exceed the claimed benefits of this wind project. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Greenpeace plans to build fortress on Heathrow runway site - Environmental group says the plan will create a legal headache for any government pushing ahead with airport's expansion

Environmental activists have invited some of the UK's leading architects to design an "impenetrable fortress" to be built on land earmarked for the third runway at Heathrow.

Greenpeace plans to build the winning design at the centre of the site where airport operator BAA hopes to construct a £7bn runway and a sixth terminal.

The charity bought the parcel of land last year and then distributed ownership to more than 60,000 supporters around the world.

Organisers say the small individual plots will create a legal headache for any government trying to push ahead with the expansion plans. (The Guardian)

Um... not really. The responsible local council simply publishes a public notice in the local paper and if a single representative to receive compensation for resumption is not established within 14 days the land shall be forfeit to the Crown. Any greenies failing to comply with a duly issued notice of eviction are then in contempt, subject to indefinite incarceration. If they insist on being pains in the butt and disrupting society for their own selfish purposes then there are ample legal means of redress.

If you are one of the many people hoodwinked by Greenpeas you should demand your funds back and disavow any association with them now.

 

Fall of Andrew Wakefield, ‘dishonest’ doctor who started MMR scare

The doctor who sparked a worldwide panic over the MMR vaccine could be struck off after being found guilty yesterday of a series of misconduct charges related to his “unethical” research. 

Andrew Wakefield, who in 1998 claimed an unfounded link between the vaccination and autism, “showed a callous disregard” for the suffering of children, subjecting them to unnecessary, invasive tests, a hearing found. 

The General Medical Council (GMC) ruled that he abused his position of trust as he researched a possible link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism in children. 

It found that Wakefield and two colleagues acted dishonestly and irresponsibly in carrying out research on children against their best interests and without official permission. 

The GMC ruled that Wakefield, who was working at the Royal Free Hospital in London as a gastroenterologist at the time, did not have the ethical approval or qualifications to oversee the study, which involved children undergoing colonoscopies, lumbar punctures, barium meals and brain scans. 

He was also found to have brought the medical profession into disrepute after taking blood samples from youngsters at his son's birthday party in return for payments of £5 and failing to disclose vital conflicts of interest. 

He received £50,000 to carry out the research on behalf of solicitors acting for parents who believed that their children had been harmed by MMR, but could not account for how at least half this money had been spent. 

He also did not declare any conflict of interest to The Lancet medical journal, which published the research. 

The GMC found the charges against Wakefield, and the professors John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch were “sufficient to amount to serious professional misconduct”. (The Times)

 

Damning verdict on doctor who linked MMR with autism

Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who suggested the MMR vaccine might cause autism, leading to a collapse in immunisation levels nationwide, "showed a callous disregard" for the suffering of children and "abused his position of trust" during the conduct of his research, a disciplinary panel ruled yesterday. (The Independent)

 

'Overweight' Adults Age 70 or Older Are Less Likely to Die Over a 10-Year Period

(Jan. 28, 2010) — Adults aged over 70 years who are classified as overweight are less likely to die over a ten year period than adults who are in the 'normal' weight range, according to a new study published in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society. (ScienceDaily)

 

Family fat explains some of family diabetes risk

NEW YORK - Having type 2 diabetes in the family more than doubles a woman's own risk of developing the disease, new research shows.

But the fact that fat -- and certain dietary habits -- also run in families accounts for a "substantial part" of this increased risk, Dr. Rob van Dam of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues found.

Having a close relative with type 2 diabetes -- the kind closely linked to obesity -- is a key risk factor for the disease, but known gene variants that increase diabetes risk only explain part of this relationship. (Reuters Health)

 

Better food makes high-latitude animals bigger - New solution to 163-year old puzzle?

New research suggests that animals living at high latitudes grow better than their counterparts closer to the equator because higher-latitude vegetation is more nutritious. The study, published in the February issue of The American Naturalist, presents a novel explanation for Bergmann's Rule, the observation that animals tend to be bigger at higher latitudes.

Ever since Christian Bergmann made his observation about latitude and size in 1847, scientists have been trying to explain it. The traditional explanation is that body temperature is the driving force. Because larger animals have less surface area compared to overall body mass, they don't lose heat as readily as smaller animals. That would give big animals an advantage at high latitudes where temperatures are generally colder.

But biologist Chuan-Kai Ho from Texas A&M University wondered if there might be another explanation. Might plants at higher latitudes be more nutritious, enabling the animals that eat those plants to grow bigger? (University of Chicago Press Journals)

So, is this a pitch for colder is better? Another gorebull warbling hazard piece? Actually not -- the proposal is that plants in the life-friendly tropics expend more energy deterring predators by producing thorns, toxins and/or sticky substances to gum up the munch-machinery of consumer critters than do plants in the lightly populated and lightly grazed upon high latitude plants. In turn this makes high latitude plants more useful to consumer organisms since they don't have to detoxify deterrent chemicals and so they get more nutritional benefit for their effort.

 

Wind farms can cause noise problems finds study

The study by a panel of independent experts found that the irritation caused by the noise around wind farms can effect certain individuals.

Scientists dismissed the idea of a "wind turbine syndrome" where the vibrations in the air or the particular sound waves from wind turbines cause headaches, nausea and panic attacks.

However, they did concede that the swishing sound caused by wind turbines can "annoy" some people, keeping them awake at night and even causing psychological problems because of the stress.

The Government is planning on building thousands more wind turbines onshore and the report has led calls for more research into the noise effects caused by the turbines.

But the wind industry said if wind turbines were harmful, it would be impossible to live in a city given the sound levels normally present in urban environments.

The Government insisted that wind farms do not have a direct impact on health.

Wind farms have traditionally been seen by protesters as a blot on the British countryside, but it has now emerged that their noise may make people ill. (TDT)

 

Well, duh! Davos: Funding switch threatens aid to developing world, campaigner warns

Rich countries are raiding their aid budgets to bankroll a new global fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change, one of the world's leading development campaign groups warned today.

Jamie Drummond, executive director of the One group co-founded by the rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof, said the west was being "dishonest" about the $30bn (£18bn) of fast-track finance proposed in Copenhagen last month to persuade developing countries to agree a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Drummond said the proposal to spend $10bn a year over the next three years involved no additional money, but was instead being diverted from existing budgets. (The Guardian)

 

Campaign to save tropical forests failed by food giants - Project to create sustainable palm oil project undermined by Western firms

Western food manufacturers are buying so little sustainable palm oil that the system set up to limit damage to tropical forests caused by the world's cheapest vegetable oil is in danger of collapse. Palm-oil producers say the industry may quit the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) because so few firms are financially backing the scheme. (The Independent)

Translation: scammers not raking in enough money with dodgy "certification" scheme.

 

The rise of eco-extremism

In a previous article on Quadrant Online I suggested that the Tony Abbott’s proposal to introduce a ‘Green Army’ dedicated to tackling concrete environmental issues at the grassroots level might also provide an opportunity to contest the ideological role of fanatical environmentalism, and in particular the prevailing notion that there is an inevitable link between socialism and conservationism.

In fact, this assumption is extremely deeply embedded in politics, the media, and the education system, and reflects not only the Left’s success over the past three decades in hijacking the conservation movement, but also its ability to use that movement as a vehicle for the most extreme political, social, and cultural ideas.

An excellent example of this is provided in a recent collection of articles on revolutionary environmentalism explicitly published as a manifesto of eco-extremism (Steven best and Anthony J Nocella (eds.) Igniting a Revolution, AK Press, Edinburgh, 2006). Blaming every problem in the modern world on Western liberal democracies, the ‘Introduction’ condemns the “omnicidal assault” on the world “waged by powerful and greedy forces, above all, by transnational corporations … banks, and G8 alliances. Stretching their tentacles across the Earth, they hire nation states as their cops, juntas, hit men, dictators, and loan sharks to extract natural resources, enforce regimes of total exploitation, and snuff out all resistance”. (Merv Bendle, Quadrant)

 

Eco-homes tax incentive is 'shocking failure'

Just 24 homebuyers have taken advantage of a high-profile scheme devised by Gordon Brown to encourage the construction of environmentally-friendly houses across the country. 

In his final Budget as Chancellor, Mr Brown announced that stamp duty would be scrapped on all new properties worth up to £500,000 which are given a zero carbon rating. The average saving per purchase was estimated to be £10,000. 

Mr Brown set aside £15m for the tax relief, which he hoped would “accelerate” the building of carbon-neutral homes as a key weapon in the fight against global warming. 

But tonight the scheme was condemned as a “shocking failure” after the Government admitted that only 24 buyers had claimed the tax break since it was introduced in October 2007 – less than one a month. 

So few homes have qualified that ministers would not provide further details of the sums involved in case individual properties are identified as a result. (The Independent)

Spend buckets to get a small tax break building a sub-standard house. Yeah, I can see why they are so surprised very few dills can afford to build such houses.

 

Environmental red tape saving dangerous trees

ENVIRONMENTAL red tape is stopping dangerous roadside trees being removed for motorists' safety, the Local Government Association states.

The LGA says councils should be allowed to remove these trees - to improve visibility and clearance - without being forced to pay hefty compensation.

The call comes just days after another crash claimed the lives of three teenage boys when the car in which they were passengers hit a pine tree on Wood Cone Rd, Mt Compass.

Inquiries by The Advertiser have revealed a complaint was made after one project by Victor Harbor council was delayed for two years because the Native Vegetation Council wanted $1.5 million compensation after 32 trees were to be removed for a $250,000 upgrade of a local road.

LGA spokesman Chris Russell said a number of new road projects and realignments were delayed every year because of red tape in the Native Vegetation Act. ( The Advertiser)

 

The never-ending assault on useful chemicals: Lawsuit Initiated to Protect Hundreds of Endangered Species From Pesticide Impacts

San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to adequately evaluate and regulate nearly 400 pesticides harmful to hundreds of endangered species throughout the nation, which also threaten human health. The EPA has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with wildlife regulatory agencies about the impacts of pesticides on hundreds of protected species that are threatened by pesticide use. The agency has also violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by registering pesticides that are known to kill and harm migratory birds. (Press Release)

 

 

Terence Corcoran: Heat wave closes in on the IPCC

Insider Andrew Weaver is getting out while the going is good

By Terence Corcoran

A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they’ve been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada’s leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it’s a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

United Nations' Climate Chief Must Go

If we're serious about restoring science to its rightful place, the head of the U.N.'s panel on climate change should step down. Evidence shows he quarterbacked a deliberate and premeditated fraud. (IBD)

 

Crank of the Week - January 25, 2010 - Rajendra Pachauri

Like a star footballer headed for the goal, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has seemingly been rushing toward his own dismissal. After a report debunking IPCC claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting faster than other glaciers and that they would be fully melted by 2035, Pachauri termed the research “voodoo science” and accused the Indian environment ministry of “arrogance” for its report. As it turns out, it was the IPCC's claims that were bogus, based on third hand speculation from a little known scientist. (The Resilient Earth)

 

Les derniers jours de Pachauri? - by Richard... Thursday, January 28, 2010

So asks the French blog Objectif Liberté, a question effectively answered in the affirmative by the Indian news agency DNA.

Previously a Pachauri supporter, it retails how the Indian government is distancing itself from one of its erstwhile favourite sons, with the news that the government is thinking again about appointing the good doctor to the prestige position of head of the prime minister's national solar mission.

This is the national programme which is leading the drive to produce 20,000 MW of solar electricity by 2022 and one that would have cemented Pachauri even more firmly in the halls of power – with plenty of opportunities to drive some lucrative consultancy business in the direction of his institute, TERI.

But "sources" are now saying that the embarrassment over Pachauri is so acute in Delhi's power corridors that he is no more on the list of hopefuls likely to head the unit. Until a few weeks ago, government sources say, he was leading the race and considered a shoe-in.

Pachauri's fall from grace seems roughly to coincide with a certain article in The Daily Telegraph on 20 December. But his contemptuous treatment of environment minister Jairam Ramesh cannot have helped.

Ramesh is actually quoted by DNA, complaining: "I was dismissed for peddling voodoo science, but the ministry was right on the report on Himalayan glaciers." And it has now emerged that there was a crisis meeting held in New Delhi on 28/29 December, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – one of the sponsoring bodies for the IPCC - to discuss the 2035 claim on glaciers.

Although the meeting was held at the TERI offices, Pachauri was not present in a group of glaciologists brought together from throughout the world, but Ramesh was. Dr Syed Hasnain was also present and the UK was represented by Dr Viju John of the Met Office's Hadley Centre.

At the meeting, Prof Murari Lal, one of the lead authors of Chapter 8 which made the 2035 claim, admitted it had been made on the basis of a report of the WWF report that had quoted Hasnain. But he dismissed media claims that the year 2035 had "crept in the report by mistake." However, Hasnain denied mentioning any such date "in his scientific papers".

The meeting decided that the rate of retreat stated by the IPCC "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation", concluding that: "The upshot is that the critics are correct ... there appears to be no scientific foundation for the IPCC's prediction for the year 2035."

Despite that, it took the IPCC until 20 January to issue a grudging statement, regretting "the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures" but making no admission that the claim had "no scientific foundation".

Yet, right up to the day before the statement, Pachauri was telling reporters: "We are looking at the issue and will be in a better position to comment on the report after examining all facts," with no hint that a statement was imminent – or that the issue had been settled nearly three weeks earlier.



That, of course, was after the "non-mistake" had been outed on 17 January by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times, raising the question of whether Pachauri had any intention of correcting the IPCC report.

It is possibly this reluctance to admit error, as much as anything, which has done the damage. Now, as Leake points out in the video above, the man lacks credibility.

Rubbing that in, the DNA report goes on to note: "A recent report in the British media had found that IPCC's prediction that 40% of the Amazon rainforests were threatened by climate change was not based on scientific knowledge, but documents compiled by a journalist," and then adds for good measure:

UK journalists have also alleged that since Pachauri became vice-chairman of IPCC in 1997, The Energy and Resource Institute has expanded its interest in every kind of renewable or sustainable technology along with the Tata Group to invest $1.5 billion in vast wind farms.
Nevertheless, Ramesh is currently saying that the Indian government is not demanding Pachauri's resignation. But it does not need to - the writing is already on the wall. Even UN spokesmen in New York, normally only too pleased to talk about "climate change" in their routine press conferences are avoiding the subject and refusing to answer questions.

The man is finished. It is only a matter of time before he is forced to walk. (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

Lorne Gunter: Credibility storm brewing on climate change

Revelations about how the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have manipulated scientific data to support their contention that man-made carbon emissions are altering the world’s climate are now flying out like bees from a wet hive — fast and furious. ( National Post)

 

Climate Flimflam Flaming Out

The United Nations makes a claim that can't be supported by science, and U.S. researchers ignore temperature data from frigid regions. The crack-up of the global warming fraud is picking up speed.

With so much of the science behind climate change coming under attack, especially among scientists, it's been a harsh winter for the global warming crowd: (IBD)

 

With consummate bad timing as gorebull warbling implodes: SEC Votes for Corporate Disclosure of Climate Change Risk

WASHINGTON—Political feuding over global warming reached the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday when commissioners, divided on party lines, voted to encourage companies to disclose the effects of climate change on their business.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, an Obama administration appointee, said the agency wasn't weighing in on the global-warming debate and wanted to ensure that investors get reliable information. 

The agency's two Republican commissioners voted against issuing the guidance. "I can only conclude that the purpose of this release is to place the imprimatur of the commission on the agenda of the social and environmental policy lobby, an agenda that falls outside of our expertise," said Republican Commissioner Kathleen Casey. 

Two Republican lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee also took a swipe at the SEC in a letter sent Tuesday, calling the move "transparently political and such a breathtaking waste of the commission's resources." (WSJ)

 

Yale Finds Climate-Change Concern Wanes in U.S.

“Despite growing scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change, in a statement on the poll. (Bloomberg)

Pachauri is head of the new Climate and Energy Institute in the School of Forestry and Environment.

Have a look at these guys:

http://environment.yale.edu/climate/about/ 

The overall objective of the Yale F&ES Project on Climate Change is to facilitate implementation of recommendations from the Yale F&ES Conference on Climate Change, 2005. Specific objectives include the following.

1. Broaden the circle of engagement, facilitate dialogue and devise innovative new collaborations and partnerships across all sectors and communities.
2. Identify institutions, individuals and leaders well-positioned to catalyze implementation of actions,
3. Provide the networks and collaboration tools required by Project Participants to implement the actions.
4. Monitor progress toward fulfilling the Project’s action agenda. 

At the Yale F&ES 2005 Conference in Aspen, participants were divided into eight working groups, or “Domains,” representing different sectors of society. This organizing principle continues in the Yale F&ES Project on Climate Change. The objective is to facilitate cross-domain collaboration and action. Project Participants are able to work across different focal areas. They are encouraged to leave their traditional silos and engage with participants from Domains they may not have historically associated with. Crucial activities include the following: ...

http://environment.yale.edu/climate/project-participants/ 

The participant list is a who's who of warmists and chancers: Gore, Schneider, Mr and Mrs Kerry, Oppenheimer, Woodwell, Todd Stern, Wirth, Speth, Fenton, Heidi Cullen, Lubchenko, Claussen and many more, plus WRI, NRDC, UCS, etc etc.

Seems even with that weight, they can't make headway. (Background: Dennis Ambler)

 

Fmr. Pacific Fleet Commander warns Obama: Don't link climate change and national security

Center for Security Policy | Jan 27, 2010

Washington, DC (Jan. 27) - Ahead of the State of the Union address and in the wake of recent and ongoing climate science scandals, President Obama should appoint an independent panel of experts to evaluate the purported climate change-national security link, urged Adm. James A. Lyons, Jr., USN (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Chairman of the Center for Security Policy's Military Committee.

The supposed relationship between climate change and national security "is too important an issue to be driven by unsubstantiated claims, tainted by scandal, and to result in counterproductive policies," Adm. Lyons stated in the open letter.

Adm. Lyons' letter points out that both the ongoing Climategate scandal involving senior United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists and the IPCC's recent admission-of-error and retraction of the claim that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 have rocked confidence in often-repeated assertions that capping emissions of greenhouse gases will improve national security.

"Before we adopt policies that affect military-preparedness and national security, it is imperative that we act on honest assessments of the best available information," Adm. Lyons said. "When it comes to the climate change-national security link and the cap-and-trade legislation now being considered by Congress, any confidence in scientific pronouncements that may have existed in 2009 does not exist in 2010," Adm. Lyons added.

"In light of media reports that President Obama plans to emphasize the climate change-national security link in his State of the Union address, I am asking the President to acknowledge recent developments and to appoint an expert panel whose independence is beyond reproach to sort out fact from fiction," Adm. Lyons concluded.

Text of the letter is below:

Open letter to President Barack Obama from Adm. James A. Lyons, Jr., USN (Ret.) Chairman, Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet

January 27, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing you ahead of your State of the Union address to caution you against drawing premature conclusions about the national security implications of climate change and cap-and-trade legislation.

Media reports indicate that you may frame climate change as a national security issue to prod Congress into passing cap-and-trade legislation, like the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House last June.

But recent developments underscore the danger of such action.

During 2009, much testimony was heard in the Senate about how Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 leading to regional freshwater shortages that could destabilize the relationship between India and Pakistan. This concern was originally given credence by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2007 assessment of the science. Sen. John Kerry, in his comments and speeches last year, noted how this region is home to Al Qaeda.

But just last week, the IPCC issued what has been called an unprecedented apology for including the Himalayan glacier claim in its report. The IPCC said that the Himalayan glacier claim was "poorly substantiated" and the claim was made in violation of "the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures."

In addition to the Himalayan glacier controversy, investigations by the IPCC, University of East Anglia and Penn State University are still ongoing into the so-called Climategate scandal, in which thousands of e-mails between senior IPCC scientists have given rise to concerns about inappropriate data manipulation and censoring of opposing scientific views with respect to climate change.

In addition to these significant controversies related to the science underpinning concerns about climate change, it is also important to consider how climate change policies will impact the military. To the extent, for example, that the national response to climate change makes energy more expensive and less available, and distracts the military and national security agencies from their core mission of keeping America safe, it could very well be that the true threat to national security is not climate change, but our response to it.    According to studies by the Congressional Budget Office and others, Cap and Trade legislation could force U.S. energy producers to close facilities and cut production to comply with its mandates.  Foreign energy producers would not believe their good fortune as they would only stand to benefit from such action.

Mr. President, I recommend that you consider establishing an independent commission of military and national security experts to examine the implications of climate change and related policies to national security. It is too important an issue to be driven by unsubstantiated claims, tainted by scandal and to result in counterproductive policies.

Sincerely,

 

Admiral James A. Lyons, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Chairman, Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet

 

Incredibly: Obama Is No Kennedy: Redefines NASA’s Mission As Global Warming

Today, the Orlando Sentinel reports that President Obama will introduce a budget next week which will cut future exploration funding from NASA, including the planned missions to the Moon and Mars set in motion following the Columbia disaster.  On first glance, this may appear to be a budget cutting move to fall in line with the drop-in-a-bucket spending freeze Obama has proposed. But it isn’t.  In fact, NASA’s budget is increasing.  So if NASA’s budget is increasing, why are exploration plans being put on hold? Obama is halting America’s exploration of the unknown so we can explore…global warming.

According the Sentinel: “…the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change.” NASA will reportedly receive a budget increase of $200-$300 million over its current $18.7 billion budget.

But for the first time in his administration, government money does not actually equate to government jobs. “One administration official said the budget will send a message that it’s time members of Congress recognize that NASA can’t design space programs to create jobs in their districts. ‘That’s the view of the president,’ the official said.” So this is actually a jobs-cutting outlay. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Looks like Phil will be, uh... retiring: Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach. (The Times)

 

Wails is happy though: WTF? Prince of Wales tells disgraced CRU: 'Well done, all of you!'

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia is under government investigation for fraud, data manipulation and withholding or destroying scientific data in defiance of freedom of information requests. Many of the disgraced scientists working at the CRU were closely involved in putting together the now ferociously suspect Fourth Assessment Report for the notoriously unreliable Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) headed by the lethally compromised Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

Is this really the best time, you might wonder, for the future King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to praise the CRU for the “quality” of its work and to dismiss the Climategate scandal as a “little blip”? (Hat tip: Roddy Campbell)

Well the Prince of Wales clearly thinks so or he wouldn’t have paid a visit to Norwich yesterday to deliver a jolly little fillip to the beleaguered scientists. In his sublime wisdom, Prince Charles clearly believes they have done no wrong at all. (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

UEA was Advised by ICO to Ignore FOI

Jonathan Leake at The Sunday Times Revealed UK To Seek Change in FOI Law……. But that’s not the whole story.

Recently Jonathan Leake has been covering one story after another regarding the corruption of the IPCC process and results. Yesterday by email, he’s received and passed on a press release from the Norfolk police regarding the release of the Climategate emails . This breaking news is an official recognition by the police that not only was FOI law broken but it ABSOLUTELY will NOT be prosecuted and INSTEAD the information commissioners office intends to seek a change in FOI law to prevent future intentional abuse. (Jeff Id, The Air Vent)

 

Why do they want to know?

Via a correspondent, I have obtained a copy of the form that the police are sending round to sceptics as part of their investigation of the climategate leaks. Some of the questions being asked are pretty surprising:

18) What is your stance on climate change?

19) Are you a current or past member of any political or environmental organisation/group? Details:

20) Do you contribute to, participate in, or administer any internet based website, forum, blog, etc. including any related to climate change? Details:

Is it just me, or is this rather sinister from a civil liberties point of view? I simply can't see that contributing to a blog is relevant to the inquiry. One can't help but get the impression of innocent people having police files being built on them, simply because the forces of law and order (in the shape of NDET) haven't got anything better to do.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that the offence being investigated is described in the form as, variously, a theft, a leak and a breach. But never a hack.

One thing we can say about the hacker/leaker is that he/she was possessed of some relatively sophisticated IT skills, so it's also interesting to see that the police seem to have no interest in whether any of the people they are quizzing have this skillset.

Very odd. (Bishop Hill)

 

Science as a Glorious, Skeptical Enterprise

Healthy science is not a list of orthodox beliefs, but more like an endless, running debating club.

Good science is a Darwinian enterprise. Only the best ideas survive and spread over the long run, because they pass test after test after test. Everybody tries to shoot holes in them. In good science, bad ideas are knocked down in the nastiest, meanest, knock-down, drag-out fight this side of the Spanish Inquisition.

Bad ideas get trashed in good science. If you doubt it, just read James Watson on the heated fight with Linus Pauling over the structure of DNA. Craig Venter outraged the competition by discovering  the human genome three years before they expected to get there. Or see what Isaac Newton said about Leibniz. It gets nasty.

That’s for healthy science, which is not a list of orthodox beliefs, but more like an endless, running debating club. You could tell that global warming was in trouble the moment that James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate astrologer and enforcer of The Faith, said that “climate deniers” should be put in jail.

Good science is full of “deniers,” who are also called “skeptics.” I’ve never met a scientist who wasn’t one. Albert Einstein was a lifelong skeptic about quantum mechanics. Nobody wanted to throw him in jail. Einstein was (and still is) admired for the brilliance of his skepticism. When somebody wants to jail a skeptic you know their favorite orthodoxy is tottering and about to slip down some rat hole. James Hansen was seeing the end of the global warming fraud, and he was afraid.

Climate alarmism is now destined for history’s garbage heap, as it should be. It never made any sense. Even Science magazine — which was run by a close friend of doomsayer Paul Ehrlich until last year — has suddenly dropped any mention of global warming. No more climate change, all of a sudden! Problem solved. (James Lewis, PJM)

 

FULL UNEDITED INTERVIEW WITH E. MICHAEL SMITH

The special “Global Warming: The Other Side” featured several interviews with experts and scientists, none more important to me than the one with E. Michael Smith, who had used his great computer programming skill to unravel the complications of the U.S. Government’s national and world temperature database to expose some highly questionable manipulations that have taken place. The TV program had extreme time limitations and only a couple of small segments of this interview were included. That is where the internet provides a great outlet and educational plus. Here I am able to present the entire interview. You will learn a lot when you watch it. I have never done a worse job of interviewing someone as I did with E. Michael Smith, while no one I have interviewed has ever done a better job of presenting their material and themselves than Mr. Smith. Never mind my interviewer issues, if you can. I have to reject any self protection and let you see it "as is," because this interview is too important. The work E. Michael Smith has done and what it reveals is information our policy makers must have. It goes a long way towards totally derailing the global warming campaign. Will the networks ever put this man on the air? Will congress ever take testimony from him? I hope playing this entire interview helps. Please click the video button and watch this interview in its entirety.

For more info, visit http://chiefio.wordpress.com 

FULL UNEDITED INTERVIEW WITH JOE D’ALEO ABOUT DATA MANIPULATION AT U.S. GOVERNMENT CLIMATE CENTERS

In preparation for the recent program “Global Warming: The Other Side” I conducted several interviews with scientists in remote cities. TV time constraints and that old thing about TV Producers feeling the need to keep the pace of the program moving rapidly along, meant that what you saw on TV in each case is only a snippet of the complete interview. That is where the internet comes in very handy. Here on my webpage, we can post the complete interview with each scientist for those who have a larger appetite for the global warming debunking information.

The first interview I am posting is with Joseph D’Aleo, Certified Consulting Meteorologist and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He was in the Boston studio of WCVB television. I was in our KUSI TV studio here in San Diego. There was limited time to do the interview (They charge by the minute for the across county fiber optic feed.) so I had to keep the interview rolling. We were interrupted by a technical switch at one point. I have cut that out. Otherwise, as the clock ran down, I raced to get everything I could from Joe.

Click to see the complete 15 minute interview. 

 (Coleman's Corner)

 

If you haven't followed this link already... Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?

Authors veteran meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.

That is to say, leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it cannot be safely said that there has been any significant net “global warming” in the 20th century. (SPPI)

 

Latif has returned to the safety of the herd: Climate change cannot be halted purely by negotiation

Despite the failure of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, climate protection cannot be allowed to retreat into the shadows. However, leading climate researcher Prof. Mojib Latif takes the view that little can be achieved at UN level. Instead, he advocates deploying all the technological means at our disposal.

“If we carry on along the same vein, we can expect an increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere of around 4°C in the course of this century,” forecast Latif on Tuesday evening at an event hosted by the Munich Re Foundation. From a scientific point of view, a rise of 2°C at the most is tolerable. The climate expert from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel seriously doubts whether this objective can be achieved by political means alone. “The failure of Copenhagen has clearly shown that politicians and the complex UN process are not in a position to bring about a reasonable and viable climate agreement.” (Munich Re press release)

 

Oh... Climate Control Supporters Focus On Job Creation

WASHINGTON - The four-letter word that will dominate President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Wednesday -- jobs -- could be the savior for faltering climate control legislation, or at least that's environmentalists' latest hope.

Supporters of a global warming bill have failed to captivate the country with warnings of drought, disappearing polar ice caps, refugees fleeing floods and worsening disease. So, they are ramping up a more positive-sounding argument.

Forget environmental benefits and saving the planet. Clean energy, they say, could create millions of new jobs, a potentially powerful argument amid a 10 percent U.S. unemployment rate, the worst in more than a quarter-century. (Reuters)

... there's one thing you can count on green job creation to do: expensively destroy a far greater number of real, productive jobs.

 

Copenhagen Accord not legally binding: UNFCC

Seeking to put at rest doubts over the status of the Copenhagen Accord agreed upon at the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) in the Danish capital last year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has issued a clarification saying that the agreement was not a legally binding document but merely a political one.

In a notification addressed to the Parties, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, said that since the COP neither adopted nor endorsed the Accord, but merely took note of it, its provisions do not have any legal standing with the UNFCCC process even if some Parties decide to associate themselves with it. Secondly, since the Accord is a political agreement, rather than a treaty instrument subject to signature, a note verbale to the secretariat from an appropriate authority in the government concerned was sufficient to communicate the intention of a party to associate itself with the accord. (The Hindu)

 

Why? EU Agrees To Make Lowest Climate Offer To U.N.

BRUSSELS - The European Union has decided to stick to its lowest offer for cutting carbon emissions under a U.N climate accord, but will maintain a conditional pledge to do more if others follow suit, EU diplomats said on Wednesday.

Their comments after EU ambassadors met in Brussels confirmed the 27-nation bloc's commitment to unilateral target carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels over the next decade. (Reuters)

 

Penny Wong presses on with 5pc carbon reduction target

THE Rudd government has committed to introducing an emissions trading scheme with a floating carbon market in 2012 regardless of what the rest of the world does to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Penny Wong yesterday revealed Australia's target for greenhouse gas emissions cuts by 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord would be an unconditional, minimum of 5 per cent and a possible maximum of 25 per cent, with an emissions trading scheme using a market price for carbon in 2012.

The 5 per cent target is the minimum the government had announced before the UN's Copenhagen climate conference in December. It has Tony Abbott's support, although the Coalition and Greens oppose the government's proposed ETS.

The Climate Change Minister said the government was committed to starting an emissions trading scheme next year with a fixed price for a year, and would not be deterred from introducing a market price for carbon if the rest of the world failed to act on greenhouse gas emissions. (The Australian)

 

Hmm... Axe the tax if you want to go green

POLITICIANS are trying hard to pretend that the Copenhagen climate summit was not a complete failure. After raising expectations that they would broker a significant, binding treaty on carbon emission reductions, they are now telling us we should view Copenhagen's empty, non-binding agreement as a small but important "first step" on the journey towards solving global warming. We have heard this one before. When politicians from wealthy countries met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and promised to cut emissions by 2000, the French diplomat chairing the negotiations declared, "It's just a first step."

When leaders met again in Kyoto in 1997 and promised stricter reductions, president Bill Clinton told us that the treaty was a "huge first step" that "opened the way" to further action. Neither of these "first steps" actually took us anywhere: wealthy countries failed to meet their promises and global carbon emissions have continued to climb.

So what now? After 17 years of wasted effort, we can ill afford to squander more precious time continuing on this pointless road to nowhere. Climate change needs addressing smartly. We can only hope that December's failure will be the jolt we need to once and for all drop the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen approach and start tackling this challenge effectively. (Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian)

The "axe the tax" part we believe but the rest of it plain stinks. "Climate change" as commonly understood does not need addressing, period. Genuine climate change needs guarding against, for sure (cooling while the world's population continues to grow will make feeding people much harder). But AGW? Does it even really exist?

 

Call for EU carbon tariffs on imports from defaulters

THE EUROPEAN Commission should immediately bring forward proposals for “carbon tariffs” on goods imported from countries such as China or India that are failing to take strong action on climate change, according to a new analysis published yesterday.

The analysis by Joseph Curtin, climate and energy specialist with the Dublin-based Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA), looks at how the EU should respond to the outcome of last month’s UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

The extent to which the EU was marginalised in its final hours had been shown by the fact that European Commission president José Manuel Barroso had found out about the deal done by the US, China and others “by way of a text message on his phone”. (Irish Times)

 

'Himalayan glaciers here to stay'

CHANDIGARH: Glaciers are here to stay in the Himalayas. Studies conducted by glaciologists across the Himalayan region in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have shown that global warming has little to do with their melting.

The conclusion was drawn by glaciologists after studying the behaviour of 35 Himalayan glaciers. The Mentossa glacier in Miyar valley of Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh has, in fact, expanded in the last few years while there is no change in the Kangriz glacier in Zanskar valley of J&K since 1913.

Glaciologists, claiming that global warming and melting of glaciers have no relation with each other, say each glacier is behaving in a different manner. Had global warming been responsible, then all of them would have behaved in a similar manner, they claimed.

The prediction that glaciers would melt by 2035 by Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain may have landed the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman R K Pachauri in a tight spot, but data collected by glaciologits across the Himalayan region shows that such claims do not hold water, and the major rivers orginitaing from the Himalayas would continue to flow for the years to come as the glaciers are going to stay. (Times of India)

 

Karen Clark on Short-Term Hurricane Loss Predictions

Karen Clark and Co. have an interesting new report out which evaluates the performance of short-term hurricane predictions issued by the catastrophe modeling industry. In short, they are not doing so well, as the image above indicates, with predicted losses far exceeding actual losses. Here is an excerpt from the report:

Given all of the uncertainties, near term projections do not have sufficient credibility to be used for important insurance applications such as product pricing and establishing solvency standards. In the case of pricing catastrophe exposure, the insurer or reinsurer is faced with the challenge of settling on a specific price for a specified time period for an exposure that has a highly uncertain expected value. While the near term models might be a useful tool for adding insight with respect to the potential range of expected outcomes for the upcoming policy period, the actual results of the last four years indicate that relying exclusively on the near term models to determine a rate can bring an extra level of instability and volatility to an already challenging pricing exercise. Individual insurers and reinsurers should instead consider the complete range and likelihood of possible outcomes in determining product pricing, taking into account the need for both stability and responsiveness in setting a strategy for pricing their products.
The perspective expressed by Karen Clark and Co. is quite similar to my own views, expressed in a paper published in 2009. Our website remains down, due to a concerted attack to deny access, but for anyone interested I'd be happy to email a copy of the paper, the title and abstract appear below.
United States hurricane landfalls and damages: Can one- to five-year predictions beat climatology?
Pielke, Roger A.
Environmental Hazards, Volume 8, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 187-200(14)

This paper asks whether one- to five-year predictions of United States hurricane landfalls and damages improve upon a baseline expectation derived from the climatological record. The paper argues that the large diversity of available predictions means that some predictions will improve upon climatology, but for decades if not longer it will be impossible to know whether these improvements were due to chance or actual skill. A review of efforts to predict hurricane landfalls and damage on timescales of one to five years does not lend much optimism to such efforts in any case. For decision makers, the recommendation is to use climatology as a baseline expectation and to clearly identify hedges away from this baseline, in order to clearly distinguish empirical from non-empirical justifications for judgements of risk.
Also, I participated in an AM Best roundtable discussion of catastrophe risk with insurance experts several weeks ago. The issue of catastrophe models was a part of the conversation. You can read a transcript of the discussion here. That is me below at the roundtable, talking about continued growth of losses based on our work.

(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Upward Trend in Hurricane Damage in China?

A recent article has appeared in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society regarding trends in tropical cyclone damages in China. The article was generated by three Chinese scientists from the China Meteorological Administration’s National Climate Center and Nanjing University’s Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster. The authors note that “This research was supported by Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China through the National Science and Technology Support Project and the National Natural Scientific Foundation of China.”

Let’s start with a key figure (Figure 1) in which Zhang et al. reveal an upward trend in damage from tropical cyclones (a.k.a., hurricanes, typhoons) over the 1983 to 2006. They note that “In addition to the heavy economic losses in individual years, the time series shown” “contains an upward trend over the past 24 yr, which is statistically significant at the 95% level. On average, the losses caused by landfalling tropical cyclones in China mainland increased by 1.19 billion yuans each year.” We could see this result spun several different ways. On one hand, we could write about how poor China is being ravaged by hurricanes fueled-up thanks to global warming. On the other hand, we could say, see, China is now the world leader in greenhouse gas emissions, and they are suffering the consequences. As we are about to see, there is a lot more to this story about increasing damages in China. (WCR)

 

With caveats, yes: Research on Global 'Sun Block' Needed Now, Experts Argue

Internationally coordinated research and field-testing on 'geoengineering' the planet's atmosphere to limit risk of climate change should begin soon along with building international governance of the technology, say scientists from the University of Calgary and the United States. (ScienceDaily)

Now, first up I favor research into limited insolation manipulation -- enough to say tweak surface winds to alleviate drought, maybe take the sting out of tropical cyclone risk by reducing sea surface temperature regionally or avert panicked-about coral bleaching episodes. That said there are a lot of "but" items to check off -- getting agreement on manipulating EL Niño Southern Oscillation events would take some fairly impressive global agreements (what's good for Eastern Australia and Southeast Asia is not so good for the U.S. Southwest, for example). Similarly potentially upsetting tropical storm tracks by shading particular regions could end up with liability issues if someone else gets clobbered instead. Even reducing tropical cyclone severity denies other regions major precipitation events and interferes with nutrient transport from land to sea. Obviously there is much to consider, although, as I said, I'm in favor of geoengineering the world into a better place.

On the other hand, gorebull warbling is collapsing as media begin to recognize they have been duped into promoting the issue that never was, which removes one of the main reasons to favor geoengineering talks -- i.e. that they were great busy work to occupy politicians who could claim to be "doing something" while doing nothing at all. Have no illusions, politicians do need political cover to correctly do nothing when so many well-funded misanthropy organizations will campaign against politicians who fail to obey green diktat.

Bottom line? Yes, carefully investigate geoengineering to improve our world --  just make sure we don't cool it because that is most life unfriendly.

 

Can Climate Forecasts Still Be Trusted?

First, it was a series of e-mails that led many to begin doubting the veracity of climate scientists. Then, the United Nations climate body itself had to reverse dire predictions about the melting of glaciers in the Himalayan Mountains. Other claims have raised doubts as well.

The Siachen Glacier is home to the world's highest crisis region. Here, at 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) above sea level, Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off, ensconced in heavily armed positions.

The ongoing border dispute between the two nuclear powers has already claimed the lives of 4,000 men -- most of them having died of exposure to the cold. (Spiegel)

 

Part 2: New Ammunition from an E-Mail Scandal

For years, malaria expert Paul Reiter of the Paris-based Pasteur Institute has criticized the warning, as expressed in the third IPCC report, that climate change will lead to the spread of malaria, saying that there is no evidence to support such a claim. Reiter accuses many climatologists of perceiving themselves too strongly as activists who are more interested in spreading an alarmist message.

Scientists already feel that the second part of the IPCC report, which addresses the consequences of global warming, is not as sound as the first part, which deals with the underlying physical factors contributing to climate change. This could, in fact, explain how the erroneous Himalayan prognosis slipped into the report in the first place. The report's lead author, Murari Lal, defends himself by saying that "the melting of the glaciers is such a huge threat to so many people" and, for that reason, had to be included in the report. According to malaria researcher Reiter, it is precisely this passion that is so dangerous to science. (Spiegel)

 

Floating Islands

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Much has been written of late regarding the impending projected demise of the world’s coral atoll islands due to CO2-caused sea level rise. Micronesia is suing the Czech Government over CO2 emissions that they claim are damaging their coral atolls via sea level rise. Tuvalu and the Maldives are also repeating their claims of damage from CO2. If the sea level rises much, they say they will simply be swept away.

Recently, here in the Solomon Islands, the sea level rise has been blamed for salt water intrusion into the subsurface “lens” of fresh water that forms under atolls. Beneath the surface of most atolls, there is a lens shaped body of fresh water. The claim is that the rising sea levels are contaminating the fresh-water lens with seawater. On other atolls, increased sea levels are claimed to be washing away parts of the atoll.

In this paper, I will discuss the three inter-related claims that people are making as illustrated above. The claims are:

1. Increasing CO2 causes increased sea level rise.

2. Sea level rise causes salt water to intrude into the freshwater lens

3. Sea level rise gravely endangers low-lying coral atolls like Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Maldives. A mere 1 metre rise would see them mostly washed away.

I will look at the real causes of the very real problems faced by atoll dwellers. Finally, I will list some practical measures to ameliorate those problems.

And before you ask, how do I know this atoll stuff? For three years I lived on and worked on and had wells dug on and watched the moon rise over and dived in the lagoon and on the reef wall of a coral atoll in the South Pacific … hey, somebody has to … that plus a lot of study and research. (WUWT)

 

Nature: carbon cycle feedback is 80% weaker than advertised

In this weekly dose of peer-reviewed literature denying the "climate consensus", we look at a paper in a journal called Nature. David Frank, Jan Esper, Christoph Raible, Ulf Büntgen, Valerie Trouet, Benjamin Stocker, and Fortunat Joos (a mostly Swiss team) just published a new article:

Ensemble reconstruction constraints on the global carbon cycle sensitivity to climate (abstract)

Degrees of climate feedback (simplified review by Hugues Goosse)

Their aim is to find out how the average temperature variations on the Northern Hemisphere influence the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They find out - or at least argue - that this influence is five times smaller than previously believed.



But let's begin at the start. The relevant formula is
Concentration = C0 + γ Temperature
Here, γ (gamma) is the coefficient they want to know. Note that outgassing and various reactions of the biosphere make γ nonzero. As you may remember from the discussions about the 800-year lag in Al Gore's movie, the ice cores in Antarctica show that a 8 °C increase of the temperature adds something like 100 ppmv [parts per million of volume] of CO2 into the atmosphere (the difference between ice ages and interglacials), so it looks like 12.5 ppmv per °C. However, this estimated value of γ is relevant at time scales that are much longer than a century.
Unrelated: Willie S. recommended me an interesting article about thorium reactors that would increase our reserves from 80 years of uranium to 8,000 years of thorium (estimates) - and they look relatively realistic.
The present authors also look at three Antarctic ice cores but they want to know the value of γ relevant for the time scale of several decades or one century. So they statistically investigate the ice core data from the period between 1050 AD and 1800 AD. At least in those times, the anthropogenic greenhouse effect was negligible, so the only systematic correlation between CO2 and temperature could have been caused by the influence of temperature on CO2, not the other way around. The transition between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age - conveniently located at 1550 AD in this piece of work - plays an important role in their analysis.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

News Release On The Importance Of Soot In The Climate System

I have posted a number of times on the role of soot as a first order climate forcing (e. g. see) as well as published papers on this topic (e.g. see).  Soot (black carbon) results from industrial and biomass burning and alters regional diabatic heating of the atmosphere when it is suspended in the air and when it changes the surface albedo when it deposits at the surface (particularly over snow and ice).   It is a first order climate forcing that not only affects the global average radiative forcing, but regional climate forcings which have a direct effect on atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns. (Climate Science)

 

Models’ 20th Century Temperature Reconstructions

What can we learn from the IPCC climate models based upon their ability to reconstruct the global average surface temperature variations during the 20th Century?

While the title of this article suggests I’ve found evidence of natural climate cycles in the IPCC models, it’s actually the temperature variability the models CANNOT explain that ends up being related to known climate cycles. After an empirical adjustment for that unexplained temperature variability, it is shown that the models are producing too much global warming since 1970, the period of most rapid growth in atmospheric carbon dioxide. This suggests that the models are too sensitive, in which case they are forecasting too much future warming, too. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Effects of forest fire on carbon, climate overestimated

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A recent study at Oregon State University indicates that some past approaches to calculating the impacts of forest fires have grossly overestimated the number of live trees that burn up and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result.

The research was done on the Metolius River Watershed in the central Oregon Cascade Range, where about one-third – or 100,000 acres – of the area burned in four large fires in 2002-03. Although some previous studies assumed that 30 percent of the mass of living trees was consumed during forest fires, this study found that only 1-3 percent was consumed.

Some estimates done around that time suggested that the B&B Complex fire in 2003, just one of the four Metolius fires, released 600 percent more carbon emissions than all other energy and fossil fuel use that year in the state of Oregon – but this study concluded that the four fires combined produced only about 2.5 percent of annual statewide carbon emissions.

Even in 2002, the most extreme fire year in recent history, the researchers estimate that all fires across Oregon emitted only about 22 percent of industrial and fossil fuel emissions in the state – and that number is much lower for most years, about 3 percent on average for the 10 years from 1992 to 2001.

The OSU researchers said there are some serious misconceptions about how much of a forest actually burns during fires, a great range of variability, and much less carbon released than previously suggested. Some past analyses of carbon release have been based on studies of Canadian forests that are quite different than many U.S. forests, they said.

“A new appreciation needs to be made of what we’re calling ‘pyrodiversity,’ or wide variation in fire effects and responses,” said Garrett Meigs, a research assistant in OSU’s Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. “And more studies should account for the full gradient of fire effects.”

The past estimates of fire severity and the amounts of carbon release have often been high and probably overestimated in many cases, said Beverly Law, a professor of forest ecosystems and society at OSU. (Oregon State)

 

Oh my... Methane Causes Vicious Cycle In Global Warming

Carbon dioxide is the gas we most associate with global warming, but methane gas also plays an important role. For reasons that are not well understood, methane gas stopped increasing in the atmosphere in the 1990s. But now it appears to be once again on the rise. Scientists are trying to understand why — and what to do about it.

Methane gas comes from all sorts of sources including wetlands, rice paddies, cow tummies, coal mines, garbage dumps and even termites. Drew Shindell, at NASA's Goddard Institute in New York, says, "It's gone up by 150 percent since the pre-industrial period. So that's an enormous increase. CO2, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent." (Richard Harris, NPR)

Well, yes, methane is believed to have perhaps doubled since the Little Ice Age, bringing it to almost [drum roll, please] two (2) parts per million by volume (ppmv). Are you scared yet? No? Then you'll probably be unimpressed that methane breaks down to carbon dioxide and water, which is why there isn't a lot of it in the atmosphere anyway.

Actually there were two fusses (at least) over methane lofting to the stratosphere since methane decomposition in the form CH4 + 2(O2) => 2(H2O) + CO2 would supposedly lead to wetting of the stratosphere, with gorebull warbling consequences or CH4 + 2(O3) => 2(H2O) + CO2 + O2 would deplete ozone (causing stratospheric cooling) while wetting the stratosphere (causing stratospheric warming). Either way methane was supposed to wet the stratosphere. Of course, there are also circumstances where methane would be involved in ozone producing rather than ozone consuming reactions but whether the amount of upper atmospheric wetting could compete with jet engine exhaust from increasing air transport was another matter.

Why do I keep mentioning stratospheric ozone and water and why did I introduce air transport exhaust? I'm glad you asked (I was going to tell you anyway): ice crystals forming in vapor trails from jet aircraft significantly increase available reactive surfaces for ozone destructive reactions -- remember the big ozone depletion scare when Al insisted Patagonian Sheep would need Ray-Ban® sunnies or risk cataracts & that there would be blind bunnies in our backyards? If ozone depletion chemistry had any validity at all we should see levels decline proportionate to jet aircraft exhaust levels, which patently we do not. Therefore ozone chemistry needs work or solar irradiation forms ozone at about the rate of destruction, whatever that may be (which would suggest a suspiciously flexible process and a "normal" or optimal level of stratospheric ozone so maintained). See our ozone page here.

 

Wind's Chill Factor

The government says wind power could supply the eastern half of the U.S. with a fifth of its electricity by 2024. Just don't try building wind farms where someone might see them.

A claim is contained in a new study released by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and technically it might be true. But we've heard these overblown predictions before, and experience around the world with heavily subsidized alternative energy has not worked out well.

The area in question, called the Eastern Interconnection, is a grid extending roughly from the western borders of the Plains states through to the Atlantic Coast, excluding most of Texas. It includes Nantucket, where supporters of the Cape Wind project have been tilting at windmills for years.

The Cape Wind project proposes erecting 130 wind turbines that would generate electricity equivalent to about 75% of Cape Cod's energy needs.

The best site is Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Unfortunately, this body of water sits between the Kerry home on Nantucket Island and the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port on the Cape and might spoil the view.

Considering the resistance this one project has had, one wonders how you build the wind farms and the 22,697 miles of EHV (electric high voltage) transmission lines to service the Eastern Interconnection. The time frame is short: 14 years. The cost is exorbitant: $93 billion just for the transmission lines. And the question is a big one: Where do you put them for proper power reach?

As we've evolved from a NIMBY (not in my backyard) nation to a full-fledged BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody) republic, power lines aren't too popular. Seems that every other square foot is the protected habitat of an endangered critter or a "pristine" part of the earth that must be preserved. (IBD)

 

Big Wind: How Many Households Served, What Emissions Reduction? (A Case Study, Part 1 of 2)

by Kent Hawkins and Donald Hertzmark
January 27, 2010

In the midst of a bitter winter in North America and Europe, General Electric has announced a large wind project to be built in Oregon. Press reports in the Financial Times and USA Today describe a project of 338 machines of 2.5 MW each, giving a total capacity of 845 MW.

With power grids strained due to heating demand, increments to generating capacity are to be welcomed. But along with the usual hoopla about homes served and CO2 emissions savings, it is time for some “devil’s advocacy” by asking: – how much energy and capacity will this project really create? How much CO2 will be saved? And when the chips are down will consumers and grid operators be pleased that their funds have gone into wind rather than into some other generating source?

We strongly suspect that neither consumers nor grid operators will benefit greatly from this plant. Our brief analysis of this announcement shows that the claims for houses served and carbon saved are not supported, though some incremental, useful energy supply may be possible under some circumstances. All such claims depend on the system operator’s ability to use the wind farms’ output to offset hydro generation, the key generation resource in the Northwest United States (NW).

Contributing to Capacity: The Sine Qua Non of Power Generation Investments

In the service area where the new wind project will be located, total generating capability is 84 GW. Hydro accounts for 60% of this total (nominally). Current peak demand in the NW power pool, into which the wind project will inject energy, stands currently at just over 60 GW, about the same size as the UK grid. In the winter season provisions for other claims on the water (irrigation, flood control, endangered species protection, etc.) reduce the available capacity of hydro by some 7 GW. The pool’s own capacity assessment notes that “A severe weather event for the entire Power Pool area will add approximately 6,000 MW of load while at the same time reduce [sic] the capability by 7,000 MW.”

In other words, when the chips are down, hydro’s contribution to meeting a larger peak demand may fall by as much as 7 GW, with another 6 GW less capacity from other generation sources. Let’s do the arithmetic: the “normal” winter peak (50% probability) is 61 GW, generating capability (not the same thing as firm capacity) is 84 GW. Comes the storm and the peak rises to 67 GW, while the “capability” falls to 71 GW, providing just a bit more than the minimum reserve requirement of 5 GW.

How likely is it that wind can add to capacity in the midst of a winter demand surge and capacity restriction? [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Married to Mendacity: Growth Energy Continues Its Misinformation Campaign About the Ethanol Scam

A couple weeks ago, after I published yet another story on corn ethanol “Yet More Outrages of the Corn Ethanol Scam,” Chris Thorne, the director of public affairs for Growth Energy sent us an email objecting to the story. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

Final Report Department of Environmental Protection Transition Subcommittee

Until recently, the NJDEP was headed by current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

How did she do in New Jersey? This is how the final transition report begins:

When the Department of Environmental Protection Transition Subcommittee began its intensive investigation five weeks ago into how the Department operates, based on our collective experiences we were skeptical if it could possibly be reinvented and survive. The Department has created cumbersome, confusing and often conflicting regulations that in some cases go beyond legislative intent, and in others, have no enabling legislation at all. Furthermore, inappropriate political interference from all levels of government has at times, influenced decision making. This has tied the hands of staff trying to issue permits and consequently, the hands of those both trying to develop and redevelop NJ as well as environmental organizations trying to improve the quality of NJ’s natural resources and historic sites.

The Department has failed to fulfill its own mission statement of protecting our State’s vital natural resources while taking into consideration economic vitality. As policy makers, it is important to realize that baselines have shifted. The Department has driven economic investment out of this State often with policies that, ironically, provide little or no environmental benefit.

Final Report Department of Environmental Protection Transition Subcommittee

 

Peter Foster: The crumbling Davos Agenda

Haiti’s pre-earthquake condition has cast a harsh light on the best-laid redistributionist plans of the Davos men

By Peter Foster

The World Economic Forum doesn’t really seem like Stephen Harper’s cup of Orange Pekoe. The Swiss mountain schmoozefest is the epicentre of what British economist David Henderson has called “Global Salvationism.” That is the belief that what the world needs is more morally-charged, UN-style, super-management, organized by a self-selected elite. This self-Chosen Few regards politicians and corporate executives as its puppets, and radical non-governmental organizations as its storm troopers.

Still, Canada’s financial system is the object of admiration for having survived the global banking meltdown intact. Also, Mr. Harper can do a little advance work for the G8 and G20 meetings scheduled to take place in Canada this year. Meanwhile escaping the prorogation kerfuffle must also be appealing. So tomorrow he’ll be addressing the Great and the Good in Davos, and they’ll be listening.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

If You Like Bureaucracy And Red Tape, Then You’ll Love The Health Care Bill

Time and time again, congressional leaders have denied that the proposed health care legislation would result in a federal takeover of health care.  Proponents of Obamacare claim that consumers would retain personal choice in selecting health plans and physicians.  For example, consider President Obama’s comments at a Raleigh, NC town-hall meeting on July 29, 2009:  “Nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care.  I’m tired of hearing that…Under the plan I’ve proposed…if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.”

The President and Congressional leaders fail to mention that, under the House and Senate bills, the federal government would determine the kind of health plans Americans get— the kinds of insurance Americans would get, the level of coverage they can receive, and the premiums, co-payments and taxes they would pay.  It even mandates that all individuals purchase a government-defined level of health insurance coverage, regardless of their personal wants or needs. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Corporations Will No Longer Stand Still For Same Old 'Soak The Rich' Schemes

Recent budget results tell a cautionary tale for a soak-the-rich tax policy.

Corporate tax revenues dropped precipitously in 2009. Simultaneously, the deficit shot upward. Even though economic conditions devastated earnings, the deficit tempts policymakers to further worsen them by raising taxes. Global competition advises otherwise.

Overall federal revenues fell 16.6% in the 2009 fiscal year ended Oct. 1. Leading the decline was a 54.4% plunge in corporate income-tax receipts.

America already has a tax system highly dependent on top earners. The top fifth of tax filers pay almost 97% of the nation's income taxes, according to Congress' nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

Fueled by an economic downturn that began in the financial community, there is now an added populist sentiment to punish the seemingly unscathed by extracting even more revenue from the top.

Such a soak-the-rich sentiment finds its perfect target in America's corporations. A faceless entity, the corporation creates the useful illusion of being "no one." Therefore, "no one" seems to bear the impact of corporate taxes.

In reality, just the opposite occurs. Corporations are more and more "everyone" — from employees, to investors, to customers. And the taxes placed on corporations are passed on to them all. (J.T Young, IBD)

 

Oh boy... Study links reduced fertility to flame retardant exposure

BERKELEY — Women with higher blood levels of PBDEs, a type of flame retardant commonly found in household consumer products, took longer to become pregnant compared with women who have lower levels of PBDEs, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. 

The study, to be published Jan. 26 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that each 10-fold increase in the blood concentration of four PBDE chemicals was linked to a 30 percent decrease in the odds of becoming pregnant each month. 

"There have been numerous animal studies that have found a range of health effects from exposure to PBDEs, but very little research has been done in humans. This latest paper is the first to address the impact on human fertility, and the results are surprisingly strong," said the study's lead author, Kim Harley, adjunct assistant professor of maternal and child health and associate director of the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "These findings need to be replicated, but they have important implications for regulators." 

PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are a class of organobromine compounds that became commonplace after the 1970s when new fire safety standards were implemented in the United States. The flame retardants are used in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets, plastics and other common items in the home. (UC Berkeley)

What are we to make of this? When I was a lad 10-fold was an order of magnitude increase but we are not sure what the initial value might be here. Even so, an exponentially increasing blood load only reduces fertility by 30% with each order of magnitude? If women with 10 times PBDE blood level were seven-tenths as likely to conceive then presumably women with 100 times X PBDE were half as likely to become pregnant in a given month,1,000 times, one-third, 10,000 times, one quarter and so on... Therefore we assume more fireproof women have a reduced urgency to pass on their genes?

On the assumption they use 10-fold from whatever base as a threshold and then simply increment in multiples of that in an ordinal fashion ( 10-fold; 20-fold; 30-fold... ) we are still looking at a suspiciously diminishing effect with the dose-response curve going the wrong way.

Proposed biologically plausible mechanism? Didn't see one.

"Less than compelling" is about as polite a thing as I can think of for this one.

 

Déjà vu all over again

More than half of the experts who advised the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare swine flu a "pandemic" are linked to drug-makers that have reaped huge profits from untested vaccines and flu drugs.

This is from the Institute of Science in Society which tells us that eleven of the 20 members of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) have profited from work done for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities. Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker that stands to benefit the most from the pandemic.

At the height of the pandemic scare, UK's Chief Medical Officer warned of up to 65,000 deaths. The death toll now stands at 251; and the UK Government is now trying to offload up to £1 billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccines.

Among the three UK experts with industrial links is Prof Sir Roy Anderson – of Foot and Mouth fame - rector of Imperial College, London, also non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline. He received £87,000 for six board meetings in 2008 and £29,000-worth of shares. Since the swine flu outbreak the shares have risen in value by more than 10 percent.

Earlier, we are told, a Danish newspaper revealed, through the Danish Freedom of Information Act, that Prof Juhani Eskola of SAGE and director of the Finnish research vaccine programme THL received nearly €6.3 million in 2009 for his research centre from GlaxoSmithKline, which was not declared on the WHO website. Seven other WHO experts have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, most of them not declared on the WHO website.

One member of SAGE, Dr. Albert Osterhaus at Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands, heads the European Scientists Fighting Influenza, and is financed by Baxter, Crucell, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, MedImmune, Nobilon, Sanofi Pasteur, MSD, Glaxo SmithKline and Solvay. He was under investigation for gross conflict of interest, which dates back to the earlier bird flu scare.

And there we have another classic example of the nexus between "science", government and international organisations – especially the UN. Anyone who thinks the climate change industry is any different is in the land of the fairies. With global warming, as with any other scare, follow the money. (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

The Hole In The EPA's Ozone Claims - Subjective interpretation, questionable number-crunching and weird science.

To the EPA, "safe" is a constantly moving target--and that's the way it likes it. Always something new to regulate, always a new hobgoblin from which to save us. Take the agency's proposal to yet again lower allowable ozone levels. It's another one of those win-win regulations for which the EPA is famous, supposedly saving both lives and money. But its assertions collapse when you examine the science on which they're allegedly based. (Michael Fumento, Forbes)

 

The secret life of smoke in fostering rebirth and renewal of burned landscape

The innermost secrets of fire's role in the rebirth and renewal of forests and grasslands are being revealed in research that has identified plant growth promoters and inhibitors in smoke. In the latest discovery about smoke's secret life, an international team of scientists are reporting discovery of a plant growth inhibitor in smoke. The study appears in ACS's Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication. (ACS)

 

 

Dear U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Why Attempt to Resuscitate a Brain Dead Climate Bill?

by Robert Bradley Jr.
January 26, 2010

“Politically oriented capitalism, whatever particular form it takes, involves the granting by the state of privileged opportunities for profit. Such openings are available only to those with connections or to those who can pay for influence.” 

-          Scott, James. Comparative Political Corruption. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972, p. 52.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress (Center for American Progress) is holding out hope against hope that a climate bill–just about any climate bill–will be passable in 2010. He regurgitates a Boston Globe piece under the headline, Graham, Kerry, Lieberman meet with Rahm Emanuel — and then Chamber of Commerce, whose VP of Gov’t Affairs said, “generally we were in synch”!

This brings up the question: why is the Chamber of Commerce negotiating with the enemies of true (consumer-driven) economic recovery? (MasterResource)

 

Letter to SEC on global warming

We thought it interesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission, charged by statute with ensuring investor protection and the efficient functioning of the Nation’s securities markets would be doing an interpretive release on global warming. We can’t think what the SEC’s statutory authority would be to regulate in this area. As far as we know, there are no climate scientists working at the SEC. 

Ranking Member’s Barton and Walden thought they would ask the SEC Chairman for some context to this unusual foray into environmental science and energy policy by the SEC.

We thought you might like to see their questions.

1.26.10 Barton Walden Letter to SEC Chairman Schapiro

 

What Boxer-Kerry Will Cost the Economy

Abstract: Barbara Boxer and John Kerry are pushing their climate-change legislation in the Senate. Like the Waxman-Markey bill, passed by the House last year, Boxer-Kerry is a cap-and-trade bill. Why is that bad? Because severely restricting greenhouse gas emission places an enormous burden on American families--higher gasoline prices, higher heating costs, higher energy taxes, higher unemployment. The Heritage Foundation's team of economic and climate-change experts details the extraordinary costs that will fall on businesses and families across the country should this legislation become law. (Heritage Foundation)

 

Don't let the carbon market die

The Copenhagen climate change conference achieved too little, but a modest global carbon tax would make amends (Oliver Tickell, The Guardian)

Indeed, let's not let the carbon market die -- let's kill it immediately. Then it should be embalmed, cremated and buried -- take no chances!

 

Column - Ten signs that the warming scare is collapsing

ONCE global warming was the “great moral challenge of our generation”. Or so claimed the Prime Minister.

But suddenly it’s the great con that’s falling to bits around Kevin Rudd’s ears.

In fact, so fast is global warming theory collapsing that in his flurry of recent speeches to outline his policies for the new decade, Rudd has barely mentioned his “moral challenge” at all.

Take his long Australia Day reception speech on Sunday. Rudd talked of our ageing population and of building stuff, of taxes, hospitals and schools - but dared not say one word about the booga booga he used to claim could destroy our economy, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and 750,000 coastal homes.

What’s happened?

Answer: in just the past few months has come a cascade of evidence that the global warming scare is based on often dodgy science and even outright fraud.

Here are just the top 10 new signs that catastrophic man-made warming may be just another beat-up, like swine flu, SARS, and the Y2K bug. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

 

Finally: There is fundamental uncertainty in climate change, science tsar says

The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

John Beddington was speaking to The Times in the wake of an admission by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that it grossly overstated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers were receding.

Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues. (The Times)

 

Here's a novelty in a Fairfax publication: Be alert but wary on climate claims - Doubts over modelling and emissions trading schemes are justified.

PRE-COPENHAGEN, the global warming debate had been captured by prophets of doom and the language of apocalypse. This was particularly off-putting in a discussion that depends on high-quality science, cool logic, and careful argument. It raises old suspicions. The West has already experienced theories of impending environmental disaster-with the Club of Rome launching a successful scare campaign in the 1970s about the world running out of food. Its book, Limits to Growth, sold 30 million copies. Hardly a decade had passed before its predictions were proved wrong.

Of course, the objective case for global warming is separate from the manner in which some of its proponents have publicised it. And, it should be judged on its own merits. Nevertheless, I must confess to being wary of causes that attract pseudo-religious enthusiasm and intellectual fanaticism. (The Age)

 

And the BBC? The dam is cracking

The bloggers are all over the UN IPCC 2007 report, the bible of global warming, which predicted all manner of dire outcomes for our planet unless we got a grip on rising temperatures -- and it seems to be crumbling in some pretty significant areas. (Andrew Neil, BBC)

 

Uh-huh... IPCC deputy says scientists are 'only human'

Climate scientists are "only humans" who can make mistakes like everyone else, the deputy leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said. (TDT)

... and one of the biggest mistakes the world has ever made was UNFCCC, along with its ill-spawned progeny.

 

Something about rats & ships comes to mind... Canadian scientist calls for overhaul of UN climate change panel

A senior Canadian climate scientist says the United Nations' panel on global warming has become tainted by political advocacy, that its chairman should resign, and that its approach to science should be overhauled.

Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria, says the leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has allowed it to advocate for action on global warming, rather than serve simply as a neutral science advisory body.

"There's been some dangerous crossing of that line," said Weaver on Tuesday, echoing the published sentiments of other top climate scientists in the U.S. and Europe this week. (Richard Foot, Canwest News Service)

 

(WT)2: Incomplete data may mean warming is worse - Fewer temperature readings could create inaccurate picture in Arctic: Environment Canada

Environment Canada says climate scientists who track global temperature trends may be underestimating the amount of warming in the Canadian Arctic, because they are working with data from a declining sample of weather stations across the region. (Richard Foot, Canwest News Service)

We create an artificially large "warming" by removing cold stations from the record and then claim warming could be (WT)2 (WTWT or WorseThanWeThought™) because we don't have as many stations in the record? Right...

 

Climate scandal grows as scientists detail “horrifying examples of deliberate tampering with the temperature data”

Washington, DC 1/26/2010 06:31 PM GMT

An extensive survey of the literature and data regarding ground and sea surface temperature records uncovers deception through data manipulation, reports the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Authors veteran meteorologists Joe d’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”. (TransWorldNews)

 

Australia’s Govt to Reintroduce Carbon Plan Next Week

Jan. 27 -- Australia’s ruling Labor Party, seeking to pass a carbon trading scheme, will reintroduce the already-rejected climate change proposal to the House of Representatives when parliament returns next week. 

“This is the most efficient way of us addressing climate change in this country,” Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in an interview on ABC Radio. “We will put it in the House of Representatives and we will debate and we will vote on it.” (Bloomberg)

 

PM, ignore Massachusetts warning at your peril

MASSACHUSETTS is a long way from Australia. Even so, you can count on the Rudd government paying close attention to what happened in the Bay State last week. A little known Republican, Scott Brown, won the Senate election by campaigning against the US President's radical healthcare plan. Massachusetts is sacred Democrat turf, held by the Kennedy clan for more than 40 years and by Democrats since 1952. It was the only state to vote for George McGovern over Richard Nixon in 1972.

Barack Obama's overreach on health care has plenty in common with Kevin Rudd's dogged pursuit of an emissions trading scheme. The Morgan Poll shows support for the ETS sliding from 50 per cent in August to 46 per cent last week, with disapproval growing from 24 per cent in August to 36 per cent in the most recent survey. If that trend-line continues, Obama's healthcare disaster could well be a mirror of Rudd's ETS nightmare in the coming months. (Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian)

 

Courts as Battlefields in Climate Fights

Tiny Kivalina, Alaska, does not have a hotel, a restaurant or a movie theater. But it has a very big lawsuit that might affect the way the nation deals with climate change.

Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village of 400 perched on a barrier island north of the Arctic Circle, is accusing two dozen fuel and utility companies of helping to cause the climate change that it says is accelerating the island’s erosion. (NYT)

The great tragedy is that activists have conned these poor people into acting as misanthropists' Trojan Horse and led them to believe they'll get money because others are industrialized. All that can happen is a legal precedent that "climate science" sucks and we don't know what temperature the planet "should be", nor what it is or whether a generalized temperature is even a useful metric.

 

IPCC Statement on Trends in Disaster Losses

The IPCC has issued a statement in response to the Sunday Times article on errors in the IPCC treatment of disaster losses and climate change. The IPCC statement (PDF) is a remarkable bit of spin and misinformation. Here it is with my comments: (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Climategate: Who Benefits When the IPCC Lies?

A false claim by the IPCC shows up in several grant applications for companies with IPCC members on their boards.

What if there really are people exploiting the anthropogenic global warming panic purely for personal gain? A lot has happened in the climate change debate in the two months since the Climategate files were first revealed to the world. Oddly, the latest news hasn’t been making the papers in the U.S., but it sure has been in London.

One thing that has become clear is that the science in the IPCC reports was suspiciously slanted. Last weekend one of the IPCC principals, Dr. Murari Lal, admitted that they had introduced 2035 as the year the Himalayan glaciers would disappear — even though they knew it was questionable — in order to have more political impact:

Dr. Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr. Lal, the coordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: “It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.”

But why? Are they simply true believers who feel that the risk of anthropogenic global warming is so great that skewing the science would be justified? As scientists, that would be bad enough. But there’s another explanation. Could it be that the skewing of the results is not just being done by true believers, but instead by cynical manipulators intent on their own gain?

It’s the “second story” of Climategate. (Charlie Martin, PJM)

 

Climategate: Step by step

A painstakingly detailed review of the Climategate e-mails bolsters the picture they paint of deliberate data manipulation by "scientists" bent on blaming mankind for climate change.

"Climategate Analysis," available from the nonprofit Science & Public Policy Institute ( scienceandpublicpolicy.org ), presents all the leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit -- in chronological order, with commentary.

John P. Costella, the 149-page report's author, does a tremendous service by documenting, step by step, how science was perverted to advance misguided ideology, cynical politics and personal and professional interests.

Mr. Costella says massive "research" funding -- with strings attached requiring production of "evidence" backing preordained eco-wacko "findings" -- helped spread such venality far and wide among "scientists." What Climategate reveals and his report itemizes is "science" unworthy of the name -- and on a vast scale.

With rampant ignorance of how science should work, the public's gullibility hardly is surprising. Kudos to Costella and the institute for lessening that ignorance -- and the influence of the unsupported beliefs, masquerading as fact, espoused by what he calls "the Church of Climatology." (The Tribune-Review)

 

Rose-tinted spectacles

Having barely covered the ebb and flow of the controversy over "Glaciergate", The Daily Telegraph today weighs in with a lead editorial demanding: "Climate change: give us science we can trust".

Nonetheless, the trigger for this sudden concern is indeed the Himalayan glacier story, on the back of which we are blithely informed that: "The IPCC quickly admitted the error ... ".

The temptation, at this point is to stop reading. This is not information – it is disinformation. Followers of the saga know well that, through the whole process of constructing the passage on melting glaciers, the IPCC ignored reviewers' comments and we are all aware of Pachauri's arrogant dismissal of Raina's contrary view last December as "voodoo science".

Only after the "mistake" had been comprehensively outed by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times did the IPCC finally react, and then grudgingly, dismissing it – as the DT leader records - " ... as an aberration carried on just one page of a report thousands of pages long."

The leader, however, then notes that the weekend brought further disclosures that claims in the report blaming rising temperatures for an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods had not been properly reviewed by other scientists.

But then we get a bizarre assertion, that: "It is true that the first people to apologise for these errors and to promise to rectify them were the IPCC scientists themselves ... ". Last I heard (on a live link with NDTV to New Delhi) was Pachauri dismissing this report – as he so often does – as "lies", declaring that the IPCC would make a statement on it later this week, which it has yet to do. Currently, though it is denying any error.

Nevertheless, the Daily Telegraph – through rose-tinted glasses so dense that vision can hardly be possible – tells us that these scientists "... understand how important it is for the credibility of their case that the evidence on which it is based is copper-bottomed," then telling us: "it becomes difficult to resist the blandishments of the sceptics if a purportedly scientific document cannot be wholly relied on." (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

The Four ‘Gates’ of the IPCC

IMAGE: IPCC Shot to Pieces

First there was Climate Gate, showing that the peer review process has descended into a criminal farce of scientific malpractice where adjusting and hiding data was de-rigueur. Hello Fraud. ClimateGate also spread to the US, where 75% of worldwide data is systematically ignored or “adjusted” until it tells the right story.

Then there was PachuriGate, showing that the man in charge of the IPCC was chairman of boards of companies that profit handsomely as the scare-factor is ramped up.

Along comes GlacierGate: about the IPCC “accidentally” using a WWF report instead of peer reviewed science papers.  After calling a 60 page Indian Govt report on glaciers “voodoo science” they were forced to apologize for that “one paragraph that was wrong”. Then Donna LeFramboise in just one day of hunting, found 16 other references in the IPCC  4th report to the “scientific journal” called “WWF”. Proving that really, the big safety-mechanism of the IPCC reputation was not in it’s exhaustive reviews but was in the way it made it’s documents so big, so dull and so unreadable, that hardly anyone actually … reads them. Call it the thousand-page-cloak-of-invisibility.

Camouflage for poor science, poor standards, bad logic, and too many vested interests to name.

Now there is AmazonGate. The IPCC fabricates disastrous claims about the Amazon forest, and references a document written by activists that doesn’t even support the claim. More » (Jo Nova)

 

Monckton replies to Prof Andy Pitman

Image: Andy Pitman Prof Andy Pitman

Prof Andy Pitman, lead author for the IPCC and Co-Director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, claims skeptics are winning because they are so well funded and tell lies. (And don’t we Australian taxpayers feel good about funding his career so he can throw baseless insults at polite volunteers?*) The ABC Interview is here. Case Smit took issue and wrote to Pitman in reply:

” I am one of the two retirees organising the Australian Tour of Lord Monckton. We receive not one dollar of funding from corporations or government! Nor have any other sceptics (true scientists) that I know.

We have underwritten the tour with our own money and are in the process of recouping the costs with donations which, so far have come from individuals who, like us, look into the science of global warming nd have come to the conclusion that humankind’s carbon dioxide contribution has nothing to do with it. Donations are coming in from as little as $10 from supporters of the Tour.

I could write a lot more, but I’m busy organising Monckton functions which are selling out fast all over Australia.”

Pitman wrote back that he was sympathetic, and sorry to hear Case had been hoodwinked by the liars, and that global warming was real. Though the only evidence Pitman even attempted to give was a long list of all the subjects of science that would be “wrong” if global warming was not real AND dangerous. Somehow all of biology will be debunked if man-made global warming turns out to be only minor and inconsequential. Really. I didn’t realize the theory of evolution now depends on carbon emissions. Crickey.

Christopher Monckton Christopher Monckton

Monckton shot back some thoughts tonight:

Dear Professor Pitman,

It would help me to understand your position if you were able to assist me in understanding this issue by answering some specific scientific questions.

More » (Jo Nova)

 

He still doesn't get it: Climate change activists work to regain momentum - From stable weather to e-mail controversy, the issue takes a hit

The climate surrounding climate change has changed, and not for the better for those seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

First there's public perception. Hurricane activity in every ocean last year was below normal. Global temperatures remain no warmer now than a decade ago. The Arctic Sea ice, at least temporarily, has modestly recovered. And the United States is having one of its coldest winters in a long time.

Then, in November, a slew of e-mails from a British climate center were released that appear to show, at the very best, unseemly behavior by top climate scientists. Branded Climategate, it only resulted in accusations that researchers are willing to cook the books and further eroded public trust in climate science. (Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle)

Actually Eric, the non issue is taking hits and rightly so. This has never been about the planet's climate, which has never been threatened by an essential trace gas.

 

Lord Stern's Spokesperson Responds

Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, where Nicholas Stern in the Chair, has kindly written in to the comments, responding to my post on how the Stern Review Report misused the Robert Muir-Woods paper and quietly altered a typo that revealed the fuzzy math. Bob's comments are below, with my responses in the inset boxes, with a black line around them. I thank Bob for his engagement. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

IPCC denies newspaper claim that it overstated costs of natural disasters

UN body rebutts Sunday Times allegation that it exaggerated link between costs of natural disasters and climate change (The Guardian)

 

Bob Ward's Big Day

Bob Ward is at it again. It is interesting that no scholars have stepped up to the IPCC on the disasters and climate issue, leaving the task to Lord Stern's spokesman. Below is a piece that he had on the Guardian site today, defending the IPCC against claims that it had sexed up its sections on disasters and climate change. Bob is a PR pro, and while there is enough spin in his piece to make anyone dizzy, the piece is remarkable for how little there is in it to contradict my claims. Ward seems to rest his critique on the notion that this is old news.

Below I unpack the key parts of the piece. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Club of Rome recycled: World economic growth at odds with climate targets

As the UK is expected to emerge from recession, the New Economics Foundation says endless growth is pushing the planet's biosphere 'beyond its safe limits' (The Guardian)

 

Climate fund 'recycled' from existing aid budget, UK government admits

A £1.5bn pledge by Gordon Brown to help poor countries cope with the ravages of climate change will drain funds from existing overseas aid programmes to improve health, education and water supplies, the government admitted today.

The move, revealed in an email exchange between campaigners and an official at the Department for International Development (DfiD), appears to undermine repeated government pledges that such climate aid should be additional to existing overseas development aid (ODA). (The Guardian)

 

<chuckle> IPCC clear on evidence for global warming

Some aspects of global warming may not be entirely understood and data may be sparse, but scientists do not dispute that global temperature has increased, especially since 1950, as pointed out in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Indian scientists note the rise in the levels of the Indian Ocean along three cities in the country are close to the global averages stated in the report.

...

The impact on India alone will be serious. Ocean experts say the mean sea-level rise along the coasts of Mumbai, Kochi and Visakhapatnam is due to the effects of global warming. “The Indian Ocean is rising by 1.3 mm every year,” A S Unnikrishnan, senior scientist at the National Institute of Oceanography, told Business Standard.

The Indian Ocean is rising by 1.3 mm every year”, which would make it 6" per century, right in the middle of the long-term average of 4"-8" per century estimated pre-gorebull warming. This is such a silly game.

 

Do you actually have a use for more woodlands? Using woodlands to cut emissions

The UK is one of the least forested countries in Europe. The growing maturity of UK woodlands means that carbon sequestration is falling rapidly. From Carbon Commentary, part of the Guardian Environment Network

 

Guest Post By Thomas Chase On An Update On “Was The 2003 European Heat Wave Unusual In A Global Context”

Guest Post By Thomas N. Chase

Update on

Chase, T.N., K. Wolter, R.A. Pielke Sr., and Ichtiaque Rasool, 2006: Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L23709, doi:10.1029/2006GL027470.

In Chase et al. (2006) we documented the June, July, and August averaged thickness temperature anomalies in terms of standard deviations exceeded and concluded that, while the European heatwave was unusual, natural variability in terms of ENSO and volcanic eruptions exceeded the extremes of the European heatwave. In subsequent commentary on this paper, Connelly (2006) found that the European heat wave was indeed quite unusual if surface temperature data was used prompting Chase et al. (2008) to conclude, along with others, that the unusual heat wave was confined near the surface was the result of surface processes and not a general warming of the troposphere as would be expected in a global warming scenario. We also concluded that with the updated time series that an upward trend in extreme variability was starting to appear. 

Here we update the original time series through 2009 as shown in Figures 1a,b,c which show the percentage of the Northern Hemisphere extratropics affected by 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5 SD anomalies, respectively. There is now a clear and significant upward trend in the most extreme variability (Table 1) with the summer of 2008 being the most extreme yet. This is due to very large warm anomalies in northeastern Canada, around Greenland, and also in Siberia (Figure 2). Interestingly, these extremes in SD exceeded are largest in the near-surface layers of the atmosphere than in the mid-troposphere despite the temperature variability at high latitudes being much larger near the surface than in the mid troposphere (e.g., Peixoto and Oort, 1992; Figure 7.8) again suggesting that surface processes are more responsible than generalized climate warming. (Climate Science)

 

Comments On “Oscilloscope – Britain’s Cold Snap Is Explained By The Arctic Oscillation” in the Economist

The Economist has an interesting article in their January 11 2010 issue titled

Oscilloscope – Britain’s cold snap is explained by the Arctic oscillation

which (correctly) reports that the recent cold and snowy weather in the UK (and elsewhere) is a result of regional atmospheric circulation patterns. Excerpts from the article read

“IT IS an ill wind that blows no good, as people have been remarking to each other since at least the 16th century. In the case of the bitter easterlies that have brought Britain colder, snowier weather than has been seen for a couple of decades…”

“The atmosphere cannot make heat, or even hold that much of it. There is more heat stored in the top four metres of the oceans than in all the Earth’s atmosphere. 

So when the atmosphere cools down one part of the globe, it is a good rule of thumb that it is warming some other part. In the case of the current mid-latitude chill, it is the high latitudes that are seeing the warming. In Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, December was comparatively balmy. The air above Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait was 7ºC warmer than usual (though that still left it pretty cold).

This pole-centred roundel of warm-in-cold is symptomatic of what climatologists call the negative phase of the Arctic oscillation (AO). It is a mode of atmospheric circulation in which the stratosphere is unusually warm and westerly winds, which normally bring warmth from the oceans to northern Europe, are unusually weak.”

However, there is a significant misunderstanding that is presented in the article. It is written that

“The atmosphere is not just about temperature, though. Wind patterns matter too.”

The article is correct that wind patterns matter (as this is what transports the cold air from the higher latitudes and warm air from lower latitudes). However, the wind pattern is determined by the three-dimensional wind field.  This temperature field creates the three dimensional pressure field, and this pressure field produces the wind patterns. This is well understood in synoptic meteorology, as I have summarized in my lecture notes

Pielke Sr., R.A. 2002: Synoptic Weather Lab Notes. Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science Class Report #1, Final Version, August 20, 2002.

The cold air in the troposphere at higher latitudes, for example, is why the winds in the middle and upper troposphere generally blow from west to east (i.e. the “westerly jet stream; also called the “polar jet”). This also explains why these winds are stronger in the winter than in the summer, since the higher latitudes are colder in the winter.  If you fly from New York to London, you typically arrive more quickly than when you fly from London to New York. The Arctic Oscillation which is the reason for the cold snowy period in the UK is a result of the spatial distribution of tropospheric temperatures.

Thus, despite the implication in the Economist article that wind patterns are distinct from the temperatures, they are intimately related to each other with the temperature field determining the wind patterns. This is why alterations in the spatial pattern of diabatic heating by human activity, such as we identified in our paper

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.

is so important.  These alterations affect the wind field, and thus the weather than is experienced regionally. This is a much more important issue than changes in the global average surface temperature in terms of the effects on society and the environment. (Climate Science)

 

52 years of arctic temperatures 80-90 north

This webpage from the Danish Centre for Ocean and Ice has interesting graphics showing the temperature of the arctic above 80 north since 1958 using the climate reanalysis ERA40.

I have made an animation with 2 second frames.

I can add 2010 later. ( Warwick Hughes)

Check out the animation and see how stable summer warm temperatures have been -- and how erratic the cold extremes.

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 4: 27 January 2010

Editorial:
Closing the Global Sea Level Budget: Success at last.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 801 individual scientists from 476 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Impiltis Archaeological Site, Northwest Lithuania. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Regional - South America: Venezuela): The back-and-forth nature of millennial-scale warming and cooling evident in proxy-derived temperatures from various places in Venezuela -- and throughout all of South America -- as well as the extreme cold of the Little Ice Age, add to the wealth of data that testify to the non-uniqueness of 20th-century global warming everywhere.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Purple Clover (Wu et al., 2009), Sorghum (Prasad et al., 2009), Sugar Beet (Burkart et al., 2009), and Tomato (Wang et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
New York City's Urban Heat Island: Just how high above the non-urban background can the temperature of the urban core of the Big Apple rise? ... and what can be done to mitigate its magnitude?

Glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub-Antarctic Islands: How has their behavior compared with that of the rest of the planet's glaciers? ... and what are the ultimate implications of this relationship?

Potential Effects of Elevated CO2 on Stream Ecosystems: Are they really as small - or as negative - as some would have us believe?

Insect Larvae Feeding on CO2-Enriched Castor Plant Foliage: How are they affected by it?

Sugarcane Production in Southern Brazil: What is the outlook for the future? (co2science.org)

 

IEA says CSS is essential technology in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Widely blamed for an acceleration in global warming, man-made carbon dioxide has become something of a symbol for human-induced environmental degradation. And in the debate about how to minimize future volumes of this greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from the burning of fossil fuels, many people are pinning their hopes on somehow capturing and storing the gas deep in the earth, in underground places where it can do no harm. 

In fact, this type of long-term storage, a technique referred to as carbon capture and sequestration, or carbon capture and storage, underpins most strategies for minimizing future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, including those of the world’s foremost energy research group, the International Energy Agency, or IEA.

But, how close is the possibility of the widespread use of CCS, given there are only a handful of CCS applications in commercial operation? And what are the issues involved in the most commonly considered CCS approach, that of taking the carbon dioxide out of fuel or exhaust gas streams, and then pumping it deep underground? (GoO)

Fortunately carbon dioxide emissions have no known downside and plenty of upside, making CCS a worse than pointless exercise.

 

We warned people not to hitch their wagons to gorebull warbling: Solutions to climate change: using trees and grasses to capture carbon and produce energy

A unique £1.1 million research project is investigating how coppiced trees and grass crops can be used both to generate renewable energy and to trap carbon in the soil over the long term. (PhysOrg)

A lot of people with poorly chosen career paths are going to be very upset as this nonsense implodes.

 

Coal-state House members seek ‘unified voice’ with new caucus

A bipartisan group of six House members from coal-producing and coal-reliant states has formed a new caucus to “provide a voice for coal communities in Congress.”

The Congressional Coal Caucus comes as lawmakers consider climate and energy policies that will determine the future of the abundant resource. Coal supplies half the electricity in the U.S. but emits far more greenhouse gases than natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources. (E2 Wire)

 

Keep little brown people impoverished and in the dark: US to World Bank: Don't fund coal-fired plants

NEW DELHI: Close on the heels of the inconclusive end to the Copenhagen Accord, the US government has stepped up pressure on the World Bank not to fund coal-fired power plants in developing countries. 

In a letter sent to the World Bank, a copy of which is with TOI, United States Executive Director Whitney Debevoise said, "The Obama Administration believes that the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have a potentially critical role to play in the future international framework for climate finance, and, in particular, to assist developing countries in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening their economies' resilience to climate risks.'' 

Referring to the guidelines as a product of "internal US government deliberations'', Debevoise has advised MDBs to "remove barriers to and build demand for no or low carbon resources''. Though the US Treasury Department (USTD) is a statutary body and its recommendations are not binding on the World Bank, the move, the first-of-its-kind, is believed to have created pressure on the bank. 

While India, with its history of funding its own coal-fired power plants, does not stand to be affected immediately, representatives of developing countries like China, India and others in the World Bank have reacted sharply to this development. Calling the guidelines "an unhealthy subservience of the decision-making processes in the Bank to the dictates of one member country'', they have said that the US should instead raise these issues during discussions in the Board on the Bank's Energy Sector Strategy. (Times of India)

 

Shell taps oilsands brakes - CEO blames high costs for slowed growth

D espite signs of a revival in Alberta's oilsands, one of the world's largest oil companies plans to limit growth in the sector in the coming years, its CEO said Monday.

Speaking to the Londonbased Financial Times in his first major interview since he became the company's chief executive in July, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser said the company will slow its oilsands expansion plans and shift focus to conventional exploration in other parts of the world.

In the report, Voser said the company had "clearly scaled down" its earlier plans to triple production from the Athabasca Oil Sands Project to 750,000 barrels per day.

"Over the past two years and certainly over the past six to eight months, I've taken the pace out of that because we have enough other growth opportunities," he told the newspaper.

In the interview, Voser complained that costs in Canada were still too high. ( Calgary Herald)

 

Greenies use any excuse and every method to attack the energy supply: Investors target Marcellus Shale drillers

HOUSTON - A group of shareholders who focus on the environment said on Tuesday they are targeting companies operating in the Marcellus Shale to ensure development of natural gas does not pollute or endanger human health.

The shareholder proposal campaign, aimed at 12 companies including Chesapeake Energy Corp, EOG Resources Inc and Exxon Mobil Corp, was sparked by mounting worry about chemicals used in a process to extract gas from rock called hydraulic fracturing, the groups said.

"There is real business risk here," said Larisa Ruoff, an official with the $100 million Green Century Funds. "Companies and regulators must ensure this development is done in a way that protects the environment and drinking water." (Reuters)

 

China’s Oil Imports Continued Upward Climb in ‘09

For China, 2009 was supposed to be a year of economic slowdown and thus, lower energy demand. In the US, after years of increasing demand, oil consumption fell by about 5%, to about 19 million barrels per day. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides and Xina Xie, Energy Tribune)

 

Energy "so what?" of the moment: Wind Power Capacity Up In 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. wind power capacity soared 39 percent last year but job growth stalled as uncertainty about renewable energy policies and the recession slowed manufacturing, an industry group said. (Reuters)

 

McDonald Gun-Rights Case: Round One Goes to the NRA

There is growing tension between the pro-gun parties to the upcoming Supreme Court gun-rights case. Perhaps concerned about the direction this case was going, the Court has taken the unusual step of granting the NRA’s motion to be given separate time to speak during oral arguments. Round One in this historic fight for the right to bear arms goes to the NRA.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on March 2 in McDonald v. City of Chicago, presenting the question of whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is only enforceable against the federal government, or whether it is also a right against city and state governments. This lawsuit challenges Chicago’s gun ban, which is essentially identical to the federal ban in D.C. that the Supreme Court struck down in 2008.

The lawyers for Otis McDonald and his co-plaintiffs are libertarian activists, who are pushing an aggressive and potentially risky constitutional theory to the Court. Without getting too much in the legal weeds, McDonald is arguing that the Court should extend gun rights to the states through the little-known Fourteenth Amendment Privileges or Immunities Clause, and overrule a venerable precedent from 1873 called the Slaughter-House Cases, which protects state sovereignty by limiting the reach of Congress and the courts. The Slaughter-House Cases is only one step removed from Marbury v. Madison as one of the most important cases in American history.

The libertarian activists behind McDonald openly explain that the reason they are pushing the Court to overrule Slaughter-House has nothing to do with guns. Instead, they want to advance a libertarian economic agenda, where federal judges could sit in judgment of state and local laws involving labor, employment, business regulations and other economic issues. Although the Constitution is silent on these matters, these activists want the courts to start declaring constitutional rights against such things, and using the power of the federal judiciary to strike down laws of this sort that the judges don’t like. (Ken Klukowski, Townhall)

 

WHO defends its swine flu warning

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defended its handling of the swine flu pandemic last year, after the Council of Europe cast doubt on its actions.

Countries rushed to order thousands of vaccine doses when the pandemic was declared in June, but the virus proved to be relatively mild. 

The WHO's links to drug companies were questioned at a hearing by the Council of Europe's health committee. (BBC)

 

WHO denies drugs firms swayed its flu decisions

STRASBOURG, France, Jan 26 - The World Health Organisation (WHO) denied on Tuesday that it was unduly influenced by drugs companies to exaggerate the dangers of the H1N1 flu virus.

Pharmaceutical firms picked up multi-million dollar vaccination contracts when the United Nations health agency declared the flu a pandemic last June. (Reuters)

 

Russia, once a science powerhouse, loses standing

WASHINGTON - Political turmoil, a brain drain of scientists and waning interest have transformed Russia from a nation that launched the first satellite into an increasingly minor player in the world of science, according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Tuesday.

An analysis of research papers published by Russian scientists shows an almost across-the-board decrease, which reflects Russia's shrinking influence not only in science but in science-based industries such as nuclear power, the authors of the Thomson Reuters report said.

"Russia's research base has a problem, and it shows little sign of a solution," the report reads.

"Russia has been a leader in scientific research and intellectual thinking across Europe and the world for so long that it comes not only as a surprise but a shock to see that it has a small and dwindling share of world activity as well as real attrition of its core strengths."

In October, more than 170 expatriate Russian scientists signed a letter to President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, complaining about "the catastrophic conditions of fundamental science."

"While other countries have increased their research output, Russia has struggled to maintain its output and even slipped backwards in areas like physics and space science, historically its core strengths," said Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters. (Reuters)

 

We won't bother saying "We told ya so": GE Completes Evaluation of Dredging

The first phase of the Upper Hudson River dredging project spread significantly more PCBs in the river and in the air than predicted and did not meet standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, GE said in a draft report to the agency. The company said the data shows practical adjustments are needed to ensure that the project does not spread more PCBs to the air and water and achieves the benefits EPA projected. (GE)

No chance of the USEPA admitting they are wrong and stopping this insane assault on industry and the environment though...

 

A Culture of Losers - In a world where victimhood is a badge of honor, nothing succeeds like failing.

In an important book, A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, which appeared in 1992, Charles Sykes speaks of “victim chic” and deplores its “catalog of immanent grievance and infinite self-assertion.” Sykes quotes former Assistant Education Secretary Chester Finn, who had it exactly right: “In our no-fault society, it is acceptable to be a victim but not to be held responsible for one’s own situation or for that of one’s children.” We have, Sykes argues, torn up the moral contract underwriting “shared middle-class values” and installed a “victimist” ideology in its place, eliminating social distinctions “based on individual success.” We all experience unfairness and injustice, he concludes, “but that does not mean we need to turn them into all-purpose alibis.”

The confirmation of Sykes’ thesis is all around us. It seems as if we now live in societies filled mainly with victims: victims of mainstream culture, victims of exclusionary daycare policies, victims of transfats, victims of the schoolyard game of tag where some poor child is made to feel “it,” victims of secondhand smoke, victims of the tax system, victims of anti-terror laws, victims of those who pose as victims, victims of state lotteries, victims of potentially lethal glass mugs in British pubs, victims of our genes, victims of “puritanism” (i.e., moral propriety), victims of this and victims of that — those who make up what Bruce Thornton in Plagues of the Mind has aptly called “the conga line of victimhood,” to which the nanny state materially contributes. (David Solway, PJM)

 

Infant swimming tied to lung infection, asthma

NEW YORK - Children who start swimming before the age of 2 may be at increased risk of a common infant lung infection, and possibly asthma and respiratory allergies later in life, a new study suggests.

The findings, reported in the European Respiratory Journal, add to evidence that exposure to chlorinated pools may affect children's respiratory health -- particularly if they have a family history of asthma or respiratory allergies like hay fever. 

Experts have suspected that the air quality around pools, particularly indoor ones, is to blame. When the chlorine used to disinfect pools combines with swimmers' sweat, saliva or urine, irritating chlorine byproducts are formed, and over time these chemicals may damage the airways.

In the new study, Belgian researchers found that infant swimming -- whether in indoor or outdoor pools -- was linked to a heightened risk of bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is an infection of the lungs' small airways, usually caused by the respiratory syncytial virus, that is common in infants. 

In this study, infant swimmers who developed the infection were also at increased risk of developing asthma or respiratory allergies by kindergarten. (Reuters Health)

 

Now we have the thin fat... The Scales Can Lie: Hidden Fat - New Study Argues Even Thin People Can Face Health Risks From Fat; It's 'Normal Weight Obesity'

Can you be normal weight and fat at the same time? 

That's the implication of a provocative recent report from the Mayo Clinic, which suggests that fat in your body can get you and your heart into trouble even if you don't look fat and if the scale tells you you're healthy. 

The Mayo researchers, led by cardiologist Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, have coined a term for the phenomenon: normal weight obesity. In a study that looked at data from 6,171 Americans with normal body size, as measured by body mass index, those with a high percentage of body fat were at significantly greater risk of future heart problems than those with low amounts of fat. Their bodies "behave like they are obese, but they are not," Dr. Lopez-Jimenez says.

People don't have to be overweight to have excess body fat. Instead, these people have a higher ratio of fat to muscle tissue than do people with low body fat. Indeed, even people of the same weight, or those with comparable body mass index, which factors together weight and height, can have different body-fat percentages. (WSJ)

If thin people suffer the same morbidities then by definition they are not obesity diseases, are they?

 

Childhood Obesity Alone May Increase Risk of Later Cardiovascular Disease

By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child's risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). (ScienceDaily)

 

Low-carb diet best for lowering blood pressure

NEW YORK - People with high blood pressure who want to drop some pounds may want to choose a low-carb diet, a new study shows.

In the study, overweight or obese individuals who went on a low-carb diet lost about the same amount of weight as those who cut down on their fat intake and took the weight-loss aid orlistat (sold as Xenical or Alli). However, the low-carb diet produced more favorable effects on blood pressure. 

Most studies of weight loss methods have enrolled overweight or obese volunteers who were healthy, aside from weighing too much. The current study, in contrast, enrolled "real patients" with common conditions like diabetes and heart disease, William S. Yancy Jr. of the VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, told Reuters Health. People with these health issues are often excluded from weight loss studies, Yancy said. (Reuters Health)

 

Soda tax will raise prices 17 percent, help combat obesity crisis, NY health commish says

On Friday, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines testified before a State Senate hearing that a tax on sugary drinks would cut New Yorkers' consumption of these beverages by 15 percent. 

The tax, with a proposed implementation date of September 1, 2010, would increase the price of non-diet soda, sweetened water, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened bottled tea or coffee, and juice drinks by about 17 percent. The $1 billion raised over one year would go toward funding health programs that would otherwise be slashed given New York's dire financial situation. (Examiner)

 

House plans debate on bill requiring healthier foods in schools

Massachusetts schools would phase out fries in favor of fruit under a proposal the House is scheduled to consider this week.

Under a proposal sponsored by 57 members of the House and Senate, state authorities would restrict schools’ ability to sell high-calorie, high-fat and high-sodium snacks, a move aimed at curbing childhood obesity.

Iterations of the bill have stalled for several sessions, encountering resistance from the grocery lobby and those who have argued nutritional values should be instilled at home and not by government. (Kyle Cheney, Statehouse News Service)

 

Beijing fights obesity with tape measures

BEIJING, CHINA - Primary school students in China's capital Beijing are being enlisted to help with the weighty issue of growing obesity.

The students have been given tape measures to size up the waistlines of their parents and themselves during the winter holiday, which starts Friday.

The move was initiated by Beijing educational and health authorities in an attempt to understand and combat obesity and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

An official from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said more than 600,000 cloth tapes had been sent to students. The waistline data will be collected at the start of next semester. (Asia One)

 

Growth is good … isn't it?

Expansion has progressed so far that key resource boundaries have been broken: we're teetering on the edge of an ecological cliff (The Guardian)

No question. Growth is good. Misanthropists are agin it but who really cares what antisocial dipsticks think?

 

How about we provide water, sanitation and power for everyone first? Improve the world: Rethink, redesign and rebuild

Such an initiative sounds grandiose. Is it delusionary for the World Economic Forum to try to pull off such an ambitious undertaking? (Globe and Mail)

 

Um... why? Benn to call on world leaders to adopt biodiversity pricing

Environment secretary says a way must be found to take account of the economic impact of decisions on biodiversity (The Guardian)

What they really mean is they are looking for yet more ways to increase costs and inhibit human activity and humanity generally. Take a hike, human-hater!

 

HAITI’S DESPERATE FOOD CROP OUTLOOK, BY: DENNIS T. AVERY

CHURCHVILLE, VA—In a normal year, Haiti must start now preparing for the spring planting season, which ends in May. The spring crop usually produces 60 percent of the country’s food. Unfortunately, many families have had to eat or share the seeds they were saving for the next crop. Any improved seed varieties brought in now as aid are all too likely to be hijacked for immediate consumption by the portside mobs and thugs. Almost no chemical fertilizer is available, and Haiti has neither trucks nor usable roads to get it to the farms. 

Most Haitians are underfed in their good years, with about 60 percent of kids under five suffering anemia and other diseases of malnutrition. Many of the kids will go blind or die due to severe Vitamin A deficiency, because they get few livestock calories. In hurricane years, the people suffer even more. In 2008, for example, the country suffered three hurricanes and a tropical storm. And now the massive earthquake. Food supplies are at urgent risk. 

Over the years, poor Haitians who couldn’t afford to burn kerosene turned their local trees into charcoal.. Now most of the forest is gone, and soil erosion ravages the steep slopes. Mudslides overrun roads and irrigation systems. (CGFI)

 

Research scientists note role played by herbicide in soil-erosion control

THE use of herbicide has been found by a group of scientists to prevent soil erosion, preserve soil structure and ensure the replenishment of its fertility.

A research team, headed by Gil Magsino of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, said one way of controlling soil erosion is through the use of agricultural technology to conserve soil health and prevent its erosion, especially during storms and floods.

“Soil is the most important element of human existence, for it is where agriculture is based. It is a well-known fact that degraded land or sloping areas are more prone to flooding. Eroded soils pollute the environment,” Magsino said.

Magsino made the remarks as the scientific panel reported the results of the fourth year of the five-year study entitled “Sagip-Lupa: Soil Conservation Technology and Weed Management.”

The study tracked herbicide use over four years in demo sites in Benguet, Batangas, Quezon, Isabela and Nueva Ecija, and concluded that the use of herbicides dramatically reduced soil erosion by minimizing hand weeding and tilling.

Traditional weeding and tilling methods break up and loosen the soil structure. (Business Mirror)

 

Diversity key to glyphosate issue

Could glyphosate, arguably one of the world’s most important herbicide compounds, become practically useless for all but a few “niche” markets in the next few years? Steve Powles thinks that is a real possibility.

In the last 15 years, glyphosate has become one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, eclipsing even atrazine as the workhorse of chemical weed control in row crops and a myriad of other uses.

So could glyphosate, arguably one of the world’s most important herbicide compounds, become practically useless for all but a few “niche” markets in the next few years? Steve Powles thinks that is a real possibility.

Powles, professor of plant biology at the University of Western Australia and director of the Western Australia Herbicide Resistance Initiative, gave that assessment during remarks at the Pan-American Weed Resistance Conference in Miami Jan. 19. The conference was attended by 284 scientists and media representatives from North America and South America.

“Glyphosate will be driven to redundancy in the cotton, corn and soybean belt,” said Powles, a widely respected authority on herbicide resistance. “Outside of these areas of the U.S., then glyphosate should continue to be effective because it is not massively used.

“Within the cotton, corn and soybean belt the massive reliance on glyphosate means that it will be driven to redundancy because many of the big driver weeds such as Palmer pigweeds, waterhemp, ragweed and Johnsongrass will be resistant. There may be many weed species still controlled by glyphosate, but glyphosate will fail on the driver weeds and that means overall failure.” ( Farm Press)

 

Letter Report Assessing the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program's Science Framework

The U.S. Geological Survey requested that the National Research Council review and provide guidance on the direction and priorities of the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. This initial letter report concerns the scientific priorities of the NAWQA program as expressed in its NAWQA Science Framework, assessing whether the framework sets forth adequately the priorities for the future which will be addressed in the third cycle of the NAWQA program. This letter report includes guidance on the nature and priorities of current and future water quality issues that will confront the Nation over the next 10-15 years. (NAP)

 

 

Pachauri must resign at once as head of official climate science panel

It is time for the embattled Rajendra Pachauri to resign as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). He is steadfastly refusing to go, but his position is becoming more and more untenable by the day, and the official climate science body will continue to leach credibility while he remains in charge. (Geoffrey, Lean, TDT)

 

You think

How typical it is for the BBC to enter the Glaciergate fray, giving a subtly distorted and one-sided account of events, without mentioning the "conflict of interest" issues that have been highlighted by this blog and subsequently by a number of MSM outlets.

As I have observed before, censorship and distortion is manifest most strongly in what organs like the BBC don't say, as much as what they do.

Thus, all we get from the Beeb is a travesty of the "state of the art" in their supposed summary, where they state: "Some commentators maintain that these developments, taken together with the contents of e-mails stolen last year from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, it undermines (sic) the credibility of climate science."

Having presented this shallow pastiche, they then give the floor to the chairman of the IPCC, with this laughably distorted narrative, on the issue of his resignation:

But a defiant Dr Pachauri said: "I want to tell the sceptics... who see me as the face and the voice of the science of climate change, I am in no mood to oblige them; I am going to remain as chairman of the IPCC for my entire term."
What Pachauri has not yet come to terms with is that he is "dead man walking". It is not a question of whether, but when he is drummed out – although some would like to see him stay in place to deliver AR5, thereby ensuring it completely lacks credibility.

In fact, if AR5 is to have any credibility at all, Pachauri must go, which is precisely the argument of Richard Tol and others in Der Spiegel yesterday – a view shared by many warmists. (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

Save the Panel on Climate Change!

The Himalayan glaciers will not melt by 2035, contrary to an erroneous IPCC prediction which has been withdrawn.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been heavily criticized for erroneous projections. In the following editorial, climate researchers Richard Tol, Roger Pielke and Hans von Storch call for a reform of the IPCC and the resignation of its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.

We have seen a crisis of confidence gathering momentum around climate science in recent weeks. Following the unauthorized release of e-mails from the University of East Anglia, showing climate scientists not at their best, now comes a flurry of attention to errors in official reports and accusations of conflicts of interest. (Der Spiegel)

 

Amazing IPCC: Finding Climate Change Before The Climate Changes

It’s open season on the IPCC, thanks to the absurd antics of a Dr Rajendra Pachauri, and a series of revelations including manipulation of science for policy purposes in matters of glaciers and disaster losses. As it happens, those problems concern a part of the IPCC report of 2007 I have already argued about: the actual evidence for “Climate Change/Global Warming” in the physical world of today, as per the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 (“Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems” (*))

(for a different example concerning future “changes and responses”, see how a clever mix of “could”, “might” and “likely” means that even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct)

And so here I’ll add my small contribution: because the IPCC authors and reviewers have managed to collate evidence for climate change where even James Hansen and Reto Ruedy agree that the climate has not (yet) changed. Time to ditch AR4-WG2-Chapter1 altogether? (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Lawrence Solomon: UK Parliament announces 6th Climategate Inquiry

A UK parliamentary committee, the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons, on Friday announced an investigation into the Climategate emails, entitled “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.” This is the sixth body known to have opened investigations into Climategate, and the first parliamentary body.

The terms of reference for the parliamentary inquiry, which will hold an oral evidence session March 10, relate to the integrity of the data produced by the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University, the Independent Review that the university established to look into Climategate, and the extent to which CRU’s data has been integrated into the datasets of other international organizations. The parliamentary committee’s terms of reference are:

The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three questions:

—What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

—Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

—How independent are the other two international data sets?

The members of the Science and Technology Committee includes several climate change skeptics.

Apart from this committee’s inquiry, the other known investigations are being undertaken by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UK Met Office, East Anglia University in Norfolk in the UK, Penn State in the U.S., and the Norfolk police, with the assistance of Greater London’s Metropolitan Police. (Financial Post)

 

Glaciergate “Faulty Communication” Explanation Makes Things Even Worse For The IPCC

Andy Revkin has just published on dotEarth a James Kanter article titled “Explanation Offered for Error in U.N. Climate Report“. Apparently,

Faulty communication allowed an unsubstantiated estimate of the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers to make it into the landmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a senior scientist and panel official said Monday. [...] The official, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice chairman of the climate change panel, said that a glaciologist, Georg Kaser at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, had sought to correct the information about the glaciers before it was published by the panel but that the correction came too late and never reached the people who could fix the statement.

This “explanation” obviously explains very little and simply opens up a series of new questions:

  • Why didn’t Dr Kaser think it worthwhile to voice his concerns in any form (public, or private) after the publication of the IPCC report in 2007?
  • What made Dr Kaser place more importance on his colleagues potentially ill feelings about being criticized, than on scientific truth?
  • And if a relatively well-known published scientist such as Dr Kaser finds himself forced into some kind of self-censorship and reluctance to speak out, how poisonous, impermeable to criticism and ultimately anti-scientific has the world of the IPCC become?

Words of wisdom to the big cheeses at the IPCC: please stop digging! (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Lord Stern's dodgy dossier exposed

Apart from Al Gore, NASA’s Dr James Hansen, and the soon-to-be-much-missed head of the IPCC Dr Rajendra Pachauri, no one on earth has been a more voluble and extravagantly hysterical harbinger of Man-Made Eco Doom than Lord Stern of Brentford. (hat tip: Climategate.com and others) ( James Delingpole, TDT)

 

After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate: Amazongate

AGW theory is toast. So’s Dr Rajendra Pachauri. So’s the Stern Review. So’s the credibility of the IPCC. But if you think I’m cheered by this you’re very much mistaken. I’m trying to write a Climategate book but the way things are going by the time I’m finished there won’t be anything left to say: the battle will already have been won and the only people left who still believe in Man Made Global Warming will be the eco-loon equivalents of those wartime Japanese soldiers left abandoned and forgotten on remote Pacific atolls. ( James Delingpole, TDT)

 

And now for Amazongate


The IPCC also made false predictions on the Amazon rain forests, referenced to a non peer-reviewed paper produced by an advocacy group working with the WWF. This time though, the claim made is not even supported by the report and seems to be a complete fabrication

Thus, following on from "Glaciergate", where the IPCC grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on Himalayan glaciers – backed by a reference to a WWF report - we now have "Amazongate", where the IPCC has grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rain forest. (Richard North, EUReferendum)

 

“The Great Climate Debate” at Rice University: The Science is NOT Settled (Richard Lindzen and Gerald North to Revisit the IPCC ‘Consensus’)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
January 25, 2010

On Wednesday evening January 27th a discussion of the latest developments in climate change science will be held on the campus of Rice University (directions below for those nearby). This discussion/debate is cosponsored by the Shell Center for Sustainability and the Center for the Study of Environment and Society at Rice. Here is the flyer:

Public debate invitation Jan 27

Defending the IPCC consensus regarding natural-versus-anthropogenic climate change is Gerald R. North, Distinguished Professor of the Physical Section, Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University.

Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts of Technology, will challenge the IPCC consensus, arguing that real-world climate sensitivity lies below the iconic range of 2c–4.5C. Questions about ‘Climategate’ and the newly emerged  ‘Himalayangate’ (the latter emphasized by Dr. North’s Texas A&M colleague, John Nielsen-Gammon) are expected to be covered in the question/answer period after the scientists’ formal 30-minute presentations.

[DIRECTIONS McMurtry Auditorium is located in Duncan Hall. Visitor parking is available to anyone with a credit card.  Visitor Parking “L” and Founder’s Court Visitor are the closest to Duncan Hall, in particular using the Rice main entrance on South Main Street at Sunset Blvd. Another parking lot is the North Lot, 5-8 min walk to Duncan Hall, on Rice blvd using entrance # 21 or 20.

Rice campus map: http://www.rice.edu/maps/maps.html]

Having this climate debate is very good news. The last climate science debate at Rice University was in the summer of 2000 at the James A. Baker Institute. Therein lies a story…. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Monckton applies the heat

Christopher Monckton’s debate this morning with Australian IPCC reviewer Ben McNeil on Sunrise, a minor temple of the warming faith, did not go well - for the alarmists. My goodness, but McNeil did seem awfully green (again) for an academic who demands such drastic changes to the way we live.

Even David Koch, long a fierce preacher of the warming faith, seemed no longer so sure of his old gospel.

I suspect Monckton will cause a lot more damage to the warmists before his tour is over - not least by simply getting the hearing that many local sceptics have been denied:

CLIMATE sceptic Christopher Monckton says he has evidence climate change is not a problem and that Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme is unnecessary.

Lord Monckton said today he had come to Australia to prove the Prime Minister wrong.

The former adviser to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher said Mr Rudd carried out ”a 45-minute sustained personal attack” on him last November claiming he had no evidence on the effects of climate change.

“I’m going to say to the people of Australia, when your prime minister said I don’t have any evidence, here I am, here is my evidence, here is where I got it from,” Lord Monckton said in Sydney today.

The climate change sceptic will carry out an extensive 13-day lecture tour of Australia at an estimated cost of $100,000. The cost is being covered by two semi-retired Queensland engineers, John Smeed and Case Smit.

Lord Monckton claims climate change isn’t a problem for the planet and carbon dioxide emissions don’t contribute significantly to global warming. He claims world temperatures will rise by just half a degree (Celsius) by the end of the decade, compared with UN scientists’ prediction of a 3.5 degree rise.

Monckton’s interview with Alan Jones here. But this debate will be a complete mismatch. Poor Graham! Poor Barry! (Andrew Bolt)

 

This is funny: Beware the slings and arrows of outraged sceptics, scientists warned

THE head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, has ignored calls to resign and has defended the integrity of the body's climate change report.

The IPCC is reviewing two passages in its report - one to do with the melting times of Himalayan glaciers, the other with the link between the rising costs of wild weather damage and climate change.

In this charged atmosphere, the Federal Government has been emailing invitations to Australian scientists to volunteer as ''expert reviewers'' for the IPCC's next report in four years.

While there is not expected to be a shortage of volunteers for the work, some Australian climate scientists are concerned that to work on IPCC projects in the present environment could expose scientists to attacks from climate sceptics.

''I've cautioned some of my colleagues to think very carefully about whether they want to be exposed to the kind of campaign against science that is running at the moment,'' said Andy Pitman, one of the authors of the 2007 report.

''That's not to mean they shouldn't necessarily do it but they do need to think carefully about whether they have the capacity to endure the attacks from the vested interests who want to discredit the scientific work they're doing.'' (Ben Cubby, SMH)

Scientific work? Climate "science" is quite literally a joke. That is not to say that all researchers currently lumped into what is basically a fraudulent field, however unwillingly, are failing to perform valuable research but so-called "climate science" is not a discipline. Worse it is interchangeable with gorebull warming advocacy when we still can not define Earth's expected mean temperature with an accuracy sufficient to know whether Earth is currently warmer that it "should be". What "climate science" really is is an enormous hodgepodge of many disciplines and yet none, masquerading under a common banner to sup at the public trough of grant monies.

Skeptics are "outraged"? Go figure...

 

Pitman cries poor

imageProfessor Andy Pitman, an Australian IPCC author, says his side is losing the global warming debate simply because they’re all selfless angels, while the other side are corrupt, deceitful and unemployed conspiracists:

ELEANOR HALL: How much damage then do you think this sort of sloppiness on the part of the IPCC has done?

ANDY PITMAN: Oh, my personal view is that climate scientists are losing the fight with the sceptics. That the sceptics are so well funded, so well organised, have nothing else to do. They kind of don’t have day jobs. They can put all of their efforts into misinforming and miscommunicating climate science to the general public whereas the climate scientists have day jobs and this actually isn’t one of them.

All of the efforts you do in an IPCC report is done out of hours, voluntarily for no funding and no pay whereas the sceptics are being funded to put out full-scale misinformation campaigns and are doing a damn good job I think. They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, state and federal governments.

That explains everything to Pitman’s satisfaction. The absence of any proof for his absurd claims explains everything to the rest of us.

Oh, and here’s a list of Pitman’s grants. My word, but he seems well funded by the warmist lobby. Oddly enough for a man who claims he does his IPCC work “out of hours, voluntarily for no funding”, his long list of grants include these:

1999-01
Australian Greenhouse Office (for costs incurred as lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change $15,000

2004-7
Australian Greenhouse Office (for costs incurred as lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change $48,400

Look, it’s just a wild hunch, but might it be that Pitman’s side is losing because the evidence is growing that its arguments are exaggerated or even false?

(Thanks to a dozen laughing readers.) (Andrew Bolt)

 

Uh-huh... China-Led Climate Group Ups Pressure On Donors

NEW DELHI - Four nations led by China pledged on Sunday to meet an end-month deadline to submit action plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and challenged rich countries to come up with funding to help fight global warming. (Reuters)

 

but... China goes agnostic on AGW

As recently as ten weeks ago, there used to be a nearly complete consensus concerning the causes of climate change among the political representatives of the scientists paid by 6.8 billion people on this planet.



Things are finally starting to melt a little bit. As BBC reported today and The Guardian wrote yesterday, China's envoy stated that "they think that we need an open attitude to science." ClimateGate, GlacierGate, and other recent scandals are are at least partially responsible for the new position of China. Well, you should better subtract 1.34 billion people (20% of the world population) from the figure above.

Xie Zhenhua declared that the reasons of climate change are not known and there exist views that natural cycles are the cause. These views should be included in the next IPCC report, he stressed.

Once after these new official Chinese views were publicized, the other envoys of the "BASIC" emergent markets were asked for their opinions. South Africa's minister Ms Buyelwa Sonjica - see the picture - decided that she didn't speak English while Jairam Ramesh of India argued that the Chinese statement was just a mistake caused by a malfunctioning audio system. You don't need to think twice who are the true deniers today. :-)

Most of the "BASIC" big cheeses emphasized that 1 IPCC error is equal to 0 IPCC errors and mathematical induction may be used to generalize this equivalence as far as needed. ;-)

While e.g. Lord Monckton reasonably wants to disband the IPCC, the United Nations, and send the people who have been linked to the IPCC to the jail ;-), China may eventually manage to convince him to replace discredited and defunct Mr Rajendra Pachauri as the new IPCC boss who will supervise the creation a more sensible fifth report. I think he could ask Fred Singer, the boss of the NIPCC, to do the job instead.

Aside from China, Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin recently argued that Russia has to prepare for global cooling as carefully as for global warming.

I feel that we should be seriously and professionally thinking about the ways to use the political influence of these powers to create the seed of new structures that will eliminate institutionalized yet one-sided climate alarmism from this blue planet because it doesn't have any right to exist. There's no doubt that in general, the Western countries are more democratic than the Eastern powers I mentioned. It just happened that when it came to the climate hysteria, it's the other way around.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Americans Rank Global Warming Last

And the survey says (Pew):

Dealing with global warming ranks at the bottom of the public’s list of priorities; just 28% consider this a top priority, the lowest measure for any issue tested in the survey. Since 2007, when the item was first included on the priorities list, dealing with global warming has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. Even so, the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38% considered it a top priority. Such a low ranking is driven in part by indifference among Republicans: just 11% consider global warming a top priority, compared with 43% of Democrats and 25% of independents.

(The Chilling Effect)

 

Look! A distraction! Ozone Hole Healing Could Cause Further Climate Warming

(Jan. 26, 2010) — The hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.

The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but the discovery of a previously undiscovered feedback shows that it has instead helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades.

High-speed winds in the area beneath the hole have led to the formation of brighter summertime clouds, which reflect more of the sun's powerful rays.

"These clouds have acted like a mirror to the sun's rays, reflecting the sun's heat away from the surface to the extent that warming from rising carbon emissions has effectively been cancelled out in this region during the summertime," said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds who co-authored the research. (ScienceDaily)

Guffaw! Increasingly ridiculous!

 No, we have no indication there has been any change in the seasonal Antarctic Ozone Anomaly since it was first observed in the 1950s, either "worsening" or "improving". What we do have is all things according to activist requirement (the "hole" is worsening -- no, wait, it's getting better!). The fact of the matter is there is no useful baseline data to determine whether there has been anything even remotely unusual in observed stratospheric ozone levels nor any indication it would be of the slightest significance anyway.

It is not the first time they have tried this particular distraction, last time it was a PlayStation® virtual world exercise about 18 months ago.

We have some information on the real situation here.

 

Regulatory vacuum threatens forestry carbon offsets

When Melbourne company Greenfleet won the right to display the Federal Government's Greenhouse Friendly logo in early 2008, the non-profit tree-planting organisation was congratulated by the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong.

"Greenfleet's biodiversity forest projects will not only result in a reduction of greenhouse gases, they will also provide valuable habitat for native fauna and assist in the regeneration of the Australian landscape," Senator Wong said.

Greenfleet was the first non-profit organisation to achieve Greenhouse Friendly accreditation as an ''approved abatement provider'', a title it won after a long and expensive process, its chief executive, Sara Gipton, says.

However, for an operation trading in Australia's fledgling voluntary carbon offsets market, one that relies on its reputation to convince supporters to buy its offsets, the credibility bestowed by Federal Government accreditation was worth the time and expense.

But a year after Greenfleet was accredited, Senator Wong announced that the Greenhouse Friendly program would be dumped. It would be superseded by the Government's centrepiece green policy, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and replaced by a new national carbon offset standard.

It has meant Greenfleet's return on its substantial investment in Greenhouse Friendly is much less than it should have been. But that is not its only problem.

Under the Government's timetable, Greenhouse Friendly will cease to exist on June 30, at which point the carbon offset standard, which was released with little fanfare at the start of December, will come into force. The standard is designed to complement the reduction scheme, but it is uncertain whether the scheme will be passed by Parliament by June 30.

No scheme means no carbon offset standard and no Greenhouse Friendly - a situation that creates a regulatory vacuum for Greenfleet and its peers. (SMH)

People leap into a blatant scam and get burned. Gee, there's sorry I am...

 

Climate Bill Setback Forces Clean Development Rethink

LONDON - Still reeling from disappointing UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December, clean energy project developers were dealt another blow this week when U.S. Democrats lost their Senate supermajority, potentially killing a federal cap-and-trade scheme for years to come.

Although the passage of a U.S. bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 was far from certain, the election of a Republican in Massachusetts to the Senate on Tuesday derailed any momentum President Obama had following his healthcare push toward introducing a cap-and-trade scheme this year.

This, coupled with a disappointing UN climate summit in the Danish capital last month where leaders from over 190 countries failed to agree a legally-binding pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, is causing concern for some clean energy project developers and forcing them to reassess their game plan. (Reuters)

Pack up your little shell games and go away.

 

Carbon bubble about to implode? Copenhagen dampens banks' green commitment - Banks are pulling out of the carbon-offsetting market after Copenhagen failed to reach agreement on emissions targets

Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012.

Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand. The Guardian has been told that backers have this month pulled out of a large planned clean-energy project in the developing world because of the expected fall in emissions credits after 2012.

Anthony Hobley, partner and global head of climate change and carbon finance at law firm Norton Rose, said: "People will gradually start to leave carbon desks, we are beginning to see that already. We are seeing a freeze in banks' recruitment plans for the carbon market. It's not clear at what point this will turn into a cull or a rout." (The Guardian)

 

Scrap ETS and go for a carbon tax: Garnaut

KEVIN RUDD'S former climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, has urged the Government to put behind it the ''fiasco'' of Copenhagen and to forge ahead with a scheme to reduce greenhouse gases, even if that means turning its emissions trading scheme into a de facto carbon tax.

In a speech yesterday, Professor Garnaut said a binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases would never be reached at such open forums as the United Nations conference in Copenhagen last month.

''The important decisions will need to be made wisely by a group of major countries, drawing on detailed numerical work by experts representing heads of government,'' he said. (SMH)

So, that would be completely unsupported numerical work like the Stern Report then?

 

Climate Talks Bigger Threat To Saudi Than Oil Rivals

RIYADH - United Nations climate talks are a bigger threat to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia than increased oil supplies from rival producers, its lead climate negotiator said on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's economy depends on oil exports so stands to be one of the biggest losers in any pact that curbs oil demand by penalizing carbon emissions.

"It's one of the biggest threats that we are facing," said Muhammed al-Sabban, head of the Saudi delegation to U.N. talks on climate change and a senior economic adviser to the Saudi oil ministry.

"We are worried about future demand ... oil is being singled out. We are heavily dependent on one commodity."

Saudi depends on oil income for nearly 90 percent of state revenue and exports make up 60 percent of its gross domestic product.

Rival producers such as Iraq and Brazil have plans for significant increases in output, with Baghdad agreeing deals that could raise its capacity to around 12 million barrels per day and threaten Saudi market dominance. The kingdom has a production capacity of 12.5 million barrels per day.

Climate talks posed a bigger threat, Sabban said, and subsidies for the development of renewable energy were distorting market economics in the sector, he said. (Reuters)

 

Prices of Various Energy Sources

Ed. note: This item originally ran in Robert Rapier's R-Squared Energy Blog.

As we continue to develop biomass as a renewable source of energy, it is important to keep the cost of energy in mind, because this has a very strong influence on the choices governments and individuals will make. I sometimes hear people ask "Why are we still using dirty coal?" You will see why in this post. (

 

Cold Spells To Hasten Thermal Coal Recovery

BANGALORE- The cold spells sweeping across the globe could brighten the prospects for U.S. thermal coal producers as early as the first quarter, with huge stockpiles of the commodity being burned to keep homes and offices warmer.

Demand for thermal, or steam coal -- used to fuel about half the electricity generated in the United States -- was earlier expected to pick up only in late 2010 or in 2011, after the economic slowdown and unseasonably cool summers put a damper on energy demand.

Large production cuts undertaken for about a year at miners that primarily ship coal to utilities -- including the nation's top three companies Peabody Energy Corp, Arch Coal Inc, Consol Energy Inc -- has also helped keep inventory under check.

"Cold weather globally has led to favorable burn ... In the U.S., we believe this has the potential to bring utilities back into the market earlier than expected, which should support pricing power," Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Liinamaa said. (Reuters)

 

Chinese Coal Prices Soar, Power Producers Now Buying Coal Mines

In November, China faced major natural gas shortages. Now, the country is grappling with shortages of coal and electricity and those shortages have come amid periods of record cold and snow fall. [Read More] (Energy Tribune)

 

Bill Gates worries climate money robs health aid

SEATTLE - Bill Gates, the world's richest man and a leading philanthropist, said on Sunday spending by rich countries aimed at combating climate change in developing nations could mean a dangerous cut in aid for health issues.

Gates, the Microsoft Corp co-founder whose $34 billion foundation is fighting malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases in developing countries, expressed concern about the amount of spending pledged at December's Copenhagen global climate meeting.

Participants at the meeting agreed to a target of channeling $100 billion per year to developing countries to combat climate change by 2020. Gates said that amount represents more than three quarters of foreign aid currently given by the richest countries per year.

"I am concerned that some of this money will come from reducing other categories of foreign aid, especially health," Gates wrote in a letter, released late on Sunday, describing the work of his foundation. (Reuters)

 

From the "Nobody should give a damn" files: Huge variation in salt content of processed food

NEW YORK - Many processed foods contain too much salt, and sauces, spreads, and processed meats are the top offenders, new research shows.

People who consume lots of salt are more likely to see their blood pressure rise as they get older, with a corresponding increase in their heart disease risk. 

Public health officials are increasingly looking to the food industry for help in cutting people's salt intake; the United Kingdom and France, for example, have been able to achieve significant reductions in salt consumption through industry collaborations, while New York City has just launched a campaign to cut US salt intake by 25 percent over the next five years. (Reuters Health)

After more than 50 years of trying we still can't causally link dietary salt to any morbidity. What we do have after a half-century of "food pyramids" and "dietary advice" is a really fat population. What do you suppose that says about the advice?

 

How Many Calories in that Kids Meal? Fast Food Nutrition Labels May Help Parents Pick Lower-Calorie Meals for Kids

Putting nutrition labels on fast food may lead parents to pick lower-calorie meals for their children, researchers say. 

In a small study, parents ordered about 20 percent fewer calories for their kids when they chose from a menu with nutrition information on it, Dr. Pooja Tandon of the University of Washington and colleagues reported online in the journal Pediatrics. (MedPage Today)

Oh boy... my wife and I have raised our 3 kids without regard for calories or controlled eating regimens but they have always played competitive sports (hardest part was shuttling them all to their respective practices and matches while shoveling in sufficient calories to keep them going to get home to a main meal or three -- thank heavens for fast food joints & drive through service!). They are in their 20s now and still active, still barely an ounce of fat to share between them. Our experience is that if kids are having enough fun engaging in the normal activity (and rough housing) that goes with childhood they'll eat what they need but not waste the time to overindulge. Just don't cocoon them, let 'em take the bumps & scrapes (with the odd breakage) that is part of testing themselves against the world they are exploring with such joy and wonder. Calorie counting? Sheesh!

 

Lancet Study Blames Palestinian Wife-Beating on Israel

Does Not Mention Honor Killings, Forced Veiling, Arranged Marriages, etc.

It’s official. Britain’s premier medical journal Lancet has been completely Palestinianized. It no longer bears any relationship to the first-rate scientific journal it once was. Perhaps Lancet is no longer a standard-bearer but has become a follower in the global movement in which standards have plunged, biases have soared, and Big Lies now pass for top-of-the-line academic, scientific work.

The post-colonial academy is itself thoroughly colonized by the false and dangerous ideas of Edward Said (please read my dear friend Ibn Warraq’s most excellent book Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism). However, I once believed that Said’s paranoid perspective had primarily infected and indoctrinated only the social sciences, humanities, and Middle East Studies. We now see his malign influence at work in a new article, just out today, by professors who work at the Department of Medicine at Harvard University; the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at Minnesota University’s School of Public Health; The Boston University School of Medicine; the School of Nursing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; and at the School of Social Work and Social Welfare at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

Their study is titled: “Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory: a cross-sectional study.” And yes, they have found that Palestinian husbands are more violent towards Palestinian wives as a function of the Israeli “occupation”— and that the violence increases significantly when the husbands are “directly” as opposed to “indirectly” exposed to political violence.

I believe that Arab and Muslim men, including Palestinian men, are indeed violent towards Arab and Muslim women. I also believe that war-related stress, including poverty, usually increases “intimate partner violence,” aka male domestic violence. But beyond that, how does one evaluate this study? (Phyllis Chesler, PJM)

 

Hard to Kill: Why Government Agencies Take on a Life of Their Own

In the end, the justification for continuing a government program rests on the care and feeding of the bureaucrats who run it.

[W]hen a program supplies particular benefits to an existing or newly created interest – public or private – it creates a set of political relationships that make it exceptionally difficult to further alter that program by coalitions of the majority. What was created in the name of the common good, is now sustained in the name of the particular interest.

James Q. Wilson, “The Rise of the Bureaucratic State”

Georgia State Route 400, commonly known to Atlantans as “Georgia 400,” is the state’s only toll road. The sole toll plaza on “400” was opened in 1993, on a new express extension running from the trendy Buckhead community up into the north-eastern suburbs. Like most toll roads, the pay-to-drive section of Georgia 400 was sold to taxpayers and commuters on the notion that the new stretch of highway would pay for itself, in this case at fifty cents a car.

State Route 400 quickly became one of Atlanta’s most trafficked highways, in a class with the dual interstates of I-75/I-85 and the infamous I-285 loop. All those pairs of quarters piled up, and by early 2009, the toll booths had raised funds well in excess of that required to retire the original bond issue. So in accordance with the original intent of the law that created them, the toll booths were removed around the last Fourth of July.

Whoops, sorry — that’s not what actually happened. It’s what should have happened, but true to Wilson’s famous paper, the bureaucracy that grew around the Georgia 400 toll booths did not go quietly.

In fact, it didn’t go at all. The Georgia 400 toll plaza is still running, 24-7, despite the fact that by March of 2009, the state had banked over $32 million on an outstanding debt (including interest) of $26.6 million. (Will Collier, PJM)

 

Separating the eco conscious from the cowboys

A lack of transparency is hampering efforts in the green market, write Mathew Murphy and Ruth Williams.

It was the consumer group Choice that first suspected the GreenPower provider GreenSwitch was still selling renewable energy to eco-conscious customers in late 2008, weeks after it had been deregistered.

GreenSwitch, owned by a company called Global Green Plan, had been banned that September after taking money from customers to buy GreenPower certificates, but failing to buy all the certificates promised.

Sure enough, Choice was able to buy renewable energy from GreenSwitch in November, and says that, at the time, GreenSwitch's website was still spruiking ''100 per cent accredited GreenPower''. (SMH)

In a nutshell forget "green" -- you want to help the planet, wildlife, bugs or whatever then go for the most efficient provider of whatever you need/want. The best widget at the cheapest price weeds out the inefficient and rewards those doing most with the least, which is about the only reliable means of achieving "sustainability".

 

Regulator demands muscle on 'green' ads

The consumer regulator has reported an alarming surge in complaints about ''green'' advertisements, particularly those by energy retailers.

It has warned that unless delayed legislation is passed, its ability to clamp down on shoddy operators is limited.

Graeme Samuel, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said a sharp rise in complaints about green advertising claims - from almost none two years ago to about 500 since early 2008 - was ''very unusual''.

''Five hundred suggests there's more than a moderate problem,'' Mr Samuel said. ''It's a new area and in some cases marketers don't understand - but in most cases marketers do understand and they are overselling.'' (SMH)

Consumers are basically at fault here and the answer is simple. Kick to the curb anything touted as "green" -- have nothing to do with it or, if it's unavoidable, demand price reductions for anything allegedly "good for the environment" since you only want the part that's good for you, not some bugs. Profit making enterprises are the ultimate in democracies, immediately and constantly responsive to consumers voting with their pocketbooks and they will soon dump all this wasteful watermelon-ware when it fails to make a profit. Demand businesses behave as businesses, not as branch offices for misanthropic natur über alles cults. This is a win-win strategy since it automatically selects the most efficient producer and provider enterprises and doing more with less if far more environmentally friendly than ridiculous and energy wasteful "recycle and reuse" showpieces.

 

Meanwhile: Green shoppers more likely to cheat

If buying an organic apple instead of one caked in pesticides eases your conscience, there's a good chance that your next ethical decision might not be a good one.

According to the results of a University of Toronto study, participants who assigned more social value to 'green' shopping were more likely to cheat and steal in subsequent tests than those with less stringent shopping habits.

The study, to be published in the new year in the journal Psychological Science, is the latest in a growing field of research called "moral licensing."

It's a relatively new concept that posits humans might store up a reserve of good karma only to squander it later. It's a little like Tiger Woods spending thousands of hours on golf and earning hundreds of millions of dollars on the PGA tour, only to fritter it all away with a few nights of extramarital indiscretion.

Co-authors Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, professors at the university's Rotman School of Business, set up tests for a sample of university students, which asked them to purchase a basket of goods at either a hypothetical organic shop or a typical grocery store. Those who bought more green items were found in separate tests to be significantly less likely than their conventional counterparts to share money with an anonymous recipient and more likely to cheat on and lie about the results of a simple quiz.

Just why this happens is unclear, said Mazar, noting that she and Zhong would like to look at the potential biological underpinnings for such decisions. (Mike Barber, Canwest News Service)

 

Project seeks genetic basis of childhood cancer

WASHINGTON - Researchers announced a new project on Monday to sequence all the genes in childhood tumors to try to discover previously unknown causes of cancer. (Reuters)

 

Discovery Links Genes to Pancreatic Cancer - Researchers must still determine how to use the data to reduce risk

MONDAY, Jan. 25 -- Researchers have identified four regions of the human genome that predict a heightened risk of pancreatic cancer as a result of what they describe as the biggest-ever sweep of the genome for genes related to the disease.

Though some of the locations had been linked to other cancers, the discovery of others apparently surprised the researchers.

"This lets us go places we had never thought of before," said senior study author Dr. Stephen Chanock, chief of the laboratory of translational genomics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

However, he cautioned that though the regions "are conclusively associated with the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, it doesn't mean if you have a variation in that region you're going to get pancreatic cancer."

It simply means risk is increased, and, more than likely, environmental factors would have to come into play to complete the picture, he explained. (HealthDay News)

 

Big Food

As huge corporations merge and get even huger, we find ourselves yearning for some old-fashioned competition, and maybe a little diversity. (NYT)

 

 

Damn the torpedoes! After Copenhagen, Back to Basics for BASIC Bloc

NEW DELHI, Jan 24, 2010 - As environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) prepared to meet in the Indian capital on Sunday to draw up a post-Copenhagen strategy, there were great expectations on the role they could play in pushing a consensus on how the world should go about dealing with climate change.

"The BASIC countries should push for a legally binding agreement on the two-degree Celsius limit in temperature rise that was driven by science and ensure that all other countries that were left out sign on before the [November] Mexico meet, according to a timetable,’’ said Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chief of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), speaking to reporters in the Indian capital on Saturday. 

The Latin American country is hosting a key climate change conference toward the end of this year. Mexico had said it hoped to see a binding international agreement adopted by both rich and poor countries. 

Pachauri was emphatic that what was called for was as simple as all the developed countries agreeing to a "change in lifestyle" and giving up "wasteful and profligate practices." (IPS)

Hopefully Pachauri will be rather less successful than was David Glasgow Farragut at Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864.

 

'Brazen' I think the word is: IPCC's credibility has increased: Pachauri

NEW DELHI: The climate is changing on climate change. And IPCC chief R K Pachauri is feeling the heat. The latest dent to claims that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 has clearly ruffled the climate man. 

But while his credibility and that of the IPCC has taken a battering, Pachauri maintains his chutzpah in the face of growing skepticism, arguing that his acceptance that the research on glaciers had been dodgy had actually somehow enhanced the credibility of the body. 

Speaking to the media on Saturday, Pachauri refused to accept that he needed to quit as chair of IPCC and said he was set to table the fifth report on climate change. 

He seemed unmindful that gross misreading of the fate of the Himalayan glaciers based on what is now acknowledged to be bad research, has affected the global body more than leaked emails of university researchers saying they had tampered with climate data on which the IPCC report was based. 

Earlier this week, Pachauri was compelled to acknowledge the scientific error of research on Himalayan glaciers by a TERI fellow, Syed Iqbal Hasnain, after a report by The Sunday Times, London. But on Saturday, Pachauri skated over thin ice, claiming virtue in his admission. The acceptance of the error "only strengthened the credibility" of the global body, he insisted baldly. 

But the IPCC chief seems to be feeling some unease, particularly as he has even had to recently defend himself against attacks on his own integrity, with the British press accusing him of using his position to help companies he was associated with, pointing to a clear conflict of interest. (Times of India)

 

Poor Charlie: Sloppy science is seeping into the climate watchdog

You need a steady nerve if, like me, you think it is a matter of evidence, not belief, that the world is warming as a result of human activity. After Climategate — the emails that appeared to show scientists using tricks to “improve” the evidence for global warming — comes Glaciergate, the disclosure that the Nobel prize-winning panel on the world’s climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published an unsubstantiated assertion that Himalayan glaciers were in danger of melting away by 2035.

When you stop to think about it, the assertion made in 1999 by an Indian scientist, who now disowns the statement, is absurd. Some of the Himalayan glaciers are a third of a mile thick and those on Everest, for instance, start at more than 20,000ft. So even though glaciers the world over are melting, a date for the total disappearance of the ones in the Himalayas is more likely to be nearer 2350, if ever.

How did the 2035 figure get pasted into an IPCC report that was apparently scrutinised by experts from the countries most familiar with the annual Himalayan snow-melt?

While we ponder that question, it looks this weekend as though Glaciergate could be followed by Disastergate, Hurricanegate, Floodgate and Droughtgate. It is beginning to look as though the more alarming assertions published by the IPCC — that climate change is behind the increasing frequency of, and damage caused by, natural disasters — may not have been properly peer-reviewed. They lack the gold standard of credibility that we have been assured the panel’s 3,000-page assessment enshrines.

It is a mess. And politically it couldn’t have come at a worse time, just as the election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts brings the end of Barack Obama’s super-majority in the Senate, in a Congress in which only one party believes in doing anything about global warming. The drip, drip of error gives ammunition to even the most scientifically illiterate Republican senator who wants to talk down Obama’s climate bill. The frail global pact to reduce emissions that survived the ill-fated Copenhagen conference will not survive the defeat of cap-and-trade in America. (Charles Clover, Sunday Times)

Actually sloppy science is not "seeping into" but is an integral component, even a prerequisite for a "climate watchdog".

The simple fact is, and this has never changed, we do not have sufficiently precise data to determine whether Earth is actually warmer or cooler than should be "expected".

Moreover, as we have asked so often over these past 14 years, relative to what is Earth warming? Relative to when it was cooler? Well duh! Relative to when it was warmer and life thrived on Earth? Obviously not.

There is not now and never has been any scientific basis for gorebull warbling and / or enhanced greenhouse catastrophism.

 

Brave effort. Futile... but brave: A distraction of Himalayan proportions

A claim that the mountain glaciers of the Himalayas will vanish by 2035 has been debunked. Climate-change sceptics are jubilant. They shouldn't be, says Steve Connor. Their disappearance is still only a matter of time. (The Independent)

 

Another one: Glaciergate was a blunder, but it's the sceptics who dissemble

Inaccurate claims predicting Himalayan meltdown have handed gainsayers a big victory. But nothing material has changed (Robin McKie, The Observer)

No Robin, it wasn't a "blunder" but a deliberate activist insertion (after all, it the stated purpose the IPCC to demonstrate "dangerous climatic interference"). That nothing has really changed is true -- there was no real risk from catastrophic enhanced greenhouse before and there remains none now.

 

New Documents Show IPCC Ignored Doubts About Himalayan Glacier Scare

The Global Warming Policy Foundation today rejected as baseless claims by Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that the IPCC's erroneous doomsday prediction about the fate of Himalayan glaciers was an isolated and wholly uncharacteristic mistake.

According to the GWPF, and contrary to Dr Pachauri’s claims, there is already ample evidence to show that the IPCC review process is neither robust nor transparent.

In this latest instance, the GWPF has just released, for the first time, details of the defective process by which the 2035 Himalayas date got into an IPCC report. Inherent and serious flaws in the review process clearly emerge from this new evidence.

As a result of a Freedom of Information request, David Holland, a GWPF researcher, gained access to the responses by the IPCC’s lead authors. The documents show that most doubts and questions that were raised about the 2035 date were ignored and that the Review Editors failed to take any note of it. Since their reports, which were only signed statements, were never sent to Governments who commissioned the IPCC report, no one would have known had they recorded the contentious nature of the chapter anyway.

“Clearly questions were raised about the 2035 predictions, but they were not properly dealt with. Had the IPCC been open and transparent and published online to the world the drafts, Expert Reviewers' comments, Lead Authors' responses and Review Editors' reports, this and the many other flaws would not have made it into to the finally published IPCC text,” said David Holland who wrote the GWPF report.

During the drafting process, doubts were raised by Government and Expert Reviewers who submitted comments to the Lead Authors. Until now, however, neither the IPCC nor the working groups have put these internal documents into the public domain. Up till now, Lead Authors could be confident that neither the Expert Reviewers nor anyone else would find out if their views had been accepted, rejected or ignored.

"Not just in this case, but on other contentious climate issues, the IPCC has consistently promoted alarmist predictions. Research and data that questions the IPCC’s assertion of looming catastrophe are routinely ignored, uncertainties are disregarded and highly unlikely disaster scenarios exaggerated. The time has come to completely overhaul the structure and workings of the IPCC," said Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the GWPF.

 

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.

‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’
Glacier

Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furor over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation. (David Rose, Mail on Sunday)

 

'Oops' again: UN climate panel blunders again over Himalayan glaciers

The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

 

Pachauri: the real story behind the Glaciergate scandal

Dr Pachauri has rapidly distanced himself from the IPCC's baseless claim about vanishing glaciers. But the scientist who made the claim now works for Pachauri, writes Christopher Booker (TDT)

 

UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters

THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate. It was central to discussions at last month's Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion (£62 billion) from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions. (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

 

Four more Himalayan howlers revealed in official climate report

More mistakes about Himalayan glaciers seem to  have been uncovered in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)  latest report, further threatening its credibility and undermining the position of its chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri. (Geoffrey Lean, TDT)

 

The scandal deepens – IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers

All the years I’ve been in TV news, I’ve observed that every story has a tipping point. In news, we know when it has reached that point when we say it “has legs” and the story takes on a life of it’s own. The story may have been ignored or glossed over for weeks, months, or years until some new piece of information is posted and starts to galvanize people. The IPCC glacier melt scandal was the one that galvanized the collective voice that has been saying that the IPCC report was seriously flawed and represented a political rather than scientific view. Now people are seriously looking at AR4 with a critical eye  and finding things everywhere.

Remember our friends at World Wildlife Fund? Those schlockmeisters that produced the video of planes flying into New York with explicit comparisons to 9/11?

911tsunami-large

The caption in the upper right reads: “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”

Well it turns out that the WWF is cited all over the IPCC AR4 report, and as you know, WWF does not produce peer reviewed science, they produce opinion papers in line with their vision. Yet IPCC’s rules are such that they are supposed to relay on peer reviewed science only. It appears they’ve violated that rule dozens of times, all under Pachauri’s watch.

A new posting authored by Donna Laframboise, the creator of NOconsensus.org (Toronto, Canada) shows what one can find in just one day of looking.

http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-dodgy-citations-in-nobel-winning.html

Here’s an extensive list of documents created or co-authored by the WWF and cited by this Nobel-winning IPCC AR4 report: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

IPCC: "I'm Melting, I'm Melting!"

The Nobel Prize committee that saluted President Obama last year for a mere changed rhetorical tone and anticipated improvements in international affairs, gave its 2007 award to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) for a supposedly courageous report on climate change. The IPCC report included the prediction that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 or sooner. Now it turns out that the predictions for the glaciers not only were based on flimsy, unsupportable data (see January 20 post), but that the whole section of the report in which it is found is flawed. It is being disowned.

wickedwitchmelting.jpg

Once again it was the skeptics, not the science journals and the big science foundations of government and the professional associations that like to pronounce on various subjects, that revealed the flaws.

We are in a time when news developments are tumbling over one another so fast that one barely can keep track, let alone assess the consequences: the Massachusetts election, the sudden death of Obamacare (at least in its present form), the faux populist assault on the banks (in the process of backfiring) and here, the continuing, collapse of the alarmist position on global warming. Yesterday it was revealed that the "breakthrough" hailed by President Obama at the Copenhagen Climate Summit--puny as it seemed at the time--has not even survived the winter. It should be renamed "the Copenhagen Breakdown."

Add now the collapsing reputation of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. (Discovery News)

 

“The Science is Scuttled” – NASA climate page, suckered by IPCC, deletes their own ‘moved up’ glacier melting date reference

And the purge begins.

Here’s the NASA Climate Change “evidence” page where they list a series of visual earth topics that support AGW as factual. In the sidebar they have heavy reference on IPCC AR4.

click for NASA website

Scrolling down through the page you come across the section that talks about glacier melt. Here is the screencap of that section BEFORE (courtesy of Google Cache) and AFTER as it appears now: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

What is that sound? What a Tangled Web We Weave

[UPDATE BELOW!]

There is another important story in involving the Muir-Wood et al. 2006 paper that was misrepresented by the IPCC as showing a linkage between increasing temperatures and rising damages from extreme weather events. The Stern Review Report of the UK government also relied on that paper as the sole basis for its projections of increasing damage from extreme events. In fact as much as 40% of the Stern Reivew projections for the global costs of unmitigated climate change derive from its misuse of the Muir-Wood et al. paper.

I documented this in a peer reviewed paper published in 2007, which you can see here in PDF. In that paper I wrote:

Furthermore, the Stern Review uses the Muir-Wood et al. (2006) as the sole basis for projecting future global losses from extreme events (see Table 5.2, p. 138). This means that the Stern Review’s conclusions on the costs of future extreme events under conditions of climate change are based almost entirely on projections of future hurricane losses, which Stern projects somewhat mysteriously will increase to 1.3% of global GDP or higher. Its reliance on estimate of tropical cyclones losses is both direct and indirect. Its summary Table 5.2 on p. 138 indicates that increasing losses from hurricanes are one or two orders of magnitude larger than other losses that it has examined. . . inexplicably, the Stern Review concludes that US tropical cyclone losses will increase from 0.6% of GDP today to 1.3% of GDP under 2[degrees] of warming (Table 5.2). Yet, on page 130 the Stern Review cites Nordhaus (2007) to suggest that 2–3[degrees] of warming could double tropical cyclone losses from 0.06% of GDP (2005 losses) to 0.13% (future losses). There is no justification provided for increasing the Nordhaus (2007) values by a factor of 10. This apparent error (simply a typo?) is consistent with the Stern Review’s overstatement of future economic losses from extreme weather events more generally.
As I was preparing this post, I accessed the Stern Review Report on the archive site of the UK government to capture an image of Table 5.2. Much to my surprise I learned that since the publication of my paper, Table 5.2 has mysteriously changed! Have a look at the figures below.

The figure immediately below shows Table 5.2 as it was originally published in the Stern Review (from a web archive in PDF), and I have circled in red the order-of-magnitude error in hurricane damage that I document in my paper (the values should instead be 10 times less).

Now, have a look at the figure below which shows Table 5.2 from the Stern Review Report as it now appears on the UK government archive (PDF), look carefully at the numbers circled in red:

There is no note, no acknowledgment, nothing indicating that the estimated damage for hurricanes was modified after publication by an order of magnitude. The report was quietly changed to make the error go away. Of course, even with the Table corrected, now the Stern Review math does not add up, as the total GDP impact from USA, UK and Europe does not come anywhere close to the 1% global total for developed country impacts (based on Muir-Wood), much less the higher values suggested as possible in the report's text, underscoring a key point of my 2007 paper.

Consequently, anyone wanting to understand or replicate my analysis from the original source would no doubt be confused because evidence of the error in Table 5.2 was quietly changed after the publication of my paper. Had they noted the error it would have obviously led to questions about the implications, and ultimately the bottom line estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change. [SEE UPDATE BELOW. THERE WAS ANOTHER POSSIBILITY I DID NOT CONSIDER.] Rather than rewrite the report, apparently, it was decided instead to rewrite history. Fixing facts to fit a policy conclusion is not a good idea for any government, but to do so with the quiet participation of leading academic advisors is doubly bad. Once again, not good.
UPDATE:

In the comments Phil Clarke points to an FAQ page on the UK Treasury site that has this interesting admission at number 20:

20. You state the cost of US hurricanes at temperatures of 3°C above pre-industrial levels as 0.13% and 1.3% of US GDP in different places in the report. Which is correct?

The correct figure is 0.13%. There is an error in Chapter 5, pg. 139, which cites the cost as 1.3%. An Errata page will be published to cover this and any other typographical errors.

The FAQ page is now in error, as Chapter 5 no longer cites the cost as 1.3%, because, as documented above, the error has been whitewashed away. I am unaware of any Errata page (readers?), however, it is now unnecessary as the report itself has been revised post-publication. Someone coming to the report would have no reason to suspect any problem. In the comments boballab writes:

The disturbing aspect is that someone checking the points in your paper would almost certainly checked the online copy of the Stern report. With the quite change with no attribution it would cast doubt over the conclusions in your paper and make it look like you did shoddy and/or dishonest work, thus damaging your credibility with the scientific community, policymakers and the public at large.
The issue is much deeper than a typo -- you can seen in my excerpt from my paper above that I had already assumed that it was a typo. The problem is that once the typo is corrected it then reveals that the numbers presented by Stern just do not add up.
(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Barton presses Energy Department on climate science emails

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is pressing Energy Secretary Steven Chu for information about department ties to the U.K. climate institute at the center of the controversy over the infamous hacked climate science emails.

Barton, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) wrote to Chu Friday asking about DoE funding for projects connected to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.

Emails among scientists connected to CRU made public last year prompted allegations by climate skeptics -- including Barton and several other Republicans --  that the researchers squelched inconvenient data. But many scientists and Obama administration officials say the emails have done nothing to dent evidence of human-induced global warming. (E2 Wire)

 

‘Mann-Made’ Global Warming?

Climategate was born in late November 2009 with the release of more than a thousand e-mails and other documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. One of the prominent figures in these e-mails is Penn State’s Michael Mann, a professor in the university’s Department of Meteorology. Mr. Mann, a contributor to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is known mostly for the now discredited “hockey stick” graph, which shows purported man-made global warming during the last century. But it is his role in Climategate that has him in the news lately.

The e-mails reveal that Mr. Mann might have committed a variety of acts that constitute significant and intentional scientific misconduct, including data manipulation, inappropriately shielding research methods and results from peers, and retaliating against those who publicly challenged his conclusions and political agenda.

To Penn State’s credit, the university announced it would investigate Mr. Mann’s alleged misconduct. But the school has a serious conflict of interest that legitimately calls into question its ability to conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation.

There is good reason to believe that a Penn State-managed investigation would amount to a whitewash given Mr. Mann’s financial and reputational value to the university—and the embarrassment that would result from an adverse finding.

The only way to resolve the conflict of interest is for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to commission an external and independent investigation of Mr. Mann’s research and conduct. (Matthew J. Brouillette, The Bulletin)

 

Wow! UK parliamentary investigation into Climategate may not be a whitewash

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into “the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA)” – ie Climategate. (hat tip R. Campbell; Platosays). (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

Who's on the select committee?

Here's an introduction to the members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, gleaned from Wiki pages, TheyWorkForYou and so on. For each member, I've given details of constituency, party, educational/professional background and details of their voting records on climate change issues. (Bishop Hill)

 

Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg

Not surprisingly, the blatant corruption exposed at Britain’s premiere climate institute was not contained within the nation’s borders. Just months after the Climategate scandal broke, a new study has uncovered compelling evidence that our government’s principal climate centers have also been manipulating worldwide temperature data in order to fraudulently advance the global warming political agenda. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

 

Move Afoot in the Senate to Can EPA CO2 Regs

Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduces a resolution that would prevent the agency from treating greenhouse gases as poison.

On Thursday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to overturn EPA’s endangerment finding (the agency’s official determination that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare) . Murkowski’s floor statement and a press release are available here.

The resolution has 38 co-sponsors, including three Democrats (Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana). If all 41 Senate Republicans vote for the measure, Sen. Murkowski will need only seven additional Democrats to vote “yes” to obtain the 51 votes required for passage. (Under Senate rules, a CRA resolution of disapproval cannot be filibustered and thus does not need 60 votes to ensure passage.)

Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval is a gutsy action intended to safeguard the U.S. economy, government’s accountability to the American people, and the separation of powers under the Constitution. Naturally, Sen. Barbara Boxer and other apostles of Gorethodoxy denounce it as an assault on the Clean Air Act, public health, science, and “the children.”

Rubbish! (Marlo Lewis, PJM)

 

Congressional Black Caucus, EPA Start "Race Card Tour" to Promote Climate Regulation

Washington, DC: An "environmental justice" public relations tour of economically-disadvantaged communities being led by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and members of the Congressional Black Caucus is being criticized by Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli as a desperate attempt to play the "race card" to bolster the Obama Administration's "cap-and-trade" emissions proposal.

Borelli contends energy limits, such as those in the Waxman/Markey bill approved by the U.S. House last year, would devastate the communities the EPA-CBC tour is highlighting as in need of help. (National Center)

 

India, China won't sign Copenhagen Accord

The Indian and Chinese governments have had a rethink on signing the Copenhagen Accord, officials said on Saturday, and the UN has also indefinitely postponed its Jan 31 deadline for countries to accede to the document. (IANS)

 

Sigh... The Case for a Climate Bill

The conventional wisdom is that the chances of Congress passing a bill that puts both a cap and a price on greenhouse gases are somewhere between terrible and nil. President Obama can start to prove the conventional wisdom wrong by making a full-throated case for a climate bill in his State of the Union speech this week. (NYT)

 

That it isn't about climate is true enough... US climate bill backers seen pushing wrong message

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 - Most Americans want the jobs and clean energy that Democratic-backed climate-change legislation could help bring but its backers are presenting the wrong messages, according to a prominent U.S. pollster.

The House of Representatives last June passed a climate bill featuring a cap-and-trade market on so-called greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. But the measure has been bogged down in the Senate and faces an uncertain future.

"If you really want to scare Americans it's not about glaciers that are melting or the struggle of the polar bear," said the pollster and political adviser Frank Luntz, most known for his work with Republicans.

"What scares Americans is the idea that this great technological industry will be developed in China or India rather than America," said Luntz, who once advised former President George W. Bush's administration to emphasize that there was a lack of scientific certainty about climate change.

Luntz is a paid adviser to 21 companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership that are urging Congress to pass legislation requiring reductions in greenhouse gases. (Reuters)

 

James Hansen: Would you buy a used temperature data set from THIS man?

Before we get too worried about NASA’s latest stamping-its-little-feet claims that the world is getting hotter it is it is it IS, let us first remind ourselves why we should trust their temperature records slightly less far than we can spit.

Then let’s have a closer look at the character and motives of the man in charge of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), Dr James Hansen. Last year, he was described by his former course supervisor at NASA, Dr John Theon, as an “activist” and an embarrassment.

Or as the Great Booker puts it:

If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

Now reader Michael Potts has drawn my attention to yet further evidence of Dr Hansen’s radical, virulently anti-democratic instincts. He has lent his support to an eco-fascist book advising on ways to destroy western industrialisation through propaganda, guile and outright sabotage.

In a scary new book called Time’s Up – whose free online version titled A Matter Of Scale you can read here – author Keith Farnish claims:

The only way to prevent global ecological collapse and thus ensure the survival of humanity is to rid the world of Industrial Civilization.

Like so many deep greens, Farnish looks forward to the End Times with pornographic relish (masquerading as mild reasonableness): (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

Global warming: Shall we review the bidding?

It's been an eventful period since the leak of the Climategate emails. I think we should look at events together and see if they tell us anything.

Before we start, an update on the book Steven Mosher and I wrote. It is called Climategate: The CRUtape Letters. We're extremely pleased with the reception we've gotten and pleasantly surprised at its success in the marketplace. It is available on CreateSpace here. You can buy it on Amazon here. It is available on Kindle here. And it is available in electronic format on Lulu here.

Amazingly, Climategate is in danger of being eclipsed by subsequent events related to the politics of global warming. Since that time,

Copenhagen's summit, COP15, failed to produce any tangible result.

The IPCC was revealed to have published dogy statistics regarding the projected lifespan of Himalayan glaciers.

The head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, has come under fire for how he handles the finances of the organisation he is affiliated with outside the IPCC, called TERI.

A second series of emails from GISS has exposed practices that, like those at CRU that we covered in our book, were more focused on politics and message purity than on science.

And today, in the UK's Times Online, comes independent confirmation of Roger Pielke Jr.'s claims that the IPCC distorted their reporting on the destructiveness of hurricanes due to global warming.

It's been one disaster a week for a couple of months now. I said six months ago that it was time to bring some grownups onto the team representing the activist agenda for global warming. I said last week that I didn't think Pachauri would last until June 30th of this year. Looking around the warming blogs--like Real Climate, Climate Progress and others of that type--there seems to be no comprehension of the hole they are digging for themselves. Nor do reports in the major media reflect serious concern on the part of politicians who have championed the fight for so long.

Is it possible that they think nothing's wrong? That they don't need to do anything? It would be an absurdist end to this story to watch the fight against global warming end with a whimper... (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

 

China has 'open mind' about cause of climate change

China's most senior climate change official surprised a summit in India when he questioned whether global warming is caused by carbon gas emissions and said Beijing is keeping an "open mind". (TDT)

 

Cost Of A Committee: Worth Of State Commission On Climate Change Is Questioned: Panel designed to deal with global warming has created its own big carbon footprint

A state committee charged five years ago with fighting global warming has added more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than it's taken away.

And the committee has cost taxpayers more than $70,000 to have 20 meetings over four years, with few concrete results.

Created in 2005, the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change studies the potential effects of global warming on North Carolina, and what, if anything, the state can do about it. When the General Assembly established the committee, it ordered a final report, with policy proposals, by Nov. 1, 2006. (Winston-Salem Journal)

 

Conservative candidates stalked by eco bullies

The Warmists are looking increasingly foolish and wrong. But they aren’t going to go down without a fight. Consider, Exhibit A, this nauseating email currently being sent out to Conservative candidates. It seems that in the last week a couple of hundred Tory candidates have received variations on the theme below. Note that these emails do not come from a named organisation but from individual voters in each of the different prospective parliamentary candidates’ constituencies. (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

UN's dead deadline exposes Rudd scam

THE UN has dumped the deadline to tackle climate change, leaving Kevin Rudd isolated in his view that "to delay any longer would be reckless and irresponsible for our economy and our environment". 

Rudd made that dire pronouncement at the National Press Club just over a year ago, in December 2008, when he, former US vice-president Al Gore and an assortment of others were hell-bent on introducing the greatest wealth redistribution scheme the world had ever seen.

Now, even the UN has realised that the scam has been exposed and that the support base for its massive global swindle has melted more rapidly than any Himalayan glacier.

The Copenhagen Conference may have been as chaotic as an inner-urban ALP branch meeting, but the fallout has been devastating.

The only firm agreement for which there was general support among the freeloading nations present was to set a deadline of the end of this month for the first part of the ongoing process to deal with anthropogenic global warming.

Now the UN has waived that deadline. (Piers Akerman, The Sunday Telegraph)

 

How Rudd stacks the IPCC

How to stack the IPCC. First, let the Rudd Government have sole power to nominate Australia’s IPCC authors:

The IPCC has started work on the preparation of the Fifth Assessment Report that will detail the state of climate change knowledge, and has issued an official call for authors…

The Department of Climate Change (DCC) operates as the National Focal Point for IPCC activities and is inviting Australian experts to nominate for Coordinating Lead Author, Lead Author and Review Editor roles. Interested parties are requested to read the background information and email climatescience@climatechange.gov.au climatescience@climatechange.gov.au for an Australian Government nomination form.  This form will require interested parties to detail their qualifications, areas of expertise, recent publications and contact information.

The Australian Government will select nominees to put forward to the IPCC based on selection criteria that will be provided to interested parties. The IPCC Bureau will then select these positions.

What chance this side of Armageddon that Kevin Rudd or Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will nominate a sceptical scientist to the IPCC? Ditto for Britain and other nations when alarmist governments rule. (Andrew Bolt)

 

Actually, Weather Is Climate

It is statistically appropriate to point to this year's frigidity as evidence that the theory of man-made global warming is suspect.

Sure is cold out there, unusually so. By “unusual,” I mean the temperature is on the low end of the observed temperatures from previous winters.

Of course, we don’t have any more than about 100 years of reliable measurements, so it’s possible that the freeze we’re experiencing now isn’t as unusual as we suspect. But, anyway, it still sure is cold.

If you recall, a lot of global warming models predicted it would be hot and not cold, and to risk redundancy, it sure is cold. Does this dissonance between the models’ predictions and what is actually happening mean that those models are wrong?

No. But it sure as ice doesn’t mean that they are right.

Here’s the thing: No matter how cold the winter is, no matter how much snow falls, the global warming models will not be disproved. In technical language, they cannot be falsified by the observations.

Another way to say this is that the winter we’re seeing is consistent with what the models have been predicting. Again — does this consistency mean that the models are right and that the theories of man-made warming are true?

No. (William M. Briggs, PJM)

 

Oops! Desertification May Curb Global Warming in the Short Term

desert trees photo
Image credit: coda/Flickr

Forests, we know, absorb CO2 which helps curb global warming. These natural carbon sinks are the basis of offset programs, climate models, and most future-looking policy. Forests also absorb and retain heat, however, and new research is suggesting that, in at least one type of terrain, this heating effect outweighs the benefit of the tree's carbon capture.

For 10 years, Professor Dan Yakir has been leading a Weizmann Institute research team looking at data from a FluxNet station in the Yatir Forest, at the edge of the Negev Desert. His research has showed that the semi-arid pine forest is a remarkably effective carbon sink, outpacing European pine forests and matching the global average.

When they looked at the total energy budget of the forests, however, they uncovered some unsettling results. They found that the dark-green trees absorbed a large amount of solar radiation, especially when compared to the nearby shrubs and desert. Furthermore, the cooling mechanism of the pine trees—in which leaves transfer heat to passing air currents—leads to a large amount of the absorbed heat being retained in the forest.

Together, these factors create a heating affect that, at least in the short term, surpasses the benefits of the forests' carbon absorption. Yakir explained:

Although the numbers vary with location and conditions...we now know it will take decades of forest growth before the 'cooling' CO2 sequestration can overtake these opposing 'warming' processes.

Semi-arid forests, like the one studied, cover an estimated 17 percent of the earth's land surface.

Desertification Could Cause Cooling

desert dune tree photo
Image credit: yaaaay/Flickr

Yakir's team also looked at the impact expanding deserts had on heating and cooling. By applying their data to existing models they found that desertification, at least in the short term, actually creates a cooling effect by reflecting large amounts of solar radiation back into space. The result contradicts the common belief that desertification contributes to global warming.

The team estimates that, over the last 35 years, desertification of semi-arid land may have reduced warming by as much as 20 percent when compared to the rise expected based on CO2 increases.

Forests are Still Critical

It is important to note that this new data should not be interpreted as a rebuttal of the importance of forests. Indeed, the findings only comment on the short term impact of desertification and the heat retention of some forests.

In discussing his conclusions, Yakir was quick to comment that:

Overall, forests remain hugely important climate stabilizers (not to mention the other ecological services they provide), but there are tradeoffs, such as those between carbon sequestration and surface radiation budgets.

The point, he added, was that these advantages and tradeoffs must be considered together when crafting plans for the future. (David DeFranza, TreeHugger)

Nice to see research finally catching up with basic physics. A few months ago we found it necessary to expound On stupid ideas to "cool the planet" because patently absurd ideas were going unchallenged. Interestingly, several otherwise well-educated and intelligent people wrote to tell us how wrong we were or that it didn't matter because such an idiotic scheme would have benefits for disadvantaged regions. Sorry guys, the numbers aren't there, the physics isn't there, afforesting high albedo regions in the heavily irradiated sub-30 degree latitude belt will absorb more solar radiation and cause more warming than the trivial reduction in carbon dioxide forcing can possibly offset (worse, it would necessarily humidify dry desert air and increase nocturnal heat retention).

 

The Long Road Ahead

With all the predictions of short term climate catastrophes proffered by global warming alarmists it is hard to look forward to a future time on Earth. What does the future hold a thousand, ten thousand, a million years from now? Science has some predictions about that as well, though the news media have not picked up on them. What environmental changes await us on the long road ahead?

The Northern Hemisphere has been hammered by the coldest winter in decades. Chinese provinces prepared to introduce power rationing as electricity supplies lagged behind demand amid harsh winter weather. In the UK things have been so bad that Keith Mitchell, the leader of the Oxfordshire County Council, accused county residents of lacking the “British spirit that defeated Hitler” in the wake of the freezing weather. Just to confuse things, a new report in report in Science says NASA's GISS proclaimed “2009 Hottest Year on Record in Southern Hemisphere.”

In the US, AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi reports: “The coldest start to an El Niño winter since the '70s, in the wake of the thaw, may have a top 10-15 cold February nationwide.” Outlook India's headline proclaimed “North India Reels Under Cold Wave, 154 Dead.” There were reports of frozen sheep in Scotland, and snow fell Down Under during the Australian summer.

In Europe, the protesters at the Copenhagen Climate Conference were treated to snow and record cold temperatures that some blamed on the Gore Effect. The term “Gore Effect” comes from the observation that unseasonable weather seems to accompany former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore whenever he appears at a global warming event or public hearing. Since 2004 these coincidences have occurred with increasing frequency.

President Obama left Copenhagen early in an attempt to avoid the weather, only to arrive back in Washington for a major winter storm that engulfed the entire east coast. Florida experienced the its longest stretch of cold weather in 100 years. In southern Florida frozen iguanas were falling out of the trees. So-called “kamikaze” iguanas are an urban legend among Floridians but became a common sight as temperatures dropped almost to freezing.

All of this wicked weather comes with the often repeated warning that weather is not climate. So what is going on with the climate? It looks like a combination of El Niño and the multi-decadal oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic are conspiring to cause a temperature downturn world wide. In the near term we are in for the usual multi-decadal variations in hot and cold. Prof Anastasios Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, has recently shown that these MDOs move together in a synchronized way across the globe, abruptly flipping the world’s climate from a ‘warm mode’ to a ‘cold mode’ and back again in 20 to 30-year cycles. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

Pendulum swinging? Filmmaker Seeks to Temper the Message of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’

LOS ANGELES — At the Sundance Film Festival four years ago, the global-warming debate took center stage with the premiere of an alarming work, the director Davis Guggenheim’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

This year Ondi Timoner, a judge in the festival’s United States documentaries competition — in which Mr. Guggenheim’s “Waiting for Superman,” about the failures of public education, is an entry — is taking a break from a directing project of her own. Titled “Cool It,” Ms. Timoner’s partly completed film, based on the work of the environmental writer Bjorn Lomborg, aims to quiet the global-warming alarm bells that Mr. Guggenheim and his narrator, Al Gore, set ringing.

The documentary world, rife with impassioned advocacy, may now be poised for some genuine debate. (NYT)

 

Stupid question: Cutting Carbon: Should We Capture and Store It?

In the push to cut the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere, solutions usually focus on how to reduce our power use (drive less, insulate our houses better) or how to replace our carbon fuels (coal, oil) with renewable sources (solar, wind, biofuels).

But even in the most optimistic scenario, we will be using fossil fuels such as coal for years to come. China and India aren't going to suddenly shut down all their new coal power plants, nor will Western industrial giants close their factories overnight. Solar and wind may be today's sexy new energy sources, but coal is the fastest-growing fuel in the world, boasting twice the known gas reserves and three times the known oil reserves. "Coal is here to stay," Milton Catelin, head of the World Coal Institute, told the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on Jan 19. (Simon Robinson, Time)

The answer, of course, is "No". Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource, an environmental asset and we most assuredly do not want to waste time, effort and energy denying the biosphere its essential trace gas.

 

Albertans agree: A carbon tax was the best solution

The economics of sequestration are expensive on a per-tonne basis (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)

That the economics of sequestration are against it is true but isn't the reason not to do it -- that remains that there is absolutely no reason to do it.

 

Terence Corcoran: Ontario puts $10B in the wind

When government and industry talk about green energy, what they mean by green is the green stuff that will be going into the pockets of special corporate and government interests.

In a dramatic move yesterday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty struck a green electricity deal -- allegedly the biggest of its kind in the world -- that will transmit a subsidy worth as much as $10-billion into the hands of a Korean state enterprise and corporate giant Samsung.

Green economics is a wonderful thing, except for consumers.

The subsidy means that over the next 25 years Ontario electricity users will pay 50% more for the wind and solar electricity produced under the Samsung deal than they would buying the same power from conventional sources. In return for the subsidy, the only thing the average consumer will receive is a warm and fuzzy feeling for having saved the planet from global warming.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Winds of change

Premier McGuinty has committed Ontario to a generous deal for a soon-to-be forgotten energy source

By Lawrence Solomon

In a signing ceremony Thursday for a $7-billion deal with Samsung to build wind and solar facilities, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said: “This means Ontario is officially the place to be for green energy manufacturing in North America.”

Quite right. Texas lost that title last week when billionaire T. Boone Pickens abandoned his plan to build 4000 MW of wind capacity in Texas — twice as much as the Samsung wind plan — when no financier could see how building the things made any financial sense. Other jurisdictions have also seen plans for wind vanish, along with plans for solar and other forms of renewable energy. Stock prices of most players in the wind industry, such as Broadwind Energy, GE’s supplier, are heading south.

But Ontario is different.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Wind farm subsidies top £1 billion a year

Britain's energy policy faces new controversy as it can be revealed that electricity customers are paying more than £1 billion a year to subsidise windfarms and other forms of renewable energy. (TDT)

 

Algae Biofuels Enviro-Impact Found Worse Than Corn Ethanol in New Study

Algae biofuels certainly hold lots of promise in terms of yields. Certainly lots of fossil fuel companies seem to be betting on them to be what comes next in liquid transportation fuels. A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, done by researchers at the University of Virginia's Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, calculates the environmental impact of algae biofuels as currently produced to be higher than than many first generation fuel feedstocks such as switchgrass and corn. The silver lining in that is that the report also identifies ways in which this can be remedied:

In completing their life-cycle analysis the researchers found that algae had greater net greenhouse gas emissions and uses more water in its production than other biofuel sources. In terms of area required for production algae did come out ahead.

Co-Location With Wastewater Treatment Plants Touted
The large eco-footprint of algae cultivation is the result of upstream impacts such as CO2 and fertilizer, the U.Va researchers found.To remedy this the they recommend building algae production ponds near wastewater treatment facilities so that they can capture phosphorus and nitrogen needed for growing the algae that would otherwise be obtained from a fossil fuel source.

Lead author Andres Clarens warns, "If we do decide to move forward with algae as a fuel source, it's important we understand the ways we can produce it with the least impact, and that's where combining production with wastewater treatment operations comes in."

At Least One Industry Insider Says It's Sour Grapes
Tempering that warning, Biofuels Digest quotes an unnamed "biofuels industry professional" as saying that the paper is just "trying to scare people into funding more wastewater research."

Why? Because in the latest $78 million of Department of Energy funding for advanced biofuels research wastewater treatment-algae biofuel production got stiffed.

Unnamed Source or Professional Journal? You Decide
While an unnamed industry source isn't exactly solid rebuttal of peer-reviewed research, the accusation is worth considering.

As is the warning made by the report authors: "Before we make major investments in algae production, we should really know the environmental impact of this technology."

In other words, just because algae was two significant advantages over other biofuel feedstocks--doesn't compete with food crops for land and has higher yields--doesn't mean we shouldn't critically examine the environmental impact.

But equally, take claims on all sides with a grain of salt. It's quite possible, being unnamed, that the industry professional did just get money from the DoE. File this one away until there's additional confirmation.

Here's the original: Environmental Life Cycle Comparison of Algae to Other Bioenergy Feedstocks [pay per read required] (TreeHugger)

 

Proof That There Are Too Many Lawyers?

Most lawyers are like the opportunistic infections that attack the weakened immune system of heroin addicts. You can scrape off the scabs that encrust the skin, but if you don’t treat the underlying addiction, they’ll just grow back.

Or more plainly, lawyers are the symptoms and not the disease. That there are so many is an indication of deeper trouble, signs of a fundamental imbalance with the body politic. (William M. Briggs)

 

Information On The American Geophysical Union Natural Hazards Website On The Haiti Earthquake Prepared By Professor Alik Ismail-Zadeh

The American Geophysical Union Natural Hazards Focus Group, led by Professor Alik Ismail-Zadeh, Chair of the AGU Natural Hazards Focus Group [of which I am a member along with outstanding colleagues; see] has posted information on the earthquake in Haiti.

It was prepared by Professor Ilia Zaliapin and is available at Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010.

In this post, Professor Ismail-Zadeh wrote an excellent statement on what policymakers and others should learn from this tragic event. (Climate Science)

 

Stopping the sneak thief of sight

Glaucoma is called the "sneak thief of sight" since it has few early symptoms. This group of diseases represents the second leading cause of blindness (second only to diabetes). Vision loss derives from damage to the optic nerve, frequently identified with elevated intraocular pressure.

My latest HND piece takes a look at glaucoma, along with various treatment modalities, one which is a novel method called Pneumatic Trabeculoplasty (PNT). PNT is approved for use in many countries outside the US, including Canada and the EEC. US clinical trials are planned.

PNT's big advantage is that it is quick, easy, and non-invasive.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Lifestyle-altering strategies more likely to reduce liberty

THERE are increasing calls to regulate and tax many supposedly harmful lifestyle products, such as fatty foods, soft drinks and even video games, under the guise of public health imperatives. It is relevant to scrutinise the ethics of the principles used to justify what amount to public health-inspired government lifestyle mandates.

The first point to make is that previous public health campaigns for things such as clean air and water differ fundamentally from those currently being discussed. The key difference is that no one chose to drink water that contained faeces; on the other hand, alcohol, hamburgers and even cigarettes bring utility as well as harm. What value is an exciting night out with friends, or the experiences gained from episodes of heavy alcohol consumption, or simply the experience of feeling relaxed for an evening? It is illegitimate to present a one-sided equation of harm unbalanced by utility. What is a harmful outcome to some might be an optimal balance to others.

The next issue relates to who should make the decision about whether something represents an overall net positive or negative for the individual. A central committee? No; in order to balance the infinite considerations in making such harm-benefit calculations, our society is built on deferment to the fundamental ethical principle of autonomy. (Michael Keane, The Australian)

 

Uh-huh... what's causing these people to retain excess copper? Copper pipes could cause heart disease and Alzheimer's

Copper pipes could cause people over 50 to contract Alzheimer's Disease and heart disease, a study has found. (TDT)

So, all those people who wear copper ornaments and "anti-arthritis" bracelets will accumulate copper and get nailed by Alzheimer's or heart disease? Right...

 

If obesity isn't a disease, why are we funding gastric surgery?

Stopping children eating junk food is surely a better way to tackle the problem of Britain's overweight population

There is still time to sign up for one of the most rational dates of 2010: next week's mass homeopathy overdose. At 10.23am on Saturday 30 January, anti-homeopathy activists, organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, will down entire bottles of homeopathic remedies outside branches of Boots, the better to demonstrate that these preparations are worthless.

Even though sales of Hahnemann's potions are likely to be unaffected, there remains a chance that the survival of hundreds of sceptics might persuade officials at Nice, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, to re-examine the funding of homeopathy within the NHS. It remains one of the world's great mysteries that the health service, with its austere, cash-strapped commitment to evidence-based medicine, should continue to spend an estimated £4m a year on sugar pills. Just a few months ago, it refused to prescribe an effective liver cancer drug, because it would not be "cost-effective".

Inevitably, an NHS moratorium would inspire a backlash, probably led by Prince Charles, who is believed to attribute his survival from a broken arm to the generous application of arnica. But the NHS is, generally speaking, remarkably robust when accused of rationing, callousness and victimisation. Last week, it was the turn of the Royal College of Surgeons to protest that the unequal provision of gastric bands and other "bariatric" surgery within the NHS is "inconsistent, unethical and completely dependent on geographical location". (Catherine Bennett, The Observer)

 

Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm

This is the first in a series of articles that will examine issues arising from the increasing use of medical radiation and the new technologies that deliver it. (NYT)

 

Another in the series "Actually, no one should care": USF Study Shows First Direct Evidence of Ocean Acidification

Seawater in a vast and deep section of the northeastern Pacific Ocean shows signs of increased acidity brought on by manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- a phenomenon that carries with it far-reaching ecological effects -- reports a team of researchers led by a University of South Florida College of Marine Science chemist. (PhysOrg.com)

Are we surprised there are trivial variations in sea water alkalinity? Of course not, it varies with temperature and CO2 enrichment, among other things. Is there any realistic anticipation this could cause problems? Nope. Earth's atmosphere has traditionally contained much higher levels of carbon dioxide while there has been life on the surface and in the sea, apparently without causing any mischief.

 

Their next avenue? Flashback: NOAA’s New Chief on Restoring Science to U.S. Climate Policy

Marine biologist Jane Lubchenco now heads one of the U.S. government’s key agencies researching climate change — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Lubchenco discusses the central role her agency is playing in understanding the twin threats of global warming and ocean acidification. (Elizabeth Kolbert, e360)

 

This backdoor assault on CO2 is now on the books: S.173 - Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009

A bill to establish an interagency committee to develop an ocean acidification research and monitoring plan and to establish an ocean acidification program within NOAA. (OpenCongress)

Is this widely known? If not it should be. If they get this through by default it will be part of the jigsaw for cap and trade. If one piece of legislation is accepting perceived CO2 impacts then it's not a big step to the next bit of legislation. There is a response page but very few visits as yet.

 

Eye-roller: 'Peak water' could flush civilisation

Early civilisations prospered by taming rivers, but as water gets scarce in some regions, populations rise and lifestyles remain the same, we might not be far from warring over water, writes SYLVIA THOMPSON 

FORGET PEAK OIL. Forget climate change. Peak water is where it’s at, according to Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Alexander Bell, who has just written a fascinating book, Peak Water (Luath Press, Scotland).

“It’s the coming issue of our age,” says Bell. “Civilisation is thirsty. It has never stopped to think about what would happen if the water ran out.” And while Bell acknowledges tackling climate change is important, he firmly states peak water would have happened with or without it. (Irish Times)

Actually water is plentiful (it covers seven-tenths of this planet), although its form and purity often leave something to be desired. There is no technical reason, however, that we cannot supply copious abundance of clean, fresh water to everyone on the planet for any use they might wish. It is simply a mater of energy, cost and application. There is no such thing as a water 'shortage' on this planet.

 

EPA Getting Too Big for Its Britches?

Cap-and-trade may be appropriately shelved for the time being, particularly in light of the Massachusetts Senate upset, but that may only embolden “Action Jackson” and her gung ho EPA to more aggressively pursue regulatory measures that Congress won’t touch. Inside EPA (subscription required) speculates on whether or not the agency is taking on too much and risks endangering its own credibility. (The Chilling Effect)

 

Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States

Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent. Pollutants from traffic, cooking stoves, and factories emitted half a world away can make the air we inhale today more hazardous for our health. The relative importance of this "imported" pollution is likely to increase, as emissions in developing countries grow, and air quality standards in industrial countries are tightened.

Global Sources of Local Pollution examines the impact of the long-range transport of four key air pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants) on air quality and pollutant deposition in the United States. It also explores the environmental impacts of U.S. emissions on other parts of the world. The book recommends that the United States work with the international community to develop an integrated system for determining pollution sources and impacts and to design effective response strategies.

This book will be useful to international, federal, state, and local policy makers responsible for understanding and managing air pollution and its impacts on human health and well-being. (NAP)

 

Good grief! Your Story or Your Life: Violent Attacks Increasing Against Enviro Journalists

I've never thought of environmental journalism as a particularly risky career (except to my bank account). 

But in fact, reporters around the world face threats ranging from intimidation to murder for reporting on pollution, global warming, and other environmental abuses. The problem is not new, but is getting worse, according to Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia desk of Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontiers. I heard him speak at a "side event" during the Copenhagen climate talks last month. ( Emily Gertz, OnEarth)

What kind of moron do you need to be to not realize a career as an antisocial misanthropic liar will get people really pissed at you? Enviro journalists by necessity hate people and do everything in their power to inhibit human progress and lifestyle improvement and then are shocked the people whose lives and livelihoods they destroy don't like them? They take away people's rights and employment and are then surprised some would thump them, or worse?

It might be different if enviros really did do some good somewhere, sometime but this is not the case. All the Western improvement in air and water quality comes from technological development and wealth generation (when people can afford it they want to make their surroundings pretty and pleasant). Enviros always and everywhere inhibit this process, leading to greater environmental degradation and inevitable increase in human suffering. Enviros might even think they are of some value but they really need to look at historical timelines. Wilderness areas and parks were created to conserve hunting and timber resources and facilitate municipal water impoundments, enviros are the Johnny-come-lately at this party.

What about air and water quality, did they have anything to do with that? Of course not, "pollution reduction" (of the genuine kind) stems not from frauds like Dearth Day but from the choking air of 18th through early 20th Century cities caused by open biomass- and coal- fires before clean, reliable, affordable baseload electricity (mainly coal-fired) and efficient heating oil and gas distribution. Noxious air and water supplies were displaced because people could afford to, not because some holier-than-thou jerk decided it'd be nice for the earth mother (malicious old crone that she is).

Note too that it is the fossil fuel industry that made whale oil a much less valuable commodity (no longer needed for lamp lighting) -- the fossil fuel industry saved far more whales than all the enviros who have and will ever live combined.

Modern intensive agriculture preserves wildlife habitat and the abundant protein supplies make redundant the need for people to hunt anything that moves to sustain their families.

Enviros don't "save" the planet or critters, development and wealth generation do and enviros try to inhibit everything that is good for people and planet.

The really surprising thing is that people are so tolerant, reserved and courteous rather than simply declaring all enviros targets of convenience.

 

Army Defers to NGO, Signs Treaty

The “U.S. Army and The Conservation Fund to Sign National Memorandum of Understanding.”

If you hurry, you can be there to witness the treaty signing by the “Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Mr. Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund.”

These two gentlemen will “announce a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Conservation Fund to promote the effective and balanced management of water resources, conservation of wildlife habitat and cultural resources, and sustainable development of communities.”

I am informed—by confidential sources—that there will be photo “opportunities”, so bring your cameras.

Where to go? 2000 Half Street Street, Washington, DC, which is the Earth Conservation Corps’ Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center. This is not, for my non-military readers, an Army base. 11 am Friday, 22 January.

Now, unless that agreement runs along the lines of “Stay out our way and you won’t get hurt”, then the Army has no business signing a faux treaty with any non-governmental organization.

The next thing you know, the Navy will be courting the Sierra Club to give up its noisy ships. Don’t scoff! There are plenty of malcontents who are making this very claim. Seems whales don’t like the sound of passing aircraft carriers. Spinning propellers induce in them—just as the Beatles induce in your author—a severe case of the willies. (William M. Briggs)

 

Syngenta Responds To Activist Claims Regarding Atrazine

Syngenta advocates transparent, scientific review of products.

For 50 years, sound science has governed U.S. regulatory decisions on atrazine, a well-studied herbicide that farmers rely upon worldwide to produce safe, healthy and abundant crops. Syngenta, as a science-based company, looks forward to a continuing, open and transparent safety review of atrazine by the U.S. EPA in 2010 and expects a positive outcome.

Last week, two environmental activist groups escalated their attacks on Syngenta and atrazine, urging a departure from the EPA's methodical, science-based approach to regulating crop protection products such as atrazine. Syngenta believes these claims are baseless and wrong.

These activist groups urge the removal of safe, regulated crop protection tools farmers rely on to produce safe and abundant food for the world. It is estimated forty percent of the world's food supply would not exist without the use of such products. (Press Release)

 

Agriculture Groups Defend Atrazine Against Agenda-Driven Attacks

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 // -- A broad coalition of agriculture groups representing the Triazine Network have written to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in defense of the herbicide atrazine, which has become the target of a coordinated attack by environmental groups seeking to eliminate its use. See copy of the letter to the EPA and listen to audio file of nationwide teleconference here: http://www.ksgrains.com/corn. Atrazine, a critical tool in growing crops as diverse as corn, sorghum, sugar cane, and citrus, has been used safely in over 60 countries for 50 years. (PRNewswire)

 

Invasive species wiping out wildlife around the world

Hundreds of invasive species, from grey squirrels to rats, are posing one of the greatest threats to wildlife across the world, conservationists have warned today. (TDT)

To some extent it's true, which is why you shouldn't fall for the ridiculous 'animal rights' campaigns designed to interfere with culls and particularly the fur market which foots the bill for reducing such devastating critters as Australia's feral foxes, cats and rabbits.

 

 

They will not stop coming: Scott Brown wins, but all is not lost for Dems

While Scott Brown's victory could have a catastrophic effect on health care reform, other parts of the Democratic agenda may survive the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

3. Cap and trade: A cap-and-trade bill has a shot in the Senate – as long as the cap-and- trade part is removed. If Democrats dump that toxic measure and pursue a more modest climate and energy bill, they’ve actually got a shot at getting something done – and getting a few Republican votes to push them past 60.

Voinovich and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) are working on a smaller-scale proposal that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. And moderate Democrats are pushing Senate leadership to drop the cap-and- trade provision in favor of an energy-only bill, which could include renewable fuels standard tax incentives for alternative energy

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), has also shown willingness to work on climate issues with the lead Democrat on the topic, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

"It is my assessment that we likely will not do a climate change bill this year, but we will do energy," Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said Tuesday. "I think it is more likely for us to turn to something that is bipartisan and will address the country's energy interest and begin to address specific policies on climate change.”

They’ll have to work without the rookie Brown, who has expressed skepticism that climate change is being caused by humans. He's also backed away from his previous support for a cap-and-trade system. (Politico)

 

And there are plenty of special interests seeking to profit  from carbon hysteria: 83 CEOs Make Case for Cap and Trade

Calling for a necessary transition to a low carbon energy economy, 83 CEOs sent a letter to President Obama demanding movement on cap and trade legislation to create green jobs. According to the press release, “the letter was signed by 83 CEOs from some of the nation’s largest electric power, manufacturing, clean tech, technology and consumer facing companies.”

Imagine that. The politically invested companies that stand to gain the most from cap and trade and spent millions to lobby this bill through Congress want to see it passed at the expense of American energy consumers and the American economy. This is no different than Archer Daniels Midland sending a letter to the president asking for an increase in the ethanol mandate.  Robert Bradley Jr. calls cap and trade the Enron Revitalization Act. He even includes a memo from Enron lobbyist John Palmisano about the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

If implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States. The potential to add incremental gas sales, and additional demand for renewable technology is enormous.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

Funny how these signatories are all carbon profiteers, innit guv'na?

 

Pay Me to Reduce Carbon Dioxide

Other people are getting paid by the federal government so why shouldn’t we? That’s the sentiment coming from the forest industry over reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is how a bad bill becomes a bad law. When there’s money up for grabs, special interests and their lobbyists swarm like bees to honey seeking to protect or improve their bottom line. Inevitably, few win at the expense of many. And when you can get paid not to do anything, all the better. Jessica Leber of E&E (password required) reports:

About 15 of the 50 coalition members are spending this week arguing that 5 percent of cap-and-trade revenue be devoted to domestic forest and land conservation. That’s compared to about 1.2 percent proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and on par with the money slated to protect rain forests outside of U.S. borders.

Advocates say they want the funding to stem decades of forest losses fueled by struggling landowners facing intense pressure to harvest their trees or sell to housing developers. [..] Landowners already stand to gain through a climate bill’s offset program, under which they could sell credits to balance fossil-fuel emissions under a carbon cap. A proposal by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), which could be folded into a final Senate bill, includes a beefed-up domestic offset program with a specific carve-out for farm and forest projects.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

The Changing Climate For Climate Change

The Economist looks at a recent letter from groups that have been pushing costly climate legislation and the order of their pleas:

Notice what comes first (”national security”), second (”competitive edge”) and third (”creating American jobs”). Now notice what has to wait until fourth place (”protect…future generations from climate change”).

It’s going to take a lot of bottom-up pressure of this kind to make any greenhouse-gas bill happen in 2010. Arguments based on the climate alone—let’s not destroy the climate system in defence of our inalienable right to get eight miles to the gallon—have little traction in the country right now. So its proponents are trying everything else they can: stop sending money to terrorists! Beat China in this round of high-tech competition! Create jobs! Oh, and mumble mumble climate mumble mumble.

We’ve been seeing this phenomenon for a while now (at least back to when gasoline spiked to $4 per gallon and the economy’s downward dive) so this is not necessarily new, but it’s important to keep an eye on.

It’s also worth remembering that for many of these groups, climate itself was never the number-one priority. Surely it was a nice side benefit of legislation that would shift billions from taxpayers to special interests through a cap and trade slush fund, but it was never the sin qua non for any but the craziest green fringe. (The Chilling Effect)

 

The Mass. v. EPA regulatory cascade: If EPA does not poach legislative power, what will it cost?

by Marlo Lewis
21 January 2010 @ 8:12 pm

Today, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sam Graves (R-MO), Trent Franks (R-AZ), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) sent a letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Cass Sunstein sharply critical of EPA’s December 7, 2009 finding that “air pollution” from carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) endangers public health and welfare. 

“On the basis of EPA’s endangerment finding,” the legislators warn, “virtually every economic activity undertaken in America stands to come under the thumb of federal regulation.” They explain: “These actions begin with EPA’s and the Department of Transportation’s proposed new light vehicle emission standards, continue through greenhouse gas (GHG) preconstruction and operating permit requirements for stationary sources and extend as far as the mind can contemplate.” They continue: “In these ways,…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Senator Murkowski aims to stop EPA carbon controls

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a leading Republican on energy policy, on Thursday moved to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming. (Reuters)

 

Murkowski Wants EPA Endangerment Nullified

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has sponsored a bill to nullify the EPA endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, saying it will harm the U.S. economy. She also wants lawmakers to enact legislation on climate change but says Congress needs more time. Scientists have deemed that greenhouse gases are detrimental to human health. Clean Skies hears from Murkowski, and reaction to the amendment. (Clean Skies News)

 

Lisa Murkowski wins Dem support on EPA bill

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) is joining forces with Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski in an effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. (Politico)

 

Senators Want to Bar E.P.A. Greenhouse Gas Limits

WASHINGTON — In a direct challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, introduced a resolution on Thursday to prevent the agency from taking any action to regulate carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases.

Ms. Murkowski, joined by 35 Republicans and three conservative Democrats, proposed to use the Congressional Review Act to strip the E.P.A. of the power to limit emissions of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court gave the agency legal authority to regulate such emissions in a landmark 2007 ruling. (NYT)

 

Dems Join Effort to Block Global Warming Rules - Sending message to Obama, Democrats join effort to block regulation of heat-trapping gases

Three Democratic senators are joining an effort to block the Obama administration from taking steps to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming.

Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas have signed onto a resolution introduced Thursday by Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The measure, which must pass Congress and be signed by the President, would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing regulations to control greenhouse gases.

The EPA has taken steps to reduce greenhouse gases using existing law as it has waited for Congress to pass legislation. A Senate bill limiting heat-trapping gases has stalled.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that the President is unlikely to sign it. (Associated Press)

 

Kennedy, Blankenship Face Off on Environmental Issues

Don Blankenship is head of Massey Energy, one of biggest coal companies in the country. Robert Kennedy, Jr. is a famed environmentalist. The two squared off in a debate at the University of Charleston's Geary Auditorium. Blankenship has been a vocal critic of both U.S. trade policy and climate-change legislation. In a recent interview in Forbes, he referred to global warming as “a hoax and a Ponzi scheme”. Kennedy is President of Waterkeeper Alliance and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper. He serves as a senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council, was named a Time Magazine “Hero for the Planet,” and is the best-selling author of Crimes Against Nature. (Clean Skies)

 

The push is on again in Australia: The new threat of a weak-Green carbon deal

The shifting ground in the climate debate means that now some of the Greens may realize they need to set their sights lower and accept a weaker ETS deal or get none at all.

Where before they would not accept Rudds proposals because they were too ineffective, they are now suggesting it’s possible. (I’d call them the “pragmatic Greens” except that the need for an ETS is based on out-dated science, stone age logic and fraudulent malpractice. )

The government needs 7 votes in the Senate. If they get the 5 Green votes, they need 2 others. There are rumours the last two votes could come from the two Liberals who crossed the floor to vote for the ETS in December (and against their new leader wishes and against the majority of their party).

The email campaign was a major success in November and December. I’m still hearing about it from members of Parliament. It burned an impression on Senators and their staffers that thousands of emails arrived, each one crafted individually, not “cut n paste automated emailling”. They had not seen anything like it before. They are still going through them.

These two Senators need to know how you (and your contacts in QLD and Victoria) feel about the introduction of a new tax system based on corrupt science. This is legislation that’s guaranteed to help large financial houses increase their profits, but not make any difference to lakes, wetlands, trees, birds or coral reefs:

Senator Boyce’s (Queensland) email address: senator.sue.boyce@aph.gov.au
Judith Troeth (Victorian): senator.troeth@aph.gov.au

We can focus on Green politicians soon too. I’ll write more about that because it needs a different kind of email. There are good people in the greens too. I don’t think they have any idea how damaging these rules-based-on-fraud would be.

Please write politely. (Jo Nova)

 

Mr. Rudd's Climate-Change Pitch - The Australian prime minister tells voters they'll eventually accept the wisdom of a big, fat tax.

Climate-change legislation is declining in popularity the world over, so Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has concocted a new way to sell it—by telling voters they'll come to their senses, eventually. 

"The government's focus is taking decisions, hard decisions," Mr. Rudd declared Tuesday, referring to his cap-and-trade bill and other expensive, big-government ideas. "Some of those decisions will not be popular, but decisions in the national interest need to be taken for the future otherwise we place the future at risk."

Australian voters seem to have a different idea of what's in their nation's interest. As the global economy struggled and global-warming science was discredited last year, climate change slipped as an item of concern in national polls. This presented a big problem for Mr. Rudd, who has spent a lot of political capital on his environment bona fides and took over 100 staffers to Copenhagen last month to lobby for a global deal.

Mr. Rudd also faces opposition in the Senate, where his Labor Party doesn't hold the balance of power. The rural National Party has come out strongly against cap-and-trade because it thinks—rightly—it's a huge tax on business, and an impediment to growth. The Senate has already rejected two versions of the bill to date, and will consider it again when the Rudd government tries anew next month. (WSJ)

 

“Rudd Promising Poverty or Blowing Hot Air?”

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that Australian PM Rudd was either promising poverty for his grandkids or blowing hot air.

The Chairman of Carbon Sense, Mr Viv Forbes, said that in Copenhagen, PM Rudd advocated cutting production of carbon dioxide by at least 20% by 2050.

“However, back in Canberra, PM Rudd says Australia’s population will increase from 22M now to 36M by 2050.

“A bit of simple math shows that he thinks our grandkids can exist on just half the carbon energy per person that we use now.

“But the PM also promises a nation building program of rail, road, and port construction. What fuels are all these new vehicles going to use? Is he expecting nuclear powered trains, solar powered trucks and wind powered bulk carriers?

“The Copenhagen Rudd is promising a poverty stricken future for our grandkids. Or maybe the Canberra Rudd is just a lot of hot air.”

Viv Forbes
www.carbon-sense.com (Carbon Sense Coalition)

 

Scientists using selective temperature data, skeptics say

Two months after "climategate" cast doubt on some of the science behind global warming, new questions are being raised about the reliability of a key temperature database, used by the United Nations and climate change scientists as proof of recent planetary warming.

Two American researchers allege that U.S. government scientists have skewed global temperature trends by ignoring readings from thousands of local weather stations around the world, particularly those in colder altitudes and more northerly latitudes, such as Canada.

In the 1970s, nearly 600 Canadian weather stations fed surface temperature readings into a global database assembled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Today, NOAA only collects data from 35 stations across Canada.

Worse, only one station -- at Eureka on Ellesmere Island -- is now used by NOAA as a temperature gauge for all Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle. (Richard Foot, Canwest News Service)

 

He's tellin' 'em :-)

Council and Commission statements – Outcome of the Copenhagen summit on climate change

Speaker: Godfrey Bloom MEP, UKIP (Yorkshire & Lincs.)

 

Climategate Analysis

The Science and Public Policy Institute has published an analysis of the leaked climategate emails. This 149-page document takes the emails in chronological order and shows, with comments on each message, how science was perverted.

In the introductory material the report says:

The entire industry of “climate science” was created out of virtually nothing, by means of a massive influx of funding that was almost universally one-sided in its requirement that its recipients find evidence for man-made climate change—not investigate whether or how much mankind had caused climate change.

Many “climate scientists” built their entire careers on this funding; and so it is not surprising that they became so completely reliant on this conditional lifeline, that they became single-mindedly focused on achieving the ends for which they were commissioned—and viciously attacking any intruders who may threaten that lifeline.

The PDF file may be download from either of these links:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/climategate_analysis.pdf or http://tinyurl.com/yl8o3t8 (Tucson Citizen)

 

Hans von Storch says Nature invented quotes

Everybody's favourite environmental journal, Nature, seems to have got itself into hot water. Hans von Storch reports on his Die Klimazwiebel blog that the quotes attributed to him in Quirin Schiermeier's article (see previous posting) did not form part of the interview between the two men.

Quirin Schiermeier quotes me with "You need to be very circumspect about the added value of downscaling to regional impacts," agrees Hans von Storch in this week's issue of nature. And: he cautions, "planners should handle them with kid gloves. Whenever possible, they'd rather wait with spending big money on adaptation projects until there is more certainty about the things to come." I have not spoken with Mr Schiermeier about regional modelling, at least not recently; the term "kid gloves" is unknown to me, not part of my vocabulary. I have asked him for evidence that I have said these sentences to whom.

Nature's reputation was already looking rather damaged, what with the "denialists" editorial and all. This kind of thing is hardly going to help. (Bishop Hill)

 

A Primer on Egregious Errors in IPCC WG2 on Disasters

In response to Lauren Morello's Greenwire article today, which also was published at NYTimes.com I've had a few requests for information about the following:

Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, said scientists make mistakes all the time "and it isn't a big deal."

But Pielke also said he was concerned that, in this case, "a non-peer reviewed source [was] elevated to a finding by the IPCC," especially given Austrian glaciologist -- and IPCC Working Group I author -- Georg Kaser's recent assertion that he warned Working Group II of the error in 2006, and was ignored. That suggests "a breakdown in the peer-review process," Pielke said.

Pielke said his concern is heightened because he believes Working Group II also misrepresented his research about the link between climate change and monetary damages of natural disasters, highlighting a white paper produced for a conference he organized -- when ultimately, attendees at the conference "came up with a contrary conclusion to what the background paper said."

So for those interested in the details or following up, here are a few pointers.

1. An overview of the systematic misrepresentation of the science of disasters and climate change.

2. What I said when the IPCC report was released in 2007:
Can anyone point to any other area in the IPCC where one non-peer-reviewed study is used to overturn the robust conclusions of an entire literature?
Details here.

3. The figure at the top of this post was included in the WGII report and purports to show a relationship between rising temperatures and economic losses from weather disasters. It is extremely misleading. When it was released I had this t0 say about it:
I am shocked to see such a figure in the IPCC of all places, purporting to show something meaningful and scientifically vetted. Sorry to be harsh, but this figure is neither. . . I am amazed that this figure made it past review of any sort, but especially given what the broader literature on this subject actually says. I have generally been a supporter of the IPCC, but I do have to admit that if it is this sloppy and irresponsible in an area of climate change where I have expertise, why should I have confidence in the areas where I am not an expert?
4. A reviewer of WGII, Laurens Bouwer, had this to say when the report was released:

As reviewer for WG2 I have repeatedly (3 times) asked to put a clear statement in the SPM that is in line with the general literature, and underlying WG2 chapters. In my view, WG2 has not succeeded in adequately quoting and discussing all relevant recent papers that have come out on this topic — see above-mentioned chapters.

Initial drafts of the SPM had relatively nuanced statements such as: “Global economic losses from weather-related disasters have risen substantially since the 1970s. During the same period, global temperatures have risen and the magnitude of some extremes, such as the intensity of tropical cyclones, has increased. However, because of increases in exposed values …, the contribution of these weather-related trends to increased losses is at present not known.”

For unknown reasons, this statement (which seems to implicitly acknowledge Roger’s and the May 2006 workshop conclusion that societal factors dominate) was dropped from the final SPM. Now the SPM has no statement on the attribution of disaster losses, and we do not know what is the ‘consensus’ here.

5. Just this week I learned that the IPCC simply made up a false response about my views when directly queried on this subject by an expert reviewer.

The IPCC treatment of the science of disasters and climate change is an even worse breech of scientific standards than the errors associated with Himalayan glaciers. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

This is your energy secretary? Chu Defends U.N. Climate Science, Admin Efforts on Nuclear Waste

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today dismissed accusations of fraud in climate science generated by the release last year of hacked e-mails between researchers, saying e-mails showed "warts and bumps" in the scientific process.

Chu told a Senate panel there are "mountains" of evidence that climate change is real and the Energy Department will continue to rely on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which critics say has been undermined by the so-called "Climategate" e-mails.

"That's a little snippet out of all the things that have shown the climate is changing," Chu said of the e-mails. "There are always little warts and bumps as science goes on."

Chu was responding to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who had pressed him for his views about the reliability of the U.N. climate science during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. ( Greenwire)

 

Heeding the political lessons of Glaciergate - Governments must constantly question the science

THE UN's admissions on Glaciergate are welcome, but the international body has sustained damage from its sloppiness in reporting climate change data. Its claim to speak as the authority on climate science is reduced now that its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been forced to back down over a claim that some Himalayan glaciers would probably disappear by 2035.

The IPCC's statement yesterday that the "clear and well-established standards of evidence" had not been properly applied to the claim, is an attempt to put the best possible spin on a blunder that has reverberated around the world since it was revealed last weekend. In fact Glaciergate, in large part, is about an extraordinary reliance on a third-hand source - a news story published in New Scientist almost a decade before it was included in the IPCC's fourth assessment report of 2007.

...

The real lesson is that our political leaders must continue to question, probe and analyse the evidence before committing to policies with profound consequences. This is not about letting the IPCC off the hook. Nor is is about denying the science. It is about applying a healthy degree of scepticism to scientific claims that drive policy. (The Australian)

 

More Laundered Literature: A Guest Post by Ben Pile

[This is a guest post by Ben Pile.]

In September 2008, Oxfam published a report called “Climate Wrongs and Human Rights: Putting people at the heart of climate-change policy”. At our UK-based blog Climate Resistance, we were unconvinced already. Humans, by definition, cannot be at the heart of any eco-centric view of the world. Moreover, the climate issue has been adopted by one-time development agencies to instead emphasise not developing as the most ‘progressive’ course of action for the world’s poorest people. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Ball or Aerosol?

According to the likes of Bob Ward, George Monbiot, Ben Goldacre and Steve Connor, it is a well established fact that the slump in global temperatures over three decades in the middle of the last century is the result of changes in the composition of atmospheric aerosols following various clean air acts in the western world.

Failure to acknowledge this fact is ’straightforward scientific dishonesty’, according to Monbiot, and ‘a major misrepresentation of the scientific evidence’, in the words of Ward. Goldacre described the question of the post-war temperature slump as a prime example of a denialist ‘zombie argument’ (it ’survive[s] to be raised again, for eternity, no matter how many times [it is] shot down’) and wrote that it has ‘been answered already, ages ago’. It’s the aerosols, stupid.

We have stated repeatedly that such certainty is not justified by the state of scientific understanding of atmospheric aerosols (see links above). So it’s good to see Quirin Schiermeier’s piece in today’s issue of NatureThe real holes in climate science – which identifies aerosols as one of four problematic areas of climate change research (the other three being Regional climate prediction, Precipitation, and The tree-ring controversy): (Climate Resistance)

 

Ohio Professional Geologists Reject Warming Alarmism

The Ohio Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists has adopted a position statement rejecting global warming alarmism and calling on Congress to defeat legislation aimed at restricting carbon dioxide emissions.

The position paper reflects growing scientific sentiment that humans are not causing a global warming crisis. ( Heartland Institute)

 

Stossel’s Take on Global Warming

FBN’s John Stossel on all the fallacies in the White House’s push to go green.

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Jan. 21st 2010

A Miss World wants us all to go vegan, a city in the north of England may be hugely improved by global warming and the Met Office explains how it ensures the world is always warmer. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Comment On “AMS2010: Data Gaps And Errors May Have Masked Warming” By Olive Heffernan At The Weblog Climate Feedback

There is a post on the Nature website Climate Feedback by Olive Heffernan titled

AMS2010: Data gaps and errors may have masked warming

This is a remarkable post in that it fails to properly assess all of the data sources for climate system heat changes. Excerpts from the post read

“New analyses provide preliminary evidence that temperature data from the UK Met office may under-estimate recent warming. That’s the conclusion of a talk given here today by Chris Folland of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Folland says that there is a very good chance that there has been more warming over land and over the ocean in the past decade than suggested by conventional data sets, but he says that the issues with land and ocean data are entirely unrelated.’

“For land, the problem of underestimating warming stems from data gaps in the average monthly temperature data set of the Met Office Hadley Centre, known as HadCruT3. Temperatures over the past decade were recently re-analyzed using a European climate model by Adrian Simmons of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK and colleagues, and are soon to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research [subscription]. Simmons and colleagues compared air temperature and humidity data collected over the past decade by the Hadley Centre with re-analyzed data for the same period. Average warming over land was larger for the fully sampled re-analyzed data than for the HadCRUT3 temperature data. The difference between the data sets is particularly notable for northeast Canada, Greenland and northern parts of Asia, areas which are warming particularly rapidly.”

If the land surface temperatures were actually warmer than have been sampled, this results in even more divergence between the surface temperature and lower tropospheric temperature trends which we quantified in

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

Chris Folland also ignored the unresolved issues and systematic biases that we identified in our 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 Heffernan weblog post further writes

“For the ocean data, it’s a different issue. John Kennedy of the Met Office and colleagues previously reported in Nature [subscription] that changes in the methods used to collect sea surface temperature (SST) data at the end of World War II caused problems in comparing pre- and post-war data. Now they have a new analysis (yet to be published) suggesting that smaller changes in data collection methods since the end of the war could also be significant.

Over the past 20 years, the primary source of SST data has changed from ships to ocean buoys. Because ships warm the water during data collection, there has been a drop in recorded SSTs since buoys, which are more accurate, became the main data source. So what could appear to be a relative cooling trend in SSTs over the past decade may actually just due to changes in errors in the data. Scientists are confident that the buoy data are more accurate because they compare favourably with reliable satellite data.”

The upper ocean heat data shows no appreciable warming in the upper ocean since at least 2005 (and perhaps since 2003) as I discussed in my paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

The satellite monitored surface temperatures similarly show a lack of warming over this time period; the current global sea surface temperature trends can be viewed at the GISS website (see) where for the period 2003 to 2009 on the annual average, there is a even negative trend in this time period for some latitude bands (see) [see also the land and ocean temperature changes figure in the section "Annual Mean Temperature Change for Land and Ocean in http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/ where a divergence between the land and ocean data trends in the last 10 years is quite distinct].

While, whether the trends are positive or negative from 2003 to 2009 does not refute a longer time global warming (which could, of course, recommence), statements by Chris Folland and John Kennedy that can be easily shown to conflict with even a cursory examination of the data, will result in a dismissal of their conclusions by objective climate scientists. (Climate Science)

 

More or Less Intense Hurricanes?

A new article has just been published in the January 22, 2010 issue of Science magazine which finds that there will be a large increase in the frequency of the strongest hurricanes in the Atlantic basin as the climate changes from increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. But a closer look at the results shows that this model-based result is produced by a hurricane model which under-simulates the frequency of strong storms in today’s climate. And that, despite the projected increase in intense hurricanes, the frequency of those storms projected by the model to occur by the end of the 21st century is considerably less than the frequency of intense hurricanes actually observed in the current climate. If the model doesn’t work for the present, why should we trust it for the future? (WCR)

 

Heroes! Why the pink-footed goose is a CO2 villain - Could this bird really have a worse carbon footprint than a patio heater?

The pink-footed goose is an increasingly common sight on the waterways and fields of Britain. Smaller than a mute swan but larger than a mallard, the geese can currently be spotted all over estuaries such as the Wash and Solway, where they will stay until April, when they head for their Arctic breeding grounds.

The RSPB notes that the pink-footed goose is pinkish-grey with a dark head and neck, a pink bill and, not surprisingly, pink feet and legs. It likes to eat grain and potatoes. What was less well known about the pink-footed goose, until now, is that each bird is responsible for more than 100kg of ­carbon-dioxide emissions each year. The pink-footed goose: the bird with a carbon footprint four times larger than a patio heater.

Unlike cows and sheep, the geese do not fart and burp out their sizable contribution to global warming. Rather, they free the carbon from the ground when they grub around in the Arctic soil for food. (The Guardian)

These critters are returning a valuable resource to the biosphere. Leave them alone!

 

White House Needs New Look At Energy

It was a rubbing-the-eyes-in-disbelief headline even from an administration whose energy secretary, Steven Chu, suggested that America's energy dilemma could be solved by painting roofs white, and whose interior secretary, Ken Salazar, talked of garnering 3,000 megawatts of wind-power capacity off the East Coast. (The current total electricity capacity from all U.S. energy sources is about 1,000 megawatts.)

Under the title "U.S. raises concern over China oil policy," David Shear, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee on Jan. 13:

"We are pursuing intensive dialogue with the Chinese on the subject of energy security, in which we have raised our concerns about Chinese efforts to lock up oil reserves with long-term contracts."

Shear was responding to Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, who said he was "worried that the Chinese were aggressively buying up oil all over the world and might not share it with other countries in the future."

Well, what do you know? The Obama administration, whose entire energy posture going back into the presidential campaign has been both ideologically and practically stridently anti-oil, both as an industry and as a form of energy, has suddenly become "concerned" about China's oil grab.

This is, to say the least, disingenuous.

The U.S. government under Barack Obama has yet to acknowledge once, in spite of widely held estimates, that oil will continue to account for 40% of world energy demand 25 years from now — this while total world energy demand will increase by 50%, at least.

Nor has the administration, mired in Kyoto and Copenhagen global climate rhetoric, acknowledged that fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal will still account by then for over 85% of world energy demand, a largely unchanged contribution from what it is today.

Instead there is constant rhetoric about solar (the president's favorite during the campaign), wind and "advanced biofuels" which, when combined, are not likely to account for more than 1% or 2% of the world energy demand over the next several decades. (Michael J. Economides, IBD)

 

The Green Con Job

The U.S. economy is sensitive to high energy prices. An aggressive push toward green power would result in the net loss of millions of jobs. There is a better way forward.

Unlike most products, electrical energy is fraught with thorny economic issues. These include market competitiveness (e.g., the generation and distribution of energy resembles monopoly more than perfect competition), the emission of pollution, and public safety. Consequently, government regulation of the power industry in some shape or form is common around the globe. Historically, when governments enmesh themselves in the regulation of industry, they have a nasty habit of micromanaging, picking “winning” firms and technologies. True to form, the current energy debate centers on what proportion of America’s electric energy should be generated by “green” sources, and what form those “green” sources should take (e.g., wind, solar, biomass, etc.). The answer to these questions will have significant ramifications for the U.S. economy for decades to come. In what follows, we explore these economic ramifications in greater detail, and compare wind power (currently the cheapest source of green energy) with what we believe is the best energy option: nuclear power. (Dustin Chambers and Dan Ervin, The American)

 

Global warming? Don’t blame the car

General Motors executive says solar flares are responsible for climate change, not car emissions or CO2.

Senior General Motors executive Bob Lutz has slammed scientists and environmentalists, saying global warming has little to do with humans and more to do with solar flares and sunspots.

The self-confessed petrolhead and man who proudly claims to be a progenitor of the Chevrolet Volt electric car (due in Australia in 2012) still scoffs at global warming.

Lutz, who in 2008 memorably described global warming as a “crock of shit”, once again aired his views while meeting with a group of Australian journalists at the Detroit motor show last week.

"I am not going to give a speech on this because every time I do I get in trouble,” Lutz said, then immediately began explaining his views. (SMH)

 

Bryce v. Pickens Tonight on Fox Business: See Why Boone Pickens Doesn’t Have a Plan

T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens; Photo by Mark Lennihan: AP

T. Boone Pickens is a pleasant guy. But the hard truth is this: he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In fact, he doesn’t even know the most basic facts about the Pickens Plan.

I met Pickens on Tuesday in New York City. We appeared together to tape a segment for John Stossel’s new show, “Stossel,” which airs tonight on Fox Business at 8p EST. The theme of Stossel’s show: “energy independence.” And as you may know, “energy independence” is one of the key elements of the promotion of the Pickens Plan.

Before we got into the studio to tape the segment, Pickens and I started arguing in the green room. I said that while I agreed with him about the boom in US natural gas production and that America should use more of it, I said “your numbers don’t add up.” Pickens taken aback, said “what do you mean?” I explained that his claims he can cut US oil imports by one-third in ten years are simply not possible and that he is grossly exaggerating the ability of the US to make a quick transition to natural gas- fueled vehicles.

His response, “I haven’t said that.” I was stunned. But I was prepared. I pulled out a few pages on which I’d printed my talking points. On the Pickens Plan website, he claims that – and this is a direct quote -- “increasing the use of our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years.”

I read that line to Pickens. To which he replied “I never said that.” I was incredulous. I said, “this is from your own website. I simply cut and pasted your wording.” Jay Rosser, Pickens’ media advisor, was standing nearby, and asked to see it. I handed him my paper, with the citation.

I told Pickens that even if he were somehow able to manage a 100-fold increase in the number of natural gas-fueled vehicles in the US and do so in just ten years, he couldn’t meet the target that he is claiming. (For the math on this, see below). To that, Pickens responded, as I recall, with something to the effect of, “Well, it doesn’t matter.”

Again, I was flabbergasted. For the past 18 months, Pickens has been on nearly every news outlet in the US, promoting his wacky ideas about energy independence. His website claims that more than 66,000 people have signed his petition that seeks “energy independence now.” And yet, Pickens was telling me that his own claims about reducing foreign oil use don’t matter? The billionaire went on to tell me that what he really wants is to convert long-haul diesel trucks to natural gas. If he can convert 8 million long-haul trucks, then he could save lots of diesel fuel and thereby, he said, cut oil imports.

By that time, the show’s producers were getting impatient. They were ready to pull Pickens into the studio to begin taping the segment. “Sir, we need to go,” said a headset-wearing woman standing next to Pickens. She grabbed his hand. I was ready to continue the discussion about diesel, pointing out that by displacing diesel, Pickens would only displace part of the crude oil barrel. And then we started to discuss corn ethanol, a substance that Pickens said he favored, because, he said, “it’s domestic. I’m for anything that’s domestic.”

Again, I was stunned. How could Pickens actually favor the corn ethanol scam? But by that time, the woman was nearly ready to grab Pickens by the collar in order to pull him into the studio. We continued our debate on the set. The show airs tonight. Check it out. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

Taking the heat off coal

Coal is a four-letter word and forever will be so, but can it achieve a less pejorative status in the new decade?

In terms of contributions to atmospheric emissions, and to global warming according to the mainstream scientific view, Australian domestic emissions from coal are small beer, contributing less than 1 per cent of the worldwide total – but the fate of the industry here will be closely watched in major, industrialised coal-burning countries around the planet.

The basic arithmetic for Australia is straightforward: at the start of the new decade, generators here contribute more than 80 per cent of the domestic electricity supply, burning 52 million tonnes of black coal and nearly 70 million tonnes of brown coal each year. The recent downturn in emissions, as reported by The Climate Group, is a factor of the economic slump and cannot be expected to re-occur in 2010.

Ten years from now, allowing for growth in demand – itself an issue of considerable debate – those tonnages could be expected to exceed 65 million tonnes for black coal and be much the same for brown coal. Under that scenario, Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions will rise – not fall – by at least 135 million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide, the national political target.

The ALP and the Greens made much in 2007 about the sites for nuclear power stations under a continuing Coalition government. The political wheel having turned, it will be the Rudd Government’s task in the 2010 election to explain which coal-burning power stations will be closed under carbon policy and when. This is an important issue for the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, Port Augusta in South Australia, the Hunter Valley and Lithgow area in New South Wales and for central Queensland. (Business Spectator)

 

Landlocked god of the sea? Welcome to Scandia Wind Offshore

Scandia Wind Offshore (SWO) is being formed in response to the compelling attributes of West Michigan for offshore wind farm development. SWO is conducting a feasibility study in the waters outside of Mason and Oceana counties for a 1,000 Megawatt (MW) wind farm, the Aegir Project, and plans to leverage the many years of offshore wind farm development experience of its Norwegian partner, Havgul Clean Energy. Technical analysis is underway as well as an information exchange with the local community, local government officials, and the State of Michigan.

The Aegir Project is designed for harvesting the outstanding wind resource on Lake Michigan to produce clean, renewable energy while addressing the current need for job creation in Michigan. (The Aegir Project)

 

Seems strange people with such a paternal and parochial lake view would countenance this: Wind-farm developers face hurdles before project can become reality

WEST MICHIGAN — There was an audible gasp at a public hearing Tuesday when the audience saw what the proposed Aegir Offshore Wind Farm would look like from Mears State Park in Pentwater.

Then there was uncomfortable laughter when they saw the even larger looking wind turbines on Lake Michigan in a computer-generated picture depicting the view from northern Silver Lake State Park.

For those accustomed to an unobstructed lakeshore in northern Oceana and southern Mason counties, the lake photos showing the proposed new wind farm were jarring. ( Muskegon Chronicle)

 

Peter Lang on Australian Windpower: High Costs, Low Emission Reduction

by Kent Hawkins
January 21, 2010

The higher costs and inferior reliability of government-mandated wind power and solar power are well known to students of the electricity market. Many analyses on wind and solar have documented their real-world problems.

But another negative aspect of wind and solar technologies is their failure to live up to their raison d’être: emissions reduction. As I have explained in a four-part post, firming intermittent electric generation requires very inefficient fossil-fuel generation that creates incremental emissions compared to a situation where there is not wind or solar and fossil-fired generation can run more smoothly. This is a huge insight, a game changer, that could take the renewable energy debate in a new direction entirely.

 A number of studies are emerging that quantify both the cost premium of politically-forced renewables and the minimal amounts of emissions reduction (and even notable emissions increase) resulting from their use. Country-specific studies (such as the one under review) present a methodology that is applicable to other jurisdictions (such as the U.S.) to better assess policy options and their consequences for all stakeholders, including taxpayers.

Peter Lang’s important new study, Emissions Cuts Realities – Electricity Generation, analyzes five options for the Australian electricity system for cutting CO2 emissions over the period 2010 to 2050 compared to business-as-usual (BAU) in terms of cost. The range of CO2 emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010 is from zero to 80%.

The conclusions that Lang draws include:

  1. The nuclear option provides the largest reduction in CO2 emissions – 80%.
  2. Any CO2 emissions reduction achieved with wind and solar thermal (there are arguably none and even increases) is “achieved” at a very high cost – 250-300% of 2010 costs.

Lang’s analysis is very conservative. The author’s preference seems to be to gain an unassailable beachhead in a very contentious debate. But in reviewing his data, I see confirmation that new wind or solar capacity provide marginal reduction in CO2 emissions at best. I would even argue that there are emission increases because any reductions due to new renewables are dependent upon solar thermal technology development by 2020 providing sufficient thermal storage to allow operation for 8,000 hours per year.

Other conclusions that can be reached are:

  1. The nuclear option provides an effective ‘bridge’ to future generation technologies.
  2. The extraordinarily large funding required for the implementation of new renewables in this period would be better spent on energy efficiency/conservation programs and in research and development for other technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), nuclear waste management, nuclear fusion and solar.

In summary, Lang’s study and other considerations provide another illustration of the failure of industrial-scale new renewables, particularly wind and in the near future, solar, to meet societies’ goals. They do not provide the impact that is needed in terms of energy independence, avoidance of fossil fuel use and reductions in CO2 emissions that conventional wisdom, with all its inadequacies, dictates.

My summary of Lang’s paper follows. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Toyota In Argentine Lithium Deal For Hybrid Car Push

SYDNEY/TOKYO - A sister company to Toyota Motor Corp secured a lithium supply deal in Argentina on Wednesday that could help the world's largest automaker keep its lead in gasoline-electric hybrid cars.

The deal sent shares in the lithium project's owner and operator, Australian-listed Orocobre Ltd, soaring almost 50 percent to an all-time high.

Lithium, a highly reactive and versatile metal, is expected to be in increasing demand as carmakers choose costly but more efficient lithium-ion batteries to power hybrid and electric vehicles. (Reuters)

 

The Lesson of Scott Brown’s Win: Never Give an Inch

This is not a time for compromise. It is a historic moment to be grasped by those of us who believe in individual freedoms.

The lesson of Massachusetts: all politics is local only during times of domestic tranquility, but at truly defining moments, all politics is ideological. Tuesday night, finally, in Massachusetts the battle turned from politics to ideology, a confrontation we had successfully avoided since the Civil War. While politicians dithered over details such as who would or would not pay taxes on Cadillac health plans (have you driven a Cadillac lately?), the people grasped the deeper issue.

The Enlightenment and religious reformations that swept Europe following the Renaissance threw out the old existing orders, and the great debate began between two acutely different variants of what constituted their proper replacement. The Anglo-Saxons concerned themselves with “the rights of men,” and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and our own magnificent uprising of 1776 affirmed the notion of individual rights derived from a higher power than man. The logical consequence of this was the notion of equity: that the public official might do only that which was explicitly permitted by law while the private citizen was empowered to act in any way that was not explicitly forbidden.

This idea, which dated back to the Magna Carta in 1218, was fine-tuned in the 17th and 18th centuries by insisting the governed had a right to consent to laws that inhibited their freedom.

The Europeans, on the other hand, preferred to think in terms of “the rights of man.” The movement from plural to singular is important for now individual freedoms would be determined by a collective will, a “social compact” that would predetermine what was good and just for everybody. So while Anglo-Saxons depended on “enlightened self-interest,” the Europeans felt the need to legislate virtue.

America was born as the former. But a corrupt academy, a narcissistic underpaid media (all of whom slavishly worshiped the Europeans), and a century-and-a-half of immigration brought the collectivist view into the American mainstream. The health care debate is not really about who should be covered, but about taking decisions that were once the responsibility of the individual and turning them over to the collective.

Although born long after the Civil War, I have lived through this struggle before. In the 1960s, Pierre Trudeau took Canada, then a country of self-reliant, broad-shouldered, rugged individualists, and by sheer force of political magnetism, transformed it into a post-modern society, a European clone of overtaxed politically correct worrywarts subject to heavy taxes designed to redistribute wealth. For a long time, it was a winning formula that even conservatives found seductive. After all, as George Bernard Shaw observed, if you rob Peter to pay Paul you can most certainly count on Paul’s vote. It took almost a half a century for Stephen Harper to reawaken Canadians’ sense of self-respect and begin the first faltering steps toward dismantling the monstrosity that Trudeaupian liberals had created.

It appears the voters of Massachusetts required a mere 11 months and 28 days. (Lionel Chetwynd, PJM)

 

Stop! The size and power of the state is growing, and discontent is on the rise

IN THE aftermath of the Senate election in Massachusetts, the focus of attention is inevitably on what it means for Barack Obama. The impact on the Democratic president of the loss of the late Ted Kennedy’s seat to the Republicans will, no doubt, be significant (see article). Yet the result could be remembered as a message more profound than the disparate mutterings of a grumpy electorate that has lost faith in its leader—as a growl of hostility to the rising power of the state.

America’s most vibrant political force at the moment is the anti-tax tea-party movement. Even in leftish Massachusetts people are worried that Mr Obama’s spending splurge, notably his still-unpassed health-care bill, will send the deficit soaring. In Britain, where elections are usually spending competitions, the contest this year will be fought about where to cut. Even in regions as historically statist as Scandinavia and southern Europe debates are beginning to emerge about the size and effectiveness of government.

There are good reasons, as well as bad ones, why the state is growing; but the trend must be reversed. Doing so will prove exceedingly hard—not least because the bigger and more powerful the state gets, the more it tends to grow. But electorates, as in Massachusetts, eventually revolt; and such expressions of voters’ fury are likely to shape politics in the years to come. (The Economist)

 

Pelosi says Senate health bill cannot pass House

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she did not think the Senate's version of healthcare reform had enough support to pass the House of Representatives without changes.

"I don't see the votes for it," Pelosi told reporters, adding congressional leaders would take their time to find the right approach to passing a healthcare reform bill this year.

"In its present form, without any change, I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," she said.

Pushing the Senate's version of the healthcare bill through the House was an option considered by Democrats after Tuesday's Republican victory in a Massachusetts Senate race cost them their crucial 60th Senate vote needed to pass the measure.

But some House Democrats have objected to several provisions in the Senate bill, including a tax on high-cost insurance plans that is opposed by labor unions and a less-restrictive policy on using federal funds to cover abortions.

Democrats have limited options on how to proceed on the healthcare bill, President Barack Obama's top legislative priority, without 60 Senate votes, and have been divided on how to achieve final passage.

Pelosi said "everything is on the table," but congressional leaders would pause to find the right course. "We're not in a big rush," she said. (Reuters)

 

The War Against Suburbia

A year into the Obama administration, America’s dominant geography, suburbia, is now in open revolt against an urban-centric regime.

A year into the Obama administration, America’s dominant geography, suburbia, is now in open revolt against an urban-centric regime that many perceive threatens their way of life, values, and economic future. Scott Brown’s huge upset victory by 5 percent in Massachusetts, which supported Obama by 26 percentage points in 2008, largely was propelled by a wave of support from middle-income suburbs all around Boston. The contrast with 2008 could not be plainer.

Browns’s triumph followed similar wins by Republican gubernatorial contenders last November in Virginia and New Jersey. In those races suburban voters in places like Middlesex County, New Jersey and Loudoun County, Virginia—which had support President Obama just a year earlier—deserted the Democats in droves. Also in November, voters in Nassau County, New York upset Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, an attractive Democrat who had carefully cultivated suburban voters. (Joel Kotkin, The American)

 

Really? MPs call for 'clean up tax' on chewing gum

People who buy chewing gum, cigarettes or fast food should be made to pay a "clean up tax" to tackle Britain's growing litter problem, according to an influential committee of MPs. (TDT)

What about councils returning the refuse bins and actually doing their job by keeping them emptied on a regular basis (daily is always good around convenience stores, fast food joints and public areas)? Forget the fines and make it practical for people to properly dispose of refuse, ya dopey beggars! Can't complain about the service -- there isn't any! Sheesh!

 

A Victory for Free Speech

The First Amendment is a little stronger now. In a 5-4 decision announced today, the Supreme Court struck down another portion of McCain-Feingold, specifically the ban on corporate and union-funded issue ads in the closing days of an election. Even better, the Supremes also overruled a 20 year old ruling that banned corporate and labor money from funding any political campaign ads.

Finally, the Supreme Court displayed some sanity when interpreting the first Amendment. (Well, five justices, at least.)

From FoxNews.com:

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the main opinion, which reads in part that there is "no basis for allowing the government to limit corporate independent expenditures."

"There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers," he wrote. "The government may regulate corporate speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether."

This should be obvious. The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." What part about "Congress shall make no law" don't the other justices understand? How can a Congressional ban on political speech, regardless of who pays for the printing press or ad space, especially when it's close to an election, make no "abridgment" upon the people's freedom of speech?

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent:

"The notion that the First Amendment dictated [today's ruling] is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided ... In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it."

In Justice Stevens' worldview, groups have fewer rights than individuals. Government can pass laws affecting groups, but that same group does not enjoy the freedom to speak out against that action during an election campaign? That doesn’t make sense.

Steve Simpson, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, filed an amicus brief in the case and reacted to the ruling:

“The Court has finally struck down blatant censorship that masquerades as campaign finance reform.  Slowly but surely, the Court is prying Americans’ free speech rights away from the hands of government bureaucrats.”

Justice Kennedy's opinion says it all:

“When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful ... The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

 

Foreseeable result of the idiotic sun terror campaigns: Rickets makes comeback among computer generation

The growth of the computer generation and changing lifestyles among children are leading to a Vitamin D deficiency and a rise in cases of rickets, medical experts have warned. (TDT)

You can thank the moronic "ozone depletion" and skin cancer scare campaigns for this, along with failure to reduce heart disease, cancers and other morbidities against which vitamin D exhibits protective properties.

Have no illusions, the great ozone depletion scam is and always was outright bullshit with no more scientific credibility than Ozone Al and his distressed Patagonian Sheep and blind bunnies in our backyards. Nonetheless governments have spent a lot of our money terrorizing parents and children over sunlight exposure.

Interesting that Molina of the ozone scam is also a player in gorebull warbling. Says it all really.

 

Doing Harm - The Mercury Scare

Updated paper (Science and Public Policy)

See also: Mercury, Climate and the Food Web: UPDATED

Written by Robert Ferguson (SPPI)

 

Uh-huh... Would it cure baldness and acne too? Salt reduction could save 92,000 U.S. lives a year

BOSTON - Shaving 3 grams off the daily salt intake of Americans could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 99,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths in the United States, while saving $24 billion in health costs per year, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The benefit to the U.S. population would be comparable to cutting smoking by 50 percent, significantly lowering obesity rates and giving cholesterol drugs to virtually everyone to prevent heart attacks, said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues. (Reuters Life!)

Gosh they make some ridiculous claims about salt and reduced consumption thereof.

 

The Debate Over Salt

FBN’s John Stossel and dietician Meme Roth break down the government battle over sodium intake.

 

Study links thyroid disease to non-stick chemicals

LONDON - Scientists have linked a chemical used in consumer goods like non-stick pans and water-resistant fabrics with thyroid disease, raising questions about the potential health risks of exposure to the substance.

A study by British researchers found that people with high levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in their blood have higher rates of thyroid diseases - conditions which affect the body's metabolism.

PFOA is a common chemical, used in industrial and consumer products including non-stick cooking pans, stain-proof carpet coatings and waterproofing for fabrics.

The study, published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, did not establish whether PFOA was causing higher levels of thyroid disease.

The researchers said the link might be complex and indirect, and added that their work highlighted a need for further studies of the human health effects of low-level exposures to chemicals like PFOA. (Reuters)

For "complex and indirect" read: "make believe". Even if there were a tenuous connection we would never be able to tease it out from confounding factors and random incidence. People who cook with non-stick cookware might have a taste for ingredients which contribute both to thyroid maladies and a preference for non-stick cookware (because said ingredients are more prone to cooking onto the cookware or something...) and they might suffer greater incidence of thyroid maladies if they don't use non-stick ware. These tiny little effects at the limit of detectability simply are not worth pursuing (unless perhaps you get grants and make your living doing so).

 

Forbes getting into idiotic scares now? Industrial Chemicals Lurking In Your Bloodstream - Everyone has heard about BPA. How many other potentially nasty chemicals may be in your body?

Concern is heating up over whether common industrial chemicals found in plastics and other consumer goods could be harming our kids.

The Food and Drug Administration made headlines when it said last week that it would review the safety of Bisphenol A, an industrial chemical commonly used in plastic bottles and food containers. It is worried that the chemical might have subtle but deleterious effects on the neurological and reproductive development of kids. (Forbes)

 

Martin Robbins: Magic potions must not be sold next to real medicines

Homoeopathy is a bizarre relic of the 18th century, a magical ritual cast over water or sugar pills, claiming to create medicines but failing to pass objective testing. In spite of this, a £40m homoeopathic industry prospers in Britain. You can buy homoeopathic vaccines, or go on a homoeopathic diet. Homoeopathic explorers travel to African clinics, claiming to be able to treat Aids. One site even advertises homoeopathic urine for your children, which is taking the, er, mickey.

Believers claim something that causes symptoms can cure them, as long as it's diluted so there's none of the original substance left. So caffeine could cure insomnia, if diluted to the extent that all you have left is water – the remedies contain no active ingredient. Supposedly the water keeps a "memory" of the caffeine that was in it. The memory is only activated when tapped in a certain way, allowing it to remember the active ingredient while conveniently forgetting the sheep that died upstream of the water supply.

These curious beliefs violate the laws of physics, and homoeopathy has never been convincingly shown to be effective. Some people do feel better after taking a homoeopathic remedy, but this is easily explained by the placebo effect, and the fact that most sick people get better anyway. (The Independent)

 

Homoeopathy sceptics plan mass 'overdose' - Protesters to swallow pills in bid to prove treatments ineffective

In what is being billed as "rationalism's Kool-Aid moment", a mass "overdose" is being planned next week in protest at the marketing of homoeopathic medicines.

More than 300 people who style themselves as "homoeopathy sceptics" will each swallow an entire bottle of homoeopathic pills in protest at the continued marketing of homoeopathic medicines by Boots, the high street chemist chain.

The protest is due to take place at 10.23am on Saturday 30 January. It is organised by the "10.23 Group", who take their name from Avogadro's constant, which they claim proves that homoeopathy cannot work. (The Independent)

 

Obesity Ups Cancer Risk, and Here's How

(Jan. 21, 2010) — Obesity comes with plenty of health risks, but there's one that's perhaps not so well known: an increased risk of developing cancer, and especially certain types of cancer like liver cancer. Now, a group of researchers reporting in the January 22nd issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, have confirmed in mice that obesity does indeed act as a "bona fide tumor promoter." They also have good evidence to explain how that happens. (ScienceDaily)

 

High cholesterol puts 1 of 5 teens at risk of heart disease

ne out of every five U.S. teenagers has a cholesterol level that increases the risk of heart disease, federal health officials reported Thursday, providing striking new evidence that obesity is making more children prone to illnesses once primarily limited to adults. 

A nationally representative survey of blood test results in American teenagers found that more than 20 percent of those ages 12 to 19 had at least one abnormal level of fat. The rate jumped to 43 percent among those adolescents who were obese. 

Previous studies had indicated that unhealthy cholesterol levels, once a condition thought isolated to the middle-aged and elderly, were increasingly becoming a problem among the young, but the new data document the scope of the threat on a national level. (Washington Post)

If only we had some evidence cholesterol levels were in any way causal in any morbidity...

 

Study finds US birth weights inch down a bit

WASHINGTON -- U.S. newborns are arriving a little smaller, says puzzling new Harvard research that can't explain why. Fatter mothers tend to produce heavier babies, and obesity is soaring. Yet the study of nearly 37 million births shows newborns were a bit lighter in 2005 than in 1990, ending a half-century of rising birth weights. 

The change isn't big: The average birth weight of full-term babies is just under 7 1/2 pounds, a drop of about 1.8 ounces, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. 

That's surprising considering doctor warnings about 9-pound, or bigger, babies. So the researchers double-checked. 

The proportion born large for their gestational age dropped about 2 percent, which is good. 


"What physicians are responding to is that the bigger babies are getting bigger," said lead researcher Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Plus, "babies are still bigger than they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. It's just the trend seems to have flattened or reversed itself." (Associated Press)

 

NHS rations obesity surgery to save money

The NHS is rationing obesity surgery to save money despite evidence it is the most effective treatment, surgeons warned. (TDT)

 

NHS obesity operation access inconsistent, surgeons say

Access to weight-loss operations on the NHS is "inconsistent and unethical", the Royal College of Surgeons has said.

The RCS says some patients who meet the criteria for stomach surgery of England and Wales health watchdog NICE have to wait until they become even more obese. 

It estimates the 4,300 operations such as gastric band fittings carried out by the NHS last year met only 2% of need. (BBC)

 

Who's to blame for morbid obesity?

As thousands clamour for surgery for this risky condition there's little examination of its origins: instead, we'd rather blame the victims (The Guardian)

 

Asian ozone raising levels of smog in western United States, study shows

Scientists discover link between atmospheric ozone over US and pollution from burning fossil fuels during Asian economic boom

Ozone blowing over from Asia is raising background levels of a major ingredient of smog in the skies over western US states, according to a new study appearing in today's edition of the journal Nature.

The amounts are small and, so far, only found in a region of the atmosphere known as the free troposphere, at an altitude of two to five miles, but the development could complicate US efforts to control air pollution.

Though the levels are small, they have been steadily rising since 1995, and probably longer, said lead author Owen R Cooper, a research scientist at the University of Colorado attached to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

"The important aspect of this study for North America is that we have a strong indication that baseline ozone is increasing," said Cooper. "We still don't know how much is coming down to the surface. If the surface ozone is increasing along with the free tropospheric ozone, that could make it more difficult for the US to meet its ozone air quality standard." (Associated Press)

 

John Beddington’s company against plans for marine reserve in Chagos island

A company belonging to the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser is opposing plans to create the world’s biggest marine reserve. His company holds a government contract to manage fishing in the area, which would be banned if the reserve were created.

The waters surrounding the Chagos Islands — or the British Indian Ocean Territory — are among the most pristine in the world. In November David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, announced a consultation on whether to ban all fishing in the area after a campaign by a coalition of conservationists and ecological scientists. A decision is expected in the spring.

The company owned by Professor John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, and his wife, argues there is no evidence that a ban would improve the environment and would in fact drive fishing boats into other areas of the Indian Ocean where there is less control over what they catch. (The Times)

 

A giant leap for British salmon - Remarkable comeback in South Wales, where coal pollution turned rivers black

The rivers of the South Wales coalfield once ran black with mining waste and were so polluted in places that no life could survive. But, in one of the most remarkable environmental turnarounds Britain has ever seen, a 20-year effort to clean them up has paid off – salmon have returned to all of them.

Watercourses such as the Ebbw, the Rhymney, the Taff and the Rhondda, whose names for many people are still redolent of a blighted landscape of pitheads and slag heaps, now have salmon running up them from the sea to spawn. (The Independent)

 

The fulmar fights back

A once-rare seabird has returned to British skies. (TDT)

 

Fred said something sensible? Maybe... Why Africa’s National Parks Are Failing to Save Wildlife

The traditional parks model of closing off areas and keeping people out simply may not work in Africa, where human demands on the land are great. Instead, what’s needed is an approach that finds ways to enable people and animals to co-exist. (Fred Pearce, e360)

 

 

They're going to keep pushing, pretending there's nothing wrong: U.N. Insists To Guide Climate Talks, Despite Setback

OSLO/LONDON - The United Nations insisted Wednesday that it should keep guiding talks on a new climate pact despite near-failure at a summit last month when a few countries agreed a low-ambition "Copenhagen Accord."

Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N.'s Climate Change Secretariat, said negotiations in 2010 would be based on U.N. talks launched in 2007 about how to extend the existing Kyoto Protocol and on involving all nations in action.

The three-page Copenhagen Accord, championed by big emitters including the United States and China, could however be a valuable spur toward agreement at the next U.N. meeting in Mexico in November, de Boer said. (Reuters)

 

U.N. Official Says Climate Deal Is at Risk

WASHINGTON — Just a month after world leaders fashioned a tentative and nonbinding agreement at the climate change summit meeting in Copenhagen, the deal already appears at risk of coming undone, the top United Nations climate official warned on Wednesday.

Facing a Jan. 31 deadline, major countries have yet to submit their plans for reducing emissions of climate-altering gases, one of the major provisions of the agreement, according to Yvo de Boer, the Dutch official who is executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which organized the climate meeting.

Fewer than two dozen countries have even submitted letters saying they agree to the terms of the three-page accord. And there has been virtually no progress on spelling out the terms of nearly $30 billion in short-term financial assistance promised to those countries expected to be hardest hit by climate change. Still unresolved are such basic questions as who will donate how much, where the money will go and who will oversee the spending. (NYT)

 

UN drops deadline for countries to state climate change targets - Copenhagen deal falters as just 20 countries of 192 sign up to declare their global warming strategies

The UN has dropped the 31 January deadline by which time all countries were expected to officially state their emission reduction targets or list the actions they planned to take to counter climate change.


Yvo de Boer, UN climate change chief, today changed the original date set at last month's fractious Copenhagen climate summit, saying that it was now a "soft" deadline, which countries could sign up to when they chose. "I do not expect everyone to meet the deadline. Countries are not being asked if they want to adhere… but to indicate if they want to be associated [with the Copenhagen accord].

"I see the accord as a living document that tracks actions that countries want to take," he told journalists in Bonn. (The Guardian)

 

Avoiding a trap on climate change

EVER SINCE his inauguration a year ago, President Obama has tried to motivate Congress with a strong ultimatum: Pass climate-change legislation, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will use its authority under the Clean Air Act to curb carbon emissions without your input. 

Instead of accepting this as a prod toward useful action, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) apparently wants to disarm the administration. This week she is set to offer a measure, perhaps as an amendment to a bill raising the federal debt ceiling, that would, one way or another, strip the EPA of its power to regulate carbon emissions as pollutants, perhaps for a year, perhaps forever. We aren't fans of the EPA-only route. The country would be better off if Congress established market-based, economy-wide emissions curbs. But hobbling the agency isn't the right course, either. (Washington Post)

Granted, hobbling the EPA is not the right course (that would be expunging the rotten thing altogether) but it is the best currently available course.

 

Cold Feet on Climate … and the EPA

goose-cold-feet

Yesterday, as if he knew the results of the Massachusetts Senate race, retiring Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) ruled out the possibility of the Senate considering a cap-and-trade bill. The reluctance of the Senate to take up a comprehensive global warming bill coincides with increasing public skepticism. Despite these obvious warning signs that global warming policies are quickly becoming a third rail in American politics, intelligent insiders suggest the President will continue to emphasize cap-and-trade and its job creation ability in his State of the Union Address next week.

Of course, readers of the Foundry know that cap-and-trade does not create jobs – it destroys them. Heritage found that the House-passed cap-and-trade bill would result net job losses approaching 1.9 million in 2012 and 2.5 million by 2035.

Continue reading... ( The Foundry)

 

Sen.-Elect Brown's Win Adds More Question Marks to Senate Climate Debate

An already tough climb to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation in the Senate just got a bit tougher with Republican Scott Brown's upset victory yesterday in Massachusetts.

Brown's win takes a guaranteed "yes" vote off the board for advocates of setting up a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions. It also could serve as a warning shot for moderate senators nervous about voting for a sweeping new government program headed into their own tough re-election campaigns.

At his victory rally in Boston, Brown warned that his election puts Democrats on notice that they may pay a political price come November if they do not take a second look as they work through the major pieces of President Obama's legislative agenda.

"When there's trouble in Massachusetts, rest assured there's trouble everywhere and they know it," Brown said.

Climate bill advocates yesterday noted that the Massachusetts special election never ventured into a debate on global warming policy. And given the likely Democratic defections, they added that the issue always required bipartisan outreach to cross the 60-vote threshold, unlike the health care bill that was a central battleground in the campaign to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D).

"The political atmosphere doesn't reduce the urgency of dealing with climate and energy, and the surest way to increase the anger at Washington is to duck the issues that matter in peoples' lives," said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in an e-mailed statement to E&E. ( ClimateWire)

Misanthropists have more than three decades effort vested in this, carbon scammers stand to miss out on billions marketing nothing. Hands up those who think the effort will slacken, even a little.

 

EPA Sets Stage to Battle Climate Change

The Environmental Protection Agency has signaled that it might not wait for Congress and instead move ahead with its own regulations in the coming months. (Industry Weekly)

 

Climate Change Bill Is in Doubt

As Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House contemplated the fallout of the special election results in Massachusetts on Tuesday, proponents of major climate change legislation said they would persist in their efforts to win passage of a bill this year, despite a hostile political environment. 

The effort to enact comprehensive energy and climate change legislation was in trouble even before the Republican, Scott Brown, won the Massachusetts special election for Senate.

Senate leaders had put off until spring any consideration of a measure capping greenhouse gas emissions similar to that passed by the House last June, because Senate Democrats were deeply divided on it.

White House officials continued to insist that a cap-and-trade measure to limit carbon dioxide emissions coupled with incentives for clean energy development remained a top priority of President Obama. (NYT)

 

“Cap-and-Trade” Is Dead–Will the “Federal Renewables Mandate” Be Next? (An “environmental tea party” may be brewing against industrial windpower)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
January 20, 2010

Temperature trends, Climategate, Copenhagen, IPCC falsification, and now the Massachusetts Revolution–cap-and-trade is dead, the political pundits say. So much for the  inevitability argument that I heard from my colleagues during the Enron years (“come on Rob, get out in front of it and shape it!”), as well as the science-is-settled that had been the Word.

But what about a scaled back energy/climate bill with the key provision of a federal renewables mandate? Has the ‘Massachusetts Revolution’ killed that too?

We will soon find out. But one thing can be certain: Americans from coast-to-coast and border-to-border are going to look more closely at wind power, and I do not believe they are going to like what they see. (Enron, anyone?) Witness the growing complaints from the grass roots–including in-the-trenches real environmentalists–that industrial wind is intrusive, costly, and unreliable.

As an indication of the grass roots revolution against wind, consider the summary I received today from Glenn Schleede on the activities of a group call the Industrial Wind Action. Schleede, a longtime voice in the wilderness on the problems of wind, said this in his note.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Here’s a recent newsletter-summary of recent articles on wind energy.

Perhaps you, too, have noticed that the negative environmental, energy and economic impacts of wind energy are totally ignored by the people on the payroll of the US DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE), the DOE’s National “Laboratories” (particularly, NREL and LBNL), EPA, and Interior.

Since these folks are totally dependent on taxpayer dollars for their jobs, one might think they would be somewhat objective and responsive to the public interest — but perhaps they think that they have a higher calling.

Thank God for the tea party movement!!  May it grow and grow!!

Glenn Schleede

Here is the snapshot of action and analysis on the wind front from WindAction.

Is the Obama Administration watching and listening to this “Environmental Tea Party”? They had better. Energy is the master resource and second only to health care as a percentage of the national economy. The masses want and expect affordable, reliable energy for their homes, businesses, and vehicles. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Graham, U.S. Chamber to meet on climate and energy bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he plans to meet with U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials later on Wednesday to discuss energy and climate change as Graham continues efforts to craft a bipartisan plan.

Graham – who is working with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) – wants to merge expanded oil and nuclear power production with some kind of limits on greenhouse gas emissions. 

He argues that only a mix of energy production and greenhouse gas measures can achieve 60 votes. (E2 Wire)

 

Cap and Trade May be Dead, But Bad Energy Policy Isn’t

With the election of Scott Brown and Senator Byron Dorgan’s recent comment that “it is unlikely that the Senate will turn next to a very complicated and very controversial subject of cap-and-trade, climate legislation,” the prospects for CO2 legislation are looking quite grim. But before American energy consumers can break out the champagne glasses, there are still economically threatening policies coming from the administration and Congress.

Just because carbon dioxide reductions won’t be passed by elected officials doesn’t mean unelected ones can’t do it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with its own set of global warming regulations. The EPA’s endangerment finding, which took effect last week, gives the EPA authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Polluters Dragging EU Back

BRUSSELS, Jan 20, 2010 - Barely a month after world leaders gathering in Copenhagen reached a weak accord on climate change, the European Union's top polluters are fighting a fresh battle to dissuade policy-makers from taking more robust action.

The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), one of the largest corporate interest groups in Brussels, has begun 2010 by urging the key EU institutions to refrain from setting more ambitious targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases than those already agreed. (IPS)

But atmospheric carbon dioxide is not "pollution" at all.

 

Although the term is frequently misapplied: France To Tax Big Polluters Under Revised Scheme

PARIS - France plans to tax big polluters on their carbon dioxide emissions until 2013, when a separate EU-wide scheme will make such firms pay for emissions permits, Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said on Wednesday.

In a shock move, France's Constitutional Court rejected an original version of the government's carbon tax late last year on the grounds that it exempted too many big firms and ran counter to the spirit of equality in the French tax system.

Borloo told reporters the planned compromise would be to tax companies temporarily in an attempt to avoid double-charging them or worsening their position in the global marketplace.

The government also said in a statement it would introduce measures to protect the competitiveness of certain sectors, and consult companies and environmental groups on the implementation of the tax before its introduction.

The Constitutional Court ruling represented a blow to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had billed the new tax as an important weapon in the fight against climate change.

The ruling will also hit state coffers, with the economy ministry saying it will lose up to 1.5 billion euros ($2.13 billion) in projected tax revenues in 2010, putting pressure on Borloo to come up with a new version rapidly. (Reuters)

 

Lorne Gunter: First Climategate, now Glaciergate

Hot on the heels of Climategate — the leaking of thousands of emails and computer files that show many of the world’s leading climate scientists fudging the results of their global warming research and contriving to keep skeptics from being published in academic journals — comes what could be called Glaciergate. (National Post )

 

IPCC and WWF statements on glaciers

In separate statements of regret and remorse, the IPCC and World Wildlife Fund have confessed to their parts in getting unsupported statements about disappearing glaciers into the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report.

The IPCC refer in their press release to "poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers" to which one might be tempted to add the words "not credible in the first place".

The reason for the lapse was, apparently, non-adherence to IPCC rules:

In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly. The Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance. This episode demonstrates that the quality of the assessment depends on absolute adherence to the IPCC standards, including thorough review of “the quality and validity of each source before incorporating results from the source into an IPCC Report” 3. We reaffirm our strong commitment to ensuring this level of performance.

This is an interesting admission, particularly for me, having just written a book that touches on several issues of failings in IPCC procedures and unbalanced statements finding their way into IPCC reports.

Meanwhile, WWF are also very sorry:

At the time the WWF report was issued, we believed the source of the statement to be reliable and accurate. 

We regret any confusion caused by our role in repeating the erroneous quote in the 2005 report and in subsequent publications and statements. 

As the world’s leading science-based conservation organisation, WWF is strongly committed to ensuring the information we provide to the public is thoroughly reviewed to meet the highest standards of accuracy.

Update on Jan 20, 2010 Bishop Hill

Oops! On the same lines, Roger Pielke Jnr has posted a particularly egregious example of IPCC authors simply making things up. When a reviewer thought that Pielke Jnr's views should be sought on a question of hurricane damage in the USA, instead of actually asking him, the chapter authors simply inserted a statement as follows:

I believe Pielke agrees that adding 2004 and 2005 has the potential to change his earlier conclusions – at least about the absence of a trend in US Cat losses.

What makes their error even worse was that Pielke had previously made it clear that he believed no such thing.

This looks very bad. (Bishop Hill)

 

Maybe the IPCC will pick this up -- it's from a favored source ;) Big cats threatened by climate change: 'Scuba gear' needed

One of the world's largest tiger populations could disappear by the end of this century as rising sea levels caused by climate change destroy their habitat along the coast of Bangladesh in an area known as the Sundarbans, according to a new World Wildlife Fund-led study published in the journal "Climatic Change." (USA Today)

 

The Guardian on Pachauri

The Guardian Environment Blog has this to say about Rajendra Pachauri's conflicts of interests:

The chairman of the UN's panel of climate scientists, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, has been under an unwelcome spotlight this week. First, he announced a review into the panel's claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Then he had to defend himself from reports by the Sunday Telegraph that he's financially profiting from the influence of his UN role – a claim he trenchantly denies. Now, Pachauri has come out fighting, calling himself "unsinkable". . .

"They can't attack the science so they attack the chairman," Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told me. "But they won't sink me. I am the unsinkable Molly Brown. In fact, I will float much higher."

Pachauri chairs another panel, the judges of the 2010 Zayed Future Energy prize, an illustrious jury that includes former BP chairman Lord Browne, architect Norman Foster and the president of Iceland. Yesterday in Abu Dhabi, Pachauri took to the stage at the seven-star Emirates Palace hotel to hand out a large cash prize – to one of the companies he has been advising.

Last year the $1.5m award was given to Dipal Chandra Barua, an entrepreneur whose company, Grameen Shakti, trained women in rural Bangledesh to install solar energy systems. This year, Pachauri and his judges awarded the prize to car-making giant Toyota.

Arguably Toyota neither needs the money nor the recognition for its work on hybrid technologies. It's worth noting that until less than a year ago, Pachauri was also a member of Toyota's International Advisory Board. I asked Pachauri why Toyota had won, when giving the money to a smaller-scale venture could have had more impact. . .

. . . in the science community skilled, engaging communicators like Pachauri – the author of 23 books, including one of English verse – are all too rare. We're looking to them to convey the gravity of climate change and need for action. Not give succour to sceptics.

A good way to avoid giving succor to skeptics is to distinguish advice from advocacy, and to have in place transparent and credible guidelines for managing conflicts of interest. The IPCC does neither. (Roger Pielke Jr)

But why would they have any motive to "avoid giving succor to skeptics" in the first place? When your science is strong it should be able to speak for itself, surely?

 

But when will the IPCC apologise for Pachauri?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change belatedly admits to a grossly irresponsible bit of scaremongering, but when will it admit to the suspect role played in it by its deeply compromised chairman?

To recap, here’s the IPCC’s claim in 2007:

Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.

That, of course, was nonsense, and last November the Indian Government issued a report showing the Himalayan glaciers were melting much, much slower than the IPCC claimed, and there was no sign that any melting was unusual or linked to global warming..

Yet at first the IPCC thought it could defend its absurd claim with some of its old pre-Climategate shut-ups:

Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s chairman, has hit back, denouncing the Indian government report as “voodoo science” lacking peer review.

And again:

Today (India’s Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam) Ramesh denied any such risk (of complete melting by 2035) existed: “There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers.” The minister added although some glaciers are receding they were doing so at a rate that was not “historically alarming”.

However, Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, told the Guardian: “We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

But in fact, as The Times then reported, the IPCC claim was based on pie in sky:


In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research.

Note the IPCC’s instinctive reaction to criticism: to deny, deny, deny and then abuse. But the IPCC now admits its claim that the Himalayan glaciers will vanish by 2035 is indeed false:

It has, however, recently come to our attention that a paragraph in the 938-page Working Group II contribution to the underlying assessment2 refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.

The fact that this mad claim got into the IPCC report in the first place, almost cut and pasted from a report by the WWF green group (no peer review demanded from the IPCC this time), already says plenty. Here’s that 2005 WW report:

glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the livelihood[sic] of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high

But let’s now hear from the IPCC an explanation for Pachauri’s initial refusal to even contemplate that this inherently ridiculous claim was wrong. That, I think, is the most telling part of this farce. (Andrew Bolt)

 

Oops! Even Boringtheme isn't buying this: Pachauri: Only one error in a 1000-page report

Excerpts from an interview with R K Pachauri, chairman of UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change on the controversies surrounding the Nobel peace prize winning scientific panel: (Times of India)

 

Et tu, Seth? UN climate report riddled with errors on glaciers

WASHINGTON -- Five glaring errors were discovered in one paragraph of the world's most authoritative report on global warming, forcing the Nobel Prize-winning panel of climate scientists who wrote it to apologize and promise to be more careful. ( Associated Press)

Actually it's nice of Seth to join the party, however belatedly (unfortunate, the way he immediately buries Pachy's claim of "only one error"). Of course, this is not really new - here at JunkScience.com we and other skeptics besides have been telling the world for some time that the claim was wildly inconsistent, e.g. back in '04 (many of the links will have long-since expired):

Enviros say: "Glaciers in Himalayas receding at alarming rate" - "New Delhi, April 27: With the glaciers in the Himalayas receding at an alarming rate due to global warming and increased human activity, environmentalists today stressed upon the need for international co-operation for their better management to conserve the precious water resource." (PTI)

Study actually shows : "Himalayan glacier to remain, not to cause water shortage" - "New Delhi, Apr 27 An international study today set at rest the speculation by some experts that the Himalaya glaciers would disappear within the next 40 years, as a result of global warming, and that flow of the Himalayan rivers would eventually diminish, resulting in widespread water shortage.

'The catastrophic water shortages forecast by some experts are unlikely to happen for many decades, if at all," says the summary report of the project "Snow and Glacier aspects of Water Resources Management in the Himalayas (SAGARMATHA), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Natural Environment Research Council." (UNI)

'05:

"Heavy snowfall augurs well for India's shrinking glaciers and snow-fed rivers" - "There's good news for the geologists and the environmental scientists who have been craving to assuage their anxieties over shrinking of glaciers and drying up of snow- fed rivers. Heavy snow in the higher regions of Himachal Pradesh this year have rejuvenated them all. The snowfall has given a fresh lease of life to both perennial and seasonal glaciers in the region. Snow deposit have been recorded maximum in the mountain ranges of Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti, Chamba, Kangra and Shimla districts. The region has received its heaviest snowfall in over two decades this year. The environmentalists had been alarmed earlier at the melting of tropical glaciers due to global warming fearing a major climactic imbalance in nature. This year's snowfall would again load the glaciers with snow to their respite." (ANI via Insurance Digest)

"Himalayan snow job" - "Recently, a World Wildlife Fund press release was picked up by Reuters. "Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest-retreating glaciers globally due to the effects of global warming," the advocacy group announced. WWF timed its press release for a two-day Energy and Environmental Ministerial conference in London, where the United States was (predictably) criticized because it won't commit economic suicide by adopting the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

Heck, Steve even did a column on Himalayan glacial melt being significantly lower that warmers would like people to believe in '07.

Of course, those who have been paying attention would have noted increasing mention of this troubled assertion over the past year or so.

 

Schiermeier on climate uncertainties

Quirin Schiermeier has an article in Nature on the uncertainties in climate science, which will interest many readers. It tends to reiterate lines of argument that are familiar to anyone who has followed the pronouncements of the Hockey Team in recent years. This is hardly surprising when one looks at who he chose to interview - Gavin Schmidt, Jonathan Overpeck, Gabriele Hegerl, Susan Solomon, Hans von Storch, and an economist called Leonard Smith.

Not a sceptic among them and four of them being Hockey Team members.

There are many points of interest. For example, Schiermeier claims that the divergence problem is restricted to "a few northern hemisphere sites", directly contradicting Keith Briffa who has referred to it as "a widespread problem" in the NH. Schiermeier also tries to defend the Nature "trick", although perhaps without quite the certainty that Jones' defenders have had in the past. "It could have been done better", seems to be the current preferred line for those who would try to justify hiding things from politicians. (Bishop Hill)

And guess what makes a guest reappearance?

Must be the undead fraud... While it states this is the data from 10 studies that is misleading since all the dendro studies use subsets of the very same data.

Loehle used 18 different sets of non tree ring data and strangely had no difficulty locating the Medieval Warm Period. No hokey hockey stick here:

 

Who Cares About Climate? – 1- How Space-Time Digested AGW

People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?

(part 1 of 2: How Space-Time Digested AGW)

What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?

Alas, thanks to the staunch defence of AGW no matter what, it is about almost nothing. I have already written how very little there is to show for AGW (most if not all issues are firmly expected for sometimes in the future). And now, whatever AGW has become, it is turning into a ghost of itself in front of our very eyes, because of insurmountable problems of time (and space). ( Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

The climate sure is changing at the CSIRO

Yes, the climate is indeed changing. The intellectual climate, that is, even at the CSIRO.

September 2009:

SCIENTISTS studying Victoria’s crippling drought have, for the first time, proved the link between rising levels of greenhouse gases and the state’s dramatic decline in rainfall.

A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change.

January 2010:

Australia’s peak science agency, the CSIRO, has backed away from attributing a decade of drought in Tasmania to climate change, claiming ‘’the jury is still out’’ on the science. The comments follow the issuing of a CSIRO report yesterday, revealing drought has cut water availability in northern Tasmania’s premier wine growing region by 24 per cent, with riverflows reaching record lows. One of the report’s co-authors, hydrologist David Post, told The Canberra Times there was ‘’no evidence’’ linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

‘’At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that,’’ Dr Post said.

Oh, the squealing:

Australian Greens leader, Bob Brown has accused CSIRO of ‘’caving in to political pressure’’ to soften its stance on climate change in the lead-up to this year’s federal election.

In fact, the political pressure until now has been entirely the other way. Here is the Tasmanian Planning Commission - a government instrumentality - just last year, claiming what the CSIRO now says may not be true, after all:


Warming of the global climate system is now unequivocal… These global trends are evidenced in Tasmania with a 0.4–0.7°C temperature rise in the past century… Some of the climate related changes that were anticipated or projected by scientists at Tasmania’s first public Greenhouse Conference held in 1988 are now becoming evident in present observations, records and data. Collectively the changes point to an increasing climate change ‘signal’ in Tasmania as indicated by the responses of plants, animals and ecosystems.

The great scare is crumbling. (Andrew Bolt)

 

Why climate change spurs whining about cold snaps

Global warming has many good and bad effects, but one that is becoming especially clear is that it makes us all weenies when it comes to colder weather.

You might have noticed that this winter is cold. OK. But it's not nearly as nasty as, say, the late 1970s, which brought the three coldest consecutive U.S. winters in the entire record (which started in 1895). The last winter of any consequence was 2000-01, but that was only the 26th coldest. Where this one will wind up no one can say, but I would be surprised if it even gets to the bottom 20. ( Patrick J. Michaels, USA Today)

 

Paris Could Become Another Venice With Next Flood

PARIS - One hundred years ago, the river Seine burst its banks and filled the elegant boulevards of Paris with torrents of muddy water, forcing thousands of inhabitants out of their homes and cutting off power for months.

The same could happen again. Only this time the consequences will be 10 times worse, experts say.

"The flood is unavoidable," said Louis Hubert, director for the Paris region at France's ministry of ecology and sustainable development.

"What we can simply say is that we are almost certain to see new considerable floods, but we don't know when."

Paris' centennial flood of 1910 -- a flood which has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring every year -- affected 200,000 people in 1910 and cost 1.5 billion euros ($2.15 billion) in today's money, said Hubert.

A similar flood these days would affect around a million inhabitants and cost 15 billion euros, he added. On top of this, another two to three million people are likely to see their electricity cut off for several days, he added. (Reuters)

 

Interview By Ray Taylor At OurClimate.Eu Titled “Copenhagen, Europe, Africa and a Vulnerability Paradigm”

Ray Taylor at OurClimate.eu of the Land-Atmosphere Resilience Initiative [ see and see also] conducted an interview of me titled

Copenhagen, Europe, Africa and a Vulnerability Paradigm

The article starts with

“RAY TAYLOR: Good morning Professor Pielke and thank you for agreeing to this interview for the European Union OurClimate portal.

What would your advice be to EU and African countries for the Copenhagen climate talks?

PROFESSOR ROGER PIELKE Sr: I recommend that the vulnerabilities, from a bottom-up, natural resources* perspective be identified, rather than starting with the inappropriate (and ineffective) narrow emphasis on carbon emissions. The vulnerability framework is more inclusive and will permit more effective policymaking.

There also needs to a recognition that climate change is much more than global warming. Even without global warming, humans are altering the climate system significantly.”

Read the rest of the interview here. As a clear message from the Haitian earthquake, there is a need to assess vulnerabilities of society to the entire spectrum of natural and human caused risks, and to develop policies to reduce these threats. The available financial and other resources need to be optimized in order to most effectively minimize these risks.

A focus on funding CO2 reductions which result in a reduction of funds for other actions, such as developing more earthquake resistant urban areas, is not a wise expenditure of financial resources.

Interested readers can view more of my perspective (and that of other AGU Fellows) in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. (Climate Science)

 

Gatecrashed by the Lord (Monckton)

What more could a skeptic ask? We’d organized our first ever skeptics social event, to celebrate that last month Australia missed an emissionary bullet. Forty people met, honored to be able to talk to the only man in Australian parliament with a PhD in science–Dennis Jensen. There were toasts all round for his insight and courage in speaking out years ago, when hardly anyone else did.

Then in one of those few moments in life when the truly unlikely happens, Christopher Monckton appeared. Having just flown from the UK to Sydney, arriving only this morning on the other side of the country, he and his wife Juliet had flown to Perth for a meeting tomorrow (an extra 4000 km each way). There was no other night this could have happened. The crowd were delighted.

Both Monckton and Jensen were in fine form.

I highly recommend connecting skeptics together. One of the rewards of working hard to expose the way science has been exploited is that I meet great people: independent thinkers, conscientious people, passionate and dedicated souls.

That’s one thing I’ll miss when every man and his pet fish knows how exaggerated the claims are for AGW–it won’t work as a filter to find the gems. More » (Jo Nova)

 

EPA ignores reality in scientific breakthrough - unable to disprove greenhouse effect in equilibrium

Abstract: Earth's Greenhouse Effect is constant and does not rise with human CO2 emissions. That is the main point of Dr Miskolczi's results, called to the attention of the EPA in the 'Endangerment Finding' evaluation process. The EPA could not disprove this or Miskolczi’s results. (Dr. Miklos Zagoni and Dianna C. Cotter, Examiner)

I'm not sure I buy GHE equilibrium. Precipitation efficiency alone is going to affect net GHE, so cooler periods will be accentuated by atmospheric drying, won't they? I guess it's possible a drier atmosphere would exhibit less convective tower activity and could retain similar GHE only with a lower altitude for the tropopause... by the same token the tropics can't really get a lot warmer than current without cranking up autoconvection and transporting heat both poleward and spaceward.

Miskolczi could be correct and we have conceptual differences over net greenhouse effect. He might mean average columnar value whereas I'm looking global net value but as expressed it doesn't feel quite right.

 

Reality Check On Science Magazine’s Claim That 2009 Was The Hottest Year on Record in Southern Hemisphere

There is an article in Science magazine on January 13 2010 titled

Exclusive: 2009 Hottest Year on Record in Southern Hemisphere by Eli Kintisch

It reads

The United States may be experiencing one of the coldest winters in decades, but things continue to heat up in the Southern Hemisphere. Science has obtained exclusive data from NASA that indicates that 2009 was the hottest year on record south of the Equator. The find adds to multiple lines of evidence showing that the 2000s were the warmest decade in the modern instrumental record.

Southern Hemisphere temperatures can serve as a trailing indicator of global warming, says NASA mathematician Reto Ruedy of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, given that part of the globe is mostly water, which warms more slowly and with less variability than land. Ruedy says 2009 temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were 0.49°C warmer than the period between 1951 and 1980, with an error of +/- 0.05°C.

That makes 2009 the warmest year on record in that hemisphere. That’s significant because the second-warmest year, 1998, saw the most severe recorded instance in the 20th century of El Niño, a cyclic warming event in the tropical Pacific. During El Niño events, heat is redistributed from deep water to the surface, which raises ocean temperatures and has widespread climatic effects. But last year was an El Niño year of medium strength, which Ruedy says might mean that the warmer temperatures also show global, long-term warming as well as the regional trend.

The data come a month after announcements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by the World Meterological Organization that the decade of the 2000s was warmer than the 1990s. (NOAA estimates that the decade was 0.54°C warmer than the 20th century average. The 1990s, by comparison, was 0.36°C warmer by their measure.)

Meanwhile, NOAA is expected to announce possible record highs in the tropics when it releases its final report on 2009 temperatures on Friday. “This is one of the coldest winters we’ve experienced in a while up here in the northern latitudes,” says Derek Arndt of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. “But we’re piling up a lot of heat in the tropics.”

However, their claim fails the reality check when even a cursory examination of the data (the “multiple lines of evidence”) is made.

For example, see

which I originally posted on January 8 2010. 

John Christy has also provided the Southern Hemisphere lower tropospheric MSU derived temperature anomalies and 2010 was the 4th warmest in the period 1979-2009:  The other years and their anomalies are 1998 (+0.41); 2002 (+0.30); 2005 (+0.24) and 2009 (+0.21). The anomaly of 1998 was almost twice the anomaly of 2009 in the Southern Hemisphere.  The RSS MSU anomalies are also in close agreement with the UAH MSU data that John has provided.

The Science article perpetuates the focus on an inappropriately narrow assessment of global (and hemispheric) warming. This is misleading policymakers, and, with respect to Science magazine itself, is confirming that it is not presenting a balanced view of climate science. (Climate Science)

 

Hydrocycle Looking Better than Ever

Of the many pillars that support the alarmist view of global warming is that droughts will increase in many parts of the world. This prediction is fairly straightforward, for if temperatures increase, potential evapotranspiration (ETo) should increase as well. If precipitation stays the same in the future and ETo increases with higher temperatures, the area would see a reduction in soil moisture and a trend toward drought. Of course should precipitation be reduced while ETo rates increase, the trend toward drought could be severe. In the ultimate alarmist view, ETo increase and extreme precipitation increases, and the area would then see an increase in both floods and droughts. We have heard it all before and we have covered these topics in many essays, but the beat goes on and on. (WCR)

 

Who Needs Energy Independence?

When you gas up your car, do you think that you're doing something evil? After all, I'm told that burning gasoline helps "murder the Earth," not to mention fills the coffers of terrorists and despots.

So we must move away from oil. Al Gore says, "The future of human civilization is at stake."

But I need the gas. I need to drive. I need electricity to light my home. What can I do? Is there an alternative? There is, I'm told.

"What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home? We have such fuels," Gore says.

"In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses."

In 10 years, he says, we can get all our electricity from these carbon-free sources.

Global warming hysteria is just one reason Gore and others push for alternative fuels. We're also told that America's goal should be energy independence. Today, we do buy oil from some very nasty people: dictators in Venezuela and the Middle East. What if they cut us off? That fear is one reason almost every president and presidential candidate -- from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama -- promised to end our "intolerable" reliance on oil imports.

When Nixon was president, we imported 25 percent of our oil. Since then, our "leaders" have wasted billions on subsidies for alternative energy. The result? Today we import nearly 70 percent of our oil.

Terrible as that sounds, I say, "So what?" Interdependence is just fine! And journalist Robert Bryce, author of "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusion of Energy Independence," agrees. He'll be my guest on "Stossel" [tonight] (Fox Business Network, 8 Eastern, and again Friday at 10).

Bryce points out that while Saudi Arabia and Iran are oil exporters, they are gasoline importers. "If even Saudi Arabia and Iran are energy interdependent, why wouldn't we be?" he says. "Energy interdependence" is just a way of saying "division of labor" and "comparative advantage." (John Stossel, Townhall)

 

America’s Future Auto Fleet: Electric Cars or Natural Gas Vehicles?

The 2010 Auto Show held in Detroit recently concluded after generating photo ops for our politicians and much speculation about the future of the US auto industry. [Read More] (G. Allen Brooks, Energy Tribune)

 

Ontario set to sign multibillion-dollar green-energy deal with Samsung

TORONTO - The provincial government is on the verge of signing a multi-billion-dollar deal with the South Korean firm Samsung Group to develop green energy in the province.

Samsung will set up production facilities to manufacture wind turbines and other renewable energy equipment. The industrial giant would also develop large swathes of wind and solar farms.

The value of Samsung's investment is estimated at between $5 billion and $7 billion.

The deal would see Samsung receive preferential treatment from the province, in the form of priority access to the energy grid and higher-than-market rates for the renewable energy it creates as part of Ontario's new feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. ( Lee Greenberg , The Ottawa Citizen)

Good business on Samsung's part but, oh Canada...

 

Oh dear... Clean energy drive to turn UK into giant forest

Britain’s forest cover could double under a plan to map every underused piece of land for potential conversion to plantations to feed wood and crop-burning power stations.

Millions of fast-growing trees, such as eucalyptus and willow, could be planted on moorland, hillsides, former industrial areas and even land owned by conservation bodies such as the National Trust .

The trees would be turned into pellets and used to generate electricity in the rapidly growing number of biomass power stations. These stations are due to play a key role in reducing Britain’s emissions of carbon dioxide because trees absorb it as they grow. The new forests would be cut down and replanted in a continuous cycle. (The Times)

 

Scott Brown’s Reading List: The Index of Economic Freedom

Heritage VP Kim Holmes, Ph.D.

Within a span of just a few hours this week, three seemingly unrelated events all, by happenstance, made headlines in America: the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, a historically earthshaking election in Massachusetts, and the release of The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. But perhaps there are no coincidences in life.

What narrative arc ties these headlines together? Our Index revealed today that the United States is no longer as economically free as it once was (and, in fact, dropped out of the “free” category altogether); President Obama spent his first year continuing – and exacerbating – dangerous economic policies that predated his swearing-in; and Scott Brown seized an unlikely victory in a true-blue state by campaigning on fighting the President’s disastrous economic policies. What’s more, he made it known to all that he would cast the 41st vote to be a firewall of conservative sanity to President Obama’s liberal agenda.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

From bad to worse: Sierra Club's New Chief Likes Pressuring Companies

SAN FRANCISCO - The venerable Sierra Club on Wednesday appointed a 38-year-old executive director with a history of getting big companies to sign onto environmental efforts and a focus on climate change.

California-based Sierra Club is one of the biggest U.S. environmental groups and has taken on global warming as a top issue, while its new executive director, Michael Brune, is from the edgier, more activist-oriented Rainforest Action Network. (Reuters)

 

Greenpeace Opts For Millions Of Blind Kids

CHURCHVILLE, VA—The earthquake in Haiti has caused more than 100,000 deaths and destroyed the homes of 1.5 million people. It’s a devastating blow to Haiti—but we don’t know how to prevent earthquakes. All we can do is help Haiti rebuild. 

On the other hand, we do know how to prevent 500,000 kids from going blind every year—and even dying—due to severe Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). But we’re not preventing the blindness or the deaths. Instead, we’re accepting the tragedy of millions of blind kids, plus the deaths of hundreds of thousands of pregnant women who die from needless birth complications, also due to VAD. The Vitamin A problem is far bigger than the Haitian earthquake, and it keeps on going, year after year. 

We started trying to cure Vitamin A deficiency 20 years ago, after a Swiss government researcher bioengineered “golden rice.” The new rice contained a gene from the daffodil that codes for beta-carotene. The human body can then make Vitamin A out of the beta carotene. Kids in rich countries get most of their Vitamin A from meat, milk and eggs, but poor-country kids live mainly on such plant foods as rice, cassava and sweet potatoes. None provide much bio-available Vitamin A. 

But Greenpeace and its eco-allies claimed—without evidence—that such genetic engineering is a “danger to the planet.” 

Even after Syngenta developed a corn-based “golden rice II” with vastly more beta carotene—and offered it free to the Third World—Greenpeace still said no.

Only now, after 20 years of blockade and delay, are we finally seeing the dramatic benefits of growing Vitamin A crops in the local fields. In the Mukono District of Uganda, they’re growing bio-fortified sweet potatoes. Here, about 25 percent of the children used to be wan and sickly, prone to severe diarrhea, pneumonia, eye inflammations and blindness. Most of the kids are now healthy and vigorous. Pregnant women are thriving, along with their babies. 

The difference? Orange-colored sweet potatoes, supplied by Uganda’s national agricultural research organization. They’re rich in beta-carotene, and they produce high yields because they resist local crop diseases. The germ plasm for the new sweet potatoes originated at HarvestPlus—Norman Borlaug’s international farm research organization that saved a billion people from starving in the Green Revolution of the 1960s. 

“A danger to the planet,” of course is what Greenpeace has called virtually every recent advance in global food production. At the same time, they claim the earth cannot sustainably feed the people already here. The European Union, to its shame, has backed up Greenpeace with threats to boycott the farm exports of any country which allows biotech plantings. In India, rice farmers protested plantings of the new rice, for fear the EU’s ban on biotech foods would block their exports of high-value basmati rice. 

HarvestPlus finally decided to breed around the Greenpeace blockade. It took more than a decade of laborious test plots and back-crossing, but now cross-bred beta-carotene is being planted in farmers’ fields—and the Mukono mothers say their kids have become remarkably healthier. All it cost was 20 more years, 10 million more blindings, and millions of maternal deaths. 

HarvestPlus notes that much of the Third World’s population is caught in a health-poverty trap. Blind and ill family members and orphans need extra care from the able-bodied family members or from societies resources. They never get ahead. Instead, struggling people and their large families keep slashing-and-burning more subsistence crops and hunting endangered animals with cheap AK-47s. 

Not even Greenpeace should want a poverty-stricken world full of blind children. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

 

Report: Over 1,000 Regulations Void?

According to a report recently submitted to Congress by the Congressional Research Service over 1,000 regulations written by federal agencies over the past decade may be invalid. The reason: copies of the rules were never given to congressional oversight committees as required by law. As a result, pending enforcement cases and other actions under these rules could be thrown out of court. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Glaxo Offers Free Malaria Research, Vaccine Nears

NEW YORK/LONDON - GlaxoSmithKline Plc hopes to seek approval by 2012 for its experimental malaria vaccine and said on Wednesday it would seek only a small profit and ensure it is widely available in hard-hit countries.

Chief Executive Andrew Witty also said the company would give away access to a stock of 13,500 potential malaria treatments for others to test and develop further if they show promise against the disease.

Glaxo will likely derive a "small 5 percent return" on the vaccine, Witty said, enough to help encourage other drugmakers to continue their own research against diseases that remain big killers in least developed countries.

"(Its) sales in dollars will be a very small number," he told reporters ahead of a planned speech on Wednesday to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"We must ... ensure that we do not do anything which would discourage other companies from entering into this field," he said, adding that Glaxo's return would be reinvested into research on medicines for diseases in poor countries.

"If we set a precedent of not-for-profit (pricing), we could discourage others from doing research into malaria or other neglected tropical diseases." (Reuters)

 

Flu vaccine additive boosts wide protection

WASHINGTON - A vaccine additive made by Novartis and used in its European influenza shots can boost the body's immune response to a wide range of viruses, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

Tests in the laboratory suggested the so-called adjuvant, called MF59, helped the immune system counteract not only the H5N1 virus in the current experimental bird flu vaccine, but mutant viruses as well.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests using vaccines with adjuvants may protect patients against even more types of flu viruses than they are being vaccinated against.

"MF59 adjuvant improves the immune response to a H5N1 vaccine by inducing qualitative and quantitative expansion of the antibody repertoires with protective potential," Hana Golding of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and colleagues wrote.

Adjuvants, often as simple as an oil and water mixture, broaden the body's response to a vaccine, reducing the amount of active ingredient called antigen needed. (Reuters)

 

Swiss warn on H1N1 vaccine with autoimmune disease

ZURICH - Switzerland's medical regulator recommended patients with serious autoimmune diseases should not use an H1N1 flu vaccine from Novartis, saying there were no studies assessing the inoculation in that segment of the population.

Swissmedic said on Wednesday it could not be ruled out that either or both of the adjuvant -- which can enhance the immune response -- and the antigen, or less active ingredient, could lead to an intensifying of autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, are caused by an overly active immune system attacking its own body, targeting substances which are normally present.

Novartis was not immediately available to comment. (Reuters)

 

German scientists develop fast-acting germ killer

LONDON - A new fast-acting disinfectant that is effective against bacteria, viruses and other germs could help stop the spread of deadly infections in hospitals, German scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin said they had developed a fast-acting, practical formula which would kill germs on surgical instruments without damaging them through corrosion.

Disinfectants are the first line of defence against the spread of hospital-acquired infections and effective cleaning of surgical instruments is vital to beating them.

The German formula works against a wide range of germs, including some that survive ordinary disinfectants, such as Mycobacterium avium bacteria which can cause a tuberculosis-type illness and enteroviruses that may cause polio.

Drug-resistant bacteria, the so-called "superbugs", are a growing problem in hospitals worldwide and poor hygiene among staff is often blamed for the spread of such infections.

They kill about 25,000 people a year in Europe and about 19,000 in the United States.

In previous studies, the German team found a simple alkaline detergent that could eradicate prions -- disease-causing proteins that are particularly hard to get rid of because they can become fixed onto surfaces through the use of some conventional disinfectants. (Reuters)

 

Researchers see pattern in PTSD brain activity

CHICAGO - U.S. researchers have discovered a distinct pattern of brain activity in people with post traumatic stress disorder that may give doctors an objective way to test for it, they said on Wednesday.

Using a brain imaging device called magnetoencephalography, which measures how the brain processes information, a team at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center found differences in brain activity between people with PTSD and healthy people.

Having a test for PTSD could speed treatment and simplify insurance coverage, said Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos of the University of Minnesota, whose study appears in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

PTSD, an anxiety disorder sometimes caused by wartime trauma, can cause flashbacks, nightmares, anger or edginess.

It currently is considered a "soft disorder," Georgopoulos said in a telephone interview.

"The thinking is people can suffer from it, but there is no biological marker." (Reuters)

 

"Silent pandemic" will force drug price rethink

LONDON - A "silent pandemic" of chronic disease is creeping up on poor countries and will force pharmaceutical firms to take a more tiered approach to pricing some of their most lucrative medicines.

Drugs for diseases which were previously dominant only in the rich, well-fed world, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, are increasingly in demand in poorer nations in Asia and Africa, whose populations are now living longer.

But the price of many of these medicines and their unsuitability for emerging markets are high barriers to access.

And yet unless those hurdles are overcome, experts say, chronic diseases could swamp developing health systems and kill many millions -- and the hopes of drugmakers like GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis of supplying vast new markets in emerging economies will struggle to come to fruition.

Discounting prices for poorer countries, a move already made by some big drug firms, is a start. But pharmaceutical bosses will also be under pressure to join patent pools to promote downward price pressure on drugs for major chronic diseases by increasing the number of producers, and may face legal challenges to force them to allow in more generic competition. (Reuters)

 

Cutting caffeine won't quiet ringing in the ears

NEW YORK - If you suffer from ringing in the ears, imbibing caffeine won't make it worse, and giving up caffeinated beverages won't make it better, new research from the UK shows.

There's a widespread belief that kicking caffeine can help ease ringing in the ears, also called tinnitus. In fact, doctors may recommend caffeine restriction for patients with tinnitus, despite the lack of scientific evidence for any benefit.

Given that the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, including headache, nausea, and irritability, are quite similar to those that accompany tinnitus, "it stood to reason that it might actually make things worse, at least in the short term," said Dr. Lindsay St. Claire of the Centre for Hearing and Balance Studies at the University of Bristol.

To investigate, St. Claire and her colleagues recruited 66 tinnitus sufferers who consumed at least 150 milligrams of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about three 12-ounce servings of soda. Coffee can contain anywhere from around 50 to 160 milligrams caffeine per 5-ounce serving, while tea's caffeine content can range from 25 to 110 milligrams per 5-ounce serving.

Over a 30-day period, half of the study participants kept up their normal caffeine consumption, and then went through a "phased withdrawal" in which the researchers gradually reduced the caffeine content of the beverages study participants drank. (Reuters Health)

 

No need for pregnant women to fast during labor

NEW YORK - There is no reason why pregnant women at low risk for complications during delivery should be denied fluids and food during labor, a new Cochrane research review concludes.

"Women should be free to eat and drink in labour, or not, as they wish," the authors of the review wrote in the Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

Dr. Jennifer Milosavljevic, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, who was not involved in the Cochrane Review, agrees that pregnant women should be allowed to eat and/or drink during labor. (Reuters Health)

 

Scientists want more safety studies on e-cigarettes

LONDON - Greek researchers called on Wednesday for more safety studies into electronic cigarettes, saying scientific knowledge of them was "very limited".

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were first made in China and are sold mostly on the Internet.

They are battery-powered devices which emit a "puff" or fine mist of nicotine into the lungs and are intended to replace normal cigarettes and help smokers quit.

The products are at the centre of a legal battle in the United States between manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates drugs and which wants to stop e-cigarettes from being imported into the U.S.

The FDA, which conducted research into e-cigarettes, has expressed concerns about their safety, and teams from Greece and New Zealand have also carried out studies into them.

But interpretations of the three reports vary, with the New Zealand study saying e-cigarettes should be recommended because they are safer than tobacco cigarettes, and the Greek study taking a broadly neutral stance. (Reuters)

 

Government binges on anti-obesity campaigns

Many Americans have made a resolution to lose weight in the new year. That’s admirable. What’s not so admirable is the recent barrage of efforts advanced by government officials to “help” them slim down by taxing or even outlawing foods deemed unhealthy.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom attracted national attention in late 2009 with his proposal for a tax on sugary beverages. It was his second attempt to levy a soda tax to fight obesity. Other big cities have mounted similar efforts. Most recently, New York City public health officials generated nationwide disgust with their graphic advertisements of a man guzzling liquefied fat as part of their anti-soda campaign.

Government efforts like these may be well-intentioned, but they’ve done nothing to curb the rise of obesity in this country. (Sally C. Pipes, The Examiner)

 

Weighing up the risks and benefits of weight-loss surgery

Weighing up the risks and benefits of surgery is a difficult but important task for any patient. New research into the outcomes of gastric bypass surgery for very overweight people may make that decision easier, by showing the likely increase in length of life for people of different ages, weights, and sex. (BMJ Group)

 

Um, no: Airlines' answer to obesity - pay for an additional seat

Airlines are waging a war on flab. Two international airlines are proposing to force overweight passengers to buy a second seat if they are unable to squeeze into a single one.

From next month Air France and KLM will make its larger passengers pay 75 per cent of the cost of a second seat as well as the full price for the first. (SMH)

 

Actually: Airline denies plans for obesity surcharge

PARIS - Air France KLM denied media reports on Wednesday that it planned an extra charge for overweight passengers if they were unable to fit into a single seat.

Instead, the national carrier said that from Feb 1. overweight passengers who had freely chosen to buy an extra seat for comfort would get their money back on flights that were not fully booked.

"Contrary to reports in the press this morning, Air France is not planning to force corpulent passengers to pay for a second seat," the statement said. (Reuters)

 

No need to ban polar bear trade, says international watchdog group

An international conservation watchdog has ruled that polar bears aren't endangered enough to need a global ban on trade that would place their hides in the same category as elephant ivory.

The ruling will make it tough for U.S. attempts to use the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to end Canada's commercial polar bear hunt and will be welcomed by Inuit hunters who depend on the industry for millions of dollars a year.

"Trade is not a significant threat to the species," concludes Traffic International in its recommendation released Wednesday.

The average annual export of 300 bear skins a year from Canada isn't big enough to threaten overall numbers, said Traffic.

Traffic, an international wildlife trade monitoring network that reports to CITES, looked at the issue of polar bear populations after the U.S. said it will ask the 175 countries that have signed the treaty to move polar bears to its highest level of protection. That level would effectively end all international trade in bear hides or other parts and cripple commercial hunting.

However, Traffic concluded that while the great white predators may be slowly declining, numbers aren't falling fast enough to require a trade ban. (Canadian Press)

 

 

Congress To Prioritize Climate Change

(SolveClimate) - Climate change activists say 2010 is starting out with an uphill battle.

In 2009, a new president moved into the White House, Congress inched toward passing a bill to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and the Copenhagen climate summit waited as a hopeful coda to a year of climate action.

It ended up being a year of mixed results, however, and the prospects for climate action this year appear equally mixed.

Congress gets back into full swing this week, and several senators have made assurances that climate change will be one of the first issues they discuss.

For Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), that means a new attempt to block greenhouse gas regulation by the EPA. Comprehensive climate change legislation, called for by President Obama called a year ago, may find itself just one more fish in a rather full legislative pond this year. Health care and financial reform are expected to be the main priorities for Congress this year, with issues like immigration policy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions fighting for the remaining attention.

"I think there is still definitely a shot for getting a climate measure this year," Manika Roy, vice president of federal government outreach at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told SolveClimate.

"One essential ingredient is the president's commitment to this issue. If the president says an energy bill is one of his top two or three priorities this year, then there is a good chance," he said.

But the discussion on Capitol Hill will not just be about how best to fight climate change.

In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that greenhouse gases were a danger to public health and welfare. (Reuters)

 

SNAP ANALYSIS-Massachusetts vote hurts US climate bill

WASHINGTON, Jan 19 - Republican Scott Brown's upset victory on Tuesday in the special U.S. Senate race has dealt a further blow to Democrats' drive to pass a climate control bill in 2010.

Last June, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a cap and trade bill that would require reductions in industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the next four decades. It also would allow pollution permits to be traded in a new regulated market.

But the global warming bill has languished in the Senate, where some members have been trying to find a compromise. Once Brown takes office, Democrats will hold 59 of the 100 votes in the Senate and the Republicans 41. The bill needs 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles that could block passage.

Here's a look at possible impacts of the Massachusetts election on the climate bill: (Reuters)

 

Bailey coming back onboard? Obama Follows in Bush's Footsteps on Climate Change

The era of massive global climate meetings may finally be ending. Thank goodness.

The collapse of the Copenhagen climate change conference in December killed the Kyoto Protocol—and not a moment too soon. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

 

Probably wishful thinking, unfortunately: Obama faces emissions U-turn with new Congress challenge - Senator Lisa Murkowski is expected to put forward a proposal that would seek to prevent federal regulation of carbon emissions

The Obama administration faces a challenge in Congress that could strip it of its powers to cut greenhouse gas emissions, barely a month after committing to action at the Copenhagen climate change summit.

An Alaska Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski, is expected to put forward a proposal for a vote as early as tomorrow that would seek to prevent the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

A show of support for Murkowski's proposal would be a personal humiliation for Obama who told the Copenhagen summit that America was committed to action on climate change. It also threatens to remove a fall-back position if Congress fails to pass a climate change law. (The Guardian)

 

Check out this bizarre editorial from The Crone: Ms. Murkowski’s Mischief

Senator Lisa Murkowski’s home state of Alaska is ever so slowly melting away, courtesy of a warming planet. Yet few elected officials seem more determined than she to throw sand in the Obama administration’s efforts to do something about climate change.

As part of an agreement that allowed the Senate to get out of town before Christmas, Democratic leaders gave Ms. Murkowski and several other Republicans the chance to offer amendments to a must-pass bill lifting the debt ceiling. Voting on that bill begins this week. Although she has not showed her hand, Ms. Murkowski has been considering various proposals related to climate change — all mischievous.

One would block for one year any effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. This would prevent the administration from finalizing its new and much-needed standards for cars and light trucks and prevent it from regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources.

Ms. Murkowski also is mulling a “resolution of disapproval” that would ask the Senate to overturn the E.P.A.’s recent “endangerment finding” that carbon dioxide and other global warming gases threaten human health and the environment. This finding flowed from a 2007 Supreme Court decision and is an essential precondition to any regulation governing greenhouse gases. Rescinding the finding would repudiate years of work by America’s scientists and public health experts.

Ms. Murkowski says she’s concerned about global warming but worries even more about what she fears would be a bureaucratic nightmare if the E.P.A. were allowed to regulate greenhouse gases. She says she would prefer a broad legislative solution. So would President Obama. But unlike Ms. Murkowski, he would not unilaterally disarm the E.P.A. before Congress has passed a bill.

Judging by the latest and daffiest idea to waft from Ms. Murkowski’s office, she may not want a bill at all. Last fall, the Senate environment committee approved a cap-and-trade scheme that seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on them. The Democratic leadership’s plan is to combine the bill with other energy-related measures to broaden the base of support; by itself, it cannot pass.

Knowing that the bill is not ripe, Ms. Murkowski may bring it up for a vote anyway as an amendment to the debt bill. Why? To shoot it down. The tactic would give us a “barometric reading” of where the Senate stands on cap-and-trade, one Murkowski staffer said recently. What it really gives us is a reading on how little the senator — or for that matter, her party — has to offer. (NYT)

Ignoring the questionable societal and environmental value of the EPA (the creation of which was probably the worst thing Nixon ever did), the carbon dioxide endangerment declaration is rampant lunacy. Moreover, carbon constraint is in neither America's or the word's best interests and most definitely should be scrapped as a really stupid idea. Murkowski could end up being a global hero. It is highly unlikely Murkowski's amendments will pass the Senate, let alone the House and then a veto but more power to her for doing the right thing and getting it up for debate. You go, girl!

 

Enron: Lobbyist for both Kyoto and Wind Farm Mandates

Dr. Rob Bradley, CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, documents in Political Capitalism how fraud and corruption at Enron were the inevitable consequence of a business strategy emphasizing the political pursuit of market-rigging regulations as a strategy to reap windfall profits and grow market share.

Enron, for example, was a key lobbyist for the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty calculated to increase demand for Enron’s services as a natural gas distributor, renewable energy seller, and cap-and-trade broker.

Today at MasterResource, the free-market energy blog, Bradley reveals that Enron also spearheaded the push for renewable energy mandates that made Texas the leading windpower state in the country.

Bradley worked at Enron for 16 years and frequently clashed with senior management over its infatuation with get-rich-quick green energy schemes. “Oh how sad I am…

Read the full story (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

 

There never will be a time for a carbon tax: Hedegaard says now is not the time for carbon tax

But carbon levy 'could come later' says candidate for future EU climate commissioner role. From BusinessGreen, part of the Guardian Environment Network (Tom Young for BusinessGreen)

 

Rémy Prud'homme: The Three Original Sins Of The French Carbon Tax

It is fascinating to see how a good theory can produce a bad policy. All economists agree: the best way to fight against a negative externality (a cost imposed on others by a polluter who does not pay for this cost) is to tax it. CO2 emissions are an externality, let us tax them. At 32 euros per ton (17 at the start), all reductions that cost less than 32 euros per tonne, and only those, will be implemented, and that is enough to reach our goals and achieve them at a lower cost. A price signal is better than a quantity signal. This theory, well-argued in the Rocard report, is a classic and solid one. Yet the carbon tax which it yields has been rejected by almost all Frenchmen, from farmers to members of the Constitutional Council. What went wrong ? (GWPF)

 

Still trying to stampede the world into "action": Energy conference warned that wasting time risks catastrophe

The international community must quickly agree to specific rates and timetables to reduce greenhouse emissions if the world is to be spared possible catastrophic consequences, the Minister of Environment and Water told the World Future Energy Summit yesterday on the opening session of its second day.

“Wasting time does not serve the interests of anyone,” Dr Rashid bin Fahad said, introducing the debate, “What now after Copenhagen?” (The National)

 

"Climate expert"? All is not lost in fight against climate change, says UK climate expert

After the disappointment of Copenhagen, many climate activists feel wholly dispirited about the world’s ability to prevent catastrophic global warming. But all is not yet lost, as one of Britain’s key climate experts made clear in a debate in the House of Lords on Friday.

Lord Stern of Brentford, author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, admitted the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change talks was “disappointing” and “chaotic” , but said despite this there had been significant progress.

Lord Stern: Huge opportunities to tackle climate change

In particular Lord Stern, who is also chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, highlighted the agreement that temperatures must not be allowed to rise by more than 2˚C.

While it was true that governments had failed to agree explicit overall emissions targets, these rose naturally from the 2˚C limit, he said.

“We have to get specific on what the 2˚C means. It means at least 50% cuts for the world as a whole from 1990 to 2050, going well below 20 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2050,” he said. (Bristol 24-7)

Last we heard Stern was and remains an economist.

 

The Tories need to take a lesson from down-under -- dump the warmie and concentrate on real problems: Michael McCarthy: Cameron is sticking to his green guns despite the risks

It's not quite up there with Princess Diana shaking hands with an HIV sufferer, in 1987, when Aids was still a subject of panic.

But the picture of David Cameron surrounded by huskies as the frozen wastes of the Arctic stretch out behind him qualifies, like that haunting Diana picture, as an iconic image: it unforgettably represents the moment when an attitude changed.

You can call it staged, you can call it a stunt, but there is no doubt that this image marks a wholly new psychological departure, and that it would have occurred to none of Mr Cameron's three failed predecessors as Tory leader, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, to mark a shift in emphasis in Conservative policy by going to northern Norway to tickle a dog.

Embracing the issue of climate change – by visiting the Arctic where it is most visible – was an essential part of the first half of the Cameron project, the second half of which, of course, is to be elected to power. The first half was to become electable, and we are starting to forget that for all of the Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard tenures, from 1997 to 2005, that's what the Tory party wasn't. The Tories were seen by much of the electorate as "the nasty party" – Tory frontbencher Theresa May said so herself. And thus the first half of the Cameron project was to "decontaminate the brand". (The Independent)

 

Jettison the greenies, ya dopey blighters! Tory candidates sent on green course

Ten Conservative election candidates were sent on a green “re-education” day by Steve Hilton, the Tories’ head of strategy.

The move came amid evidence that party leader David Cameron’s enthusiasm for a climate-change agenda is not shared by many Conservatives.

The scientific event last week in Whitehall, organised by a think-tank called Green Alliance, featured eminent speakers such as Sir Brian Hoskins, a climate-change expert from Imperial College London, and David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.

Environmental groups believe they have support from only a small caucus within the Conservative party that includes Mr Hilton; Greg Clark, shadow energy secretary; and Greg Barker, shadow climate-change minister.

A survey of 144 prospective parliamentary candidates showed that climate change was rated their lowest priority out of 19 issues. Their main focus was on reducing the deficit and cutting red tape, according to the poll by ConservativeHome, the activist website.

Mr Cameron’s climate-change policies have also caused disgruntlement on the back benches. (Financial Times)

 

Much better: Will climate change be the Tories' new Europe? Many in the party do not share Cameron's zeal for environment, survey reveals

The next generation of Conservative MPs do not share David Cameron's enthusiasm for making climate change a priority for a Conservative government, according to a survey to be published tomorrow.

The poll of 141 Tory candidates in winnable seats found that "reducing Britain's carbon footprint" was rated the lowest of 19 possible priorities for a Cameron government. The finding is embarrassing for the Tory leader, whose strong personal commitment to the environment has become a symbol of his drive to modernise the party. (The Independent)

 

David Cameron Faces Green Rebellion From Tory MPs

DAVID Cameron was given a stark warning yesterday that his enthusiasm for green policies is unlikely to be shared by the ­coming influx of Tory MPs.

A poll of the 240 Conservative candidates best placed to win seats at the election found most ranked tackling climate change as their lowest priority.

Reducing Britain’s soaring ­deficit was rated the most important issue facing the country.

The poll, published by the ­conservativehome website for Tory supporters, will come as a blow to the party leader. Mr Cameron has repeatedly campaigned on the slogan “vote blue, go green” and was famously pictured with huskies in the ­Arctic to highlight the threat of global warming.

He is under increasing pressure from within party ranks to scrap plans for swingeing green taxes. (Express)

 

Tony Abbott sinks forests on farms

TONY Abbott will rule out the use of prime agricultural land for carbon sinks when he announces a new policy on climate change in a move aimed at avoiding a damaging split with the Nationals.

The new Coalition policy, expected to be released ahead of next month's parliamentary showdown with Kevin Rudd on the emissions trading scheme, is expected to hold back on declaring an emissions-reduction target before the Prime Minister names his final position. The policy will also include incentives to boost soil carbon levels and revegetate land.

"We're about improving farm productivity, strong support for soil carbon, revegetation - and we're not going to provide incentives for foresting over prime agricultural land," opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt told The Australian yesterday.

Tree planting on prime agricultural land has been a long-running source of strife between the Coalition partners with the Nationals implacably opposed to encouraging the practice because of its effect on the cost of farmland and its potential effects on agricultural production. (The Australian)

 

Taxpayers Foot Bill For Climate Change Campaigners - Brussels bureaucrats gave climate change groups more than £1.5m of taxpayers’ money last year

BRUSSELS bureaucrats gave climate change groups more than £1.5million of taxpayers’ money last year to promote the theory that human activity is causing global warming, it emerged yesterday.

The European Commission handed out huge cash sums to Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund. In one case, British and other European taxpayers paid out more than £700,000 to Friends of the Earth Europe – more than half the pressure group’s 2009 budget.

The payouts came to light after questions by UKIP Euro MP Godfrey Bloom. He said the cash was perpetuating unfounded claims about global warming.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas insisted that the groups’ aims and objectives were in tune with EU policy. (Daily Express)

 

New European Network of Excellence launched

Mon, 18 Jan 2010

Researchers in the School of Environmental Sciences are playing an important role in leading a new €7 million EU-wide Network of Excellence, which aims to provide a focus for international research on the use of evidence, science and assessment tools in policy-making.

Professor Andrew Jordan and Dr John Turnpenny are leading a critical area of work on understanding the needs of those producing and using policy analysis tools such as cost benefit analysis and computer models.

The aim of the LIAISE (Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise) network is to build bridges between those who design such tools and those who actually use or (as is often the case) do not use them to make policy.

The network, which is funded until 2014, brings together 15 European partner institutions, many of whom have defined the research agenda in relation to these issues over the last ten years.

“There are many tools available to support decision-making, but these are only intermittently employed by policy makers” said Dr Turnpenny. “LIAISE will help us understand why this is the case, and help improve their design and use.”

LIAISE’s centrepiece will be a shared toolbox, simultaneously accessible to and used by policy makers and researchers. LIAISE will also develop a shared research agenda and support capacity-building and training to ensure its research results are fully applied. (University of East Anglia)

Hmm... a "new toolbox" and yet more public funding for climate propaganda.

 

'High priest of the sceptics' lured to tour

ON the first day of the Copenhagan climate change conference last month, two semi-retired septuagenarian engineers sat down to lunch with their wives on a beautiful Noosa day and thought the environment looked pretty good.

John Smeed and Case Smit had always been sceptical about whether the case for global climate change was as dire as had been presented, but on this day they could not help but contrast the beauty of the sun "shining on the sparkling waters of the Noosa River" with the supposed coming climate apocalypse.

"It just struck us that that whole process going on over there in Copenhagan was just insane and likely to damage the world quite a bit," Mr Smeed said.

"One of us brought up the Edmund Burke quote about evil triumphing by good men doing nothing, so we decided to do something about it. So we just got on the phone and rang Lord Monckton to come to Australia on a speaking tour. It was done as simply as that." ( The Australian)

 

Heated moments mar Monckton

IS it too much to ask for a measured climate change debate in 2010? Looking back at 2009, it's hard to think of a more frustrating debate than the one about anthropogenic global warming.

One side says the science is settled and will not countenance dissent. Within that group sit the alarmists who preach death and destruction, those who define humanity as the problem and those who have long harboured an ideological grudge against Western progress. Those on the other side of the debate say man-made global warming is all bunkum. Though they describe themselves as sceptics, for many of them the science is equally settled: in their favour.

And in between is a far larger group of people, those who are open-minded and genuinely sceptical, who are trying to understand the debate as best they can. Yet frustration only grows at the extremism on both sides. (Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian)

 

How to cover up a cover up? IPCC Pondering New Steps in Wake of Hacked E-mails Episode

by Eli Kintisch

Scientists at the helm of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have spent weeks on the defensive after e-mails uncovered by hackers revealed private messages in which they criticized papers relevant to their 2007 report. That behavior has led to accusations of bias, or worse, and undermined the credibility of the climate research community. Now the IPCC leadership is preparing its response, with steps that may include additional training for the authors of the next report, due out in 2013, and a review of the incident by an outside organization. At least one key scientist is unhappy with those options.

In December, the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, said that the discussions in the e-mails raised "a serious issue and we will look into it in detail." Atmospheric chemist Pauline Midgley, a support scientist on staff for the 2013 IPCC report, says that officials asked themselves three questions: Were there problems with the IPCC's procedures for 2007? Were those procedures sufficient? Are changes needed in preparing the 2013 version?

IPCC never conducted a formal investigation of the issue, but the scientists who run the organization and their support staff members have looked over the messages, and found no evidence that the authors were lax in their review of the papers. Still, says Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a co-chair of one of the 2013 IPCC reports’ three working groups, it hasn't been "a particularly good period."

Still, he says: “So far in our exploration of this, and it is far from complete, this has been a stress test of IPCC procedures, but the IPCC procedures have held up extremely well." In December, 28 Republican members of Congress wrote to the United Nations, questioning whether IPCC could conduct a truly "independent investigation" of its authors’ behavior.

The panel’s 10-member executive team, led by Pachauri, is now considering a series of steps to further address the issue. One concept is new training for chapter authors. Field says that training would help them deal with what he expects will be "intense pressure" by outside critics. Midgley says that training could also help authors "to deal with papers contrary to the consensus view" on particular issues. (Science Insider)

 

The IPCC: Hiding the Decline in the Future Global Population at Risk of Water Shortage

More Insidious than the Himalayan error

Guest post by: Indur M. Goklany

http://roadtoadoption.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/2435863597_2ebcbcc894.jpg?w=370&h=277

Fetching water in Ethiopia

Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings of the Times of London this weekend spotlighted an IPCC error of Himalayan proportions, namely, that, contrary to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, the Himalayan glaciers will not have melted away by 2035.   This error, they attributed to a series of blunders, bad quality control and poor scholarship.

I want to spotlight another error in the IPCC report.  This is an error, based not on blunders or poor scholarship but on selective reporting of results, where one side of the story is highlighted but the other side is buried in silence. In other words, it’s a sin of omission, that is, it results, literally, from being economical with the truth. It succeeds in conveying an erroneous impression of the issue — similar to what “hide the decline” did successfully (until Climategate opened and let the sunshine in).

I have written about this previously at WUWT in a post, How the IPCC Portrayed a Net Positive Impact of Climate Change as a Negative, and in a peer reviewed article on global warming and public health. Both pieces show how the IPCC Working Group II’s Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), which deals with the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, hid the projected decline in the future global population at risk of water shortage due to climate change.  Not surprisingly, news outlets (e.g., here and here) routinely report that climate change could increase the population at risk of water shortage, despite the fact that studies show exactly the opposite regarding the net global population at risk of water shortage. (WUWT)

 

Glenn McGregor in NZ Herald

Glenn McGregor is a climatologist who is best known to sceptics from his appearances in the Climategate emails where Hockey Team members explain that he is willing to delay sceptic papers and pick "suitable reviewers" for warmist ones, in order to make life difficult for those who might question the global warming hypothesis.

McGregor made a brief appearance in the New Zealand Herald over the weekend, where he is quoted in an article about Kiwis' lack of confidence in global warming science:

Dr McGregor said if climatologists explained their research processes better, they might be able to avoid popular criticisms, such as recent accusations of scientists "fiddling" with climate records.

"When people don't understand the process they just pick up on, 'oh they've adjusted the (climate) record'," he said. "That probably creates a lot of mistrust."

Professor McGregor has been caught red-handed and nobody is going to be fooled by an argument that they are too stupid to understand.

When in a hole, one is normally best advised to stop digging. (Bishop Hill)

 

Pachauri: there's money in them glaciers


Syed Hasnain (pictured), the scientist at the centre of the growing controversy over melting Himalayan glaciers (not), is now working for Dr R K Pachauri's TERI as head of the institute glaciology team, funded by a generous grant from a US charity, researching the effects of the retreat.

Highlighted in The Sunday Times yesterday, Dr Hasnain was the scientist responsible for claiming that the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035. This was picked up by the New Scientist and then by a 2005 WWF report, and subsequently published as a definitive claim in the IPCC's 2007 fourth assessment report, masterminded by Dr R K Pachauri.

But, while Dr Hasnain, who was then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, has admitted that the New Scientist report was based on "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research, he is now a direct beneficiary of that speculation. (EUReferendum)

 

"I didn't do it": Misquoted, says man behind glacier goof up

The man blamed so far for the false alarm about the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 surfaced on Tuesday to say he never made such an exact assertion and, worse, he had been misquoted.

“On the basis of our research in 1999 I must have said that glaciers in the Central and Eastern Himalayas will lose mass during the next 40/ 50 years at their present rate of decline,” Hasnain told Hindustan Times.

But a date was put to this “approximation”, Hasnain said, by a journalist, Fred Pearce, who quoted him in an article in New Scientist, a respected London-based magazine.

Was Hasnain aware that he had been misquoted? If yes, did he seek a clarification?

Yes, he was aware of the misreporting. And no, he didn’t seek a clarification. “It was not a scientific journal, just a news report. Therefore, I did not ask for a clarification.”

The date of 2035 mentioned in the New Scientist was picked up by R.K. Pachauri-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to issue an alarm that set off international concern.

Global warming was killing the Himalayan glaciers, it was stated.

They were all wrong.

Hasnain said he was misquoted.

New Scientist blamed Hasnain. And IPCC, which went on to win a Nobel Prize with former US vice-president Al Gore, blamed New Scientist.

Hasnain says he was using a commonly used scientific tool of “approximation” — projections based on certain indicators — and that he was completely misread. (Hindustan Times)

 

Is the media awakening?

The Sunday Times and The Australian both picked up the scandal of the IPCC claims that the Himalayan glaciers might melt by 2035.  The claim turned out to be based only on a World Wildlife Foundation report, which in turn was based on a New Scientist article from 1999. The Australian story today was headline front page news: UN’s Blunder on Glaciers Exposed.

The rigorous IPCC methodology amounts to this:

Here’s the IPCC Quote from Chapter 10 of the Fourth Assessment Report:

Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005). More » (Jo Nova)

 

U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated

A much-publicized estimate from a United Nations panel about the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers from climate change is coming under fire as a gross exaggeration.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2007 — the same year it shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore — that it was “very likely” that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 if current warming trends continued.

That date has been much quoted and a cause for enormous consternation, since hundreds of millions of people in Asia rely on ice and snow melt from these glaciers for their water supply. (NYT)

Not "criticized" Elizabeth, rather known and now admitted to be utter rubbish.

 

Heat Over Panel’s View of Asian Ice

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for two decades the most important guide for the global community to the causes and consequences of the phenomenon, is facing a series of challenge over its practices, both from within and without.

The latest comes as basic flaws have been exposed in a panel finding on thawing Asian glaciers that, while buried in the back matter of the panel’s 2007 report on impacts of warming, had become a prime talking point among campaigners calling for action to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

...

The situation is particularly embarrassing for the climate panel because its chairman, Rajendra K. Pachauri, had strongly criticized the Indian government for issuing a report last November challenging the idea that the glaciers feeding its rivers and farmers are in meltdown mode. At the time, Dr. Pachauri dismissed that report as lacking peer review and scientific citations.

Now, it’s evident that one of the panel’s own conclusions on glaciers appears to have precisely the same level of authority. (Andy Revkin. Dearth)

No Andy, not even close. Rather than "precisely the same level of authority" it has always been the case that hysterical claims of looming enhanced greenhouse-driven catastrophe have exactly zero "authority" while rebuttals, which take much longer to produce because they are actually researched, get no coverage because activists and owned reporters like yourself act as gatekeepers for the misanthropists and climate scammers. Not entirely your fault since you are ideologically preconditioned as a population panicking, green-indoctrinated dipstick.

 

Himalayan Glaciers Will Take Centuries To Melt Not Decades

A warning that most of the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 owing to climate change is likely to be retracted after the United Nations body that issued it admitted to a series of scientific blunders.

Two years ago, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) headed by India's Rajendra Pachauri, issued a benchmark report that claimed to have incorporated the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming.

A central claim was that world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035. (PTI)

 

Glacial Fallout and the IPCC

The IPCC's error with respect to Himalayan glaciers has all of a sudden gained enormous traction. Here is a quick round up of the latest.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, says that the Panel is revisiting the erroneous claims on glaciers:

"We are looking into the issue of the Himalayan glaciers, and will take a position on it in the next two or three days," Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Reuters in an e-mail.
What this might mean isunclear since the AR4 is disbanded and it is not clear that the IPC has any policies or procedures for revisiting or addressing errors in previously published reports. Depending on how the IPCC responds, there likely will be other issues to be addressed, including of course the IPCC's egregious errors on disasters and climate change.

In Indian media, Pachauri also appears to have disavowed any responsibility for the IPCC error, while India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh claims to have been vindicated in his dispute with Pachauri and the IPCC:
India's Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh Monday said “I was right on the glaciers” while maintaining that the Himalayan glaciers are "indeed" receding, which is a cause for great concern, but the view that these rivers of ice would melt down completely by 2035 due to global warning is "alarmist" and without any scientific basis.

"It is a clear vindication of our position. (But) It is a serious issue. (Himlayan) glaciers are serious issues for India. Most of the Himalayan glaciers are in a poor state, but the report that suggested that the glaciers will vanish completely by 2035 is alarmist and misplaced," Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi.

He maintained that the causes for the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas needs to be carefull studies.

Ramesh was referring to the study by the Nobel prize winning group - United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 had - that claimed that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

The Rajendra Pachauri-led UN panel had warned that the melting of glaciers would have far-reaching consequences for India. However, new evidence has emerged to suggest that the IPCC may have been mistaken.

The IPCC's claim was based on an article in a London-based science journal which had borrowed the statement from India's glaciologist Syed Iqbal Hasnain. “The study was not made on any scientific evidence,” a very happy sounding minister.

WWF-India Climate Change and Energy Programme chief Shirish Sinha admitted that there are "limitations to scientific models used for such studies."

"We need to look at new data and study. The larger issue is the coming of scientific data which is not validated," said Sinha.

The report was based on compilation of papers. We regret the report that was put out. The information used in the report was not validated and the predictions were based on scientific models. What WWF has seen is that smaller glaciers are more vulnerable but larger ones are not that vulnerable," Sinha has been quoted as saying by CNN-IBN television channel.

A little-known scientist Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, Syed Husnain who first issued the doomsday warning, has admitted that it was based on a news story in a science journal.

Pachauri, however, washed his hands off the report saying Husnain was not working with him but in the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) when he published it

"Husnain was with JNU when the report was published in 1999. I am not responsible for what he did in his past, can't say anything now. Have to assess facts first," Pachauri replied when asked if the misleading report was an embarrassment for The Energy and Resources Institute.
Hasnain now works for Pachauri at TERI.

WWF Australia has issued a statement apologizing for the error in its report and distancing itself from the IPCC. Here is an excerpt from the statement:
. . . In this case, we relied upon a published article rather than the original report for the information we cited in our own document. Referring to this article without double-checking the primary source was a mistake inconsistent with our high standards and one we sincerely regret. . .

How can the IPCC justify not having peer-reviewed this statement before including it in their report?

A: This is a question for the IPCC.

(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Ramesh turns heat on Pachauri over glacier melt scare

NEW DELHI: The furore over the validity of data used by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has taken some of the sheen off the Nobel prize-winning institution's reputation.

A day after it emerged that IPCC's dire prediction that climate change would melt most Himalyan glaciers by 2035 was based on mere "speculation", environment minister Jairam Ramesh slammed the processes of the celebrated body saying "due diligence had not been followed by the Nobel peace prize winning body".

"The health of glaciers is a cause of grave concern but the IPCC's alarmist position that they would melt by 2035 was not based on an iota of scientific evidence," the environment minister said.

Ramesh recalled how IPCC chief R K Pachauri had scornfully dismissed doubts raised by a government agency about the veracity of the UN body's sensational projection about melting of glaciers. "In fact, we had issued a report by scientist V K Raina that the glaciers have not retreated abnormally. At the time, we were dismissed, saying it was based on voodoo science. But the new report has clearly vindicated our position," he said.

This may not be the first time that climate science relating to India has been found to be fallacious or incorrect. However, revelation that the data on glacial melt in Himalayas was unverified has dented the image of the IPCC -- which has set the agenda for climate change talks. It has given a handle to climate sceptics who have long accused the IPCC of being biased. (Times of India)

 

UN climate report: Scientist warned glacier forecast was wrong

PARIS - A top scientist said Monday he had warned in 2006 that a prediction of catastrophic loss of Himalayan glaciers, published months later by the UN's Nobel-winning climate panel, was badly wrong.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said in 2007 it was "very likely" that the glaciers, which supply water to more than a billion people across Asia, would vanish by 2035 if global warming trends continued.

"This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," said Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

"It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing," he told AFP in an interview. (Agence France-Presse)

 

Stranger and Stranger

The fallout from the IPCC Himalayan glacier situation gets stranger and stranger. Now an IPCC lead author has stepped forward claiming that the error has been known by the IPCC all along. From Agence France-Presse:

A top scientist said Monday he had warned in 2006 that a prediction of catastrophic loss of Himalayan glaciers, published months later by the UN's Nobel-winning climate panel, was badly wrong.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said in 2007 it was "very likely" that the glaciers, which supply water to more than a billion people across Asia, would vanish by 2035 if global warming trends continued.

"This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," said Georg Kaser, an expert in tropical glaciology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.

"It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing," he told AFP in an interview.

It gets more interesting:

Kaser suggested the initial error originated from a misreading of a 1996 Russian study or from findings on a handful of glaciers that were mistakenly extended to apply to the whole region.

In either case, he suggested, the fact that it found its way into the report underpinning global climate negotiations signalled the need for a reform of the way the IPCC collects and reviews data.

"The review community has entirely failed" in this instance, he said.

Kaser was a lead author in Working Group I of the IPCC report, which dealt with the physical science of climate change.

Its conclusions -- that climate change is "unequivocal" and poses a major threat -- remain beyond reproach, he said.

The prediction for the Himalayan glaciers was contained in the separately published Working Group II report, which assessed likely impacts of climate change.

More specifically, the chapter focussed on an assessment of Asia, authored by scientists from the region.

"This is a source of a lot of misunderstandings, misconceptions or failures," Kaser said, noting that some regions lacked a broad spectrum of expertise.

"It is a kind of amateurism from the regional chapter lead authors. They may have been good hydrologists or botanists, but they were without any knowledge in glaciology."

Kaser said some of the scientists from other regional groups took heed of suggestions, and made corrections ahead of final publication in April 2007.

But the Asia group did not. "I pointed it out," he said of the implausible prediction on the glaciers.

"For a reason I do not know, they did not react."

But blame did not rest with the regional scientists alone, Kaser added.

"I went back through the comments afterward, and not a single glaciologist had any interest in looking into Working Group II," he said.

And there is more:

The IPCC's Fifth Assessment, scheduled for release in 2013, will probably be adjusted to avoid such problems, said Kaser.

"All the responsible people are aware of this weakness in the Fourth Assessment. All are aware of the mistakes made," he said.

"If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said 'we will do better next time.' It is clear now that Working Group II has to be restructured," he said.

The implications of Kaser's comments are not good for the IPCC, however that they are interpreted.

Given Rajendra Pachauri's vigorous defense of the claims made by the IPCC about Himalayan glacier melt, Dr. Kaser's comment that -- "All the responsible people are aware of this weakness in the Fourth Assessment. All are aware of the mistakes made" -- raises an eyebrow. It must be the case that Dr. Pachauri either knew of the error or he did not. Neither state of affairs is good for the IPCC.

Consider a further implication: If indeed "all the responsible people are aware" of the mistakes in the IPCC, then what in the world explains their complete silence over the past few years while headlines like the following were being announced to the world?

Think about this statement:
"If it had not been the focus of so much public opinion, we would have said 'we will do better next time.'"
Is it really the case that IPCC scientists would have continued to sit on a known error with important policy implications in complete silence until their hand was forced by the focus of public opinion? Really?!

I wonder what other known errors are being sat on? (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Bob Ward spinning bravely: A mistake over Himalayan glaciers should not melt our priorities

Climate change sceptics may seize upon WWF's unfortunate mistake over Himalayan glaciers, but this doesn't change the truth about global warming (Bob Ward, The Guardian)

 

The IPCC and the Melting Glaciers Story

This is a big post in two parts. The first is our take on the current story about the Himalayan glaciers. The second is a similar case of non-scientific research being passed off as ’science’.

A story in the Sunday Times demonstrates the murky nature of the process by which ‘scientific facts’ become established in the climate debate.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

The No Scientist has, in recent years, become something of an organ of the environmental movement, abandoning cool, rational, empirical scientific detachment for high moral tones, shrill alarmist stories, and a rather one-sided treatment of both the politics and science of the climate debate. No surprises here – we’ve covered the NS’s appalling commentary in many previous posts. What is interesting is how the partiality of science journalists exists as part of its own positive-feedback mechanism, such that oversight turns into ‘scientific fact’. So how does a journalist’s credulousness actually produce ‘consensus science’? (Climate Resistance)

 

Sorry, But This Stinks

The IPCC treatment of Himalayan glaciers and its chairman's conflicts of interest are related. The points and time line below are as I understand them and are informed by reporting by Richard North.

1. In 2007 the IPCC issues its Fourth Assessment Report which contains the false claim that the Himalayan glaciers are expected to disappear by 2035.

2. The basis of that statement was a speculative comment made to a reporter by Syed Hasnain in 1999, who was then (and after) a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

3. Following the publication of the IPCC report, and the widespread media coverage of the false claim about Himalayan glaciers, Dr. Hasnain joins TERI as a Senior Fellow, where Dr. Pachauri is the director.

4. Drs. Pachauri and Hasnain together seek to raise fund for TERI for work on Himalayan glaciers, justified by the work of the IPCC, according to Dr. Pachauri just last week:

Scientific data assimilated by IPCC is very robust and it is universally acknowledged that glaciers are melting because of climate change. The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) in its endeavor to facilitate the development of an effective policy framework and their strategic implementation for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts on the local population is happy to collaborate with the University of Iceland, Ohio State University and the Carnegie Corporation of New York,
5. When initially questioned about the scientific errors Dr. Pachauri calls such questions "voodoo science" in the days leading up to the announcement of TERI receiving funding on this subject. Earlier Dr. Pachauri criticized in the harshest terms the claims made by the Indian government that were contrary to those in the IPCC
Pachauri said that such statements were reminiscent of "climate change deniers and school boy science".
6. Subsequent to the rror being more fully and publicly recognized, when asked by a reporter about the IPCC's false claims Dr. Pachauri says that he has no responsibility for what Dr. Hasnain may have said, and Dr. Hasnain says, rather cheekily, the IPCC had no business citing his comments:
It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers.

Of course, neither Dr. Pachauri nor Dr. Hasnain ever said anything about the error when it was receiving worldwide attention (as being true) in 2007 and 2008, nor did they raise any issues with the IPCC citing non-peer reviewed work (which is a systemic problem). They did however use the IPCC and its false claims as justification in support of fund raising for their own home institution. At no point was any of this disclosed.

If the above facts and time line is correct (and I welcome any corrects to details that I may have in error), then what we have here is a classic and unambiguous case of financial conflict of interest. IPCC Chairman Pachauri was making public comments on a dispute involving factual claims by the IPCC at the same time that he was negotiating for funding to his home institution justified by those very same claims. If instead of climate science we were instead discussing scientific advisors on drug safety and funding from a pharmaceutical company to the advisory committee chair the conflict would be obvious.

Climate science desperately needs to clean up its act. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Peter Foster: IPCC meltdown

Now the question is whether Rajendra Pachauri should resign

By Peter Foster

The Himalayan glaciers will still be around in 2035, contrary to oft-repeated alarmist claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Whether the IPCC’s head, Rajendra Pachauri, whose credibility is melting faster than the proverbial snowball in Hades, will make it to his next paycheque is another matter.

With Climategate still simmering and the collapse of Copenhagen  reverberating, a fresh storm has blown up over the discovery that the IPCC’s claim that Himalayan glaciers were about to disappear is entirely bogus.

“If the present rate [of melting] continues,” said the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, “the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”

There was no significant questioning of this claim until late last year, when the Indian government published a discussion paper that pointed out that there was in fact no sign of any “abnormal” retreat in the Himalayan glaciers. India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh accused the IPCC of being “alarmist.”

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

More on IPCC and The Glacier Flap

Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chair, responds directly to the flap over the error on Himalayan glacier melting in the IPCC report:

The chairman of the UN's panel of climate scientists defended his Nobel-winning group on Tuesday against criticism that it had erroneously forecast an early disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers.

A section of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the probability of glaciers in the Himalayas "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high."

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, addressing reporters at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, said that even if the remarks on Himalayan glaciers is incorrect, it does not undermine evidence supporting the existence of climate change.

"Theoretically, let's say we slipped up on one number, I don't think it takes anything away from the overwhelming scientific evidence of what's happening with the climate of this earth," he said.

"I've never used that figure in any of my talks, because I think it's not for the IPCC to make predictions of outcomes or dates. We always give ranges, and that's scientifically the way to do it. We always give ... scenarios of what might happen."

Pachauri, whose panel was harshly criticised by India's environment minister, said the IPCC will respond to the criticism by the end of the week.

"Before the end of the week, we will certainly come to a position and make it known. We are looking into the source of that information, the veracity of it and what it is that the IPCC should say on the subject." . . .

Responding to a question, Pachauri said he feels he is being attacked personally over the potential flaw.

But he put a positive spin on the situation, saying: "You know, you can't attack the science, so attack the chair of the IPCC."

When the issue was raised in a report by the Indian government late last year, Dr. Pachauri had this to say:

The environment ministry on Monday published a discussion paper stating that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that the Himalayan glaciers are melting due to climate change.

The report, released by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh, however, made it clear that the views expressed by the author, Dr V K Raina, retired deputy director-general of the Geological Survey of India, are not that of the Union government and that it is meant to "stimulate discussion". . .

Dr Pachauri, when contacted by TOI for a response to the discussion paper, said, "I'd like to find out the secret source of this divine intervention... I don't understand the logic of this... I am puzzled where this magical science has come from... This is something indefensible."

When asked if the discussion paper could be taken into consideration in the on-going round of scientific review by IPCC, he said, "IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin."
For his part Dr. Raina is now asking for an apology from the IPCC:
India's senior-most glaciologist V K Raina today said the chief of the UN climate body should apologise to the scientist fraternity for dubbing their work on melting of Himalayan glaciers as "voodoo science".

Raina's demand comes even as the UN body, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) headed by R K Pachauri, deliberates on retracting its statement on Himalayan glaciers melting.

"The IPCC had dumped our report that the glaciers have not retreated abnormally. Now, with the truth out in open, the IPCC should dump its own report which was based on mere speculation," Raina told PTI.
Still more to come, no doubt. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Ooh! Bad timing! Eat less beef, save the earth - Eat none and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 18% - Grain fed to U.S. livestock could feed 840 million people on plant-based diet

Originally, this column was going to be about the environmental benefits of vegetarianism. Then I realized that was missing the point. Not everyone is going to become a vegetarian, but cutting back on meat consumption is a very realistic goal. And it can have definite environmental benefits. The call to eat less meat for environmental reasons has come from some pretty high places.

In September 2008, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said people should start with one meat-free day a week, and increase from there. (Thomas Gounley, GoO)

Fancy trying to use Pachy as a moral beacon at the moment! Maybe we should send him a Macca's voucher as a consolation?

 

When will the IPCC melt away?

News that Himalayan glaciers are not receding as quickly as claimed shows we need new ways to assess the evidence. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

 

Example Of The Lack Of Due Diligence Of The IPCC As Has Been Reported By Benny Peiser At CCNet

Benny Peiser wrote the text below for the Daily Mail on January 18 2010 as reported on his e-mail list CCNet (to subscribe – link to this site).

“The IPCC review process has been shown on numerous occasions to lack transparency and due diligence. Its work is controlled by a tightly knit group of individuals who are completely convinced that they are right. As a result, conflicting data and evidence, even if published in peer reviewed journals, are regularly ignored, while exaggerated claims, even if contentious or not peer-reviewed, are often highlighted in IPCC reports. Not surprisingly, the IPCC has lost a lot of credibility in recent years. It is also losing the trust of more and more governments who are no longer following their advice – as the Copenhagen summit showed.’

   — Benny Peiser, Daily Mail, 18 January 2010″

To provide documentation on the failure of the 2007 WG1 IPCC report to provide due diligence in their climate assessment, I provided a list of peer reviewed papers in the appendix to my report

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

which were excluded from two chapters in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report.

I also posted on this issue in

Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part I

Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part II

Specifically, in Chapter 3 of the 2007 WG1 IPCC report which is titled “Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change”, the Coordinating Lead Authors were Kevin E. Trenberth (USA) and Philip D. Jones (UK), both of whom are, of course, involved in the CRU e-mails (e.g. see The Crutape Letters ). The Coordinating Lead Authors decided what was to be included in these chapters and what to exclude.

and in Chapter 8 of the 2007 WG1 IPCC report which is titled “Climate Models and Their Evaluation”, the Coordinating Lead Authors were David A. Randall (USA) and Richard A. Wood (UK).

The Coordinating Lead Authors in both chapters excluded available peer- reviewed papers which provide scientific evidence which conflicts with their conclusions in their chapters.

As the fall out from the CRU e-mails widens to include the IPCC reports, there is a need to assess and quantify the extent that these Coordinating Lead Authors (and those of other IPCC Chapters), excluded conflicting peer reviewed papers.  It is clear that in Chapters 3 and 8, this inappropriate behavior occurred with the result that a balanced scientific assessment of  climate observations and models was not achieved. (Climate Science)

 

‘Glaciers on Snowdon’ warning by climate expert

THIS winter’s prolonged cold spell could be a taste of things to come for Wales – with glaciers a possibility within 40 years.

That’s the chilly message from a leading Welsh climate expert who has warned that global warming could paradoxically trigger a collapse in temperatures in western Europe.

According to the expert, future Welsh winters could be similar to those in Iceland and southern Greenland now.

Environmentalists pounced on the warning as a sign of how vital it is that we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The weather’s icy grip on Wales since before Christmas is unrelated to global warming or other climate trends – but it shows what life will be like in Wales every winter if the Gulf Stream weakens or moves south. (Western Mail)

What does it take to kill the idiotic claims that Western Europe and the British Isle could crash into a local ice age in a warming world from changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which a lot of people still mistakenly believe to be responsible for the region having milder conditions than other areas at similar latitude? See Seager for further explanation. A popular version of this story can be found here.

 

More on those GISS FOIA documents from WUWT

Newly released FOIA’d emails from Hansen and GISS staffers show disagreement over 1998-1934 U.S. temperature ranking.

Now thanks to the efforts of Richard Henry Lee, a searchable PDF document of those files has been set up.

To reduce WUWT's server load here's a Scribd flash version you can browse, search and/or download:

Searchable PDF created for NASA GISS FOIA documents

 

Stimulating Fraud

With double-digit unemployment in a jobless recovery, half-a-million stimulus dollars have saved a ClimateGate scientist whose work could lead to economic disaster. To save this job, we'd lose millions of others.

As we've gone from jobs saved or created to jobs funded in ZIP codes and congressional districts that don't exist except in galaxies far, far away, many interesting nuggets have been mined from the government's recovery.gov, which tracks the administration's lack of progress.

It's one thing to fail to create real jobs. It is quite another to fund the jobs of people who would put millions of Americans out of work. This is what the administration has done by awarding $541,184 in economic stimulus funds to Penn State University to save, recovery.gov says, 1.62 jobs so that professor Michael Mann can continue his tree-ring circus fraudulently advancing the myth of man-made global warming.

Mann and Penn State received the money shortly before the unearthing of e-mails from Britain's Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia revealed Mann as a participant in a massive campaign of manipulation, suppression and destruction of climate data to advance the bogus claims of the warm-mongers.

"It's outrageous that economic stimulus money is being used to support research conducted by Michael Mann at the very same time he's under investigation by Penn State and is one of the key figures in the international Climate-gate scandal," says Tom Borelli, director of the Free Enterprise Project for the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. "Penn State should immediately return these funds to the U.S. Treasury."

We agree. Stimulus funds should go to entrepreneurs and other job creators, not those whose research — and we use the word loosely — has been the basis for international redistribution-of-wealth schemes such as Kyoto, Copenhagen and our own job-killing versions of cap-and-trade, Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer. (IBD)

 

Climate change facts melting away

Yet another survey has come out showing that New Zealanders don't believe Global Warming is real - in fact half of New Zealanders.

A Herald survey has found that although United Nations experts have grown steadily more certain about climate change, the public is not so sure.

Almost one in five of 2296 respondents said the concept was a giant con, and a further 28 per cent said global warming had not been conclusively proved

This survey follows on from a WeatherWatch.co.nz poll which asked whether or not you were seriously worried about global warming - 800 people took part in the poll with 74% answering "no" they were not seriously worried.

To me this is yet more proof that politics have seriously harmed the voices of the world's scientific community. (Philip Duncan, NZ Herald)

 

GLOBAL QUAKING

Early on Friday morning, a thought struck: has anybody yet been stupid enough to connect the earthquake that has ravaged Haiti with the alleged phenomenon of global warming?

It sounds like a long shot, given that tectonic plate movements have nothing to do with the Earth’s surface temperature. If they were in fact related, recent heatwaves in Sydney and Melbourne would have had many of us buried in post-quake rubble, just like Haiti’s tragic thousands. But you’d be surprised at what people sometimes associate with global warming or climate change.

Everything bad, basically. (Tim Blair)

 

WHAT HE MEANT WAS …

A clarification from Danny Glover’s representatives, following those global-warming-caused-the-Haitian-earthquake comments:



Apparently climate change doesn’t cause earthquakes. The effects of climate change are only “making countries like Haiti more and more vulnerable” to what they do. (Tim Blair)

 

13 °C of warming would be fine for life

People have been brainwashed by the climate hysteria for years. So it's not shocking that many of them began to uncritically repeat many of the misconceptions. Nevertheless, I am always surprised by the lack of independent rational thinking - even when it comes to the people who are expected to be sensible.

For example, let's ask what is the temperature change - the change of the global mean temperature - that would threaten the existence of life as we know it. By this statement, I mean an existential threat for humans and/or most of the species we know today.

I find it completely obvious that something like 13 °C of warming (10 times the change expected in the next 100 years, even if we extrapolate the recent 30 years) would not constitute such a threat. The most important picture in this discussion is the following map of the annual mean temperatures:



Click to zoom in.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

Actually a significantly warmer planet has already proven "fine for life", as in the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, when giants trod the Earth.

 

Even The Indy turning on them: John Walsh: 'Met Office predicted a warm winter. Cheers guys'

God, how embarrassing. The Met Office is on the verge of being dumped by the BBC, because it keeps getting forecasts – especially long-term ones – wrong. Worse, its place as the supplier of TV forecasts to the nation may be usurped by Metra, a New Zealand operation.

For a quasi-governmental organisation (it's part of the Ministry of Defence) that was founded 150 years as a service to seamen and which has supplied BBC with forecasts since 1920, this is a matter of head-hanging shame. If the UK's national weather service is disowned by the UK's national public broadcaster, where on earth can it go? Who's going to trust it, after its own family has rejected it? And does this mean that the BBC may dispense with all Met Office productions and dump the – gulp – Shipping Forecast as well? (The Independent)

 

Harrumph... Why Hasn't Earth Warmed as Much as Expected? New report on climate change explores the reasons

January 19, 2010

UPTON, NY – Planet Earth has warmed much less than expected during the industrial era based on current best estimates of Earth’s “climate sensitivity”—the amount of global temperature increase expected in response to a given rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2). In a study to be published in the Journal of Climate, a publication of the American Meteorological Society (the early online release of the paper is available starting 19 January 2010; the link is given below), Stephen Schwartz, of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and colleagues examine the reasons for this discrepancy.

Stephen Schwartz Stephen Schwartz

According to current best estimates of climate sensitivity, the amount of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases added to Earth’s atmosphere since humanity began burning fossil fuels on a significant scale during the industrial period would be expected to result in a mean global temperature rise of 3.8°F—well more than the 1.4°F increase that has been observed for this time span. Schwartz’s analysis attributes the reasons for this discrepancy to a possible mix of two major factors: 1) Earth’s climate may be less sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than currently assumed and/or 2) reflection of sunlight by haze particles in the atmosphere may be offsetting some of the expected warming.

“Because of present uncertainties in climate sensitivity and the enhanced reflectivity of haze particles,” said Schwartz, “it is impossible to accurately assign weights to the relative contributions of these two factors. This has major implications for understanding of Earth’s climate and how the world will meet its future energy needs.”

A third possible reason for the lower-than-expected increase of Earth’s temperature over the industrial period is the slow response of temperature to the warming influence of heat-trapping gases. “This is much like the lag time you experience when heating a pot of water on a stove,” said Schwartz. Based on calculations using measurements of the increase in ocean heat content over the past fifty years, however, this present study found the role of so-called thermal lag to be minor. (Brookhaven National Laboratory)

One reason Earth hasn't warmed as much as [some] expected is that the expectations are patently ridiculous. Check out our feature: How do they get a lot of warming from a little gas? The simple fact is that the IPCC and fellow travelers use a positive feedback factor (the marvelous magical multiplier we make fun of so often) when in the real world negative feedbacks so obviously dominate.

Moreover, we have no indication that increasing the trace amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has any measurable effect at all. See Are we really sure the world is too warm? for more on this. Until we get an accurate handle on Earth's true albedo we can't figure out what the greenhouse effect actually amounts to. Then and only then will we be able to track whether greenhouse effect is being enhanced. This is such a stupid game...

 

Warming induced by the latent heat of snow

According to UAH, January 2010 will almost certainly be their warmest January on record, and by its anomaly (which is likely to exceed 0.70 °C), it will be one of the 4 warmest months.

Recent NASA MODIS pictures of the United Kingdom look like an ice age.

I was thinking how it was possible that such an unusually cool January is so warm according to this global methodology. Snow was almost everywhere on our hemisphere, wasn't it? Well, it may actually be a reason.

First, I thought that a problem could exist with the satellite measurements of the solar microwave radiation reflected from the snow. But the solar microwave and even infrared radiation is actually negligible. (The Reference Frame)

 

National Academies Press Book “On Being A Scientist: Third Edition: 2009″

In response to my post

Professional Discourtesy By The National Climate Data Center On The Menne Et Al 2010 paper

I have alerted by Forrest M. Mims III to a National Academies Press book  titled

On Being a Scientist: Third Edition: 2009. ISBN-10: 0-309-11970-7 ISBN-13: 978-0-309-11970-2. 82 pages 

Excerpts from the book include

“……..researchers have an obligation to honor the trust that their colleagues place in them’. Science is a cumulative enterprise in which new research builds on previous results. If research results are inaccurate, other researchers will waste time and resources trying to replicate or extend those results. Irresponsible actions can impede an entire field of research or send it in a wrong direction, and progress in that field may slow. Imbedded in this trust is a responsibility of researchers to mentor the next generation who will build their work on the current research discoveries.” (page 2)

“Research is based on the same ethical values that apply in everyday life, including honesty, fairness, objectivity, openness, trustworthiness, and respect for others.” (page 3)

On treatment of data, the report writes on page 8

“Researchers who manipulate their data in ways that deceive others, even if the manipulation seems insignificant at the time, are violating both the basic values and widely accepted professional standards of science. Researchers draw conclusions based on their observations of nature. If data are altered to present a case that is stronger than the data warrant, researchers fail to fulfill all three of the obligations described at the beginning of this guide. They mislead their colleagues and potentially impede progress in their field or research. They undermine their own authority and trustworthiness as researchers. And they introduce information into the scientific record that could cause harm to the broader society, as when the dangers of a medical treatment are understated.”

Climate scientists, and the public and policymakers, would benefit by rigorously following the guidelines in this report. (Climate Science)

 

Droughts might not be due to carbon-dioxide, says CSIRO

Still in the theme of Shock!-The-Media-IS-Reporting-The-News: The Canberra Times announced on it’s front page that CSIRO is not so sure that droughts are due to increased carbon dioxide. Only a few months ago, they announced the exact opposite.

September 2009: A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change.

Jan 2010: One of the report’s co-authors, hydrologist David Post, told The Canberra Times there was ”no evidence” linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia, including the Murray-Darling Basin.

Back in September, this long study was based on the old trick of using climate models and “subtracting” the natural causes to see what’s left. It’s also known as “Argument from Ignorance”. Since we can’t predict the climate five years in advance, obviously there are factors or weightings in those climate models that aren’t right. Ruling out “what we know” doesn’t prove anything at all, except that there is a lot we don’t know.

When David Stockwell analysed climate models and Australian droughts, he found that random numbers were more likely to predict droughts successfully. The models failed validation tests. In the end, instead of using climate models, we’re better off with last week’s Lotto numbers. It’s cheaper too.

More » (Jo Nova)

 

 Urban 'green' spaces may contribute to global warming, UCI study finds - Turfgrass management creates more greenhouse gas than plants remove from atmosphere

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 19, 2010 – Dispelling the notion that urban "green" spaces help counteract greenhouse gas emissions, new research has found – in Southern California at least – that total emissions would be lower if lawns did not exist.

Turfgrass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making them important "carbon sinks." However, greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows. These emissions include nitrous oxide released from soil after fertilization. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that's 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the Earth's most problematic climate warmer.

"Lawns look great – they're nice and green and healthy, and they're photosynthesizing a lot of organic carbon. But the carbon-storing benefits of lawns are counteracted by fuel consumption," said Amy Townsend-Small, Earth system science postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study, forthcoming in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The research results are important to greenhouse gas legislation being negotiated. "We need this kind of carbon accounting to help reduce global warming," Townsend-Small said. "The current trend is to count the carbon sinks and forget about the greenhouse gas emissions, but it clearly isn't enough."

Turfgrass is increasingly widespread in urban areas and covers 1.9 percent of land in the continental U.S., making it the most common irrigated crop. (University of California - Irvine)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 3: 20 January 2010

Editorial:
Mann and Company Still Malign the Medieval Warm Period: Their ClimateGate "NatureTrick" seems to have become a habit with them.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 794 individual scientists from 473 separate research institutions in 42 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lamar Cave, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Extinction (Philosophy-Policy): Are we shirking our real environmental duties to focus on an imaginary hobgoblin?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Cotton (Yoon et al., 2009), Peanut (Tu et al., 2009), Sorghum (Prasad et al., 2009), and Wheat (Gutierrez et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Holocene Glaciers of the European Alps: What does their behavior over the course of the entire Holocene suggest about the nature of their behavior over the course of the 20th century?

Andean Glaciation in South America During the Holocene: How did it compare with that of the Northern Hemisphere? ... and why do we care?

The Ever-Increasing Productivity of Amazonian Forests: Fact or Artifact?: Fifty-one researchers go to great lengths to demonstrate the robustness of their findings.

The Duke Forest FACE Experiment at the Twelve-Year Point of Its Continuance: ... where CO2-enriched loblolly pines are still going crazy after all these years, growing at a significantly-CO2-enhanced rate. So goodbye, "progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis," and Hello, yellow-brick road!

A Century of Water Use Efficiency Information Obtained from Brazilian Conifer Trees: How do the data compare with contemporaneous measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentration? ... and what do the results imply? (co2science.org)

 

2009 US Petroleum Trends

The American Petroleum Institute (API) released its annual oil statistics for 2009 to the press yesterday afternoon, and I participated in their media teleconference this morning covering the results. The numbers reveal some interesting shifts, and they provide another useful barometer on the state of the US economy, for which oil is still the largest energy input by a wide margin. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)

 

It's really time for Shell to prune the dead heads wood: Climate change: a reality check

Shell's Gerry Ertel believes the fundamental issues of energy and the environment are clear and uncomplicated. "The debate about climate change is over and we need to take action," says Ertel, Shell Canada's climate change expert. (Brian Burton, Special Information Feature)

 

Carbon capture plan will boost oilfield output

ABU DHABI // It is a pilot project with a potential golden payoff. Carbon dioxide, that dreaded greenhouse-gas chemical compound, not only harnessed to increase output from oilfields … but eventually stored underground. Permanently.

The test by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) promises to pave the way for the first commercial application of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a set of integrated technologies for preventing carbon emissions from power plants and other large industrial emitters from being spewed into the atmosphere. 

In the most favourable scenario, the significant cost of CCS technology could be offset by using the captured carbon dioxide (CO2) for an economic purpose such as pushing more oil out of the ground. (The National)

Enhanced oilfield extraction is good but forget this sequestration nonsense.

 

A Pacific Island Challenge to European Air Pollution

BRUSSELS — A Pacific island nation has challenged plans by the Czech Republic to refit a coal-fired power station, in an appeal that environmental advocates on Monday described as the first of its kind.

The case focuses on efforts by a Czech utility, the CEZ Group, to prolong the life of the power plant in Prunerov, close to the German border. The Federated States of Micronesia maintains that doing so would result in continued emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, which it says threaten its existence.

“Climate change is real and it is happening on our shores,” Andrew Yatilman, the director of Micronesia’s office of environment and emergency management, told Reuters. “It’s a matter of survival for us. If you look at the map of the Pacific, we’re just dots in the middle of the ocean.”

Micronesia submitted its arguments to the Czech Ministry of Environment on Jan. 4.

Greenpeace, which is supporting the action by Micronesia, demanded last month that the Czech Republic decommission the plant by 2016.

The Czech authorities were scheduled to take Micronesia’s complaint into account this week in deciding whether the plant was environmentally acceptable, said Jan Rovensky, an energy and climate campaigner with Greenpeace Czech Republic. (NYT)

 

Natural gas, the other alternative vehicle fuel - Domestically produced natural gas offers cheaper, cleaner fuel for transport

You might not know it, but there’s already an alternative fuel for vehicles that cuts pollution, saves money and provides an “immediate solution to the nation’s energy security needs,” to quote the U.S. Department of Energy.

What’s that fuel? Natural gas.

For now, only about 2 percent of the energy used for transportation in the United States comes in the form of natural gas. But according to the DOE’s most recent Vehicle Technologies Market Report, the use of compressed natural gas grew by 40 percent in the middle of the last decade, and the use of liquefied natural gas jumped by 145 percent.

In all, there are more than 120,000 natural gas vehicles on the road today in the United States and about 10 million worldwide, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade association promoting natural gas vehicles. (Stefan Milkowski, GoO)

Actually, if you can get it cheap enough and you have enough horses to spare for what you need to do that you can tolerate the 10-15% power loss from a less carbon-dense fuel then it's actually not too bad. I've had a few long-stroking sixes set up for duel fuel (you lose a fair bit of trunk space to the gas cylinder but if you need to run up the miles...). Mind you, that was in the days when South Australia had really cheap nat gas and the conversions were heavily subsidized. Here in Queensland the distribution network is poor, the cost is not really competitive and we don't bother. If you are going gas then get a lot more engine than you would otherwise require or you'll be really disappointed -- and make sure you check the distribution network for where you are going to be using the vehicle (you can't just take a can to a servo if you run out).

 

Remembering When Enron Saved the U.S. Wind Industry (January 1997)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
January 19, 2010

January 7, 1997, some 13 years ago, was one of the worst days in my 16-year career at Enron. Enron had already entered into the solar business (1994) in partnership with Amoco (Solarex), and the U.S. wind industry was on its back. Zond Corporation was struggling, and  rival Kenetech had recently suspended its dividend and was on the way to  bankruptcy. Enron bought Zond on this day and renamed it Enron Wind Company.

Enron Wind would never turn a profit, and it would be sold in May 2002 by the bankrupt parent to GE. (GE and Enron would have other ominous parallels.)

Enron came in at just the right time for a troubled, undeserving industry by

  1. Putting a big-name corporation in the U.S. wind industry for the first time;
  2. Issuing countless press releases on ‘wonderful’ green wind for the next several years; and
  3. Successfully lobbying Texas politicians to enact the most strict renewable mandate in the country in 1999.

Regarding the third point, the Texas mandate created an unholy business-government alliance of sufficient size for the state to increase its renewable mandate in 2005. Texas is the leading wind power state in the country–but hardly by consumer choice.

Right after Enron purchased Zond to enter into the wind business, I got a call from Hap Boyd, Enron Wind’s PR person. The Cato Institute had just published my windpower-cenric study, Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’ (August 1997), and Hap was trying to sell me on the benefits of wind. One of his arguments I remember was that landowners were receiving royalties from allowing the use of their land for wind turbines, as if this really meant something.

My relationship with Enron Wind went downhill from there. The head of the subsidiary wanted to get me fired for my public opposition against this technology (see the interoffice memos posted at my political Capitalism website).

Oh how sad I am that Enron purchased Zond and did so much to enable the artificial windpower boom in Texas and United States. Houston Chronicle business editorialist Loren Steffy wrote about this in a column, Wind Whispers of Enron (June 3, 2008). [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

US and NZ share the biggest wind farm in Antarctica

The biggest wind farm in ice covered Antarctica and which can generate enough electricity to power 500 homes, was formally switched on this weekend.

The plant can provide enough energy to light 500 homes The plant can provide enough energy to light 500 homes

The joint New Zealand-US project's three huge turbines will provide 11% of the power needed to run the two nations' science bases on Antarctica's Ross Sea coast, cutting greenhouse gas output, lowering fossil fuel use and reducing the risk of fuel spilling in the continent's pristine environment, officials said.

The 11 million US dollar wind farm is located on Crater Hill, half way between the United States' McMurdo Station and New Zealand's nearby Scott Base. (MercoPress)

Saving having to cart 100,000 gallons of diesel to a difficult to supply location could make sense and is precisely where "alternatives" should be deployed. That still doesn't make them useful in the real world.

 

Why? Brazil Opens World's First Ethanol-Fired Power Plant

JUIZ DE FORA - Brazil on Tuesday opened the world's first ethanol-fueled power plant in an effort by the South American biofuels giant to increase the global use of ethanol and boost its clean power generation.

State-run oil giant Petrobras and General Electric Co, which helped design the plant, are betting that increased use of ethanol generation by green-conscious countries will boost demand for the product.

Brazil, the top global ethanol exporter, is already in talks with Japan to develop biofuels power generation there. (Reuters)

 

Americans Spoke, and It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button on Health Care Reform

Scott Brown’s remarkable victory in the Massachusetts Senate election speaks loud and clear: Americans across the political spectrum are unhappy with the scale and cost of the congressional health reform legislation, and the lack of transparency in the process.

Congress would be wise to see this outcome as a referendum on health care reform. The proper conclusion? It’s time to hit the reset button and scrap the doomed bills in both chambers. Then President Obama should bring together the key leaders of both parties, and craft a far more modest approach in an open process that will actually address the concerns of Americans.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

At this rate they'll advance to open sewers in the middle of the street in no time: Return to slop bucket as homes face ban on sending food waste to landfill

Householders will soon have to keep food waste in the modern equivalent of a slop bucket, the Government said yesterday.

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said that instead of being thrown away on landfill sites, food waste would be used for composting or turned into energy. (The Times)

 

Swine Flu Epidemic Ends With a Whimper

Hidden within the latest edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's FluView was this sentence: "The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold."

That's right: The great American swine flu epidemic - which led to two proclaimed national emergencies and thousands of spooky news stories - has ended with a whimper.

Like all infectious disease epidemics, swine flu followed a bell curve. It peaked in mid-October, before anybody was vaccinated. (Michael Fumento, Townhall)

 

More evidence of obesity rates stabilizing: Numbers among American, Greek kids level off

Obesity rates for adults and children in the U.S. seem to be leveling off, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease and Prevention released online last week in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. According to some other studies those statistics aren't unique to Americans. A new paper finds obesity rates may also be leveling off among Greek children.

The study, done by Greek researchers, looked at trends in body mass index among 651,582 children age 8 to 9 in more than 80% of Greek schools from 1997 through 2007, according to data taken from 11 national school-based health surveys. (LA Times)

 

Recreational activities help curb obesity

CORVALLIS, Ore., Jan. 19 -- One way to help address the epidemic of obesity in the United States is improved access to hiking trails, parks and recreational programs, researchers suggest.

Randy Rosenberger, an associate professor at Oregon State University, says some of the health issues that plague overweight and obese people can be alleviated by a stronger commitment to recreational opportunities.

"Research is now showing there's a close correlation between public health and recreational opportunities, both close to home and in state parks," Rosenberger said in a statement. (UPI)

 

Leptin May Help Dieters Avoid Yo-Yo Effect to Keep Off Weight

Jan. 18 -- Synthetic versions of the hormone leptin, like those being developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., may yet hold promise for helping obese people keep off weight they manage to lose, Harvard University scientists said.

Leptin failed tests several years ago as a treatment for obesity. More recent studies have shown bioengineered versions of the hormone may help people who have low levels of it, including those who have lost weight, the researchers wrote in today’s issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. (Bloomberg)

 

Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States

Recent advances in air pollution monitoring and modeling capabilities have made it possible to show that air pollution can be transported long distances and that adverse impacts of emitted pollutants cannot be confined to one country or even one continent. Pollutants from traffic, cooking stoves, and factories emitted half a world away can make the air we inhale today more hazardous for our health. The relative importance of this "imported" pollution is likely to increase, as emissions in developing countries grow, and air quality standards in industrial countries are tightened.

Global Sources of Local Pollution examines the impact of the long-range transport of four key air pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants) on air quality and pollutant deposition in the United States. It also explores the environmental impacts of U.S. emissions on other parts of the world. The book recommends that the United States work with the international community to develop an integrated system for determining pollution sources and impacts and to design effective response strategies.

This book will be useful to international, federal, state, and local policy makers responsible for understanding and managing air pollution and its impacts on human health and well-being. (NAP)

 

Never will be a green peace: Therapists Report Increase in Green Disputes

Gordon Fleming is, by his own account, an environmentally sensitive guy.

He bikes 12 1/2 miles to and from his job at a software company outside Santa Barbara, Calif. He recycles as much as possible and takes reusable bags to the grocery store.

Still, his girlfriend, Shelly Cobb, feels he has not gone far enough.

Ms. Cobb chides him for running the water too long while he shaves or showers. And she finds it “depressing,” she tells him, that he continues to buy a steady stream of items online when her aim is for them to lead a less materialistic life.

Mr. Fleming, who says he became committed to Ms. Cobb “before her high-priestess phase,” describes their conflicts as good-natured — mostly.

But he refuses to go out to eat sushi with her anymore, he said, because he cannot stand to hear her quiz the waiters.

“None of it is sustainable or local,” he said, “and I am not eating cod or rockfish.”

As awareness of environmental concerns has grown, therapists say they are seeing a rise in bickering between couples and family members over the extent to which they should change their lives to save the planet.

In households across the country, green lines are being drawn between those who insist on wild salmon and those who buy farmed, those who calculate their carbon footprint and those who remain indifferent to greenhouse gases. (NYT)

 

Michigan Locks Bid Denied In Great Lakes Carp Case

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request by the state of Michigan for an injunction to force the closing of two Chicago-area waterway locks to keep Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The voracious Bighead and Silver carp are considered a dire threat to the lakes' $7 billion fisheries.

Michigan last month took the unusual step of asking the high court for an order that would close the two locks and would require authorities to take all other action necessary to keep the carp from entering the lakes.

Michigan asked that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Illinois and Chicago's sewer authority take more steps to block the carp during flooding and ultimately to separate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River watershed.

The invasive carp may have already reached Lake Michigan, with authorities saying on Tuesday that water samples recently taken in an Indiana harbor contained carp DNA.

However, sampling for environmental DNA is a new technique and authorities are seeking proof that actual Asian carp are swimming in the lake.

"We would like the confirmation of a physical specimen," said Major General John Peabody of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Netting and electro-fishing are being conducted. (Reuters)

 

EU Ban on Seal Products Sale, a New Tool of the Professional Climate Warmongers

Summary: Parallel to the climate warmongering, the same team of professional, and very well paid, “Earth-savers” aimed their political cannons at the seal hunt in Canada ( and elsewhere). But, just as their sub-par incompetence in climate-warming issues, their knowledge of basics of the seals hunt is beyond zero level ( though their political savvy is quite on par with the ad of Winston Cigarettes by “Flintstones” ). ( GLG)

 

Mystery over record gathering of corn buntings

Conservationists are investigating what has caused the largest roost of corn buntings in living memory to settle in a farmer’s field in Bedfordshire. (TDT)

 

It's a mollusk crisis I tells ya... Third of snail species here threatened with extinction

ONE THIRD of Ireland’s snail species are threatened with extinction, according to new research compiled by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

The State body, which monitor’s the country’s biological diversity, has found that declining water quality, the building boom and certain agricultural and forestry practices are contributing to the species’ decline.

Ireland is home to 150 types of snail. Of these, two are now considered to be extinct, five critically endangered, 14 endangered, 26 vulnerable and six “near-threatened”.

Researchers have found that two native species are already extinct. The lapidary snail (Helicigona lapicida), once found only in a gorge of the river Blackwater at Fermoy in east Co Cork, has “not been seen alive since 1968”, while the last recorded evidence of the mud pond snail (Omphiscola glabra) was in 1979 before it was “lost to habitat destruction”. (Irish Times)

 

Reid: Senate has time for climate bill

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said that there is room on the busy Senate calendar to bring up a sweeping energy and climate change bill this spring.

His comments – in a speech before a geothermal energy group in New York – come amid speculation that tackling controversial plans to impose limits on greenhouse gases may fall by the wayside.

“We have a lot on our plate. We have to finish reforming health insurance and Wall Street, and also must help bring Americans out of unemployment. But we are not so busy that we can’t find the time to address comprehensive energy and climate legislation,” Reid said, according to his prepared remarks. (E2 Wire, The Hill)

 

Copenhagen Revisited: Nancy’s Climate Bacchanal

I thought I was done writing about my trip to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen last December, but just when you think you’re out, as Mario Puzo once put it, they pull you back in. And what did my pulling in in this instance was the CBS report on the amazingly lavish junket (well, not so amazingly really) of Nancy Pelosi & Co. to the Scandinavian capital. I learned therein that seventeen, count ‘em seventeen, Members (many with spouses and even children) went to the conference with their staffs, utilizing three military jets and booking 321 hotel nights at the posh Copenhagen Marriott. The carbon footprint of all that – assuming you believe in AGW, and most of them claim to – was immense. The amount of serious discussion that went on was practically nil.

And, yes, needless to say, there’s more, lots more, although LaPelosa has, also needless to say, resisted press inquiries about the details. She is now being bombarded, as she should be, by FOIA requests, so we will probably learn more anon. But the idea of all that absurd excess in the light of what is now going on in Haiti is particularly stomach-turning. (Roger L. Simon, PJM)

 

Cattlemen fight EPA with 'Climategate' - EPA says it is confident it will prevail in court

A national beef group is invoking the so-called "Climategate" controversy as it challenges a recent U.S. government ruling on climate change.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has filed a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn the EPA's recent greenhouse gas "endangerment" ruling.

The ruling states that gases believed to cause global warming pose a human health risk and is the first step toward their regulation by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. The NCBA and other producer groups fear the ruling could lead to lawsuits and new restrictions on the nation's livestock industries.

The NCBA plans to argue the government's finding is based on faulty and incomplete science and that the Clean Air Act is the improper vehicle for regulating greenhouse gases, said Tamara Thies, the organization's chief environmental counsel. (Tim Hearden, Capital Press)

 

‘The People vs. Cap-and-Tax’: James Hansen and the Left’s Civil War on Climate Policy (even the New York Times could not stomach his "Sack Goldman Sachs’ Cap-and-Trade" title)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
January 17, 2010

“Washington appears intent on choosing a [cap-and-trade] path defined by corporate greed. Unless the public gets engaged, the present Administration may jam down the public’s throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all.”

“Cap‐and‐trade’s complexity provides a breeding ground for special interests…. [T]ry reading the Waxman-Markey 2,000-page bill to figure out who would get the money! Why do those special interests deserve it anyhow?”

- James Hansen, “The People vs. Cap-and-Tax,” paper delivered to the Chairperson of the Carbon Trading Summit, New York City, January 12, 2010

James Hansen is losing patience. He is upset at the Obama Administration and its advisors, such as John Holdren (read his futile letters). Hansen is mad at the New York Times; after all, he got suckered by their editors and by Paul Krugman regarding his pre-Copenhagen opinion-page editorial.

All this and more is in Dr. Hansen’s latest 3,600-word attack–reproduced in its entirety below–on the political establishment in what is a widening civil war on the Left regarding climate policy.

Temperature trends, climategate, and Copenhagen are major problems for climate alarmism/neo-Malthusianism in theory and practice. But add to this ‘perfect storm’ the problem of Enronesque climate policy. What is the party in power to do?

Some Hard Questions for Dr. Hansen

It is fair to ask some hard questions to the father of climate alarmism in the United States. Hansen said years ago that we had to quickly and fundamentally reverse the world’s energy mix to avoid his modeled doom. That is not going to happen. Is it time for him, both as a scientist and a layperson, to rethink the whole issue and reverse course? If climate stabilization is indeed a futile crusade, James Hansen should be part of the solution rather than continue to be part of the problem.

Here are some questions I have for Dr. Hansen that could help him get on track. I invite readers to add questions in the comments to this post.

  1. Climate science and the empirical record of temperature and climate change are more unsettled than ever. You once even admitted that “The prospects for having a modest climate change impact instead of a disastrous one are quite good, I think.” Will you show humility by constructing a non-alarmist scenario within the error bars of ‘settled’ and ‘unsettled’ science as an alternative scenario?
  2. In your very public criticisms of cap-and-trade, you do not bring up Enron. Yet Enron is the father company of the U.S.-side push of cap-and-trade, and Enron-ex Jim Rogers brought the Ken Lay political model of climate alarmism/cap-and-trade to the electricity sector.
  3. You speak below of “a clean energy future.”

    Why not talk about Enron’s quest to become the world’s leading renewable company and the fact that Enron’s very first crime involved its wind subsidiary? (Hint: government-dependent energy investments, not only cap-and-trade, enable the “corporate greed” you lament.

  4. You forthrightly state that “fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy.” Will you explore what is really the more important fact: that fossil energies used to firm up intermittent energies such as wind and solar create inefficiencies and incremental emissions compared to a grid without intermittent resources? (Hint: wind and solar are not major CO2 mitgators.)
  5. You were very articulate on the David Letterman Show. Why not debate an intellectual opponent? Or why not recommend that a Richard Lindzen spend a few minutes with Letterman to explain why we are not doomed? After all, as you once said: “Climate is complex. People have different opinions about the extent to which humans are causing climate change.”
  6. You have powerfully spoken against the political waste of the climate-policy debate. Can you weigh the fact of “government failure” against “market failure” in your analysis of what the government can really be expected to do to address the alleged problem?
  7. Is it time for you to shift from a mitigation to a adaptation strategy for dealing with future climate change, as Robert Murphy has argued? Your ten-years-or-else alarm of 2006 (“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions”) is rapidly running its course.

Hansen’s post published on his website is reproduced in its entirety. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Well, it's his opinion and he's sticking to it: Damaged credibility doesn't alter climate facts

ANALYSIS: It used to be cool to be a climate-change crusader. Now the sceptics are in fashion

IT HAS been a bad winter for the environmental movement. It started with climategate. Hacked or leaked e-mails from prominent climate scientists revealed a clique of academics who were sloppy with the science, tried to hide from outside scrutiny and worked hard to suppress contradictory evidence.

These scientists had made only minor contributions to the science of climate change. Climate change is as real now as it was before climategate. At the same time, these people were prominent in the public image of climate change and so climategate has shaken the public confidence in the impartiality of academics and the reality of climate change. A few months ago, one would rather admit to eating babies for breakfast than to any doubt about global warming or the need for drastic emission reduction. Climategate has changed all that. Climate doubt has become fashionable. (Richard Tol, Irish Times)

 

Will Californians Repeal Cap-And-Trade?

A California legislator pushes a November ballot initiative to free the state from the job-killing shackles of a 2006 law designed to fight climate change. The other choice is freezing in the unemployment line.

At last report, California's unemployment rate was 12.3%, with 2.25 million residents looking for work. So one would assume the first rule of holes would apply — when you're in one, stop digging.

Yet there was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touting his state's green initiatives in Copenhagen as California barrels toward full implementation of its own version of job-killing cap-and-trade.

"The desire and hope and desperate need for planetary transformation is what brought me here," Schwarzenegger said. "Is it a dream, a fairy tale, a false hope? If not, how can we make it real?"

"It" is Assembly Bill 32, signed by the governor in 2006, and Assemblyman Dan Logue wants it to go away or at least be put on hold.

Logue, who has advocated AB32's outright repeal, is busy collecting signatures for a November ballot initiative that would block full implementation of the measure, scheduled to take effect in 2012, until the state's unemployment rate falls below 5.5%.

California's animus toward fossil fuels has blocked further development of its considerable offshore oil resources, and its fear of nuclear power has denied the state access to nonpolluting nuclear energy. This has helped contribute to what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says is the second most business-unfriendly regulatory climate in the nation after New Jersey. (IBD)

 

They never saw an increase in your costs they didn't like: Japan To Propose Detailed Marine Fuel Levy Plan

TOKYO - Japan, one of the world's top shipping operators, will submit details of its proposal for an international levy on marine fuel ahead of a meeting of the U.N.'s shipping agency in March, a government official said on Friday.

Under the proposal, which was first touted last year as an alternative to an idea supported by some European countries to introduce an emissions trading system in the sector, money raised would be used to help cut carbon dioxide emissions relating to shipping in developing countries. (Reuters)

Never mind this increases the cost of that present for your niece at Christmas, or the replacement batteries for your ridiculously expensive and dreadfully impractical ZEV, if we are stupid enough to let this happen in the name of gorebull warbling then we deserve what we get.

What about impoverished states importing grain to feed their people?

What about developing states importing raw materials to feed the industries they need to develop and create wealth?

Isn't this merely another eco-imperialist tax imposed to keep those troublesome developing nations in their proper impoverished state?

 

EU States Differ on Greenhouse-Gas Cut

SEVILLE, Spain—European Union countries diverged on the level of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions the union wants to commit to, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said Saturday.

Environment ministers of France, Germany and the U.K. at the sidelines of an EU ministers meeting said they favor increasing the EU's emission reduction target to 30% from 20% if others were to match that offer.

Which target level the EU should adopt after the near-failure of the December Copenhagen climate summit, however, was not unanimous, Mr. Dimas said. But he didn't specify which countries were against the more ambitious 30% target.

Poland and Italy oppose going beyond the 20% target, French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen blamed the hesitation by the U.S. to match the level of the EU's emission cut target and the attempt by China to block a global climate deal for the "setback" in Copenhagen. (WSJ)

 

Stand and deliver! A global registry for climate commitments

Commitments by the EU, the US, China and others to cut greenhouse gas emissions address only one element of a global climate deal. Financing from developed countries is also required to help developing countries to limit their emissions and adapt to climate change without the poor becoming even worse off. Both public and private investment flows from developed countries will be critical to the development and deployment of renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, and other green technologies in fast-growing, developing countries.

Last month’s Copenhagen Accord promised €70bn (Dh370bn) to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation efforts. But the Accord does not specify whether this sum will be new money or redirected official development assistance (ODA). Given their experience with shortfalls in promised ODA and the disappearing donor problem, developing countries do not trust the rich countries to pay later what they promise now. Rich countries are suspicious that the funds they send will not be used effectively for mitigation. To break this impasse, a new institution – a global climate finance registry – should be established to monitor that promised funds are delivered to developing countries and that the latter are really reducing emissions.

The underlying reality is that significant new funding (in excess of that promised in Copenhagen) is needed to limit warming to 2°C. An estimated €55-€80bn in international financing is needed annually by 2020 to curb emissions in developing countries. Additional monies for adaptation will also be required. Most of this will come from public sources, including bilateral ODA, domestic emissions allowance auctions, the World Bank and other multilateral programmes, and international marine and aviation levies. But private finance must supply the balance, which could be up to €30bn annually. (The National)

 

Climate not priority for Tory candidates

The new generation of Conservative MPs due to take power after the election does not share David Cameron’s professed commitment to tackling climate change, a survey being published this week suggests.

“Reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” was rated as the lowest priority, out of 19 policies, by 144 Conservative candidates responding to the survey of the 240 most winnable Tory target seats. 

Asked to rate each policy on a scale of one to five, where five was the most important to them personally, the candidates gave the climate change issue an average rating of 2.8, significantly below “more help for marriage”, 3.6, and “protecting the English countryside”, 3.57.

They rated “cutting red tape” as second only to tackling the budget deficit in terms of priorities, suggesting resistance to environmental regulation.

The results of the survey by the Conservativehome website, to be unveiled at a conference on the Tory manifesto on Wednesday, suggest a gap might be opening up between the leadership and rank-and-file MPs and activists on the issue. Mr Cameron is under pressure to drop pledges such as his commitment to increasing green taxes, as the right questions the rationale for taking unilateral action to combat global warming.

“This is a hugely controversial issue for the Conservative party. There’s almost no support among centre-right think-tanks for all this climate change, so the party has got to be incredibly careful,” Tim Montgomerie, editor of Conservativehome, told the Financial Times.

“I’m confident the sceptics are going to win,” Mr Montgomerie said. “It’s for Cameron to decide how he’s going to get out of this – he’s lost the battle already. (Financial Times)

 

Global Warming and Wealth: Lessons from Haiti

by Daren Bakst
15 January 2010 @ 3:31 pm

The tragedy in Haiti can teach us something about the extreme policies of global warming alarmists.

The 1989 San Francisco earthquake measured a 7.1 on the Richter scale and the death toll was 62 people killed.

The recent earthquake in Haiti was measured at 7.0 on the Richter scale and the death toll could reach 50,000-100,00 people killed.

Why did Haiti suffer so many more lost lives than San Francisco?  The answer is  the country doesn’t possess the wealth necessary to build better infrastructure.

Yet, the alarmists want to push policies, such as cap and trade, which would drastically reduce our wealth.  They want countries like Haiti and other developing countries to take steps to reduce carbon emissions at the expense of their national well-being, including their…

Read the full story (The Foundry)

 

Czar Sunstein planned to infiltrate your home

In a fascinating 2008 paper (click "download" over there to get the PDF file), the current White House regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, together with Adrian Vermeule - both at Harvard University - argued that the conspiracy theories are dangerous.

In this paper, it is claimed that groups including the global warming skeptics undermine the society and secretly conspire to start a global conflict. "Many millions of people" hold conspiracy theories and they are a threat. These people think that many important things and events were and/or are controlled by the U.S. agents. And all of it is crazy, Sunstein and Vermeule argue. So far, so good. Well, almost.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Don’t be fooled. Science is always politicized

Food, climate or toys: Policy implications enter into every stage of risk assessment

By Ronald L. Doering

In spite of the media treatment of them, there is nothing that is surprising about the now famous Climategate emails. Surprise could only come from a misunderstanding of the relationship between science, policy and politics. Of course the emails reveal that the climate scientists were affected by policy and political considerations. They had to be. Science, policy and politics are inextricably intertwined. What is surprising is how much our public discourse is still dominated by the quaint utopian view that science and policy can be strictly separated.

Scholars of science in policy have long ago shown that you can’t take policy out of science. Studies of scientific advising leave in tatters the notion that it is possible, in practice, to restrict the advisory practice to technical issues or that the subjective values of scientists are irrelevant to decision making.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

He has a point or two: Global warming ‘hoax’ will waste billions

Global warming under the Democratically controlled House of Representatives will add more bureaucratic boondoggles to the government payroll and give billions to the United Nations to squander while the taxpayers will foot the bill. As Yvo deBoer, the United Nations top climate official, stated: “Time is up. Over the next two weeks governments have to deliver.” To whom, the U.N? Billions of dollars are needed almost immediately and hundreds of billions of dollars annually within a decade.

If the Kyoto Protocol laid no obligations on countries such as India and China plus developing third world countries, what is the use of wasting billions while they continue to release emissions of carbon dioxide by the billion of tons annually into the atmosphere? This whole hoax is to create more bureaucracy in the world. They revealed the true objectives of their agenda in the book written by G. Edward Griffin, “The Creature from Jekyll Island.”

Al Gore’s global warming presentations remind me of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s creation of unfettered departments such as FCC, FDIC, FHA, MLB, NYA, WPA, SSB, TVA, and now over 80 other unnecessary bureaucratic departments. All did little to overcome the depression but did give the Democrats more patronage jobs. (Joseph R. Breslin, Daily Times)

 

Don't they just love this nonsense... The 350 ppm carbon dioxide challenge and how to achieve it

January 14, 2010 -- The target posed by leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen of stabilising atmospheric carbon dioxide at 350 parts per million (ppm) is increasingly understood in conjunction with the need to keep cumulative emissions within a tight global “budget”. While the point at which budgeted emissions occur is not in theory crucial, in practice there is a need to ensure that emissions peak early and decline swiftly thereafter. (International Journal of Socialist Renewal)

 

Argh! Can CO2 Catchers Combat Climate Change?

While nations bicker about who should cut greenhouse gas emissions and by how much, scientists are dreaming up their own solutions to global warming. A German professor has created a filter which extracts more than a thousand times more carbon dioxide from the air than a tree.

The situation may not be nearly as grim as it looks. For Klaus Lackner, at least, human-induced global warming is a problem that can be controlled, perhaps even solved -- even if humankind doesn't manage to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Born in Heidleberg, Lackner, 57, is a geophysicist and director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the renowned Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He's also the man behind an ambitious new solution for the climate change problem. The scientist wants to build millions of CO2 catchers, machines the size of shipping containers fitted with chemical filters to pull greenhouse gases out of the air the same way trees do. The devices may be bulkier and less attractive than real trees, but they are thousands of times more efficient.

These carbon catchers could offset many hundreds of times as much CO2 as wind turbines using the same area, the researcher says, and they could be set up anywhere on Earth. They would even be capable of filtering out car or power station emissions pumped up into the atmosphere years ago. No other technology can do the same. (Der Spiegel)

You see where this lunacy is taking us?

We do not want to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The reason we don't want to reduce it is that it is a resource, an environmental asset and one that is in historically short supply.

Moreover, ice core records provide no support for the hypothesis that removing atmospheric carbon dioxide will cool the planet, although it does appear to decline some centuries after the planet cools for whatever reason.

 

Oh... Scottish Power's Nick Horler reveals 'carbon capture hubs' scheme

SCOTTISHPOWER chief executive Nick Horler has revealed plans to develop a series of carbon capture hubs across the UK as he steps up moves to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Horler says the company and its partners in developing the technology – Shell and the National Grid – want to install the hubs in factories, foundries and refineries in the Forth Valley, Teesside and on the Thames. (The Scotsman)

 

Taxpayers' millions paid to Indian institute run by UN climate chief

Millions of pounds of British taxpayers' money is being paid to an organisation in India run by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the controversial chairman of the UN climate change panel, despite growing concern over its accounts. (TDT)

 

The curious case of the expanding environmental group with falling income

When Douglas Alexander travelled to New Delhi last September to announce Britain was presenting £10 million to the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), standing alongside him was an imposing, bearded figure. (Christopher Booker and Richard North, TDT)

 

IPCC and Conflict of Interest: Anything Goes

The Sunday Telegraph has an interesting story on TERI-Europe and Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, uncovering what TERI admits are accounting "anomalies" -- never a good thing to hear when financial accounting is concerned. I will have more to say on that, but in this post I'd like to focus on a very interesting statement in the article on the UN and IPCC policies for conflict of interest:

Because Dr Pachauri's role at the IPCC is unpaid – although he does receive tens of thousands of pounds in travel expenses – he is exempt along with other panel members from declaring outside interests with the UN.
As far as I have been able to discern, the IPCC has no policy governing conflict of interests. This is remarkable, given the importance of the IPCC to international climate policy as well as the importance that has been given in recent years to conflicts of interest in scientific advice. The question that needs to be put to the IPCC is: why should it be exempt from adhering to conflict of interest policies that are deemed appropriate in every other important area of scientific advice?

Last month I posted up the standards of conduct regarding conflict of interest for the IPCC's parent bodies: the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization. Based on what the Sunday Telegraph has reported the leadership of the IPCC falls through a bureaucratic loophole and is not accountable to UN or WMO conflict of interest policies. In fact, it appears that there are no such policies governing the IPCC -- which is remarkable.

Instituting such policies will be difficult as any reasonable conflict of interest policies will necessarily lead to some very uncomfortable questions about its current chairman, as well as others in leadership positions. There is no doubt based on publicly available information that Dr. Pachauri has material conflicts of interest as IPCC chair. At the same time, unless the IPCC sets forth such policies, it will continue to hang exposed like a virtual piñata, getting whacked repeatedly and justifiably for its "anything goes" approach. For the IPCC the better course is to clean up its act sooner rather than later, as uncomfortable as that might be in the short term. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

The Fourth Estate and Uncomfortable Questions

Today's NY Times has a timely column by its Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, on conflicts of interest among sources used in news stories and who publish on the NY Time op-ed pages. The column details recent instances where financial interests were not disclosed (either to the NYT or to its readers). Hoyt notes:

These examples have resulted in five embarrassing editors’ notes in the last two months — two of them last week — each of them saying readers should have been informed of the undisclosed interest. And on Thursday, the standards editor sent Times journalists a memo urging them to be “constantly alert” to the outside interests of expert sources. The cases raised timeless issues for journalists and sources about what readers have a right to know and whose responsibility it is to find it out or disclose it.

The ideal expert source is entirely independent, with no stake in an outcome. But in reality, the most informed sources often have involvements, which is why they know what they know. Readers are entitled to disclosure so they can decide if there is a conflict that would affect the credibility of the information.

A search of the NYT archives over the past 12 months for -- Rajendra + Pachauri -- results in 677 mentions. I can't find one that discusses or discloses his considerable financial interests as related to his frequent policy advocacy. The atmospheric and environmental sciences are at the frontier with respect to conflicts of interest (as I wrote in 2003 for the NRC, PDF) so it is perhaps not too surprising that these issues are only now emerging.

However, now that Pachauri's conflicts and interests are documented, real and being discussed openly in the media, the US media (not just the NYT) ought to be on this. There is a big, though uncomfortable, story here. If the major media were on it, then it would help the climate science community to clean up its act. Asking uncomfortable questions of those in power is one of the jobs of the Fourth Estate, right? (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

They're saved! Wails to the rescue :) Prince of Wales will take the heat at 'climategate' row university

Never afraid of speaking out for causes he believes in, the Prince of Wales is to visit the university that has been at the centre of the worldwide "climategate" scandal. (TDT)

 

Global Warmists Feel a Chilly Wind

Two weeks ago I wrote an article here about global warming and the advocates -- call them warmists -- who tamper with Wikipedia to reflect their own biases. One warmist named William Connolley, a green ideologue in Britain, had rewritten 5,428 climate articles. His goal was to bring the articles into line with Green Party dogma.

A number of people responded, some taking the position that Wikipedia is a waste of time so why bother with it? But that is not satisfactory. Here is a better response, from Howard Hayden, a friend of mine. He puts out The Energy Advocate, a newsletter that raises many doubts about global warming and related energy issues. "Wiki is a great source of non-controversial information," he told me. "It's a shame it has been hijacked by true believers."

I agree. I find Wikipedia useful and I do use it. But I avoid it where science and controversy interact -- global warming, biodiversity, intelligent design, and a few other issues. There, Wiki cannot be relied upon. Political activists have enough time on their hands to make changes that suit their tastes. (Tom Bethell, American Spectator)

 

$5K for a short course in make-believe? Climate Change and Development Short Course: September 2010

Location: University of East Anglia, UK
Date: 1 - 14 December 2010
Organisation: International Development UEA

This course is designed for people who want to gain a greater understanding of the implications of climate change for developing countries and of the processes, issues and debates surrounding adaptation and mitigation. It is aimed particularly at building the knowledge base of professional staff from government agencies and NGOs who do not have existing specialism in the field but who may have new responsibility or interest in the integration of climate change management into development planning, projects and policy.

Registration fees
Dates: 1 - 14 September 2010
Fee: £3,200 [US$5,200] (includes accommodation but no meals) (SciDev.Net)

 

Climate Change: Back to the future?

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

My father phoned from the Florida Keys this week. At 86, he likes warmer climates in winter, but there has been nothing warm in Florida lately -- it was zero degrees Celsius the morning he called.

Three decades ago, scientists coldly calculated that another ice age1 was imminent. (See AccuWeather's analysis2 of these predictions.) But, no longer. Today, they are prophesying that ice caps will melt within the next hundred years and swamp coastal lowlands. That is unless, and only unless, an international governing authority is established posthaste to control economic/industrial development that is blamed for global warming.

What is the truth? (Mark Alexander, Patriot Post)

 

At least the media are starting to report a coupe of the problems: World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change. (Sunday Times)

 

As are warmies with some integrity (or is it "Half-time, change sides!"?): New Scientist Wants an Explanation


The New Scientist magazine has asked the IPCC to explain how a speculative statement that most scientists disagree with became an IPCC "finding" that has been vigorously defended by the IPCC chairman. The statement has led to a large number of factually incorrect claims, such as found in the article pictured above from the Daily Mail. See the image below from the New Scientist, courtesy Bishop Hill.

I discussed this situation last month in a post in which I argued that the problem here is not that the IPCC made a mistake. That is just troubling. The greater problem is how the IPCC has responded to having a mistake pointed out:

In the case of melting glaciers in the Himalayas, the IPCC 2035 claim has led to, in Nielsen-Gammen's words, an egregious mistake becoming "effectively common knowledge that the glaciers were going to vanish by 2035." Like the common (but wrong) knowledge on disasters and climate change that originated in the grey literature and was subsequently misrepresented by the IPCC, on the melting of Himalayan glaciers the IPCC has dramatically misled policy makers and the public.

That the IPCC has made some important mistakes is very troubling, but perhaps understandable given the magnitude of the effort. Its reluctance to deal with obvious errors is an even greater problem reflecting poorly on an institution that has become too insular and politicized.
Unfortunately, the glacier error is not unique. The IPCC contains a number of other egregious errors that also deserve some answers. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

But never fear! They have another "It'sWorseThanWeThought™" standing by: How High Will Seas Rise? Get Ready for Seven Feet

As governments, businesses, and homeowners plan for the future, they should assume that the world’s oceans will rise by at least two meters — roughly seven feet — this century. But far too few agencies or individuals are preparing for the inevitable increase in sea level that will take place as polar ice sheets melt. (e360)

 

Experts Divided On Implications Of Brutal Cold Spell

This year’s fierce winter in much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the beginning of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last decades, say some of the world’s most renowned climate scientists. However, other experts say the cold spell does not contradict an overall trend of global warming.

A report on Sunday by the British newspaper The Mail cited forecasts by eminent climate scientists that are a direct challenge to some of the most deeply held beliefs among those who say the world is experiencing global warming – including claims that the North Pole will be ice-free by the summer of 2013.

The climate scientists questioning such predictions of global warming based their predictions of a "mini ice-age" on analysis of natural water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Indeed, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, summer Arctic sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, roughly 26 percent, since 2007 – a figure that even the most ardent global warming believers do not dispute.

The scientists’ predictions also challenge standard climate computer models, which contend that the Earth’s warming since the year 1900 is due solely to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and will continue until CO2 levels taper off.

But the climate scientists say their research shows instead that much of the warming during the last century was caused by ‘warm mode’ oceanic cycles, as opposed to the present ‘cold mode’.

This challenge to the theory of man-made global warming carries weight, given they come from prominent climate scientists that cannot be defined simply as global warming deniers. (redOrbit)

 

Met Office computer accused of 'warm bias' by BBC weatherman

A BBC weather forecaster has suggested that the Met Office's super-computer has a 'warm bias' which has stopped it predicting bitterly cold spells like the one we have just endured.

Paul Hudson said the error may have crept into the computer's climate model as a result of successive years of milder weather.

His claim was rejected by the Met Office but other experts said there could be flaws in the system, which was first developed 50 years ago.

In a blog, the BBC Look North presenter writes: 'Clearly there is the rest of January and February to go, but such has been the intensity of the cold spell...it would take something remarkable for the Met Office's forecast (of a mild winter) to be right.

'It is also worth remembering that this comes off the back of the now infamous barbecue summer forecast.

'Could the model, seemingly with an inability to predict colder seasons, have developed a warm bias, after such a long period of milder than average years?' (Mail On Sunday)

 

Met Office to review forecasts after failing to warn public of fresh snow

The Met Office has admitted that it failed to warn the public of the heavy snow that brought swaths of Britain to a standstill on Wednesday.

Forecasters conceded that they did not spot the widespread snow storms that caused transport disruption and a surge of weather-related accidents until it was too late. Up to six inches fell in parts of the South West, with drifts of 7ft in Wales.

Even when the full extent of the threat was realised, flaws in the Met Office's bad weather warning system meant that the public were not adequately informed, officials said. The system will now be reviewed. (TDT)

 

But will it affect their performance bonuses? BBC forecast for Met Office: changeable

BUFFETED by complaints about its inaccurate weather forecasts, the Met Office now faces being dumped by the BBC after almost 90 years.

The Met Office contract with the BBC expires in April and the broadcaster has begun talks with Metra, the national forecaster for New Zealand, as a possible alternative.

The BBC put the contract out to tender to ensure “best value for money”, but its timing coincides with a storm over the Met Office’s accuracy.

Last July the state-owned forecaster’s predictions for a “barbecue summer” turned into a washout. And its forecast for a mild winter attracted derision when temperatures recently plunged as low as -22C.

Last week the Met Office failed to predict heavy snowfall in the southeast that brought traffic to a standstill. This weekend a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals that 74% of people believe its forecasts are generally inaccurate.

By contrast, many commercial rivals got their predictions for winter right. They benefit from weather forecasts produced by a panel of six different data providers, including the Met Office. (Sunday Times)

 

Lawrence Solomon: BBC drops top IPCC source for climate change data

The British Broadcasting Corporation has put its weather forecasting contract out to tender – the first time since its radio broadcasts began in 1923 – after taking heat from the public for a string of embarrassingly inaccurate long-range weather forecasts. The UK Met Office, the government-owned meteorological department that has had the BBC contract for almost 90 years, is a partner with the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University of Climategate fame. CRU and the UK Met Office jointly provide the climate change data that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relies on. (Financial Post)

 

Normalized Windstorm Losses in Europe

The image above is from a paper published yesterday by J. L. Barredo titled: "No upward trend in normalised windstorm losses in Europe: 1970–2008" in the open access journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. You can glean from the title the message of the paper. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

There is now clear evidence that societal changes and economic development are the main factors responsible for increasing losses from natural disasters in many jurisdictions. This has been shown to be the case for flood and hurricane losses in the US (Pielke Jr. and Landsea, 1998; Pielke Jr. and Downton, 2000; Pielke Jr. et al., 2008), tornadoes in the US (Brooks and Doswell, 2001), hurricane losses in the Caribbean region (Pielke Jr. et al., 2003), weather extremes in the US (Changnon et al., 2000; Changnon, 2003), flood losses in Europe (Barredo, 2009), tropical cyclones in India (Raghavan and Rajesh, 2003), and weather-driven disasters in Australia (Crompton and McAneney, 2008). All of these studies found no significant trends of losses after historical events were normalised to current conditions in order to account for demonstrably changing societal/demographic factors.
The paper concludes:
To conclude, despite the changes on European storminess the evidence for an anthropogenic contribution to storm trends remains uncertain (Hegerl et al., 2007) and there is no evidence of an impact of anthropogenic climate change on the normalised windstorm losses.
These findings echo those of Barredo on European floods. Once again, we find that studies of disasters around the world are unambiguous and uncontested: Increasing damage over recent decades can be explained entirely by societal factors and there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that greenhouse-gas driven climate change has led to increasing disasters. The standard disclaimer applies -- this does not mean that action to address accumulating greenhouse gases does not make sense; as I've stated on many occasions, it does. What it does mean is that efforts to point to contemporary disasters as a basis for action on energy policies are misleading at best. (Roger Pielke, Jr.)

 

The Crumbling Pillars of Climate Change

One well accepted definition of the “Three Pillars of Science” lists the three as theory, experimentation and computation. For climate science this translates into climate theory, gathering climate data, and climate modeling. The three pillars are due an update in this post Copenhagen, post Climategate world. After reviewing the past year's crop of discoveries and disclosures, it seems that all three pillars are still wobbly at best—even without questionable conduct on the part of warm-mongering researchers.

No doubt about it, it has been a hard year for the global warming true believers—a frigid cold winter, Climategate, and faltering political support, all capped off by the yawn-in at Copenhagen. Among the public, global warming fatigue continues to spread while global warming boosters become ever shriller. But what about the actual science behind the global warming theory? In The Resilient Earth we based our evaluation of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) on the three pillars of climate science given above. This article revisits the evaluation of each pillar starting with the state of climate theory.


The Three Pillars of Climate Science.

(Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

'AGW? I refute it THUS!': Central England Temperatures 1659 to 2009

If there’s anyone left you know who STILL believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming, you might want to show them this chart.

The Central England Temperature dataset is the oldest in the world – with 351 years of temperature records drawn from “multiple weather stations located both in urban and rural areas of England, which is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures – not perfect, but decent.” Climate Cycles Change provides the analysis. ( James Delingpole, TDT)

 

Is Spencer Hiding the Increase? We Report, You Decide

One of the great things about the internet is people can post anything they want, no matter how stupid, and lots of people who are incapable of critical thought will simply accept it.

I’m getting emails from people who have read blog postings accusing me of “hiding the increase” in global temperatures when I posted our most recent (Dec. 2009) global temperature update. In addition to the usual monthly temperature anomalies on the graph, for many months I have also been plotting a smoothed version, with a running 13 month average. The purpose of such smoothing is to better reveal longer-term variations, which is how “global warming” is manifested.

But on the latest update, I switched from 13 months to a running 25 month average instead. It is this last change which has led to accusations that I am hiding the increase in global temperatures. Well, here’s a plot with both running averages in addition to the monthly data. I’ll let you decide whether I have been hiding anything:

UAH-LT-13-and-25-month-filtering

Note how the new 25-month smoother minimizes the warm 1998 temperature spike, which is the main reason why I switched to the longer averaging time. If anything, this ‘hides the decline’ since 1998…something I feared I would be accused of for sure after I posted the December update.

But just the opposite has happened, with accusations I have hidden the increase. Go figure. (Roy W. Spencer)

I'm sorry Roy, just can't see it inspiring songs like this:

 

Global UAH: warmest January day on record

Many people think that the globe must be terribly cold these days. We've seen huge cold snaps and snowfalls in Britain, Eastern parts of the U.S., Western Europe, Central Europe, China, Korea, and India where hundreds of people have frozen.

So these are almost all the important places, right? (At this moment, the speaker forgets that there are places such as Latin America, Australia or the Balkans which have been warm.) So the globe must be cool - cooler than average, people could think.

However, the daily UAH global mean temperature shows a different story. The early January 2010 was warm. And on January 13th, which is the latest day whose temperature is known, we have seen the warmest January day on their record. The brightness global temperature near the surface was

T = -16.36 °C
which may not look excessively warm :-) but it is actually 0.11 °C warmer than the warmest January temperature recorded by UAH so far - which was on January 5th, 2007 (-16.47 °C). Of course, some alarmists might feel happy for a while. They've been afraid that the worries about a new ice age could escalate. And they've been saved: the global weather is warm again. The strong El Nino episode could have helped them - or someone else. It's important that they're saved. ;-)

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Pioneer Press Op-ed: We’re Warming, but not so Fast

by Chip Knappenberger
January 16, 2010

I recently had an opinion-page editorial in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Pioneer Press in which I pointed out that the recent behavior of the earth’s weather/climate system was not much in accordance with some of the rather alarming predictions/projections coming from climate models or interpretations thereof. Perhaps we don’t understand the inner workings of the earth’s complex climate system as well as some people think we do.

A large collection of observations are indicating that our forecasts seem to be erring on the high side (notice I didn’t say that observations suggest that climate change wasn’t occurring, but that they suggest that the projections of climate change are too extreme). As such, I suggested that we ought not rush headlong into efforts aimed at attempting to restrict carbon dioxide emissions for the sake of trying to alter the course of future climate, considering that a) the future course of climate doesn’t seem to be all that bad, and b) that any impact that we may make would likely be minimal.

Here is an excerpt:

There’s a certain urgency these days to take action to mitigate climate change. World leaders assembled last month at the U.N. conference in Copenhagen to try to forge a global plan aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Back home, Congress, the EPA, and individual states (including Minnesota) are considering their own plans to do the same. All in an effort to steer the Earth’s climate in a direction other than the one in which it is projected to be heading.

But what if the climate projections are wrong? What if the earth’s climate isn’t plotting a course of death and destruction? Would it still make sense to restrict the kinds of energy we use even if it has little impact on the climate and/or future climate change was benign or possibly beneficial (for example, longer growing seasons, more precipitation)? . . . . [Read more →]

(MasterResource)

 

NASA GISS Inaccurate Press Release On The Surface Temperature Trend Data

UPDATE PM JANUARY 16 2010 – Jim Hansen has released a statement on his current conclusions regarding the global average surface temperature trends [and thanks to Leonard Ornstein and Brian Toon for alerting us to this information].   The statement is If It’s That Warm, How Come It’s So Damned Cold? by James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Makiko Sato, Ken Lo

My comments below remain unchanged. Readers will note that Jim Hansen does not cite or comment on any of the substantive unresolved uncertainties and systematic warm bias that we report on in our papers. They only report on their research papers.   This is a clear example of ignoring peer reviewed studies which conflict with one’s conclusions.

***ORIGINAL POST***

Thanks to Anthony Watts for alerting us to a news release by NASA GISS (see) which reads

“NASA has not been involved in any manipulation of climate data used in the annual GISS global temperature analysis. The analysis utilizes three independent data sources provided by other agencies. Quality control checks are regularly performed on that data. The analysis methodology as well as updates to the analysis are publicly available on our website. The agency is confident of the quality of this data and stands by previous scientifically based conclusions regarding global temperatures.” (GISS temperature analysis website: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/)”  [note: I could not find the specific url from NASA, so I welcome being sent this original source].

This statement perpetuates the erroneous claim that the data sources are independent [I welcome information from GISS to justify their statement, and will post if they do].  This issue exists even without considering any other concerns regarding their analyses. (Climate Science)

 

Oh dear... SA leading way in climate battle

SOUTH Australia is leading the nation in carbon emission reductions, and is the only state to record levels below those in 2000, a study reveals.

The Climate Group's Greenhouse Indicator Annual Report for 2009 shows carbon emissions in SA for the year fell by 730,000 tonnes or 4.2 per cent compared with 2008 levels, the largest percentage of any state.

SA is the only state to record levels lower than those in 2000 and is just 1 per cent above 1990 levels. In contrast, Queensland more than doubled 1990 levels, recording a 102.5 per cent increase.

The report credits SA's result to low reliance on coal and relatively high use of renewable energy. The main reason, however, for the drop was a 13 per cent reduction in electricity generation from gas.

In the eastern states, annual greenhouse gas emissions from energy use fell by 1.8 per cent to 5.3 million tonnes in 2009, following a rise of 1.3 per cent in 2008. (Adelaide Advertiser)

I guess it's a case of trying to put a positive spin on disaster. South Australia has a declining population as people migrate to states with work prospects and water (only the coastal littoral in the southeast of the state can be considered habitable by most criteria). Moreover, South Australia's output share of the Moomba gas fields is declining and with it the cheap gas-fired electricity, which was the one reason industries operated in an arid state at the bottom of nowhere. South Australia is literally closing for business. Its carbon dioxide emissions are declining? Well hooray...

The big empty continent...

 

The assault on energy supplies continues unabated: Shell faces shareholder revolt over Canadian tar sands project

Shell chief executive Peter Voser will be forced to defend the company's controversial investment in Canada's tar sands at his first annual general meeting, after calls from shareholders that the project be put under further scrutiny.

A coalition of institutional investors has forced a resolution onto the agenda calling for the Anglo-Dutch group's audit committee to undertake a special review of the risks attached to the carbon-heavy oil production at Athabasca in Alberta.

Co-operative Asset Management and 141 other institutional and individual shareholders raise "concerns for the long-term success of the company arising from the risks associated with oil sands."

Shell, which will hold its AGM in May, has been one of the lead companies in moves to develop oil reserves that are either mined or sucked out of the ground using expensive and energy-intensive techniques. BP and Total of France are also engaged in the sector.

Shell has insisted that "unconventional" hydrocarbon sources such as tar sands are all justified to ensure that the world does not run out of oil too soon.

But environmentalists have condemned their exploitation as "the biggest environmental crime in history" and said it must be stopped before it tips the planet over into runaway climate change. (The Guardian)

 

Canada: Oil sands produce 5% of greenhouse gases - Sands contribution to GHGs less than claimed, road transport responsible for 18%

Ottawa, January 12—Alberta’s oil sands should not be singled out as the source of Canada’s poor record on greenhouse gas emissions. This is one conclusion of The Conference Board of Canada’s new publication, Getting the Balance Right: The Oil Sands, Exporting and Sustainability. The report gathers all the pertinent facts related to the oil sands and its environmental impacts, assesses those facts and draws on dialogue with industry leaders, environmental analysts and other stakeholders. 

The report recommends that a comprehensive climate change plan must strike a balance between energy producers and consumers. Oil sands producers must continue to develop new technologies and processes that reduce emissions during extraction. Meanwhile, efforts need to be made to reduce long-term global demand for oil products—and vehicles are an important part of that consumption. 

Oil sands production is responsible for about five per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. This share will inevitably grow, even as emissions per barrel are reduced, since oil sands production is expected to double over the coming decade to meet North America demand. 

Access the report here (GoO)

 

Carbon plan may break us: generator

The country's largest single power generator, Macquarie Generation, has warned that its viability is threatened by the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme.

Its concerns throw into doubt the State Government's plans to privatise the power industry by selling electricity retailers and output from power generators.

Under an electricity sales contract written with its main customer, the Tomago aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley, Macquarie Generation carries the full liability for complying with the emissions scheme. Yet under that scheme, Tomago will receive free permits that ensure it is fully insulated.

As a result, it will benefit from ''double dipping'' under the scheme, since its direct liability is offset thanks to free permits it will receive, while its power supplier, Macquarie Generation, has to bear the financial burden of the emissions scheme.

In its most recent annual report, tabled in State Parliament late last year, Macquarie Generation said its ''profitability, value and remaining life could be negatively impacted'' by the emissions trading scheme. (SMH)

 

The End of Magical Climate Thinking - One year ago, America's president said he was going to start a green-energy revolution. Here's why the Obama administration failed -- and what needs to come next.

There was good reason to be hopeful in January 2009 that the election of Barack Obama would bring about America's long-awaited clean energy revolution. As president-elect, Obama had started to talk about energy policy in a way that no leader of either U.S. party had before. Promising to save the country from both severe recession and industrial decline, Obama described the transformation of the United States' energy economy as a defining challenge of his presidency -- an economic and national security imperative that Congress would fail to address at the country's peril.

But the reality fell far short of expectations. The Obama administration succumbed, like many others, to a sort of magical climate thinking that promised a painless and even prosperous transition to a low-carbon future with the tools already at hand. The only official within his administration to accurately grasp the technology challenges faced, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, was sidelined at crucial moments.

Here is the back story of how the Obama administration dramatically raised and then dashed America's -- and the world's -- hopes that 2009 would be a pivotal year for remaking our collective energy future. (Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Foreign Policy)

 

Smart Grid Passion–It’s On Your Dime (Part II)

by Robert Michaels
January 15, 2010

In Part I earlier this week, I asked critics for corrections to the surprisingly weak figures on avoided investment that smart grid advocates use to push their program. Having gotten none, let’s see where the figures take us.

First stop is the home page of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE). Its most prominent link is to their own The Smart Grid: An Introduction. Intended by its own admission for impressionable readers, it is plagued with misstatements, deceptive graphics, and unsourced assertions. Its official author is Eric Lightner, Director of the Federal Smart Grid Task Force. Lightner has not bothered responding to my requests for the sources of his footnote-free document, which was actually put together by a PR firm. Perhaps this is to be expected from a federal department that has a policy to push and must point us underlings toward official documents favoring the policy. But do we taxpayers have to really put up with this?

Then on the homepage is a link to the Galvin Electricity Initiative, the project of a retired Motorola executive who wants “Perfect Power,” nowadays pushed by the former head of the utility industry’s Electric Power Research Institute.

Then there is a blurb on Gridweek, the annual convention for smart griddies. Its 2009 “Platinum Sponsors” include the usual mix of meter makers, utilities, and … Didja guess the Department of Energy? Right. $50,000. Yours. DOE was equally partisan before the election — It was a “Key Partner” in Gridweek 2008, whose financial and in-kind contributions I can’t reconstruct. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Talk about scorched earth -- check out the eco-devastation of this solar power facility: German Tariff Cuts To Spark Solar Sector Bloodbath


An aerial view shows the Lieberose solar farm, which become the world’s second biggest solar power plant and Germany’s biggest, with an area of 162 hectares (equivalent to more than 210 football fields) in Turnow-Preilack.
Photo: juwi/Handout/Files 

FRANKFURT/HONG KONG - A potential deep cut in feed-in tariffs in Germany will hit solar companies around the world and increases pressure on large players to reduce exposure to the world's largest photovoltaic market.

Analysts say that lower prices could result in a shakeout in the industry that drives higher cost players out of business and dissuades new entrants.

Shares in solar firms plummeted after a Reuters report that the German government plans to chop feed-in tariffs -- prices utilities pay generators of renewable energy -- as early as April, much more deeply and sooner than the market expected.

Analysts agree that the plans, which envisage a one-off cut of 16-17 percent on top of the 10 percent already set out in the German Renewable Act, will deal a major blow to the sector, which the German government thinks is overly subsidized now. (Reuters)

 

Wind farms could blight one in six beauty spots

One in six of the UK's officially-designated beauty spots could soon be blighted by wind farms, an investigation has found. (TDT)

 

Big Oil fuels new growth industry

Big Oil hopes to use its experience with fossil fuels to develop profitable large-scale clean-energy ventures. For BP, one of the biggest international oil firms, this is a strategic plank in the company’s plan for maintaining its share of an evolving global energy market.

“We face the conundrum that if we want to stay at the size we are today, we need to shift into other forms of energy over time,” says Katrina Landis, the chief executive of BP Alternative Energy, the company’s low-carbon energy division, who will be taking part in a “challenges and solutions” plenary forum at the summit tomorrow afternoon.


Five years ago, BP took a careful look at the alternative energy sector to determine where it had the greatest chance of establishing successful large-scale businesses. It quickly found three with fairly obvious links to its existing oil and gas operations: biofuels, hydrogen power and carbon capture and storage (CCS). (The National)

Look at that. They chose the three schemes with no value whatsoever beyond subsidy harvesting.

 

Germany's Endless Search for a Nuclear Waste Dump

Germany has been looking for a permanent storage site for its nuclear waste for over 30 years. The history of the Gorleben salt dome, a potential nuclear repository, is one full of deception and political maneuvering. And if opponents to the plans have their way, the search might even have to start again from scratch. (Spiegel)

 

Bizarre: Head of nuclear authority opposed to full body x-ray scanners at Czech airports

The Czech government is currently deciding whether to introduce full body scanners at the country’s airports, a move backed by the interior minister. But not everybody is in favour of the security measure. The head of the Czech nuclear safety authority says the risks from the radiation used by the scanners could be too high, and is calling for an alternative approach. (Czech Radio)

But the head of the State Office for Nuclear Security has come out against the idea. Dana Drábová says other alternatives should be considered, such as ultrasound or personal checks. So how dangerous does she consider body scanners?

You couldn’t put it straightforward in this way, because the dose received by x-ray scanners is really very low, even compared to a usual x-ray diagnosis in medical procedures. But still we have to ask about the justification – that means, that the benefits are bigger than the possible risks.

We can only assume Dana Drábová is afraid of sunlight and compact fluorescent lights, too. Wonder why she is so confident regarding exclusion of persons of ill-intent without the use of backscatter scanners? Just having the scanners could stop an attempt to bring down an aircraft, saving a great many lives and meaning possible risks should surely have to be considerable to meet her criteria: "that the benefits are bigger than the possible risks." If terrorists manage to bring down a plane that's tens to hundreds of deaths. If they manage to weaponize it like 9/11 we could be talking deaths by the thousand. Against these very real and sadly demonstrated risks she's worried about a hypothetical cancer sometime in the future, somewhere in the population... Very odd.

 

Bipolar diagnosis jumps in young children: study

BOSTON - The number of children aged 2 to 5 who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs has doubled over the past decade, according to research released on Friday.

The research suggests that while it is still rare to prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs to 2-year-olds, the practice is becoming more frequent.

The data, compiled from 2000 to 2007, and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, could inform testimony at the upcoming Boston-area murder trials of the parents of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley. The girl died of an overdose of mood-stabilizing medication in 2006.

A Boston child psychiatrist, Kayoko Kifuji, diagnosed Riley with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when she was 30 months old, and placed her on several powerful drugs: Depakote, an antiseizure medication also used for bipolar disorder, and clonidine, a blood pressure medication.

Kifuji's testimony may be crucial to the fate of Michael and Carolyn Riley, who face first-degree murder charges. A grand jury and a review by the state's medical licensing board cleared the doctor of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors claim the Rileys deliberately overmedicated their daughter to subdue her. The couple say they were following Kifuji's instructions and their daughter died of pneumonia.

The case has shone the spotlight again on a debate within the psychiatric profession about whether bipolar disorder can be diagnosed in very young children and whether it is wise to prescribe powerful medications. (Reuters)

 

Chinese drywall junk science

As if there aren't enough problems connected with the Chinese drywall mess, we can add one more: Junk Science. Given the fertile ground of Florida—long home to scammers of all descriptions—could you expect any less?

My latest HND piece skewers some of the frequently encountered pseudo science, and gives credit to one agency that has done it right, the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We take a look at XRF, FTIR, and even the latest nonsense—Chinese drywall sniffing dogs.

As we explain, a better term would be "corrosive" or "tainted" drywall, since not all product from China is corrosive, and not all corrosive product is Chinese. Be wary of the politics here, too, since it is more about delay than taking care of affected homeowners.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

This nonsense, yet again: U.S. regulators pressed to speed up BPA decision

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should immediately ban the use of the chemical bisphenol A in food and beverage containers, a U.S. environmental health advocacy group urged on Thursday.

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group renewed a call for regulators to curb the use of bisphenol A, or BPA, citing a new study suggesting the widely used chemical poses a health risk.

The FDA is considering whether any action needs to be taken. Asked about the group's letter, an FDA spokesperson said that an announcement on BPA is forthcoming. (Reuters)

 

Pity the NYT didn't tell their readers this is just more EWG garbage: F.D.A. Concerned About Substance in Food Packaging

In a shift of position, the Food and Drug Administration is expressing concerns about possible health risks from bisphenol-A, or BPA, a widely used component of plastic bottles and food packaging that it declared safe in 2008.

The agency said Friday that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” and would join other federal health agencies in studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

The action is another example of the drug agency under the Obama administration becoming far more aggressive in taking hard looks at what it sees as threats to public health. In recent months, the agency has stepped up its oversight of food safety and has promised to tighten approval standards for medical devices.

Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have found harmful effects in animals, and on the recognition that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula, and that nearly everyone is exposed to it, starting in the womb.

But health officials said there was no proof that BPA was dangerous to humans.

“If we thought it was unsafe, we would be taking strong regulatory action,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the principal deputy commissioner of the drug agency, at a news briefing. (NYT)

 

Scientific evidence is at the heart of atrazine debate

In the 1950s scientists from a small chemical company discovered a class of herbicides-called triazines-that effectively controlled a list of broadleaf weeds that had plagued farmers for years. In 1958, that company, which would later be known as Syngenta, registered atrazine. Today, more than 45 pre-mix products contain atrazine, and it is used in more than 60 countries around the world as a critical component in conservation tillage systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 76.4 million pounds of atrazine are applied each year. Of that, 86 percent is used on corn acres, 10 percent on sorghum, and 3 percent on sugarcane. Three-quarters of all field corn acreage in the United States, according to the EPA, is treated with atrazine. In fact, the EPA estimates without the use of atrazine, corn growers would incur a loss of about 9 bushels per acre, plus the cost of a replacement herbicide. This would amount to a loss of about $28 per acre, or $1.6 billion of lost revenue each year, nationwide.

In 50 years of evaluation and scientific peer review, atrazine has consistently been found to be a safe chemical for use in no-till and conservation tillage farming practices. (Jennifer M. Latzke, High Plains Journal)

 

NCGA Sends Letter To EPA Administrator In Support Of Atrazine

The National Corn Growers Association and several other agricultural organizations sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson today, outlining their concerns on the potential ban of atrazine, a commonly used herbicide that is also the most studied compound on the market today.

“Our growers have actively participated in the process and supported the safety and scientific approval of atrazine by the EPA over the last 15 years and three White House administrations,” the joint letter states. “We strongly believe the scientific weight of evidence, based on EPA’s own analysis for decades, shows atrazine to be both safe and effective and that is the best kind of tool farmers can have.”

An EPA Scientific Advisory Panel will meet the week of February 2 to review human health effects from atrazine. The panel was convened in the wake of the Agency’s announcement of a comprehensive review of health and ecological risks associated with the commonly used herbicide atrazine. (Cattle Network) | Click here for a copy of the letter.

 

State says atrazine rules are adequate

Worthington, Minn. — The Minnesota Agriculture Department says state regulations controlling the use of a popular agricultural weedkiller are doing their job. 

The department is reviewing the use of atrazine, which is commonly sprayed on cornfields. Nila Hines with the Agriculture Department says monitoring wells near farmland show that the amount of atrazine turning up in groundwater is declining. 

"Our environmental and human health regulations are adequate," Hines said. "So there's no need to change a specific label or change the registration of atrazine in Minnesota at this time." (Minnesota Public Radio)

 

Multi-agency review presents initial findings on Minnesota’s atrazine regulations

State opens 60-day public comment period on January 19 

ST. PAUL, Minn. ‑ The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today announced it has completed a multi-agency review of the herbicide atrazine in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. While the review finds that atrazine regulations protect human health and the environment in Minnesota, it also identifies several opportunities to further minimize atrazine impacts.

The review summary and conclusions will be formally posted in the state register on Tuesday, January 19. This marks the beginning of a 60-day public comment period. After the close of the 60-day comment period, the Commissioner of Agriculture will re-visit the review summary and its conclusions, and consider comments received. The Commissioner will then determine specific additional actions, if any, to be taken for the prevention, evaluation and mitigation of atrazine impacts in Minnesota. 

As the lead state agency for pesticide regulatory activities in Minnesota, MDA worked closely with scientists at the Department of Health and the Pollution Control Agency to evaluate atrazine impacts. The Health Department assessed human health impacts based on applicable scientific data while the Pollution Control Agency assessed environmental impacts. A summary of this review has been prepared along with five agency-specific technical assessments that are the foundation of the review. Copies are available on MDA’s website at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/pesticides/atrazine/atrazinereview.aspx. (Press Release)

 

Syngenta Responds to Activist Claims Regarding Atrazine - Backed by 6,000 studies and 50 years of use, atrazine can be used safely.

(PRWEB) January 15, 2010 -- For 50 years, sound science has governed U.S. regulatory decisions on atrazine, a well-studied herbicide that farmers rely upon worldwide to produce safe, healthy and abundant crops. Syngenta, as a science-based company, looks forward to a continuing, open and transparent safety review of atrazine by the U.S. EPA in 2010 and expects a positive outcome. 

Last week, two environmental activist groups escalated their attacks on Syngenta and atrazine, urging a departure from the EPA’s methodical, science-based approach to regulating crop protection products such as atrazine. Syngenta believes these claims are baseless and wrong. 

These activist groups urge the removal of safe, regulated crop protection tools farmers rely on to produce safe and abundant food for the world. It is estimated forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without the use of such products. ( Press Release)

 

This will upset some but giving birth is actually a risky business: Home births multiply death risk by seven

That is the finding of a study conducted by Marc Keirse of Flinders University and his co-authors, who examined data on almost 300,000 births in South Australia between 1991 and 2006.

Babies born at home were also 27 times more likely to suffer asphyxiation during labour, according to the study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Australian Medical Association president Andrew Pesce said the research echoed his concerns about the controversial practice. "We believe that if something goes wrong, people are less likely to be able to respond to an emergency situation," he said yesterday.

The AMA is backing the federal government's proposed overhaul of home birthing laws, which will require all midwives to be insured and join a national register. (The Australian) | Families angry over home birth study (Daily Telegraph)

 

Pandemic flu still active in parts of world - WHO

GENEVA - The H1N1 flu virus is spreading most actively in North Africa, South Asia and parts of Europe, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

Raising its official global death toll from the pandemic to nearly 14,000, the WHO also said that while India's infections may have peaked in December, neighbouring Nepal and Sri Lanka were still experiencing widespread transmission.

Morocco, Algeria and Egypt are continuing to see the active spread of H1N1 and some countries in Europe, including Romania, Ukraine, Turkey and Switzerland, are also reporting moderately intense rates of respiratory disease, the U.N. agency said.

Its latest update on the influenza strain - known popularly as swine flu - also noted that seasonal influenza viruses have been largely overshadowed by the pandemic strain in the northern hemisphere winter this year.

"Pandemic H1N1 2009 virus continues to be the predominant circulating influenza virus in the European region with only sporadic detections of seasonal influenza viruses," it said, concluding the same for northern Africa and swathes of Asia, including China. (Reuters)

 

Up to 80 million Americans infected with H1N1: CDC

WASHINGTON - As many as 80 million Americans have been infected with H1N1 swine flu, up to 16,000 have been killed and more than 360,000 hospitalized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

But 90 percent of the most vulnerable people remain unvaccinated, with only about 61 million Americans having received shots, the CDC said.

Swine flu vaccine is still widely available, with more than 130 million doses produced and 160 million people at high priority for getting the vaccine.

The pandemic, which began in March, is on the wane but health officials stress that influenza is unpredictable and could come back or mutate.

And this new virus, while it has not caused more deaths than seasonal influenza, has killed younger people than seasonal flu does.

About 90 percent of deaths in an average year are among people over 65, while 90 percent of those seriously ill or killed by the new virus are much younger and include as many as 1,730 children. (Reuters)

 

Flu, fear and floods: how to avoid excessive precaution

A few months ago, as the world braced for a deadly pandemic, governments and vaccine companies were criticised for acting too slowly in helping people prepare for the worst.

Now, with the swine flu virus on the wane after apparently causing fewer deaths than in a typical flu season, governments are attacked for spending too much and the pharmaceutical industry accused of over-selling the dangers. Next week, for example, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly will hold a debate on “False pandemics – a threat to health”.

At first sight, the billions of dollars spent on antiviral drugs, vaccines and other pandemic preparations were both a poor investment and an indictment of the growing use of the “precautionary principle” to spend large sums in anticipation of unpredictable future events. But in fact more extensive use of such principles – when responsibly applied – would make greater sense. The risk of “unknown unknowns”, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, should not be a pretext to ignore the “known unknowns”.

Superficially, the flu controversy recalls the Y2K “millennium bug” debate, which triggered vast payments to software specialists and huge media hype around ultimately unfounded fears that computer systems would collapse on January 1, 2000. Although some people in the IT industry argued after the event that wise spending on debugging IT systems had prevented disaster, the consensus was that the threat was exaggerated. There are other examples where large sums have been spent without rational analysis. 

But there are just as many counter-examples, showing failure to prepare for predictable and catastrophic events through adequate and valuable investment, and conversely cases of wise investment to prevent disaster. (Andrew Jack and Clive Cookson, Financial Times)

 

Antibiotic doses should take into account obesity experts warn

High bodyweight affects the concentration of drugs in the body and how fast the medicines are processed affecting how well they work, experts have said in The Lancet medical journal. 

With rising levels of obesity, this is no longer a problem limited to a small number of patients, they said and new calculations should be drawn up to help doctors tailor doses. 

If the dose is too low the infection may not be cleared properly encouraging bugs to become resistant to antibiotics. 

This is one of the greatest threats to modern medicine and limits the number of effective drugs for use in the future, they said. (TDT)

 

Obesity antibiotics: Should your weight determine the drug you get?

Doctors have called for a new approach to antibiotic dosing - one that is based on your weight. The rationale is that obesity, traditionally, has been regarded - pharmacologically speaking - as a rare phenomenon. The authors in the Lancet argue (in a classic science journal well, duh moment) that obesity is no longer rare. And, with rising rates of antibiotic resistance, the authors state that patients who are obese may NOT be getting a sufficient dose of antibiotics. Sub-standard dosing can definitely lead to drug resistance in germs. They argue that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to antibiotics is not only outdated, it's dangerous.

But here's the first kicker. Antibiotic pills for adults generally only come in one size (two max for some types). AND, given the state of runaway drug prices, creating a range of custom dose-sized pills is likely to be an opportunity for price-gouging by drug companies, even with generic medicines (ka-ching).

Which means that patients who don't "fit" the one-size-fits-all existing pill are likely, in my predictive model, to get stuck with a very pricey surcharge. Is this fair? Should people be penalized for their size? If you think so, then why stop there - why not penalize people for their kidney function, or their cardiac output, or their smoking history (which can rev up some liver enzymes that break down drugs...).

Because the second kicker is that the whole "pill-size matching body-size" theory may be a relatively minor factor in nasty-germ emergence (but a HUGE factor in price-gouging). More and more data are showing that the REAL factor behind germs' emerging drug resistance is not so much UNDER-dosing of antibiotics, as OVER-prescribing by doctors. Decades of handing out antibiotic pills like candy was a really, really bad idea, no matter what the dose. In fact, Norway is one of the few countries to eradicate almost all MRSA (the nasty superbug). How did they achieve that? Purely because, with their universal health coverage, they were able to simultaneously severely restrict antibiotic usage while also giving high-quality care to people with infections in order to make sure they get well without antibiotics. And, when it comes to emerging germ resistance, let's not even start with the data on the mind-blowing tonnage of antibiotics we've peed into our water supply, or dumped into our water tables, or spewed nationwide throughout our livestock food supply. All of which makes the supposedly weighty dose-size issue seem, well, frankly anorexic by comparison... (SF Chronicle)

 

Surgeons fear rapid rise in super obese

Almost 500,000 Australians are ''super obese'', a five-fold increase over two decades, with weight-loss surgeons reporting they are treating more patients at serious risk of premature death.

Obesity experts estimate 2 to 3 per cent of the population are so large they have outgrown obese and morbidly obese classifications to become super obese - those with a body mass index of 50 or more. Some weigh more than 200 kilograms.

Obesity specialist John Dixon predicted super obesity would double in the next decade if there was no intervention.

''We can't ignore them, they're a group that have the most disturbed health, the most disturbed quality of life and often have a lot of physical and psychological issues,'' Professor Dixon said.

All the signs showed Australia was following the same trend as the United States where extreme obesity has been commonplace for a decade, Professor Dixon said. (SMH)

 

Canada's alleged obesity epidemic - Public health efforts should focus on trying to encourage Canadians to improve their cardiovascular health

Even though Canadians are heavier and thicker around the middle than they were three decades ago, their heart and lungs are still in good shape. True, the average 45-year-old's grip is not as strong as that of 45-year-olds in 1981, but is that so terrible? It seems a natural part of the shift to a post-industrial knowledge economy. Isn't a strong cardio-respiratory system what matters most?

At any weight, “aerobic fitness is protective against disease,” says a new study by Health Canada and two other federal agencies, featuring a comprehensive measure of Canadians' fitness. It found the average 45-year-old man or woman has a good level of aerobic fitness; on this measure, there are no comparison data from 1981 to make everyone feel badly about themselves.

Maybe, then, the effects of the alleged obesity epidemic are exaggerated. The younger generation will outlive their parents; no real evidence indicates they won't. The health system won't explode from the demands of heavy people with chronic illnesses. (Instead, it will explode from all the chronically ill people of any weight living into a very old age.) ( Globe and Mail)

 

Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky.

SAN FRANCISCO — On the day of the collision last month, visibility was good. The sidewalk was not under repair. As she walked, Tiffany Briggs, 25, was talking to her grandmother on her cellphone, lost in conversation.

Very lost.

“I ran into a truck,” Ms. Briggs said.

It was parked in a driveway.

Distracted driving has gained much attention lately because of the inflated crash risk posed by drivers using cellphones to talk and text.

But there is another growing problem caused by lower-stakes multitasking — distracted walking — which combines a pedestrian, an electronic device and an unseen crack in the sidewalk, the pole of a stop sign, a toy left on the living room floor or a parked (or sometimes moving) car.

The era of the mobile gadget is making mobility that much more perilous, particularly on crowded streets and in downtown areas where multiple multitaskers veer and swerve and walk to the beat of their own devices. (NYT)

 

Government 'scientific advisers': who needs these nuts in white coats?

Government “scientific advisers” – who needs them? So the aptly-named Professor David Nutt, sacked as head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for opposing the Government’s decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug and not to downgrade ecstasy, has set up a rival organisation – the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) – in a fit of pique.

Who cares? Thanks to climate change scams, swine flu and a whole host of own-goals, the status of the white-coated prima donnas and narcissists has never been lower in the public esteem. It was Rush Limbaugh, of all unlikely candidates, who at the height of the Climategate exposé made the thoughtful point that more than climate was at stake: the credibility of the entire scientific community was collapsing. He was right. After a period of priest-like authority, the pointy-heads in lab coats have reassumed the role of mad cranks they enjoyed from the days of Frankenstein to boys’ comics in the 1950s. ( Gerald Warner, TDT)

 

US judge OKs imports of e-cigarettes, blasts FDA

WASHINGTON - A U.S. judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction barring the Obama administration from trying to regulate electronic cigarettes and prevent them from being imported into the United States.

In a sharply worded decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon scolded the Food and Drug Administration for trying to assert jurisdiction over the cigarettes, which are battery-powered or rechargeable devices that vaporize a liquid nicotine solution.

"This case appears to be yet another example of FDA's aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices," he said in granting an injunction barring the FDA from regulating the cigarettes as a drug-device combination.

E-cigarettes were first made in China and are sold mostly on the Internet. The battery-powered devices work by emitting a "puff" or fine mist of nicotine in the lungs.

A law passed last year gave the FDA power over regular cigarettes and other tobacco products. But while e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they do not contain tobacco and are not subject to the new oversight.

But FDA maintains it has control over the products because they aim to treat people suffering from nicotine withdrawal, making them a combination drug and device - two things the agency has regulated for years.

A company that imports the electronic cigarettes, Smoking Everywhere Inc., had two shipments detained by the agency in late 2008 because they were not FDA approved.

The FDA later barred the importation of electronic cigarettes and their components by three Chinese companies. The FDA also denied entry to more than 35 shipments from 20 other manufacturers, according to the court ruling.

Smoking Everywhere and another manufacturer asked the court to bar the FDA from refusing entry to their products and regulating them, which Leon agreed to do. (Reuters)

 

And the problem with this might be...? Chief constable accused of undermining power station protest

A chief constable was tonight accused of undermining the public's right to protest after documents revealed he urged the owner of a power station to do more to disrupt environmental demonstrators.

Mike Fuller, the chief constable of Kent police, told E.ON it was "grossly inappropriate" for taxpayers to be paying extra for policing of protests at Kingsnorth, and the energy firm should "intervene" beforehand to prevent them taking place. (The Guardian)

It is inappropriate for taxpayers to be footing the bill for these ratbags' publicity stunts. Damn terrorists threaten essential services and people's livelihoods, why shouldn't the police deploy snipers, for example? The whingers might then have a case about suppressing protest but there really is no excuse for allowing these antisocial dipsticks to attack infrastructure with impunity. Arrest or summary execution would seem entirely appropriate for those attempting to destroy the society that nurtures them.

 

Unethical Greenpeace actions threaten the livelihoods and lives of millions

Should corporate ethics principles apply only to profit-making companies? Or should they also cover nonprofit corporations, especially those that badger for-profits to be more “socially responsible”?

Should corporations be judged partly on creating jobs, supporting communities, or improving and saving lives? And should nonprofit corporations be penalized for impeding the enhancement of human life?

The answers should be self-evident. But they’re not, as US nonprofits and politicians have repeatedly demonstrated.

Consider Greenpeace. This self-proclaimed paragon of virtue constantly harasses companies that it deems insufficiently virtuous in advertising their products, protecting the environment and promoting their public image. But the Rainbow Warriors’ own actions would frequently merit fines or even jail time if committed by profit-making businesses.

Greenpeace publicity stunts, anti-corporate campaigns and fund-raising appeals are often laden with false and misleading claims about companies and their operations. The Warriors justify their actions as necessary to advancing their legal, legislative and regulatory agenda – and getting people and foundations to write a check or click their website’s “donate now” button. Almost anything goes, because Greenpeace and its comrades in eco-warfare are apparently beyond the reach of the Lanham Act and mail fraud or tax laws that apply to ordinary corporations and citizens.

In the olden days, it made sense to carve out exceptions, to protect legitimate public interest organizations from persecutions and prosecutions based on inadvertent falsehoods or political motivations. But that was before the roster of tax-exempt nonprofits included so many unsavory elements, like unscrupulous eco campaigners and pressure groups for whom truth, ethics and real social responsibility mean little. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

 

GLOBAL GLOVING

Danny Glover’s Haitian earthquake madness unites Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Jim Angle, James Delingpole, Greg Gutfield, Brent Baker and Glenn Reynolds with … the Huffington Post and Perez Hilton! Glover truly is a force for global togetherness, although not in any way he intended.

The only resister is Charles Johnson (now deep into the third phase of his Charlie Gordon cycle) who claims that Glover’s mention of a response – “when we did what we did at the climate summit, in Copenhagen, this is the response” – refers not to the earthquake in Haiti, but to “the international relief effort”.

UPDATE. Jim Angle:

And Bill O’Reilly interviews Marc Lamont Hill:



Says Glover, in the replayed clip: “There’s all this hell because of global warming, there’s all this hell because of climate change …” Hill’s explanation:

I think what he was trying to express is a failure of leadership in the global community towards the Third World … what he was saying is that leadership dropped the ball in Copenhagen and this is an example of what happens when leadership drops the ball. I don’t think he was saying that Copenhagen caused this. If he was, it’s completely crazy.

Evidence suggests the latter. (Tim Blair)

 

Haiti and Climate Change: What’s the Real Problem?

While some people are trying to determine if Pat Robertson or Danny Glover made the more egregious comment on the cause of the earthquake in Haiti (was it a deal with the Devil or failures in Copenhagen), others are getting to the root of the problem: Haiti is very poor and does not have the resources or infrastructure to prevent damage, react properly to a natural disaster or rebuild after the damage has been done. And proposed environmental solutions, both here and internationally, will do much more to hurt the world’s poor than to help them.

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, “This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services.” Phelim McAleer makes similar points here. And there’s evidence to support it says George Mason economist Don Boudreaux:

Empirical research reveals that Mr. Brooks is correct. For example, in a 2005 paper, economist Matthew Kahn (now teaching at UCLA) found that, while rich countries experience just as many natural disasters as do poor countries, persons in rich countries are less likely than are persons in poor countries to die from such disasters. Specifically, a country of 100 million people with a per-capita income of $8,000 will experience about 530 fewer deaths from natural disasters each year than will a country with the same population but where per-capita income is only $2,000. Raise the per-capita income from $8,000 to $14,000 and the annual expected death toll from natural disasters falls by another 233 persons.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

If Wealth Redistribution Is So Great, Let’s Go All the Way!

There's a lot more than just money to "spread around."

To hear the president and his acolytes tell it, redistributing the wealth is such an obvious moral superiority that it needs no justification, no explanation. OK, I’ll run with that for the moment. But why should we stop only with the taking of income from some to give to others? There are so many other things of value that could and should be redistributed as well. Let’s start with the president, obviously wealthier and more privileged than I, and the redistribution we can make of his advantages to me:

Redistribute special favors: I would like to buy an equivalent house as his in Chicago (after all, housing is a “right,” right?), but I need the same special deal he got from Mr. Rezko. I did not have the advantage of a special deal on my own so I had to pay full price for my more modest home.

Redistribute income opportunities: I would like to draw the same salary as Michelle Obama got, along with the increase she received when her husband was elected to the Senate, but I want the same workload, level of responsibility, and vulnerability to termination that she had. I am pretty sure I could do the work on this basis, so aren’t I entitled to the same benefit? (Jeff Pope, PJM)

 

EPA's plan to set water-quality standards in Florida, a national first

TALLAHASSEE -- In a move cheered by environmental groups, the federal government on Friday proposed stringent limits on ``nutrient'' pollution allowed to foul Florida's waterways. 

The ruling -- which will cost industries and governments more than a billion dollars to comply -- marks the first time the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has intervened to set a state's water-quality standards. (Miami Herald)

 

Reaction swift and sour to EPA water rules

TALLAHASSEE — The electronic ink had yet to dry Friday on proposed new federal water quality standards for Florida before combatants chimed in.

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a set of proposed numeric standards for phosphorus and nitrogen levels in Florida’s lakes, rivers, streams, springs and canals. The proposal comes in response to a consent decree reached by the agency last year with environmentalists frustrated over a lack of progress in enacting tougher water quality standards.

Environmentalists hailed Friday’s proposed rules as a “first step” in reversing the degradation of Florida water bodies they say have been brought on by industry, agriculture and growth. ( Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida)

 

Beaches Trapping Some Oil From Exxon Valdez Spill

WASHINGTON - A lack of oxygen and nutrients below the surface of beaches in Alaska's Prince William Sound is slowing the dissipation of oil remaining from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.

The team conducted field studies over the past three summers using geologic information and hydraulics to try to determine why patches of oil linger on the beaches 20 years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The supertanker Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons (50 million liters) of crude oil, blackening some 1,300 miles of Alaska's coastline. An estimated 20,000 gallons (90,920 liters) remain, the researchers said.

They found that the oil remaining was trapped between two layers of beach and sheltered from the elements, according to the study posted on the journal Nature Geoscience's website ( www.nature.com/ngeo/index.html ) (Reuters)

 

Controversy surrounds seagrass project

A Washington-based conservation foundation is hoping success of its first seagrass restoration project, now under way in the Keys, will lead to a seagrass mitigation fund for Florida. But some environmental groups criticize the effort. (Miami Herald)

 

Abbott mauled for talk of Murray-Darling takeover

TONY Abbott's pledge to take full control of the Murray-Darling Basin if elected has been met with widespread disapproval across the irrigation industry, with the Opposition Leader accused of a "simplistic" approach to the management of Australia's largest river system.

On Thursday, Mr Abbott said if he led the Coalition to victory at this year's federal election, and the states resisted the idea of a full federal takeover of the Murray-Darling, he would hold a referendum on the issue.

But his proposal attracted criticism yesterday from industry bodies, including the National Farmers Federation, the National Irrigation Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the NSW Irrigation Council. (The Australian)

Actually it's a pretty good idea. In fact the states should be eliminated altogether as an idiotic anachronism. The whole of Australia boasts a population similar to New York and yet we have an extraordinary number of politicians in three levels of Government. We simply do not require the nonsense duplication of State governments (5 States and 2 Territories for a mere two-thirds the population of California).

 

Climate-proof food plants are coming

JOHANNESBURG, 15 January 2010 (IRIN) - What if we could create a food plant that defied all those doomsday scenarios where extreme temperatures take us all to oblivion, and instead kept growing and fruiting regardless of whether it got very hot or very cold?

"We would never run out of food!" remarked Philip Wigge, a scientist at the Norwich-based John Innes Centre, a member institute of Britain's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

That day could come sooner than we think - perhaps in the next 10 to 15 years - because Wigge and co-scientist Vinod Kumar have had a crucial breakthrough. They have isolated a "thermometer" gene that helps plants sense temperature, and this could provide a shortcut to creating plants that fruit in any temperature.

Their findings have been published in the current edition of Cell a US-based scientific journal that is peer-reviewed.

Scientists across the world have been working to create food crops tolerant to extreme temperatures, some of which are already being grown in Asia. They evolved from a long of process subjecting grain plants to stresses such as drought conditions, and then isolating genes from those that survived to create new variants.

Often only conventional breeding processes are used, as many Asian and African countries do not accept genetically modified products, said Baboucarr Manneh, a molecular biologist and coordinator of the Africa Rice Centre's Abiotic Stresses Project in Benin, which is working on developing varieties of rice that will tolerate extreme heat and cold.

Wigge and Kumar's discovery could potentially push agricultural microbiology forward by leaps and bounds in much the same way that early medicine, which depended on empirical methods to treat diseases, was revolutionized by an increased understanding of bacteria.

Time is a critical factor. The impact of extreme temperatures and water stress on food production, brought on by climate change, could be felt in the next 10 years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which projects that food production in Africa could be severely compromised by 2020. (IRIN)

The best of this is that it helps with cold tolerance, a factor likely to be critical protecting people's food crops from the inevitable cold phase, whenever that should be. This is about the only useful spinoff from the appalling gorebull warbling nonsense to which the world has been subjected since a small part of the money thrown at a non existent problem was spent in increasing plant's stress tolerance.

 

Burp-less sheep to help tackle climate change

AUSTRALIAN scientists are hoping to breed burp-less sheep in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The agriculture sector is the nation's second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions behind the energy sector, producing about 16 per cent of Australia's total emissions.

Two-thirds of that figure is produced by livestock, and 66 per cent of those emissions are released as methane from the guts of grazing livestock such as sheep and cattle.

The Sheep Co-operative Research Centre is conducting a world-first study into about 700 sheep with 20 different genetic lines – each is fed, then shepherded into a booth where scientists measure their burp outputs. (Sunday Mail)

Can we please get back to calling these what they really are, feed conversion efficiency trials? Gorebull warbling might have been the means to funding for quite a few years but researchers keeping their work harnessed to the AGW wagon will accompany it over the cliff and that's going to be sooner rather than later.

 

How to tackle Chinese crab invasion: send them home - Creatures regarded as pests in Britain are prized by diners across the Far East

They are becoming as big a pest in Britain as the grey squirrel or Japanese knotweed, and seemingly impossible to control. But the answer to dealing with Chinese mitten crabs, the invasive species infesting the Thames and other English rivers with damaging results, may be simple: eat them.

The large and aggressive Asian crabs with their hairy mitten-like claws are damaging native wildlife and river embankments as they spread across the country. Yet diners in China, Japan and Singapore consider them a tremendous delicacy, and will pay the equivalent of £24 for a single mitten crab in the right condition. It is a famous ingredient of Shanghai cuisine, and the roe is especially prized. (The Independent)

 

Ban protest vessels from using our ports

The Australian Government has been far too even-handed in its statements about the reckless actions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in attempting to prevent Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

By not condemning the harassment of Japanese ships by the anti-whaling activists, Australia is in effect acquiescing in militant tactics that come very close to piracy on the high seas.

Harassment will not change Japan's position on whaling. And not condemning these actions directed against a vessel going about its lawful business is counterproductive for Australia trying to broker a diplomatic compromise with Japan through the International Whaling Commission.

Japan could legitimately demand that Australia condemn the actions of the Sea Shepherd group before it even considers discussing any shift in its whaling policy at the next meeting of the commission in Morocco in June.

Given the public interest in these matters, the Australian Government has sensibly asked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to examine the recent events in the Southern Ocean. But it is hard to see how, on any reading of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, the Sea Shepherd captain, Paul Watson, could argue his actions were in compliance with it.

Given the relatively small size of the Sea Shepherd's protest boat Ady Gil, and the Japanese ship's restricted ability to manoeuvre, the speedboat was clearly placed in harm's way of the whaling vessel. It neglected the most basic precautions required by the ordinary practice of seamen to avoid a close-quarters situation from developing. Watson can't use the basic rules of the maritime road as his shield. (Anthony Bergin, SMH)

Probably doesn't go far enough, Australia should arrest and prosecute these terrorists but is simply too gutless. The least we can do is ban them from our ports.

 

Global Warming: The Other Side

EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION FROM KUSI ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING AND THE KUSI SPECIAL REPORT, GLOBAL WARMING: THE OTHER SIDE

KUSI meteorologist, Weather Channel founder, and iconic weatherman, John Coleman explains the science and controversy surrounding Global Warming

Is civilization doomed because of man-made global warming? You've been told your carbon footprint could lead to skyrocketing temperatures, melting ice caps, dying polar bears and "superstorms."

Click below to watch each segment of the KUSI Special Report, Global Warming: The Other Side

        

        


 

NASA has issued the following statement in response to the KUSI Special Report. This statement is from Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City:

"NASA has not been involved in any manipulation of climate data used in the annual GISS global temperature analysis. The analysis utilizes three independent data sources provided by other agencies. Quality control checks are regularly performed on that data. The analysis methodology as well as updates to the analysis are publicly available on our website. The agency is confident of the quality of this data and stands by previous scientifically based conclusions regarding global temperatures." (GISS temperature analysis website: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/) (KUSI)

 

You've been warned! They won't stop trying: U.S. Envoy Optimistic Senate Will Pass Climate Bill

WASHINGTON - A top U.S. climate negotiator said he hopes the U.S. Senate will pass a global warming bill in the first half of the year, but the country will have to work on alternatives if the legislation fails.

"I'm quite optimistic there will be action," Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. Deputy special climate change envoy, told a panel on Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"I don't think its a plausible scenario" that Congress would not pass a bill aiming to lower emissions of heat-trapping gases, but passage would be more likely over the next year than the next month, he said. (Reuters)

 

U.S. Climate Envoy Urges Nations Pledge Carbon Cuts

UNITED NATIONS - The top U.S. climate envoy on Thursday urged other countries to set carbon emission targets to fight global warming by the end of this month as a crucial step toward a global legally binding agreement.

Todd Stern said the Copenhagen accord hammered out last month provided the best path toward a concrete, binding climate agreement, but first countries needed to pledge targets and put them in the document.

"We have an accord that is lumbering down the runway and we need for it to have enough speed to take off," Stern told a conference on climate risks and opportunities at the United Nations. "The best way to make progress toward a legal agreement is to get the Copenhagen accord implemented." (Reuters)

Um, no, Todd. We need to hit it with all the firepower we can bring to bear. We need to destroy the nonsense utterly for the good of humanity and the environment.

There is no safe level of carbon constraint.

 

They're going after the fertilizers that feed the world too (in the name of gorebull warming, of course): Earth's growing nitrogen threat - It helps feed a hungry world, but it's worse than CO2.

Dennis Lindsay still recalls the day four decades ago when his father, an Iowa farmer, began using nitrogen fertilizer on the family’s 160 acres. 

With nitrogen, the family’s corn crop suddenly grew much higher and stronger, and produced full ears and big harvests. When fed to their cows and pigs, that high-quality corn produced far more milk and meat. As a result, the family bought more livestock – and the farm grew. “I remember Dad bringing the neighbors over to see how much greener and better the quality of the stalk was,” Mr. Lindsay says. “It was a really big deal then.”

It’s an even bigger deal today. Lindsay and his son farm 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans, using about 150 tons of nitrogen fertilizer annually. Farmers from China, Europe, and South America rely on nitrogen, too, to make ends meet and feed a growing world.

Yet it’s also becoming clear that too much of a good thing can have a downside for the environment. The world is awash in man-made “reactive” nitrogen (the chemically active form), researchers say.

While greening farms worldwide, much nitrogen washes into lakes, rivers, and the sea, causing rampant algae growth. More nitrogen billows from power-plant smokestacks, blowing in the wind until it settles as acid rain. Still other nitrogen gases remain in the atmosphere consuming the ozone layer. Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide – considered the leading cause of climate change – and the third most threatening greenhouse gas overall. (Christian Science Monitor)

 

$541,000 in Stimulus Money Creates 1.62 Jobs and a Climate Scandal

Penn State University professor Michael Mann, creator of the infamous hockey stick curve and one of the climate scientists under attack in Climategate, is not only warning people of catastrophic global warming, but he’s using tax dollars to stimulate the economy at the same time:

“Climategate scientist Michael Mann received a $541,000 National Science Foundation grant under the stimulus bill passed by Congress in February. According to the government’s transparency website on stimulus spending, the grant has generated 1.62 jobs and is less than 50 percent complete (that’s $334,000 per job).”

Increased skepticism is evolving into full-fledged investigation. Mann is currently under investigation by Penn State University. Our friends at The Commonwealth Foundation in Pennsylvania have more on this.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Economic Stimulus Funds Went to Climategate Scientist - Funds Should be Returned to U.S. Treasury, Says National Center for Public Policy Research

Washington, DC - In the face of rising unemployment and record-breaking deficits, policy experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research are criticizing the Obama Administration for awarding a half million dollar grant from the economic stimulus package to Penn State Professor Michael Mann, a key figure in the Climategate controversy.

"It's outrageous that economic stimulus money is being used to support research conducted by Michael Mann at the very time he’s under investigation by Penn State and is one of the key figures in the international Climategate scandal. Penn State should immediately return these funds to the U.S. Treasury," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project. ( National Center)

 

Judicial Watch Uncovers NASA Documents Related to Global Warming Controversy

NASA Scientists Go on Attack After Climate Data Error Exposed

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC -- January 14, 2010

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained internal documents from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA's handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. According to multiple press reports, when NASA corrected the error, the new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA's rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list.

These new documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), include internal GISS email correspondence as NASA scientists attempted to deal with the media firestorm resulting from the controversy. In one exchange GISS head James Hansen tells a reporter from Bloomberg that NASA had not previously published rankings with 1998 atop the list as the hottest year on record in the 20th century.

Email from Demien McLean, Bloomberg to Jim Hansen, August 14, 2007: "The U.S. figures showed 1998 as the warmest year. Nevertheless, NASA has indeed newly ranked 1934 as the warmest year..."

Email Response from James Hansen to Damien McLean, August 14, 2007: "...We have not changed ranking of warmest year in the U.S. As you will see in our 2001 paper we found 1934 slightly warmer, by an insignificant hair over 1998. We still find that result. The flaw affected temperatures only after 2000, not 1998 and 1934."

Email from NASA Scientist Makiko Sato to James Hansen, August 14, 2007: "I am sure I had 1998 warmer at least once on my own temperature web page..." (Email includes temperature chart dated January 1, 2007.)

(This issue also crops up in email communications with New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin a little over a week later.)

According to the NASA email, NASA's incorrect temperature readings resulted from a "flaw" in a computer program used to update annual temperature data.

Hansen, clearly frustrated by the attention paid to the NASA error, labeled McIntyre a "pest" and suggests those who disagree with his global warming theories "should be ready to crawl under a rock by now." Hansen also suggests that those calling attention to the climate data error did not have a "light on upstairs."

"This email traffic ought to be embarrassing for NASA. Given the recent Climategate scandal, NASA has an obligation to be completely transparent with its handling of temperature data. Instead of insulting those who point out their mistakes, NASA scientists should engage the public in an open, professional and honest manner," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. (Judicial Watch)

 

Climategate panel: Are green auto rules based on flawed science?

Detroit - The auto industry's green efforts to meet strict new mpg rules are the dominant theme inside the 2010 North American International Auto Show. But outside Cobo Center, it's not just the frigid winter temperatures that have cast doubt on global warming science that is driving the biggest regulatory challenge to the industry in a generation. E-mails leaked from the world's top climatology center in England have exposed influential scientists doctoring data and suppressing scientific debate. Some in Congress have demanded an investigation. 

On Tuesday before a Detroit Athletic Club audience in downtown Detroit, The Detroit News and WJR Radio brought together leaders from the fields of climatology, energy politics, and the auto industry to debate whether the so-called Climategate scandal has undermined auto regulations. 

In a spirited, sometimes contentious debate moderated by radio talk show host and Detroit News op-ed columnist Frank Beckmann of WJR, the panel left no doubt that there is little consensus on global warming. 

Renowned climatologists Patrick Michaels of George Mason University and Henry Pollack of the University of Michigan -- both members of the United Nations climate panel and both the subject of Climategate e-mails -- disagreed sharply on the science. Pollack stated that the United States has dangerously turned the atmosphere into an "open sewer," while Michaels warned that climate change has been overstated and that Washington's solutions are worse than the disease. (Henry Payne, The Detroit News)

 

Look at it as us saving you from yourselves: Clean Economy Investors At UN Conference Seek Market Clarity

Investors representing $13 trillion in assets Thursday said they are eager to invest in a low-carbon economy, but they need the certainty and transparency of a legally binding agreement "with ambitious greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets." 

"We are poised to create a clean economy but to ramp up and to get the funding, we need to make clean energy a public policy," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk. She made her comments Thursday at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations. 

The international coalition of investors is asking for, among other things, countries to set short- and long-term emission-reduction targets, to put a price on carbon credits, and to require businesses to disclose climate-related risks and programs to manage them. (Dow Jones)

Try investing in real enterprises rather than subsidy farmers (it's good for everyone).

 

Clean-Energy Finance Slowed Without U.S. Carbon Cap, Soros Says

Jan. 14 -- Billionaire George Soros said the lack of a U.S. law to curb greenhouse gas emissions is holding back tens of billions of dollars in new investment for low- carbon energy projects in developing countries.

Soros, founder of $25 billion hedge-fund firm Soros Fund Management LLC, said at a conference today that without a cap on carbon dioxide emissions that puts a penalty on pollution, low- carbon investments won’t be profitable. Soros, 79, has said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental policy group to aid new regulations.

“If you had the legislation in the United States you would have a market” for carbon emissions and for offsetting credits provided to clean-energy projects in developing nations, Soros said at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations in New York. “Right now you don’t even have that. The United States is the laggard.” (Bloomberg)

Actually I'm good with not taxing everyone to pump up Mr Soros's profits trading hot air and imaginary ills... The thing about "clean energy" (specifically wind and the bizarro world "bio-something" schemes) is that it isn't -- energetic, that is. What they are really pushing is a lack of energy world and it is a cold, dark world that doesn't appeal to me at all. Worse, even if enhanced greenhouse were a problem no amount of "carbon constraint" can address it. George Soros is pushing the most expensive means possible of not addressing a non problem.

 

Stealing plant food... CO2 in the air could be green fuel feedstock

Carbon dioxide could soon be ready for a PR makeover. With a bit of clever chemistry, the gas could become a feedstock for alternative fuels or find a role in cooling freezers rather than warming the atmosphere.

Carbon capture and storage schemes propose to snatch CO2 from industrial chimneys and bury it in ocean basins or geological formations. But having gone to the trouble of capturing the gas, squirrelling it away underground is a wasted opportunity, says Dermot O'Hare at the University of Oxford. He thinks converting CO2 into methanol for use as fuel is a smarter move.

But that's easier said than done. "One of the difficulties chemists have is doing anything with CO2," O'Hare says. The trouble is that the molecule is so stable, it's hard to find chemicals reactive enough to target CO2 but specific enough to ignore other components of the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide and oxygen.

Now O'Hare and Andrew Ashley, also at Oxford, have demonstrated how to do it at the relatively low temperature of 160 °C and at standard pressure. All it takes is a bit of frustration. (New Scientist)

What have these guys got against the biosphere that they are so keen to deny it its essential resource, only already in life-limiting short supply?

 

U.S. Chamber urges Obama, Congress to rethink climate push (Greenwire, 01/12/2010)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue urged Washington lawmakers today to rethink proposed climate regulations and other policies that he charged would raise costs for businesses and slow recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

"Congress, the administration and the states must recognize that our weak economy simply could not sustain all the new taxes, regulations and mandates now under consideration," Donohue said during his annual "State of American Business" speech at the chamber's Washington headquarters. "It's a sure-fire recipe for a double-dip recession, or worse." (Michael Burnham, E&E)

 

Energy-only option tests Senate's cap-and-trade backers

Advocates for Senate climate legislation are pushing back against calls to abandon a mandatory cap on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in favor of a stand-alone energy bill that some say has a better chance of passing in an election year.

For starters, President Obama's top energy adviser insisted yesterday that the administration's goal remains a "comprehensive bill" that touches on all corners of the energy and climate debate, including the controversial cap-and-trade program that most Republicans have labeled as an energy tax.

"We think it can be hugely successful in giving us both the environmental gains that we want and we think are important, but also the flexibility and the cost savings to meet the challenge of greenhouse -- of reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Carol Browner in a White House-sponsored Web chat. (Greenwire)

 

Copenhagen: Good COP, Bad COP

That's the title GE Vice President Steve Fludder gave to his presentation to GE CEO Jeff Immelt on the Copenhagen global warming summit and it sums up how the speakers at a Forbes conference this morning felt about the generally underwhelming U.N. effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The title of the U.N. summit says it all: COP 15, or the 15th United Nations conference on the same issue. The main result was a two-page agreement to do almost nothing, pushed into existence by President Obama's cameo appearance at the talks. China, the U.S., Brazil and a handful of other countries signed on, leaving delegates from smaller nations fuming. That was the take of University of Arizona Thunderbird School professor Gregory Unruh, a speaker at the Forbes conference who'd just returned from talks in Latin America with global-warming officials there. The global-warming club has narrowed to the U.S. and China, he said, making it tougher to bring in the other nations necessary to achieve any sort of political bargain with the industrial economies. (Daniel Fisher, Forbes)

 

Benny Peiser: Copenhagen And The Demise Of Green Utopia

The failure of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen is a historical watershed that marks the beginning of the end of climate hysteria. Not only does it epitomise the failure of the EU’s environmental policy, it also symbolises the loss of Western dominance. The failure of the climate summit was not only predictable – it was inevitable. There was no way out from the cul-de-sac into which the international community has manoeuvred itself. The global deadlock simply reflects the contrasting, and in the final analysis irreconcilable interests of the West and the rest of the world. The result is likely to be an indefinite moratorium on international climate legislation. After Copenhagen, the chances for a binding successor of the Kyoto Protocol are as good as zero. (GWPF)

 

UN should be sidelined in future climate talks, says Obama official

America sees a diminished role for the United Nations in trying to stop global warming after the "chaotic" Copenhagen climate change summit, an Obama administration official said today.

Jonathan Pershing, who helped lead talks at Copenhagen, instead sketched out a future path for negotiations dominated by the world's largest polluters such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa, who signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit. That would represent a realignment of the way the international community has dealt with climate change over the last two decades. (The Guardian)

Can't say I see a useful role for the UN anywhere. Then again, there isn't one for gorebull warbling either, making UN gorebull warbling doubly redundant.

 

As dumb as it gets: UK Won't Use Recession To Meet Emission Cut Goals

LONDON - Britain will not rely on the carbon dioxide emissions reductions made due to a weaker economy to meet its climate targets, Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said on Thursday.

Britain is set to over-achieve on its so-called "carbon budgets" with an estimated 36 percent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020.

This was aided by the economic slowdown which reduced industrial output in 2008, causing emissions to fall by 2 percent.

Any over-achievement in the first carbon budget (2008-2012) due to the recession will not be carried forward to allow for higher emissions in the future, the government said.

On Monday, a UK Parliament committee recommended that Britain moves to a 42 percent emissions cut by 2020 from 1990 levels, from its current goal of 34 percent.

It warned the government not to bank any over-achievement from its first carbon budget into its second budget period (2013-2017).

The government said it has made "significant progress" in moving to a low-carbon economy.

It will soon publish steps made so far in delivering an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. (Reuters)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Australia may be backing away from cap and trade

Before the Copenhagen conference on climate change, many believed that carbon trading, already underway in the EU, would sweep the western world, with Australia being the next country carbon-trading country. After Copenhagen ended in chaos, it became clear that the U.S. wouldn’t adopt carbon markets and that Canada, which is determined to follow the U.S.’s lead, also would not.

Now, all bets are off in Australia, despite gung-ho Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has staked his reputation on pushing through carbon trading.

''I think there should be a delay in whatever we do until we have a clear picture of the best course,'' Dick Warburton, head of the Labour government’s own Expert Advisory Committee on Emissions-Intensive Trade-Exposed Activities, said in a surprise statement earlier today.

Even before Copenhagen, Australia’s seemingly irrevocable decision to implement its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a cap and trade system that had the support of the Australia’s Liberal Leader of the Opposition, had begun to unravel. In a surprise move, the Liberal leader was ousted by seemingly fringe back benchers in favour of an outspoken climate change skeptic, Tony Abbott. The newly sceptical Opposition, in what was seen as a mere setback to the cap and trade scheme’s inevitable passage, then voted down the legislation in the Senate. Days later, the newly sceptical Liberals did surprisingly well in winning by-elections in Melbourne and Sydney.

And now, as the governing Labour party is pondering how to redraft its cap and trade legislation for reintroduction to parliament next month, Warburton is moving against it, saying that the country needs a proper understanding of the implications of climate change legislation before proceeding. ''Chairmen and CEOs and the public have very poor knowledge of what the ETS [Emissions Trading Scheme] involves.'' he stated, announcing he is organizing a round-table of corporate executives, government bureaucrats and experts to weigh the merits of carbon trading and to consider alternatives to it – in effect, a counter conference to the government’s expert advisory panel that he chaired last year.

“We need to get it right,” Warburton explains. (Financial Post)

 

Rudd's taxing climate policy is a liability

IN the lead-up to the December climate change conference in Copenhagen the Rudd government was full of bravado as it threatened to reintroduce, next month, its legislation for an emissions trading scheme which the Liberals had just defeated in the Senate. This was clearly designed to unsettle the opposition, and its new leader, Tony Abbott, by holding out the prospect of a double dissolution election if the legislation was again rejected. The Prime Minister may have believed he was on solid ground because Malcolm Turnbull, who Abbott displaced, was clearly spooked at the consequences for the Liberal party if such an election was fought over this legislation. 

But the political sands have shifted significantly since then, and far from being intimidated by the reintroduction of this legislation the opposition should be daring Rudd to bring it on. (Malcolm Colless, The Australian)

 

BS: Climate Is Investment Chance Of A Lifetime: Deutsche

LONDON - Green technologies posed the investment opportunity of our lifetime said Deutsche Bank's global head of asset management, in a study published on Thursday.

A Deutsche Bank report found that companies specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy such as wind and solar power outperformed peers across the wider global economy last year and expected more to come in 2010.

Clear proof of the threat posed by climate change meant that governments will only ramp up steps to curb carbon emissions and favor clean technologies, it said. (Reuters)

Subsidy farming does not create wealth, it merely takes it from producer entities.

 

More from Dennis Ambler on the climate pantomime players: The scaremongers are now getting themselves jobs with those that they scare: Create a problem, get it accepted, then provide the solution.

Click here: Interview with Tuvalu Climate Negotiator Ian Fry | Worldwatch Institute
How did you, an Australian native, become Tuvalu's lead climate negotiator?

I've been on the job for 11 years. I was working for Earth Negotiations Bulletin and Greenpeace before that.

I met the prime minister of Tuvalu at a meeting and provided him with a briefing on climate change. He then invited me to come onto their delegation at [the 1997 climate negotiations in Kyoto, Japan]. It evolved from there. I now work full time for the Tuvalu government as an international environment advisor.


This has been Bill Hare's bag for a long time: 

In London, UK (March 2002) at reception for the Climate Justice Project. From left, Pene Lefale, Pacific Islands Climate Research; Joel Gordes, EES; Bill Hare, Greenpeace; and Dr. Jeremy Leggett, Managing Director, Solar Century.

http://home.earthlink.net/~jgordes/page11.html 

How did Tuvalu decide to push for a target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and atmospheric greenhouse gas levels to below 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide equivalent?

Within the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), we had commissioned work by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and we've done our own research on vulnerabilities based on work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was clear that a global temperature rise above 2 degrees would be disastrous for Tuvalu. We were even saying well below 1.5 degrees. At 1.5 there are probabilities of sea-level rise that could be quite disastrous for Tuvalu. Well below 1.5 degrees relatively equates to 350 ppm.

This can only have been with Bill Hare, via his new German government funded Climate Analytics group, although he is still on the Potsdam staff list: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/research/research-domains/earth-system-analysis/members/index_html/?searchterm=Bill Hare: described thus:
Hare, Bill Explaining environmental issues to policy makers, IPCC negotiator (and also member of core writing team, Synthesis Report and Summary for Policymakers. The 1.5 degree figure is from Hare and he has written about it).

http://www.climateanalytics.org/ 

CLIMATE ANALYTICS GmbH is a non-profit organization established in Potsdam and hosted at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) A major project carried out by CLIMATE ANALYTICS is the PREVENT-Project "Assessing and preventing dangerous climate change". PREVENT's aim is to provide policy and analytical support for delegations of developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Country Group (LDCs) and Small Island States (SIDS), in the 'post-2012' negotiations. In addition, the project will assist in building in-house capacity within SIDS and LDSs. The team is backed by science-based models to assess and synthesize climate science, and to provide policy and analytical support to negotiators and NGOs at international climate negotiations.

Our Team:
Dr. h.c. Bill Hare is a Physicist and Environmental Scientist with more than twenty years experience in relation to the science, impacts and policy responses to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. Mr. Hare was a Lead Author for the IPCC’s Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change component of its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and a Topic Leader on long term issues and Article of the UNFCCC in the Synthesis Report of the IPCC AR4. He has been a Visiting Scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research since 2002 whilst continuing to advise Greenpeace International on all aspects of climate change.

In fact until at least August 2008, and for all his time at Potsdam since 2002, he was Director of Climate Policy for Greenpeace.As shown, he held this position at the time of AR4 of which he was a lead author and summary writer. 

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/greenpeace-urges-climate-speedup 

27 August 2008

"Too much time is being wasted arguing about procedural details and restating historical positions and not enough real substance is being put on the table,"said Bill Hare, Director of Climate Policy at Greenpeace International. "This is the third round of talks since the two-year process was launched in Bali last year, and by now the deal that will be agreed at the end of 2009 should be taking shape."

Another activist acquires a low lying island:

http://www.climatevulnerableforum.gov.mv/?page_id=52 

Speech for the Climate Vulnerable Forum – Mark Lynas, Climate Adviser to the Maldives

"We are here today because we know what climate change means. For us, this is not a scientific abstraction.

Here in the Maldives, the very integrity of the nation is being eroded, by a triple-whammy: rising ocean levels which swamp the islands, higher sea surface temperatures which kill the coral, and ocean acidification which dissolves the carbonate rocks the reefs are built from.

http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb28/9june.htm: Both Hare and Fry in photos at the 28th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies and Sessions of the AWGs 2-13 June 2008, Bonn, Germany. They have both been on the case a long time and were "witnesses" at the Aus. senate committee: March 2000:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/Committee/ecita_ctte/completed_inquiries/1999-02/gobalwarm/report/e02.htm
The Heat is On: Australia's Greenhouse Future

Conflict of interest? Don't know what you mean guv.

Regards
Dennis Ambler

 

Forest CO2 Market In The Balance: Report

LONDON - The global market for carbon offsets from planting trees and preserving forests, worth nearly $150 million to date, could stall without a U.S. climate bill or a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, a report said on Thursday.

"At the end of 2009, the market for forest carbon stands in an uncertain position on the verge of potentially enormous growth," the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009 report said.

Forget it. The open atmosphere CO2 market is fraud from start to finish.

 

Stress Vs. Credibility: Modern Science At A Crossroads

Steven Wiley talks about Biology, but his words explain the one long-lasting damage Climategate has done to mainstream (AGW) climatology, whatever the outcome of the ongoing investigations: an increasing number of skeptics because emotional outbursts destroy confidence in the very data:

it is essential that we maintain respect for each other in our public discourse. Respecting each other is essential for real scientific dialog. If you dismiss someone’s opinion based on your feelings, you lose your objectivity. But being dismissive and emotional during public discussions also makes you look bad to other people and erodes your credibility.

Ideally, a scientist should be a dispassionate observer of the world who weighs the evidence and provides a thoughtful, well-reasoned judgment. This is clearly an idealistic vision of our profession to which we frequently fall short, mostly because scientists find it difficult to be dispassionate about anything. Yet, we should strive for this ideal if we expect that scientific opinions should be given special consideration in society.

This is important because we want people to believe in the data gathered and evaluated using the scientific method. If people aren’t confident in the people who are gathering the data, they won’t believe in its veracity.

[...] Most people can tell the difference between reasonable assertions and unsupported conjecture. The problem is that when emotional outbursts are injected into a situation, any pretense of objectivity becomes lost.

In these times where science offers the best hope for progress in an increasing complex and fractious world, it would be a real tragedy if the bad behavior of some scientists compromised our reputation as neutral seekers of truth. Whether we like it or not, the behavior of each of us colors the popular perception of scientists as a whole.

There’s going to be a need for a huge amount of “the science is settled” declarations before AGW climatology will start to look again as anything remotely objective, in the eyes of the general public. In the meanwhile, it will remain caged within politics and silly holier-than-thou discussions bordering on fundamentalism. And that’s no place for a scientific discipline. (Maurizio Morabito, Omniclimate)

 

Climate Misinformation and Contradictions Continue

There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.—Goethe

Extreme cold weather across the Northern Hemisphere drew attention away from the leaked files from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that showed how the entire work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was falsified. The cold simply isn’t supposed to happen. As Kevin Trenberth of the CRU gang said on 12 October 2009, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” It’s true only because they can’t hide the reality.

The cold triggered questions, cartoons and jokes about global warming. It also forced more denial. Those who claim the cold weather alters nothing provided the real laugh. Most ridiculous of these came from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO). They were involved in the skullduggery at the CRU through the Hadley Centre. UKMO is a major promoter of the IPCC and their former Director Sir John Houghton left to become a prime mover in the early formation of the IPCC. (Tim Ball, CFP)

 

Consensus? What Consensus?

How many scientists does it take to prove the debate is not over? More than 30,000 scientists have signed The Petition Project. More than 9,000 of them have PhDs (not that that proves anything about carbon, but it does prove something about the myth of “consensus”). The petition’s wording is unequivocal:

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” Source: www.petitionproject.org

The Petition Project is funded by donations from individuals and run by volunteers. It receives no money from industry or companies. In late 2007, The Petition Project re-did the petition to verify names again.

 CARTOON: The Real Consensus at the IPCC

AGW says: Everyone knows the petition is bogus and filled with duplicate and fake names.

Skeptics say: Name 10 fakes. More » (Jo Nova)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Jan. 14th 2010

Al Gore is mad at the world, the UK and much of Europe is digging itself out from under global warming and eating greens might kill primates unable to access antacids. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Oh boy... PACT WITH GAIA

Actor Danny Glover believes that the Haitian earthquake was caused by climate change and global warming:

Says Glover: “When we see what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens, you know what I’m sayin’?” His obscene opinion would be bigger news if Glover had – in the manner of others – idiotically blamed a less-fashionable deity. (Tim Blair)

Danny Glover may have the best of intentions (and humanitarianism is close to our hearts) but he gives really lousy advice.

The inevitable consequences of yielding to the anti-energy, anti-technology, anti-modernity of gorebull warming hysterics are reduced ability to render assistance in times of natural (or manmade) disasters, reduced affordability for assistance to develop, educate and provide at least basic medical care for impoverished and least developed nations and reduced ability to provide care and protection even in our own countries.

Defending people from nature, red in tooth and claw, requires development and wealth generation, which, in turn, require abundant, affordable energy.

Actors may be quite comfortable with amassing fortunes by taxing the little people but at least the royalties on theater tickets, movie hire and sales and merchandizing tie-ins are discretionary spending for the masses, not a levy against essential energy supplies.

Danny, stick to acting mate, because you are a dangerous lunatic when it comes to human welfare. Your ideas on what is good for people and the planet really blow, seriously.

 

Sheesh! British coastal cities threatened by rising sea 'must transform themselves' - Hull and Portsmouth could be dramatically remodelled, suggests report

Hull could be transformed into a Venice-like waterworld and Portsmouth into a south coast version of Amalfi, engineers and architects have claimed in a study of options for developing Britain's coastal cities in the face of rising sea levels.

The Institution of Civil Engineers and the Royal Institute of British Architects yesterday warned the future of cities including London, Bristol and Liverpool was at risk from seas which the Environment Agency predict could rise by as much as 1.9m by 2095 in the event of a dramatic melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (The Guardian)

A 6 foot rise in global sea levels in 85 years? We might get 6 inches... or not. My word they come up with some ridiculous stuff!

 

Slightly different slant: Oilrigs should be used for homes in areas at risk of flooding, report says

Decommissioned North Sea oil platforms should be towed to the waterfronts of coastal cities at risk of flooding and converted into homes, shops and universities protected from rising sea levels, a study recommends.

Britain should not retreat from the waves but embrace them, adapting to climate change and consequent flooding by building new communities, either on stilts or floating platforms.

A team of senior architects, engineers and civil servants, appointed by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Institution of Civil Engineers, considered the options for responding to a 6ft 6in (2m) rise in sea levels by the end of the century. (The Times)

 

Looks like it was "pick a number" in this government-sponsored lunacy: Global warming could turn Hull into the Venice of the North - Hull could become the Venice of the North, say country's top architects, as they outline plans to cope with rising sea levels. 

Town planners should allow parts of the suburbs to flood while preserving the historic centre to deal with water levels rising by as much of four feet [1.2m] in the next century. 

That way they can make a "positive out of a negative" by creating a walled old city with new waterways around the edge that would be attractive places to live and visit. (TDT)

 

How Wetlands Worsen Climate Change

Big, bad carbon dioxide gets most of the attention when it comes to greenhouse gases, but it's not the only one that's warming the Earth. Methane — a gas that is found in everything from landfills to cow stomachs — also plays a big role. Although global methane emissions levels are much lower than CO2 emissions, pound for pound methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas; a ton of it has 23 times the warming effect of a ton of CO2. And methane, like CO2, is on the rise thanks to us: about 60% of global methane emissions come from man-made sources, and the atmospheric concentration of methane has increased by around 150% since 1750, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Now there's new focus on a pair of methane sources that we usually don't think of as natural polluters: wetlands and rice paddies. ( Bryan Walsh)

Gasp! Just think if we hadn't drained all those terrible marshes, swamps and wetlands over the last few centuries of development! We'd be toast, I say, toast!

So, how much methane is in the atmosphere now we've had this, uh, 150% increase? Less than 2 parts per million. That is, for every methane molecule in the atmosphere you have about 9 neon molecules (Ne), almost 200 carbon dioxide molecules (CO2), 4,670 argon (Ar), 5,000-20,000 water (H2O), almost 105,000 oxygen (O2) and about 390,000 nitrogen (N2) -- and a few other odds and ends plus pollen, spores, dust, soot, bacteria, viruses...

Bet you're really worried about methane now, huh?

 

Now the world's supposed to be tipsy on methane: Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show

Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame (The Guardian)

 

Oh dear... back in the virtual realm: Major Antarctic glacier is 'past its tipping point'

A major Antarctic glacier has passed its tipping point, according to a new modelling study. After losing increasing amounts of ice over the past decades, it is poised to collapse in a catastrophe that could raise global sea levels by 24 centimetres.

Pine Island glacier (PIG) is one of many at the fringes of the West Antarctic ice sheet. In 2004, satellite observations showed that it had started to thin, and that ice was flowing into the Amundsen Sea 25 per cent faster than it had 30 years before.

Now, the first study to model changes in the ice sheet in three dimensions shows that PIG has probably passed a critical "tipping point" and is irreversibly on track to lose 50 per cent of its ice in as little as 100 years, significantly raising global sea levels.

The team that carried out the study admits their model can represent only a simplified version of the physics that govern changes in glaciers, but say that if anything, the model is optimistic and PIG will disappear faster than it projects. (New Scientist)

Scientists have actually been studying the region, real time, on the ground (ice?). The BBC published on the team's work a year or two back and said:

The reason [for the accelerated glacier flow] does not seem to be warming in the surrounding air.

One possible culprit could be a deep ocean current that is channelled onto the continental shelf close to the mouth of the glacier. There is not much sea ice to protect it from the warm water, which seems to be undercutting the ice and lubricating its flow.

Ongoing monitoring

Julian Scott, however, thinks there may be other forces at work as well.

Much higher up the course of the glacier there is evidence of a volcano that erupted through the ice about 2,000 years ago and the whole region could be volcanically active, releasing geothermal heat to melt the base of the ice and help its slide towards the sea.

A little earlier we had:

Scientists Discover Undersea Volcano off Antarctica - Scientists working in the stormy and inhospitable waters off the Antarctic Peninsula have found what they believe is an active and previously unknown volcano on the sea bottom.

Now, that particular water heater is to the northeast of the Pine Island Glacier but there are a number of known volcanic vents so geothermal effect on the glacier basin is certainly not unreasonable. There is no indication of regional warming in surface air temperatures so enhanced greenhouse is an unlikely suspect.

Pine Island Glacier does seem to be having a bit of a gallop but adjacent glaciers are not so regional tipsiness would appear precluded (don't tell the computer gamers, modelers are having a bit harder time with grant applications now that people are beginning to peer behind the curtain).

 

New Information On The Cold Outbreak Of The Last Few Weeks – Its Long Term Environmental Effect

The recent cold weather can have lasting environmental effects as illustrated in this news release from the National Weather Service

One of the Coldest Gulf Water Temperature at Clearwater Beach Since the Station was Installed

The preface to the data reads

“Our two week cold snap has had a significant impact on the Gulf water temperatures near our coast. There have been reports of dead or dying green sea turtles and manatees, as well as numerous fish kills up and down the Florida Gulf Coast. The Gulf water temperatures at Clearwater Beach are the lowest since 2001. The sensor became operational in July of 1995. At the time of this article, the water temperature at Clearwater Beach was 55.2 degrees Fahrenheit.”

What this event illustrates is the importance of extreme short-term weather events in terms of long term consequences (in this case animal life), and that this effect is not captured at all by a multi-decadal regional surface temperature trend. (Climate Science)

 

Listening to Johnny Chan

Dr. Chan has been busy recently publishing three articles of great interest to us at World Climate Report. In his first article on tropical cyclones (TCs) we will cover, Chan and Xu begin by noting “While some recent studies have claimed that the number of intense TCs is on the increase as a result of global warming, others pointed that such a claim is not valid as the trend was calculated based on data with large uncertainties in the pre-satellite era”. Many of the studies are based on hurricanes in the Atlantic, and in this article, Chan and Xu examine TCs in East Asia over the period 1945-2004. (WCR)

 

Looney David King still trying to deny you any decent future: Car giants giving false hope of emission-free future, report says

Car companies are raising false hopes of emission-free motoring in order to continue profiting from large, fuel-hungry vehicles, according to a study. 

Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are not expected to be available widely until after 2050 because of the high cost of the platinum in their catalysts. Battery-powered vehicles will also remain a niche product because of their limited battery life. 

The University of Oxford study, edited by Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientific adviser, found that the most effective way of reducing overall emissions from motoring would be a “drastic downscaling of both size and weight” of conventional petrol and diesel cars. 

It urges the Government to impose higher taxes on drivers of large, inefficient vehicles and to reinvest the proceeds in better public transport and measures to encourage walking and cycling. The authors accuse car manufacturers of exaggerating the potential for switching to hydrogen or battery-powered vehicles in the next decade. (The Times)

 

Power Generation Industry Forecast: Natural Gas as Fuel of Choice, Little Change for Other Technologies (Part II)

by Robert Peltier and Kennedy Maize
January 14, 2010

In Part I of this two-part post, we presented our observations of a power generation industry that will likely become more dependent on natural gas as a source of fuel for new power plants constructed in the coming years. Other fuel-based technologies (principally nuclear and coal) don’t seem to have the wherewithal to grab a larger piece of what should be a growing demand for electricity in the U.S. Both will be lucky to maintain their market share in the future. Renewables, with high levels of production tax credits, coupled with legislative mandates, will continue to grow in installed capacity but will contribute little to peak demand reduction. And should politically correct renewables (not hydropower) lose part or all of its government support, say as part of a deficit reduction program, then market share will actually be lost.

What follows is what we believe to be the future path of the remaining fuel-based power generation alternatives in 2010 and beyond.

Nuclear power, the last best hope for zero-carbon emissions from baseload generating plants, was many analysts’ early pick for a generating revival in the first decade of the 21st century. If one accepts the conventional view of climate change, the rational case for nukes appears unassailable. If you want low-carbon generation, you must go nuclear, period. (Gas-fired capacity to firm intermittent sources of power makes carbon-free wind and solar an illusion.)

The first decade of our new century has passed. After years waiting for the nuclear renaissance, it doesn’t look as if the second decade will bring the nuclear industry closer to revival. Indeed, the horizon may be receding. Literature Nobel laureate Samuel Becket could not have had U.S. nukes in mind when he wrote his iconic 1953 play, Waiting for Godot. But some of its dialog is eerily on target. The character Vladimir in the second act comments, “What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.”

In the U.S., we are into the second decade of the 21st century, waiting for the nuclear renaissance, after the market collapsed in the 1970s. Waiting and waiting.

Nuclear power plants won’t pick up U.S. generating market share in 2010, by all accounts. That’s despite prior federal government policy aimed at jump-starting new nuclear generation, including allegedly streamlined federal regulations and a longed-for candy jar of additional subsidies, such as major loan guarantees, pledged in the Republicans’ Energy Policy Act of 2005. Those have yet to materialize.

Some in the Obama administration and Congress are contemplating additional loan guarantees and other nuclear subsidies, to be included in pending climate change legislation. Arguing for $50 billion in additional federal loan guarantees, Exelon CEO John Rowe told a Senate committee in late October, “Deployment of new nuclear plants simply will not happen, given the large up-front capital costs, without a much more robust federal loan guarantee program than currently exists.” There doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm on either side of the partisan aisle for committing that kind of money to nuclear power.

The 2005 congressional vision (perhaps a hallucination) was of a modest new fleet of nukes—a dozen or so—that would come into the U.S. market and revitalize the stagnant industry. New reactor designs from U.S., Japanese, and French companies; interest from multiple utilities; applications for more than 30 units under the streamlined approach of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) licensing reforms of the 1990s; and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 all led to irrational exuberance among nuclear power developers. The 2005 loan guarantees would jump-start the market, the legislation assumed and the industry agreed.

More than four years later, [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

ExxonMobil Extends Life Of Texas Field

ExxonMobil announced it will recover an additional 40 million barrels of oil at the Hawkins Field in northeast Texas , equal to the annual energy needs of more than one million Texas households.

The project will extend the life of the field, discovered by the oil giant in 1940, for an additional 25 years. Though a small part of ExxonMobil's reserves the extension of life for such a mature oil feed is at least some evidence that new technologies can help push back the reckoning of the world's "peak oil" moment. (Forbes)

 

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line receives major funding boost

The world's largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project has received a significant funding boost – nearly half a billion dollars from the provincial government of Alberta and another $63.3 million from the federal government of Canada in Ottawa.

Executives at Enhance Energy Inc. and North West Upgrading Inc. signed a letter of intent with Alberta in June 2009 that led to the recent award of $495 million for the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) project. In addition, the Canadian government awarded the ACTL project a total of $63.3 million as part of the federal government's econENERGY Technology Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund. (Oil & Gas Journal)

Enhanced oil & gas recovery is great, provided it is economic on its own, without relying on "carbon credits". They should also have pointed out that 80% of CO2 injected actually comes back out with the product but never mind...

 

Most Norwegians Want Arctic Drilling Study: Survey

OSLO - An industry-backed survey published on Thursday shows most Norwegians favor an impact study that could pave the way to open a pristine, fish-rich Arctic area to oil activities and prolong Norway's energy boom.

The oil industry says the waters near the Lofoten and Vesteraalen islands in the Arctic now have the most prospects off Norway and must be tapped to prolong the North Sea state's oil bonanza as output from mature oilfields declines. (Reuters)

 

Davy Jones' Locker Full of Oil

Shares of oil companies McMoran Exploration, Energy XXI and Plains Exploration & Production are jumping this morning amid news that the trio has made a nice oil discovery at its Davy Jones prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. Drilling logs on the 28,000-foot-deep well (that's 5 miles down!) show a likely prize of as much as 165 million barrels of oil and natural gas. (Christopher Helman, Forbes)

 

Shell strives for smaller Arctic offshore footprint - Technology that lessens impact makes good business sense; North Slope Borough chooses to work with Shell versus joining latest lawsuit

BY ALAN BAILEY FOR GREENING OF OIL

The use of advanced technologies that reduce environmental impact and improve business efficiency distinguishes Shell in the oil and gas industry, Michael Macrander, Shell’s Alaska lead scientist, told Greening of Oil in December.

“The investment that Shell makes in technology and the willingness to embrace new technologies is quite apparent,” Macrander said, pointing to the company’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico and its efforts to address environmental issues in offshore Alaska. “… Shell was a leader in technologies that enabled deepwater exploration and development. … We view technology as a difference-maker.”

The use of technologies and techniques that minimize the environmental footprint of oil and gas operations is nowadays a requirement and expectation, forming an essential component of Shell’s “license to operate” in places like the Arctic offshore, he said. (Greening of Oil)

 

Tagging wells saves time, money and the environment - RFID technology does more than unlock doors or gain admission to ski lifts

BY ALAN BAILEY FOR GREENING OF OIL

In perhaps its most visible form, radio frequency identification, or RFID, has become familiar to many as the magic badge that you wave in the air to unlock an office door, open a security gate or perhaps gain admission to a ski lift. But, behind the scenes in many industries, RFID has become something of an ubiquitous technology, widely used to track freight and perform many of the functions of a traditional bar-coding system.

Marathon Oil Corp., working with various industry partners, has been spearheading efforts to apply RFID technology in the drilling of oil and gas wells, to cut costs and save time by more efficiently controlling the drilling equipment deep underground in a well bore, Tim Deines, Marathon’s well performance manager for upstream technology, told Greening of Oil. And improved efficiency translates to a reduced environmental impact, thanks to less time spent running the engines that power the drilling rigs; less need to “trip,” or pull, the drill pipe from a well; and less need to vent gas when completing natural gas wells, Deines said.

Marathon’s industry partners in its RFID initiative include Weatherford International, a company with expertise in downhole electronics, and Petrowell, a U.K. company that specializes in downhole equipment design, including RFID tools, said Phil Snider, Marathon’s senior technical consultant for upstream technology. (GoO)

 

China Pushes for Coal Gasification

China has launched a multi-billion dollar effort to turn some of its massive coal resources into gas. China now has more than 10 coal-gasification plants under construction with total nameplate capacity of about 1.2 trillion cubic feet per year. [Read More] (Xina Xie, Energy Tribune)

 

Cold Spell Freezes Gas Wells

This week's arctic chill will likely knock offline thousands of natural gas wells in Texas and Louisiana, home to one-third of U.S. gas production. Because it rarely freezes down here, gas wells aren't built to withstand the phenomenon called "well head freeze off." That's when the small amount of water produced alongside the natural gas crystallizes inside pipelines, completely blocking off the flow and shutting down the well. There's three ways to fix it: wait for the weather to get milder, pumping methanol through the pipes, or applying external heat. The latter has to be done carefully, notes David Pursell, analyst with Tudor, Pickering & Holt in Houston, "It's bad form to fire up an acetylene torch near a nat gas gathering system." All solutions are labor intensive. So what could well head freeze off mean to gas supplies? Pursell says the last time the weather got this cold was in Jan/Feb 2007; data shows that 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day (out of roughly 60 bcfd nationwide) was knocked off line then. But the cold there was focused further north where wells are often outfitted to endure the chill. It would be very bullish for gas prices if the deep freeze lasts for a month, and well head freeze offs shut in 125 bcf of cumulative production. (Christopher Helman, Forbes)

 

Natural Gas Industry Pressing Senate for Climate Concessions

Help for coal and renewable power in climate legislation could hurt natural gas, an industry official said yesterday as the fuel continued its quest to gain political standing.

Natural gas will be caught in a "squeeze play" if there are subsidies for coal, solar, wind and other green sources and natural gas is ignored, Skip Horvath, president and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association, said at the U.S. Energy Association's annual State of the Energy Industry Forum.

"There's a false perception that natural gas will come out a winner in any climate change scenario because of its low emissions and reliable performance record," Horvath said. "The environmental benefits of natural gas will allow it to hold its own on a level playing field, but not if the field is dramatically tilted by subsidies for coal and overly rigid mandates for renewable sources.

"Our worry is the balance will become too heavily in favor of coal and renewables, which will squeeze us out of the mix." (Greenwire)

There's one sensible response -- nothing! No climate legislation and no congressionally selected winners and losers. Problem solved and it doesn't cost the taxpayer a penny.

 

Pilot test aims to recycle water in shale production - Global Petroleum Research Institute to compare technologies in Marcellus Shale

BY ERIC LIDJI FOR GREENING OF OIL

Extracting natural gas and oil from shale requires large amounts of fresh water for both drilling the deep wells and hydraulically fracturing the rock to release the gas and liquids, making shale development troublesome for some communities. A cheap and efficient way to reuse the water could ease those concerns.

To that end, a pilot test begins this month that will compare various methods for treating produced water in the field.

The test, headed up by the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&M University and involving several other partners, is being funded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, or NETL.

The partners aim to develop a mobile technology for pre-treating used water. The pilot tests will focus on the Marcellus Shale in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Pre-treatment commonly involves removing certain substances, like chemicals and metals, from industrial wastewater before treatment in a municipal water facility, where water is normally brought to drinking water standards.

But for shale development, the normal pre-treatment process is enough to allow much of the water to be reused.

“What we’re doing in the oil field is trying to do that (pre-treatment) on a smaller scale and do it with more precision,” said David Burnett, director of technology at the GPRI at Texas A&M.

Some recycling techniques already exist. In recent years, the Railroad Commission of Texas approved several pilot projects for entrepreneurs to test different technologies for reducing water use in the Barnett Shale that runs across North Texas. (GoO)

 

Deep shale gas drilling uses least amount of water - Water protection council comparison shows nuclear, conventional oil next in line

BY KAY CASHMAN FOR GREENING OF OIL

In a country craving domestic sources of clean energy one would think Americans would welcome abundant supplies of newly discovered natural gas from shale. For the most part they do.

But the process of extracting natural gas from shale has prompted concerns from the people living in areas where this unconventional gas production is planned, or already happening.

One of their concerns is the large amount of fresh water required by shale production; water that is largely lost from fresh water supplies.

Greening of Oil decided to follow this issue, primarily by keeping on top of what shale gas producers were doing to develop technology that would allow them to reuse water versus disposing of it deep beneath the water table. (See article posted in Tracking fossil fuels section on Jan. 9, titled “Pilot test aims to recycle water in shale production.”)

In the course of that investigation, we discovered that natural gas development from shale uses the least amount of water for the energy it produces, followed by nuclear and conventional oil. At the other end of the list, requiring thousands of gallons more water per unit of energy, is ethanol from corn and biodiesel from soy. (GoO)

 

Canadian biofuels document triggers official denials - Environment Canada at odds with U.S. study claiming subsidies a waste

BY GARY PARK FOR GREENING OF OIL

A spreading North American debate over the costs and benefits of ethanol and biofuel policies lends itself to easy misunderstanding.

Take the case of what has been described as a “poorly worded” Canadian government document that indicated Ottawa—already under fire for its wavering on climate change measures—might be backing away from possibly its strongest policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases. The document, released Jan. 6, said that based on global production levels over the past three years “there is now evidence of implications to the environment from biofuels-based ethanol production facilities.”

While ethanol and biodiesel were still viewed as “green” energy sources by some, “criticism of biofuels has also grown remarkably throughout recent years,” the government paper said. “Experiences in the U.S. and Brazil now suggest that existing biofuels production facilities are responsible for the generation of a range of new air and water-related problems as well as concerns over human health.”

Far from clear-cut evidence that Canada was about to abandon its goal of 5 percent renewable fuels in gasoline this year and 2 percent renewable fuels in diesel by 2011, but hardly the appearance of a ringing endorsement for the policy at a time when almost 400 reports in the United States over the last six years have suggested that biofuels plants are in breach of environmental and health rules. (GoO)

 

Are electric cars coming too soon? Greening of the grid, manufacturing more hybrids is chicken-and-egg situation

BY STEFAN MILKOWSKI FOR GREENING OF OIL

If you’re in the market for a new car in the next few years, you’re likely to have an impressive array of options, and not just in style and trim, but in the most fundamental aspect of the car—what makes it go.

Several car manufacturers already sell hybrid electric vehicles, which combine standard combustion engines with electric motors. California-based Tesla Motors sells a completely electric sports car, and G.M., Nissan and Ford have all promised to introduce electric vehicles in 2010. Toyota says it will offer a plug-in version of its popular hybrid, the Prius, in 2012.

By shifting the fuel source from gasoline to electricity, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles promise to reduce tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants and lower the demand for imported petroleum.

But producing electricity causes pollution, too, and the prospect of using electricity for transportation on a large scale has caused some to question whether the new technology will really clean the air as much as proponents say.

So, do electric cars need a green grid? (Greening of Oil)

 

Strangling the urban housing land supply: Conservation Groups Cash In On Cheap Land

LOS ANGELES - When a property developer pulled out of a planned 65-home subdivision in Portland Oregon in 2008 because of the collapsing real estate market, a conservation group saw an opportunity.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a San Francisco-based non-profit which works to protect and conserve open spaces, bought the 27-acre parcel for $4.4 million, far less than the $6.2 million asking price when it was on the market in 2005. The land was then added to an adjacent park.

"The phone is ringing off the hook. People are looking to unload those properties and conservation is the beneficiary," said TPL's president Will Rogers.

"In this market, with demand where it is, a lot of these developments just don't pencil out. In many places we are seeing properties that were heading for development that are back on the market," he told Reuters in a phone interview.

The Portland acquisition is just one of many that TPL has made as it and other conservation groups find deals from the collapse in the real estate market that triggered the recession.

The environmental community has taken to calling it the recession's "green lining" and the immediate outlook for the building and construction industry remains bleak. (Reuters)

Remember people are going to require this dwelling space sooner rather than later. Just make sure you can revert the green lock up.

 

Green Jobs, Red Ink, Pink Slips

The “New Socialism” – as columnist Charles Krauthammer adroitly calls the global governmental power grab and wealth redistribution schemes lurking beneath the “green economy” – has kicked into high gear in Washington, D.C. already this year.

Struggling to respond to a surprisingly bad December jobs report – and struggling to explain the clear failure of President Barack Obama’s massive bureaucratic bailout to stimulate the economy – U.S. government officials are turning to a familiar refrain, “green jobs.”

Of course, this familiar song and dance ignores the fact that a huge chunk of the failed “stimulus” went to fund these jobs in the first place. (Howard Rich, Townhall)

 

Politicizing Smog – by Rich Trzupek

Last Thursday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to lower its standard for urban ozone, popularly known as smog, to a level between 60 and 70 parts per billion. This would be the fourth such reduction since the implementation of the Clean Air Act in the 1970s.

The original standard was 120 parts per billion, a goal that was reduced under the Clinton administration to 80 parts per billion in 1997 and further reduced under the Bush administration to 75 parts per billion in 2008. The Clinton-era reduction in the smog standard was widely-hailed among environmental groups, while the further reduction during the Bush administration was roundly criticized by those same groups.

“Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier,” USEPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a press release. The “best science” refers to the advice of the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) a purportedly independent board of scientists who participate in the process of setting increasingly more stringent definitions of clean air.

However, USEPA is not supposed to base its decisions solely on CASAC’s recommendations. According to the EPA, the “scientific community, industry, public interest groups, the general public and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC)” all get to play a role whenever the Agency sets new standards. That formula, which every president from Nixon through Bush has employed, has been effectively tossed out the window by the Obama administration, which has chosen to defer to CASAC.

The fact that CASAC picked the lowest proposed standard as the best proposed standard should come as no surprise. Of the seven CASAC members four are engineers, modelers and one eco-systems analyst, all of whom are wholly unqualified to opine on issues regarding public health. The remaining three have a vested interest in seeing lower smog standards promulgated, since all are academics whose research funding depends on air pollution alarmism. CASAC chair Dr. Jonathan Samet, for example, has spent a great deal of his professional career decrying secondhand smoke and is also an advisor to the American Lung Association (ALA), an organization that spends a great deal of time and money lobbying for more restrictive smog standards. Another CASAC member, Dr. Helen Suh MacIntosh, was once the answer lady at treehugger.com. (Front Page)

 

Leo seems disappointed hysteria is declining, albeit slightly: Doomsday Clock: Does nuclear threat outweigh climate catastrophe?

The Doomsday Clock tells us we are now one minute further away from looming eco catastrophe. This comes as a surprise (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)

 

No link seem between flu outbreak, schizophrenia

NEW YORK - Questioning the theory that prenatal exposure to the flu virus might be a risk factor for schizophrenia, a new study finds no link between the flu pandemic of 1957 and later schizophrenia rates.

In an analysis of studies from Europe, Australia, Japan and the U.S., researchers found no higher-than-normal risk of schizophrenia among people born in the nine months after the 1957 flu pandemic. 

The findings, reported in the Schizophrenia Bulletin, conflict with those from some earlier studies linking the same pandemic to a heightened schizophrenia rate. 

While the exact causes of schizophrenia are not clear, it is considered a disorder of disrupted brain development, and researchers have long believed that schizophrenia arises from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors.

Among the suspected environmental factors is fetal exposure to a mother's infection during pregnancy, with the influenza virus being one of the potential culprits.

The first evidence came from a 1988 Finnish study that found an increased rate of schizophrenia among people who were in the womb at the time of the 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic that killed about 2 million people worldwide. (Reuters Health)

 

What message are they trying to send with this piece? That dieting is dangerous, perhaps? Weight Watchers clinic floor collapses under dieters

The floor of a Weight Watchers clinic in Sweden collapsed beneath a group of 20 members of the weight loss programme who were gathered for a meeting. 

As the dieters queued to see how many pounds they had shed, the floor beneath them in the clinic in Växjö, in south-central Sweden, began to rumble, according to a report in The Local, Sweden's English-language newspaper. 

"We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air. 

"The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls," one Weight Watchers participant told the Smålandsposten newspaper. 

Soon, the fault lines spread around the room, and other sections of the floor gave way. 

Luckily, all of the dieters escaped uninjured and managed to move the scales to the corridor, which was not damaged in the accident, and were able to complete their weekly weigh in. 

The cause of the floor's collapse remains under investigation. (TDT)

 

Rising obesity prompts higher antibiotic doses call

Patients may have to be prescribed higher doses of antibiotics because of rising rates of obesity, say doctors.

The standard "one-size fits all" dose may not clear infection in larger adults and increases the risk that resistance will develop, they argue. 

More work is needed to guide GPs on how and when to alter doses, an editorial in The Lancet to accompany the study by doctors from Greece and the US says. 

GPs said it was an interesting theory but may end up being expensive. 

Around one in four adults in England is classified as obese - an increase from 15% in 1993. ( BBC News)

 

Polar bear poo helps in superbug hunt

LONDON - Polar bear droppings are helping scientists shed light on the spread of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Bacteria such as MRSA -- short for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus -- are a growing problem in hospitals and researchers are anxious to understand how they evolve.

Norwegian researchers said they had found little sign of such microbes in the faeces of polar bears in the remote Arctic, suggesting the spread of resistance genes seen in the droppings of other animals may be due to human influence.

In contrast to the results from polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, antibiotic resistance has been discovered in a range of animals including deer, foxes, pigs, dogs and cats that live close to humans.

Trine Glad of the University of Tromso said her team's research, published on Thursday in the journal BMC Microbiology, was important evidence in the debate as to whether resistance occurs naturally or is caused by exposure to human antibiotics.

The rise of superbugs is prompting some drug companies to look again at antibiotics, a field that has been neglected in recent years. Both AstraZeneca and Sanofi-Aventis have signed new antibiotic research collaborations this week. (Reuters Life!)

 

Gene map for malaria crop offers higher yield hope

LONDON - The first genetic map of a medicinal herb used in the best malaria treatments is being published to help scientists develop the species into a high-yielding crop and battle the mosquito-borne disease.

British plant researchers said the Artemisia annua gene code will enable scientists to select the best-performing young plants by genetics and use them as parent plants for breeding experiments without needing to take the more time-consuming approach of genetic modification (GM).

"The map is already proving to be an essential tool for us. With our new understanding of Artemisia genetics, we can produce improved, non-GM varieties...much faster than would otherwise be possible," said Dianna Bowles of York University's centre for novel agricultural products (CNAP), whose work was published in the Science journal on Thursday.

Artemisinin, derived from the sweet wormwood, or Artemisia annua plant, is the best drug available against malaria, especially when used in artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) medicines made by firms such as Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG and France's Sanofi-Aventis . (Reuters)

 

China Needs To Cut Use Of Chemical Fertilizers: Research

BEIJING - China, the world's largest grain producer and top consumer of fertilizers, should reduce its reliance on chemical fertilizers by as much as 50 percent because excessive use has resulted in serious pollution, according to a research report.

"Not many people are aware that agriculture is the largest polluter in China, which should be a subject for serious concern," said Wen Tiejun, head of the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China.

Chemical fertilizers had helped China, the world's most populous country, to feed its population despite limited farmland, but excessive application had led to low farmland efficiency and serious pollution, according to a research report issued by the school and Greenpeace on Thursday.

The report said farmers, particularly in northern China, used 40 percent more fertilizers than crops needed, resulting in about 10 million tons of fertilizer every year being discharged into water, polluting China's rivers and lakes.

China produced 24 percent of the world's total grain output, but its use of fertilizer accounted for about 35 percent of total global consumption. China's grain production had increased more than eight-fold from the 1960s, while use of nitrogen fertilizers had surged by about 55 times, the report said.

It also urged the government to reduce subsidies to fertilizer makers and called for more support for farmers who use animal waste. (Reuters)

 

Voodoo wasps that could save the world - Genetic breakthrough could enable scientists to unleash armies of insects on deadly crop pests

They are so small that most people have never even seen them, yet "voodoo wasps" are about to be recruited big time in the war on agricultural pests as part of the wider effort to boost food production in the 21st century.

The wasps are only 1 or 2 millimetres long fully-grown but they have an ability to paralyse and destroy other insects, including many of the most destructive crop pests, by delivering a zombie-inducing venom in their sting.

Now scientists believe they have made the breakthrough that will enable them to recruit vast armies of voodoo wasps to search and destroy farm pests on a scale that could boost crop yields without polluting the wider environment with insecticides.

The researchers have decoded the full genomes of three species of parasitic wasp, which could lead to the development of powerful new ways of deploying these tiny insects against the vast range of pests that destroy billions of tonnes of valuable crops each year.

There are more than 600,000 species of parasitic voodoo wasps and they already play a critical role as a natural regulator of insect populations. However, scientists believe that the decoding of their genomes will open the door to new and better better ways of targeting them against specific pests. (The Independent)

 

Alligators breathe like birds due to a dinosaur ancestor they share in common, scientists have discovered.

Researchers found that, just as it does in birds, air flows in one direction as it loops through the lungs of alligators. 

The breathing method is believed to have first appeared in ancient reptiles called archosaurs which dominated the Earth 251 million years ago. 

In contrast, mammalian breath flows in and out of branching cul-de-sacs in the lungs called alveoli. 

Archosaurs evolved along two different paths, one of which gave rise to the crocodilian ancestors of crocodiles and alligators. 

The other produced the flying pterosaurs and eventually birds. (TDT)

 

Global Warming: The Other Side

Is civilization doomed because of man-made global warming? You've been told your carbon footprint could lead to skyrocketing temperatures, melting ice caps, dying polar bears and "superstorms."

But there is another side to the story, and you can see it on KUSI this Thursday night.

KUSI meteorologist, John Coleman, has an amazing story to tell of science gone bad, and new revelations as the "climategate" scandal comes to the United States.

Join us on Thursday, January 14th, at 9pm, Pacific Time, for the special report that will explode the global warming myth!

KUSI Release

 

Group claims stolen e-mails show risk in accepting climate change science

A major trade group for the insurance industry is warning that it is "exceedingly risky" for companies to blindly accept scientific conclusions around climate change, given the "serious questions" around the extent to which humans cause atmospheric warming.

The assertion was made in a letter (.pdf) to insurance regulators, who will administer the nation's first mandatory climate requirements on corporations in May. Large insurers will have to answer about a dozen questions related to the preparations they are taking to safeguard themselves from climatic hazards.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies believes that the new regulation leaves little room for companies to cast doubt on widely accepted assumptions about global warming. Insurers are hamstrung to provide answers that dovetail with the perception of key regulators who believe climate change threatens the industry's financial strength, said Robert Detlefsen, the group's vice president of policy.

"It's fairly obvious that certain regulators have made up their minds about what the answers to those questions are, and are just proceeding on the assumption that their answers, or the ones that they subscribe to, are correct and unimpeachable," Detlefsen said in an interview. "There really is no room, as I see it, for any sort of legitimate, in their minds at least, for legitimate dissent." (Evan Lehmann, ClimateWire) | Download letter (.pdf)

Insurance group claims stolen e-mails show risk in accepting climate change science

 

Global Warming Insurance: Don’t Buy It

The reason insurance exists is because risk does too. For instance, with car insurance, an insurance company calculates the risk of a driver getting into an accident by considering a number of variables including age, location, type of vehicle, etc. Consumers buy insurance to protect against unexpected events that could jeopardize their financial well-being such as a serious car accident where someone needs serious medical attention.

Global warming also poses a risk. Climate change was sold in a way that the scientific consensus on global warming is so well established, it might as well be considered a law like gravity. And the insurance companies bought it.  They bought that global warming will cause more frequent and severe hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes and since the risk of global warming is higher, the premiums ratepayers pay will also be higher. But as more evidence comes out against the consensus and in light of Climategate, insurance companies are beginning to fight back:

A major trade group for the insurance industry is warning that it is “exceedingly risky” for companies to blindly accept scientific conclusions around climate change, given the “serious questions” around the extent to which humans cause atmospheric warming.

Continue reading...

(The Foundry)

 

Hey, you're an extremist group! Did you know? Top Obama czar: Infiltrate all 'conspiracy theorists' - Presidential adviser wrote about crackdown on expressing opinions

In a lengthy academic paper, President Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban "conspiracy theorizing." 

Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud. 

Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate "extremists who supply conspiracy theories" to disrupt the efforts of the "extremists" to propagate their theories. 

In a 2008 Harvard law paper, "Conspiracy Theories," Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule, a Harvard law professor, ask, "What can government do about conspiracy theories?" 

"We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories." 

In the 30-page paper – obtained and reviewed by WND – Sunstein argues the best government response to "conspiracy theories" is "cognitive infiltration of extremist groups." (Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily)

Way cheaper than Al & knows what he's talking about, too! What a bargain: Lord Monckton climate change lecture costs Australian sceptics $100,000

It's astonishing, but aside from travel costs, climate sceptic Lord Monckton will get a $20,000 stipend as the organiser in Noosa, Queensland calls for donations (The Guardian)

 

Post-Climategate Brave New World

Whaddaya know — ever since Climategate and brutal cold (snap!) sawed in half the global warming illusion that the formerly mainstream media had sold as reality, all of a sudden there’s massive upheaval: dogs and cats living together; news networks hosting climate debates; CBS exposing taxpayer-funded boondoggle junkets to Copenhagen; and politicians (other than Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe) boldly denouncing fraudulent research about the “benefits” of “solutions” to global warming. Just check out last Friday’s press release from Michigan State Rep. Tom McMillin:

McMillin made the call following a plan from the global-warming advocacy group the Center for Climate Strategies that likely overstated possible job growth and will cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars to follow a political agenda.

“To expend taxpayer money on such a biased…

Read the full story (Paul Chesser, Cooler Heads)

 

Of course talks fail and climate talks should do so: US officials helped prepare Obama for Copenhagen summit's collapse

US state department officials were so convinced that the Copenhagen climate change summit was heading for collapse that they crafted a "talks fail" speech for Barack Obama.

Jonathan Pershing, who helped lead talks at Copenhagen, instead sketched out a future path for negotiations dominated by the world's largest polluters such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa, who signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit. That would represent a realignment of the way the international community has dealt with climate change over the last two decades.

"It is impossible to imagine a global agreement in place that doesn't essentially have a global buy-in. There aren't other institutions beside the UN that have that," Pershing said. "But it is also impossible to imagine a negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192 countries involved in all the detail." (The Guardian)

 

Next Chapter For Climate Change - Many countries agreed at Copenhagen to cut back on emissions. Now what?

Cutting through all the rhetoric and recriminations in the wake of the global climate summit in Copenhagen, a fragile foundation has been established, at long last, for effective global action.

As U.S. President Barack Obama said in announcing the Copenhagen Accord: "For the first time in history all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront climate change."
Article Controls

No, there is still no binding agreement, nor any timetable for concluding one. And no, there is no collective agreement among countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, nor, as yet, any binding obligation by any country to a specific emission target.

The fondest hopes for the global gathering in Copenhagen were not realized.

But the vast majority of the 193 countries assembled there--including the biggest carbon emitters among the developed and developing countries alike--have agreed in the accord to limit their emissions. And, most significantly, the four biggest emitters among the developing countries--China, Brazil, India and South Africa--have agreed to list voluntary targets in an international registry and to allow other countries to assess whether they are meeting those targets.

But where do we go from here? How can the brief three pages of the Copenhagen Accord become the basis for the concerted global action that is so urgently needed on climate change? (James Bacchus, Forbes)

Hopefully James, now... nothing. For all the gorebull warbling we have no indication carbon dioxide constitutes any form of problem. On the other hand its emission is associated with significant human benefit. Moreover, emitting carbon dioxide is probably the one thing humans do that is of tremendous benefit to the biosphere, however accidentally. Time to close the book, not open another chapter.

 

Snubbed In Copenhagen, EU Weighs Climate Options

BRUSSELS - Stunned by being sidelined in the endgame of the Copenhagen world climate summit, the European Union is debating how to regain influence over the fight against global warming.

Should the world's largest trading bloc and economic area respond to the policy setback and the diplomatic humiliation of the bare-minimum Copenhagen accord by playing Mr Nice, Mr Nasty, Mr Persistent or Mr Pragmatic?

The first two options -- setting a more ambitious example to others, or threatening climate laggards with carbon tariffs -- are tempting gestures, and each has its supporters. (Reuters)

Just take your ball and go home. It's a stupid game anyway.

 

Just say 'No!': Europe Mulls Deeper Emissions Cuts, Deadline Looms

BRUSSELS/MADRID - European Union environment ministers will seek a strategy for reviving global climate talks at a meeting in Spain this week, after a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen last month ended in failure.

A U.N. deadline is looming for countries to commit to emissions cuts as part of the U.N. process, and EU diplomats expect the bloc to make the lowest bid in its range of options.

The talks in the Danish capital last month ended with a bare-minimum agreement that fell far short of its original goal of forging a replacement for the climate-protecting Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

"Let's face it, it was not what we wanted," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a conference in Brussels on Tuesday. (Reuters)

 

China-Led Group To Meet Ahead Of Climate Deadline

NEW DELHI - Four of the world's largest and fastest-growing carbon emitters will meet in New Delhi this month ahead of a Jan 31 deadline for countries to submit their actions to fight climate change.

The meeting, to be held either on Jan 24 or 25, would be attended by the environment ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- the BASIC bloc of nations that helped broker a political accord at last month's Copenhagen climate summit.

The non-binding accord was described by many as a failure because it fell far short of the conference's original goal of a more ambitious commitment to fight global warming by all nations.

The document set a January 31 deadline for rich nations to submit economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 and for developing countries to present voluntary carbon-curbing actions. (Reuters)

 

A Smoking Dragon in Sheep's Clothing

NEW DELHI — China presents itself as a schizophrenic power: a developing country on select international issues, but in other matters a rising superpower with new muscular confidence that supposedly is in the same league as the United States. 

At the recent Copenhagen climate-change summit, China was the former: It loudly emphasized its membership in the developing world and quietly used poor countries, especially from Africa, to raise procedural obstacles in the negotiations.

Make no mistake: China, the world’s largest polluter whose carbon emissions are growing at the fastest rate, was the principal target at Copenhagen. But China cleverly deflected pressure by hiding behind small, poor countries and forging a negotiating alliance with India and two other major developing countries, Brazil and South Africa, who together are known as the BASIC bloc.

China escaped without making a binding commitment on carbon-emissions cuts, at least for now. But carbon-light India, with per-capita emissions just 26 percent of the world average, undercut its interest by getting bracketed with the world’s largest polluter. (NYT)

Nonsense. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant but a resource, a precious asset whose abundance we should celebrate.

 

Trade war fears raised on carbon border tax

Karel De Gucht, Europe’s trade commissioner-designate, warned on Tuesday that a carbon border tax could lead to a “trade war” as he rejected a policy that has gained traction in Europe following last month’s disappointing Copenhagen summit on climate change.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has for months championed the idea that the European Union should levy an import tax on goods from countries that do not show similar ambition in fighting global warming.

The debate in Europe over a so-called “border adjustment tax” was reinvigorated last month after the Copenhagen summit resulted in a voluntary accord that fell well short of the EU’s stated goals for emissions reductions.

But Mr De Gucht, appearing before the European parliament for his confirmation hearing, poured cold water on the idea. “I’m not in favour. I don’t think it’s the right approach,” he told MEPs.

The biggest risk, he warned, was that such a tax would “slip into a trade war”. (Financial Times) | EU trade chief-designate rejects carbon border tariffs (EurActiv)

 

Reconsider carbon plan, says adviser

ONE of the Government's key business advisers on the emissions trading scheme has called for a fresh look at whether the plan should go ahead.

Dick Warburton, chairman of the panel set up last year to advise on emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities, said that after Copenhagen's failure, the matter should be debated afresh.

He is organising a round-table of company executives, bureaucrats and experts - including supporters and critics - to consider the pros and cons and alternatives of a trading scheme.

His move comes as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott tonight gives his first speech as leader on the environment, arguing that while the environment is important, it is not just about climate. He will seek to redirect focus to areas where Australia can make a difference on its own, including water.

Mr Warburton told The Age that despite intense political debate about the emissions scheme, important aspects had not been dealt with adequately. ''Chairmen and CEOs and the public have very poor knowledge of what the ETS involves.''

The round-table should be held by the end of this month, he said. (The Age)

 

Voluntary Carbon Market Hoping For Growth In 2010

LONDON - The market for voluntary carbon offsets is pinning its hopes on growth this year after demand stalled in 2009 as companies cut back spending on reducing their carbon footprints due to the economic slowdown.

"Hopefully we can go back to some growth so people will look at carbon markets more seriously. It's hard for people to put (emissions cuts) at the top of their agenda when countries aren't doing it," Gilles Corre, head of carbon structuring at Tullett Prebon, told Reuters.

The failure of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen last December to clinch a legally binding climate pact disappointed many investors who hoped it would create more certainty about the future of carbon markets.

"Paradoxically, Copenhagen might be good for the voluntary market. While there is no certainty in terms of compliance, there is still the need to do something which means people get involved in the voluntary market," Corre said. (Reuters)

 

From the ancient Amazonian Indians: A modern weapon against global warming

Scientists are reporting that "biochar" — a material that the Amazonian Indians used to enhance soil fertility centuries ago — has potential in the modern world to help slow global climate change. Mass production of biochar could capture and sock away carbon that otherwise would wind up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. Their report appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a bi-weekly journal. (ACS)

Building up soil fertility is good. Deliberately wasting a resource like atmospheric carbon dioxide is criminal.

 

If only CO2 were a major driver of climate... UN agency highlights potential to fight climate change with grasslands

13 January 2010 – Properly managed grasslands – even more than forests – could fight climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, according to a newly released report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 

The world’s nearly 3.4 billion hectares of grasslands store 30 per cent of global soil carbon in addition to the substantial amount of above-ground carbon held in trees, bushes, shrubs and grasses. They also account for 70 per cent of agricultural land. 

In its report “Review of Evidence on Drylands Pastoral Systems and Climate Change,” FAO noted that grasslands could play a major role in supporting the adaptation and reducing the vulnerability to climate change for the more than one billion people who depend on livestock for a living. (UN News)

 

In The Guardian? This was unexpected: Exaggerating the impact of climate change on the spread of malaria

A recent press release from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) suggested that millions more people in Kenya are susceptible to malaria as a result of mosquitoes colonising higher ground as global temperatures rise. ('New evidence of a link between climate change and malaria', 30.12.09 – see below). The press release was extensively covered in UK newspapers and elsewhere.

Simple analysis shows that the claims of the press release are almost entirely without foundation. The battle against the severe threat from climate change is impeded, not helped, by government departments issuing alarmist and exaggerated alerts based on poor science. (The Guardian)

 

Global Warming Is a Religion

Manmade global warming, for many, is an Earth-worshipping religion. The essential feature of any religion is that its pronouncements are to be accepted on the basis of faith as opposed to hard evidence. Questioning those pronouncements makes one a sinner. No one denies that the Earth's temperature changes. Millions of years ago, much of our planet was covered by ice, at some places up to a mile thick, a period some scientists call "Snowball Earth." Today, the Earth is not covered by a mile of ice; a safe conclusion is that there must have been a bit of global warming. I don't know the cause of that warming, but I'd wager everything I own that it was not caused by coal-fired electric generation plants, incandescent light bulbs and SUVs tooling up and down the highways. ( Walter E. Williams, Townhall)

 

Cold Spell Doesn’t Undercut Climate Crisis – But Other Things Do

Snow storm hits nation's capital

Q: If we’re so worried about global warming why has it been so cold here in the U.S., in Europe and other parts of the globe? What do weather statistics say has happened during the past 50 years? And how does weather differ from climate (is there a difference)?

Turnabout is fair play for activists who insist that a single event like the current cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming. They’re right that it doesn’t, but neither does a summer heat wave prove it — yet this has not stopped proponents of doom from hyping each one. What matters are longer term trends, and those are pointing away from the notion that climate change is a crisis.

While the chilly start to the year does not a trend make, we are in a decade-long period of no additional warming, despite continuously rising carbon dioxide concentrations. That is a significant trend, and it is also important because it undercuts the notion that there is some near-infallible scientific consensus about global warming and mankind’s contribution to it. Consider the United Nation’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the supposed gold standard of consensus science. None of the climate models relied upon by the IPCC foresaw the current flattening out of temperatures, yet these are the models whose predictions of future warming form the basis of several US and UN proposals.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Global Cooling? Another Media Fraud

Let us take comfort that this allegedly cold winter is just a hoax.

My daily newspaper informs me that “winter blast leaves Britain shivering.” The poor country, apparently, is in “the grip of the worst winter in 40 years.” I hear on the news that Germany is running out of road salt as car accidents multiply exponentially. Other European countries appear to be in similar straits. Major cities in China have ground to a halt. Much of Canada is shoveling itself out of surf-like snowdrifts and portions of the United States are not much better off. Could this be global cooling? Is the scientific consensus concerning global warming wrong? Has the respected United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change been hoaxed by a cabal of unscrupulous meteorologists?

Not to worry, folks. We all know that global warming is an irrefutable fact and that our feeling of alarm for the planet is fully justified. We know that temperatures are skyrocketing, that anthropogenic CO2 is clogging the atmosphere, that ocean levels are rising as they did in the time of Noah, that South Pacific islands will soon be submerged and within a generation or two New York City will be under water — has not NASA scientist James Hansen assured of this dire probability? We know that polar bears are heading toward extinction as the ice floes dissolve beneath them, that the Antarctic is withering as we speak under the gaping ozone hole, that asthma sufferers are gasping their last by the stretcher-load, that the pavement is sizzling beneath our feet, and that the end of the world is nigh.

Let us not be deceived by what we think we are observing and thus relax our guard. Let us instead take comfort in knowledge. For we also know that we cannot trust the mainstream media, whose accounts are contaminated by a prior agenda. All these articles, reports, and broadcasts about plunging temperatures and unprecedented snowfalls, about entire countries unable to cope with wintry disasters or dig themselves out of subnivean mountain ranges, about thousands of cars stuck on highways and motorists needing to be rescued by emergency teams of army reservists — all this, as we should be aware, is the result of a conspiracy to delude the public about the truth of GGW, or galloping global warming. (David Solway, PJM)

 

Oh... Just how fast is the climate changing?

CLIMATE change has a speed: about 420 metres per year. That's the average rate at which temperature zones will shift across global landscapes during this century, according to research led by the Carnegie Institute in the United States.

It is also an estimate of how quickly plants and animals will need to move to stay within current climatic zones, and an indication of the pressure on agriculture to adapt as seasonal conditions shift.

Recently published in the scientific journal Nature, the research attempts to predict "temperature velocities" as a way of expressing how climate change will influence plants and animals adapted to certain climatic zones.

Such work is not entirely new, according to Professor Barry Brook, who occupies the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at Adelaide University, but it does provide a useful picture of how climate change may advance across landscapes - including farmland. (Stock & Land)

Well it's no good going to a warmie hysteric like Barry Brook for answers, that's for sure. Moreover, we have no indication the world really will warm.

 

Myopic View of Climate Change By John Hirst Of The UK Met Office

The website YouTube has made available an interview of John Hirst, who is Head of the UK Met Office (see).  In  this interview, John Hirst incorrectly indicates that multi-decadal climate forecasts are easier to make than seasonal forecasts.  He must assume that if we could skillfully predict the magnitude of the global average surface temperature trend (which has not even been convincingly demonstrated; see), that necessarily provides skillful knowledge of the weather decades into the future to be experienced in the UK and elsewhere.

It would be nice if such the relationship between the global average surface temperature trend and regional weather extremes was so simple. However, as we have seen in the recent extreme cold and snowy weather across large areas of the Northern Hemisphere, even if the global average surface temperature anomalies (and even the lower tropospheric temperatures anomalies) are above its multi-decadal average , record cold and snow can occur.  Moreover, the UK Met Office seasonal weather prediction (often called “seasonal climate prediction“) has shown a clear lack of skill. Their failures to accurately predict weather patterns for the following seasons have been notable; e.g.

Comment By The UK Met Office On Their Seasonal Weather Predictions

Comments On UK Met Office 2008/2009 Winter Forecast

2007 – Forecast by the UK Met Office To Be The Warmest Year Yet – What Is The Basis For This Claim?

One of the messages from the recent extreme weather is that only if the major circulation features can be skillfully predicted (such as ENSO; the PDO; the NAO; the AO, ect) can we expect seasonal prediction skill.

What this means is that multi-decadal model forecasts must be able to skillfully predict these circulation features. However, they have no demonstrated skill with respect to this aspect of the climate system. Indeed, since there has been only limited success with respect to seasonal predictions; e.g. see),  we expect that there are no accurate multidecadal predictions when the number of forcings and feedbacks that affect the climate system are even larger than on the seasonal scale; see

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746.

John Hirst should be more candid on the lack of scientific understanding that we have with respect to regional weather patterns and our ability to skillfully forecast extreme events even a month or two ahead of time.  To claim that the UK Met Office can provide skillful forecasts of the likelihood of such extreme events decades from now based just on the knowledge of a subset of human climate forcings (i.e. primarily added atmospheric carbon dioxide) is a very significant misrepresentation of the science. (Climate Science)

 

Central Park Temperatures - Still a Mystery

By Joseph D’Aleo

In Central Park Temperature - Three Radically Different Us Government Versions on Icecap in 2008 here, we noted some significant differences between the various NOAA versions for the stations.

The raw observations are taken from the stations then adjusted to account for local factors like site changes, changes in instrumentation, time of observation and at least at one time for urbanization in USHCN Version 1 (Karl 1988). Data sets are created for the US (USHCN) and NOAA global data bases (GHCN).

Historical Central Park observations were taken from the periphery of the park from 1909 to 1919 at the Arsenal Building 5th Ave (between 63rd & 64th) and then since 1920 at the Belvedere Castle on Transverse Rd (near 79th & 81st).

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We found a surprisingly large difference from the NCDC United States USHCN version 1 and the NCDC global GHCN for that station (below, enlarged here).

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The USHCN version 1 had an urban adjustment (Karl 1988) when it was introduced in 1990. The cooling was as 7F for July and 6F for January. Notice however as some state climatologists noticed, the annual adjustments began to diminish in 1999 and in version 2 of USHCN disappeared altogether (below, enlarged here).

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This led Steve McIntyre here to quip “If one reverse engineers this adjustment to calculate the New York City population used in the USHCN urban adjustment, the results are, in Per’s words, ‘gobsmacking’ (utterly astounding), even by climate science standards.” This was because, it could only be explained by a massive depopulation of New York City (below, enlarged here).

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Shown clearly not the case (below, enlarged here).

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The story doesn’t end there. The same NCDC maintains a global data base of station data used for climate change assessment called GHCN Version 2 of GHCN contains some of the same adjustments except for the Karl urban adjustment. Central Park is one of the GHCN sites. Note in the top graph above, it mysteriously warms not cools New York’s Central Park by 4F.

GISS USES GHCN AS UNADJUSTED DATA BEFORE HOMOGENIZATION

GISS recently eliminated GHCN with USHCN adjustments as one of the data access options here. “We no longer include data adjusted by GHCN”. They claim they start with GHCN ‘unadjusted’ before they work their own homogenization and other magical wonders.

I downloaded the Central Park ‘unadjusted’ GHCN data from GISS and did a comparison of annual mean GHCN with the raw annual mean data downloaded from the NWS New York City Office web site here.

We found that the two data sets were not the same. For some unknown reason, Central Park was colder in the unadjusted data sets in the early record as much as 3F than the raw observation records. The difference gradually diminished so, currently the changes are small (2008 was the same). Some recent years the ‘unadjusted’ adjustments were inexplicably positive (below, enlarged here).

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The difference is shown below, enlarged here.

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Thus in the so called unadjusted GHCN data, the warming (due to urbanization) is somehow increased from 2.5 to 4.5F by NOAA. See PDF here. (Icecap)

 

Economics of Carbon Capture Disclosed for Coal-Fired Electricity Generation - SRI Consulting Releases Advanced Carbon Capture Report 

MENLO PARK, Calif.--A great deal of attention has been given in recent years to the effects of carbon emissions on climate change. One of the largest contributors to carbon emissions is the generation of electricity from coal. Today, SRI Consulting (SRIC) released its techno-economic report Advanced Carbon Capture that examines the technology and economics of three processes for capturing 90% of the carbon emissions from electric power generation using supercritical pulverized coal. 

“For example, for a plant producing 550 MW net power output, each of the processes analyzed will require two absorbers roughly 40 feet in diameter by 100 feet tall.”


SRIC’s Process Economics Program (PEP) report Advanced Carbon Capture examines in detail three post combustion scrubbing technologies: conventional monoethanolamine (MEA), advanced amine, and chilled ammonia. Analysis is conducted based on new plant construction at 550 MW net power output. All three of these processes have technical and economic issues that must be overcome before they can be implemented at scale. On a levelized cost basis with 90% CO2 capture and compression, MEA scrubbing adds 4.5¢/KWh, while the advanced amine and chilled ammonia processes each add 4.1¢/KWh to the cost of power generation. 

Assistant Director of SRIC’s Greenhouse Gases Initiative and author Michael Arné commented, “The scale of the process equipment needed for power plant applications is remarkable. All three processes covered in this report require Gulliver-like equipment that will have its own challenges such as proper liquid distribution, pressure drop, and structural issues in the construction of such large equipment items.” Mr. Arné continued, “For example, for a plant producing 550 MW net power output, each of the processes analyzed will require two absorbers roughly 40 feet in diameter by 100 feet tall.” 

The Advanced Carbon Capture report is essential information for technical and business managers involved in the generation of electricity from coal. For additional information, contact RJ Chang, Process Economics Program (PEP) Director at rchang@sriconsulting.com +1 650 384 4307, or visit the website at www.sriconsulting.com/PEP. (EON: Enhanced Online News)

Looks about right -- all-sector average retail electricity price (September 2009) was 10.04¢/KWh and these guys suggest carbon capture adds about 40-45% to that. Of course that's only part of the story as there is transport and injection yet to be factored in, so maybe doubling electricity price would be a fair guesstimate.

CCS is neither economic nor practical. Then again, it's a completely pointless expense anyway.

 

Power Generation Industry Forecast: Natural Gas as Fuel of Choice, Little Change for Other Technologies (Part I of II)

by Robert Peltier and Kennedy Maize
January 13, 2010

“It’s déjà vu all over again,” said Yogi Berra. The baseball Hall of Famer could easily have been predicting the coming resurgence of new natural gas–fired power plants. A couple of nuclear plants may actually break ground, but don’t hold your breath. Many more wind turbines will dot the landscape as renewable portfolio standards dictate resource planning, but their peak generation contribution will continue be small (and disappointing).

The most interesting story for 2010 is that the dash for gas in the U.S. has begun–again. In Part II or this two-part report, we will explore the challenges facing nuclear, coal, and renewable energy electricity sources in 2010 and beyond.

Business Climate–Energy Demand

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century and a second year of avoiding an economic collapse, the U.S. business climate seems to have become more positive. A growing sense of cautious optimism is appearing. A mid-October survey by the National Association for Business Economics concluded that the largest recession since the 1930s Great Depression is over, and economic growth is likely for the U.S. economy in 2010. The government announced that third-quarter 2009 economic growth hit 3.5%, the first positive growth in five quarters, suggesting an end to the recession (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Electricity growth resumes in 2010. After a two-year contracting market, total electricity consumption in the U.S. in 2010 is expected to increase. Source: EIA, November 2009 Short-Term Energy Outlook

The implications for electric generation are mixed. What gets built depends on a complex stew of credit markets, regulatory responses, economic growth, technology, and national politics. Some of those are leading economic indicators, some lagging, some not clear at all.

Renewable generation has not made a convincing economic case in the market. But politically it has the upper hand. Coal and nuclear continue to take a political battering at the hands of the renewables advocates. The politics of energy is being upended by new implications for natural gas. The political and regulatory landscape is a dog’s dinner (a Britishism for an undigested mess).

The need for new generation to supply load appears less urgent than in previous years. According to the EIA, demand for electricity has fallen since the economy tanked in 2008. The demand down-tick is the first since the EIA has accumulated these statistics in 1977.

Facing a sluggish economy, consumers have reduced thermostats, cut off air conditioning, and dialed down appliances, leading to the decline in electricity demand. A cool 2009 summer in most of the U.S. helped to reduce air conditioning load. Net electric generation dropped 6.8% from June 2008 to June 2009. That was the 11th consecutive month that electric generation slid downward, compared to the same month in the prior year.

Analysts say they expect the declining demand trend to reverse when e